The Chicago White Sox were the team to beat in the 1919 World Series. They had Shoeless Joe Jackson, not to mention such great starting pitchers as Lefty Williams and Eddie Cicotte. It therefore came as a greater surprise when they received a resounding thrashing by the Cincinnati Reds, who, while a decent team, had played nowhere near as well during the baseball season. Even stranger, the loss could be attributed to a number of odd fielding choices and inexplicable errors on the part of the White Sox.
Rumors began to crop up, and a grand jury was eventually summoned to investigate the incident. It didn’t take long for two of the players, specifically Cicotte and Jackson, to confess their involvement in the matter. They stated that the team had agreed to throw the series on the behalf of professional gamblers in exchange for $100,000. They also protested that they had very little to do with the matter, and had mostly succumbed to peer pressure (everyone else was doing it!) and implied threats against their families by Swede Risberg, the shortstop for the team.
Somewhat surprisingly, all eight of the players involved were found innocent, but this was mostly due to key pieces of evidence (including the signed confessions) disappearing during the trial. Major League Baseball was nowhere as near forgiving, and the commissioner banned all of the individuals from playing baseball for the remainder of their lives. Shoeless Joe Jackson ended up working in a liquor store, though he would later relocate to a cornfield in Iowa.