In The Great Gatsby, the 1919 World Series is mentioned in the 4th chapter. This is when Nick meets Mr. Meyer Wolfsheim. Nick has lunch with him an and Gatsby. During this lunch Nick is curious as to what Mr. Wolfsheim does and Gatsby told him he was responsible for fixing the 1919 World Series.
“The idea staggered me. I remembered, of course, that the World’s Series had been fixed in 1919, but if I had thought of it at all I would have thought of it as a thing that merely happened, the end of an inevitable chain.The Great Gatsby, F scott Fitzgerald
The 1919 World’s Series was between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. This series became known as the ‘Black Sox Scandal’ because the Chicago White Sox teamed up with gamblers to fix the series and make a profit. The leader of this operation is said to be Arnold Rothstein (do we really think the Jewish names are a coincidence). They charged eight White Sox players with fixing the series (Andrews). Anyways, the public found out a year later and everyone was way mad. In response to the whole scandal, they hired a Commissioner of Baseball to hopefully prevent it from happening again.
In the time that Fitzgerald was writing The Great Gatsby the ‘Black Sox Scandal’ would’ve been fresh news, a common shared cultural development. It would have been something that most every American reading it in the 1920’s would have a basic knowledge of, or they were at least aware that it happened. Most people now don’t pay much attention to the 1919 World’s Series (and completely understandable). I suppose it would be similar in ways to the Astro’s cheating scandal of 2017 and 2018. I just think it’s interesting how something has lost historical significance as time has past, yet The Great Gatsby, the book it was referenced in, has not.
Andrews, Evan. “What Was the 1919 ‘Black Sox’ Baseball Scandal?” HISTORY, 9 Oct. 2014, www.history.com/news/black-sox-baseball-scandal-1919-world-series-chicago.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. The Great Gatsby. Harmondsworth, Penguin Books, 10 Apr. 1925.