Black Sox (1920)

The term was used to described the White Sox scandal in a story that appeared in several papers on October 4, 1920. 

  • “Harvey McClellan, who is taking ‘Swede’ Risberg’s place as White Sox shortstop, declared tonight that he and Byrd Lynn saw the ‘black’ Sox throw away three games at Boston on the last trip east.” Chicago Tribune, October 4, 1920, p19
    • NOTE: Refers to some of the since suspended players throwing games in the 1920 season, not just the 1919 World Series. Dateline is October 3rd. Other papers this appeared in include the New York Daily News (Headline: “Say ‘Black’ Sox Threw Boston Games”), Oregon Daily Tribune (Headline: “”‘Black Socks’ Played Board Say Recruits”), and Baltimore Sun

Previous earliest use (Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition, 2009):
No first use given. The Dictionary notes that, in addition to being applied to the 1919 White Sox, it was the nickname for various Baltimore franchises in the Negro leagues between 1923 and 1934. 

Note: The name Black Sox was used for many teams before it was used for the Baltimore Negro leagues teams. These included:

  • An African American team in St. Louis in the 1870s and 1880s. 
  • A white team in Chicago in 1888
  • A team in Omaha in 1890 
  • The Montgomery (AL) Black Sox in the Southern Association in the 1900s  
    (Ken Liss)