Gripping account of the 1919 "Black Sox" baseball scandal, when eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of "fixing" the World Series. Working from one-time Philadelphia Phillies farmhand Asinof's assiduously researched book, writer-director Sayles has fashioned a convincing
account of the scandal, underlaid with an unconventional (by Hollywood standards) workers-vs.-owners critique.
Sayles not only depicts the circumstances that led to the fix (most notably Sox owner Charles Comiskey's legendary tightfistedness), but he also re-creates the games in great detail, making the best possible use of an athletic cast tutored by former White Sox outfielder Ken Berry. Among the
players Sayles concentrates on are: pitcher Eddie Cicotte (David Strathairn); third baseman Buck Weaver (Cusack), who spent the rest of his life protesting his innocence; and the legendary "Shoeless" Joe Jackson (D.B. Sweeney, whose own baseball career was ended by a motorcycle accident and who
spent five weeks with the minor-league Kenosha Twins learning to bat left-handed for the role). The fine ensemble cast also includes Chicago journalist Studs Terkel, as sportswriter Hugh Fullerton, and Sayles himself, as Ring Lardner. leave a comment