SI Vault
 
THE CONSPIRATORS AS GANDIL SAW THEM
Arnold (Chick) Gandil
September 17, 1956
EDDIE CICOTTE: "Only Walter Johnson was better. He knew all the tricks, dusted batters, threw a black ball, shine and emery balls. Friendly on the field, he was no mingler off."
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 17, 1956

The Conspirators As Gandil Saw Them

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

EDDIE CICOTTE: "Only Walter Johnson was better. He knew all the tricks, dusted batters, threw a black ball, shine and emery balls. Friendly on the field, he was no mingler off."

CLAUDE WILLIAMS: "Basically better than Cicotte, he won games the conventional way, good curve and fast ball, excellent control. He was quiet, intelligent and seldom joked."

SWEDE RISBERG: "As rangy as Marty Marion, Risberg had a wonderful arm at short. Like Weaver, he was a hothead and usually figured in some sort of rhubarb around second base."

BUCK WEAVER: "At third he was an aggressive, snappy type. A good hitter, he always knew the latest jokes, was a master bench jockey and a scrapper, as Billy Martin is today."

FRED McMULLiN: "Handsome and popular, Fred was only a utility infielder, but he had an excellent baseball head. He scouted the Reds before the Series on orders from Gleason."

OSCAR FELSCH: "A tall and husky player and always in good spirits, he was called 'Happy' by the players. With the great Tris Speaker, he was the best defensive outfielder of the day."

JOE JACKSON: "A natural and one of baseball's greatest hitters; fame never spoiled him. He had no education but a surprisingly good head, all despite reports to the contrary."

CHICK GANDIL: "By thetimeof the 1919 Series you could say I had been around. Although past my peak, I still hit .290 and had the best first-base fielding record in the league."

CONCESSIONS, DENIALS, OBSCURITY

In the flush of sudden infamy, several players loomed as star witnesses. Cicotte, Jackson and Williams ruefully signed confessions (Felsch made one to newspapermen), admitting their part in the plot to throw the Series. But before the confessions were ever presented in court, there was a change in the Illinois state's attorney's offices and shortly thereafter all the papers in the Black Sox case mysteriously disappeared. In the absence of any evidence and despite a previous indictment handed down by a Chicago grand jury, the case was dropped. All four men later repudiated their confessions, Shoeless Joe Jackson maintaining stoutly to his death in 1951 that he was innocent and that he batted .375 in the Series. Perhaps the most tragic figure of all was Buck Weaver, who protested his innocence of any wrong-doing from the very start. Before he died in February of this year, several attempts were made by admirers to clear his name, but it was generally admitted that if Weaver did not take an active part in the scandal, he had known about it and had done nothing to prevent it. Of the others, McMullin denied complicity in a clubhouse scene before the story broke, but quietly vanished soon after the acquittal. Risberg played more ball in an "outlaw" league in Montana and later tried his hand at softball and as a fruit picker in California. He apparently never told his story.

Continue Story
1 2