How the Chicago 'Black Sox' Scandal Ruined a Bright Pitching Career
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In the summer of 1923, a baseball team from Bastrop, La., was tearing up sandlots and cow pastures in every direction. The semipro nine featured a round little pitcher named Moore, who dazzled batters with a virtually untouchable assortment of junk pitches, and an outfielder named Johnson, whose slugging and fielding prowess never failed to astonish. “The team has been cleaning up in Morehouse Parish,” a local newspaper marveled, “and has walloped almost every club it has met in north Louisiana and south Arkansas.”
Before too long, the identities of the team’s stars were revealed. “Johnson” actually was “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, an illiterate country boy generally considered the greatest natural hitter the game has ever seen. “Moore” was Eddie Cicotte, a lifelong Detroiter widely admired as one of the “brainiest” pitchers around. A few years earlier, they had been members of one of the greatest major-league teams ever assembled, enjoying careers that would have put both in the Hall of Fame. Now both were pariahs, banished from organized baseball after confessing to their roles in throwing the 1919 World Series.