August 13, 2022

NOTES #358

August 27, 2005 by · Leave a Comment 






NOTES FROM THE SHADOWS OF COOPERSTOWN


Observations from Outside the Lines


By Two Finger Carney (carneya6@borg.com)



#358 AUGUST 27, 2005


THE SAME OLD STORY



As the busiest summer (the busiest time) of my life winds down, I have that “where did it go?” feeling. A reunion, Toronto, getting the book in publishable shape, not to mention non-stop things to do at home and at work. I confess that I love the pace.

At first glance, this issue of NOTES might seem to be Summer Re-Run — reviews of mostly old books, an essay on Bert Collyer, more on Hugh Fullerton.

But it’s not old stuff. Bang the Drum Slowly came out in 1956, but hey, I just read it, so it’s new to me. And it is worth picking up before a lot of slick-looking books in the stores today.


Bert Collyer — the journalist who makes Hugh Fullerton seem like a national celebrity — was the subject of my presentation in Toronto, and I reprint here stuff I pulled together for that talk, dressed up some. And there IS a little new material.

Then I return to Hugh Fullerton. This time we listen to Hughie comment on the 1921 B-Sox trial, before and after. And you get to hear me comment on Hughie. Until you’ve spent a few years with this guy, you really don’t know him. From October of 1919 on, Hugh Fullerton struggled to expose “the truth” about the Fix of that World Series … and to retain his own image of Charles A, Comiskey, his closest friend in baseball.

If Fullerton is right about the cover-up never succeeding at all if Ban Johnson and Comiskey were allies, instead of feuding enemies — and I think he IS right about that — then it is also true, I believe, that things would have turned out much differently if Fullerton himself was not so tight with Commy. Or if he was instead aligned with Johnson. Looking back today at what Fullerton wrote, and when he wrote it, is fascinating for me. It is like watching a John Dean reluctantly telling of the cancer of Watergate … Oliver North taking a hit for Reagan … loyalty versus justice … it’s still the same old story.

And when we look back at 1919 and focus on the cover-up, it is hard not to flash forward to today’s headlines about steroids. I am not so bothered about the current controversy, not as much as I would be if we learned players were taking bribes. Taking various drugs or vitamins or “supplements” is more complicated. Which are legal, and since when? Which are harmful, and who sez? More harmful than booze and tobacco? Do they really boost performances or just bulk folks up? Should players wear glasses? Spikes, for better traction? What’s in that resin bag, really, and how come that’s OK?

It is easy to see why I prefer living in 1919-20! It was a simpler time … NOT. The media (the press) was flexing its spin-making muscles, and reporters were for hire. What got onto the record, in the newspapers, or in trial transcripts, was carefully controlled. Politics ruled. Money talked. Threats often worked, too. (In one column below, Fullerton says he was the target of two assassination attempts.)

Anyway, here is one more issue to digest while watching the pennant races of 2005 climax … time for me to figure out who to root for in the playoffs (not those Damn Red Sox again) … I’ll be attending a few games before October, and maybe they will prove to be NOTES-worthy. Baseball: anything is possible!

 


FROM THE BOOKSHELF



I picked up Dan Gutman’s Shoeless Joe & Me (A Baseball Card Adventure — HarperTrophy, 2002) some months back. It’s easy reading, too easy. It just glides along, telling a story, making up some things, simplifying much. I suppose it serves a purpose, if it gets readers interested in learning more about the facts of Jackson’s case.

Baseball’s Finest, edited by Danny Peary (JG Press, 1990) was more to my liking. It’s an oddball collection of stories about favorite ballplayers, written by celebrities (some are even writers, like Tom Boswell and Larry Ritter). For example, John Sayles writes about Dick Stuart. Boswell profiles Roy Sievers, Ritter Chief Meyers. It’s a very eclectic group, and it works, you can pick up the book and go anywhere, no need to start up front and work thru to the end. There are about 60 profiles in all. Highly recommended.

Bang the Drum Slowly has been my favorite baseball movie since I first saw it, but I only got around to reading the book this year. I’ve read other stuff by Mark Harris, but somehow his trilogy eluded me. It was worth the wait, Bang the Drum is now one of the best baseball books I’ve read. Published in 1956, I don’t understand how I missed this one all these years. In the late fifties I was raiding my local library regularly, and devoured baseball titles.

