Josh Evans of Lelands.com, announced they would pay $1 million to anyone who can step up to the plate and bring to the National Sports Collectors Convention the actual signed confessions from the 1919 Black Sox World Series scandal, in which members of the heavily favored Chicago White Sox conspired with gamblers to intentionally lose the Series to the Cincinnati Reds. The person must bring the still-missing confessions to the Lelands.com booth at the convention, which is being held in Chicago, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, from July 31-Aug. 4.
The offer comes on the heels of the only known ring from the Black Sox Series – presented to Reds manager Pat Moran – selling for $166,102 as part of the Lelands.com 2013 Spring Catalog Auction.
In the most famous scandal in baseball history, eight players from the White Sox – “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Claude “Lefty” Williams, Buck Weaver, Arnold “Chick” Gandil, Fred McMullin, Charles “Swede” Risberg and Oscar “Happy” Felsch – were accused of fixing the 1919 World Series, which the Reds won five games to three.
The players, who became known as the “Black Sox,” were indicted on criminal charges the following year, and they signed confessions detailing their involvement in the fix. However, just before the start of the trial, the confessions mysteriously disappeared from the district attorney’s office.
Without the confessions, as well as a lack of evidence, the case fell apart, and all eight players were found innocent. Despite the acquittal, all eight were banned from baseball for life in 1921 by the game’s first commissioner, Kennesaw Mountain Landis.
“The Black Sox confessions are the Dead Sea Scrolls of baseball,” said Josh Evans, founder and chairman of Lelands.com. “Finding them would close the darkest chapter in baseball history.”