Is 100 Years long enough? The Shoeless Joe Thread.

bakahump

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I recently listened to a pod cast about the Black Sox. It brought up some interesting questions in regard to Shoeless Joe Jackson.

We can certainly discuss his possible involvement in the Scandal. But I guess a better question is should the MLB HOF finally allow him in? Even 100 years later SJJ is still the 3rd greatest Hitter by Average of all time (.355 behind 2 other Great Guys in Cobb and Hornsby). SJJ and Lefty O'Doul are the only ones in the top 10 not in the Hall. Despite playing during the dead ball era he still slugged .517 for his career with an OPS+ of 170. And although he was banned at 32 he still had 1772 hits (2500 seemed like a no brainer with an outside shot at 3k).

He was of course banned for life by Landis. Despite some iffy evidence. There was also the political need by Landis, MLB and the Government to make an example of all even remotely involved.

Now 100 years after the incident and nearly 70 years after his death should he be enshrined?
 

Gdiguy

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I mean I'd say yes, but I'm also a yes on Bonds/Clemens/etc... in general I think it's better to have an inclusive HoF that includes the best and most notable players but provides the full story rather than one that ignores them
 

mwonow

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I'm a way stronger yes on SJJ than Clemens & (especially) Bonds. HELL yes on SJJ!
 

Mueller's Twin Grannies

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Everything that's published about Landis paints him as a maverick who enjoyed having control over everything about Major League Baseball and a crusader to find everyone who was guilty of any infraction and punish them to the full extent of his power, not to mention a lot of empirical information that suggests he was a clear racist and did everything he could before his death to prevent integration (though with owners consent since they largely wanted to keep baseball as white as the lines on the field), and many have criticized his harsh stances on the 8 "Black Sox" players, especially Jackson and Buck Weaver over the years. But he is largely credited, to this day, of legitimizing and "taming" the game to restore it in the eyes of the fans as being an honest endeavor.

I think Jackson should be reinstated and inducted but there seems to be this reverence for everything related to the days of yore within MLB and no one wants to be the one to undo something that was such a landmark incident and decision. Generally speaking, MLB's commissioner's office has been unwilling to reverse ANY decision made, even if it is incredibly egregious (i.e., Jim Joyce ruining Galarraga's perfect game with a terrible call) once it's gone into the record books. I know a lot of ink has been spilled about Pete Rose and how he came oh-so-close, once upon a time, to Selig letting him back in but I don't think that was ever going to happen for the same reason I don't think there is any chance of Jackson getting reinstated and enshrined. They just love their cautionary tales too much to right the wrongs because it's part of the lore of the game and serve as stark reminders of the overvalued "human element" to the game that goes beyond mental mistakes and bad judgment.

On the one hand, I can see where it would just be a Pandora's Box of issues if they tried to correct even one "mistake," like the banning of Jackson, et al., and Landis's steadfast refusal to ever consider any argument for allowing any of them back in, but on the other I can see where something that monumental would be a good thing for the game and could set a precedent for future considerations of other banned players. After all, a lifetime ban, by definition, suggests that it expires when the person who is banned does. Jackson's been dead for decades and a century since his exile seems like a big enough span of time to fit even the most extreme definitions of a "lifetime."

It's an easy question and possibly an easy answer in a vacuum, but not as simple when it gets to the nuts and bolts.
 

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Am I imagining it or was there some theory that SJJ might not have had the mental ability to really understand what was going on in the first place?
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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If I'm SJJ I'm happy being out. If he goes into the hall, he blends in with everyone else. Now? People are talking about him all the time.

So...Yes. No. Both.
 

pedro1918

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Am I imagining it or was there some theory that SJJ might not have had the mental ability to really understand what was going on in the first place?
He could neither read nor write, but I have never heard that he was incapable of understanding what was going on. He took $5,000. He may not have been one of the organizers of the scheme, but knew something was going on.

