Thursday, June 12, 2008

Eliot Asinof, Rest in Peace

From the NYT obituary:

Eliot Asinof, whose journalistic re-creation of the 1919 Black Sox scandal, “Eight Men Out,” became a classic of both baseball literature and narrative nonfiction, died Tuesday in Hudson, N.Y. He was 88 and lived in Ancramdale, N.Y.

Eight Men Out was one of the best books on sports I've ever read. It's an absolute must read for fans of baseball; this is the episode that changed the game in fundamental ways and certainly inaugerated the era of modern baseball (with all the good and bad that has brought). More from the NYT:

The book is an exhaustively reported and slightly fictionalized account of how eight members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox allowed their anger at the parsimonious team owner, Charles Comiskey, to corrupt their integrity, leading them to welcome the overtures of gamblers, who persuaded them to throw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. A seminal event in the history of the game, it led to the appointment of the first baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis.

Mr. Asinof spent nearly three years researching the book, including interviewing the two members of the team, Joe Jackson and Happy Feltsch, who were still alive. In the end, “Eight Men Out” was a book that made plain the connection between sport and money and between sport and the underworld. “Here is the underbelly of baseball vividly dissected,” said Fay Vincent, the former baseball commissioner.

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