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Comment: Copyright 2010, hardcover with dust jacket. Wrinkled on the dust jacket. All pages are clean.
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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

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Sean Deveney has been with The Sporting News since 1999, covering all major sports. Deveney has covered dozens of major championships: the NBA Finals, World Series, Super Bowl, the NCAA Tournament, college football's championship game and the PGA championship. He has written about icons such as Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, and less-than-iconic topics including Roger Clemens and the inside world of sports agents. He is the Sporting News' baseball insider. After graduation from Northwestern University in 1997, Deveney worked as the sports editor for The Sentry-News in Slidell, LA, where he won a Louisiana Press Association award for best feature story. A native of Lynn, Mass., who grew up with a passion for the Red Sox and limited talent as a second baseman, Deveney also has been honored in The Best American Sports Writing anthology for a story about Pedro Martinez. He has been a regular guest on ESPN2's First Take, ESPN Classic, Comcast Sports Chicago Tribune Live, with appearances on Fox News, CNN, CBS and MSNBC. He appears on numerous radio shows around the country each week.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education; 1 edition (September 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071629971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071629973
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #465,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"The Original Curse" dives deep into the 1918 baseball season, the year before the Black Sox World Series-throwing scandal, and poses the provocative question: is it possible that the White Sox were not the first and only team to throw a World Series - and could their crosstown rivals, the Cubs, have done so the previous year? What sounds, at first blush, like a White Sox fan's fantasy, appears to be plausible or even likely after reading Sean Deveny's book. There's not nearly enough evidence to conclusively prove Deveny's hypothesis, but if the case Deveny assembles were to be heard by a grand jury, they would certainly call for further investigation. Unfortunately, too much time has passed and there is no smoking gun (such as a deathbed confession) to conclusively prove Deveny's case.

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.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Deveney begins with an audacious premise--that the 1919 Black Sox scandal was merely the tip of the iceberg of a dirty period in baseball--and follows up with a sometimes exhaustive analysis that nearly puts all the pieces of the puzzle together. Using the 1918 baseball season as the backdrop, Deveney paints a vivid picture of the headlines and undercurrents that nearly destroyed baseball. Each chapter features vignettes of actors big and small, from Babe Ruth, Hal Chase and Carl Mays to minor players whose lives were changed forever by events that league owners attempted to downplay for their own good. A fine read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm about half-way through, and it's hard to put this book down. Babe Ruth is still with the Red Sox, Grover Cleveland Alexander is about to go off to war, gamblers fill the bleachers.....it was a different world. Learning a lot, and enjoying the ride.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Author Sean Deveney raises some interesting questions about whether the 1918 World Series between the Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs was played on the up-and-up.

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.
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By cs84 on October 7, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don't know how true the info is, but Sean Deveney made a lot of great points. Most of all it was an excellent read. I became a of Sean from hearing him being interviewed on the sports radio show.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Our actions can create a curse that can have a devastating affect on anybody. For example, according to the Bible it certainly did on King David after he committed adultery with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed. Through a little pleasure and a lot of pain his life was never the same since.
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.
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