Charles Albert Comiskey (1859-1931) was a former Major League baseball player and executive who owned the Chicago White Sox. Comiskey was also a key figure in the creation of the American League. “The Old Roman” entered the baseball world in 1882 as a member of the St. Louis Brown Stockings of the American Association, eventually becoming the team manager. Following several seasons in St. Louis (1882-1889), Comiskey managed and played with the Chicago Pirates (1890) of the short-lived Players’ League, as well as two big league squads -- St. Louis Browns (1891), and Cincinnati Reds (1892-1894). He had compiled a .264 batting average with 29 homers, 883 RBI, and 419 stolen bases, along with a managerial record of 839-542.
Comiskey is better remembered as owner of the Chicago White Sox, a team he purchased in 1900 and owned until his 1931 death. Comiskey oversaw building the team’s ballpark, dubbed Comiskey Park, in 1910 and won several American League championships and two World Series titles. Many revered him for his contribution of $750,000 toward the park’s construction and such altruistic ventures as providing hundreds of thousands of free grandstand tickets to schoolchildren and servicemen, and donating a percentage of his gate receipts during World War I to the Red Cross. However, his reputation was permanently tarnished by his team's involvement in the “Black Sox Scandal” in which several of his players banded together to “throw” the 1919 World Series. Viewed as stingy by his players (many of whom were grossly underpaid despite their talents), Comiskey was supposedly well known in the league for his many “cost-cutting” endeavors including failing to reimburse players for their laundry bills and travel expenses. Despite the allegations and his team’s disgrace in 1919, Comiskey was inducted as an executive into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939.