The 1919 World Series Conspiracy

It may not be as sensational today as an alien cover-up or a clandestine attempt to take over the world, but the world of sports is an activity millions of people spend time enjoying across the globe.  And so when a scandal so dubious as the 1919 World Series conspiracy comes up, it begs some serious questions about other games that could have been considered questionable.  Is there a conspiracy to steal millions by making certain sports teams win?  Are these games decided ahead of time and then played out on a massive stage designed to look like a competition?  That’s just what believers in this sports conspiracy believe.

In one corner we have the conspiracy theorists suggesting various sports games are rigged with the intention of swindling money from gamblers and providing an interesting soap opera narrative to the games to maximize viewer enjoyment.  In the other corner we have legions of dedicated fans saying such a conspiracy could never exist in our world.  But if you think the theory is completely unfounded, consider the following.  In 1919, the Black Sox ended up losing the World Series to the Cincinatti Reds under circumstances that had many of those who were there asking questions.  It seemed strange that the Black Sox would suddenly play so badly after having such a stellar season.  But as complaints in the world of sports are never uncommon, the matter died down somewhat before finally players started coming forward telling strange stories.

By the end of it, eight players were banned forever.  Eddie Cicotte and Joe Jackson had come forward in Chicago to tell the world about a conspiracy that had somehow lurked behind closed doors and ended up on the field right before the eyes of shocked witnesses.  And the story led through a network of crime bosses and gambling cartels before finally ending with the admission by players.  Threats had been made against players and their families if they hadn’t cooperated.  And more than one of the players caught up in the scheme hadn’t wanted to be in on it right from the beginning.  The public was outraged, and a commissioner was set up in the form of a former federal judge.  The world of sports had once again returned to its once ordered and respected state.

But mistrust still runs deep among some who suggest there is no way of knowing if another massive conspiracy has been going on behind the scenes ever since.  It’s no secret that there is a lot of money to be made in the world of sports.  And several people have stated that enough money is to be made in the sports world that there is certainly motivation for a conspiracy.  And some have even said world governments have engaged in the throwing of games to further political agendas.  For example, in the hopes that the United States would play against the USSR in the Olympics, rumors abound that they actually threw the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” game.  So if the Soviet Union was suspected of being in on it, who else might be today?