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The Original Curse: Did the Cubs Throw the 1918 World Series to Babe Ruth's Red Sox and Incite the Black Sox Scandal? Kindle Edition
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Although the circumstances were right for crookedness in baseball and some regular season games were definitely fixed in 1918, according to Deveney, he admits that it's debatable if the World Series was fixed.
Given the circumstances, however, no one should be shocked if the World Series was fixed. Gambling was one of baseball's greatest negatives and rumors persisted about players throwing games. Gamblers were active and open at the ballparks. But baseball refused to confront the problem, choosing instead to sweep it under the rug. If a player was suspected of throwing games, he most likely was quietly traded.
The Cubs had a number of players with shady pasts, including Lee Magee, Claude Hendrix, Fred Merkle and Phil Douglass.
Uncertainty dominated baseball and the World Series in 1918. The advent of World War I siphoned the talent from many teams. Secretary of War Newton Baker declared the season would end on Sept. 1. The World Series was scheduled to begin Sept. 5, yet no one was quite sure if it would be allowed to be played.
The 1918 World Series suffered from reduced fan interest and limited projected revenues, based on lower ticket prices and 10 percent of the gate receipts slated to go to charity. For the first time, players in the World Series were to split 60 percent of the revenue from the first four games (with a $2,000 per man cap for the winners and $1,400 per man for the losers), while the remainder was to be split among the teams that finished second, third and fourth in the two leagues. When the players were informed that the winners would receive $1,200 per man and the losers would receive $800, they were understandably angry.
The first three games were poorly attended in Chicago and the quality of play slipped afterwards when the players found out they would be receiving considerably less money. The players threatened to strike before Game 5, demanding more money.
In addition to the players named above, Deveney points fingers at infielder Charlie Hollocher and outfielder Max Flack for their suspicious play.
Although there's no smoking gun of evidence, Deveney raises enough questions to make one doubt that the Series was played on the level.
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set against the backdrop of a world war