Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series

Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series by Eliot Asinof, Stephen Jay Gould Read Free Book Online

Book: Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series by Eliot Asinof, Stephen Jay Gould Read Free Book Online
Authors: Eliot Asinof, Stephen Jay Gould
Tags: History, Non-Fiction
fabulous guests, without any prices listed. They paid
    —especially at the gambling tables. Joshua Cosden, oil magnate, dropped $300,000 in one night, $20,000 the next. Harry F. Sinclair, another oil king, was a liberal contributor. Millionaire Charles Stoneham, owner of race horses and the New York Giants. Sam Rosoff…Nick Dandolis, known as Nick file:///C|/Palm%20Stuff/Eliot,%20Asinof%20-%20Eig...tml]/Eight%20Men%20Out%20by%20Eliot%20Asinof.html the Greek…a host of others. By the end of summer, 1919, Rothstein could have retired and lived like a king. He need never place another bet.
    But it was not in him to stop.
    On the afternoon of September 23, 1919, Rothstein was enjoying a routine session at the Jamaica Race Track. Sometime after the third race, two strangers worked their way to his box.
    Billy Maharg presented a message of introduction from a mutual acquaintance in Philadelphia. He then introduced his partner, Bill Burns. Rothstein nodded politely, asked what they wished of him. Maharg indicated he had a proposition he thought Rothstein would find interesting. But the gambler sloughed them off. He was busy, he told them. He had some careful betting he wanted to attend to. He suggested they wait in the track restaurant. Perhaps he could get to them later.
    The two visitors swallowed their eagerness and left for the restaurant. There was nothing else for them to do.
    In Rothstein's entourage, there was a unique little man. Raised in San Francisco, with the name of Albert Knoehr, he later changed it to Abe Attell. For twelve years, this little man had held the featherweight championship of the world. His reputation as a fighter had been unmatched in his time. He fought 365
    professional fights, was beaten only 6 times. He was never knocked out. He weighed no more than 116
    pounds, yet he defeated first-rate fighters in heavier divisions. The Little Champ, they called him. He had a right to be proud of the title.
    Attell was, in fact, so great a fighter that when he failed to win quickly, there was reason to believe he was holding up his rival past a certain predetermined round. And when he lost, it was said that Attell was "doing business." In his later years, he grew careless. More than one boxing commission made charges against him. In January, 1912, he fought K.O. Brown at the National Sporting Club of New York
    —and lost. The fight looked so shady, the New York Boxing Commission held a hearing which resulted in Attell's suspension.
    A few months later, he lost the championship to Johnny Kilbane and finally quit the ring.
    Attell had met Rothstein back in 1905. Rothstein, the big sportsman, appreciated a real pro in any field, and the two became friends. When Attell was through as a fighter, he started seeing a lot of Rothstein.
    They'd meet at the popular hangout for the sporting-gambling-theater crowd, the Metropole Hotel on Times Square, home of some of the biggest crap games in New York history.
    Attell spent his time making contacts. He was cheerful and willing to do favors. He dressed nattily, in the finest tradition of the Broadway crowd. He wanted to be liked and went out of his way to achieve this, especially with important people. He was quick to see the rising power of a man like Rothstein, and carefully cultivated his friendship.
    file:///C|/Palm%20Stuff/Eliot,%20Asinof%20-%20Eig...tml]/Eight%20Men%20Out%20by%20Eliot%20Asinof.html As for Rothstein, he liked Abe, and it flattered his ego to have a champion as a hanger-on. Besides, he always had use for a man like Attell.
    After the fourth race, Rothstein asked the Little Champ to find out what Maharg and Burns had in mind.
    Attell dutifully left for the track restaurant, delivered Rothstein's message and waited for a reply. This wasn't the way Burns wanted it to work out. But again, it appeared that they had no choice.
    Burns outlined the proposition: eight ballplayers on the Chicago White Sox were willing to throw the World Series. They wanted

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