1919 World Series Thesis Statement



Baseball became an increasingly integral part of the American landscape in the second half of the nineteenth century and the early decades of the twentieth century. Growth of the sport occurred in conjunction with the rapid industrialization of the United States, the rise of big business, the expansion of the working class, frequent disputes over labor practices and the Progressive reform era, which sought ways to address the challenges of a modern America.

Professional baseball in many ways mirrored the economic and social changes that marked these years. The expansion of the sport, the control leagues gained over destructive competition, and labor issues paralleled the problematic national economy. By the turn of the century, despite considerable complications, baseball had become the sport that symbolized the best of America, just as the Progressives reformers of that era exemplified the country's potential for improvement. The major league players, among the most talented in their craft, emulated the sense of fairness, justice, and hope that permeated the early decades of the twentieth century. Many great baseball players achieved hero status, and few inspired the American spirit more than these stars. It is no surprise that the accusations against certain members of the Chicago White Sox team in 1920s shook the country at its core.


  • Students will examine primary documents and secondary sources to analyze baseball during the second half of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth century.
  • Students will be able to identify the major social and economic trends of the second half of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth century.
  • Students will be able to examine the effects of industrialization and urbanization on popular culture.
  • Students will be engaged in historical research and the critical analysis of the significant social and economic events of this era.

Activity One: Create the Historical Setting

Have the class research the history of baseball. The class will need to understand the following:

  • A brief history of baseball from its origin in the nineteenth century through the 1920s
  • Amateur status
  • Professional status
  • Reserve clause
  • Territorial rights
  • White Sox team

The following sources will be useful for research:

Activity Two: Mock Trial

The historical background and the transcript of the real trial will provide basic information for a reenactment of the 1921 trial.

Divide the following tasks in preparation of the simulation:

The following sites provide background information, the indictment, and the transcript of the trial and analysis of the trial:

Hold a mock trial of the 1921 Black Sox.

Extension Activity: Panel Discussion

Assign topics for the panel discussion to selected students:

  • Implications of the "reserve clause" on professional baseball
  • Implications of "territorial rights" on professional baseball
  • Effects of the rise of monopolies in the last half of the nineteenth century on baseball
  • Effects of the Progressive Era on professional baseball

Have the remainder of the class ask questions following the presentations of the panel.


To what extent does popular culture help us to understand the Progressive era?

1919 Black Sox Scandal Essay

1213 Words5 Pages

The 1919 Black Sox Scandal
In 1919, eight of the Chicago White Sox allegedly threw the World Series. Charles Comiskey was the ruthless owner of the White Sox and was the main motive of the sox to throw the series. Chick Gandil was the first player to get involved and then he spread it to the other players on the team. The act by these players would be called the Black Sox Scandal. The Scandal nearly ruined America’s pastime. The baseball commissioner, Judge Landis, banned all eight of the players for life. Based on how Joe Jackson played in the world series and how he was proven innocent in a court of law, he should be reinstated into baseball and be put in the hall of fame.
The owner of the Chicago White Sox was Charles Comiskey.…show more content…

(3) Sullivan kept bugging Chick Gandil to get Jackson involved and told him to offer $20,000. (1) Lefty Williams went to Joe Jackson’s hotel room one night to give Joe $5,000 in an envelope. (2) Joe refused to accept it and after an argument left his own room. Lefty threw the envelope in the room and left. This was huge in the trial because Joe claimed to never have never have accepted the envelope and Lefty said that he just left it in the room after the argument and that Joe had never accepted it. Because Williams wouldn’t have gained anything from lying for Joe we should believe their testimonies. (2)
Charles Comiskey also was allegedly aware of the fix while it was going on. When Joe Jackson came back to his hotel after arguing with Lefty Williams, he found the envelope. Joe Jackson felt guilty and tried to arrange a meeting with owner, Charles Comiskey. (Lowitt 2) Comiskey would not see him and it is believed that he knew about the fix but didn’t want to hear from a player so he could not be accountable if they were caught. (Facts 2) Joe then wrote Comiskey a letter going into detail about the fix but Comiskey never responded and pretended he never received the letter and never knew anything about the fix. (Lowitt 2)
The scandal was starting to become widespread in the world of gambling. Another gambler, Bill Burns became involved and met with Chick Gandil and Eddie Cicotte and he agreed to pay them another $100,000 to

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