No need to repeat the story here. Suffice to say that as soon as I finished Bang the Drum, I started looking for The Southpaw, the first book in the trilogy. And I’ll add this: even if you have the film memorized, the book is a whole ‘nother treat. Harris’ writing has a tinge of Ring Lardner’s You Know Me, Al, and the spelling, grammar and vocabulary are rich. Just a great read.

And then there’s Ebbets Field, Brooklyn’s Baseball Shrine, by Joseph McCauley. This one is such an obvious labor of love that I hate to have to report that it will probably appeal mainly to Brooklyn Dodgers fans who remember Ebbets Field, or want to. The book has a good idea, to tell the story of a ballpark through its history, filling in along the way with lots of interesting sidebars. The many photographs are a highlight. But the book is not well-edited, and that bothered me after a while. The impression it gives is that it was rushed to press, for some reason; it’s a good first draft, but this reader kept thinking that it might have been better if it had passed thru more hands after all the stories and history were collected.

 


BERT COLLYER: BASEBALL’S CONSCIENCE



After the 1919 World Series, there were rumors that the Fix had been in. It was. There is some evidence that those in authority in Major League Baseball at the time knew about the Fix, perhaps even before Game One, but did nothing about it.

In the months that followed, a number of people wrote about their suspicions. Hugh Fullerton, who is usually credited with uncovering the Fix (although he did not), was the most vocal in calling for a full investigation that would clear the air. But MLB, enmeshed in the political wrangling that would produce the all-powerful office of a single Commissioner by the end of 1920, ignored Fullerton and others who knew baseball needed to be cleaned up and released from the stranglehold of gambling.

Only one editor, Bert E, Collyer, from Durham, Ontario, dared to run a series of articles that qualified as investigative journalism, in the months that followed the crooked Series. Collyer’s Eye printed the names of the players later indicted. No other newspaper or magazine dared such an expose, for fear of libel, and for lack of hard evidence. When the scandal broke in September 1920, it was vindication for Bert Collyer.

Bert Collyer and his “sporting” publication are today tough trivia, even among those who are familiar with the “Black Sox Scandal” and the issues of gambling in baseball. It is ironic that the impetus to wash baseball “clean” — to make it a sport on which it was safe to wager — came not from baseball, but from gambling. This session will take a look at the headlines Collyer’s Eye was running, while baseball was covering-up the Fix, and at Collyer’s later attempt in 1923 to again call MLB’s attention to the persistent problem of gamblers tampering with players.

* * * * *



Bert Collyer was a 34-year-old Canadian editor, living in Chicago in 1919; for the U.S. census the next year, he listed his profession as “printer.” His wife and son were mentioned on that same census; she was his able “proofreader.” Apparently Bert had come to the U.S. around 1910, and was naturalized in 1915. He returned to Canada from time to time, to visit family or to recuperate from illness.

Collyer got the attention of William Randolph Hearst when he filed an exclusive story on the Chilikoot Pass avalanche during a gold rush. But he gained prominence with his weekly tip sheet of advice for gamblers, Collyer’s Eye, which was in its sixth year in 1919. At its syndicated peak, Collyer’s picks on horses and the stock market were read in up to fifty papers in North America.

Collyer had a Eye for a variety of sports, and helped his readers distinguish the real from the phony, the true sports from the charades and the rigged. If wrestlers were just acting out roles toward agreed-upon outcomes, the Eye announced that. The same treatment went for boxing and horse-racing.

* * * * *

That the World Series of 1919 had been tampered with was no secret among America’s pressmen. But their editors refused to let them print more than hints that “the fix was in,” and when Hugh Fullerton challenged baseball to investigate, he was mocked and scorned by the establishment.

Bert Collyer’s newspaper boldly named seven of the players who were later indicted. Collyer wanted no reward — only the chance to help rid baseball of the gambling menace. Collyer’s Eye announced in a headline November 8, 1919: “Eye Refuses to Accept Any Part of $10,000 Reward” which Charles Comiskey was offering, hoping to get evidence that he could immediately bury.

But the baseball powers refused to give credence to Bert Collyer and the Collyer’s Eye stories. The Eye, after all, was a gambling publication. But then there were Fullerton’s charges. And Redmon’s story was more than rumors and hearsay. Baseball really did have more than enough information to take stronger measures themselves, or to go to the legal system, soon after the Series, if not earlier. And perhaps, if the struggle for power was not raging (between Johnson and Comiskey), it would have.

