It is a dramatization of Major League Baseball's 1919 Black Sox scandal, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to intentionally lose the World Series. Much of the movie was filmed at the old Bush Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana.
The Black Sox Scandal refers to a number of events that took place around and during the play of the 1919 World Series. The name "Black Sox" also refers to the Chicago White Sox team from that year. Eight members of the Chicago franchise were banned for life from baseball for throwing (intentionally losing) games, giving the victory to the Cincinnati Reds. The conspiracy was the brainchild of White Sox first baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil, who had longstanding ties to petty underworld figures. He persuaded Joseph "Sport" Sullivan, a friend and professional gambler, that the fix could be pulled off. New York gangster Arnold Rothstein supplied the money, through his lieutenant Abe Attell, a former featherweight boxing champion.
Gandil enlisted several of his teammates, motivated by a dislike of penurious club owner Charles Comiskey, to implement the fix. All of them were members of a faction on the team that resented the better-educated and higher-paid players on the team, such as second baseman Eddie Collins, catcher Ray Schalk, and pitcher Red Faber. By most contemporary accounts, the two factions almost never spoke to each other on or off the field, and the only thing they had in common was a resentment of Comiskey.
Starting pitchers Eddie Cicotte and Claude "Lefty" Williams, outfielder Oscar "Happy" Felsch, and shortstop Charles "Swede" Risberg were all principally involved with Gandil. Third baseman Buck Weaver was also asked to participate, but refused. Weaver was later banned with the others for knowing of the fix but not reporting it. Although he hardly played in the series, utility infielder Fred McMullin was not initially approached, but got word of the fix and threatened to report the others unless he was in on the payoff. Outfielder "Shoeless" Joe Jackson was also mentioned as a participant, though his involvement is disputed.
Stories of the Black Sox scandal have usually included Comiskey in its gallery of subsidiary villains, focusing in particular on his intentions regarding a clause in Cicotte's contract that would have paid Cicotte an additional $10,000 bonus for winning 30 games. According to Eliot Asinof's account of the events, Eight Men Out, Cicotte was "rested" for the season's final two weeks after reaching his 29th win, presumably to deny him the bonus. However, the record is perhaps more complex. Cicotte won his 29th game on September 19, had an ineffective start on September 24, and was pulled after a few innings in a tuneup on the season's final day, September 28 (the World Series beginning 3 days later). Reportedly, Cicotte agreed to the fix on the same day he won his 29th game, before he could have known of any efforts to deny him a chance to win his 30th.[
Charles Albert "The Old Roman" Comiskey (August 15, 1859-October 26, 1931) was a Major League Baseball player, manager and team owner. He was a key player in the formation of the American League and later owned the Chicago White Sox. Comiskey Park, Chicago's storied baseball stadium, was built under his guidance and named for him.
Comiskey's reputation was permanently tarnished by his team's involvement in the "Black Sox" scandal, a conspiracy to "throw" the 1919 World Series. Despite popular allegations that his poor treatment of White Sox players fueled the conspiracy, Comiskey was inducted as an executive into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
He is one of only two players, along with Pete Browning to ever have 200 Hits, 100 Stolen Bases, 100 RBI, and 100 Runs in a single season.
Joseph Jefferson Jackson (July 16, 1888 – December 5, 1951), nicknamed "Shoeless Joe", was an American baseball player who played Major League Baseball in the early part of the 20th century. He is remembered for his performance on the field and for his association with the Black Sox Scandal, when members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox participated in a conspiracy to fix the World Series. As a result of Jackson's association with the scandal, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Major League Baseball's first commissioner, banned Jackson from playing after the 1920 season.
Jackson played for three different Major League teams during his twelve-year career. He spent 1908-09 as a member of the Philadelphia Athletics; 1910 through the first part of the 1915 with the Cleveland Naps/Indians; and the remainder of the 1915 season through 1920 with the Chicago White Sox.
Jackson, who played left field for most of his career, currently has the third highest career batting average. With his career having been cut short, the usual decline of a batter's hitting skills toward the end of a career did not have a chance to occur. In 1911, Jackson hit for a .408 average. That average is still the sixth highest single-season total since 1901, which marked the beginning of the modern era for the sport. His average that year set the record for highest batting average in a single season by a rookie. Babe Ruth claimed that he modeled his hitting technique after Jackson's.
Jackson still holds the White Sox franchise records for triples in a season and career batting average. In 1999, he ranked Number 35 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.