University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Eliot Asinof Papers, [ca. 1930s-2000s]



Descriptive Summary

Creator: Asinof, Eliot, 1919-2008.
Title: Asinof, Eliot, papers
Dates: [ca. 1930s-2000s]
Abstract: Documenting Asinof’s writing career, the Eliot Asinof Papers, [ca. 1930s-2000s], comprise research notes, manuscripts and galleys, correspondence, photographs, printed materials, publicity and promotional items, film treatments, interview audiotapes, and videotapes of his speeches.
Accession No.: 2009-171
Extent: ca. 40 ft.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

Born in New York City to Russian-American tailor Max Asinof, writer Eliot Tager Asinof (1919-2008) played baseball for Lawrence High School in Cedarhurst on Long Island, before joining the Swarthmore College team. Following graduation, he signed a contract for the Philadelphia Phillies’ minor league team. During World War II, Asinof trained as a fighter pilot until going into the U.S. Army’s Officer Candidates School with the help of Detroit Tigers’ first baseman Hank Greenberg, a family friend. Upon graduation, Asinof was stationed for two years at the army and naval base on Adak Island, Alaska. Following the war, he returned to New York City, where he met and married actress Jocelyn Brando (1919-2005), the sister of actor Marlon Brando. The two eventually had a son, Martin, before divorcing in 1955.

In the 1950s, Asinof began writing scripts for TV shows and fronting for writers blacklisted by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Signing a petition to integrate the New York Yankees, Asinof soon found himself among the blacklisted screenwriters. In 1955, he wrote Man on Spikes, a novel based on his former teammate Mickey Rutner’s difficulties making it into major league baseball.

That same year, Asinof moved to California to write a screenplay adaptation of Man on Spikes, which appeared on the television show Goodyear Playhouse. A contract writer for Warner Brothers, Asinof began work on a movie for John Wayne, but studio head Jack Warner fired Asinof after he wrote a scene where Wayne’s character grieves the death of a friend by hitting a horse.

Asinof then returned to New York City to write a TV screenplay for David Susskind about the Black Sox scandal, in which eight Chicago White Sox players in collusion with gamblers intentionally lost the 1919 World Series. When the screenplay was dropped, Asinof attained an advance from Putnam to turn the story into a book. He met with several people involved in the scandal, including White Sox outfielder Oscar “Happy” Felsch and boxer Abe Attell, who allegedly supplied money from gangster Arnold Rothstein to the players. The result, Eight Men Out, was published in 1963, receiving a place in Sports Illustrated’s top 50 best sports books of all time. John Sayles adapted the book into the 1987 film of the same name.

Asinof published numerous other novels and non-fiction books, such as People v. Blutcher (1970); Craig and Joan (1971); The Fox is Crazy Too (1976); Bleeding Between the Lines (1979); Strike Zone (1994); and Final Judgment (2008).

Sources:

Kisseloff, Jeff. “Bio.” Eliot Asinof. Accessed February 2, 2010. http://eliotasinof.com/page4/page4.html.

Weber, Bruce. “Eliot Asinof, Eight Men Out Author, Is Dead at 88.” New York Times. June 11 and 12, 2008.


Scope and Contents

Documenting Asinof’s writing career, the Eliot Asinof Papers, [ca. 1930s-2000s], comprise research notes, manuscripts and galleys, correspondence, photographs, printed materials, publicity and promotional items, film treatments, interview audiotapes, and videotapes of his speeches. Divided by type, the collection contains ten series: I. Scripts; II. Galleys; III. Publicity and published material; IV. Treatments and Proposals; V. Correspondence; VI. Notes; VII. Manuscripts; VIII. Personal documents; IX. Scrapbooks; and X. Audiovisual material. Each series chronicles the development of Asinof’s books, screenplays, teleplays, and articles, including Eight Men Out; The Fox is Crazy Too; Ten-Second Jailbreak; and contributions to Golf Illustrated, Newsweek, and New York Sunday Times. The collection also includes treatments and proposals for movies, teleplays, novels, and articles as well as manuscripts and notes for unpublished books, like Push Pull, Crash at Ndola, and Like Married.

