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1/19/08 This Day in Washington Baseball History...

The Continuing Attempt To Educate A Montreal Fan About DC Baseball History...

From the movie "Eight Men Out":

          "Chick Gandil: 'You go back to Boston and turn seventy
          grand at the drop of a hat? I find that hard to believe.'

          "Sport Sullivan: 'You say you can find seven men on the
          best club that ever took the field willin' to throw the World
          Series? I find THAT hard to believe.'

          "Chick Gandil: 'You never played for Charlie Comiskey.'"

     If you're a fan of baseball, you have to have seen the movie "Eight Men Out", or at least have heard of the 1919 Chicago White Sox and the scandal that arose several years after it was learned that some of the players on the team allegedly agreed to collectively throw that seasons' World Series.

     If you're not familiar with the story, then you might not have ever heard of Arnold "Chick" Gandil, unless perhaps, you happen to have been a Washington, DC baseball fan from 1912-1915, when Gandil played first base for the American League's Senators.

     Born on January 19, 1887, Chick Gandil, according to's profile of the St. Paul, Minnesota native written by Richard C. Lindberg, started his baseball career when, "At age 17, Gandil ran away from home to play ball in the rough-and-tumble towns along the Arizona-Mexico border," signing with the White Sox six years later for 77 games of the 1910 season, during which he hit .193 as a twenty-three year old first baseman.

     As a Washington Senator from 1912-1915, Chick Gandil hit a combined, 89 doubles, 48 triples, 8 HR's and 292 RBI's with a .292 AVG as a Senator in four years in DC, but nothing he did as a Senator during those years or the next year in Cleveland will be remembered after what Chick Gandil did in 1919 as a Chicago White Sock...

     The career .277 hitter, 32 years old in 1919, finished the regular season with a .290 AVG, 24 doubles, 7 triples, and 60 RBI's but then Gandil hit just .233 in 8 games of the World Series that season with 1 triple and 5 RBI's as the White Sox lost the Series to the Cincinnati Reds. What was learned later, according to's Chick Gandil profile, is that:

          "In the fall of 1919...Gandil approached his friend Joseph
          Sullivan (a professional gambler), with the idea to fix the
          World Series. Sullivan, after consulting with his gambling
          acquaintances, assured Gandil that the fix was on, and
          that $100,000 in total would be paid to the players. In
          addition to serving as the contact for the gamblers, Gandil
          was also responsible for recruiting and paying the players
          involved in the fix.

          "Gandil received $35,000 for his role in throwing the World
          Series - nearly nine times his 1919 salary of $4,000."

     Supporting's assessment of Gandil's role in the scandal was Gandil's White Sox teammate "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, who testified in a 1924 suit against White Sox owner Charles Comiskey, as recounted in Donald Gropman's book, "Say It Ain't So Joe," that Claude Preston "Lefty" Williams had once entered his room with an envelope of money and explained that:

          " was part of what he got in a frame-up with some
          eastern gamblers and they had used my name.

          "Q: Who had used your name?

          "...Cicotte (Pitcher Eddie) and Gambil."

     After the scandal broke in 1920 and an investigation took place, Chick Gambil, Eddie Cicotte, Joe Jackson, Lefty Williams and four of their White Sox teammates, (Buck Weaver, Oscar "Happy" Felsch and Charles "Swede" Risberg), were all banned from baseball for life, for the idea that Chick Gambil had allegedly conceived two years earlier.

     The fact that it was Gambil's plan, and the fact that he seemingly included Joe Jackson's name unbeknownst to "Shoeless Joe" earns a distinctive sort of infamy for Chick Gambil amongst the banned players in my book. Arnold "Chick" Gambil will be forever remembered not for what he did on the field as a member of the Senators, Indians or White Sox, but as the man labeled as the ringleader of the infamous 1919 Black Sox Scandal.

*Chick Gandil Links*

Chick Gandil's career stats at

Chick Gandil's career stats at

the Baseball Library's Charles C. Linberg's profile of Chick Gandil at's Chick Gandil profile:'s Black Sox Scandal page: