View Full Version : Thanks for help on shoeless Joe...
04-17-2004, 05:52 PM
I want to thank everyone who helped me on my Senior research paper on Joe Jackson. I found a lot of your sources helpfull, go White Sox.....
04-17-2004, 07:30 PM
Any chance you could cut and paste here so we can have fun reading it? :D:
04-17-2004, 07:33 PM
Originally posted by Brian26
Any chance you could cut and paste here so we can have fun reading it? :D:
I'd like to read it.
04-17-2004, 07:58 PM
Shoeless Joe Jackson’s Reinstatement in Major League Baseball
“To me, baseball is as honorable as any other business. It has to be, or I it would
not last out a season…Crookedness and baseball do not mix…This year, 1919, is the
greatest season of them all” (Asinof 39). Those are the words of the great Charles
Comiskey, the owner of the Chicago White Sox in the infamous year of 1919. This
statement is a response to the allegation that his baseball team had intentionally lost the
1919 World Series for money. “The Black Sox Scandal, as it came to be called, was
reported in its day on the front pages of every major newspaper in the country….and
described in histories of modern baseball” (Asinof xi). It is now known that there were
many gamblers involved in setting up the fix of the 1919 World Series. Ranging from
the famous Arnold Rothstein and Abe Attel to Nat Evans and Sport Sullivan (xii). The
result of the gamblers’ intermingling was the suspension of eight of the Chicago White
Sox for life in 1920, costing the White Sox the 1920 Pennant (179). Of the eight players,
the one the truly stands out is Shoeless Joe Jackson. “He received his nickname
‘Shoeless,’ after playing a minor league game in his stockings because a new pair of
spikes had given him blisters on his feet the previous day” (Shoeless.. ). Jackson is also
seen as the most tragic of the eight suspended, “Having grown up a barefoot and illiterate
boy, he was able to achieve success because of his extraordinary ability to hit a baseball”
, and the fact that it was taken from him by the actions of others. The first thing that will
be looked at is the background of the fix. The second will be the interpretation of
Shoeless Joes’s contributions in the 1919 World Series. The final thing that will be
discussed is what fans and players think should happen with Joe’s suspension from
baseball. Shoeless Joe Jackson of the infamous 1919 Chicago “Black Sox” should be
reinstated in Major League Baseball.
The fix of the World Series (baseball’s championship play-off) in 1919 came at a
terrible time for Americans. The emotions of the time period were as follows: “This was
the climax of baseball, 1919, the first sporting classic since the end of the World War in
Europe” (Asinof 4). The excitement for baseball was at an all time high, and it would be
broadcast across the United States for the first time (4).
Going in to the World Series the fans had this perception, “For they were the
Chicago White Sox, a mighty ball club with a history of triumphs. It was said that
Chicago fans did not come to see them win: they came to see how” (5). The opposition
of the Sox in the 1919 World Series was the Cincinnati Reds. The series was seen as
completely one sided in favor of the White Sox. Even the Reds’ fans reacted this way
“Deep down inside, they foresaw the adversary walking all over them. Not even Miracle
Men could be expected to stop the all-powerful colossus from the West (4). So the
gamblers decided on throwing this series, because it would be very profitable if they were
able to bet on the Reds instead of the White Sox. Sport Sullivan came to the White Sox
first baseman Chick Gandil, with the proposition of throwing the series three weeks
before it began. Gandil agreed to lose the series intentionally if he and some of the other
players would receive eighty thousand dollars in cash, and Sullivan agreed to it. In fact,
Gandil was really excited about the idea, “I think we can put it in the bag” (8)! Gandil
told Sullivan that he would get a sufficient number of players involved to get it done (8).
When Gandil met with the players about it he knew he had to get the teams best pitcher,
Ed Cicotte in on the fix. After all, Comiskey had promised Cicotte a ten thousand dollar
bonus if he won seventeen games in 1917, and when Cicotte came close, Comiskey made
him stop pitching to supposedly rest him for the World Series (21). Comiskey was
notorious for cheating his player out of money, so this made it increasingly easier for
them to accept the money instead of the victory.
The White Sox went on to throw the World Series, and all was fine until on day
the Charles A. Comiskey released this statement to eight of his ball players including Joe
You and each of you are hereby notified of your indefinite suspension as a
member of the Chicago American League Baseball club. Your suspension
is brought about by information which has just come to me, directly
involving you and each of you in the baseball scandal now being
investigated by the Grand Jury of Cook County, resulting from the 1919
World Series. If you are innocent of any wrongdoings, you and each of
you will be reinstated; if you are guilty, you will be retired from organized
baseball for the rest of your lives if I can accomplish it. Until there is a
finality to this investigation, it is due to the public I take this action even
though it costs Chicago the Pennant. (179)
The eight ballplayers caught a huge break in their trial in Cook County Illinois.