The correspondence, notes, scrapbooks, and publicity and published material series illustrate Asinof’s relationship with different publishers, producers, and others involved with the making of his works in Hollywood and New York City. Furthermore, the publicity and published material series and the scrapbook series shed light on the publication process and reviews of his books and articles as well as the release and reviews of his films and teleplays. The personal documents series concerns his financial records, royalties, a lawsuit with David Susskind, his experiences as a young man during the 1930s and 1940s, and his military career during World War II. The final series, audiovisual material, includes videotapes from Asinof’s speaking engagements as well as audio reels and audiocassettes of interviews with Rod Laver, Billy Casper, Garry Merrill, Joel Kaplan, John Sayles, and other individuals involved in the true-life events that formed the basis for his non-fiction books People v. Blutcher, Craig and Joan, and Ten-Second Jailbreak.


 

Arrangement

The papers are arranged by type into ten series:
  • I. Scripts
  • II. Galleys
  • III. Publicity and published material
  • IV. Treatments and Proposals
  • V. Correspondence
  • VI. Notes
  • VII. Manuscripts
  • VIII. Personal documents
  • IX. Scrapbooks
  • X. Audiovisual material

Restrictions

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use of some audio and video material by appointment only; please contact sound archivist for more information.

The donor maintains copyright of the collection.

Use Restrictions

These papers are stored remotely. Advance notice required for retrieval. Contact repository for retrieval.


Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Asinof, Eliot, 1919-2008 -- Archives.
Asinof, Eliot, 1919-2008. Eight men out.
Blutcher, Laurence
Trapnell, Garrett Brok, 1938-
Kaplan, Joel David.
Susskind, David, 1920-1987.
Badiali, Craig, 1952-1969.
Fox, Joan, 1951 or 2-1969.
Sayles, John, 1950-
Subjects (Organizations)
Chicago White Sox (Baseball team) -- History.
Subjects
World Series (Baseball) -- History.
Sports -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Authors, American -- 20th century -- Archives.
Television broadcasting -- United States.
Motion picture plays -- United States.
World War, 1939-1945 -- United States.
Places
United States -- History -- 20th century.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Eliot Asinof Papers, [ca. 1930s-2000s], Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

This collection contains unprocessed materials.

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.


Detailed Description of the Papers

 

Inventory:

