With the debate about whether Shoeless Joe Jackson should be reinstated by Major League Baseball, it is time to travel back to 1919 and the World Series between Jackson’s Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. Most every baseball fan knows the story about how Shoeless Joe and seven teammates took money from gamblers and threw the series, leading to their banishment from baseball following the 1920 season. Now, favorites have lost to underdogs throughout the history of sports. Could the Reds have taken the series without the White Sox helping them out? On paper, Chicago was the better hitting team, while Cincinnati had a deeper pitching staff and better win-loss record. Let’s replay the 1919 World Series and find out. Now, remember, the 1919 World Series was a best of nine affair, so the first team to five wins takes the Series. Here’s how the replay of the 1919 World Series played out.
Game 1: The opening game of the Series was scoreless until the bottom of the 4th inning when the Reds plated a run on a fielder’s choice to take an early 1-0 lead. Two innings later, Cincinnati added another run on a sac fly to make it 2-0. Red’s catcher Ivey Wingo would hit an RBI double in the 7th to give Cincinnati a 3-0 lead. The White Sox attempted to rally, scoring two runs on right fielder Shano Collins double, but the rally fell short. Cincinnati takes Game 1 by a score of 3-2. The Reds also took Game 1 in the actual series, 9-1.
Game 2: The White Sox, out to prove they were really the better team, scored in the top of the 1st on an error and an RBI single by Shoeless Joe to lead 2-0. Chicago would pad their lead two innings later on an Eddie Collins RBI double and Buck Weavers fielder’s choice to make the score 4-0 after three innings. The pelting of the Reds continued in the 4th inning. Shano Collins hit an RBI single, while Weaver added a two run double and the score at the end of four was 7-0 White Sox. Pitcher Lefty Williams would help his own cause by hitting an RBI double in the 5th and RBI single in the 7th. Williams would pitch a complete game, with Chicago winning 9-0. Red’s pitcher Slim Sallee allowed eight earned runs. The replay series is now tied 1-1. In the actual series, the Reds pulled out a 4-2 win on only four hits, while committing three errors.
Game 3: Chicago continues their hot hitting, scoring in the first inning on Shoeless Joe’s RBI single to take an early 1-0 lead. Cincinnati would answer in the 2nd inning, though, scoring two runs of their own to make it 2-1 Reds. Chicago would even the score in the 4th inning on a fielder’s choice ground out to short. The tie would be broken in the 6th inning, when White Sox pitcher Dickey Kerr hit an RBI single. Third baseman Buck Weaver would hit a single to score two more runs, giving the White Sox a 5-2 lead. The score would stay the same for the final, giving Chicago a 2-1 series lead. Chicago also took Game 3 of the actual Series by a score of 3-0.
Game 4: It would be the Reds turn to open the scoring, as they get two runs in the top of the 2nd inning for the 2-0 lead. Center fielder Edd Roush would single in another run in the 3rd inning to make it 3-0 Reds. The White Sox had trouble hitting in this one, but managed to mount a threat in the 8th inning with men on 2nd and 3rd with Shoeless Joe at the plate. Cincinnati pitcher Jimmy Ring would strike him out swinging to end the rally attempt. Ring pitches a complete game three hitter and the Reds win it 3-0 in even the series at two games a piece. Cincinnati also won the actual Game 4 by a score of 2-0, with Chicago being held to three hits in that game as well.
Game 5: Cincinnati would jump out to the early lead again, scoring two runs in the 1st inning and adding another in the 2nd for the 3-0 lead. The White Sox would plate a run in the 3rd inning to cut into the lead and evened it up in the 6th inning, 3-3. The Reds then went on the attack and pummeled Chicago pitching, scoring eight unanswered runs over the next three innings for the 11-3 victory. The Reds take a 3-2 series lead. In real life, the Reds won this game as well, 5-0, to take a 4-1 series lead.
Game 6: Cincinnati shortstop Larry Kopf would account for all of the Reds’ RBI in this game, hitting a two RBI single in the 6th inning and an RBI single in the 8th inning. The Reds win the game 3-0 as pitcher Dutch Reuther holds the White Sox to four hits. The Reds are now only one game from taking the series, leading it four games to two. Chicago was able to win this game in real life by a score of 5-4 in 10 innings. At this point, the replay and the actual results are the same, with the Reds leading the series
Game 7: Chicago came out and decided they weren’t ready to give up. This game was all Chicago, as they scored early and often on their way to a 10-1 victory. Pitcher Eddie Cicotte pitched a complete game, allowing six hits, while striking out six and walking three. Third baseman Buck Weaver went 4 for 5 with 2 RBI, while left fielder Shoeless Joe Jackson went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI. The White Sox would win this game in the actual series as well, 4-1. The Series in both replay and real life is now four games to three in favor of Cincinnati.
Game 8: White Sox pitcher Lefty Williams, who wouldn’t last an inning in the real Game 8 because he was too busy throwing the game, was superb in a complete game win. Chicago took an early 2-0 lead in the 1st inning, with Cincinnati cutting it down to 2-1 in the 2nd inning. But center fielder Happy Felsch would hit an RBI double in the 4th inning to push the Chicago lead to 3-1. Williams would hold the lead and the White Sox win it 3-1 to even the series at four games a piece. The Reds won the actual game 10-5 and took the series five games to three.
Game 9: Now, this is where things get tricky in replays, since there wasn’t a real Game 9. But, the simulation got the match up right, with Dickey Kerr pitching for the White Sox and Dutch Reuther on the mound for the Reds. This game was a true pitchers duel. The Reds scored a single run in the 1st inning on center fielder Edd Roush’s single to take an early 1-0 lead. The White Sox struggled, getting only three hits in the game against Reuther. But in the 9th inning, they had their chance. With two outs and men on first and third, center fielder Happy Felsch came to the plate for Chicago. Down 1-0, the tying run was 90 feet away. Felsch would hit the ball, but it was on the ground to the Red’s shortstop, Larry Kopf, who took it unassisted to second base for the force out. The Reds win the 1919 World Series replay, 5 games to 4. Reuther would be named Series MVP, posting a 3-0 record and 0.67 ERA in 27 innings. For what it’s worth, the White Sox Buck Weaver hit .389, Shoeless Joe hit .342 and Shano Collins hit .400 for the series.
So, is the replay a realistic portrayal of these two teams? To find out, this series was simmed one hundred times. The better team? The 1919 Chicago White Sox, who won this match up 76% of the time. So, the White Sox really were the better team, even if they lost the replay series. Unfortunately, they decided to throw it all away for some easy money.