The charges on the players were different than expected: “The State must prove that is
was the intent of the ballplayers and gamblers charged with conspiracy to throw the
World Series, to defraud the public and others, not merely to throw ballgames” (270).
This charge made it incredibly hard for the prosecution to probe the players’ guilt,
especially since this was determined at the end of the trial right before the Jury was to
announce a verdict. In the trial the prosecution spent no time on this new subject, and the
meant almost certain victory of the accused players. (270) The jury reached a verdict and
determined that all eight players were “not guilty” (272). Though the victory was short
lived because this appeared on the front pages of the Chicago newspapers by the
Commissioner Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis:
….Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ball game,
no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ballgame, no player that
sits in conference wish a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the
ways and means of throwing a game is discussed and does not promptly
tell his club about it, will ever play profesional baseball! (273)
The next factor in reinstating Joe is his performance throughout his career and in
the 1919 Major League Baseball Season. Joe is a man among boys when it comes to the
statistical leaders of baseball in the early twentieth century. Joe finished in the top ten of
Most Valuable Player voting four times. This means that a majority of the baseball
writers, coaches and players thought that Joe was one of the top players in baseball
numerous times. Shoeless Joe led the league in hits in 1912 and 1913. Joe hit over four-
hundred in 1911, which is a mark that can only be achieved by a baseball immortal. The
last player to do this was Ted Williams, and that was half a century ago. Joe also was in
the top ten of Runs Batted In every year from 1911 through 1920, except for 1914 and
1918. This is particularly impressive because Runs Batted In is the most important
statistic to most baseball purists. (Base..)
As for Joe’s overall career statistics: “After all, Shoeless Joe had a lifetime
batting average more than fifty points higher than that of Pete Rose-and twelve points
higher than that of Ted Williams. Where William’s highest batting average was .406,
Shoeless Joe Jackson hit .408” (Sowell). Shoeless Joe’s lifetime batting average, if he
were reinstated, would be good enough for third best all-time at .356. His glove is called
the place where “Triples go to die” (Kaplan).
In the 1919 season Joe performed especially well. Joe hit .351 which was good
enough for fourth in the league. Joe also had ninety-six Runs Batted In, to go along with
a very impressive .422 On Base Percentage (that is the amount of times a player reaches
base, divided by the number of official at-bats he has).
One thing that questions Joe’s involvement in the fix was his performance in the
series. Thomas Sowell puts it best: “Shoeless Joe Jackson himself could not be accused
of throwing games. He batted .375 in the series-the highest average of anyone on either
team.-played errorless ball in the field, threw out a base runner from the outfield, and
even hit a home run, which was rare in those days” (Sowell). It is hard to find anything
in the series that even comes close to showing any guilt on Joe’s part. There is no
concrete evidence of Joe physically doing anything to throw a baseball game.
04-17-2004, 07:58 PM
The final point for Joe’s reinstatement is what fans and other people think about
Joe’s suspension from Major League Baseball. One knowledgeable author had this to say
about a recent development that may impact Shoeless Joe’s reinstatement into the
national pastime, “Author Eliot Asinof says Rose’s high-profile case has eased the
climate on bans and that Rose, Jackson and Buck Weaver, Jackson’s 1919 White Sox
teammate, ‘should all definitely be reinstated to baseball’”(Hirlsey). (Pete Rose was
suspended from baseball for gambling while managing the Cincinnati Reds, and recently
has petitioned to be resintated.) The author also is reported to believe as follows:
Asinof believes Rose’s case has created a climate now where reinstatement of
heroic figures in the game should be considered. Baseball has lost its honorific
glow. No sophisticated baseball fan thinks their heroes are that pure of the field.
We know that the great Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker were suspected of fixing
Asinof goes on to state that Jackson should be reinstated “because he was a great
ballplayer on the field” (Hirsley). What he is are stating is that Joe may have been
guilty, and he may have done wrong to the public, but how long does he deserve to be
In 1999 two eighty year old Hall of Famers petitioned commissioner Bud Selig to
reinstate Shoeless Joe. Ted Williams believe that Joe took the money but was taken
advantage of by the gamblers and that he did not fix any ball games. Ted William told
Selig that Joe needs to be reinstated so he will be eligible for the Hall of Fame, as he told
Selig “I believe I know a little bit about hitting” (Kaplan). Feller went on to say this, “..if
anyone doesn’t belong in the Hall, it’s Comiskey. He refused to pay the players the
bonuses they were entitled to” (Kaplan).
The final and most important thoughts on if Shoeless Joe should be reinstated
come from the fans and players of Major League Baseball. Shoeless Joe Jackson is the
man the Babe Ruth called the “greatest hitter” he ever saw (Kaplan). Ruth also had this
to say about Shoeless Joe: “I copied Jackson’s style because I thought that he was the
greatest hitter I had ever seen, the greatest natural hitter I ever saw. He is the guy who
made me a hitter” (Shoe…). Those are some very powerful words from a very powerful
man. To this day even non-baseball fans know and appreciate how great Base Ruth was.
