Charles Albert Comiskey (August 15, 1859 – October 26, 1931), also nicknamed "Commy" or "The Old Roman", was an American Major League Baseball player, manager and team owner. He was a key person in the formation of the American League, and was also founding owner of the Chicago White Sox. Comiskey Park, the White Sox' storied baseball stadium, was built under his guidance and named for him.
Comiskey c. 1909
|First baseman / Manager / Owner|
|Born: August 15, 1859|
|Died: October 26, 1931 (aged 72)|
Eagle River, Wisconsin
|May 2, 1882, for the St. Louis Brown Stockings|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 12, 1894, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veteran's Committee|
Comiskey was born on August 15, 1859, in Chicago, the son of Illinois politician John Comiskey. He attended public and parochial schools in Chicago, including St. Ignatius Preparatory School, and, later, St. Mary's College (in St. Mary's, Kansas). He played baseball at St. Mary's, and played for several professional teams in Chicago while apprenticed to a plumber and working at construction jobs including driving a brick delivery wagon for the construction crews building the fifth Chicago City Hall, which stood from 1873 to 1885.
Comiskey started his playing career as a pitcher, and moved to first base after developing arm trouble. He is credited with being the first to play hitters off of first base, allowing him to cover balls hit to more of the infield. He entered the American Association in 1882 with the St. Louis Brown Stockings. He managed the team during parts of its first seasons and took over full-time in 1885, leading the Browns to four consecutive American Association championships and a close second in 1889. He also played and managed for the Chicago Pirates in the Players' League (1890), the Browns again (1891), and the Cincinnati Reds in the National League (1892–94).
|St. Louis Browns||1883||1883||12||7||.632|
|St. Louis Browns||1884||1889||465||214||.685|
|St. Louis Browns||1891||1891||86||52||.623|
Comiskey left Cincinnati and the majors in fall 1894 to purchase the Western League club in Sioux City, Iowa and move it to Saint Paul, Minnesota. He had compiled a .264 batting average with 29 home runs, 883 RBI and 419 stolen bases. As a manager, he posted an 839-542 record.
After five seasons of sharing the Twin Cities with another Western League club in Minneapolis, Comiskey and his colleagues arranged to share Chicago with the National League, whose club (the Chicago Cubs today) played on the West Side. The St. Paul Saints moved to the South Side as the White Stockings of the renamed American League for the 1900 season (which was also the original name of the Cubs; it was eventually shortened to White Sox). The American League then declared itself a major league starting in 1901.
As owner of the White Sox from 1900 until his death in 1931, Comiskey oversaw building Comiskey Park in 1910 and winning five American League pennants (1900, 1901, 1906, 1917, 1919) and two World Series (1906, 1917). He lost popularity with his players, whose views of him became hateful, seen as a factor in the Black Sox scandal, when eight players on the AL champions conspired to "throw" the 1919 World Series to the NL champion Cincinnati Reds. Comiskey was notoriously stingy (his defenders called him "frugal"), even forcing his players to pay to launder their own uniforms. Traci Peterson notes that, in an era when professional athletes lacked free agency, the White Sox's formidable players had little choice but to accept Comiskey's substandard wages. She writes: "Charles Risberg and Claude Williams made less than $3,000 a year ($43,353 today). Joe Jackson and George Weaver made only $6,000 a year ($86,706 today). Eddie Cicotte had been promised a $10,000 ($144,511 today) bonus if he could win 30 games in a season. When Cicotte closed in on the 30-game goal, Comiskey had him benched to keep him from reaching the mark."  Comiskey's stated reason for having manager Kid Gleason bench Cicotte was that with the Sox headed for the World Series he had to protect his star pitcher's arm (Cicotte ended up with a 29-7 record for the 1919 season). In one incident, he promised his players a bonus for winning the 1919 pennant — the "bonus" turned out to be a case of flat champagne.
