9 Oct: Rigging the World Series

Scandal beset baseball’s biggest contest on 9th October, 1919, when members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to lose the World Series to underdogs the Cincinnati Reds, in return for a slice of gambling profits.

There had been numerous attempts to fix high-profile games before, but the ‘Black Sox’ affair was the first time America at large became aware of dodgy dealings behind-the-scenes – and the outrage rocked the country.

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly consider the role of notorious gangster Arnold Rothstein; question whether White Sox players were in fact underpaid in the era; and explain why the lines between truth and fiction were deliberately blurred in ‘Eight Men Out’, Eliot Asinof’s 1963 book about the case… 

Further Reading:

• ‘The 1919 Black Sox Baseball Scandal Was Just One of Many’ (Smithsonian Magazine, 2017): https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/1919-black-sox-baseball-scandal-wasnt-first-180964673/

• ‘Arnold Rothstein: The Drug Kingpin Who Fixed The 1919 World Series’ (All Thats Interesting, 2022): https://allthatsinteresting.com/arnold-rothstein

• ‘Eight Men Out: Banned From Baseball’ (Orion Pictures, 1988): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X7ME7WkPyC8

This episode first premiered in 2022, for members of 🌴CLUB RETROSPECTORS🌴 – where you can also DITCH THE ADS and get weekly bonus bits, unlock over 70 bits of extra content and support our independent podcast. Join now via Apple Podcasts or Patreon. Thanks!


The Retrospectors are Olly Mann, Rebecca Messina & Arion McNicoll, with Matt Hill.

Theme Music: Pass The Peas. Announcer: Bob Ravelli. Graphic Design: Terry Saunders. Edit Producer: Sophie King.

Copyright: Rethink Audio / Olly Mann 2023.