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Today in White Sox History: February 15

The future Black Sox ringleader comes back to town

Chick Gandil White Sox
Behind those eyes, a conspiracy brewed: Chick Gandil, in 1919.
Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images


The White Sox, badly needing a competent first baseman, got Arnold “Chick” Gandil from Cleveland for $3,500. (Exactly one year earlier, Gandil had been purchased by Cleveland from the Washington Senators for more than double the price, $7,500 ... Gandil had his worst season to date in 1916.) Interestingly, Gandil had his greatest success in Washington, but had began his career with an awful season with the White Sox, in 1910 — he hit .193 over 77 games and was sold to Montreal of the Eastern League.

Although he put up a solid 19.4 WAR over nine MLB seasons, Gandil had a mediocre White Sox career, with a poor OPS+ and just 4.2 WAR over three seasons and 455 games with the White Sox. He was paid $4,000 in both 1918 and 1919, equivalent to about $60,000 today.

Of course, we now know that wasn’t enough for Gandil. Off the field is where the first baseman would have a lasting and detrimental impact, going on to become the ringleader of the infamous “Black Sox” scandal in 1919. Gandil reportedly earned $35,000 for his role in the crime.

In Gandil’s last regular season game for the Sox he’d go 3-for-4 in a loss to Detroit, and in the 1919 World Series hit .233 with a triple and five runs batted in (remarkably similar to his 1917 Fall Classic numbers).

Perhaps sensing what was coming, Gandil retired after that 1919 World Series loss to the Reds. He returned to his native California and worked as a plumber, denying any role in the Black Sox scandal until his death in 1970, at 83.