When the scandal broke late in the 1920 season, Comiskey suspended the suspected players, while admitting in the telegram he sent to them that he knew this action cost the White Sox a second straight pennant. However, he initially defended the accused players and, in an unusual display of largesse, provided them with expensive legal representation. He ultimately supported baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis' decision to ban the implicated White Sox players from further participation in professional baseball, knowing full well that Landis' action would permanently sideline the core of his team. Indeed, the White Sox promptly tumbled into seventh place and would not be a factor in a pennant race again until 1936, five years after Comiskey's death, and did not win another pennant until 1959.
Comiskey is sometimes credited with the innovation of playing the first base position behind first base or inside the foul line, a practice which has since become common. Later he had played a large role in the dissolution of the National Commission, baseball's former body of authority, following a quarrel with Ban Johnson. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.
Comiskey died in Eagle River, Wisconsin in 1931. Comiskey's son J. Louis inherited the team but died a few years later. The trustees of his estate were going to sell the team, but J. Louis' widow Grace was able to gain control of the team and avoid a sale. Her two children, Dorothy Comiskey Rigney and Charles Albert Comiskey II (who served in the White Sox front office in the 1940s and 1950s before he became owner), became co-owners of the team following Grace's death in the 1950s. Dorothy sold controlling interest in the team to Bill Veeck in 1958, but Chuck remained a minority owner until 1962.
The St. Louis Browns 1883 season was the team's second season in St. Louis, Missouri and its second season in the American Association. The Browns went 65–33 during the season and finished second in the American Association.1908 Chicago White Sox season
The 1908 season was the ninth in Chicago White Sox history and its eighth as a major league team. Owner Charles Comiskey optioned land in the summer of 1908 for what would become Comiskey Park. Despite ace pitcher Ed Walsh going an incredible 40–15 in 1908, the Sox could only muster a 3rd-place finish in the American League standings, behind Detroit and Cleveland, ultimately finishing 88–64.1920 Chicago White Sox season
The 1920 Chicago White Sox season was a season in American baseball. The team was in contention to defend their American League pennant going into the final week of the season. However, for all intents and purposes, the season ended on September 26, when news of the Black Sox Scandal became public. Owner Charles Comiskey suspended the five players who were still active (the sixth, ringleader Chick Gandil, opted to retire after the 1919 season). At that time, the White Sox were only a half-game behind the Cleveland Indians, but went 2–2 over their last four games to finish two games out. They would not finish in the first division again until 1936.Ban Johnson
Byron Bancroft "Ban" Johnson (January 5, 1864 – March 28, 1931) was an American executive in professional baseball who served as the founder and first president of the American League (AL).
Johnson developed the AL—a descendant of the minor league Western League—into a "clean" alternative to the National League, which had become notorious for its rough-and-tumble atmosphere. To encourage a more orderly environment, Johnson strongly supported the new league's umpires, which eventually included Hall of Famer Billy Evans.With the help of league owners and managers such as Charles Comiskey, Charles Somers and Jimmy McAleer, Johnson lured top talent to the AL, which soon rivaled the more established National League. Johnson dominated the AL until the mid-1920s, when a public dispute with Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis culminated in his forced resignation as league president.Black Sox Scandal
The Black Sox Scandal was a Major League Baseball match fixing incident in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of intentionally losing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for money from a gambling syndicate led by Arnold Rothstein. The fallout from the scandal resulted in the appointment of Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis as the first Commissioner of Baseball, granting him absolute control over the sport in order to restore its integrity.
Despite acquittals in a public trial in 1921, Judge Landis permanently banned all eight men from professional baseball. The punishment was eventually defined to also include banishment from post-career honors such as consideration for the Baseball Hall of Fame. Despite requests for reinstatement in the decades that followed (particularly in the case of Shoeless Joe Jackson), the ban remains in force.Chicago Pirates
The Chicago Pirates were a baseball team in the Players' League for a single season in 1890. The team played their home games at South Side Park (II). Their powerful National League rivals were the Chicago White Stockings which later became the Cubs.
