May 26, 2022

Notes #320

January 17, 2004 by · Leave a Comment 






NOTES FROM THE SHADOWS OF COOPERSTOWN


Observations from Outside the Lines


By Two Finger Carney (carneya6@borg.com)



#320 January 17, 2004

EYEWITNESS TESTIMONY



There are just two subjects in this issue, and a brief commercial after the second — don’t miss it. The commercial, that is. It’s for ProQuest, a dream for researchers, historians, and folks who love to read. And not just baseball.

The first item is about Collyer’s Eye, which needs no introduction on this web site, but might most other places. The Eye’s coverage of the gamblers’ tampering — oh, wait, the players initiated the Fix, didn’t they? — with the 1919 Series was risky business. But they did what no other paper did — they seriously investigated the mess, printed names (they had Abe Attell on the hook October 18, 1919), and followed up, until there was no need to — because the grand jury findings proved that the Eye was right all along.

Few books, articles, videos, web sites, etc. mention Bert E. Collyer and Frank O. Klein, who (in another era) might have gone down in history as famously as Woodward and Bernstein. (Kids, you can look them up under “Watergate”.) I have every right to believe that what you will read below (and in #317) on Collyer’s Eye is the most recognition they have received to date.

And, this may be my first and last chance to correct the eminent baseball historian Lee Allen!

The second piece is a patchwork quilt feature on a lesser-known scandal, yet one that dominated headlines for days or weeks in early 1927. Again, I don’t think you will find as extensive a piece on this event anywhere else. I haven’t. Landis played Judge (and Jury) in this event, and it probably gives us a real good idea of how he would have handled the rumors of the Fix of 1919. Keep it as quiet as possible. Bring in the folks involved. Listen, ask questions, think, rule. Keep the press at a safe distance but have them handy at the key moments. End it as soon as possible.

The 1927 scandal took place with the fix charges about Cobb and Speaker (from 1919) in the news, as an interesting backdrop. The 1919 Fix was long gone, but Landis could not resist asking about it here and there, when talking (at last!) with Weaver, Gandil, Risberg, Kid Gleason, Eddie Collins, and others. Because some of this hearing made it to the papers, it cannot be ignored by anyone on the B-Sox trail. Enjoy.

 


 


GIVING CREDIT WHERE IT IS DUE



I began my research by trying to do one of the hardest things that is humanly possible — or so it seems at times — giving credit where credit is due — in this case, to whomever brought the “Black Sox scandal” to light. You can look it up — issue #268, at the beginning of this trail, was all about Hugh Fullerton.

Over the past sixteen months and counting, I have discovered many people whose names have been lost to history — tough baseball trivia, at best. For example, once upon a time James Isaminger, who got the byline for the Maharg interview, was an obscure name to me. Then I found out that his editor (a fellow named Schlichter) had a hand in the Philadelphia North American’s “expose” prior to Isaminger. Recently, I learned that Maharg did not go first to Schlicter, either, but to someone named Izzy Meyer. So it goes. Maybe tomorrow I’ll find out who handed Maharg a newspaper and said, “Hey, with what you know, you might collect that $10,000 reward money from Comiskey.”

I don’t recall just when I found Lee Allen’s reference (in The American League Story) to Collyer’s Eye, which Allen — a very reputable historian — described as “a rather disreputable sporting publication.” All said that the Eye “printed an article that not only alleged skulduggery but actually named the eight players who would eventually be indicted.”

I can now correct Lee Allen. The Eye named only seven; Buck Weaver was not on their list.

And I can do this thanks to one of my main partners in this adventure, David Fletcher, who found copies of Collyer’s Eye seven miles from his home, in a dusty college library basement. Not all of them, just 1920-1925. But one of the issues, that of October 1, 1920, summarizes the Eye’s coverage of the Fix — starting with their issue of October 18, 1919, which not only noted the rumors of the Fix, but named Abe Attell as the fixer.