I'd be alright with him getting in the HoF. The whole story should be included though. I had never really considered the literal definition of "banned for life" so I guess that's the in. I guess it would mean that I would want Pete Rose's banishment to be changed from "for life" to "for eternity." I have never cared for Rose's attitude toward his crimes against the game.
 

staz

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The day the HoF publishes specific criteria for enshrinement is the day I give a shit who qualifies and who does not.

Don't get me wrong, it's a wonderful museum... but I think debating these issues is the ultimate exercise in futility.
 

shaggydog2000

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I'm not fully sold that he was innocent. I am pretty easily convinced that Landis was a jackass, but that doesn't make Shoeless Joe innocent. He testified about being part of the scheme, and seemed to suggest he was mad he didn't get his full cut, and even if his overall numbers were good, his performance in the games they threw was not.
 
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Orel Miraculous

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The Cincinnati Reds hit three - three - triples to left field in the 1919 World Series. So no matter what Kevin Costner says, I'm not remotely convinced that Joe Jackson is innocent (particularly in light of the fact that he took the freaking money).

So to advocate for Jackson's reinstatement, you need to hold one of three beliefs, IMO:

1. He didn't conspire to throw the World Series (really, really hard to come to this definite conclusion given the facts).
2. He should be in the Hall because the Hall should "tell the complete story of the game" (this is pretty facile argument in light of the fact that the hall does acknowledge and exhibit stuff about the 1919 World Series - including Shoeless Joe's shoes).
3. You think he threw the World Series but don't care (this is a logically consistent position, but you need to reconcile this position with the fact that gambling scandals can and do destroy sports leagues, see, e.g. the Taiwanese baseball league).
 

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As Sox fans, he's enshrined right outside their Minor League park in Greenville, SC. His Museum sits directly behind the stadium, about a mile from where his parents worked in the textile mills

 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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He could neither read nor write, but I have never heard that he was incapable of understanding what was going on. He took $5,000. He may not have been one of the organizers of the scheme, but knew something was going on.

I'd be alright with him getting in the HoF. The whole story should be included though. I had never really considered the literal definition of "banned for life" so I guess that's the in. I guess it would mean that I would want Pete Rose's banishment to be changed from "for life" to "for eternity." I have never cared for Rose's attitude toward his crimes against the game.
The phrase "lifetime ban" gets used repeatedly in articles, but MLB recognizes no such thing. Jackson and Rose are among the 33 (if I counted right) people on MLB's "permanently ineligible" list. Of course, "permanently" is kind of a misnomer itself, because the acting commissioner always has the power to reinstate someone from the list, as Rob Manfred recently did for Jenrry Mejia. However, it's worth noting that no one has ever been removed from the list posthumously.

I used to enjoy the debate over Jackson and Buck Weaver, but really the end of the argument is that the owners gave Landis (and subsequent commissioners) the authoritarian power to do as he pleased, and he set the bar extremely low at "guilty knowledge". Both those guys were clearly deserving of banishment by that standard. Of course, so was Charles Comiskey, since he alternated between concealing and revealing his guilty knowledge of the fix depending on which benefited him at the time. Comiskey is in the Hall of Fame.

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bakahump

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I am at the point that it would be more of a Kick to others (like Rose) to allow him in.
"Yup we will let SJJ into the hall Pete....But not until long after your dead and even when most people wont really remember you will YOU get in Just like SJJ. We will YOU Pete, not future fans that will enjoy the stats of SJJ or Pete Rose".

Rose has to live with next 5-10-20 years knowing "I will never get in while alive.....and when I do get in (100 years has a nice ring from his cheating banishment)....I will be an afterthought. Heh".
 

pedro1918

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The phrase "lifetime ban" gets used repeatedly in articles, but MLB recognizes no such thing. Jackson and Rose are among the 33 (if I counted right) people on MLB's "permanently ineligible" list. Of course, "permanently" is kind of a misnomer itself, because the acting commissioner always has the power to reinstate someone from the list, as Rob Manfred recently did for Jenrry Mejia. However, it's worth noting that no one has ever been removed from the list posthumously.*
You know, I think I knew that, but got confused. Thanks for clearing it up.
 