Only Collyer’s Eye kept up the pressure. Following their October 18 issue mentioning the gambler Attell, the Eye on October 25, under the headline “Involve White Sox Pitcher,” named Claude “Lefty” Williams. In their November 8 issue, Frank O. 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 the paper 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.

On December 13, the Eye’s 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 seven others who were later indicted with Buck, were.

Collyer’s Eye’s investigation and reporter Frank O. Klein 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.” For his own part, Bert Collyer said,



I was sorry to have to do it. It has been my policy to stand for fair deal in sports, square racing, honest baseball and boxing and wrestling free from fakery. No sport or game can continue that is contaminated with dishonesty and crookedness. My paper is successful because the public knows it to be absolutely on the square and fearless in exposing fraud and fakes, whenever they are found in any branch of finance or sport.



* * * * *



Assisting in the project of uncovering of the Fix of the 1919 Series was not Bert Collyer’s last moment in the national spotlight. Nor was it Collyer’s last duel with major league baseball.

In 1921, the Eye was sued by the proprietor of a Havana racetrack. The next year, the Eye was sued by a racetrack again, this time one in Louisville, for libel, and that one was lost.

In August 1923, two years after the Black Sox were banned in disgrace by Judge Landis, Frank Klein of Collyer’s Eye reported that two Cincinnati Reds players, Pat Duncan (a hero of the 1919 Series) and Sammy Bohne, had been approached by gamblers and offered $15,000 each to toss a game to the NY Giants. Klein did not say anything more, he did not even hint that they responded in any way to whomever approached them. But the climate in MLB had changed.

Landis leaned on NL President Heydler to sue, and Heydler leaned on the Reds, and the Reds took Bert Collyer to court. The players asked for $50,000 each.

Bert Collyer sent Landis a long telegram “asserting that the gambling fellowship was still active in baseball and offering to provide details. Landis never answered the telegram.” Collyer thought he had an ally in Ban Johnson, but the former czar had been marginalized by the first Commissioner.

The case dragged on for years, until Landis helped it get heard. The players were awarded just $50 each, but Landis claimed a moral victory. Landis wanted no talk of the gambling influence, wanted to see or hear no evidence. He had proclaimed baseball clean, so it must be clean.

* * * * *



Bert Collyer was relegated to an obscure footnote in baseball history. Hugh Fullerton fared much better, in the long run. Collyer’s Eye survived to name college All Stars in the twenties, but apparently crashed with the stock market. Today it is almost impossible to find traces of the Eye in America’s libraries; it is as if the fingerprints of its time on the planet have been wiped away. Bert Collyer died in Chicago in 1938, at the age of 53. He is mentioned in few accounts of “the Black Sox Scandal.” He is buried about as far from Cooperstown as you can imagine.

 


IN THE EVENING MAIL



The New York Evening Mail, that is. Thanx this time goes to Steve Steinberg, who was rummaging thru the NYEM recently (in NY, NY) and kept me in mind. Well, not just me, but all of us who are still On the B-Sox Trail (and unable to find the Exit!)

Hugh Fullerton — he’s the guy who started all this, and the guy I started with myself back in Notes #268 (you can look it up) — was writing regularly for the NYEM back then.

The “Black Sox” trial began on June 27, 1921, and ended August 2. Who was more interested in this event than Hughie? If it happened today, the cable and mainstream networks would have gotten into a terrific bidding war for Fullerton’s services as the ideal commentator on the Trial of the Century. Hughie had to settle for his syndicated column, On the Screen of Sport. I’ve seen some of this before, in the Atlanta Constitution (ProQuest) and some may have found its way into NOTES past, but here are some excerpts from the man of the hour — again, all due thanx to Steve Steinberg.

June 20, 1921. The Trial is kneeling on deck. Fullerton is discussing how managers can transform a team batting .270 to one hitting .330 (Cobb had taken over the Tigers from Hughey Jennings). Then he interjects: “In fact, in the crooked games that have been exposed, one remarkable fact is that no one seems to have tried to restrain hitting, although Jackson in his confession declared that he did not try to hit during the series of 1919.” This comment simply confirms that Jackson’s “other testimony” in 1920 — that he played to win all the way — never made it to light.

”We (I include myself with the majority) are trying to clean baseball and keep baseball clean,” Fullerton writes later. He has full confidence in Judge Landis. But HSF is disturbed that “there is a person interested in baseball” who was named as an offerer of bribes “in connection with the Chase matter” who is still at large. Fullerton is really calling for a blacklist — anyone found to be a “crook” — in any sport — is to be banned from all sports, including the minors and semi-pro clubs.

