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Joseph J. Sullivan
Born 1870
Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Nationality United States
Other names Sport Sullivan
Occupation Gambler
Known for Black Sox Scandal

Joseph J. "Sport" Sullivan (1870-?) was an American bookmaker and gambler from Boston, Massachusetts who helped to initiate the 1919 Black Sox Scandal.

Sullivan was a known gambler in the Boston area who reportedly bet heavily on the 1903 World Series[1] and was arrested for gambling on baseball in 1907[2]. In 1919, Sullivan was living in the Boston suburb of Sharon, Massachusetts. In September 1919, Sullivan met with Chicago White Sox' first baseman Charles Arnold 'Chick' Gandil at Boston's Hotel Buckminster and conspired with Gandil to perpetrate a fix of the the 1919 World Series.[3] It has been disputed which of the two men initiated the meeting. Gandil had known Sullivan since 1912, and he later maintained that Sullivan approached him concerning the plot to throw the series.[4] At Sullivan's suggestion, Gandil recruited several teammates to intentionally lose the games. Sullivan met with noted organized crime boss Arnold Rothstein, who agreed to bankroll the fix for $80,000. Rothstein provided an initial $40,000 for Sullivan to distribute to the involved players, however Sullivan kept $30,000 for his own wagering and gave only $10,000 to Gandil.[5]

After the scheme had been exposed, Sullivan testified in front of the Chicago grand jury hearing in October 1920 and was later indicted on nine counts of conspiracy to defraud. Before the trial in August 1921, Sullivan reportedly was paid by Rothstein to flee to Mexico.[5] Sullivan was never arrested nor appeared at the trial which ended in an acquittal for all the defendants.[6]

Sullivan's life was dramatized in Brendan Boyd's 1991 historical fiction Blue Ruin: A Novel of the 1919 World Series which retells the Black Sox Scandal through Sullivan's narration.[7][8]


  1. ^ The Boston Globe, October 13 1903
  2. ^ The Boston Globe, July 10 1907
  3. ^ Eliot Asinof, Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series, Holt, (May 1, 2000), pp6-8
  4. ^ Daniel A. Nathan, Saying It's So: A Cultural History of the Black Sox Scandal, University of Illinois Press, 2006, p114 ISBN 0252073134
  5. ^ a b Linder, Douglas "The Black Sox Trial: An Account", University of Missouri - Kansas City Law School, 2001
  6. ^ "White Sox Players are All Acquitted by Chicago Jury", The New York Times, August 3 1921
  7. ^ Brendan C Boyd, Blue ruin : a novel of the 1919 World Series, Norton, 1991, ISBN 0393030202
  8. ^ Daniel A. Nathan, Saying it's so: a cultural history of the Black Sox scandal, University of Illinois Press (2002), p.164




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