Eddie Cicotte

Edward Victor Cicotte (/ˈsiːkɒt/;[1][2] June 19, 1884 – May 5, 1969), nicknamed "Knuckles", was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball best known for his time with the Chicago White Sox. He was one of eight players permanently ineligible for professional baseball for his alleged participation in the Black Sox scandal in the 1919 World Series, in which the favored White Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds in eight games.[3] The "fixing" of the 1919 World Series is the only recognized gambling scandal to tarnish a World Series.[4]

Eddie Cicotte
Born: June 19, 1884
Springwells, Michigan
Died: May 5, 1969 (aged 84)
Livonia, Michigan
Batted: Both Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 3, 1905, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1920, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record208–149
Earned run average2.38
Career highlights and awards


Cicotte was the son of Ambrose Cicotte (1843–1894) and Archange Mary Drouillard (1843–1909), both of mainly French-Canadian extraction. His father's early death is said to have pushed Cicotte to excel and be very protective of his family. He married Rose Ellen Freer (1885–1958), daughter of Russell John Freer (1852–1932) and Annie Cecile Thornton (1863–1928), both of whom would later live with the Cicottes. They had two daughters, Rose (1906–1975) and Virginia (1916–1992), and one son, Edward Jr. (1919–1992).


Cicotte was a starting pitcher and a knuckleball specialist who won 208 games and lost 149 over the course of a 14-year career pitching for the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago White Sox. At the time of his lifetime ban, he was considered one of the premier pitchers in the American League.

A Detroit native, Cicotte played minor league baseball for the Augusta Tourists in Georgia in 1905, where he was a teammate of Ty Cobb. Both players were purchased by the Tigers, and Cicotte made his big-league debut on September 3, 1905. Pitching in three games for Detroit, Cicotte compiled a 1–1 record with a 3.50 earned run average.

Cicotte didn't return to the major leagues again until 1908, when he resurfaced with the Red Sox. After he compiled a 41–48 record in a Boston uniform, the Red Sox sold him to the White Sox on July 22, 1912.

Cicotte celebrated a breakout year in 1913, going 18–12 on the season with an ERA of 1.58. He led the league in winning percentage in 1916, but his best year was 1917, when he won 28 games and led the league in wins, ERA, and innings pitched. On April 14 he threw a no hitter against the St. Louis Browns. That year, the White Sox went to the World Series, defeating the New York Giants 4 games to 2. Cicotte won Game 1, lost Game 3, and pitched six innings of relief in Game 5 for a no-decision.

Injuries reduced Cicotte to a 12–19 record in 1918, but in 1919, he rebounded to win 29 games and once again led the league in wins, winning percentage, and innings pitched, as well as in complete games. His 1919 salary was $6,000, but he had a provision for a $10,000 bonus if he won 30 games. Legend has it that as the season drew to a close, owner Charles Comiskey ordered manager Kid Gleason to bench Cicotte for 5 games, denying him a chance at a 30-win season and the bonus money.


Eddie Cicotte
Cicotte in 1913

The book Eight Men Out by Eliot Asinof and the movie based on the book does record that Cicotte, despite being grossly underpaid for a pitcher of his ability, resisted repeated attempts by Chick Gandil to get him to throw the series until just days before the World Series opened when it became clear that Comiskey would never pay him even part of the promised bonus.

In the 1919 World Series against the Reds, Cicotte pitched in three games, winning one but pitching ineffectively and losing the other two.

Cicotte was the first of the eight players to come forward, signing a confession and a waiver of immunity. He later recanted this confession and was acquitted of all charges at trial by jury. Despite this, Cicotte and his alleged co-conspirators were subsequently made permanently ineligible for baseball by Kenesaw Mountain Landis, Major League Baseball's new commissioner, recently hired to restore the integrity of the game in the wake of the 1919 scandal.