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S1 Scripts
Joey Trouble, four scripts, 1964
Profiles in Courage: George Norris for Saudek, 1964
Unknown (characters Grady and Miller)
Throw Away the Cane
NBC Ellery Queen episode A Girl Named Daisy, 1959
The Witness: Albert Fall
All Riiiight! for Marathon Entertainment-the Richard Pohle story, 1980
The Year of the Cynic, play about the Black Sox based on Eight Men Out
(should be in manuscripts) The Knot, a novel, partial by Eliot Asinof
Blast of Science teleplay, 19 pages by Eliot Asinof
Le Petit Talleur des Londres, screenplay by Arnold Manoff
Craig and Joan, screenplay by Nelson Gidding
A Time for Brothers: On the Seaway, screenplay by Eliot Asinof, 1965
The Boy with No Name-teleplay
Body and Soul-teleplay
Miguel, script by Eliot Asinof
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S2 The Terrible Truant, screenplay by Eliot Asinof
The National Pastime-Eight Men Out by John Thorn
Climax: Killer in Silk, teleplay, aired 1959
Blasts of Silence, narration and audibles
War Birds, first draft
Narrations for various episodes of Suspense
The Best Years: Swing for the Moon, 1962
Cain's Hundred episode Markdown on a Man, for MGM
War Birds, 2x
Man on Spikes, aired, 2x 1955.
Fire in the Sky, co-written with D.B. Sweeney, 1992
Hickory Dickory Dock, teleplay
The Best Years: The Ordeal of Eddie Martin, teleplay
Where is my Golden Arm, teleplay, 1961
Bellevue is My Home: Crash by Eliot Asinof
Ellery Queen: A Girl Named Daisy, 1959
The Quiet Weapon: A Girl Named Tara, 1965
The Reporter: In the Name of Justice, 2x, 1963
Pursuit, Carnival, 1959
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S3 Richie to Rockey to Rodney (Pohle story)
Fox is Crazy Too, partial, another more complete
The Eagle of Broadway by Thomas Pope (Runyong, Rothstein, etc.), 1981
Miguel 3
A Shadow in the Wild, screenplay
Profiles in Courage: George Norris, 3x
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S4 The Nurses: Strike
Sudden Love, Sudden Death, novel in progress (should be in manuscripts)
Man on Spikes, play by Glenn E. Kalison, 1998
Men with Guns, screenplay with John Sayles, 1996
The Fox is Crazy Too
All Riiiight!
Shadow in the Wild
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S5 Man on Spikes for Richard Boone Show, 3x, 4, 1964
Man on Spikes, screenplay, with Vincent Spano, 2x, 1994
The Fox is Crazy Too, 3x
The Fox is Crazy Too (marked "very first draft"), 1976
Suicide (novel?), unknown author
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G1 Galleys:
Book set in Yukon
Bleeding Between the Lines
Craig and Joan proof
Say It Ain't So, Gordon Littlefield, 2x, 3, 5
Good Housekeeping-The Crime of Michael Vogler
Seven Days to Sunday-proof
10-Second Jailbreak-proof
People v. Blutcher
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G2 Off Season 2x
The 10-Second Jailbreak 3x
Man on Spikes
Bleeding Between the Lines 2x
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P1 Publicity and published material:
Life-The Game turns 101, June 6, 1969
Life-Eliot Asinof letter, p. 13, August 30, 1968
Life-short article on computers and baseball, April 15, 1966
Golf Illustrated-article on Muirhead Aberdeen course, August 1987
Sport, August 1980
Newsweek 176 Xerox of Fox is Crazy Too review
Ads and reviews of Gordon Littlefield
P.R. material for newest version of Eight Men Out
Proof, The Name of the Game is Murder
Saturday Evening Post-A Gambler's World Series (Eliot Asinof short story), 2x, November 30, 1963
Saturday Evening Post, Adak, A Woman Behind Every Tree, July 17, 1965
Real Magazine: excerpt from Man on Spikes, 1955
Seventeen, Craig and Joan, 1970
McCalls, Craig and Joan, February 1971
American Film, October, 1979
Today's Health, article about doctors on college campuses, 1972
Golf Illustrated, profile of Dave Stockton, 1989
Southern Illustrated University P.R. material for Man on Spikes, profile of Pete Rose, April 1989
New York Times Sunday magazine cover story profile of Dallas Green
Golf Illustrated, A Golfing Life, Memories by Eliot Asinof, September 1930
Golf Illustrated, Going to Golf School, March 1987
Golf Illustrated, profile of Ray Floyd, May 1986
Golf Illustrated, profile of Tom Watson, June 1988
Today's Health, profile of ghetto physician, 1972
Strike Zone P.R.
Seventeen, Craig and Joan letters
Sports Illustrated, Rocky Peone story, June 16, 1979
New York Times Sunday magazine cover story on Billy Casper, April 6, 1969
Sport profile on Willie Stargell, April 1980
New York Times story, The World Series is No Autumn Classic, 1967
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P2 New York Times book review of Pete Hamill's Flesh and Blood