* * * * *



Bert Collyer was born in Durham, Ontario, September 9, 1876, and moved to Guelph when still a child. He worked as a reporter for Hearst on the Pacific Coast for a while, and earned a promotion with a scoop of a story out of the Klondike that had him in a boat race to deliver his story to a telegraph. (See Pierre Beron’s book, The Klondike.*) After winning the race, Collyer moved to the Chicago American, where he edited the turf news. Collyer loved the horses, and owned some himself. In 1915, Bert founded Collyer’s Eye, for fans of horse racing. Gradually he included stories that appealed to those who gambled on the stock market, boxing, and other sports. The Eye was a weekly newspaper, published in Chicago (118 No. LaSalle St) but distributed in large cities across the country. It was, according to baseball writer Robert Smith, “the gambler’s Bible” — as The Sporting News later became “Baseball’s Bible.” The Bible — the Good Book.



After immigrating to America in 1910, Bert lived most of his life in Chicago’s 23rd Ward. He became a naturalized citizen in 1915. In 1920, he shared a rented house, #50 Lill Ave, with his wife Marie and his teenage son Albert. The 1920 census listed his occupation as “printer — magazine.” His success in business enabled him to build his parents a large home in Guelph, and it was in Guelph that Collyer sponsored track and field sports, providing silver trophies and prize money.*



When Bert passed away at the age of 61 in July 1938, the NY Times obituary listed as survivors only his wife (Mrs Frances J. Collyer), a brother named Lally in Covington, Ky., and two sisters in Guelph, Ontario. Bert is buried in Guelph, under the only art deco gravestone in the cemetary.



The tombstone under which Collyer is buried has two lions carved on top of it, one awake and one asleep; there are crosses on either end and a carved figure holding a lamp. No one at the cemetery knows the significance of these features. They suspect the stone is from Chicago as it is not of local manufacture. Arthur Cutten, another Guelphite, who made a reputation in the grain futures market in Chicago, is buried nearby. He was about the same age as Bert Collyer, and they likely knew each other.



(* Credit all above asterisked information to Greg Oakes, of Guelph.)



* * * * *



After the 1919 World Series ended, Collyer’s Eye began an investigation, led by reporter Frank O. Klein. In return, the Eye received from the baseball establishment, the same treatment dished out to Hugh Fullerton. Abuse crashed down, their reputation was called into doubt, and they were dismissed as mindless muckrakers out to sell their papers with sensational headlines. Writing after the scandal was made public, the Eye’s business manager Hugo L. Eberhardt wrote in “The Editor’s Horn” that the Eye had actually been very cautious, holding off releasing their stories until their inquiry “found actual fire behind the elusive smoke.” Eberhardt: “We were for clean sport and advocates of it at no matter what cost.” Crediting Bert Collyer for his “persistency and vigor,” Eberhardt added, “Devoid of animosity, with no axe to grind, with nothing but the slogan ‘Clean Sport,’ in mind, Bert refused to let his paper be swerved from a relentless investigation.” The Eye was proud that it had used “caution and good judgement.”



With Cicotte’s confession confirming that the fix indeed was in, Collyer’s Eye recalled its efforts to achieve what finally had been accomplished by Chicago’s grand jury, nearly a year after the Series ended. The indictments handed up were “the vindication of a remarkable series of stories printed in this paper … the first in time and value of possibility of the baseball scandal.”



Following the October 18 issue mentioning the gambler Attell, the Eye on October 25, under the headline “Involve White Sox Pitcher,” named Claude “Lefty” Williams. Dan Daniel, writing in The Sporting News (February 8, 1961) said that Collyer “had made an offer to show Comiskey the evidence but was not given a chance for the ten grand.” But on November 8, 1920, the Eye headline stated, “Eye Refuses to Accept Any Part of [Comiskey’s] $10,000 Reward.” In that issue, Klein declared Eddie Collins and Ray Schalk “clean as a hound’s tooth” in the rumors, while noting that Schalk had accused Cicotte of being in on things. A week later, the Eye headline read “Discover ‘Pay Off’ Joint in White Sox Scandal?” and named as suspects seven of the eight players who were finally indicted — Buck Weaver was not included on their list of suspects. That November 15 issue also reported the involvement of gamblers from New York, Pittsburgh. St Louis and Chicago.



