Baseball appeared early enough in history that it has evolved right along with the rest of America. The faces of the game have shifted across time, but one of the few mainstays of its entire existence is that since the beginning of it all, we’ve been talking about its integrity.
In November 1919, a coven of major league owners declared war on American League president Ban Johnson, with White Sox owner Charles Comiskey writing, “We have reached the conclusion that Mr. Johnson is endangering not only the value of our properties, but the integrity of baseball…” (Philadelphia Inquirer, November 22, 1919)
Five years later in 1924, it was Johnson’s turn to point baseball’s innocence like an index finger, as he insisted upon a federal investigation after some attempted bribery between players, saying the misconduct was a “menace to the integrity of baseball.” (The Associated Press, October 3, 1924)
Peter Ueberroth said it before he stepped into the commissioner’s office: “Baseball has more integrity than any other game.” His successor, A. Bartlet Giamatti, brought it up a lot when talking-but-not-talking about Pete Rose. Bud Selig kept saying it, until the…