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Contest: Eight Men Out
If you asked me to identify a golden age of baseball films, I'd go with 1988-1989. In '88, we got "Bull Durham" in June and "Eight Men Out" in September. In '89, we got "Major League" and "Field of Dreams," both in April
Romance, history, comedy, fantasy. Four different approaches to the game, all of them respectful in their own way. All must-sees for a baseball movie buff.
Of the four, I'd rank "Eight Men Out" as the worst. Alas, it's that film - to be more precise, the 20th Anniversary Edition DVD of that film - that I'm giving away today.
Why is it the worst? Because if you do some reading, or even watch the "Story Behind the Movie" featurette on the DVD, you'll see how loose writer/director John Sayles played with the facts concerning the 1919 White Sox, forever known as the "Black Sox." How he took an incident that occurred in 1917 (cheapskate owner Charles Comiskey rewarded his players' American League pennant with flat champagne) and magically dropped it into 1919.
How he attributed a motive to pitcher Eddie Cicotte (he felt ripped off by Comiskey for not getting a bonus for winning 30 games, as he won only 29 because management ordered him to skip a few starts) that hasn't been confirmed anywhere else.
Why do that? Why not let the real story tell itself?
It's still worth seeing, though, because of the acting. A number of big names get to flex their tmuscles, including David Strathairn (as Cicotte), Charlie Sheen (as Happy Felsch, and Sheen played Ricky "Wild Thing" Vaughn in "Major League" the very next year), John Cusack (as Buck Weaver) and Christopher Lloyd as a shady gambler.
And now I'll give my copy of the DVD to the first person who e-mails me - at firstname.lastname@example.org - with the correct answer to this question:
Of the players on the 1919 White Sox, who wound up playing the most career games for the franchise?
UPDATE, 1:50 p.m.: We have a winner! Phil S. knew that Ray Schalk, the catcher on the 1919 White Sox and a staunch opponent of his unethical teammates (at least, he was in the movie) led all '19 players with a career total of 1,757 games. In the film, Schalk is portrayed by Gordon Clapp of "NYPD Blue" fame.