Read The Original Curse: Did the Cubs Throw the 1918 World Series to Babe Ruth's Red Sox and Incite the Black Sox Scandal? by Sean Deveney Online


IN THE GRAND TRADITION OF EIGHT MEN OUT . . . the untold story of baseball's ORIGINAL SCANDALDid the Chicago Cubs throw the World Series in 1918--and get away with it?Who were the players involved--and why did they do it?Were gambling and corruption more widespread across the leagues than previously believed?Were the players and teams "cursed" by their actions?Finally, isIN THE GRAND TRADITION OF EIGHT MEN OUT . . . the untold story of baseball's ORIGINAL SCANDALDid the Chicago Cubs throw the World Series in 1918--and get away with it?Who were the players involved--and why did they do it?Were gambling and corruption more widespread across the leagues than previously believed?Were the players and teams "cursed" by their actions?Finally, is it time to rewrite baseball history?With exclusive access to surprising new evidence, Sporting News reporter Sean Deveney details a scandal at the core of baseball's greatest folklore--in a golden era as exciting and controversial as our sports world today. This inside look at the pivotal year of 1918 proves that baseball has always been a game overrun with colorful characters, intense human drama, and explosive controversy."The Original Curse is not just about baseball. It is a sweeping portrait of America at war in 1918. . . . In the end, the proper question is not, 'How could a player from that era fix the World Series?' It's, 'How could he not?'" --Ken Rosenthal, FOX Sports, from the Introduction"Sean Deveney plays connect-the-dots in this intriguing account of a possible conspiracy to throw the 1918 World Series. Thoroughly researched and well written, The Original Curse is a must-read for baseball fans and anyone who loves a good mystery. Is Max Flack the Shoeless Joe of the 1918 Cubs? Deveney lays out the case and let's readers decide if the fix was in." --Paul Sullivan, Cubs beat writer, Chicago Tribune"This book gives the reader a fun and honest look at baseball as it used to be-- the good guys, the gamblers, the cheaters, the drunks, the inept leaders. But, more than that, it puts those characters into the context of Chicago, Boston and America at the time of World War I, and you wind up with a unique way to explain the motivations of those characters." --David Kaplan, host, Chicago Tribune Live and WGN's Sports Central"Deveney's painstaking study of the 1918 World Series between the Cubs and Red Sox argues that the Black Sox scandal was not an aberration and might have had an antecedent. Deveney's scholarship does not detract from his ability to spin a good tale: his tendency to imagine players' conversations will remind readers of Leigh Montville's The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth.... A welcome companion to Susan Dellinger's Red Legs and Black Sox: Edd Roush and the Untold Story of the 1919 World Series, Deveney's book contributes greatly to our understanding of this decisive period in baseball and American morals." --Library Journal...

Title : The Original Curse: Did the Cubs Throw the 1918 World Series to Babe Ruth's Red Sox and Incite the Black Sox Scandal?
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780071629973
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 242 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Original Curse: Did the Cubs Throw the 1918 World Series to Babe Ruth's Red Sox and Incite the Black Sox Scandal? Reviews

  • Chris Witt
    2019-02-24 04:22

    I was initially annoyed with the forward by Ken Rosenthal (who I have pretty much zero respect for as a baseball journalist), who praised the book for disputing the widely held notion that the 1919 World Series was the first occurrence of baseball games being "fixed" by gamblers.Granted, I may take a larger interest in the formative years of organized baseball than the average fan, but I would dispute his claim that it's a "widely held notion". I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that 1919 was the first incidence of player's being actually punished for fixing a game, but guys' like deadball-era firstbaseman Hal Chase were notorious for their connections to gambling. Baseball's first ever Commissioner, Kennesaw Mountain Landis (a federal judge with a tough reputation), was brought to his position largely as a response to the "Black Sox" incident. If the 1919 Series throw was an isolated incident, Landis' appointment probably would not have been necessary.Indeed, from the first chapter, Deveney does offer up a half-dozen instances of cases where there appears to be solid evidence that gambling was involved in fixing a World Series game.The book is a nice summary of the 1918 seasons for the Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox. Impossible to ignore, it also touches on World War I, the Spanish Flu outbreak (30 million died in the six months following August 1918), and numerous terrorist attacks that occurred in Chicago throughout the year.Against the backdrop of such catastrophes, and the threat of 95% of Major League players being headed straight to war following the conclusion of the season, Deveney points out how the time was ripe for a fix. With the possibility of going off to the Army for a fraction of the pay they were used to making as pro ballplayers, and it looking less and less likely that there would be a 1919 season, the thought of selling out to gamblers makes sense.The suspect actions of some Cubs' players during the Series are pointed out, as well as those of the Red Sox in possibly throwing one game in order to stretch out the Series and buy them extra time to negotiate a higher pay for postseason play.However, the book jacket's claim that it contains "shocking new evidence" is an overstep. The book is littered with statements like "it can be assumed", "we can assume", and "it's not difficult to imagine". That, for me, was a major disappointment.Rather than presenting concrete evidence that a fix was on in the 1918 World Series, Deveney instead lays out the dots and figures it's only logical to connect them.It's an interesting argument, but one that would fail in a court of law. Granted, there are myriad "dots", but I still wonder if this is a case of somebody wanting something to be there and therefore trying to frame every anecdote as a piece of evidence to fit within that theory.If you're a big baseball history fan, you should probably read the book at some point. Personally, I like to know some particulars about every deadball era season. But for the casual fan, or folks who just like the Red Sox or Cubs' franchises, I wouldn't necessarily recommend it.

