The Chicago Cubs may have thrown the 1918 World Series, an Associated Press report suggested Wednesday.
In fact, it appears that the 1919 White Sox—later known as the Black Sox after several players were found to have thrown their World Series a year later—maybe have gotten the idea from the Cubs the season before.
The notion arose following the release of a 1920 court deposition that the Chicago History Museum recently put on its website. In it, former White Sox pitcher Eddie Cicotte, one of the players thrown out of baseball after the scandal, said:
"'the boys on the club' talked about how a Cub or a number of Cubs were offered $10,000 to throw the 1918 Series they lost 4-2 to the Boston Red Sox."
Cicotte, who won 209 games during his 14-year career in the majors—and who went 29-7 in that fateful 1919 campaign before going 1-2 in the tainted World Series—remains extremely vague in his testimony. He doesn’t name any specific players or suggest that he even believes the Cubs did throw their series. Cicotte died in 1969.
But his comments are eerily ironic. As the AP suggests:
"The ball players were talking about somebody trying to fix the National League ball players or something like that," Cicotte is quoted as saying in the deposition.
"Well anyway, there was some talk about them offering $10,000 or something to throw the Cubs in the Boston Series," he said. "Somebody made a crack about getting money, if we got into the Series, to throw the Series."
The $10,000 figure is particularly intriguing because that is precisely the total that he said somebody left in his hotel room for his part in fixing the World Series the following fall.
The Cubs haven't won a World Series title since. And the Red Sox, the team that beat them in that 1918 Series, went 86 years before winning another championship in 2004.