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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? Hardcover – September 23, 2009
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A good history book shatters myths and provides a much more detailed, nuanced, complex picture of a particular situation. Deveny certainly achieves this in "The Original Curse". Almost all baseball fans know of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, and think of that White Sox team as committing the biggest possible sin against the game, for purely selfish reasons. 1918 is also wistfully known by Red Sox fans as the last World Series won by their dominant early-twentieth century team before an 86-year drought. However, what Deveny shows is that 1918 was one of the strangest, most dysfunctional years in all of major league baseball history. Yes, the Red Sox did win the World Series that year, but it was anything but a competition between the best, most talented teams and players.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
Likewise in this thrilling historical detailed account of the 1918 World Series the Chicago Cubs may have experienced the same thing. As a diehard Cub fan for many years, I couldn't understand why they disappointed so many fans without ever coming close to the world series. Perhaps they are a curse from 1918. The punishment fits the crime. Did the Chicago Cubs throw the game? This excellent book has a lot to say about that, I strongly recommend that every baseball fan read it, I give it five stars, and I'm Marvin P. Ferguson, author of Boys On The Gold Coast.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
a nice breezy look at an era most folks don't know about
set against the backdrop of a world war
I enjoyed this book thoroughly and got a real education about how the prevailing economy, player compensation and gambling interests incited a fertile environment of motivation for... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Demand D. Impossible
It doesn't really prove the case for another thrown series, it implies quite a bit, but it is an interesting read and gives a great perspective of the time and a marvelous... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Robert Ulewicz
The author makes a convincing argument here in this book. See for yourself. It's a good read.Published 18 months ago by Yankee4Life
This was well written and entertaining but not quite what was advertised. Very nice period piece on baseball in the 10's. But as an inquiry into gambling in baseball, no. Read morePublished 21 months ago by bib
This book did a really good job of making history come alive for me. The author did an excellent job of transporting me back almost 100 years to see what was really going on in... Read morePublished on January 28, 2013 by David Riesland
As a student of the game, the 1918 World Series story really got to me. I really enjoyed the set-up put in place by the author. Read morePublished on June 25, 2010 by Marc Ranger