The Pirates recruited most of the White Stocking's players, and for this reason the Pirate's attendance was nearly fifty percent higher than the White Stockings. The Pirate's owner, John Addison, was a wealthy contractor. Although Addison and his partner White Stocking second baseman Fred Pfeffer had signed mostly White Stocking players, they also signed four players from the St. Louis Browns of the American Association as well as a pitcher from the Columbus Solons of the American Association. The team was managed by Charles Comiskey.Chuck Comiskey
Charles Albert Comiskey II (November 19, 1925 – August 26, 2007) was part-owner of the Chicago White Sox from 1956 to 1961. A native of Chicago, Comiskey was the grandson of the team's founder, Charles Comiskey.Comiskey Park
Comiskey Park was a baseball park in Chicago, Illinois, located in the Armour Square neighborhood on the near-southwest side of the city. The stadium served as the home of the Chicago White Sox of the American League from 1910 through 1990. Built by White Sox owner Charles Comiskey and designed by Zachary Taylor Davis, Comiskey Park hosted four World Series and more than 6,000 Major League Baseball games. Also, in one of the most famous boxing matches in history, the field was the site of the 1937 heavyweight title match in which Joe Louis defeated then champion James J. Braddock in eight rounds that launched Louis' unprecedented 11-plus year run as the heavyweight champion of the world.The Chicago Cardinals of the National Football League also called Comiskey Park home when they weren't playing at Normal Park, Soldier Field or Wrigley Field. They won the 1947 NFL Championship Game over the Philadelphia Eagles at Comiskey Park. Much less popular than the Bears, the Cardinals' last season at Comiskey was 1958, and they left for St. Louis in March 1960. The Chicago American Giants of the Negro American League called Comiskey Park home from 1941–1950.Adjacent to the south (across 35th Street), a new ballpark opened in 1991, and Comiskey Park was demolished the same year. Originally also called Comiskey Park, it was renamed U.S. Cellular Field in 2003 and Guaranteed Rate Field in 2016.Dorothy Comiskey Rigney
Dorothy Elizabeth Comiskey Rigney (December 26, 1916 – January 22, 1971) was an American businesswoman who owned the Chicago White Sox of the American League from 1956 through 1958. She is one of the few women to have served as principal owner of a Major League Baseball team.
Rigney was born in Chicago to John Louis Comiskey (1885–1939) and Grace Elizabeth Reidy (1894–1956)). She was the eldest grandchild of Charles Comiskey, and inherited control of the White Sox upon the death of her mother. In 1941, she married former White Sox pitcher and executive Johnny Rigney.For most of her tenure as owner, Dorothy was in a running battle for control of the team with her younger brother, Chuck, who was the team's second-largest stockholder. When Dorothy put the team on the market after the 1958 season, she initially wanted to sell her 54% stake to her brother. However, Chuck made such a lowball offer that Dorothy instead sold the White Sox to Bill Veeck, ending the Comiskey family's 58-year control of the franchise.Dorothy Rigney also owned and raced Thoroughbred horses. One of her most successful runners was multiple stakes race winner, Fast Hilarious whose wins included the 1969 American Derby and the 1971 Gulfstream Park Handicap.She died at a Maywood, Illinois hospital in 1971 at the age of 54.Eddie Boyle
Edward Joseph Boyle (May 8, 1874 – February 10, 1941) was a catcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Louisville Colonels and the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 1896 season. Listed at 6' 3", 200 lb., Boyle batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. His older brother, Jack Boyle, also played in the majors.
In one season career, Boyle went hitless in 14 at-bats in five games (.000). In five catching appearances, he committed two errors in 22 chances for a .909 fielding percentage. Boyle started with Atlanta in 1893. He also played for Sioux City and St. Paul, both managed by Charles Comiskey. Another one of Boyle's manager, Connie Mack, said that Eddie was the most accurate catcher of the day. Boyle retired due to a foot ailment. He, with his baseball playing brother Jack Boyle, opened a saloon on W 8th street in Cincinnati. He worked at the saloon with his wife Winnifred until his death in 1941.
