Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
The great Chicago White Sox team of 1919 is the saddest team to ever win a pennant. The team is bitter at their penny pincher owner, Charles Comiskey, and at their own teammates. Gamblers take advantage of this opportunity to offer some players money to throw the series. (Most of the players didn't get as much as promised.) But Buck Weaver and the great Shoeless Joe Jackson turn back at the last minute and try to play their best. The Sox actually almost come back from a 3-1 deficit. Two years later, the truth breaks out and the Sox are sued on multiple counts. They are found innocent by the jury but baseball commissioner Landis has other plans. The eight players are suspended for life, and Buck Weaver, for the rest of his life, tries to clear his name. Written by
Patrick Lynn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
While the film does not touch on how the baseball owners settled on offering the job as commissioner to Kenesaw M. Landis, many baseball historians feel he was given the job considering he ruled in favor of the American and National league when both leagues were sued in court by the Federal League in 1914. See more »
In the film, Risberg makes an error at shortstop in the first game. In the real-life first game, Chick Gandil was recorded with the only error. See more »
Despite Sayles' Slants, It's A Good Baseball Story
This was a well-done account of the famous 1919 Black Sox scandal in Major League baseball many years ago. The movie features an excellent cast and does a nice job of re-creating the era. The music of period is effectively used here, too, as are the interior and exterior of the ballpark.
The most memorable players seemed to be pitcher Eddie Cicotte (David Strathairn) and infielder Buck Weaver (John Cusack). Cicotte, being the ace pitcher on the staff, was the key player involved in fixing the 1919 World Series and Weaver stood out because he was made to look as a totally-innocent player who got unfairly blackballed from pro baseball. At least this is according to John Sayles, who directed the film. Sayles also shows "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, the most famous player of that scandal, to be just a naive, kind of dumb guy who didn't know what was going on. (However, history records Jackson making an unusual number of throwing errors in the field, which makes him suspect.)
Sayles also goes out of his way to make Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey as a notorious tightwad who invited this sort of thing (players taking bribes) by grossly underpaying his players. They also make a point of showing him screwing Cicotte out of a big bonus. The filmmakers almost make the crooks into the good guys! Gosh, Hollywood would never do that! So, as you can see, so don't take this story as "gospel." I'm sure some of it is very true, but how much?
The baseball scenes are realistic in the field but aren't all that credible pitching and hitting. Note: Sayles has an acting role in here as does real-life sportswriter Studs Terkel, who isn't a bad actor! Michael Lerner, Charlie Sheen, Christopher Lloyd, Michael Rooker, Clifton James all add to this deep cast.
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