December 13, the headline read “Catcher Ray Schalk in Huge White Sox Expose” — Schalk had suggested (as Fullerton had written back on October 10) that seven of his teammates would be missing, come spring training — he named all seven; Buck Weaver was not on his list; the others later indicted with Buck, were.



In the same October 1, 1920, issue that carried this summary, the Eye took NL President John Heydler to task for covering up the crookedness of Hal Chase in 1918. Apparently the Eye had seen the affidavits produced by Greasy Neale, Christy Mathewson, W.D. (Pol) Perritt, Jimmy Ring, and John McGraw in August 1918, along with a letter by M.J. Regan. These were damning evidence, and the Eye asked out loud what others had only whispered, when Chase was not banned: Why did Heydler whitewash him? And why did McGraw let him keep playing?


Incidentally, in Jimmy Ring’s affidavit — and this was in all the papers — he said that Chase offered him money to lose a game. Ring declined. After the game, Chase gave him $50 anyway, and Ring kept it, even though he “blew a whistle” on Chase. And this apparently did not cost Ring an inch of reputation. Why would Chase give him money, even though he refused to “earn” it? Well, it might be seen as “hush money” — “let’s keep this our little secret, OK?” And I mention this only because when Joe Jackson kept the money thrown his way by Gandil, via Williams, in October 1919, many have jumped to a well-known conclusion, which ain’t necessarily so.



* * * * *



See Notes 317 for more on Collyer’s Eye and its run-in with baseball several years after the Fix of 1919.



An ad for Collyer’s Eye appeared in the Washington Post, November 21, 1920. It contained the seven Eye headlines related to the 1919 Fix, just as they appeared in their October 1, 1920 issue. There was also a coupon — readers of the Post could order two years of the Eye for the price of one — ten dollars.



It’s a wonderful ad. Collyer’s Eye calls itself the “leading authority on sports and the most accurate in analysis of [stock] market conditions.” Not only were they the first to expose the scandal of the 1919 Series, they were also the only newspaper to “consistently and continually for the last 12 months assert the certainty of profit to be made in railroad and petroleum securities.” We first noted the connection between the Fix and Big Oil when we discussed Harry Sinclair betting big on the 1919 Series (and losing) to Rothstein. The star witness for the prosecution in the 1921 trial was pitcher-turned-oilman “Sleepy” Bill Burns.



* * * * *



What is most interesting about Bert Collyer’s efforts to bring the Fix to the light of day, as Comiskey (and the baseball establishment) fought to keep it buried, is the motives that were in play. A scandal — and who knew how far it might extend, if a really thorough probe was made by independent investigators? — could reduce baseball to the level of the discredited sports of horse racing and boxing. Its clean image not only made it attractive for fans, and betting America, but it made the team owners millionaires. Baseball was a legal monopoly, a business in which players were in fact slaves. Yes, their “plantation” was a wonderful diamond inside a cozy park, where they were cheered and idolized by thousands of fans — but their status was fragile and totally dependent on their owners. They were property. They could accept the contracts they were offered, or go back to the farm or the mine, where they would work, not play, for a living. The owners had a good thing going, and they knew it.



Bert Collyer, on the other hand, made his living by selling advice to gambling Americans. His paper offered tips on stocks, on horse races, and fights. (In the twenties, the Eye named college All Star football teams, so odds on that sport were likely in the Eye, too.) If baseball games could be fixed, that removed the element of chance, which so appeals to gamblers. The Fix of the 1919 World Series damaged baseball not at all — fans continued to believe, despite all the rumors, that baseball games were unfixable, as surely as (before it sunk) the Titanic was thought to be unsinkable. But the rumors of the Fix shook those who were bettors, or who depended on bettors — like Bert Collyer’s publication.