Boyle died in his homeland of Cincinnati, Ohio at the age of 66. He was the brother of Jack Boyle and the uncle of Buzz Boyle.Grace Comiskey
Grace Elizabeth Reidy Comiskey (October 1889 – December 10, 1956) was an American businesswoman who was the owner of the Chicago White Sox of the American League from 1939 through 1956. Comiskey was the daughter-in-law of Charles Comiskey and inherited control of the White Sox upon the death of her husband, J. Louis Comiskey. Control of the White Sox passed to Comiskey's eldest daughter, Dorothy Comiskey Rigney, upon her death.
She died of a heart attack in 1956.Harry Grabiner
Harry Mitchell Grabiner (December 26, 1890 – October 24, 1948) was an American professional baseball executive. A 40-year employee of the Chicago White Sox, he served the team's owners—founding president Charles Comiskey, son and successor J. Louis Comiskey, and Lou’s widow, Grace—in a number of capacities, rising from peanut vendor to club secretary, business manager and vice president. He is often listed as the White Sox' first general manager, with a term lasting from as early as 1915 through 1945. After leaving the White Sox after the 1945 season, he joined Bill Veeck’s ownership syndicate and became a vice president and minority stockholder with the Cleveland Indians from 1946 until his death in 1948.J. Louis Comiskey
John Louis Comiskey (August 12, 1885 – July 18, 1939) was an American businessman and the owner of the Chicago White Sox of the American League from 1931 to 1939.Johnny Rigney
John Dungan Rigney (October 28, 1914 – October 21, 1984) was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career for the Chicago White Sox (from 1937 to 1942 and from 1946 to 1947). Listed at 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m), 190 pounds (86 kg), Rigney batted and threw right-handed. A native of River Forest, Illinois, he was signed out of the University of St. Thomas.
Rigney was one of the Chicago White Sox top pitchers in the years prior to World War II. His most productive season came in 1939, when he won a career-high 15 games, including the first win for a pitcher during the first night game ever played at Comiskey Park (August 14). In 1940, he recorded 14 wins with a career-high 3.11 ERA, pitching an 11-inning, 1–0 shutout against the visitors New York Yankees (June 20). It was the first time since 1919 that the Yankees had been shut out in extra innings by one pitcher. After that, he won 13 games in 1941 and was 3–3 before joining the United States Navy in May 1942. After being discharged in 1945, he returned to Chicago, but his playing time was limited by arm injuries. He retired after the 1947 season.
In an eight-season career, Rigney posted a 63–64 record with 605 strikeouts and a 3.59 ERA in 197 appearances, including 132 starts, 66 complete games, 10 shutouts, five saves, and 1186 ⅓ innings of work.
Rigney married Dorothy Comiskey, granddaughter of Charles Comiskey, founding owner of the White Sox, and daughter of J. Louis Comiskey, another former club president. Following his playing retirement, Rigney took a position in the White Sox front office. In 1956, he became the club's co-general manager along with Chuck Comiskey in replacement of Frank Lane.
Rigney died in Wheaton, Illinois, seven days shy of his 70th birthday.List of St. Louis Cardinals team records
The St. Louis Cardinals, a professional baseball franchise based in St. Louis, Missouri, compete in the National League (NL) of Major League Baseball (MLB). in 1892. Before joining the NL, they were also a charter member of the American Association (AA) from 1882 to 1891. Although St. Louis has been the Cardinals' home city for the franchise's entire existence, they were also known as the Brown Stockings, Browns, and Perfectos.
