This rollicking novel of the 1919 Black Sox Scandal is a sort of hybrid of Ragtime, Eight Men Out & You Know Me, Al. Luther Pond, a sportswriter for William Randolph Hearst's New York Morning Journal, shares the narration with "Buck" Weaver. Between them they weave a tale that intersperses portraits of John L. Sullivan, Ty Cobb, Hearst, George M. Cohan, etc. (here's a description of Cobb: "watching him play, it was possible to speculate, in defiance of logic, that winning was not his only concern; that Ty Cobb was consumed by another, more primitive objective: to annihilate the egos of other men" ) with the story of how eight players on the best team in baseball came to participate in a scheme to lose a World Series.
For anyone who knows the story of the Black Sox, much of the book will be familiar, but there are some nice set pieces--especially the Jeffries/Johnson fight--& the world of newspapering & Yellow Journalism is as much a focus of the story as baseball.
-WIKIPEDIA: Harry Stein (author)
-ESSAY: My Father, Fiddler, and the Left: Joseph Stein’s comic circle and the transformation of American popular culture (Harry Stein, Summer 2014, City Journal)
-ESSAY: Meet Reggie (Dr. Jekyll) Jackson (Mr. Hyde) (Harry Stein, July 1977, Esquire)
Book-related and General Links:
-The Black Sox Scandal
-Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame
-ESSAY: The Smaller the Ball, the Better the Book: A Game Theory of Literature (George Plimpton, NY Times Book Review)
If you liked Hoopla, try:
Greenberg, Eric Rolfe
Ritter, Lawrence S.
Copyright 1998-2015 Orrin Judd