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Today in White Sox History: December 30

The White Sox fend off another Black accusation

Swede Risberg was back in the news, in a Tribune exclusive on this day, 96 years ago.
Chicago Tribune


Fueled seemingly by just one source, Black Sox scoundrel Swede Risberg, the Chicago Tribune ran a front-page story teasing deeper details of the squad that shall live in infamy — namely, that in the “pristine,”, 100-win season of 1917, the Detroit Tigers threw a four-game series to the White Sox in that season’s stretch run.

The four games Risberg referenced were back-to-back doubleheaders at Comiskey Park, on September 2 and 3. The fact that the White Sox had been in first place since June 8 and entered the Tigers series 3 1⁄2 games up in the AL takes the teeth out of Swede’s salacious claims, but in truth, who knows, it was more a wildcat sport a century ago.

Commissioner Landis invited Risberg to Chicago to learn more, after Risberg testified on accusations against Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker for throwing games in the final week of the 1919 season.

No witnesses came forward to corroborate Risberg’s claim about the 1917 White Sox — in fact, 30 Detroit and Chicago players specifically contradicted his accusation.

In the end, it was a nice headline for the Tribune, and some brief attention for Risberg (by then working at a dairy farm in Minnesota and playing summer semipro ball in South Dakota). A little smoke, but no fire.