In 134 seasons, the franchise has won more than 10,000 regular season games and appeared in 27 postseasons while claiming 12 interleague championships, tying one other, and 23 league pennants. 11 of the interleague championships are World Series titles won under the modern format since 1903; the other championship and tie occurred in 1885–1886. 19 of the league pennants are NL pennants, and the other four are AA pennants. Their 11 World Series titles represent the most in the NL and are second in MLB only to the New York Yankees' 27.
Notable players have defined, in part, the Cardinals' success and history. Stan Musial owns the most career batting records with 22. Rogers Hornsby owns the most single-season records with 11. Bob Gibson owns the most career pitching records with 18. Silver King owns the most single-season pitching records with nine.List of pre-World Series baseball champions
The modern World Series, the current championship series of Major League Baseball, began in 1903, and was established as an annual event in 1905. Before the formation of the American Association (AA), there were no playoff rounds—all championships went to the team with the best record at the end of the season. In the initial season of the National League (NL) in 1876, there was controversy as to which team was the champion: the Chicago White Stockings, who had the best overall record (52–14), or the St. Louis Brown Stockings (45–19), who were the only team to have a winning record against every other franchise in the league. The teams agreed to play a five-game "Championship of the West" series, won by St. Louis, 4 games to 1. Beginning in 1884, the championship series between the National League and the American Association were promoted and referred to as the "World's Championship Series" (WCS), or "World's Series" for short; however, they are not officially recognized by Major League Baseball as part of World Series history. Though early publications, such as Ernest Lanigan's Baseball Cyclopedia and Turkin and Thompson's Encyclopedia of Baseball, listed the 19th-century games on an equal basis with those of the 20th century, Sporting News publications about the World Series, which began in the 1920s, ignored the 19th-century games, as did most publications about the Series after 1960. Major League Baseball, in general, regards 19th-century events as a prologue to the modern era of baseball, which is defined by the emergence of the two present major leagues.
In the second year of the WCS, a dispute in the 1885 series concerned Game 2, which was forfeited by the St. Louis Browns when they pulled their team off the field protesting an umpiring decision. The managers, Cap Anson and Charles Comiskey, initially agreed to disregard the game. When St. Louis won the final game and an apparent 3–2 series championship, Chicago owner Albert Spalding overruled his manager and declared that he wanted the forfeit counted. The result of a tied WCS was that neither team got the prize money that had been posted by the owners before the series (and was returned to them after they both agreed it was a tie). Following the collapse of the AA in 1891, four of its clubs were admitted to the National League. The league championship was awarded in 1892 by a playoff between half-season champions. This scheme was abandoned after one season. Beginning in 1893—and continuing until divisional play was introduced in 1969—the pennant was awarded to the first-place club in the standings at the end of the season. For four seasons, the league champions played the runners-up in the postseason championship series called the Temple Cup. A second attempt at this format was the Chronicle-Telegraph Cup series in 1900.Peoria Distillers
The Peoria Distillers were a minor league baseball team that existed on-and-off from 1894 to 1917. They played in the Western Association from 1894 to 1896; the Central League in 1900, 1904 and 1917; the Western League from 1902 to 1903; and the Three-I League from 1905 to 1917.Under managers David Drohan and Charley Stis, they won their first League Championship in 1911. In 1916, they won their second and final League Championship under the guidance of William Jackson.Joe McGinnity, nicknamed "Iron Man," who would go on to have a long career in the Major Leagues and be inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame, pitched every inning of a 21-inning game for the Peoria Distillers in 1898. His manager in Peoria was Pat Wright.
Others who played for the Distillers in the 19th century and proceeded to the majors included Harry Bay, Jimmy Burke, Frank Dillon, Frank Donnelly, Dan Dugdale, Hi Ebright, Zaza Harvey, John Roach and Harry Truby. In 1902 George Stone, who later was the 1906 American League batting champion, played for the team. In 1913, outfielder Max Flack played for the Distillers, and would go on to play for St. Louis in the 1918 World Series.
