Comiskey, of course, is one of the great figures in baseball history and, due largely to Eight Men Out (movie and book), one of the most misunderstood - and that's one of the main themes of Tim's book. I find that fascinating. Anybody that has spent much time here at the site knows how I feel about Chris Von der Ahe and my obsession with correcting his historical legacy. I've never really thought about Comiskey in the same manner because I think of him as the first baseman and field manager of the Four Time Champions rather than as the owner of the White Sox and "villain" of Eight Men Out. I think of him as a great leader of men and someone who earned his Hall of Fame credentials on the ball field. To me, the elder Comiskey - the "Old Roman" - is almost a separate person and someone that I, focusing on the 19th century game, don't really have to deal with. But I'm an odd duck and the image of Comiskey among general baseball fans is as misconstrued as Von der Ahe's. Turning The Black Sox White is an attempt to fix that.
I plan on writing up a longer review next week, once I finish reading the book, but I have two quick points I'd like to make. First, this book is needed. The only other biography of Comiskey that I'm aware of is G.W. Axelson's Commy, which was published almost a hundred years ago. Baseball scholarship has advanced substantially since then and a modern biography of Comiskey is long overdue. Second, Turning The Black Sox White is a piece of baseball scholarship. It's not pop history. It's not baseball fluff. The first thing I did when I got the book was check the bibliography and the notes (yes, I'm a history dork) and I was impressed by the depth of Tim's research. He went through the contemporary newspaper sources as well as the necessary and significant secondary sources. The book is well researched and is a serious work. Having said that, I should also mention that it's not some dry piece of historical writing. It's readable, accessible and has a nice narrative flow to it. So I guess I should say that my first impression is that the book is both well researched and well written.
Like I said, I'll have more to say about the book next week but I wanted to mention its existence because I know that you guys would be interested in it.