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Found: film of 1919 Black Sox World Series

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#1 Twins Daily Admin

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:04 PM

I think this is pretty cool.....

A filmmaker in Canada found a newsreel (the kind they used to show before silent movies) of the 1919 World Series, which is the infamous Black Sox series.

http://www.cbc.ca/as.../05/05/post-19/

It's more than kind of cool to see the video of enormous crowds watching these games in old stadiums and the players scampering around the bases. But the thing that I wondered was...

They show a crown in NYC gathering to "watch" the Chicago-Cincinatti World Series. They're gathered in a park, but they're watching a mechanical device, similar to a scoreboard app on a smartphone. It seemingly tracks runners going around a base and (I think) where the ball went.

I've never heard of one of these before. Anyone know what it is?

#2 John Bonnes

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:12 PM

Well, that didn't take long. I was just tweeted info about that device. It's called a "playograph" and it was in Herald Square in New York. Here's a lot of cool information about it....

http://www.uni-watch...of-playography/

#3 D. Hocking

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:16 PM

Very cool. Any of our more veteran posters remember seeing this in the theater?

#4 John Bonnes

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:16 PM

Just one more note on this - I love the idea of people gathering to watch a scoreboard app. If ever there was a better example of the connection between sports and community, I don't know of it.

#5 Thrylos

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 04:53 PM

Very cool. Any of our more veteran posters remember seeing this in the theater?


You must be kidding, right? By October of 1920 the 1919 world series was old news and they were showing clips of the 1920 World series. That was a good 94 years ago and I do not even think that a 6 year old would remember much about it, so you are looking for 110 year olds (or so ;) )

I do remember on the other side of the pond in the 70s that they were showing "news clips" similar to this, where they show those silly ads that come before the previews and the previews these days.

That was quite a find, if one takes into consideration that a good 80% of the silent movies ever made are lost because their master tapes got lost. Pretty amazing actually.

That playograph looks just like the first MLB game simulation app that ESPN had c. late 90s or so. And that app looked pretty good back then ;)

Edited by Thrylos, 07 May 2014 - 07:10 PM.

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#6 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 07:09 PM

Very cool. I remember seeing various playographs from Burns' documentary, which I am not ashamed to admit that I've seen at least three times.

Really neat to see people surrounding such a device just to follow baseball.

#7 biggentleben

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:18 PM

Very cool. I remember seeing various playographs from Burns' documentary, which I am not ashamed to admit that I've seen at least three times.

Really neat to see people surrounding such a device just to follow baseball.


IMO, that is one of the greatest documentaries I have ever seen, baseball fan or not. I have watched his other stuff, and it's amazing as well, but there's just something extra in his interviews for Baseball that are only present in his Jazz documentary, and that one lacked the story of Baseball. I own the collection, and it is one of my prizes in my DVD collection for sure.

There was a rumor as Bonds neared Hammerin' Hank that he was going to do a documentary on the home run in baseball and how it has changed, but I don't think that ever got beyond idea status. I, for one, would be very interested to watch that.
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#8 biggentleben

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:20 PM

Another thing to consider. Shoeless Joe, whose main guilt was being present at a meeting as all evidence was that he returned every dime given him by gamblers, has never had a serious consideration for the Hall of Fame. Folks can love Pete Rose all they want, but he'd never get my vote until Shoeless Joe got in, someone banned for the same offense, but with no actual proof he did it, unlike Rose.
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#9 Fatt Crapps

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Posted 07 May 2014 - 08:42 PM

I don't know, Ben. His Civil War doc and WWII one are pretty special.

#10 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 06:38 AM

I'll watch any Ken Burns documentary that was actually directed/produced by Ken Burns (which excludes the mind-numbingly boring The West documentary).

#11 biggentleben

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 07:12 AM

I don't know, Ben. His Civil War doc and WWII one are pretty special.