After being banned from playing baseball, Cicotte returned to Livonia, Michigan. He managed a service station, served as a game warden in the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, then went to work for Ford Motor Company, where he retired in 1944. Cicotte lived to be 84 years old. He was a strawberry farmer on a 5.5-acre (2.2 ha) farm near Farmington until his death at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit on May 5, 1969.[5]

In the 1988 film Eight Men Out, about the Black Sox scandal, Cicotte is portrayed by actor David Strathairn.

He was portrayed by actor Steve Eastin in the 1989 film Field of Dreams.

Cicotte's grandnephew Al Cicotte (1929–1982) later pitched in the major leagues, compiling a lifetime 10–13 record with six teams between 1957 and 1962.

See also


  1. ^ SBNation South Side Sox – Eddie Cicotte: From the Hall of Fame Library player files
  2. ^ "Cicotte Calls Life Sentence Too Rough". Charleston Gazette, p. 13.
  3. ^ Pegler, Westbrook (September 24, 1956)
  4. ^ Pennington, Bill (May 14, 2011)"Whiff of Scandal Wafts Over 1918 World Series" New York Times. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  5. ^ Sandoval, Jim. "Eddie Cicotte" SABR Baseball Biography Project. Retrieved 2011-10-16.

External links

Preceded by
Dutch Leonard
No-hitter pitcher
April 14, 1917
Succeeded by
George Mogridge
1909 Boston Red Sox season

The 1909 Boston Red Sox season was the ninth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished third in the American League (AL) with a record of 88 wins and 63 losses. The team played its home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds.

1910 Boston Red Sox season

The 1910 Boston Red Sox season was the tenth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished fourth in the American League (AL) with a record of 81 wins and 72 losses. The team played its home games at Huntington Avenue Grounds.

1915 Chicago White Sox season

The 1915 Chicago White Sox season involved the White Sox finishing third in the American League.

With the acquisitions of Eddie Collins (over the winter) and Joe Jackson (in August), Chicago now had the two hitters they needed to win the 1917 and 1919 AL pennants.

1916 Chicago White Sox season

The 1916 Chicago White Sox finished second in the American League, just two games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox. By this time, the nucleus of the 1917–19 dynasty was in place. Chicago would win the World Series the following season.

1917 Chicago White Sox season

The 1917 Chicago White Sox dominated the American League with a record of 100–54. The 100 wins is a club record that still stands. Their offense was first in runs scored while their pitching staff led the league with a 2.16 ERA.

Facing the New York Giants in the 1917 World Series, the team clinched the series in six games, thanks in large part to the workhorse efforts of Eddie Cicotte and Red Faber. It would be the team's last world championship until 2005.

1917 Major League Baseball season

The 1917 Major League Baseball season.

1917 World Series

In the 1917 World Series, the Chicago White Sox beat the New York Giants four games to two. The Series was played against the backdrop of World War I, which dominated the American newspapers that year and next.

The strong Chicago White Sox club had finished the 1917 season with a 100–54 record: their first and only one-hundred-win season in franchise history as of 2018. The Sox's next World Series winner in 2005 would finish the regular season with a 99–63 record.

The Sox won Game 1 of the Series in Chicago 2–1 behind a complete game by Eddie Cicotte. Happy Felsch hit a home run in the fourth inning that provided the winning margin. The Sox beat the Giants in Game 2 by a score of 7–2 behind another complete game effort by Red Faber to take a 2–0 lead in the Series.

Back in New York for Game 3, Cicotte again threw a complete game, but the Sox could not muster a single run against Giants starter Rube Benton and lost 2–0. In Game 4 the Sox were shut out again 5–0 by Ferdie Schupp. Faber threw another complete game, but the Series was even at 2–2 going back to Chicago.

Reb Russell started Game 5 in Chicago, but only faced three batters before giving way to Cicotte. Going into the bottom of the seventh inning, Chicago was down 5–2, but they rallied to score three in the seventh and three in the eighth to win 8–5. Faber pitched the final two innings for the win. In Game 6 the Sox took an early 3–0 lead and on the strength of another complete game victory from Faber (his third of the Series) won 4–2 and clinched the World Championship. Eddie Collins was the hitting hero, batting .409 over the six game series while Cicotte and Faber combined to pitch 50 out of a total 52 World Series innings to lead the staff.