  • MacK
    2019-03-23 06:33

    In the wake of reading Down to the Last Pitch I was surprised at just how easily you can get more of a personal connection to the game of baseball from a book that focuses on a season almost 100 years gone by (rather than one merely 20 years in our rearview mirror).The Original Curse purports to offer the case for the Chicago Cubs to be the first team to throw a world series in exchange for payment from gamblers (rather than the infamous Chicago White Sox--aka the "Black Sox"). But rather than deliver a point by point legal case for the scandal, Sean Deveney offers more context, creating a quasi-creative non-fiction recasting that turns black-and-white photos as real people.Babe Ruth is less the boyish bopper and more of a burgeoning star who knows how to play the system, finding ways to excuse his antics and simultaneously exercise his massive power over the team and the fans who came to see him. Harry Hooper, Ruth's fellow outfielder and perhaps the early game's best diarist, offers a reflection of the general love with the game, sure, but worried over the war that took so many of his teammates and excused so many more. Grover Cleveland Alexander--the dominating pitcher--is less a cautionary tale and more an example of what really happened to even the athletically gifted forced to face "The War to End All Wars".In our current age, with war and strife and instability all around, some of "sports" seems utterly trivial. Why do we really need to worry about who scored the most points, or what they'll do the next time out there? Shouldn't we be more concerned with weightier issues? 'Aren't twitter feuds and contract disputes and statistical fixations foolish when Americans and Syrians and Ukrainians and Somalis, Sudanese, Afghanis, Congolese, and countless others risk their lives every day?The answer is: of course it is. Of course Sportsball is stupid in comparison with the weighty issues of our time. But, you can't tell someone that it's any less important than any other current event, or art form, or way of entering into the world. If you connect to sports, beyond the score line and into the soul of it, then you can get so much out of it--more in fact than you will ever give to it.

  • Joy Wilson
    2019-03-08 06:32

    This book interested me primarily because of my undying love for the Cubs. I am giving it a 4 because Deveney really paints a detailed picture of what baseball was Ike during the early 19th century and particularly during the war years. He has done a tremendous amount of research and his arguments are cogent; however, he does admit that his case is mainly circumstantial. I appreciate his honesty on this point as he really has nothing solid other than anecdotal evidence. It is an interesting case to ponder though in regards to these two teams that have suffered for so long. For anyone who loves baseball this is a good read to understand the early years of organized baseball and to consider the similarities between the PED cover up and the gambling problems then.

  • Lance
    2019-03-21 05:31

    I'm being generous here because the author did his research and I did finish it so I will give it at least a passing grade. But I just could not get into this story or the writing style, so I will not give a detailed review.

  • Andy
    2019-02-23 23:27

    beastly but you have to know a lot about baseball history to read this

  • Barney
    2019-03-06 02:25

    I come from a long line of Cubs fans. Stout, broad-shouldered midwestern people who love a team that has not been to the World Series since 1945. My grandmother died in 1993 at the age of 80. The last time the Cubs won a World Series, their best pitcher was Mordecai Peter Centennial "Three Finger" Brown and my grandmother would not be born for another 53 months. I rejected this maudlin loyalty and became a Pittsburgh Pirates fan. The Pirates have not posted a winning record since 1992, so maybe the family is cursed.But, being a Cubs fan is all about curses. The black cat in 1969, Tim Flannery/Steve Garvey in 1984. The Billy Goat in 1945. Sean Deveney, based on good original research, asks the question, "What if the Cubs caused this curse by throwing the World Series?" It is a good question, and Deveney tackles it with a good deal of wit and knowledge. Of course, the real curse here is the Curse of the Bambino: the Red Sox won the series in 1918, sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees the next year. and did not win again until 2004.Baseball in the first two decades of the 20th century was dominated by pitching and gambling. Pitchers such as the aforementioned Three Finger Brown, Walter Johnson, Rube Waddell and Christy Mathewson posted incredible statistics. In the 1905 World Series, Mathewson won three games, all of them shutouts. On the other hand, ballplayers caroused with "sports", men who operated in the shadowy realm of pseudo-legal gambling. The most nefarious ball player was Hal Chase. On at least two occasions (one documented by Deveney), Chase took to his first base position with several fans chanting "Hal, what's the odds?" Chase was deeply involved in the 1919 World Series fix by the Chicago White Sox, and circumstantially involved in the would be 1918 fix.Deveney argues that the Cubs threw the 1918 world series, thereby clearing the way for the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. The difference was in the execution. The Black Sox were blatant about it, as Mathewson and reporter Hugh Fullerton noticed during the series. One of Deveney's compelling arguments in this text is that the baseball establishment paid no attention whatsoever. It can (and has) been argued that the only reason the story came out at all was because of the overall hatred for American League president Ban Johnson and the investigation into a game fixing scheme by members of the 1920 New York Giants. While Eliot Asinof's book Eight Men Out makes Sox owner Charles Comiskey an ogre and a cheapskate, it sometimes ignores the fact that gambling was rife in baseball during the period. Deveney does not shy from this, and this makes the book worthwhile.Deveney details movements of players accused of fixing games and delves into newly found papers in the Chicago History Museum. While my jury is out on Deveney's conclusion, the book is an excellent resource on the culture of baseball in 1918. With war looming, why not try to make a few more bucks on the side? Check out this book and find out.

