Did The Cubs Throw The World Series? Would It Have Mattered?

According to this story, there is evidence that the Chicago Cubs threw the 1918 World Series against the Boston Red Sox — the year before the infamous Black Sox. Well, “evidence” might be too strong a word. Maybe more like speculation.

The speculation comes from a 1920 deposition recently posted by the Chicago History Museum. In it, Eddie Cicotte, one of the Black Sox, hints that he and his teammates talked about some Cubs being offered to throw the Series in 1918. Vaguely hints. Very vaguely.

Anyway, the truth of the matter is that several World Series likely were thrown in the years prior to the Black Sox scandal. It wouldn’t have been shocking if 1918 was one of them. From the story:

If there is a record of a baseball official asking Cicotte a single question about the 1918 World Series, (author Sean) Deveney doesn’t know about it.

“Baseball didn’t want to investigate,” he said. “They wanted to make it all about the Black Sox and say, ‘OK, gambling’s gone.”

On that count, Deveney is wrong. According to this list, in the years after the Black Sox scandal, five additional players were banned for life for gambling or consorting with gamblers.

The problem was widespread, and baseball did address it, with Commissioner Landis serving as judge, jury and executioner. The approach might have been indefensible, but the problem wasn’t ignored.

So maybe the Cubs threw the 1918 World Series, or maybe they didn’t. But it’s an interesting slice of baseball history. And if the Cubs could have won that series, we’d be talking about a 93-year drought instead of a 103-year one.

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