Gdiguy

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The phrase "lifetime ban" gets used repeatedly in articles, but MLB recognizes no such thing. Jackson and Rose are among the 33 (if I counted right) people on MLB's "permanently ineligible" list. Of course, "permanently" is kind of a misnomer itself, because the acting commissioner always has the power to reinstate someone from the list, as Rob Manfred recently did for Jenrry Mejia. However, it's worth noting that no one has ever been removed from the list posthumously.
I guess the note to that note, though, is that in terms of MLB's official rules the ban essentially ceases to be functional once the person dies (since a dead person isn't going to be employed by a club or have a business relationship with MLB). The fact that the HoF uses that list to define people ineligible is a HoF policy that, technically, isn't MLB's responsibility to worry about.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Good point... although to get nitpicky, I think it's the BBWAA that abides by the list more so than the Hall of Fame itself. I've always thought it would be in the hall's best interest to lay down the rules for the BBWAA or take their vote away rather than let some writers affect their bottom line, but since its board is mostly retired baseball execs and hall of fame players, there's little chance they'll rock the boat.

I took a closer look at the permanently ineligible list, and it currently stands at 31. All but six were players, coaches or managers, although the latest two (Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa and Braves GM John Coppolella) were not. That leaves a crooked 19th century umpire, the 1908 Giants team doctor who attempted to set up a fix, and two men who owned the Phillies: William D. Fox was betting on his team's games and was the only person banned between 1924-89. Horace Fogel was just the face of the Phillies real ownership in 1912 but was the acting team president. He was generally considered a joke within the game until the rest of the league finally got tired of him publicly questioning the credibility of the league president and umpires and voted him out.

Benny Kauf has the best argument for posthumous reinstatement. The reason given for his banishment was his alleged involvement in a stolen car ring, which not only is a lesser crime than many other players have committed, but a charge of which he was acquitted. However, many of the powers that be in the league had always resented him for being the biggest star of the Federal League, which had directly competed with the major leagues for players, and this was the early 1920s when Landis was leading a witch hunt.

Ray Fisher is the one case where MLB reinstated a player by basically admitting he had been wronged. Landis banned Fisher for contract jumping in 1921, because shortly after resolving a contract dispute with the Reds, Fisher left to coach baseball at the University of Michigan. In 1944 the league presidents authorized a silver lifetime pass to all major league parks, and in the 1960s he worked as a minor league pitching coach for the Braves and Tigers, yet the entire time his name remained on the ineligible list. Bowie Kuhn finally reviewed his case in 1980 and reinstated him two years before Fisher died.

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teddywingman

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I don't remember where I read this, but I thought Comiskey deserved to be banned as much if not more than Jackson. The story was that Jackson went to Comiskey's office before the Series, and told him what was going on, but Comiskey refused to believe what Jackson was telling him, for his own greedy reasons.

So Shoeless Joe didn't give it his all, and took the money, but with his teammates playing to lose, and an owner who didn't care or wouldn't listen, what was he supposed to do?

I honestly don't remember the source for the story of Jackson going to Comiskey's office. Maybe it's fiction.
 

mauf

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I guess the note to that note, though, is that in terms of MLB's official rules the ban essentially ceases to be functional once the person dies (since a dead person isn't going to be employed by a club or have a business relationship with MLB). The fact that the HoF uses that list to define people ineligible is a HoF policy that, technically, isn't MLB's responsibility to worry about.
The Hall of Fame didn’t adopt MLB’s ineligible list until Rose was on the cusp of eligibility. I’m not exactly sure what the Hall’s reason was for excluding Jackson — or if they even articulated one; Jackson’s exclusion went without saying when the Hall opened in the 1930s.

Btw, I’m against enshrining Jackson. The preponderance of the evidence shows that he was part of the fix.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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I don't remember where I read this, but I thought Comiskey deserved to be banned as much if not more than Jackson. The story was that Jackson went to Comiskey's office before the Series, and told him what was going on, but Comiskey refused to believe what Jackson was telling him, for his own greedy reasons.