So the folks who blew the whistles first and loudest were not the baseball owners (or the National Commission, although Ban Johnson deserves the lion’s share of the credit for finally uncovering the fix). No, it was Bert Collyer … Monte Tennes, a nationally-known Chicago gambler who lost big on the Series … Harry Redmon of St Louis, who lost big … Billy Maharg and Sleepy Bill Burns, who bet on the Reds to win Game 3 — and lost big … yes, ironically, it was “the dark side” of the marriage between gambling and baseball, that ultimately wanted to clean things up. Baseball would, of course, take full credit.



* * * * *



A week before the scandal broke wide open, the Los Angeles Times (and no other paper I’ve seen) printed the list of those who were going to be subpoenaed to come before the grand jury. The list included celebrities, like George M. Cohan (who was reported to have lost big on the Series, although there is some hint that he found out about the fix and hedged his bets); Ban Johnson, Comiskey and the baseball establishment; players, including the clean or “square” Sox; gamblers like Monte Tennes (who supposedly lost $80,000 on the Series, even though he had word in August 1919 that a fix was in the works); reporters like Ring Lardner and sports editors; and in the middle of that list were Bert E, Collyer and Frank O. Cline (Klein).



There is no evidence in the coverage of the grand jury hearings that Bert Collyer or Frank Klein were ever given the chance to testify. One can only wonder if their names being on the roster of those who might testify, was a factor in Eddie Cicotte deciding to tell the world his story. And if Bert Collyer and Frank Klein had testified, what else we might have learned about the Fix?



 


THAT OTHER SCANDAL



I’ve written here before about the scandal of 1917 that involved those wacky White Sox of Comiskey. To recap, the Sox and Detroit’s Tigers were on friendly terms with each other. After the Tigers dropped consecutive doubleheaders on Sunday and then Labor Day, 1917, the Sox’ lead in the pennant race was stretched from three games to six and a half. Later that month, the Tigers knocked of the second-place Boston Red Sox in a series; nice, but the Sox had a comfy lead by then. At the very end of the 1919 season, the Sox rested their top players for the Series and dropped some games to Detroit, as the Tigers finished a half game shy of third place money.



All of the above is easy to look up. What is not so clear is what was going on under the surface. Something else was going on. Sometime in September 1917, the Sox players took up a collection, $45 per player; this was presented to three Detroit pitchers, with a tip to their catcher, Oscar Stanage. Oscar was a good defensive catcher, but in that double-DH sweep, the Sox stole eleven bases. Some said the pitchers were letting them take big leads. The Tigers also committed some ugly errors in those games. A few were close, one went into extra innings.



When Judge Landis took office, one of the first things he did was very quietly call to his office the Detroit pitchers, Eddie Collins, and perhaps others. The transcripts from these meetings are among the “Black Sox Scandal/American League” papers available in Cooperstown. I happen to have the express, written consent to share some of the notes I took on them. Here they are:



Landis questions Eddie Collins (2/19/21), George Dauss (2/25/21) and Bill James (2/26/21). All 3 pitchers were paid $200, less $20 each for catcher Stanage. Dauss: best pitchers did not pitch in Labor Day series; Cunningham (2nd yr, 2-7, 8 starts in ’17)) did?



Collins: all paid the $45 for the pool except Tex Russell. Asked by Landis re Labor Day games: “Of course, it is hard to say whether anybody on a ball field is doing his best. As you look back on the games they might look peculiar, though at the time they were played there would not seem to be anything peculiar about them.”



* * * * *



Five days later after meeting with the Judge, Collins wrote Landis a letter, a copy of which is in that BSS/AL material, too. In it, Collins states that Weaver made a bet for him ($40) that the Sox would sweep Detroit, Labor Day 1917. He told Gleason after the Sox won the first game by a close score; Gleason then assumed half of the bet ($20). Said it was the only bet he ever made.