Good Housekeeping: The Crime of Michael Vogler, 1968
Laver profile in New York Times Sunday magazine, 1969
Johnny Keane New York Times, 1965
New York Giants, New York Times Sunday, 1966
Journey Back to Bushville, New York Times Sunday, 1966
Bleeding Between the Lines excerpt, Esquire
Sport, Homer Jones profile, 1968
Sport, Henry Carr profile, 1968
New York Times Sunday, Dick Gregory profile, n2x, 1968
Billy Casper (article cut from magazine Saturday Evening Post, Seven Days to Sunday excerpt), 1968
Good Housekeeping, story of Elmer Wegsheid's family being held hostage), 1974
Sport with story about Black Sox (not by Eliot Asinof), October 1959
Cavalier, with story about Black Sox, November 1954
Several dozen clippings, reviews, etc.
Reprint, The Name of the Game is Murder: An Inner Sanctum Mystery
Playboy, with excerpt from 10-Second Jailbreak, 2x, October 1972
New York Times Sunday, profile of Allie Sherman, 1965
Folder containing George Seldes' in fact newsletters, approx. 25 of them, 1940s
New York Time Sunday magazine, profile Dave Marr, 1960s
Pro Football magazine, article by "Martin Asinof" on a kid in Giants camp, 1968
50 Plus magazine, profile of Gary player, 1986
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TP1 Treatments and Proposals:
Sudden Death at the Masters, novel outline, 1991
The Trek treatment from novel by H.L. Davis, The Winds of Morning
Free Agent, proposal became Lost Season in another form
How about That! screen treatment, Richard Peone story, also manuscript of treatment, 2x
Flesh and Blood, Eliot Asinof treatment of Pete Hamill novel
Mongoose, proposal for a novel (along with letter explaining origin) about the failed hostage rescue, related notes, 1980
Letter re: project entitled Madame, 1980
Proposal for New York Times article on Craig and Joan (and rejection letter)
Going Crazy in Court article, re: insanity rulings
Other articles, re: insanity case, relating to Garret Trapnell
Thundercloud, proposal for movie about death of Dag Hammarskjöld, 2x, 3, 4
Crash at Ndola, proposal for novel about Hammarskjöld death, 2x, 3
Man on Spikes, proposal for The Richard Boone Show
The Knot, opening section of a novel, 2x
Fox is Crazy Too, outline for screenplay
The Raid on Coogan's Point, Civil War drama treatment, another entitled To Hell with George Shadbourne, same subject
Proposal for half hour drama anthology show called Ed Sullivan Reports
Proposal to New York Times for a story on the value of competition
Proposal for golf novel, untitled
Against he Wall, sections for planned novel by Eliot Asinof and Jim Bouton
Two page proposal for book about Trapnell
Film treatment for Baseball Joe, about Richard Peone
Norris of Nebraska, Profiles in Courage proposal
Proposals and comments on possible new TV series Joey Trouble, 1961
Girl for Tonight, treatment for TV or movie, ca. late 1950s
The Gene Krupa Story, treatment by Eliot Asinof, 1958
Man in the Middle, treatment for Kraft Theater production by Eliot Asinof
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TP2 You Could Look it Up, Richard Peone treatment, 3x
Pursuit, treatment, also another treatment same subject different title, The Trap, 2x
The Trek, treatment
Notes on Fox is Crazy Too outline
Another Fox is Crazy Too outline by another author
Proposal for book on The Wizard of Whispering Death by Mitchell Livingston WerBell III re: WWII
Proposal for book or movie about Walter Polvchak case, (Note: this was headline news, regarding a father's attempt to return his child to the Ukraine, and the child refusing to go),1980
Proposals for stories and other projects, re: Trapnell
Proposal for book, re: Canadian Indians (book may have been published)
Seven-page report by David Susskind assistant on whether the company should pursue the Fox is Crazy Too
The Witness, research report by Eliot Asinof into the Black Sox scandal, for talent associates, 1960
Proposal for film on Cuban revolution (for Castro) by Eliot Asinof, 1959
The Crash at Ndola, synopsis
Pottstown USA, a proposal for a story on the death of a typical small town
The Director, outline for a movie by Eliot Asinof with manuscript and notes, also another proposal-same film but different title, The Real Thing
War Birds, outline for pilot, storyboard with illustrations, research, original article, report, and more material for the proposal
The Witness, research report into story of Albert Fall (Teapot Dome figure), 1960
The Trek, outline, 4x
Janie movie proposal (53 pages)
The Genius, synopsis for movie about bank robbery
Waiting for Vince outline for movie about pop star
End Over End outline for novel (became Final Judgment)
