Handling of Black Sox Scandal
In 2007, documents from the offices of Mayer, Meyer, Austrian and Platt – lawyers for White Sox owner Charles Comiskey – were purchased at auction by the Chicago History Museum. They were eventually made public and it sheds some light on how the said scandal was handled.
According to those documents, Comiskey’s attorney at the time was Alfred S. Austrian. A few weeks later in the aftermath of the 1919 World Series, Austrian reportedly summoned J. R. Hunter, a private investigator and owner of Hunter’s Secret Service of Illinois, to meet with him and with members of the aforementioned law firm. Said law firm directed Hunter to discover all that he could concerning specific White Sox players and that he was to report all findings back to Austrian himself.
Part of Hunter’s discovery during his investigation revealed that Jackson had reportedly written to Comiskey on November 15, 1919, offering to come to the Windy City and talk personally with him and discuss with “The Old Roman” about his knowledge of the rumors and speculation of a “fix” during the 1919 World Series.
Jackson never testified before the Cook County grand jury that was investigating “irregularities in baseball” in 1920, or that of the 1921 Black Sox trial that followed. He did, however, testify in 1924 at the civil trial that commenced when he sued Comiskey and the White Sox for breach of contract.
It was at the said civil trial that Jackson testified he tried to show Comiskey, immediately after the Series, the $5,000 in cash he supposedly received from White Sox pitcher Claude “Lefty” Williams. Jackson added that he asked about the money again when team representative Harry Grabiner visited him in Savannah, GA in the offseason to sign him for the 1920 baseball campaign.
What has yet to be made clear is whether Jackson was ever truly aware of what his role, if any, was to be in the Black Sox scandal.
If that seems odd being said on the surface, consider some these facts in Jackson’s favor.