Shoeless Joe Jackson Essay, Research Paper
For anyone who knows anything about baseball, the 1919 World Series brings to mind many things. The Black Sox Scandal of 1919 started out as a few gamblers trying to get rich, and turned into one of the biggest, and easily the darkest, event in baseball history (Everstine 4). This great sports scandal involved many, but the most memorable and most known for it was Joe Jackson. The aftermath of the great World Series Scandal left many people questioning the character of Joe Jackson and whether or not he should have relations thereafter with baseball. There is still question today whether or not to let Joe into the Hall of Fame.
Many people still question whether or not, Joe Jackson was involved in The Black Sox Scandal of 1919. The scandal even left its own legacy that is still inciting arguments among fans today: the fate of Shoeless Joe Jackson (Everstine 3). As the word was being spread to bet on the Reds , (Everstine 3), an astronomical amount of money was needed to make the payoff to all involved, including the baseball players of the White Sox who were participating in the scandal. Before the beginning of the game on that scandalous day, Joe Jackson begged the owner of the White Sox; Charles Comiskey to listen to him in regards to the fix of the game that was about to happen. The evidence was proven that Jackson had even asked to be benched for the series to avoid any suspicion of his involvement in the fix. Unfortunately, Comiskey did not listen to Jackson. Heavy betting was taking place (Everstine 3). The game was played, after being fixed; the White Sox lost, even though there were seventeen other players on the team that attempted to do their best. Despite their best efforts, the fix was successful (Everstine 3). As many fans sat in the stands and watched the game, they were not able to tell that the game had been fixed and thrown for the benefit of the Reds and the gamblers (Everstine 3).
Joe Jackson knew of the fix . Jackson did not take the financial padding that was offered to him. In the sixth game, Jackson made two hits and nailed a Cincinnati runner at the plate with a perfect throw (Gies and Shoemaker 58). In fact, the Black Sox on the whole actually made a better showing in the games than the Clean Sox (Seymour 333). Joe had gone into the game to play his heart out and he did. Joe Jackson led both teams with a .375 batting average, making twelve hits still a record for an eight-game series, and (Seymour 333). Jackson definitely was the star of the Series; he hit phenomenally, and had the only home run in the series. He also had a very good series in respect to his fielding abilities. In an interview with Furman Bisher, Jackson told of his accounts with the 1919 World Series games.
I went out and played my heart out against Cincinnati. I set a record that still stands for the most hits in a Series, though it has been tied, I think. I made thirteen hits, but after all the trouble came out they took one away from me. Maurice Rath went over in the hole and knocked down a hot grounder, but he couldn t make a throw on it. They scored it a hit then, but changed it later (Bisher 1).
Joe tells it as he sees it. He had the best performance by any world series player ever. However, after he was convicted of participating in the Black Sox scandal baseball officials revoked his controversial, but record breaking thirteenth hit. And Shoeless Joe Jackson, indisputably one of the greatest ballplayers whoever lived set a World Series record by making twelve hits (Gies and Shoemaker 59). Perhaps it just isn t easy for a good ballplayer to play badly (Gies and Shoemaker 59). Before the first ball was ever thrown in the 1919 World Series, rumors were spreading that the game was fixed. Cicotte and Jackson, the first to crack, confessed the day after Maharg s story broke (Seymour 302). Jackson told of moving slowly after balls hit to him, making throws that fell short, and deliberately striking out with runners in scoring position (Seymour 303). Joe, however, did not see it this way. In his Grand Jury testimony, Joe told two diametrically opposed stories, one confessing his guilt and the other professing his innocence ( Facts 2). Some people believe that Joe s lawyer prompted him to lie about the scandal in hopes of lessening the punishment.
In today s justice system, you are innocent until proven guilty. You have to have evidence to prove a person guilty, in Joe s case there is no evidence that Joe did anything wrong. His World Series statistics speak for themselves, out of all the players and gamblers that testified under oath, not one said Joe Jackson was present at any meetings between the players and gamblers. The gamblers also testified that they had never spoken to Joe concerning throwing the World Series. Joe tried twice to inform his owner about the fix and for whatever reason, his owner would not meet with him and when he did meet with Joe he did not listen to what Joe was telling him.
As described by Joe Jackson, he played his best and at no time during the series made an effort to throw the games.
Jackson was one of the greatest hitters ever to play the game of baseball. His fielding abilities far surpassed that of the average baseball player of the time and of the present. He played outfield and he had a cannon for an arm. Jackson s lifetime batting average came to .356, a mark exceeded by only two men, Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby (Seymour 164). This is an incredible feat to accomplish. Many players today struggle to reach a lifetime average of .300. Jackson was also a first- class outfielder endowed with speed and a powerful, accurate throwing arm (Seymour 164). He hit home runs, caught seemingly impossible high flies, and could throw the ball more than four-hundred feet on the fly (Black Sox 2). Jackson was such an all around player, that even on a bad day he still managed to amaze the fans that came to see him day in and day out. . . . and outstanding running and fielding abilities would have eventually put him in the Hall of Fame, if it hadn t been for this tragedy ( Quest into Hall of Fame 2). Many critics say that just this one little mistake has kept his face out of the Hall of Fame for all these years.
Shoeless Joe was not the only player to ever make a mistake. As most baseball fans remember Roberto Alomar in 1996 spit in the Umpire s face for making a questionable call. However, a year or two later he was chosen by the fans and baseball officials to start for the American League all-star team. But just as surely as time heals wounds, it also dulls outrage (Jenkins 1). It only took a little while for the press and the fans to cool down from that incident and realize that he was one of the most talented baseball players in the league. Most fans believe that Joe should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. It has been more than eighty years since his incident. That incident does not seem as bad a spitting in someone s face. Joe was banned for life by Judge Landis, and his life is over so give the man his due place in baseball history (Everstine 4). He went on to say that many Hall of Fame players also support Joe s induction into the Hall (Everstine4). The preceding was stated by Ted Williams, a baseball great and also a member of the Hall of Fame. Eighty years after the World series that resulted in Shoeless Joe Jackson s lifetime ban from baseball, the House of Representatives passed a resolution calling for him to be honored (AP B4). Shoeless Joe was indicted by a Federal Jury, and even they think he deserves the credit he is due. By passing this resolution, the House took its first step towards making the famous Shoeless Joe a Hall of Fame inductee. Although throwing ball games was not a crime in Illinois, Landis said, Jackson s confession barred him . . . (Seymour 331). Even though the law stated that these players had actually committed a crime, Judge Landis saw it as dishonorable and disrespectful to all of baseball, so he punished the accused harshly.