The decisive game underscored the Giants' post-season frustrations, featuring a famous rundown in which Giants' third baseman Heinie Zimmerman futilely chased the speedy Eddie Collins toward home plate with what would be the Series-winning run. Catcher Bill Rariden had run up the third base line to start a rundown, expecting pitcher Rube Benton or first baseman Walter Holke to cover the plate. However, neither of them budged, forcing Zimmerman to chase Collins while pawing helplessly in the air with the ball in an attempt to tag him. Two years before the issue of baseball betting reached its peak, Zimmerman found himself having to publicly deny purposely allowing the run to score, i.e. to deny that he had "thrown" the game. In truth, McGraw blamed Benton and Holke for failing to cover the plate. A quote often attributed to Zim, but actually invented by writer Ring Lardner some years later, was that when asked about the incident Zim replied, "Who the hell was I supposed to throw to, Klem (umpire Bill Klem, who was working the plate)?" Conventional wisdom has it that Collins was much faster than Zimmerman, but existing photos of the play show that Zimmerman was only a step or two behind Collins, who actually slid across the plate while Zim jumped over him to avoid trampling him. Zimmerman would eventually be banned for life due to various accusations of corruption.

The great athlete Jim Thorpe, better known for football in general, made his only World Series "appearance" during Game 5, where he was listed in the lineup card as starting in right field; but for his turn at bat in the top of the first inning he was replaced by a left-handed hitting Dave Robertson.

The White Sox, who were essentially dismantled following the 1920 season by baseball commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis due to the Black Sox Scandal in the 1919 World Series, did not make it to another World Series until 1959, and did not win another World Series until 2005.

1918 Chicago White Sox season

Depleted of most of their stars due to World War I, the Chicago White Sox had a relatively bad year in 1918, going 57–67 and finishing in the second division. They had won the American League pennant in 1917 and would win another in 1919.

1919 Chicago White Sox season

The 1919 Chicago White Sox season was their 19th season in the American League. They won 88 games to advance to the World Series but lost to the Cincinnati Reds. More significantly, some of the players were found to have taken money from gamblers in return for throwing the series. The "Black Sox Scandal" had permanent ramifications for baseball, including the establishment of the office of Commissioner of Baseball.

1919 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1919 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The Reds won the National League pennant, then went on to win the 1919 World Series. The team's accomplishments were overshadowed by the subsequent Black Sox scandal, when it was discovered that their American League opponents, the Chicago White Sox had conspired to throw the series.

Ernie Koob

Ernest Gerald Koob (September 11, 1892 in Keeler, Michigan – November 12, 1941 in Lemay, Missouri), was a professional baseball player who played pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1915 to 1919 for the St. Louis Browns. On May 5, 1917, Koob no-hit the eventual World Champion Chicago White Sox 1-0, besting Eddie Cicotte—himself a no-hit pitcher against the Browns less than a month earlier, on April 14. The very next day, his teammate Bob Groom also no-hit the White Sox, 3–0 in the second game of a doubleheader; to date, Koob and Groom are the only teammates to pitch no-hitters on consecutive days.

Koob attended college at Western State Normal School.

An obituary published in the November 1941 issue of "The Sporting News" contained statements which complement and to some extent contradict the above information. It states that Mr. Koob was born in St. Louis in 1894; that he died in the Mount St. Rose Sanatorium (St. Louis) on 12 November 1941, of a lung ailment; that he played baseball under the name "Smith" while attending Kalamazoo State College; that he served in the US Army during The Great War; and that he played with the Browns until 1920.

Fred Burchell (baseball)

Frederick Duff (Fred) Burchell (July 14, 1879 – November 20, 1951) was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball for the Philadelphia Phillies (1903) and Boston Red Sox (1907–1909). Burchell batted right-handed and threw left-handed.

