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What might have been . . .The Black Sox

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  • #16
    I agree with Appling on Shoeless Joe...remember that Ruth claimed to have modeled his swing on Jackson's.....might have been interesting....


    I also send some profs to Cubbieinexile.....that was a well thought out argument, and I had forgotten all of the events that had been impacted by the Black Sox (the point about Landis and integration is particularly intriguing).....Appling correctly pointed out the waste of Jackson never really playing the live ball era......imagine if Paige, Gibson and the rest had been able to play their whole careers in the Majors.
    "...and when it comes to baseball, we root for just two clubs,
    the Go-Go White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs"
    from: "Ballad of the South Side Irish"

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    • #17
      The integration part is the biggest stretch for me personally. Meaning that without Landis it probably would have happened sooner but not by much. Maybe after the war but I can't really see it happening sooner. Not with the KKK and other hate groups at the height of their power and then the depression in the 30's. Also in baseball history their appears to be only 2 men capable of integrating baseball. Branch Rickey and Bill Veeck. Bill Veeck was in no position to integrate major league baseball in the 30's nor did he own a team until he got the Indians. Branch Rickey never really had the power until he moved on to the Dodgers to integrated. Also neither man would have been strong enough to hold off the dissenters to this plan. Without a strong central leadership (comissioner) there would be no insitutional setup to bind all players and owners together into doing something. In otherwords the proposed boycotts and so forth that were threatened when Jackie came could have actually gather steam instead of dying out once the ruling came down. So we could see a repeat of the Cap Anson boycott in the 20th century.

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      • #18
        It seems a stretch to speculate how the Black Sox scandal might have affected the timing of MLB integration. The main point of the original post seemed to be how the fortunes of MLB franchises (especially in the American League and in Chicago) might have been different had the scandal not occured.

        Maybe this stuff could make a novel -- something like "Back to the Future".
        Luke

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        • #19
          Originally posted by cubbieinexile
          Bill Veeck was in no position to integrate major league baseball in the 30's nor did he own a team until he got the Indians. Branch Rickey never really had the power until he moved on to the Dodgers to integrated.
          Bill Veeck did try to acquire the Browns at one point with the intent of bringing in players from the Negro Leagues (of course the owners and Commissioner blocked him)....Rickey was the G.M. for the Cardinals, and a successful one at that. I think the reason he waited was because Landis had to go before he could be sure that his attempt wouldn't be stopped. When Chandler became Commish, that was when the opportunity arose.

          Of course, the question was, how open would hte cardinals management have been to integrating if their G.M. approached them on that? What's to say that if Landis hadn't been brought in that an even more dictatorial racist wouldn't have come to power as a League President or some such.

          I agree.....there are too many variables to properly analyze, but your argument is certainly good food for thought.
          "...and when it comes to baseball, we root for just two clubs,
          the Go-Go White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs"
          from: "Ballad of the South Side Irish"

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          • #20
            Bill had tried to buy the Phillies in 1943 and had stated much later after the fact that had he got the team he would have field many black ball players, and because of this the league stopped him. Again though that was in 1943 only 4 years sooner. Also Branch was the GM of the Cards but he did not control them and had numerous power struggles with the owner. Which ended pushing him out of the Cards where he bought into the Dodgers. Though of course Walter O'Malley would eventually push him out of there too.

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            • #21
              interesting
              International League Fourm and Pacific Coast League Fourm Triple A Baseball

              "The dumber a pitcher is, the better. When he gets smart and begins to experiment with a lot of different pitches, he's in trouble. All I ever had was a fastball, a curve and a changeup and I did pretty good."
              Dizzy Dean.


              9 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!!

              19261931193419421944 1946196419671982

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              • #22
                Kudos for all your hard work here, cubbieinexile!

                While I disagree with the premise that the White Sox would have had claim to the title of "team of the Twenties" or that they somehow would have significantly dented the legendary status of Ruth and the Yankees, I do agree with a number of your other premises.

                Baseball most certainly would have integrated sooner, perhaps as early as the first-half of the Thirties. The driving force in professional baseball was then (as it is today) money. Owners who were pinched would have looked for talent elsewhere (i.e. the Negro leagues) to help boost attendance and gain a competitive edge on their rivals.

                What seems to be missing from all this is the impact the lack of a "Black Sox" scandal would have had on the gambling problems of the era. The owners would have taken far longer to curb the problems of throwing games and the influence of gambling elements into the professional ranks. Baseball would have been setting itself up, by not "having" this scandal in 1919, for a fall at some future date. So who knows how much longer that would have been.