So Shoeless Joe didn't give it his all, and took the money, but with his teammates playing to lose, and an owner who didn't care or wouldn't listen, what was he supposed to do?

I honestly don't remember the source for the story of Jackson going to Comiskey's office. Maybe it's fiction.
It's been awhile since I've read it (or seen the movie), but I think that was part of the story in Eight Men Out. Beware that much of Eliot Asinof's story has actually been debunked over the past decade or two (for example, most of the salary turmoil wasn't true – they were well payed relative to the league)... still a great story, but it's highly fictionalized. That said, Comiskey certainly had "guilty knowledge", but wanted to keep the fix under wraps as long as possible to not tarnish his team or lose his players.

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charlieoscar

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Given that MLB has chosen to "support" gambling nowadays, going so far as to provide oddsmakers with statistical material not available to the general public, I'd say it is rather two-faced of them to continue the ban.

And by the way, both Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker both suddenly retired from their respective player-manager positions in the AL ca. November 1926. Originally, the reasons were not given but a few weeks later, letters by Hubert "Dutch" Leonard became public in which he claimed to have met with those two and Smoky Joe Wood to fix the September 25, 1919 game between the Indians and the Tigers. --see Joe Posnanski article for one exploration of the incident.
 

epraz

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Given that MLB has chosen to "support" gambling nowadays, going so far as to provide oddsmakers with statistical material not available to the general public, I'd say it is rather two-faced of them to continue the ban.
I mean, throwing games is still against the rules.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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I've never seen anyone make a credible case that Jackson didn't knowingly take money to throw games. Whether he actually tried to throw games or not seems beside the point; if he didn't, that just makes him a traitor to the gamblers that paid him as well as to his clean teammates and the fans.

I don't understand how you can be a hardliner on Pete Rose and an accommodationist on Jackson. What Rose did is supposed to be bad because it creates corrupt incentives to do what Jackson actually did.

I can't help thinking some of the reinstate-him energy comes from a kind of reverse-snobbish patronization and infantilization of Jackson because he was an illiterate country boy. I don't get how being poor and uneducated makes you incapable of telling right from wrong.

When Rose is in, and when absolutely every suspected or admitted steroid user with a HoF-worthy career is in, then we can talk about Jackson.
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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Given that MLB has chosen to "support" gambling nowadays, going so far as to provide oddsmakers with statistical material not available to the general public, I'd say it is rather two-faced of them to continue the ban.
That seems a bit apples-to-oranges, but it's definitely comical in hindsight that MLB temporarily placed Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle on the ineligible list in the early '80s simply for working as ambassadors at Atlantic City casinos.

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" One of the roaringest of Hall of Fame debates centers on this man, dead now for many years. There can be no dispute about the quality of his play. he was one of the greatest. I have read everything I can find about the matter—accounts of the series, accounts of the trial. Eight Men Out—and I can get no firm sense of the degree of his guilt. The basic defense for him seems to be that he was too stupid to know exactly what was going on. and that he didn't really Intend to help throw the games, but only to position himself to take a share of the cut. I do not find the defense convincing or ennobling. It is clear to me that the money men behind the fix orchestrated a cover-up that success-fully prevented the whole story from ever becoming known. The signed confessions of Jackson, Williams and Cicotte, along with their immunity waivers, were stolen from the office of the assistant state attorney. and the stories of those for whom they were missing were conveniently changed. Jackson is among these who may have lied under oath to help confuse the issue. As to the charge that Landis dealt harshly with him, two points:

