A Tough Call
Elementary: Grades 3–4
I studied the baseball cards of Eddie and Shoeless Joe that my grandfather had included. They were real collector's items, I realized. My own Sox stuff, like the t-shirts and pennants I had, might also be valuable one day. As I went on reading, I thought about passing those things down, too just like my grandfather had. I was glad there were no scandal stories though!
After Joe and Eddie confessed, a few other players in on the plan came forward, too. The guy who had started the whole thing was first baseman Chick Gandil. He had gone to the gamblers with an offer to throw the series. Then he brought the others in. Everyone said Chick got away with more cash than any of the rest of them. But there was no proof.
Even if Joe hadn't gotten the full $20,000, he did—as Dad had pointed out—accept money to help the Sox lose. Some of the news stories said that, after taking the cash, Joe must have had second thoughts, because he tried to get out of playing in the series. Comiskey wouldn't bench him though. So whether or not the great Shoeless Joe played straight or not was an unanswered question. I took a deep breath and read on. But my stomach was churning.
Reading about Charles Comiskey was another eye-opener. Despite the pictures of him, I imagined him with a face like Coach Thomas. Everything I read seemed to agree with what Dave had said. When it came to the way he treated his team, Comiskey did come off like kind of a dictator. Refusing to pay the team's cleaning bills and things like train fares to away games was just a small part of his tactics.
The papers even mentioned the Sox's poor salaries. The top guys—of the ones who were in on blowing the World Series anyway—only made $6,000 a year. Some got as little as $3,000. Here they were, the best team in baseball at the time. But guys on less talented teams were making a whole lot more. The unfairness of it, I had to admit, made it easy to see why they'd been so tempted by the money.