Perhaps the saddest chapter in the annals of professional American sports is recounted in absorbing fashion in Eight Men Out.

Story tells of how the 1919 Chicago White Sox threw the World Series in cahoots with professional gamblers, in what became known as the Black Sox Scandal.

Based on Eliot Asinof’s 1963 bestseller, John Sayles’ densely packed screenplay lays out how eight players for the White Sox, who were considered shoo-ins to beat the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series, committed an unthinkable betrayal of the national pastime by conspiring to lose the Fall Classic.

The most compelling figures here are pitcher Eddie Cicotte (David Strathairn), a man nearing the end of his career who feels the twin needs to insure a financial future for his family and take revenge on his boss, and Buck Weaver (John Cusack), an innocent enthusiast who took no cash for the fix but, like the others, was forever banned from baseball.

Eight Men Out

  • Production: Orion. Director John Sayles; Producer Sarah Pillsbury, Midge Sanford; Screenplay John Sayles; Camera Robert Richardson; Editor John Tintori; Music Mason Daring; Art Director Nora Chavooshian
  • Crew: (Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1988. Running time: 119 MIN.
  • With: John Cusack Clifton James David Strathairn D.B. Sweeney John Mahoney Charlie Sheen