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 Page A

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
$100,000 cash. Rothstein was the only man around with that kind of money.
    Attell made no comment. He told them he would relay this to Rothstein and get back to them. Burns said he could be reached at the Ansonia Hotel.
    Attell returned to his thirty-seven-year-old mentor but thought better of discussing the matter in the presence of others. He arranged to meet with Rothstein that night.
    Reuben's Restaurant, in 1919, was located on Broadway at 74th street, directly across from the Ansonia.
    It was a convenient eatery for Rothstein who lived on Riverside Drive and 84th street. It was his custom to dine around seven, in a small back room, away from the noisy crowd out front. On this night, Attell was there waiting for him. Assured of privacy, Attell recounted Burns's proposition.
    Rothstein listened as he ate, and was quick with his reply. He didn't think it could work.
    When Attell passed this negative piece of information on to Burns, the ex-pitcher had no reason to doubt its reliability. He did, however, question its finality. This was too big a proposition to give up on. He would simply expand his operation and make new contacts.
    Enter now, Hal Chase, that noted master of the fixed ball game. Burns had no trouble finding him (or was it the other way around?) since the Hotel Ansonia was a popular gathering place for the New York baseball crowd. Chase, as it turned out, had ears every bit as long as Burns's and had heard the fix rumors from their inception. Burns was not surprised: after all, this was Chase's chosen profession.
    The great first baseman of the New York Giants was highly encouraging. He assured Burns that the whole scheme was a solid one, and who in the history of baseball knew better than Chase? Chase advised him to pursue Rothstein personally. The famous gambler would be at the Astor Hotel in Times Square later that night. Burns should confront him there.
    Burns thanked him, then asked Chase what he wanted out of this deal. Chase grinned with typical pleasantness. He didn't want anything—except the right to bet.
    The sleepy Texan rounded up his partner, Billy Maharg, and sat down in the Astor lobby to wait. When file:///C|/Palm%20Stuff/Eliot,%20Asinof%20-%20Eig...tml]/Eight%20Men%20Out%20by%20Eliot%20Asinof.html Rothstein entered, accompanied by a friend, Val O'Farrell, head of a detective agency, Burns approached him with typical brashness. Did Mr. Rothstein have a minute to spare?
    Rothstein nodded, recognizing him from the race track that afternoon. Burns told him that he believed his proposition to be much too promising to be abandoned. He knew those ballplayers. They were close friends, even. They would go through with this if the money was available to back it.
    But Rothstein shook his head. In his opinion, "whatever that was worth," he added modestly, Burns ought to forget it.
    That seemed the end of it. Maharg returned to Philadelphia, and Burns went about his oil business, trying to forget this pipe dream.
    Not so, Attell.
    The Little Champ had not been in Rothstein's company for all these years without soaking up some of his modus operandi . One ingredient always stood out: guts. The ex-fighter could admire that most of all.
    Rothstein could size up a proposition, and if it seemed promising, he would plunge in as if it were a sure thing. Attell speculated: maybe this time A.R. had doped it out wrong. What was so impossible about such a fix? Why was he so certain it would not work? With eight ballplayers working for you? Hadn't A.
    R. once told him that anything could be fixed, from a checker game to a World War!
    The thought began to prey on him, keeping him awake nights. Assuming that it was feasible to fix the Series with Rothstein's backing, why couldn't it be fixed without him? And if Rothstein refused to participate, why should Attell have to kick away a possible gold mine? And, most significantly of all, if it was Rothstein's backing they needed so badly, why shouldn't Attell merely pretend

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