During the next
two months, after returning to my winter home in Los Angeles, I heard some wild
reports about the killing I made on the World Series. One account said I was
flashing around a bankbook with a $25,000 entry. Another said I had been paid
off in diamonds. And still another had me plunking down cash for a house. The
truth was, I did buy a house—with $2,500 I had borrowed from the bank for down
payment. The loan was repaid when I finally got my World Series check from the
By the time the
1920 season came around, I was kind of sour on baseball, Comiskey and
everything else. I didn't care whether I went back to the Sox or not. I asked
for a $2,000 raise, which Comiskey naturally refused. I became the only one of
the eight conspirators not to report that year. Instead, I played semipro ball
twice a week for the Elks Club in Bakersfield, Calif. I earned $75 a game.
News about the
1919 World Series was disappearing from the newspapers—which was fine with me.
And then came the explosion. It happened in September of 1920 while the Sox
were fighting for the league lead. I recall the headline I read clearly: WHITE
SOX CONFESS SERIES FIX.
reasons unknown, appeared to have told the story of our plot to Comiskey, who
ordered him to confess (with immunity) before the Cook County grand jury. There
were reports that Williams, Jackson and Felsch squealed, too. Meanwhile
Comiskey banned from the team the seven players connected with the conspiracy.
It was just before the end of the pennant race, and the Sox lost out to
No one really
knows for sure what the players confessed privately to the grand jury, and
we'll never find out because the confessions later turned up missing (in my
opinion, this was Rothstein's work), and everyone repudiated the things that
were supposed to have been confessed.
The grand jury
brought an indictment against the eight of us in September 1920, but the case
didn't come to trial until July 1921. I was picked up by police in Los Angeles
and spent a night in jail before being extradited to Chicago.
The trial dragged
out for 15 days. Upon advice of our attorneys none of us testified, and without
our testimony the state had no case. When the jury finally found us not guilty
there was loud cheering in the court room, and the jurors even carried a few of
us out on their shoulders. What a scene.
But our ban from
baseball stuck, and when Judge Landis took office as commissioner a short time
later, one of his first acts was to extend the suspensions for life.
Inasmuch as we
were legally freed, I feel Landis' ruling was unjust, but I truthfully never
resented it because, even though the Series wasn't thrown, we were guilty of a
serious offense, and we knew it.