When the late Harold Seymour was researching his classic baseball history series, he had the opportunity to ask Joe Jackson about his role in the Fix. Jackson “denied it to me and said — sarcastically — ask Mr Edward Collins about it!” I do not believe Jackson was suggesting that Collins was in on the Fix. Rather, I believe Jackson was recalling this incident in the stretch run of the 1917 season. Eddie Collins told Tom Meany that he contributed to the pool raised by Gandil, but not until the 1917 World Series was in progress, which was when he first knew that the pool existed. (In the 1927 hearing before Landis, Collins produced a check which was dated in October.)



This was not the first time that Collins’ “clean” image was threatened. In February 1921, Collins was interviewed by a Philadelphia writer. The Sporting News account said Collins “made it pretty plain that if any of the cheating White Sox ever got back on Comiskey’s ball club [this was before the trial], then they could count him off of it.”



That gave the opening for a campaign of mud-slinging. At once “rumors were heard” in Chicago that when the cheaters were brought to trial they might spring a big “expose.” It was hinted, so the story ran, that Eddie Collins was mixed up in betting on ball games, too. That back in the fall of 1919 he had proposed that the White Sox players bet their money that the Detroit Tigers would beat out the New York Yankees [the Tigers finished a half-game behind the Yanks] and the White Sox and Tigers were just about to open a series as Collins made the proposition.



”Quick and vigorous denial” came from Collins, who went on to add that he never bet on a ball game in his life. “Most — not all — of the Chicago newspaper writers” also sprang to Collins’ defense. They knew that Eddie was not a member of the accused clique. One writer recalled that the “crooked” players were also upset with Collins because they knew he had gone to Comiskey, saying that “something had to be done to straighten out the team or he would leave it.” Judge Landis’ reaction was very low-key:



In my experience on the bench I have noticed that when a crook is booked he always will try to drag some clean person into the mess if there is a chance. You may have no idea what means such people will employ. It generally has been my policy to make allowances for such measures.



The Sporting News added that when Collins’ complaints to Comiskey went unheeded, Collins went to league president Ban Johnson, “and told him of things.” That would suggest that Collins wanted Comiskey to do more than just have a little calming chat with Eddie Cicotte.



While Landis’ public reaction was calculated to calm the waters, he privately launched an immediate investigation into the charges that the White Sox team paid the Detroit team to toss games in early September 1917.



Among the most interesting statements, made by Eddie Collins when Landis asked him in 1921 about the Labor Day games, is this one: “Of course, it is hard to say whether anybody on a ball field is doing his best. As you look back on the games they might look peculiar, though at the time they were played there would not seem to be anything peculiar about them.” When defending himself, Collins was less sure about “crooked play” than he ever was when he spoke about his teammates’ play in the 1919 Series.



Eddie Collins escaped the events of 1917-21 with his image as clean as his laundered uniform. He would manage the White Sox in 1925 and 1926, finishing fifth both seasons, before turning the team over to Ray Schalk. He was elected as a charter member of baseball’s Hall of Fame.



* * * * *



Landis was apparently convinced that the money that went from the Sox to the Tigers in 1917 was reward money (for beating Boston), not bribe money, to lay down in the earlier DH sweeps.



In the winter of 1921, the rookie Commish was worried. The Chicago grand jury had pried the lid off the crookedness that went on in the 1919 Series. For a minute, it looked like there would be no need for a trial, where baseball’s dirty linen would be on display in headlines across the country. The grand jury material, including those wonderful waivers of immunity signed by Cicotte, Jackson and Williams, had vanished. The indictments were dropped. It might all just blow away. But no, there’s that damn Ban Johnson, he won’t let it go. Landis gives him the OK to pursue things on behalf of the American League. Johnson flies into motion, rounds up two star witnesses (Burns and Maharg), new indictments are handed up, and the trial is back on schedule.



