A Review of Eight Men Out
By: Eliot Asinof
The time was the fall of 1919, the country lye on the doorstep of what was to be known as the roaring twenties, a time best described as when the country lost its innocence, a time when a people discovered the pleasures of sin. In 1919, the U.S. has just come out of World War I, at that time known as The Great War. Our service men had went overseas for long periods of time, and spent that time among cultures it had never seen, consequently bringing back part of it when they came home. This was a time of disruption in the country, the world had changed. It was now evident that man was capable of atrocities that could end the human race, and wars that could span long years and cost many lives. But the country could always rely on one thing, Baseball. The national pastime as it was called; heroes waged war on the diamond and were still seen as gentleman. The last great bastion of dignity, this grand old lady of baseball. But in the fall of 1919, that all changed, because of a team then known as the Chicago White Sox, now known as the Black Sox. Because, much like the service men who returned after World War I, eight men on this club discovered the pleasures of sin and wrong doing. This event in U.S. history is described in many books, and articles, but none as in depth and masterful as the book entitled Eight Men Out, The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series, by Eliot Asinof.
The book begins in Chicago in the fall of 1919. It describes the excitement that filled the air, almost like an electricity that permeated the minds and conversations of almost the whole city, and this was due to one thing Chicago's own White Sox. A team which many had described as the best team to ever take the field. A team who could not be beat, a team whose trip to the World Series was imminent and even more imminent than that was their victory over the Reds. People piled into the stadium to see the Sox finish off their quest for the series, and as always everybody knew that the powerhouse Sox would win in easy fashion especially considering that Eddie Cicotte was pitching that day. Eddie Cicotte was an aging right hander, whose arm hurt more and more everyday, and whose wallet was getting smaller and smaller everyday, because of the tight purse springs of the man known as "The Old Roman," Charles Albert Comiskey. The man who consequently the ballpark the White Sox play in today is named after. But Eddie had been virtually un-hittable that season with a record of 29 wins and 7 losses, "Knuckler" as he was known would dance that knuckleball up to the plate and all the hitter could do was pray God was on his side and he'd make contact. Behind the plate was Ray Schalk, the team fire plug, always hollering, always intense. Not only was Cicotte pitching that day, but the greatest infield ever assembled was there to back him up, everybody's all-American was playing third base old George "Buck" Weaver, one of those players who was never blessed with all the talent but played hard, and hated to win, a gamer, and a town favorite. He was cat-quick robbing players of hits all game long, and laughing the whole time. They had big "Swede" Risberg at short who could tell by the pitch where the ball was going, he took away the middle of the field because nobody moved to their left like "Swede." At second base was Eddie Collins, a fielder who was smooth as silk who made plays that left the fans in the stands with their jaws on the ground. Finishing off the infield was "Chick" Gandil at first a huge man with hands like iron, he was said to be able to play with out a glove his hands were so hard. Also they Oscar "Happy" Felsh playing center field who could catch anything, and who would run through a wall doing it. "Shano" Collins was in right who could hit, run, and throw with anybody in the league. Finally, there stood in left field a man to this day is said to be the best all-around ball...
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