Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Eliot Asinof, RIP

Eliot Asinof, one time minor leaguer in the Phillies organization, and author of many books, including the classic Eight Men Out, died yesterday, aged 88. A badge of honor not often associated with his achievements is that he was among many writers blacklisted in the 1950s. In his case, this was after he signed a petition outside Yankee Stadium imploring the Yankees to hire black ballplayers.

Black ballplayers are mentioned ever so briefly in the movie of Eight Men Out, written by Asinof and John Sayles. "Best team I ever saw," says the man cleaning the seats after the game, "best team of white folks, that is." It's a subtle acknowledgment that the 1919 Black Sox scandal did not rock the entire baseball world. As ever, Asinof said a lot with very little effort. He will be greatly missed.

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