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On This Day With The Chicago Gamblers

May 24th, 1920 Chicago Cubs vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Rewinding the clock over 100 years, today, we take you to Chicago, when the Chicago Cubs took on the Philadelphia Phillies in old Cubs Park.

A brief history on what is now called Wrigley Field, Weeghman Park was built in 1914 and the Cubs moved to the stadium in 1916.  The Wrigley Family purchased the team in 1920, and the park was then called Cubs Park.  Six years later, in 1926, the park was renamed Wrigley Field.

That’s enough history on the park, let's get back to May 24th, 1920 and discuss what happened on that day inside Cubs Park.

The game itself was rather uneventful.  The Cubs would win by a score of 6-0, totaling nine hits, two triples, and no home runs on the day.

But the game is not the topic of this day in baseball.  On this day, the action was happening in the stands.

Before we get there, we need to fill you in on what happened in 1919, which may have contributed to what happened on May 24th, 1920.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox lost the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds in what was believed to be a purposefully thrown series in exchange for money from an organized gambling ring.  The scandal has since been known as The Black Sox Scandal.

That takes us to 1920 at Cubs Park.

With the recent memory of gambling and throwing games weighing on the minds of management, the Cubs planted several undercover law enforcement agents in the bleachers for a staged raid against gamblers.

After the first inning, there were 47 gamblers arrested and carted away from the stadium down to the local police station.  The majority of those arrested were not professional gamblers, but fans looking to make small bets with one another for added fun during the game.  This didn’t matter the Cubs president, William Veeck, Sr., he was ready to ban them all from Cubs Park.

On the next day, the Chicago Daily Tribune headlined the event, “Cubs Park Raided 47 Bettors Are Jailed.”


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