                While the Sox dynasty would have remained intact, I'm not as convinced you'd be looking at one of the greatest runs ever. Your projection of several World Championships (or at least pennants) beyond 1920 is pure speculation. (Though it's fun to do.) I concur they would have won the league in 1920, in all probability and, yes, they almost certainly would have won the '19 Series, but I'm not at all certain they could have competed for the pennant for several years beyond that.

                Cicotte was 36 in 1920 and doubtfully would have remained a very good pitcher for long. In fact, by the time the White Sox had Faber and Lyons (two Hall of Famers) leading the rotation, Cicotte would have been retired in all likelihood. Dickie Kerr was ashed up early. Lefty Williams (who was 27 when he was banned) would have been a strong presence, probably, for a number of years - bridging the gap between Cicotte/Faber and Lyons/Faber. The rest of the pitchers were pretty much crap in their short stints with the team - both before and after the scandal. Still...having three quality pitchers in the rotation throughout the 1920s would have been a positive sign of a contending team.

                It was the hitters that were missed the most, I think. Comiskey Park was a pretty much average park (with a very slight edge towards pitchers, which grew as the 1920s wore on). No discussion of the hitters can start with anyone besides Joe Jackson, who was 30 at the time he was banned. Jackson very likely would have added some power, as most of the top hitters did (though it's no guarantee that he'd have been hitting 30 homers a year). His slugging percentages were good for the deadball era and he rivaled Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker as the game's best hitters at the time the scandal broke.

                Happy Felsch was 28 in 1920 and a damn fine hitter in his own right, definately the second-best hitter among the "Black" Sox. Playing center field only made him that much more valuable.

                Swede Risberg was 25 and Buck Weaver was 29. Though Risberg didn't hit, Weaver did and you're looking at the sudden loss of four key players - the CF, SS and 3B plus your team's MVP (Jackson).

                Gandil was out of baseball before 1920 anyway and Shano Collins (a fair replacement) took over 1B for the 1920 season. After Comiskey lost his "Black Sox," he traded Collins and RFer Nemo Leibold to Boston for Harry Hooper, who at 33 was still well on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

                Comiskey apparently scrambled to fill the empty spots on the team. Earl Sheely, the first baseman in 1921 was a rookie (at age 28). Eddie Mulligan, 26, replaced Weaver at third and hasn't played in the majors since 69 games with the 1915-16 Cubs. Ernie Johnson, 1921's starting shortstop was a 33 year-old who had a few cups of coffee between 1912-18 on and off and who's only decent season had come in the Federal League.

                Bibb Falk, Jackson's replacement, had come up as a rookie (7 games) with the Sox in '20. Johnny Mostil, a rookie with the Sox in 1918, had only seen 33 at bats in the bigs since then; he took over CF for Felsch.

                For the rest of the 1920s, the White Sox made due with poor starting players. Collins and Schalk played for a few more seasons before moving on later in the decade. Willie Kamm (debuted in 1923) managed to replace Weaver well enough; he's a borderline 3B candidate for the Hall, if you cared to dig enough for one. Carl Reynolds had a few really good seasons for the team as the Depression started.

                So the Sox missed Jackson/Felsch/Weaver badly for their bats. Weaver may or may not have made a good hitter in the lively ball era, while I'm confident Jackson and Felsch would have transitioned well enough. The loss of Weaver, however, was minimized by the emergence of Kamm. Risberg was all glove, as were his successors at SS. Sheely was a career .300 hitter at first.

                I guess what I'm left to consider is the fact that (a) did the Sox lose that much and (b) how much of what they lost was replaced/replaceable?

                And that leaves me with the inescapable conclusion that the White Sox didn't compete with a group of players who were still fairly good after they regrouped post-1920. 1921 obviously wasn't the year this happened as it took some time to develop these players, but the White Sox would have had Jackson, Felsch and Weaver on the wrong side of 30 as the decade dragged on. The Sox almost definately wouldn't have been winning post-1924 or 1925.

                As for stretching their 1919 pennants into a few more first-place finishes? While it's possible, I wouldn't say they would have been the team to beat for much longer. They wouldn't have held up the Yankee juggernaut for long. Perhaps a win in 1921, but that's about it. I really can't see more than an additional pennant (perhaps two, if you include 1920), not with so much competition.

                You'd really have to speculate that Jackson would turn into a Rogers Hornsby for the second-half of his career and that Comiskey would have made moves to improve the club that he didn't make when he did need to later on. The Sox' system produced little real talent: the real reason they didn't compete again for a long, long time. The Hooper trade seems to be the most Comiskey tried to do in the post-scandal era...a time when he should have been doing everything possible to rebuild the club.

                Of course, Comiskey didn't count wins so much as he did pennies and the fact that, despite the scandal, the team remained among the top three in attendance per game thru 1928 (excepting a drop to 4th in 1921-22, immediately after the scandal) tells me Comiskey was more worried about the bottom line than about fielding a World Champion (as few here would probably argue.)

