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‘Black Sox’ footage a historic discovery

A nearly five-minute batch recently discovered footage from 1919 World Series between White Sox Reds has gone viral Internet.

A nearly five-minute batch of recently discovered footage from the 1919 World Series between the White Sox and Reds has gone viral on the Internet.

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Updated: June 5, 2014 6:51AM



Documentary filmmaker Bill Morrison was born at Michael Reese Hospital and grew up in Kenwood. He remembers playing baseball with his friends and hearing the scoreboard at old Comiskey Park explode.

Morrison scalped a ticket to Game 2 of the White Sox’ 2005 World Series sweep of the Houston Astros and thinks the Sox will be fine this season if they can straighten out their bullpen.

So maybe it’s fitting that Morrison, 48, found a newsreel from the 1919 ‘‘Black Sox’’ World Series tucked away in a Canadian archive.

‘‘It’s kind of interesting in hindsight, knowing what we know,’’ said Morrison, who now is based in New York. ‘‘What was really interesting was how it was sort of just reported as a sporting event without the prism of history.’’

Morrison found the nearly five-minute batch of footage of Games 1 and 3 of that fateful series while doing research this past winter in Gatineau, Quebec, on a batch of old reels for a documentary about a collection of canisters that once had been used to fill in a pool in the remote Canadian Yukon.

The reels originally had been discovered in 1978, restored and sat in the Canadian archives, but the historic clips hadn’t been viewed until Morrison came along.

‘‘It just goes to show you anybody can restore a film, but if somebody doesn’t look at it, it hasn’t been fully recovered,’’ he said.

There had been some press about the newsreel earlier, but it went viral Thursday and Friday. Morrison appreciates the effect of his discovery, which shows Eddie Cicotte getting routed in Game 1 and Dickie Kerr winning Game 3 and features an overhead shot of Cincinnati’s Crosley Field, something rare at the time.

‘‘I knew right away that it was rare and that it probably . . . certainly nobody in Canada had noticed it,’’ Morrison said.

Morrison’s favorite scene comes about a minute in, when fans in New York are shown watching the series on a scoreboard that almost resembles a pinball machine.

‘‘I’m glad to hear it has [made an impact],’’ Morrison said. ‘‘I hate to be the bearer of bad news because, growing up, we always heard about the Black Sox scandal as around the last time the Sox won the World Series.

‘‘It wasn’t until 2005 when we could erase the scourge of that.’’



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