If this great hitter copied Joe’s, then it is a clear injustice to leave Joe out of the Hall of
One of the worst things about Joe’s suspension is that he was not suspended
because he fixed a baseball game, it actually his failure to do something that made him
receive his ban. “Shoeless Joe Jackson was banned from baseball for life because he
knew that the World Series was fixed but did not report his teammates to the authorities”
(Sowell). This is unbelievable to contemplate that one of the greatest players in the
history of the game, is left out of the Hall of Fame, for such a tiny reason. It would be
one thing if Joe did fix the games, but the fact that he was being true to his teammates
like he was taught, is the thing that sealed his fate.
Yet another reason Joe belongs in the Hall is the fact that he was an extremely
popular player of his time, for example Joe was the Alex Rodriguez of his time. “People
who had never seen a ball game knew all about Shoeless Joe” (Asinof, 31). It would be
terrible for such a player to slip through the cracks of history and not be known by fans
one-hundred years from now. Another reason to reinstate Joe is that this is not a new
idea. There has been a campaign to reinstate Joe for decades (Nesbitt). To go along with
the fans supporting his reinstatement so was a moral man. Joe died in 1951, but he never
once complained about his punishment (Hirsley). This is great because the American
sports fan loves their athletes to be humble, further proving that Joe should be in the Hall
Even more proof comes from Shoeless Joe’s home state of South Carolina. U.S.
Republican Jim DeMint has this to say about Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose, “Before
baseball bets on Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe deserves his due…” (Nesbitt). The
congressman believes that because Rose is actually guilty of his crime, that an innocent
Joe Jackson should be in the Hall of Fame before Rose makes it (Nesbitt).
Shoeless Joe Jackson should be reinstated into Major League Baseball. The
background of the fixing of the World Series has been discussed As has Joe’s
performances in his career and the 1919 World Series. The final thing that was looked at
was the fans beliefs about Joe’s punishment. Shoeless Joe Jackson deserves to be in the
Hall of Fame, and the only way to get him there is for him to be reinstated. It has been
established that the only thing Shoeless Joe was guilty of was gullibility and being
faithful to his teammates who in return we unfaithful to him. But to some this is enough
guilt to keep a baseball immortal out of the Hall of Fame. The baseball writer in the
Ottawa Citizen poses this question, “In a country that gives second chances to countless
miscreants-Richard Nixon, Marv Albert, Latrell Sprewell—why not a salute to Shoelsee
Joe? His part in the fix will always be remembered. It must be. But should not this
baseball immortal at long last be celebrated” (Kaplan)? It is time for Shoeless Joe to
receive his due, sure he will not be here to appreciate it, but without Joe in the Hall of
Fame, the establishment in Cooperstown New York, will remain a mockery to some.
Asinof, Eliot. Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series. New York:
Henry and Holt Company, 1963.
Backlin, Robin F. “At the Nexus of Labor and Leisure: Baseball, Nativism, and the
1919 Black Sox Scandal.” Journal of Social History. Online. Electric Library.
01 July 2003.
Baseball-Reference.com. April 2004. Joe Jackson Statistics. 27 Feb. 2004. <http://
Hirsley, Michael. “Fans dream of Reversal of Shoeless Joe’s Ban.” Ottawa Citizen.
Online. Electric Library. 09 Jan. 2004.
Kaplan, David A. “Infamy and Immortality.” Newsweek. Online. Electric Library.
02 Aug. 1999.
Nesbit, Him. “Congressman Wants; Shoeless Joe Forgiven.” Augusta Chronicle. Online.
Electric Library. 07 Jan. 2004.
Shoeless Joe Jackson: The Official Website. CMG Worldwide. Jan. 2004. Joe Jackson.
27 Feb. 2004. <http://www.shoelessjoejackson.com/about/facts.html
Sowell, Thomas. “Protecting the Integrity of Baseball.” Human Events. Online.
Electric Library. 24 Mar. 2003.
04-17-2004, 09:26 PM
Good article. If you are still interested there are a lot more sources out there, with varying opinions.
A couple of notes:
You said "It has been established that the only thing Shoeless Joe was guilty of was gullibility and being faithful to his teammates who in return we unfaithful to him."
Actually, that applies more to Buck Weaver than to Shoeless Joe. It is fairly well accepted that when Shoeless Joe found out for certain just before the first game of the series (thanks to a sportswriter), he went to either Gleason (manager) or Comiskey, and asked to be benched.
Also, to say he "took the money", as many do, is also misleading. More accurately, it was left for him. What is more, he tried to take it to Comiskey.
It is almost certain that Comiskey knew about the fix no later than the evening after the first game, and likely before it.
Gene Carney has done a fabulous amount of research into this, and has a book which he is trying to get published.
04-17-2004, 11:03 PM
if those are my only mistakes, than I am happy....
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