Not going to argue that, just seemed like he picked perfect people to interview along with dozens of versions of a theme song throughout the documentary with excellent side stories on players. Like I said, they're all pretty darned good.
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#12 gunnarthor

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 08:09 AM

Another thing to consider. Shoeless Joe, whose main guilt was being present at a meeting as all evidence was that he returned every dime given him by gamblers, has never had a serious consideration for the Hall of Fame. Folks can love Pete Rose all they want, but he'd never get my vote until Shoeless Joe got in, someone banned for the same offense, but with no actual proof he did it, unlike Rose.


Shoeless Joe's main guilt was throwing the world series. Posnanski wrote about him pretty recently: "Jackson, in his Grand Jury testimony, admitted taking the money, admitted that he agreed to help throw the series, though he said that in the end he played it straight. He later said that admission was coerced and that he had never agreed to play less than his best and had only taken the money because they gave it to him. Numerous details were different in the two tellings. Jackson did hit .375 in the Series with a then-record 12 hits, which suggests he might have been telling the truth about playing it straight. However a closer look shows he hit poorly and fielded sluggishly when in important positions, which suggests he might have been lying. People will argue about it forever."

#13 biggentleben

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 02:03 PM

Shoeless Joe's main guilt was throwing the world series. Posnanski wrote about him pretty recently: "Jackson, in his Grand Jury testimony, admitted taking the money, admitted that he agreed to help throw the series, though he said that in the end he played it straight. He later said that admission was coerced and that he had never agreed to play less than his best and had only taken the money because they gave it to him. Numerous details were different in the two tellings. Jackson did hit .375 in the Series with a then-record 12 hits, which suggests he might have been telling the truth about playing it straight. However a closer look shows he hit poorly and fielded sluggishly when in important positions, which suggests he might have been lying. People will argue about it forever."


Interesting read. Thanks! I'm still less offended at Jackson than Rose after reading that, though. I'm trying to find links, but I recall about 5 years ago when it was the 90 year anniversary that interviews with former teammates and competitors all revered him as the best hitter of the generation and those who played with him talked about him turning his back on the gamblers and returning their money, though actual evidence is hard to find beyond court testimony (that, like you said, he later claimed was coerced/tricked out of him) and hearsay from former teammates. For what it's worth, the portrayal and character of Jackson in the film Eight Men Out was based off of the interviews with one of the gamblers and one former teammate who both stated that he gave the money back and was too simple-minded to know what he had agreed to before the Series and likewise easily manipulated by lawyers who were reportedly being paid by outside interests to make statements on record that were not true to "help a friend" or other such reasonings. Another very interesting thing someone recently wrote on him (once again sans link, sorry!) was that he exhibited many tendencies of someone on the autism spectrum, which could have led to a lot of issues with understanding and processing the gambling and what it truly meant.
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#14 Wyorev

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 05:08 PM

Another very interesting thing someone recently wrote on him (once again sans link, sorry!) was that he exhibited many tendencies of someone on the autism spectrum, which could have led to a lot of issues with understanding and processing the gambling and what it truly meant.


I've always wondered at the speculation that Shoeless Joe was somehow simple. I have a suspicion that being a good hitter is very much an intellectual thing, and so that has never rung true to me... As Yogi Berra said: "Ninety percent of this game is half mental"
One wonders how Shoeless Joe was singled out, but others, got away with all sorts of nonsense. (I'm thinking of Bill James' description of Hal Chase in The Historical Baseball Abstract) Kind of like how Giambi has a good name, but other guys - not so much.

#15 gunnarthor

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 08:41 AM

My belief on Shoeless Joe is that he took the money and helped throw the series. But it was fairly common at that time to do things like that and many, many players had done things like that - Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker were both dragged into one of those and actually retired from baseball before coming back. Christy Mathewson's great 1905 WS might not have been on the level. So I do think the players in Chicago got screwed a bit. (And the owners were worse). But baseball did have to do something about the fix scheme and you have to admit it worked. Football, tennis, soccer and basketball have all had fix scandels/accusations/bad smells to them over the years but baseball has remained fairly clean in that regard.