You know the names.
Joe Jackson. Hap Felsch. Swede Risberg. Eddie Cicotte.
But one name often forgotten in discussion of the 1919 Black Sox scandal is Morris Rath. The Cincinnati Reds’ infielder has a story of his own and a rare photo showing him at the plate during that infamous season is our Photo of the Day from RMY Auctions.
Rath was the leadoff batter in the 1919 World Series, who was plunked by Cicotte’s second pitch of Game One on October 1 as a signal to gamblers that the fix was in. He advanced to third and scored the first run of the tainted Series on a sacrifice fly by Heinie Groh.
The original 8×10 photo was taken by legendary photographer Charles Conlon and is one of over 1,200 vintage photographs up for auction. The exact date of the photo isn’t known.
Interestingly, Rath was once part of a trade involving the rights to Jackson. In 1910, with future Hall of Famer Eddie Collins manning second base, Connie Mack dealt Rath and the rights to Jackson to the Cleveland Naps for outfielder Bris Lord.
Rath was one of a small number college graduates playing in the major leagues at the time. He got his own baseball card when he appeared in the 1912 T207 set. His career had been a series of ups and downs before the Reds finally handed him the second base starting job following a one year hitch in the Navy during World War I. The Cincinnati Post called him a “lead-off man extraordinary.” In the ’19 Series, he had an on-base percentage of .333 with a pair of stolen bases.
However, after one more big league season in 1920, Rath was back in the minor leagues to stay. He committed suicide while battling health problems in his native Philadelphia 70 years ago this month.
To register and bid in the auction, visit RMYAuctions.com.