The Black Sox baseball scandal took place in 1919 when several members of the Chicago White Sox, including legendary player "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, were found to have taken an intentional dive on that year's World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Though the accused players were eventually cleared of all charges, the scandal caused professional baseball officials to appoint the league's first commissioner.

In his new role as commissioner of a professional sport, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis saw an opportunity to redeem the public's opinion of professional baseball ethics. Though none of the eight players were successfully convicted of conspiracy, Landis banned them all from ever playing professional ball again. The players, who had been paid to throw a game they were highly favored to win, became known as the Black Sox due to the public's negative reaction to their seemingly lax ethics, which was seen as a sell-out of baseball's values and a permanent tarnish on the sport's good reputation. A century later, this event is still seen as one of the most major baseball scandals of all time.