Happy Felsch

Broad and powerful, Felsch was a natural at playing the game. A superb centerfielder with exceptional range and a rifle arm, Felsch still shares the records for double plays by an outfielder in a season (15) and assists in a game (4). Warm, smiling, and amiable, he loved silly riddles, whiskey, ribald jokes, and playing baseball.

On the White Sox, the fun-loving Felsch gravitated to the more raucous members of the team, who included the ringleaders of the Black Sox conspiracy. Years later, Felsch told author Eliot Asinof, “There was so much crookedness around, you sort of fell into it. I was dumb, all right. We started out talking about all the big money we would take, like a bunch of kids pretending to be big shots. I never really believed it would happen … and the next thing we knew, we were all tied up in it.” Once he agreed to the sinister plot, this simple man found himself in a situation he couldn’t control. The gamblers had a hold on him. Through threats, they forced him to throw more games during the 1920 season.

When the Black Sox scandal came out and he was barred from baseball, he was just emerging as a top power hitter, with 14 home runs in 1920.