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Charles Comiskey
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Sports Executive
    (August 15, 1859-October 26, 1931)
    Born in Chicago, Illinois
    Baseball player, manager and team owner
    First baseman for the St. Louis Browns (1882-89,1891), Chicago Pirates (1890) and Cincinnati Reds (1892-94)
    .264 batting average, 1530 hits, 29 home runs
    Managed the St. Louis Browns (1883-89,1891), Chicago Pirates (1890) and Cincinnati Reds (1892-94)
    840-541 win-loss record
    Bought the Western League's St. Paul Saints (1894)
    Moved the team to Chicago, renamed it the White Sox and joined the American League (1900)
    Remained team owner until his death
    Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (1939)
    As owner, he took full advantage of baseball's reserve clause to pay his stars less than they could have gotten from other teams.
    His team was nicknamed the 'Black Sox' even before they threw the 1919 World Series because they sometimes had to play in dirty uniforms that he refused to pay to launder.
    He offered pitcher Eddie Cicotte a $10,000 bonus if he won 30 games a season. When Cicotte got his 29th win, Comiskey benched him for the remaining three weeks of the 1919 season.
    When rumors that the 1919 World Series had been fixed began spreading, he offered a $20,000 reward for information.
    However, when White Sox players Joe Gedeon and Shoeless Joe Jackson tried to tell him what they knew, he turned them away.
    After pinching pennies on their salaries, he hired the best lawyers money could buy to defend the eight players accused of throwing the Series in hopes of keeping his team from being gutted if the players were convicted.
    Each year, he gave away 75,000 tickets to Chicago schoolkids.
    He gave away 250,000 tickets to servicemen during World War I.
    He donated 10% of gate receipts to the American Red Cross (1917).
    When it rained, he allowed fans from the 25-cent bleachers to enter the higher-priced sheltered sections without extra charge, noting 'Those bleacherites made this big new park possible.'
    The lawyers he hired got the accused Black Sox off legally, but Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis banned the players anyway.
    He called baseball 'the only game that is complicated enough to be always interesting and yet simple enough to be always understood.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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