There is one other little item in the BSS/AL ledgers (the material has all been photocopied and bound) of interest here, a letter, dated June 30, 1921, Detroit owner Frank Navin to Ban Johnson, reporting that Cicotte’s lawyer Dan Cassidy said (?) that the indicted players planned to testify about a 1917 pool.



The trial comes and goes, and there is nary a mention of the 1917 present made by the Sox to the Tigers.



But it won’t go away. According to Felsch expert Jim Nitz, in 1922, “Felsch and Risberg sued the White Sox for $100,000 each, declaring that they were ousted from baseball through a conspiracy. Felsch also sought $1,120 in back pay from 1920 and $1,500 for the remainder of a promised 1917 pennant bonus.”



Felsch sued for another $100,000 in damages, claiming that his “name and reputation has been permanently impaired and destroyed” and that he had “been barred from playing base ball with any professional base ball team in any of the leagues of organized base ball of the United States.” On June 16, Judge John Gregory dismissed the original $100,000 conspiracy complaint. Felsch’s case never went to trial until 1924, after the trial of Joe Jackson, who, following Felsch and Risberg, had become a client of lawyer Ray Cannon.



Jackson had originally sued the Sox for $100,000 for non-payment and damages, too, but when his trial came up, it was reduced to breech of contract, for back pay only.



Felsch’s civil suit against the Sox was settled out of court. This occurred only minutes before the trial was to have finally begun. All of his claims netted Felsch only $1,166 plus interest and costs for a total of about $1,500. The club, claiming that Comiskey was in poor health, did not want to endure another three-week ordeal. (Nitz)



Felsch had mentioned the 1917 exchange with Detroit in the course of his “negotiating” with the Sox; it did not come up in Jackson’s 1924 trial.



Then Swede Risberg suddenly broke his silence late in 1926, when he brought to the attention of Commissioner Landis, the accusation that virtually the entire White Sox team had pitched in to pay off the Detroit team to toss consecutive doubleheaders to the Sox around Labor Day in 1917. “Landis and the big bosses of baseball don’t want to know the facts,” Swede told a Chicago reporter. “This is a challenge to the commissioner, let’s see what he’ll do about it” (Los Angeles Times, December 31, 1926).



The Commissioner invited Swede to come to his offices and tell his story. Landis also called in over thirty players and former players from the White Sox and Tigers. Risberg said that he was not interested in reinstatement, although he would like his share of second-place money from 1920. And he was not “squawking to get even with anybody.” No, Swede said he was just doing his part in “cleaning up baseball, for the sake of the game.” Swede wanted the game to be pure again when his son was old enough to play.



Risberg told his story, Landis listened intently, asking questions from time to time. The Judge was taking this whole thing very seriously. Six years before it was eight men out (actually more, if you include Gedeon and Chase and a few others). Now it could be two clubs out. One by one, Tigers and White Sox, past and present, came in any denied the “bribe” version. They all agreed that the money was a reward, and that was not such an uncommon practice. At least, not before 1919.



Only Chick Gandil strongly agreed with Risberg’s version of the payoff to the Tigers. Buck Weaver tacitly agreed, nodding his head as Risberg told his story to Landis, but Buck would not go on record in support of Risberg, perhaps judging that his case for reinstatement would not be helped by muddying things up for so many others, and for baseball.



Gandil said that he gave Bill James between $900 and $1,000; James said he took $850. Were Chick & Swede skimming? Gandil also made a terrific statement, if you keep in mind that this is 1927: “You can’t always place your finger on things suspicious.” The newspaper account did not say if he looked Landis in the eye when he said that, or anyone else. Gandil’s appearance at the Chicago hearing was, by the way, compliments of the Chicago Tribune, who gave him $500. Chick said he hadn’t spent it all and would be returning some.