In a four-season career, Burchell posted a 13–15 record with 124 strikeouts and a 2.93 ERA in 285-2/3 innings pitched.

Burchell won ten games for the 1908 Boston Red Sox as part of a rotation that included Cy Young, Cy Morgan and Eddie Cicotte. He later played for several minor league teams and managed the Newark Bears in their 1926 inaugural season.

Lew Moren

Lewis Howard "Hicks" Moren (August 4, 1883 – November 2, 1966) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. He pitched six seasons from 1903 to 1910: two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and four seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1908, Moren was credited by the New York Press for inventing the knuckleball; however Eddie Cicotte is today more often cited as the inventor of the pitch. Moren retired with a career record of 48 wins, 57 losses, and a 2.95 earned run average.

Moren committed suicide in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania by slitting his throat.

List of Chicago White Sox nicknames

In the last 100-plus years, the Chicago White Sox have had many players with colorful and memorable nicknames from "Shoeless Joe" Jackson to "Old Aches & Pains" Appling, Minnie the "Cuban Comet" Minoso, "Little Louie" Aparicio, "Black Jack" McDowell, and Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas. These are some of the best.

Dick Allen: "Wampum"

Sandy Alomar: "Iron Pony"

Luis Aparicio: "Little Louie"

Luke Appling: "Fumblefoot" or "Kid Boots" or "Old Aches & Pains"

Cuke Barrows, Roland Barrows: "Cuke"

Bruno Block, James John Blochowicz: "Bruno"

Ken Boyer: "Cap" or "Captain"

Smoky Burgess, Forrest Harrill Burgess: "Smoky"

Iván Calderón: "Ivan The Terrible"

Norm Cash: "Stormin’ Norman"

Eddie Cicotte: "Knuckles"

Rocky Colavito, Rocco Colavito: "Rocky"

Eddie Collins: "Cocky"

José Contreras: "Commander"

Joe Crede: "Clutch Norris"

Bucky Dent, Russell Earl O’Day: "Bucky" or "Bucky 'Fucking' Dent"

Octavio Dotel: "Ol' Dirty"

Richard Dotson: "Dot"

Brian Downing: "Incredible Hulk"

Red Faber, Urban Clarence Faber: "Red"

Carlton Fisk: "Pudge"

Nellie Fox, Jacob Nelson Fox,: "Nellie", "Little Nel", or "The Mighty Mite"

Freddy García: "Chief"

Ralph Garr: "Road Runner"

Kid Gleason, William Gleason: "Kid"

Goose Gossage, Richard Michael Gossage: "Goose" or "The White Gorilla"

Craig Grebeck: "The Little Hurt"

Bo Jackson, Vincent Edward Jackson: "Bo"

Joe Jackson: "Shoeless Joe"

Bobby Jenks: "Big Bad Bobby Jenks"

Lance Johnson: "One Dog"

Ted Kluszewski: "Big Klu"

Paul Konerko: "Paulie"

Carlos Lee: "El Caballo"

Ted Lyons: "Sunday Teddy"

Jack McDowell: "Black Jack"

Catfish Metkovich, George Michael Metkovich: "Catfish"

Minnie Miñoso, Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Miñoso: "Minnie" or "The Cuban Comet"

Blue Moon Odom, Johnny Lee Odom: "Blue Moon"

Magglio Ordóñez: "El Caribe Mayor (The Caribbean Mayor)" or "Mags"

Tom Paciorek: "Wimpy"

Don Pall: "The Pope"

Herbert Perry: "The Milkman"

Bubba Phillips, John Melvin Phillips: "Bubba"

Billy Pierce: "Billy the Kid"

Scott Podsednik: "Pods"

Carlos Quentin: "TCQ"

Tim Raines: "Rock"

Alexei Ramírez: "The Cuban Missile"

Ray Schalk: "The Cracker"

Tom Seaver: "Tom Terrific"

Bill Skowron: "Moose"

Moose Solters, Julius Joseph Soltesz: "Moose" or "Lemons"

Nick Swisher: "Dirty Thirty"

