Fred McMullin

Third Base
  • Card series: 1919 Black Sox Scandal
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Sox
  • League: American League

Fred Drury McMullin (1891-1952) has been called the “forgotten man” of the Black Sox. Writing for SABR, Jacob Pomrenke called McMullin the “Eighth Man Out, the most obscure of the White Sox players who agreed to throw the 1919 World Series to the Cincinnati Reds.”

As a nondescript utility man with little promise to impact the series, Fred would certainly seem to be the unlikeliest member of that talented team to be pursued and paid off by gamblers. Some have suggested that, as the team’s scout, Fred may have contributed to the scheme by providing misleading information to his teammates about Reds hitters and pitchers. Or perhaps, as it is most commonly suggested, McMullin implicated himself in the scandal when he allegedly overheard talk of throwing the Series and insisted on his inclusion in the conspiracy. And yet Ed Cicotte testified that “the idea of the fix had originated in a conversation with Gandil and McMullin.” Like so many mysteries that will forever envelope the 1919 Black Sox, the truth of how and why Fred McMullin was involved in the scandal may never be known.

McMullin had come out of West Coast ball where he impressed the Tigers enough to give him an audition at the end of the 1914 season. Fred languished on the bench, watching the likes of Cobb and Crawford before getting his only appearance that year in Fenway, mopping up a Red Sox laugher and striking out in his only at-bat. Returning to California allowed Fred to build his resume and the White Sox signed him for the ‘16 campaign. Again, he joined a stacked team with little chance of breaking into the lineup. In 1917, McMullin got into late-season games and did well; especially helping with his defense in the Series against the Giants, which the Sox won. Fred used his $3,600 bonus to buy a small house.

Following the war-shortened ‘18 season, the White Sox were again a dominant force in 1919. Owners feared the year would be a loss in the war’s aftermath and scheduled another truncated schedule which included smaller player paychecks. In the lead-up to the postseason, Chick Gandil seems to have led the conspiracy that would ensnare Fred and six more teammates.

  • McMullin stayed mum the rest of his life concerning the fix
  • Unlike his teammates, Fred didn’t try to barnstorm, but he did play some semi-pro ball in LA – until Irish Meusel was fined $100 by the Phillies for playing against him
  • McMullin ended his working life in law enforcement, as a court marshal in Los Angeles, and died on the job from a stroke