We were now
convinced that every move on the field would be watched like a hawk and we were
beginning to sweat. Burns and a friend, the prizefighter Abe Attell, came to
see Cicotte and me at the hotel. They asked that we arrange a meeting with the
gang—which we did grudgingly. Attell took the floor and produced a telegram
which read, "Will take you in on any deal you make. Will guarantee all
expenses." It was signed, "A. R."
A. R. as Arnold Rothstein. The players exchanged looks. Obviously the telegram
was faked, and Attell and Burns knew nothing of Rothstein's private deal with
us. We walked out of the room.
This was the last
of our group meetings with any gamblers. But now our troubles were just
beginning. That night, the eve of the Series, several players got threatening
phone calls. I must have had five during the early part of the evening. Many of
them—maybe all of them—came from cranks, but they still left me creepy. Cicotte
was so upset that he left the hotel about midnight and took a long walk. I
don't think he slept an hour all night.
I had just fallen
asleep when Sullivan knocked at my door and awakened me. He said excitedly that
a couple of the players had told him the deal was off. I said to him,
"Well, maybe it is." He replied, "I wouldn't call it the best
policy to double-cross Rothstein."
Deep down, I knew
he was right. In my nervous state I got mad at Sullivan and told him to get
out. I sat on the edge of the bed, trying to think. I truthfully wanted to go
to our manager, Kid Gleason, and tell him the whole story, but I knew it
wouldn't be that simple. I realized that things were too involved by now to try
I guess some of
the others must have felt the same way, because the next morning I was called
to a meeting of the eight players. Everyone was upset and there was a lot of
disagreement. But it was finally decided that there was too much suspicion now
to throw the games without getting caught. We weighed the risk of public
disgrace and going to jail against taking our chances with the gamblers by
crossing them up and keeping the $10,000. We were never remorseful enough to
want to return the ten grand to Rothstein. We gambled that he wouldn't dare do
anything to us since he was in no position himself to make a fuss over the
cash. Our only course was to try to win, and we were certain that we could.
But when we
trotted out on the field that day for the opener, we were still a tense bunch
of ballplayers. And, as if things weren't bad enough, some joker in the stands
yelled to Cicotte, "Be careful, Eddie. There's a guy looking for you with a
worth a wooden nickel in that opening game. He was knocked out of the box in
the fourth inning when Ciney scored five runs. The Reds were unstoppable that
day. Even their pitcher, Dutch Ruether, got two triples and a single, driving
in three runs. When Cicotte was lifted in the fourth with the Reds leading 5-1,
Gleason sent in Roy Wilkinson. The Cincy batters slugged him, too, just as they
did our next pitcher, Grover Lowdermilk. Cincinnati got 14 hits that day and
beat us 9-1.
RUMORS AND PHONE
Rumors of a fix
began to circulate right away, and, though I didn't see Comiskey, I heard he
was running around like a wild man, trying to track down information. What the
wiseacres didn't know was that our original agreement with Rothstein was to try
to win the first game.