The Betrayal

The Betrayal

The 1919 World Series and the Birth of Modern Baseball

Book - 2016
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In the most famous scandal of sports history, eight Chicago White Sox players--including Shoeless Joe Jackson--agreed to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for the promise of $20,000 each from gamblers reportedly working for New York mobster Arnold Rothstein. Heavily favored, Chicago lost the Series five games to three. Although rumors of a fix flew while the series was being played, they were largely disregarded by players and the public at large. It wasn't until a year later that a general investigation into baseball gambling reopened the case, and a nationwide scandal emerged.
Publisher: New York, New York :, Oxford University Press,, [2016]
ISBN: 9780199795130
Branch Call Number: 796.357 Fou 3565
Characteristics: 290 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates :,illustrations ;,25 cm


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PimaLib_NormS Mar 16, 2017

Even the most casual of baseball fans know about the Black Sox. In Charles Fountain’s new book, “The Betrayal: The 1919 World Series and the Birth of Modern Baseball”, a little more detail emerges about the heavily favored Chicago White Sox intentionally losing the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. Certainly, a great deal of this material has been covered before. There is not a lot of new evidence left to comb through, after all, it has been almost a century. Much of the author’s focus is on the men who ran baseball at the time. It was they who created the circumstances that led to a group of players deciding not to give their best effort in baseball’s signature event in return for a promised big payoff. In those days, the team owners ignored the gambling element that was around the game. There were no big money contracts, no free agency, and if a player did not like the pittance he was offered, well, the owners would go get someone else. This is not to excuse the players involved, however. Eight members of the White Sox met with some gamblers and agreed to throw the Series for money. It all became public and the players were banned from baseball for life. They paid a price for what they did. In “The Betrayal”, Charles Fountain does not absolve the players, rather, he explains why and how the Black Sox scandal happened.

Dec 27, 2016

There is something about sports that gets people caught up in the thing; the Stanley Cup finals, the Super Bowl and not least, the World Series. We like to think that fair play rules. Alas that it were so! Remember game 5 of the 2015 ALC? The Rangers committed three egregious errors in the bottom of the 7th inning to give the Blue Jays the series win. As a Jays' fan I was ecstatic; as a skeptic I had to wonder.
Pro-sport is big business. ‘The BETRAYAL’ underscores this truth in spades. We read of crooked owners, crooked players and crooked gamblers. We read of cheaters being cheated and cover-ups being covered-up. Owners colluded to keep players salaries low; players, feeling cheated and powerless, looked off-field for extra compensation. Both sides had a warped sense of entitlement! Ah, the failings of human nature!
This is not a book for someone looking for an overview of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. The account is complex and difficult to follow: lots of details, names, meetings and conjecture. I came away doubtful that anyone will ever get to the whole truth of the affair.

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