Burying the Black Sox: How Baseball's Cover-Up of the 1919 World Series Fix Almost Succeededby Gene Carney
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Most fans today know that gamblers and ballplayers conspired to "fix" the 1919 World Series-the Black Sox Scandal. It has been touched upon in classic works of sports history such as Eliot Asinof's Eight Men Out, referred to in literary classics like W. P. Kinsella's Shoeless Joe, and has been central to two of the best baseball movies ever made, John Sayles's Eight Men Out and Phil Robinson's Field of Dreams.
Many, however, would be surprised to learn that it took nearly a year to uncover the fix. Burying the Black Sox is the first book to focus on the cover-up that kept the fix from the American public until almost another whole baseball season was played, and to examine in detail the way events unfolded as the deception was unraveled. Unlike Eliot Asinof in Eight Men Out, previously the definitive book on the subject, Carney thoroughly documents his information and brings together evidence from a wide variety of sources, many not available to Asinof or more recent writers.
In Burying the Black Sox, Gene Carney reveals what else happened and answers the questions that fascinate any baseball fan wondering about baseball's original dilemma over guilt and innocence. Who else in baseball knew that the fix was in? When did they know? And what did they do about it? Carney explores how Charles Comiskey, the owner of the White Sox, and his fellow owners tried to bury the incident and control the damage, how the conspiracy failed, and how "Shoeless" Joe Jackson attempted to clear his name. He uses primary research materials that weren't available when Asinof wrote Eight Men Out, including the 1920 grand jury statements by Jackson and pitcher Eddie Cicotte, the diary of Comiskey's secretary, and the transcripts of Jackson's 1924 suit against the Sox for back pay. Where Asinof told the story of the eight "Black Sox," Carney explains the baseball industry's uncertain response to the scandal.
"A must read for any baseball fan. Gene Carney is truly the reigning expert on the subject of the most famous event in the 137 year history of American MLB - the1919 "Black Sox" World Series. It is a mystery that just won't go away. If you want to learn how the business of baseball works, how the media is intertwined, and how the owners, managers and public officials conspired to create the "version" of this event that we all believe today, this is a must read for you."
"Burying the Black Sox: How Baseball's Cover-Up of the 1919 World Series Fix Almost Succeeded is a 363-page master's thesis-quality look at what remains baseball's biggest scandal. Carney criticizes such famous writers as Jerome Holtzman, the official historian of Major League Baseball, for his interpretation of the transcripts of the 1924 trial in which former Sox star Shoeless Joe Jackson sued his former team for back pay. Thanks to Carney, we now have the definitive Black Sox source book in black and white."
“…Carney has broadened the context for the discussion…This is a fruitful line of analysis, and we can only hope that future writers in this field follow their welcome examples.”
"Aiming to supersede Eliot Asinof's Eight Men Out, veteran baseball researcher Carney unpacks the history of the scandal to reveal new sources and new elements to the tale. Asking who knew what about the fix, when they knew it, and what they did about it, he answers with a fully documented study of scandal and cover-up that should prove essential for all baseball collections."
"It is startling to think that immutable baseball history you've 'known' since childhood is nothing more than a pile of unconnected errors. Gene Carney has convinced me: few of us know a thing about the 1919 World Series, and that if Joe Jackson and his colleagues committed any crimes, they paled in comparison to the cover-up effected by the game's management. And all that is particularly evocative and relevant today, as we try to figure out if the game's management is trying to expose the use of performance-enhancing drugs or hide the evidence of it."
"If you think you know the story of the 'Black Sox Scandal,' think again and start reading. This thoroughly researched and well-balanced account goes well beyond anything that has ever been written about it before. Gene Carney has done a world championship job."
"I thought that I knew everything about the Black Sox Scandal until I read this book. Gene Carney has not entirely solved the puzzle; nobody possibly could. But thanks to his detective work we have a lot more of the pieces and a fuller picture of what occurred both during the 1919 World Series and, equally significantly, during the cover-up that followed."
