View Single Post
Old 22 May 2007, 06:17 PM
Johnny Slick's Avatar
Johnny Slick Johnny Slick is offline
Join Date: 13 February 2003
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 11,628

Originally Posted by DadOf3 View Post
Shoeless Joe was the superstar of his day. Babe Ruth said Shoeless Joe taught him how to hit. Even in the series he was supposed to have thrown, he batted .375 and had no errors. His lifetime batting average was .356.
Jackson was also caught stealing by about 20 feet in Game 3, which wasn't one of the games the team fixed, but even so... there's a photograph floating around that shows how badly Jackson was thrown out. Makes you wonder. Also, the Black Sox essentially only threw games 1, 4, and 5 (Lefty Williams was threatened prior to game 8 and gave it up all by himself). Jackson went 1-12 in those contests.

He was acquitted by a jury of throwing the games, but he's still banned from baseball, and from the Hall of Fame.
He was only acquitted by a jury because Charlie Comiskey "lost" his signed confession that he helped throw the World Series.

I always felt he was done an injustice by baseball, but I don't think I feel the same about Pete Rose, at least not to the same extent. I've always been of the opinion that someone who does something impressive should be honoured for it, irrespective of whatever else they may have done.
There are certain lines certain professions simply cannot cross. Cashiers can't steal from the till. Salespeople can't tell customers that products can do things that they really cannot (exaggeration is okay if unseemly, but convincing someone that the brand new cell phone can take pictures through walls is crossing the line). Radio announcers can't accept gifts in exchange for hyping up a product on the air (there's advertising and there's payola; anybody who's worked in the industry knows the difference). And athletes cannot throw ballgames.

That's the way it goes. It ruins the integrity of the game to have athletes who can throw games. It very nearly ruined baseball in the 1870s and the emergence of Babe Ruth makes people forget how precarious of a perch baseball was on in the fall of 1920. The sporting world was just 5 years removed from the Jack Johnson - Jess Willard fight, a bout Johnson would claim for years that he threw. Boxing is an excellent example of a sport that does not keep itself far enough away from the gamblers.

If baseball had let 1919 slide than it would have set an alarming precedent. The whole point of why Kenesaw Mountain Landis was hired was to allow the game to make a huge, damning point on those 8 players (and if anybody ever had a case to not be banned, it was 3rd baseman Buck Weaver, not Jackson. Jackson accepted money and played like a dog in the games the men threw. Weaver never took a penny and by the accounts of all of the other Black Sox was not in on the fix - he was banned because he had guilty knowledge). And contrary to popular belief, this was hardly a Black Sox only thing. There were I believe 20 other players banned outright or silently but totally excluded from organized baseball at about this time, including Benny Kauff (who may or may not have been stealing cars) and Hal Chase (a near-HOF quality 1st baseman whose game-fixing antics were as legendary as his fielding). Even then, there are rumors that fly around SABR-type crowds that Landis may have pushed cases involving stars such as Smokey Joe Wood and Ty Cobb under the rug. Suffice it to say, baseball was in a bad way and needed to do something.

Pete Rose bet on baseball games in such a manner that it is not clear at all whether he was setting himself up to throw games he didn't bet on, or to overplay his players in games he did bet on. He's hardly innocent and even at that from what I've heard he was going to be allowed into the Hall in 2004 but he screwed that up by going on a big "what I did wasn't SO wrong" style tirade. I get the impression that Bud has wanted an excuse to bring the guy back in the game (if only into its fringes) but Rose keeps messing it up. I don't want him back but a future commissioner will probably re-instate him.
Reply With Quote