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Hal Chase

First Base
  • Series: 1919 Black Sox Scandal
  • City: New York
  • Team: Highlanders
  • League: American League

Harold Homer Chase (1883-1947) may have been among the best first-basemen ever, but his “errors” place him as mediocre at best. His own words are his epitaph: “I am an outcast, and I haven’t a good name. I’m the loser, just like all gamblers are.” A star for the NY Highlanders for the first nine years of the franchise, admired by peers such as Babe Ruth and Walter Johnson, Chase even went on to out-poll dozens of later entrants into the Hall of Fame. Such was his prowess at first and plate. But his compulsion to wager, and the ease of access to illicit betting (the bookies were in the front row) consigned this great player to ignominy.

  • Chase’s spiral from NY idol to deportee from Mexico evidenced his inability to stay straight in an era when the crooked path was wide and inviting
  • Chase was banned from baseball for life by commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis in 1922 for his (unsubstantiated) role in the 1919 Black Sox scandal
  • Despite the controversy that consumed his career, Chase received more HOF votes in 1936 than 18 future HOFers, and more votes in 1937 than 32 future HOFers, but he never appeared on the ballot again

Ed Cicotte

  • Series: 1919 Black Sox Scandal
  • City: Chicago
  • Team: White Sox
  • League: American League

Edward Victor “Knuckles” Cicotte (1884-1969) won 208 games and a World Series with the White Sox in 1917. The Sporting News said in 1918 that “Perhaps no pitcher in the world has such a varied assortment of wares….” But it was Eddie’s first pitch of the 1919 Series that plunked Morrie Rath in the back and signaled the fix was in. No one was ever convicted of the infamous Black Sox scandal but Cicotte, with seven teammates, never played ML ball after his tearful confession following the ’20 season.

  • Cicotte, Shoeless Joe, and other banned Sox players went on to barnstorm under false names
  • His mastery of the knuckleball led to a transformation of his career. His control improved to the point of walking only 89 in 572 innings in 1918/19 combined.