Ty Cobb's last year proposal for movie (later made into film with a different writer, starring Tommy Lee Jones)
Man in the Middle treatment for Kraft Theater production
The Rise and Fall of Cubby Shippen, proposal for golf novel 3x, with rejection letter
Thundercloud, presentation for novel, 5x plus notes
The Crash at Ndola
Anatomy of a Campus Doctor, lengthy story, 4x, manuscript complete, ca. early 1970s
The Ghetto Specialization, story about ghetto doctor, manuscript complete, ca. early 1970s
On Any Given Day, 2x proposal for golf novel featuring Greg Norman
Ski Man: The End of the Line, treatment for TV show, 2x
Bellevue is My Home: Crash treatment for TV show, 2x
Miscellaneous proposal notes
The Man Most Likely, treatment
Man in the Side Pocket, treatment for crime melodrama
Make the Killer Laugh, proposal for a western
The Ordeal of Jimmie Giles, proposal for western
Diploma, proposal for melodrama, 2x
Behind the Veil, proposal for love story for TV
In the Name of Justice, outline and treatment for TV drama
One Man Down theme for a novel based on Black Sox drama
The Reporter: For the Love of a Beautiful Woman, treatment for episode of TV program
Previous Eight, ca. late 1950s
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C1 Correspondence:
Binder of Craig and Joan letters
Fox is Crazy Too options
All in All
1.5 boxes of correspondence
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Letters box Angry letters to agent Tim Seldes, publisher Dick Seaver
Letter from Tom Watson
Letter from Dave Stockton
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Trapnell box Garret Trapnell correspondence (several hundred letters)
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N1 Notes:
Fox is Crazy Too, extensive notes, documents, interviews, etc.
Billy Casper
Willie Stargell
George Norris
Steve Carlton
Pete Rose
Manuscript box filled with notes and typing for novel about marriage
Notes from Wegsheid hostage story
Dick Gregory
Bleeding Between the Lines
Kathy Whitworth (with photos)
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N2 Trap script
Richard Pohle script
Accordion folder of Craig and Joan notes
Strike Zone notes and manuscript
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N3 Beef cattle industry notes and clippings
Eight Men Out newspaper Photostats and gift of articles (later)
Eight Men Out notes, re: Eight Men Out for Bleeding Between the Lines
Dallas Green notes
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N4 Fox notes
Bleeding notes
Full notes for novel called Restaurant
Fleer notes and manuscript that became Final Judgment
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N5 Man on Spikes script notes, 1994
Manuscript and notes nearly complete novel, re: Marriage, ca. 1960s
Early Fox script and notes in folder
Denny McLain notes, including fascinating interview notes
Background, legal
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Blutcher box 1 Blutcher book materials:
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Brown 12x10x5 box Blutcher note pads
Letter from Blutcher
Blutcher notes (even his storage ledger, the original filled in pen)
Strike Zone
Manuscript and notes, box filled 10x10x10
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Adak box Notes and manuscripts related to his Saturday Evening Post article about Adak (where Eliot Asinof served in WWII, novel about Adak and memoir about Adak)
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M1 Manuscripts:
Push Pull, an unpublished novel by Adak, 2x
A Ball, A Bat and a Bet, an article for Baseball as America, 2001
Profile of Ferguson Jenkins
Encyclopedia Britannica bio for Joe Jackson
The Last Straw, unpublished short story
Untitled short story about integration of baseball
The Name of the Game is Murder, published book manuscript
Denny McLain profile
Gary player profile, 2x
Article about golf in Ireland
Dallas Green profile
Review of the Robert Daley book, To Kill a Cop, New York Times book review
Review of Winchester bull by Sam Koperwas (New York Times)
Inc. complete article on Black Sox and John Sayles film
Off Season manuscript
Once a Hero, short story unpublished
Notes and manuscript for unpublished novel (?)
The Rookie, unpublished short story
Profile of golfer Dave Stockton
Article about serving on jury duty.
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M2 Final Judgment manuscript
Against the Wall, early version of Asinof Bouton book, Strike Zone, 2x
Another version of Strike Zone
Goodbye Young Lover, Seventeen article that came from Craig and Joan
2x with correspondence
Billy Casper profile
