Courts of law are designed to render verdicts of guilt or innocence. However, in some instances, punishments can be meted out despite the findings of a court. In 1919 the results of the baseball World Series yielded just such a result. In that year the dynamic Chicago White Sox lost to the upstart Cincinnati Reds. Led by such stars as Shoeless Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Buck Weaver, and Lefty Williams, the Sox were odds-on favorites to carry the day. Yet, through a series of unexpectedly poor performances by their star players, the White Sox lost. Eventually, investigations uncovered a plot on the part of a cadre of Sox players to throw the World Series as part of a gambling "fix." Eight of them, then renamed "Black Sox," were indicted and put on trial. The trial resulted in a verdict of innocent despite the fact that a number of the eight players had confessed to the "fix." Following the trial the newly appointed Commissioner of Major League Baseball, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis, suspended all eight players for life. Thus ended the careers of several men who may or may not have participated in the scandal. This sad but true sports tale is ably told by Michael J. Pellowski, who captures not only the facts of the matter but also the human side of the equation. This is an excellent book and one that will capture the interest of readers young and old. 2003, Enslow, Ages 12 up.
Greg M. Romaneck
School Library Journal - School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up-The fix of the 1919 World Series, in which eight members of the Chicago White Sox were alleged to have lost purposely to the Cincinnati Reds, is considered by many to be the "biggest scandal in baseball history," and sparked the legendary line, "Say it ain't so, Joe." While the attempts at replicating period newspaper design are weak, the facts are solid, and the index and chapter notes are thorough. The glossary is standard, but the author does a fine job of explaining some possibly unclear legal and athletic terms in context. Following chapters that provide the necessary background information, each game in the series is given attention with lineups and individual plays described. When the betting becomes widely known, the author follows the subsequent legal process from assistant district attorney to grand jury to civil court to the players' banishment from professional baseball, as well as the influence of the media at each of these steps. Frequently, the text becomes a jumble of player, management, lawyer, and gangster names as an attempt is made to include the myriad aspects of a complex situation. Many of these lives are followed to their end to demonstrate the effect of this case not only on the public and the sport, but on individuals. Pellowski presents a balanced case, and readers are encouraged to consider their own conclusions based on available details. Eight good discussion questions are included. A doubleheader for libraries, this title will fill in baseball and legal/court collections.-Andrew Medlar, Chicago Public Library, IL Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.