The big league careers of the Black Sox players ended in 1920, but that didn’t mean they couldn’t play baseball and get paid to do it.
Several players including Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, Chick Gandil and Oscar “Happy “ Felsch continued playing throughout the 1920s following their banishment by commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis. Felsch, in fact, was still swinging a bat in the 1930s, as evidenced by the RMY Auctions Photo of the Day.
The original news photo captures the 40-year-old Felsch on a diamond in his hometown of Milwaukee, where he was playing for a local semi-pro team sponsored by a pool hall.
Many of the Sox had little or no education or other skills to fall back on following the 1919 World Series scandal that cost them their livelihood. Many traveled hundreds of miles for a meager paycheck. Others continued playing as long as they could simply for the love of the game and whatever pay they could muster from an association with the game.
In his last year with the Sox prior to Landis’ ironclad ruling that ended a brilliant career, Felsch hit .338 and was still considered one of the American League’s best defensive outfielders. He then embarked on a 15-year journey of playing semi-pro and amateur baseball, much of it for teams based in Montana and Saskatchewan. He operated bars and a grocery store before dying of a liver ailment in 1964 just prior to his 73rd birthday.
The 8×10 photo still includes the full paper caption on the back and is stamped with the markings from NEA and Acme photo services. It’s one of more than 1,700 photos up for bid through Saturday at RMYAuctions.com.