Early version of Bleeding Between the Lines, entitled Day it Ain't So, David Susskind
Profile of Willie Stargell, 2x
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M3 Johnny Miller profile
Final Judgment manuscript, 2x
Stymied, unpublished novel about golf, 2x
Push Pull
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M4 First draft of Susskind book, January 30, 1978
End Over End, unpublished novel
The Booing of Joe DiMaggio, article
Profile of a World Series Gambler, article based on Abe Attell
Early Man on Spikes manuscripts
Two more versions of Adak novel
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M5 10-Second Jailbreak manuscript
Another version of Bleeding, entitled Up Yours, David Susskind
Draft outline of 10-Second Jailbreak
Three drafts of Denny McLain profile
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M6 The Crime of Michael Vogler, by his mother, article about draft resister, ca. 1960s
Original People vs. Blutcher manuscript
People vs. Blutcher, 3x final manuscript
Johnny Keane profile
Review of the Bronx Zoo by Sparky Lyle
Article about prison marriage of Garret Trapnell
Steve Carleton profile
The Bedfellow, published book manuscript, 2x
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M7 Hero (became (Off Season), 5x
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M8 Push Pull, 2x
Say it Ain't So, Gordon Littlefield
Bleeding Between the Lines, with proofing marks
Dunn by Karen and Garrett Trapnell
Final Judgment
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M9 Push Pull 2x
Dreaming Baseball; Mickey Donovan and the Black Sox by James T. Farrell
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M10 Craig and Joan, boxed manuscript
Fleer (later became Final Judgment)
The New Not Great American Novel, negative review of William Kennedy's series on Albany
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M11 Like Married, unpublished novel, 1964
Fox, second draft, 1975
Thirty Tree Hours of Terror, Weigshaft story about family being terrorized in their home over the weekend, published non-fiction, ca. 1960s
Untitled short story
The Umbrella, unpublished short story
Bleeding Between the Lines, excerpt for Esquire
Dick Gregory profile
Seven Days to Sunday (in two binders)
Final Judgment
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M12 Say it Ain't So, Gordon Littlefield, final manuscript marked for printing
Profile of Kathy Whitworth, 2x
Like Married, in binder
Unknown novel, boxed
Op-ed articles on insanity ruling and Jack Henry Abbott
Rod Laver profile with notes
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M13 Married (?) novel in binder (no cover page)
Final Judgment, 3x
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M13 Ann in Full Color, (became Final Judgment)
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M14 Stymied 2x
Push Pull
Unknown novel
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M15 Sportscaster, article, 1973
Competition is a Dirty Word, article, ca. 1970s
The Last Hundred Years of Baseball, article
Article on computers and baseball
Off Season manuscript
10-Second Jailbreak manuscript
10-Second Jailbreak manuscript in binder
Manuscript and notes of Gary Merrill autobiography that Eliot ghosted
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M16 Like Love, unpublished short story, 4x
Broadcasters article
Shock (of hair) Therapy short story, unpublished, 4x
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Strike Zone box Strike Zone manuscript
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D1 Personal documents:
Bank statements
Publishing royalties
High school yearbooks (2), 1930s
Camp Greylock yearbook, ca. 1930s
Unemployment book, ca. 1950s
Legal papers from Susskind lawsuit
Eliot's papers form the military in the original folder
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Binders Scrapbooks:
One original publication of Eight Men Out
Clip noting reprint of Eight Men Out
People vs. Blutcher, Seven Days to Sunday, Name of the Game is Murder
Approximately 60 black and white prints for Seven Days to Sunday
Bedfellow Fox is Crazy Too
Man on Spikes (including complimentary letter written by Ralph Kiner, 1955, original contract, 10-Second Jailbreak, Say it Ain't so Gordon Littlefield
One Eight Men Out, Fox, Blutcher, etc.
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AV box Audiovisual media:
Approximately 12 videotapes of Asinof speaking, shows, re: Black Sox, etc.
Interview tape reels:
People vs. Blutcher interviews
Rod Laver
Billy Casper
Garry Merrill
John Sayles
Craig and Joan interviews
10-Second Jailbreak-Joel Kaplan
Cassettes, approximately 12 for 10-second Jailbreak