Chicago's Black Sox

The Fix

Weaver and Jackson are the two players whose involvement in the fix is most disputed. Jackson is believed by many today to be innocent of participating in the conspiracy or is seen as a naïve and reluctant participant who has been unjustly grouped with the other players bent on throwing the series. But according to his grand jury testimony, he was actively involved and an equal conspirator. He stated that Chick Gandil offered to pay him $20,000 to throw the series, and he agreed, expecting to receive payments after each game. However, he grew suspicious and angry that he and the other players were being double-crossed by the gamblers when he had not received any money by the end of the third game. “Somebody is getting a little jazz, everybody is crossed,” he told Gandil, according to his grand jury testimony. Lefty Williams finally gave him $5,000 in cash after the fourth game. Because Jackson did not attend any conspiracy meetings and, as he stated in his testimony, he batted, ran the bases, and fielded to win the games, his participation and role in the conspiracy has been misconstrued. Perhaps because he took money but had not personally thrown any of the games, he believed he was less guilty. Many baseball fans have embraced this explanation and seek to redress his expulsion from baseball. Weaver, on the other hand, attended several of the meetings of the player-conspirators, but he apparently refused to be a part of the plot.

Gambler Sleepy Bill Burns testifies about the fix during the trial in 1921.

Gambler "Sleepy Bill" Burns testifies about the fix during the trial in 1921. (CHS, SDN 62.901)

Sullivan did not have the resources to come up with the $100,000 Gandil wanted, so he involved several infamous gamblers in the plot: Abe Attell, a former featherweight boxing champion; ex-White Sox pitcher "Sleepy Bill" Burns, and New York Giant first baseman Hall Chase. Arnold Rothstein, however, was the man who provided most of the cash. He was known throughout New York City as a gambler who would bet on anything he could fix.

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