Oops. Then there was back-up first baseman Bob “Ziggy” Hasbrook. A Texan, Hasbrook’s career in the majors consisted of nine games in 1916, and just two in 1917. But he must have been on the Sox roster that September. Hasbrook mentioned a team meeting in Boston around September 23 — he wasn’t invited, but he knew what was discussed. The problem was, that his date was not in sync with the date used by the other Sox. This took Landis by surprise. It looked like a slam dunk. Now it wasn’t. There would be no reason for Ziggy to lie. But if he was correct, then the story the Sox told — all except Swede and Chick — might be a cover story that they had all rehearsed.



Swede was quoted in the Los Angeles Times (January 2, 1927), proclaiming again his innocence in the 1919 Series fix: “I took no bribe and I did not lay down in that series. I was not guilty, but I am too old now for reinstatement to do me any good. Milking the cows has made me musclebound.”



Had the entire White Sox team chipped in about $45 each to pay off the Tigers in September 1917? In the hearings, Risberg and Gandil said they asked no money from Kid Gleason (then a coach), nor from the rookies, who could not afford $45. Eddie Collins reluctantly went along, complaining and saying he’d never do it again. What Collins told to Landis in February 1921, that Tex (or Reb) Russell was the only player exempted, was contradicted by Risberg, Gandil, Russell himself (“I gave $45”), and Weaver. Eddie Murphy, star pinch-hitter in 1919, was also not asked to chip in.



Buck Weaver, who tacitly supported Risberg’s charges (only Gandil went on record as agreeing with them) did admit, however, that he later gave Tiger infielder Oscar Vitt a handbag for Christmas, as his share of the contribution (L.A. Times, January 2, 1927). But Weaver and Witt were friends who hunted together, and their testimony was that they routinely exchanged presents at Christmas. Once a gold knife, shirts, socks. No big deal. Buck recalled no one playing out of position in the 1919 World Series, when that came up. Buck took this opportunity to ask Landis for reinstatement; Landis said he’d get back to him on that.



Kid Gleason was asked about that “out of position” thing in the games the Sox may have dumped to the Tigers at the end of 1919. Kid said he saw nothing wrong, and while he wasn’t talking about the 1919 Series, his words seem to apply: “If there had been anything wrong about that 1917 series I would have known it. I knew everything that went on around that club.” Indeed he did, but alas, the Kid kept no diary.



Dauss, James and Mitchell testified that they received $200 apiece, and each gave Stanage part of their gift. Dauss and James, two of Detroit’s top three pitchers, did not start in any of the double-sweep games, which were referred to in the 1927 hearings as “Risberg’s series.” Dauss recalled this (in 1921) as unusual, as odd as the start given to second-year youngster George Cunningham, who had just eight starts all that summer.


James and Dauss did pick up wins in the Boston series, along with Willie Mitchell, who bested Babe Ruth, 1-0, in the finale.



Landis heard them all. He had heard enough. The hearing was over. The newspapers could only report that Landis was thinking it over. Given the weight of so many testifying against so few — and look who those few were: “Black Sox”! — and the availability of an easy explanation, Landis exonerated all players. If he had not forbade loud enough the practice of rewarding teams for “favors” before, it now became policy.



* * * * *



The 1927 hearings make for fascinating reading, and if you are a SABR member, I strongly recommend that you get your SABR password and head for the www.sabr.org website. ProQuest is three quick clicks away (Member Sign in, top right yellow button); then Research Tools on left sidebar; then the Online Tools tab. Now you can, at your leisure, browse through history, looking up easily anything that ever appeared in the NY or LA Times, or the Washington Post. FREE to SABR members. I used to say that access to the SABR-L internet Digest was worth the $50 dues, but ProQuest (and also HeritageQuest) are such a deal!



I’ve been gleaning material for my book via ProQuest since I discovered it, right after New Year’s. It is just fabulous. If this commercial motivates you to finally join SABR, tell them Two Finger Carney sent you.


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