  • Bob
    2019-03-21 05:32

    1918 wasn't a great time for baseball. The U.S. government threatened to shut down the sport as the sport was deemed nonessential to the war effort. All able-bodied men either had to "work or fight." And baseball wasn't considered work. In a compromise, baseball owners convinced the War Department to let the season end on September 1 and then hold a quick World Series. The Red Sox would win this low-scoring affair in six games over the Cubs. The Red Sox would not win the World Series again until 2004.Author Sean Deveney believes that the 1918 World Series (which was threatened by an impromptu players strike) was not entirely on the level and casts light on some very suspicious plays by members of both teams, although the Cubs get most of the blame. Deveney does not have any hard evidence, but does do a good job demonstrating how corrupt baseball was at the time, and how it tried to hide its gambling problems by blaming them all on the far easier to prove fix of the 1919 World Series.Deveney weaves together both facts along with some fanciful recreations of conversations he thought might have taken place. (He says so in the introduction. The book is well foot-noted.)The question is whether or not you feel that there is enough there to consider the World Series fixed. The book works best as an examination of baseball during World War I. It doesn't have the grand sweep of "Eight Men Out," but it does make you think. And it also makes you glad you didn't get the flu of 1918.

  • Tony Gleeson
    2019-02-22 23:36

    This is a fascinating, fun book for any "student of the game." There have been a lot of badly-written baseball books of late but this one is, finally, a joy to read. Deveney tells a great tale about a misbegotten, star-crossed season as the US geared up to jump into the World War, depleting the player base and seriously considering canceling the season outright. There are numerous characterizations of the players, managers and owners (definitely warts and all) as well as side journeys into contemporary historical occurrences such as the IWW trials, the Chicago courthouse bombing, and one of the worst flu outbreaks of all history. Deveney convincingly makes the case that in the 1910s and early 1920s, gambling was as much an ever-present scourge on the game-- and the game as eager to overlook it--as "performance enhancing substances" would become in the 1990s and 2000s. He suggests the possibility that a LOT of game throwing went on at the time and that the hoopla over the 1919 "Black Sox" world series scandal might have been an effort to focus all the attention on one specific event. In any case, how can any baseball fan not love a book about the one and only championship matchup between the two most storied "cursed" franchises of all time, the Red Sox and Cubs?As I said, I've read a few badly-written baseball tomes recently. This one restored my faith. I give it a very high 4-- 4.5 if I could do it. (I reserve a baseball 5 so far for David Halberstam).

  • Rebecca
    2019-03-11 05:20

    This is a very good account of the 1918 baseball season and the unique circumstances - namely, WWI - that consistently threatened it, since most baseball players were constantly being drafted and called up. Although the US involvement in WWI wasn't very long, the war did irreparably change the careers of some players, including Grover Cleveland Alexander.Unfortunately, that said, I'm not quite sure Deveney proves his argument. Certainly he makes a case that it was plausible that the Cubs threw the Series (with some help from the Red Sox) out of a need for money since gate reciepts were so poor, but plausebility is different from incontrovertible proof.

  • Noah
    2019-03-15 02:41

    I read a few chapters before I had to stop for my own sanity. Maybe it's written for new baseball fans, but it acts like news that Ken Burns "broke" in "Baseball" decades ago had never been discovered and for the first time after exhaustive research the author uncovered smoking guns about the corruption in baseball during the first quarter of the 1900s. None of this news is new and unfortunately because the author acts like it is we don't get any new perspectives about what is probably the most interesting time in baseball history.

  • Nathan
    2019-03-16 04:33

    A drag. The titular question isn't really answered, and I hated slogging through this only to learn nothing more than I already knew. Deveny writes with that sort of oblivious blandness and ingratiating "imaginative retelling" that plagues a lot of sports writing. The connection between the Black Sox scandal and the supposed throwing of the 1918 World Series isn't clearly examined, but that was ostensibly the point of the entire book. Frustrating and boring.

  • Big League Manager
    2019-03-19 07:24

    The title is a bit misleading. There is no real scandal here, just the story of the 1918 post-season which is interesting. If the author found some link between the 1918 and 1919 World Series, I missed it. Well, there is one link... the players wanted more money.

  • Will Hunter
    2019-03-09 03:44

    Excellent baseball history and historical account. Now if only the Cubs can win a World Series.

  • Anthony Murphy
    2019-02-26 03:19

    Not as much as a hatchet job as I thought. Interesting insight on baseball during WWI. Book sorta drags on at the end. Lost interest, but does have some great stories.