Baseball Gods in Scandal: Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, and the Dutch Leonard Affair

Not Rated Yet Author: Ian S. Kahanowitz Email
Baseball Gods
Print: $19.99
ISBN 978-1-938545-87-0
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On September 25, 1919, a seemingly meaningless game was played between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians, a game that should have faded to a tiny line item on MLB’s historical ledger.

But Herbert "Dutch" Leonard had other ideas, and nearly seven years later the at-times brilliant and always irratic left-hand pitcher presented letters written by Ty Cobb and Smoky Joe Wood to baseball's powers that be, implicating the Baseball Gods in the fixing of and wagering on that game. Leonard's actions set off a chain of accusations, denials, resignations, player transactions, and a power struggle at the top of baseball’s power hierarchy that would change the game forever.

Baseball Gods in Scandal is three stories in one, and author Ian Kahanowitz tells them all with the art of a storyteller and the precision of an historian:

  • The pervasiveness of gambling and crooked dealings in the early days of baseball, all the way through to the Black Sox Scandal
  • The relationship between the affair’s complex protagonists—Cobb, Tris Speaker, Smoky Joe Wood, and Dutch Leonard—with detailed profiles and ample color from baseball’s rough-and-tumble Dead Ball Era
  • The epic battle for control of the game between the long-time Czar of Baseball, Ban Johnson, and the game’s new sheriff in town, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who cared not to share even a whiff of power with anyone

Capping off Baseball Gods in Scandal is a never-before-published interview with Smoky Joe Wood (told to Lawrence Ritter for The Glory of Their Times) in which Wood recounts a very different version of the affair from his original testimony.

It is safe to say that had Wood's original testimony been consistent with his revised account, the fates of Baseball Gods Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker may have turned out very differently.

  1. Baseball’s Dirty Not-so-Little Secret
  2. The Scandal Unfolds
  3. Dutch Leonard Grinds His Axes
  4. The Curious Case of Dutch Leonard
  5. Ty Cobb: The Tiger is Bitten
  6. Cobb’s Testimony to Landis
  7. Cobb: The Aftermath
  8. Tris Speaker: The Gray Eagle Soars
  9. Tris Speaker the Manager
  10. Tris Speaker and the Dutch Leonard Affair
  11. Joe Wood: The Man in the Middle
  12. The Czar of Baseball and the Judge
  13. Johnson Loses His Grip
  14. The Making of Kenesaw Mountain Landis
  15. The Demise of Ban Johnson and Rise of Kenesaw Landis
  16. Johnson’s and Landis’s Battles, 1920-1926
  17. The Battle Over the Cobb-Speaker and Risberg-Gandil Cases
  18. The Judge Rules, Johnson Gets Knocked Out, and Baseball Is Changed Forever
  19. Smoky Joe Wood—On and Off the Record
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