"[Carney] assembles an impressive range of perspectives on each question about the incident. . . . Extensive research and thorough documentation will make this a valuable resource. . . ."
"More good stories than you can count . . . And it's more challenging insight than you've ever read on Shoeless Joe and the Black Sox. . . . If you're at all serious about baseball, it's a must-read."
"If you read only one book on the 1919 World Series, it should be Burying the Black Sox. . . . an actual page-turner."
"[The author] has done yeoman's work in assembling his research. . . . This volume is worth the price. . . ."
"Sheds new light on the plight of 'Shoeless Joe' Jackson. . . . Worth the commissioner's attention in what little spare time he finds these days. . . . Selig might feel compelled to reexamine the lifetime ban. . . ."
"The best, most researched, most enjoyable research I have ever seen on the Black Sox. Anyone remotely interested in the subject has to read Burying the Black Sox. It is the best!"
"Carney has created the definitive study on the scandal in Burying the Black Sox."
"Carney's book is carefull researched and well documented; he probably knows more about the 1919 World Series than anyone. It succeeds in correcting myths long believed by writers and fans who have too casually accepted uncorroborated accounts of the 1919 World Series' many tangled events."
"[Carney] has taken an incident which is really a tapestry of smaller, often unconnected events, twirled them around in his mind, analyzed them from every angle, and done the best job yet of solving a semmingly unsolvable puzzle. He has done this by uncompromisingly thorough research, as he literally discusses almost everything written or said about baseball's most intriguing event and yet keeps it highly readable...well worth one's time."
"This is a must read for any fan interested in the Black Sox Scandal story. Gene Carney has done his research and the book speaks for itself...I have been researching Joe Jackson and the Black Sox Scandal for over 22 years, and this is the very best book to date on the true story of the fix....If you only have time to read one book on the Black Sox Scandal, you must read this one!"
"...[O]ne of the best pieces of baseball research to come along in quite a while."
"One of the most notorious events in baseball history—the "fixing" of the 1919 World Series by the Chicago White Sox (Black Sox ever afterward)—gets a thorough and overdue revisionist examination by a Utica, N.Y. writer. Carney goes far beyond the traditional "Eight Men Out" (book and film of the same title), especially in his account of baseball's initial attempt to cover up the World Series scandal."
"...Numerous books, films, and documentaries have been produced on the topic, but Carney's newest tome delves into the subject unlike any other...has shed new light on this great mystery of baseball."
"How do you describe a book once you pick it up, you find it's hard to put it down. That's Burying the Black Sox. This book will be a future reference book. A 21-gun salute is in order!"
"I have read the book and salute [Gene Carney] for an extraordinary job of research. He not only covered every angle, but every angle on every angle."
"Gene Carney has done a first-rate job not only mining previous research but finding new material on baseball's blackest moment. While he concedes that not everything will ever be known about the scandal, given the difficulties of time and memory, this book reads with authority. Its special strength, as the title hints, is in the detail about organized baseball's attempt to bury the scandal. Thanks to Carney, more of this part of the story is now known than ever before. Highly recommended,"
"...[T]here is no doubt that this book was extremely well-researched. [Carney] does a good job of separating fact from fiction, giving credit to other sources where it is due and correcting misinformation that was previously published."
"For any baseball fan with an interest in this black spot on baseball's history, this is a must-read. Gene Carney 'hits a home run' in exposing the Black Sox scandal for the complex phenomenon that it was."
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Meet the Author
Gene Carney has written about baseball since 1989. He is the author of Romancing the Horsehide: Baseball Poems on Players and the Game and numerous articles, reviews, poems, essays, and short fiction in publications ranging from USA Today's Baseball Weekly to academic journals and small magazines. Since 1993 he has edited "Notes from the Shadows of Cooperstown," which moved to the Internet in 1999. A member of SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research) since 1991, Carney headed a panel on the 1919 World Series at the 2004 national SABR convention, appeared on ESPN programming regarding the Black Sox in June 2005. He lives in Utica, New York.
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