July 19, 1921. The trial is afoot! “The real showdown at last,” writes Hughie. He reports that the majority of players were “if not in sympathy with crookedness, were at least inclined not to feel unkindly toward” the players on trial. “They ain’t no worse than some of them owners.” Fullerton chooses that quote to sum up what he thinks is the majority view, and you have to wonder why he didn’t immediately exempt his friend Comiskey from the charge, as he had in other places.

”Landis is having difficulty in reaching the facts in cases where rumors attach the names of men to scandalous charges.” HSF is not talking here about the B-Sox. He has noticed that the baseball establishment are “more than willing to let the thing die out.”

Fullerton preaches to the players not on trial — they are the best hope baseball has for a future. “They alone can stop crooked work.” Fullerton consistently said that for any Fix (evil) to succeed, all that was needed was the silence of the clean players (good men). Then he states what I would call an awful truth, if indeed it was the truth: “They knew that ‘something was coming off’ in the world series. Not fewer than a hundred ball players had information that something was doing when that series started.”

It’s a sobering statement. Was he aiming it at Judge Landis? Not that he wanted a hundred players indicted — I think, rather, that he was desperately trying to convey to others, especially to Landis, the scope of the problem. “The myth of baseball’s single sin” (Voigt) — indeed!

This column ends with this tantalizing sentence: “Let the entire story of the White Sox team be told, and the fans will root hard for at least four fellows who were on that ill-fated team.” You have to think of Ray Schalk, Eddie Collins and Dickie Kerr. But the Fourth Man Out of trouble? Weaver? Jackson?

July 25, 1921. Bill Burns has testified, feeding sports fans around the country. We are familiar with his tale, but remember, Burns never said Boo to the grand jury — neither did Maharg. So this is the formal debut of their version of how the Fix went down.


The B-Sox’ defense dream team of lawyers poked fun at Burns’ intelligence (or lack of). But that is laughable to Fullerton. “Burns is one of the queerest fellows I ever knew, and no one who knows him well ever thought of him as anything but being an extremely smart fellow.”

”Secrets were safe with him” — past tense. Burns apparently spoke slowly, seldom, and sparingly, but was candid and sharp. HSF thinks his motive in testifying was “beyond doubt revenge.”

A Texan, “a born gambler,” he had “few close friends, and did not mingle much with the players. His confession was a surprise to me.” That comment is a surprise to me. Because Fullerton had spoken with Burns during the 1919 Series, after hearing from others that the fix was in. Hughie asked Burns if it was true. “He looked at me steadily for half a minute without a word, then said quietly, ‘Get wise. The Reds will win.’ That was all, but it did more to satisfy me that the tales of the fixing were true, than all the gossip that was going round.”

July 28, 1921. Hughie again calls on all sports to unite, to bar from all, those who transgress in one. Fullerton is bothered, as the trial winds down, that a dozen new names, of persons he had not connected with the Fix before, were “openly flaunted.” And “no doubt many more … were actively implicated in the plot.”


”The startling evidence is that dozens KNEW [emphasis his] of the plot — had guilty knowledge and were willing to participate in the profits or advantages accruing from such knowledge — who perhaps were not guilty of actual wrongdoing.”

”Guilty knowledge,” he wrote. (A new TV series?) Is Hughie thinking here how unfair it is to ban only Buck Weaver for that offense? Well, it became an offense later; in October 1919, there was no rule about sitting in meetings with gamblers. (And once upon a time, certain steroids were perfectly legal, just like spitballs and shiners were.)

Fullerton next points out a couple things that Landis eventually dealt with. Rothstein is still sitting in the Polo Grounds box seats with Stoneham of the Giants. Abe Attell is still a Polo Grounds regular (Giants or Yankees, Abe just loved the ballpark). Same with Bennie Kauff (who was banned for his connection to an auto theft ring, not for fixing.) And there were others “named as having guilty knowledge.” Hughie has no proof that Rothstein and Attell and the rest did anything, but he is certain that they had guilty knowledge, they said so themselves.

”The big shock to me in this baseball scandal is the discovery that the ball players themselves proposed the fixing of the world series.” It is so hard to give credit where it is due. What is it about us Americans that must “lay blame” on, or applaud, as few as possible, when often it is a team effort? Even in baseball, Ray — the quintessential team sport.

