Today’s Random Player From The Baseball Project That May Or May Not Amount To Anything is Arnold “Chick” Gandil (it is also another day). He was known as a good glove at first base and was purchased from the Indians by the White Sox in 1917. As a result the White Sox let another first baseman named Jack Fournier go out to the Pacific Coast League. Fournier would later return to the big leagues, posting a career 142 OPS+ and even won a home run title with Brooklyn in 1924 (27 homers, times were different). Gandil on the other hand retired after the 1919 season, apparently making enough money in “baseball”. In 1920 he and seven of his 1919 teammates were indicted by a grand jury for attempting to defraud the public. Please note that they were NOT on indicted for throwing games, because there was no such charge. The trial took place in 1921. The biggest point of evidence was three confessions made to the grand jury and signed by Lefty Williams, Eddie Ciccotte, and Joe Jackson, and they were somehow stolen and were missing for the trial. All eight players were found not guilty. However, Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner of Major League Baseball, had determined that the integrity of the game mattered and banned all eight players permanently. The White Sox did not reach the World Series again until 1959, and did not win the World Series again until 2005. In 1924, Jackson and a couple of other teammates sued Comiskey for back pay. Those three “stolen” confessions magically reappeared, and though the jury awarded the prosecution &16,000 the judge overruled and actually jailed Jackson for perjury.

Another important fact is that while the grand jury was hearing testimony about the Black Sox scandal, there was a lawsuit filed by the former owner of the Federal League’s Baltimore Terrapins, accusing Major League Baseball of attempting to monopolize the business of baseball.

The popular belief was that the ruling was “baseball is a sport, not a business”. This is not true. The ruling was that baseball was in fact a business, but it was NOT interstate commerce, therefore was not subject to antitrust laws. Basically the Cleveland Indians, for example, were selling baseball games, but were not selling baseball games to people in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Kentucky, Indiana, Oregon, etc. The effects of these rulings still linger to this very day.

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