Did the 1918 Chicago Cubs toss the World Series against Boston?
The 1918 World Series was one of baseball’s most historically significant World Series in the first quarter of the 20th century. Babe Ruth and the Red Sox defeated the Cubs 4-2 in a series which would be Boston’s last championship until 2004. Despite the Cubs outscoring the Red Sox 10-9 and holding them to a .186 batting average, Ruth won both starts in Game 1 and Game 4 to help lead them to a series victory.
Was it just Ruth that beat the Cubs? Or did the Cubs throw the series? Most baseball fans know the basic story of the 1919 White Sox, a team that saw eight of their players get accused of throwing the World Series against the Reds in exchange for money. Over the past few decades, there had been speculation that the Cubs helped fix the 1918 World Series but with little evidence.
Some cited the fact that former 1918 Cub Phil Douglas getting banned from baseball for life in 1922 when he wrote a letter that said he would sell out his team’s pennant chances. He was a member of the Giants when this happened, and there is no real link to his time with the Cubs in 1918.
However, in 2011 a court document surfaced from 1920 from the Black Sox scandal. This document included testimony from Eddie Cicotte, one of the eight accused Sox players from 1919. While his testimony was notably not detailed, he mentioned how he heard players on the 1918 Cubs were offered $10,000 to throw the Fall Classic.
"“The ball players were talking about somebody trying to fix the National League ball players or something like that — Well anyway there was some talk about them offering $10,000 or something to throw the Cubs in the Boston Series.” -Eddie Cicotte’s testimony per the document"
The Associated Press and ESPN article from 2011 which reported this document being uncovered cited sportswriter Sean Deveney‘s 2009 book, The Original Curse: Did the Cubs Throw the 1918 World Series to Babe Ruth’s Red Sox and Incite the Black Sox Scandal? . Deveney mentioned how both the Cubs and Red Sox in 1918 felt they were not getting their fair share pay-wise and they wanted to hold out playing in the Series since owners refused to pay up. However, they eventually decided to play.
Cicotte’s testimony sure raises eyebrows and furthers speculation. It cannot be proved or disproved the Cubs threw the series, or if one or two players did while the rest did not. It sure makes for an intriguing mystery.