                So...while I don't doubt the Sox would have been more competitive had those players not been banned, I doubt that it'd lead to anything resembling a dynasty.
                "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

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                • #23
                  A couple of things.

                  First Eddie was a shine baller so he relied on guile more than speed. These types of pitchers tend to age well. When studying this though I pretty much figured that after 1922 Cicotte would be done as an effective Pitcher.

                  The second point I have already mentioned is about integration. I do not believe that integration could have happened sooner than right after WWII. I believe it even more so if the game would be lacking a strong centralized power while trying to do it. America was just too fiercely rascist in those days before WWII, heck we were still rascist after WWII but inroads were made. I also think that the teams that were the weakest would also be the least likely to integrate since they had the most to fear. If the team tried to integrate they risked alienating their fan base, which might possibly cost them revenue. I think it would take a well-built successful team to integrate.

                  Another point is about gambling. As you might or might not know is that the Black Sox investigation did not begin after the World Series. But an investigation into a Cub pitcher supposedly being paid to throw a ball game, is what got the wheel spinning. I think one way or another the gambling problem would have come to a head very soon. Possibly with Cobb and Speaker.

                  The final point I would like to bring up is the impact on Comiskey himself. Comiskey was a changed man because of this scandal. His health started failing and he was less focused on the game. Plus because of the scandal his position as a powerful man in baseball was broken. Before the scandal Comiskey was constantly upgrading and working hard on creating a great team. He made shrewd decisive moves that helped the ball club. After the scandal he never really did so again. Gone were the days when Comiskey would sieze a chance to snatch up a great ball player like he did in the teens. I think that without the scandal the teams transactions on the whole would have been better. For starters the team would not need to replace so much and it would allow them to concentrate on a few specific needs. Secondly because Comiskey himself would have been in better shape both physically and mentally, not to mention financially as well.

                  In the end I think in 1917 White Sox champions, 1919 White Sox champions, 1920 White Sox "possible" champions. 1921 I think the Sox could have beaten out the Yanks. For starters even though the team was broken they played the Yanks well and were the only ones who had a winning record against them. Throw in the players that they lost who a year before had won 96 games and probably would have won over 100 games if they hadn't been throwing games during the season and then been suspended and I think they could have topped the Yanks. Would they have been able to beat the Giants in the WS? I don't know. 1922 is another possible chance for the Sox. The league as a whole was pretty closely bunched that year and the Sox just a year removed from the scandal had been able to get .500 ball. The Yanks had only won 94 games that year and a surprising Browns team managed to finish a game back. The Sox would have been a contender for sure and it is possible that they could have missed the pennant but it also means that it is possible that the Yanks miss the pennant and the Browns or Sox go instead.

                  So in the end for me it is the Sox clear winners in 2 WS, a probably winner in another one, a 50/50 chance on another one, and a 33% chance of getting to another 50/50 shot. That is 3 to 4 World Series Championships in 5 visits to the WS in 6 seasons.

                  After this it gets a bit more cryptic and guess work. 1923 the Yankees win 98 games and like I said in the first post probably would have won the pennant, but who knows. 1924 showcases another mediocre AL. The winner is the Senators at 92 wins for the year. NY only manages 89 wins and detroit is next at 84 wins. At this point there is transition going on in Chicago. Some of the newer "great" Sox players are introduced while some of the older players are decling . All signs really point to this being a season in which the Sox slump. So I would not expect them to make it, but with the pennant only getting 92 wins who knows. A Comiskey who was fully dedicated to his team both mentally and financially probably would have put his team in a better position.
                  1925 looks to be a nice rebound year for the Sox. Babe Ruth and the Yankees have their hands full with a whole bunch of problems and the pennant winner is the Senators again with 96 wins. Some of the great Black Sox would have been in decline by now and probably would have been replaced by now to make room for the newer players. Players like Mostil and Kamm. Possibly they could have moved Weaver over to first. Lyons has developed fully and Blankenship is entering his prime. With the old Comiskey who knows. After this though it gets a little to mirky to predict but remember that the Yanks only won 91 games in 1926 to take the pennant. Again a better Sox team had a chance at the pennant or at the very least would have been a bigger factor in deciding who goes to the World Series.

