World Series Gambles, Black Sox and Shoeless Joe
This entry was posted on Sunday, September 20th, 2009
It’s getting to Baseball World Series time again, the playoffs are just only a few weeks away and it’s frantic in the National League with Philadelphia, St. Louis, Los Angeles Dodgers and perhaps ‘wild card’ Colorado, just holding off San Fransisco on their way, whilst in the American League it is the ever present New York Yankees, Detroit Lions, LA Angels and ‘wild card’ Boston Red Sox way ahead of the Texas Rangers who are nearing the finishing line out front. Those playoffs will decide each leabue’s penant winners and these two match up over a possible 7 game series. The World Series is not only the annual pinnacle for the players, coaches and staff of the competing teams, but also the US sportsbook year. Many a World Series has a gambling story to go with it too.
The most famous World Series gambling story is of course the ‘Black Sox Scandal’ the one that included a player called ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson. Outside the US his name and indeed story was unheard of until Kevin Costner’s film, ‘Field of Dreams’ appeared in the late 80s. It marked a number of films about the 1919 Baseball World Series that appeared after that time due the film’s world wide success. The best known of these was the ‘8 Men Out’ film chronicling the events where reputedly a number of Chicago White Sox players took money to throw games against the Cincinnati Reds, in thrall to a major Chicago underground betting syndicate. The life ban meted out to the players found guilty meant the end to many a promising player’s career and although Shoeless Joe’s World Series game stats show no faults and instead an exceptional playing contribution, he never recovered from the ignomy of the event and died an early tragic death.
The following investigation and court case did a lot to hurt sports gambling, but gambling has never ceased. Since 1919 there have been several more incidents around the world that have been much publicised.
Baseball of course is not alone in its betting stories, Horse racing, Boxing, Golf, Tennis, Soccer, Rugby, Cricket, almost all sports have been linked with adverse news. Much of this is now to do with the increase in media coverage, the increase in betting all over the world including lately the surge in South East Asia and the rise of the Internet. Money laundering and betting scams look for better ways to achieve their goals and therefore the more obscure sports and matches or even individual bets is now their goal. Even in the well paid present it seems though that sportsmen and women are still susceptible to a bit of greed and alas the honest punter is none the wiser too until or if the match fixing is revealed.
Being a Brit with a love of baseball, I’ll be keeping my cash in my pocket and an eye on the upcoming games from US with great excitement. Now all I need is a website to view it on as our Five TV here no longer covers the sport, what a great shame after almost 12 years coverage. If anyone knows of a feed do leave it in the comments below. Many thanks!