The events of the series are often associated with the Black Sox Scandal, when several members of the Chicago franchise conspired with gamblers to throw World Series games.
The first game began at 3 PM that day at Cincinnati's Redland Field with Eddie Cicotte on the mound for Chicago, who failed to score in the top of the first inning, and 30,511 fans in the stands (with people outside the park paying at least $50 per ticket). In the bottom of that inning, Cicotte (who was paid his $10,000 the night before the series began) hit the lead-off hitter, Morrie Rath, in the back with just his second pitch, a prearranged signal to Arnold Rothstein that the game was going to be thrown. Despite this, the game remained close for a while, due in part to some excellent defense from the conspirators, who did not wish to bring suspicion on themselves. In the fourth, however, Cicotte gave up a sequence of hits, including a two-out triple to the opposing pitcher, as the Reds scored five times to break a 1–1 tie. Cicotte was replaced by a relief pitcher, but the damage was done, and the Reds triumphed 9–1.
By the evening of that day, there were already signs that things were going wrong. Only Cicotte, who had shrewdly demanded his $10,000 in advance, had been paid. Burns and Maharg met with Abe Attell, a former world boxing champion who acted as intermediary for Rothstein, but he did not provide the next installment ($20,000), wanting to place it out on bets for the next game. The next morning Gandil met Attell and again demanded their money. Again, the players went unpaid.