                  So here we are now entering the 1926 season and the Yankees have yet to win a Championship and quite possibly have not even gone to the World Series. The Yankee window is rapidly closing after 1926 only the 1927 and 28 season are dominating for the Yankees an even then they only take the pennant by 2.5 games in 1928. The A's are rapidly becoming the best team in the AL and by 1929 will be on top and stay on top until after 1931. It has been twelve seasons in New York now for Babe Ruth and it is possible that the Babe has only 2 or three World Series appearances and two World Series victory to his credit. Instead of the 6 appearances and 3 victories he really had. I would think that if this is the case the way we view the Yankees of this era would totally changed. They would not be the stuff of legend and of course that would make Babe own image suffer. Plus who knows what would happen in New York if the Babe had failed to get the Yankees to the World Series until 1927. Wouldn't that alter our view of Babe Ruth?

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                  • #24
                    Cubbieinexile...thanks for the info. I was in the dark about the post-scandal Comiskey and your point about a lack of a central authority figure permitting integration is well taken.

                    This is such a interesting speculation that I may take it upon myself to investigate the possibility of running a simulation of those seasons under the pretension that no players were blacklisted.
                    "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
                    "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
                    "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
                    "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      I am currently reading a book that has a piece on the 1919 White Sox. The author projected Joe Jackson into post-1920 baseball and these were the stats he came up with.

                      1406 hits in 3805 at bats for a .369 AVG after 1920. Which suggests that Joe Jackson career would end around 1927.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Black Sox

                        Its nice to here all that stuff about what could of been. But the bottom line is that the White Sox are still the most cursed team in baseball. They are famous for things that you don't want to be famous for. This is a team that has thrown a world series since they last won one. And i don't see them winning one any time soon.
                        www.clearbuck.com

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                        • #27
                          Had the Black Sox stayed together and overshadowed the Ruth/Gehrig Yanks, probably we'd all have grown up with the idea that Ty Cobb was the greatest ballplayer ever, and it's possible that the entire Yankee machine would have not gained momentum and purchased all those other great Red Sox players, and would have not attracted as many young free agents lured by the Yankee mystique.

                          As has been said, integration almost certainly would have come much earlier, which would have made someone else the Jackie Robinson-esque hero, and Jackie Robinson himself just another awesome player. The public would have reacted completely differently to players like Willie Mays and Henry Aaron. Speaking of which, if integration had happened earlier, it's possible (albeit unlikely) that a player like Josh Gibson would have hit 715 homers, and the public would have reacted completely different to Aaron's home run drive.

                          Betting on baseball probably wouldn't have been banned in the demonstrative way it was, and hence, Pete Rose likely would be in the Hall of Fame and the whole controversy surrounding him would have been avoided, at least in large part.
                          Last edited by iPod; 06-26-2005, 01:33 AM.
                          "Hall of Famer Whitey Ford now on the field... pleading with the crowd for, for some kind of sanity!"

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                          • #28
                            nice post Chancellor

                            I think Red Faber WAS on the Sox at the time, he was just injured for the Series, which is why Dickie Kerr was pressed into action

                            Also I think losing Weaver was worse then Felsch, Buck was like the Derek Jeter of the team, Felsch's replacement is little know Johnny "Bananas" Mostil, whom IIRC tried to kill himself when Red Faber found out he was having an affair with his wife. Mostil was MUCH better then Felsch, had more power, more speed and was on par with Tris Speaker defensively in CF

                            but what if's
                            There is ONE way to know

                            Since I sim one year a day, in about a week I should be at 1919 in my replay

                            You guys can check out My historical Simulation in the Fantasy Baseball Forum
                            Last edited by Imapotato; 06-25-2005, 04:17 PM.

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                            • #29
                              I know I'll get yelled at for this, but that's never stopped me:

                              Shoeless Joe is James Dean.

                              If it wasn't for the black sox scandal Jackson wouldn't be so highly rated and wouldn't be nearly as famous. Obviously he would be a HOFer, but in the 2nd tier. Below Cobb and Speaker, probably below Simmons and Sisler. Jackson was banished in his prime and never had a chance to play while his skills were eroding. His numbers (granted, in a different era) were similar to Wade Boggs through age 31 (except SBs). My guess is that Jackson's BA would have ended up south of .340.

                              People talk about Jackson like he was on the same level with Cobb, but that's just not true:

                              numbers through age 31:
                              Cobb 2361 hits, 63 HRs, 1077 RBI, 703 SBs, .370 Avg
                              Keeler 2115 hits, 23 HRs, 636 RBI, 400 SBs, .365 Avg
                              Hornsby 2288 hits, 217 HRs, 1176 RBI, 126 SBs, .359 Avg
                              Jackson 1772 hits, 54 HRs, 785 RBI, 202 SBs, .356 Avg
                              Boggs 1597 hits, 64 HRs, 523 RBI, 14 SBs, .352 Avg

                              I'm not bashing Jackson, just giving my impression of his place in history had the black sox scandal not happened.

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                              • #30
                                Just moving it up so it doesn't get deleted.

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