Pants Rowland was the Peoria team's manager in 1913, then was hired by Charles Comiskey to be manager of the Chicago White Sox. He guided them to the 1917 World Series championship, the last one won by the White Sox until 2005.St. Paul Saints (1901–60)
The St. Paul Saints were a baseball team who represented St. Paul, Minnesota in the Western League from 1894 to 1899 and the American Association from 1902 to 1960. They originated as the Sioux City franchise in the Western League which reorganized itself in November, 1893, with Ban Johnson as President. Johnson, a Cincinnati-based reporter, had been recommended by his friend Charles Comiskey, former major league star with the St. Louis Browns in the 1880s, who was then managing the Cincinnati Reds. After the 1894 season, when Comiskey's contract with the Reds was up, he decided to take his chances at ownership. He bought the Sioux City team and transferred it to St. Paul, where it enjoyed some success over the next 5 seasons. The 1920, 1922, and 1923 Saints were recognized as being among the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.In 1900 the Western League changed its name to the American League. It was still officially a minor league, a part of the National Agreement and an underling of the National League. The NL actually gave permission to the AL to put a team in Chicago, and on March 21, 1900, Comiskey moved his St. Paul club to the South Side, where they became the Chicago White Sox. In 1901, the AL declared itself a major league. In 1902, cast-aside Minneapolis joined St. Paul and other Midwestern cities to form a new minor league, the American Association.
Roy Campanella, Leo Durocher, Lefty Gomez and Duke Snider were among some future major leaguers who played for the Saints. Hall of Fame inductees who managed the St. Paul Saints were Walter Alston in 1948 and 1949, and Charles Comiskey from 1895 to 1899.
After decades of independence, the Saints became a farm club affiliate of the Chicago White Sox (1936–1942), the Brooklyn Dodgers (1944–1957), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1958–1960). Their Minnesota rivals, the Minneapolis Millers, were during different periods the top minor league affiliate of the New York Giants and the Boston Red Sox.
The Saints played the first two years at the Dale and Aurora Grounds in St. Paul. The Saints also played from 1903 to 1909 at a downtown ballpark located on Robert Street between 12th and 13th Streets, and at the original Lexington Park at Lexington and University Avenue until 1913 when a fire damaged the structure. A new ballpark with a seating capacity of 10,000 was constructed in 1914 at University and Dunlap, which served as the home of the Saints through 1956. The Saints played their final four seasons at Midway Stadium, a modern ballpark located at 1000 North Snelling Avenue with a seating capacity of more than 13,000.
The two rival Twin Cities ball clubs played heated "streetcar double-headers" on holidays, playing one game in each city. Over the years 1902-60, the Saints compiled a 4719-4435 record, second only in winning percentage to the Millers' .524. The Saints won nine league pennants, and won the Little World Series championship in 1924, topping the Baltimore Orioles in ten games.
When the Minnesota Twins came to the Twin Cities in 1961, the Saints became the Omaha Dodgers.
A newer version of the team began play in 1993 and currently plays in the new American Association of Independent Professional Baseball.
Numerous famous baseball players, managers and coaches have appeared for the St. Paul Saints as players at some point in their careers. These players include:
Sandy Amoros (1951)
Ginger Beaumont (1911)
Joe Black (1951)
Ralph Branca (1945-1946)
Ben Chapman (1929)
Pat Collins (1925)
Roy Campanella (1948)
Chuck Dressen (1921-1924)
Leo Durocher (1927)
Lefty Gomez (1930)
Bubbles Hargrave (1918-1920, 1929)
Miller Huggins (1901-1903)
Mark Koenig (1921-1922, 1924-1925)
Clem Labine (1949-1952)
Gene Mauch (1946)
Chief Meyers (1908)
Cy Morgan (1906)
Johnny Murphy (1930-1931)
Duke Snider (1947)
Dick Williams (1954)
Don Zimmer (1953)
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.
|Inducted as a Cardinal|
|Inductees who played|
for the Cardinals
|Division championships (5)|
Book:Black Sox Scandal