I) Jackson was suspended from baseball before Landis became commissioner. Landis' decision was only not to readmit him after the Illinois jury found insufficient evidence that a crime had been committed.
2) The policy stating that a. player involved in the fixing of games was to be banned for life was not Landis' creation. It had been a part of baseball law for over forty years prior to the Black Sox scandal.
My own opinion as to whether or not Joe Jackson should be put in the Hall of Fame is that of course he should: it is only a question of priorities. I think there are some other equally great players who should go in first, like Billy Williams. Herman Long, Minnie Minoso and Elroy Face. Then. too, the players of the nineteenth century have never really gotten their due —Ed McKean. Pete Browning. Harry Stovey and several others have been waiting a long time. The players of the Negro leagues committed no crime except their color I think we would need to look closely at the credentials of several of those before we decide where Jackson fits in. You wouldn't want the great stars of the thirties and forties, who are still living and can enjoy the honor, to pass away while waiting for the Hall of Fame to get done with the Black Sox. would you? And then I think there are some other players who should be considered strongly—Ron Santo, Ken Boyer. Larry Doby. Al Rosen, Roy Sievers. Vic Wertz, LeftyO'Doul,Saclaharu Oh; there should probably be better provisions made for people whose contributions to the game were not made on the field, like Grantland Rice. Barney Dreyfuss, Harry Pulliam, maybe Mrs. Babe Ruth and Mrs. Lou Gehrig, the guy who wrote Take Me Out go the Ball-game, Harry Caray. And, too, we do not want to forget the many wonderful stars of the minor leagues, who brought baseball to most of the country before television and expansion—men like Ray Perry. Larry Gilbert. Jack Dunn and Nick Cullop. When they are in we can turn our attention to such worthwhile players of our own memories as Roger Maris. Buddy Bell. Fred Hutchinson. Larry Bowa, Bill North. Omar Moreno and Duane Kuiper. And then. at last, when every honest ballplayer who has ever played the game. at any level from Babe Ruth ball through the majors, when every coach. writer, umpire and organist who has helped to make baseball the wonderful game that it is rather than trying to destroy it with the poison of deceit. when each has been given his due, then I think we should hold our noses and make room for Joe Jackson to join the Hall of Fame. It is only right"

James, Bill. The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Villard, 1988
 

CarolinaBeerGuy

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Given that MLB has chosen to "support" gambling nowadays, going so far as to provide oddsmakers with statistical material not available to the general public, I'd say it is rather two-faced of them to continue the ban.

And by the way, both Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker both suddenly retired from their respective player-manager positions in the AL ca. November 1926. Originally, the reasons were not given but a few weeks later, letters by Hubert "Dutch" Leonard became public in which he claimed to have met with those two and Smoky Joe Wood to fix the September 25, 1919 game between the Indians and the Tigers. --see Joe Posnanski article for one exploration of the incident.
Thank you for sharing this. Somehow I had never heard this story before.
 

lexrageorge

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I would like to see MLB take a fresh look at the evidence both for and against Joe Jackson before deciding whether he should be reinstated. He admittedly broke a rule by taking the money, and one for which he was rightly punished. But he also had a 0.956 OPS in the series, had the only home run by either team, and drove in 6 of the team's 20 runs scored.

At the same time, the bans on gambling and fixing games are, and should continue to be, two of the most sacrosanct rules of any professional sport. Which is why I have no problem with Pete Rose being on the outside, and have no real issue if Jackson's ban is left in place if the evidence warrants.
 

charlieoscar

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James's article was published in 1988 and some players who had been forgotten have since been "found." But how do you rate players from the 19th century? Aside from the fact that there is no one who has seen them play, the rules of the game back then were in extreme flux. Until 1893, the pitching distance was 50 feet and at times the pitcher had to make his delivery with both feet flat on the ground. It took nine ball before a walk was awarded. For some period, the batter could call for high or low pitches. Balls that were fair or foul and caught on one counce were outs. Bats could have a flat side. One season, walks counted as hits.

James mentions Lefty O'Doul. He was a player who had an 11 year major league career and a victim of numbers. He came up as a pitcher and in four seasons pitched 77.2 innings and had 78 plate appearances. After four more years in the minors where he converted to the outfield, he came back and won a couple of batting titles, including a high of .398. However, he only had five seasons with more than 400 PA. When he hit .383 with the Phillies in 1930, the club, itself, had a .315 batting average, which wasn't even best in the league.