August 1, 1921. Hughie picks up where he left off — the shockeroo is that the “bold, bad gamblers” had not tempted the “pure and unsullied players” into the Fix at all; in fact, the players were sullied plenty. Worse, they were so sullied that they double-crossed the crooked gamblers, each other, “and at least half of them were planning to rob each other.” Don’t you wish Fullerton’s editor required him to footnote this stuff?!

”It would be amusing if it were not so serious to uncover all the ramifications of the filthy scheming that preceded the actual throwing of the games.” Games — plural. In case you are thinking maybe Hughie thought just Game One was rigged. Well, actually we know he felt pretty sure about Game Eight, too.



Hughie points out, just before V-Day (for Verdict), that gamblers from St Louis were involved, but also Bostonians and many others. They players shopped around. “Nor is it certain that they did not collect for honest and straight ball players and represent to the gamblers that the honest players were throwing games and in on the play.”



Wow! That last sentence is remarkable because it suggests that Fullerton may not have believed all of the eight men out were crooked. Did he know Jackson told Commy about the Fix before the series, and played to win, but was implicated by Lefty? Did he exempt Weaver, who either never got a nickel, or turned in anything found under his pillow to Gleason? What about Felsch?

Here is one of the men closest to the events, expressing his doubt that the grand jury indicted the right players.



Fullerton is puzzled that the trial has not shed any light on where the minimum of $200,000 to finance the Fix came from. He is rooting for Rothstein to follow up on his threat to sue Ban Johnson (for libel). Rothstein did not do that.

August 8, 1921. “Baseball has suffered a crippling blow in the failure to convict,” Hughie says on the other side of the trial. The acquittal makes him wonder if this case should have been brought to trial — now some will think “that the court and the jury decided that the men were honest in trying to win the series.” HSF then explains how proving the conspiracy charges was a longshot, and “a rather foolish” project.

”It was the feud between Johnson … and Comiskey … that prevented the expose of the scheme to throw the world series the night of the first game.” Fullerton states that both “were notified of the crooked work going on” — Fullerton had told them, but they both already knew, before Game One started. Fullerton seems to have forgiven them for not halting the series right there to investigate, but after Game One — no excuses. HSF notes that had Johnson and Comiskey “been working together, as they had done for years, the entire plot would have been exposed after the first game and the scandal cut short.” But they were “at feud.” In the trial just concluded, the defense lawyers argued that Johnson framed the case against the players to ruin Comiskey.

Fullerton is puzzled at why the jury seemed to sympathize with the players. After all, four of them “confessed, either publicly or privately.” Apparently Fullerton was not in the courtroom himself, at least not for the whole trial. But thank goodness for the justice of the Commish! “Baseball evidently builded better than it knew when it chose Judge Landis.”

August 9, 1921. “Perhaps it is too soon to judge the effect of the decision in the White Sox trial has had on baseball fans,” Hughie column the next day begins. Fullerton received lots of fan mail — that is, letters from fans — and a week after the trial, most fans who wrote “had the mistaken idea that the players did not throw the games.” So much for the public’s ability to sort out the fine points of the law. HSF assures his readers that everyone in the courtroom agreed that the fix was in.

”The worst looking feature” of the trial, to Hughie? It was “the failure of organized baseball to present its case.” The case of Sport Sullivan, for example, was not pushed. Fullerton got the impression that perhaps “the baseball people” were too eager “to prevent deeper disclosures” — and so the investigation was limited to narrow grounds. “Instead of clearing the baseball atmosphere the trial has left the situation more cloudy and threatening than ever.” And it remains cloudy today.

Fullerton expects the next battle will center on Buck Weaver. Buck “has from the first maintained his entire innocence. He has stood on his record” which showed he was playing to win.



There is not and never has been any doubt in my mind that Weaver tried as hard as he could to win. His actions showed that. But he KNEW that the series was a frame up. He KNEW that money was being passed or promised. He was present at some of the conferences held. He did what he could to double-cross the crooks with whom the crooked players dealt, and there is no more room for him in baseball than there is for Eddie Cicotte, who sold his soul — and went out looking for bidders for it.



Fullerton end the column with a strong vote of confidence in Landis, “a patient and wise old fox.” Fullerton flashes that naivete he had about Comiskey, when he believed Commy really would cut loose seven players before the 1920 season. Landis will clean up baseball — several more persons “will go bouncing out of the game” as soon as Landis gets the facts he needs. Right.

