Had Eddie Cicotte not agreed to throw the 1919 World Series (and not been banned from baseball as a result), he would have been remembered as one of the game’s greatest pitchers. He had a repertoire of deceptive pitches and used pinpoint control and psychology.
In 1917 at age 33, Cicotte led the AL with 28 wins and a 1.53 ERA. He dropped to 12-19 in 1918, but led again in 1919 with a 29-7 mark. He walked few and fielded expertly, and the only time he “beat himself,” he was paid $10,000 to do it. Though he took the bribe, he was not one of the disgruntled players at the core of the infamous “Black Sox.” He was unhappy with his salary as his career wound down, and he wanted to buy a farm for security. “I did it for the wife and kiddies,” he explained, but he had to work many years at Ford in Detroit before he could afford to retire.