Is a player of today better than a player of yesteryear because he is a better athlete? Or might it not be because he has access to all the video analysis, better training, better equipment, better fields and lighting than players once had? Today's major leaguers (and some of the minor leaguers, as well) are paid well enough do they don't need to work in the off-season to support a family. so they can afford to train over the winter. They don't have to worry about being drafted and so on. A better WAR doesn't always answer the question.
 

Dehere

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Given that MLB has chosen to "support" gambling nowadays, going so far as to provide oddsmakers with statistical material not available to the general public, I'd say it is rather two-faced of them to continue the ban.
I think the coming spread of legal gambling is actually a good reason not to show any lenience to SJJ. It would send a pretty poor message to today’s players to suggest anything less than zero tolerance for fixing results.
 

Rough Carrigan

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The Cincinnati Reds hit three - three - triples to left field in the 1919 World Series. So no matter what Kevin Costner says, I'm not remotely convinced that Joe Jackson is innocent (particularly in light of the fact that he took the freaking money).

So to advocate for Jackson's reinstatement, you need to hold one of three beliefs, IMO:

1. He didn't conspire to throw the World Series (really, really hard to come to this definite conclusion given the facts).
2. He should be in the Hall because the Hall should "tell the complete story of the game" (this is pretty facile argument in light of the fact that the hall does acknowledge and exhibit stuff about the 1919 World Series - including Shoeless Joe's shoes).
3. You think he threw the World Series but don't care (this is a logically consistent position, but you need to reconcile this position with the fact that gambling scandals can and do destroy sports leagues, see, e.g. the Taiwanese baseball league).
I agree with this.
No.
Whether Shoeless Joe wanted to say it or not, it was so. He took the money. He didn't say anything. Sometimes your choices have very bad repercussions that you don't like.
 

Al Zarilla

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The Cincinnati Reds hit three - three - triples to left field in the 1919 World Series.
Outfield dimensions were often deeper in those days though. Comiskey Park was 363 ft down each line and Redland Field, later named Crosley Field, was 359 feet down the left field line in 1919, Google tells me. I could see gapper, or down in the corner triples with those dimensions. Didn't one of our guys get a triple to left (or it was scored a triple anyway) last post season?
 

trekfan55

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IMO Shoeless Joe does not deserve enshrinement. Kevin Costner starts the whole diatribe to his daughter by saying "he took the money". The biggest problem here is that he did, and that in and of itself is a violation. It was a 9 game series and the White Sox did try to win some of the games when it looked like the money wasn't coming in. Buck Weaver is one case many have been sympathetic too but he would not belong in the Hall. Evidence points to the fact that he basically heard about the fix but did not participate.

My opinion of Landis is tarnished by his racist legacy, owners' knowledge or not. But he did what he had to do in this case. Baseball could easily have "died" as a major sports league then. Babe Ruth helped too, but Landis's actions did come a long way to reestablish legitimacy. And like people above said, SJJ and others were already banned, Landis basically said that despite the jury's decision they would not play again.

@bakahump can you point me in the direction of the podacst you heard? Have a trip coming up and would like to listen to it. Thanks.
 

scotian1

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Ted Williams' had a definite opinion in this matter. Jackson lead both teams in hitting in the series with an average of .375 and an OBP of nearly .400, He had the only home run in the series. He had a fielding pct of 1.000 and an RF factor of 2.15 which was above his career average.
Williams conceded that the fix was in.
"Everybody knew about it," he said. "The players, the owner, the writers. What's seldom mentioned is that Jackson tried to give the money back. Harry Grabiner (then the Sox general manager) told him to keep the money and go home. None of the White Sox executives wanted to become involved."
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/williams-hits-for-shoeless-joe/
 

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I say put him in, and also tell the story of 1919. Clearly outside of the 1919 postseason he was a HOF player. It also seems pretty likely that the story of the Black Sox was convoluted enough and involved enough bullshit on multiple sides to not hang it all on the players. The existence of the Reserve Clause (dating back to the 1870s) is offensive enough by modern standards that I think we can change our minds about the conditions under which the alleged offenses took place. I wouldn't give him a pass, but I also don't see why a museum has to only tell polished happy stories and not include some of the game's warts.
 

