|Landis (center) as he is appointed commissioner|
Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis announced on August 3, 1921, that eight players involved in the "Black Sox" scandal would never again be permitted to play organized baseball.
His announcement came one day after a jury found the players not guilty of conspiring with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series to the underdog Cincinnati Reds:
Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player that throws a ball game, no player that entertains proposals or promises to throw a game, no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers, where the ways and means of throwing games are discussed, and does not tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.
|Freeport IL Journal-Standard|
The players banned from the game for life were
- Eddie "Knuckles" Cicotte, pitcher
- Oscar "Happy" Felsch, outfielder
- Arnold "Chick" Gandil, first baseman
- "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, outfielder
- Fred McMullin, utility infielder
- Charles "Swede" Risberg, shortstop
- George "Buck" Weaver, third baseman
- Claude "Lefty" Williams, pitcher
Landis, a veteran federal judge. had been given broad powers to protect the game when he was appointed baseball's first commissioner late in 1920. Major league ballclub owners feared at the time that the Black Sox scandal, just coming to light, would do permanent damage to the reputation of baseball.
Though there had been rumors about the 1919 World Series being "fixed" through the influence of gamblers, the 1920 regular season was almost finished when grand jury investigation was launched. Charles Albert "Commy" Comiskey, president of the White Sox ballclub, suspended the seven suspects who were still on his team (Gandil was no longer with Chicago at the time). This action was taken despite the White Sox remaining in contention for the 1920 American League pennant.
Eddie Cicotte appeared before the grand jury and admitted he was part of a conspiracy to throw the World Series in exchange for cash. Joe Jackson made a similar confession. Eight players were indicted for conspiracy in October 1920. They were placed on baseball's "ineligible list" for the 1921 season and went to trial that summer. By the time of the trial, the Cicotte and Jackson confessions were missing, and the players were denying any cooperation with gamblers.