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EIGHT MEN OUT The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series <i> by Eliot Asinof (Henry Holt: $9.95) </i>

A classic account of the infamous Chicago Black Sox scandal, when eight members of the highly favored American League Chicago baseball team conspired with gamblers to throw the 1919 World Series to National League’s Cincinnati Reds.

First published 25 years ago, and the result of copious research and interviews with the Black Sox players, “Eight Men Out” tells the story of the downfall of one of the most powerful baseball lineups ever assembled in one field. Outfielder Joe Jackson was one of baseball’s early superstars, the second best hitter in the league, after Ty Cobb; pitcher Eddie Cicotte had been a 29-game winner. Disgruntled and believing themselves exploited by the team’s owner, Charles Comiskey, the players were an easy mark for the emissaries of sports fixer Arnold Rothstein.

In the end, the conspiracy exploded and the players were put on trial. Though acquitted, they were suspended from baseball and never played again.

Reissued, and with an extraordinary introduction by Stephen Jay Gould, “Eight Men Out” is the basis for the John Sayles movie of the same name.

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