Just like Shoeless Joe
MLB could not have scripted a better night for its Field of Dreams showcase. The field was immaculate, the sunset was beautiful and the game was thrilling.
Even the movie’s many detractors have to agree that the middle of a corn field is a special place for a baseball game. Watching home runs disappear into the stalks never got old, even though there were eight of them. The last was by Tim Anderson, an opposite-field shot on the first pitch he saw from Zack Britton that won the game for Chicago and set off an enormous fireworks display.
The homer was, according to former ESPN statistician Doug Kern, the 15th walk-off in White Sox history against the Yankees. Who had the first? Shoeless Joe Jackson, the title character of the book that inspired Field of Dreams.
That’s a fun coincidence (as is the fact that the final score was 9–8, or 8–9, as in 1989, the year Field of Dreams came out). The movie is a celebration of baseball’s timeless nature, and the random connection between Anderson’s walk-off a few hundred yards from where Ray Liotta played Jackson and the real Jackson’s similar home run more than a hundred years ago is a reminder of the game’s long history.
But there’s something extra special about Anderson being the guy to hit the homer. Throughout the early innings of the game, Fox analyst John Smoltz kept talking about how White Sox starter Lance Lynn looked like one of the players who might have walked through the corn in the movie. And while his observation is not entirely superficial—Lynn has the slightly doughy body type we associate with players from that era and throws almost exclusively fastballs—the same could not be said of Anderson. He’s Black. All the players who appeared on the magic baseball field in the movie were white, even the ones who weren’t Jackson’s Black Sox teammates. (They couldn’t have Satchel Paige or Josh Gibson walk through the corn, too?) Beyond that, though, Anderson plays with a joy and exuberance that would have shocked the Black Sox. Everything about his home run, from the pose he struck immediately after making contact to the way he signaled “It’s over” with his hands all the way around the bases, was a beautiful contrast with the game that Field of Dreams romanticized.
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This angle of the White Sox’ celebration at the plate is stunning
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Bryan Powers of the Des Moines Register captured the best photo of the entrance
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A good song
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