Bergs

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Instead of Joe Jackson, baseball fans should rehab the image of Ty Cobb and the damage done by Al Stump and that terrible movie
Absolutely.

I say put him in, and also tell the story of 1919. Clearly outside of the 1919 postseason he was a HOF player. It also seems pretty likely that the story of the Black Sox was convoluted enough and involved enough bullshit on multiple sides to not hang it all on the players. The existence of the Reserve Clause (dating back to the 1870s) is offensive enough by modern standards that I think we can change our minds about the conditions under which the alleged offenses took place. I wouldn't give him a pass, but I also don't see why a museum has to only tell polished happy stories and not include some of the game's warts.
Agreed.
 

Savin Hillbilly

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The wrong side of the bridge....
I say put him in, and also tell the story of 1919. Clearly outside of the 1919 postseason he was a HOF player. It also seems pretty likely that the story of the Black Sox was convoluted enough and involved enough bullshit on multiple sides to not hang it all on the players. The existence of the Reserve Clause (dating back to the 1870s) is offensive enough by modern standards that I think we can change our minds about the conditions under which the alleged offenses took place. I wouldn't give him a pass, but I also don't see why a museum has to only tell polished happy stories and not include some of the game's warts.
How does the reserve clause make it OK for the players to deceive the fans and sell out their teammates? I mean, I guess I can understand making the argument that the clause entitled the players to stick it to the owners, but how did throwing the WS do that? I think there's a thoroughly false moral logic there. The fact that you're being taken advantage of by your employer is not some kind of universal moral solvent.

The Black Sox scandal was not a noble rebellion by oppressed workers. I think Bill James' epitaph for the era sums it up, and puts the players' role in exactly the right light: "They all wanted the money, and they all wanted it all."
 

chrisfont9

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How does the reserve clause make it OK for the players to deceive the fans and sell out their teammates? I mean, I guess I can understand making the argument that the clause entitled the players to stick it to the owners, but how did throwing the WS do that? I think there's a thoroughly false moral logic there. The fact that you're being taken advantage of by your employer is not some kind of universal moral solvent.

The Black Sox scandal was not a noble rebellion by oppressed workers. I think Bill James' epitaph for the era sums it up, and puts the players' role in exactly the right light: "They all wanted the money, and they all wanted it all."
Well that’s one quote from a book written 75 years later. The reserve clause was a well documented system for the owners to deny their players any sort of freedom and to pay them whatever they felt like. I don’t know what these people felt, but I don’t see why I should take Bill James’ word and just assume the players were treated fairly and for no reason decided to fuck over poor Charles Comiskey. Did he not have Cicotte benched to deny him a bonus? Did he not have the players pay to have their uniforms cleaned? Did he not underpay Jackson and several others, with the reserve clause preventing the players from having any recourse?
 

Ford Frick's Asterisk

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May 5, 2017
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...I don’t see why I should take Bill James’ word and just assume the players were treated fairly and for no reason decided to fuck over poor Charles Comiskey. Did he not have Cicotte benched to deny him a bonus? Did he not have the players pay to have their uniforms cleaned?
Actually, no and no. As I pointed out up thread, Eliot Asinof's goal wasn't to write a bulletproof documentary of the scandal with "Eight Men Out". Much of it was fictionalized and has been debunked with things like payroll records that have only become available more recently than Asinof's time. Of course, all players were underpaid and lacked bargaining rights, and Comiskey should have been banned for guilty knowledge, but the White Sox were one of the highest paid teams in the league. I believe Cicotte was the second highest paid pitcher in the league at the time, and the late season bonus dispute only existed decades later in the pages of Asinof's book (not only is there no evidence of the bonus, but Cicotte's late season usage didn't match up with the story).

We'll never fully know their motivations, but throwing games was a quick and not uncommon way for ballplayers to make money at the time, so the fix really didn't require some deep-seated rebellion against a nefarious owner.

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