Frank Thomas: "The Big Hurt"

Jim Thome: "Big Jimmy" or "Mr. Incredible"

Javier Vázquez: "The Silent Assassin"

Robin Ventura: "Batman"

Dayán Viciedo: "The Tank"

Ed Walsh: "Big Ed"

Skeeter Webb, James Laverne Webb: "Skeeter"

Hoyt Wilhelm: "Old Sarge"

Walt Williams: "No Neck"

Taffy Wright, Taft Shedron Wright:: "Taffy"

Early Wynn: "Gus"

Morrie Rath

Morris Charles "Morrie" Rath (December 25, 1886 – November 18, 1945) was an American baseball player. After attending Swarthmore College, he played second base for the Chicago White Sox and Cincinnati Reds in the 1910s. Rath was the batter hit by Eddie Cicotte in the 1919 World Series as Cicotte's signal to gamblers that the "fix was on" in that series. In an era before on-base percentage was a valued statistic, Rath was known for an ability to get on base by drawing bases on balls. His name was often reported as Maurice Rath.

Reb Russell

Ewell Albert "Reb" Russell (March 12, 1889 – September 30, 1973) was a Major League Baseball player for the Chicago White Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Russell was drafted by the White Sox as a pitcher in 1912. In his rookie season, his won-loss record was 22–16 and he led the league in games pitched, with 52. The lefty had a sterling 1.90 ERA while leading the team in innings pitched (316​2⁄3) and wins. Only Washington's ace Walter Johnson topped Reb’s eight shutouts, and Russell tied a record that still stands with five 1–0 victories in a season. In 1916, he was Chicago's opening day starter; that year he led the team in wins (18), innings (264​1⁄3), and shutouts (5), and led the league in fewest walks allowed per inning.

Russell helped the White Sox win the 1917 American League pennant, with a won-loss record of 15–5 and an ERA of 1.95. He was the starting pitcher of Game 5 of the 1917 World Series, but was unable to retire a batter and was replaced in the first inning by Eddie Cicotte.

Russell developed arm trouble in 1918 and, after a poor start, he was released by Chicago. However, in the minor leagues the decent-hitting Russell converted to playing the outfield and returned to the majors in 1922, playing for Pittsburgh. That year, he batted .368 with 12 home runs and 75 RBI in 60 games. He was released by the Pirates at the end of the 1923 season, after which he returned to the minor league American Association (the highest level of minor league play in his era). Russell remained a highly paid star in the AA through age 40, and won the league batting title (.385) when he was 38 years old.

Slim Sallee

Harry Franklin Sallee (February 3, 1885 – March 23, 1950) was a professional baseball player. He was a left-handed pitcher over parts of fourteen seasons (1908–1921) with the St. Louis Cardinals, New York Giants and Cincinnati Reds. For his career, he compiled a 174–143 record in 476 appearances, with a 2.56 earned run average and 836 strikeouts. In Cardinals' franchise history, Sallee ranks 3rd all-time in earned run average (2.67), 7th in innings pitched (1905.3), 8th in games started (215) and wins (106, tied with Adam Wainwright), and 7th in losses (107).

Sallee pitched in two World Series, both against the Chicago White Sox, and was a member of the victorious Reds in the infamous "Black Sox" 1919 World Series. He produced the best season of his career for the 1919 Reds, going 21–7 with a 2.06 earned run average. He lost a World Series to the White Sox as a member of the 1917 Giants, starting Game 1 and losing 2-1 to Sox ace Eddie Cicotte in Chicago, driving in his team's only run. In World Series play, Sallee compiled a 1–3 record in four appearances, with a 3.45 earned run average and six strikeouts. Also in 1919, Sallee became just the second pitcher (at that time) to have more wins than walks in a season. Christy Mathewson did it twice (1913, 1914) and Bret Saberhagen accomplished this feat in 1994 with the New York Mets.

Sallee was born and later died in Higginsport, Ohio at the age of 65. He was buried at Confidence Cemetery in Georgetown, Ohio.

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