August 10, 1921. Fullerton again reports that he has been swamped with letters from fans, declaring that Weaver and others will be back in the game. White Sox fans, Hughie thinks, want to believe the lawyers who claimed that Ban Johnson hired Cicotte and others to confess to ruin Commy’s team. Fullerton can see how a player can sell his soul to throw a game for a reward, but cannot seem to believe the same soul would perjure himself. Hmm.

Fullerton then quotes from some of the fan mail. One writes that ninety per cent of the fans are for Weaver. Another blames Ban Johnson for his “insane desire to oust” Commy, and his “rotten tactics.” Fullerton politely listens, then simply says that “the minute any of those fellows comes back into baseball, I’ll exit, holding my nose.”

Fullerton must have felt like he was beating a dead horse. Try as he might to educate the baseball public, about the law, about what happened (hey, the fix WAS in), about the Comiskey-Johnson feud — they just didn’t want to hear this. But he tries one more time anyway.

A Comiskey man himself, Fullerton challenges those who think Johnson exposed the crooked series, motivated by the feud. “Yet it was Comiskey who exposed the thing, secured the confessions and forced the issue. That he acted to forestall Johnson seems beyond doubt. It is probable that better results would have been obtained had they worked together.” Fullerton can be the master of understatement. And “forestall” is a kind word to use for what Commy had done all along.

Again Fullerton reports on the groundswell of sympathy for Buck Weaver. And he softens a bit, there is some cause for it. “He has been a corking good fellow, a hard worker and one of the best liked of men.” BUT. “Had he taken the filthy money, carried it to Comiskey and said, ‘This is what they offered me for throwing games,’ he would today be the biggest man in baseball — an idol — and the entire thing would have collapsed. But he chose to keep still.” What Fullerton is covering up here is simply this: Comiskey already knew, so did Gleason, Buck had no one to inform, and Fullerton KNEW this. And when Joe Jackson took the filthy money to Commy he was not hailed as an idol, he was turned away! Blame Grabiner if you will, but he was Commy’s man.

August 1, 1922. A year after the B-Sox trial, Hugh Fullerton writes about the rabbit ball. And the current attitude of the owners — Prove it’s a lively ball, we dare you — reminds him about how the majority of the baseball owners



refuse to take the initiative in exposing scandals. They wait for the press, and usually content themselves with demanding that the “reporters prove their charges.” It was that way in the Chase case, the Magee case, in the earlier stages of the White Sox scandals.



White Sox scandals. A refreshing phrase. I wonder what Fullerton and company would have nicknamed the Steroid flap?

”Some day I am going to write the story of my personal experiences in that case [the B-Sox scandal],” writes HSF, “the attempts at intimidation, the two efforts to kill me, and several other things. During that time the only friend I had in baseball was Comiskey, who, while being assaulted on every side, never failed to urge that I keep digging for the facts.”

The defense lawyers are pounding away at Comiskey, and at Ban Johnson — their feud is behind this whole thing, Johnson has rounded up and paid Burns & Maharg to send this case to trial. The strategy succeeds in planting reasonable doubt, we suppose, as the players will be found not guilty of conspiracy.

Fullerton comments on those who are already trying to get Joe Jackson reinstated — before the verdict is even in. “Of course everyone feels sorry for Jackson — a poor dupe of shrewd crooks. We feel sorry because he suffers while the big crooks who engineered the deal, who furnished the money and put it over, still have annual [season] passes to baseball parks.

”It isn’t over yet. Some day the truth about that series will come out — and some day the real scoundrels will be exposed. And don’t be surprised if among them are at least two who are prominent in baseball today. With me, the problem is whether or not the club owners know who is guilty. If they do, they are guilty of compounding a felony by not exposing them.”



There he goes again — who are the two prominent men who are still not flushed out in the open? Not HSF’s buddy Commy, he is exempt. Ban Johnson and Barney Dreyfuss, part of what Fullerton would, MUCH later, call the establishment of “whitewashing bastards”?

What makes this column so fascinating to me is this. Just two or three months later, Fullerton wrote a series of articles for the Chicago Tribune on Comiskey. Four of them dealt with the 1919 World Series. Commy vetoed them. They are still MIA.



What was Fullerton trying to reveal, that Commy suppressed? How Jackson was duped? What Commy knew, and when? Or just the story he finally wrote for The Sporting News in October 1935?

”It isn’t over yet.” But the B-Sox trial was over. The case was closed: Eight men out. Fullerton knows that. And he hopes — “some day the truth about that series will come out.” I can relate to that sentiment!


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