Pomrenke: Closing the door on Black Sox reinstatement

From SABR member Jacob Pomrenke at The National Pastime Museum on January 4, 2016:

Less than a year into his tenure as commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred gave a definitive answer to a question that had been evaded or ignored by every one of his predecessors: Would baseball finally consider reinstating Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver, who were handed lifetime bans by Kenesaw Mountain Landis in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal?

Manfred’s answer was a resounding no, according to letters sent by the commissioner on July 20, 2015, to Arlene Marcley of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, South Carolina, and to Dr. David Fletcher, who has been leading the charge to clear Buck’s name on behalf of the Weaver family. In his letters, Manfred said, “It is not possible now, over 95 years [later] . . . to be certain enough of the truth to overrule Commissioner Landis’s determinations.” He also cited another former commissioner, A. Bartlett Giamatti, who once wrote that the Black Sox Scandal “is now best given to historical analysis and debate as opposed to a present-day review with an eye to reinstatement.”

While new evidence about the Black Sox Scandal has surfaced in recent years that greatly enhances our understanding of “baseball’s darkest hour,” it doesn’t make Manfred’s decision any easier. Jackson and Weaver’s involvement in the fixed World Series of 1919 has been heavily disputed for nearly a century, and efforts to clear their names have been taken up by their supporters and fans for just as long. Manfred’s firm response seems to finally close the door on those reinstatement efforts once and for all. But it’s worth revisiting just how often the question has come up over the last 95 years and why Manfred felt compelled to provide an answer now.

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/closing-door-black-sox-reinstatement

Originally published: January 4, 2016. Last Updated: January 4, 2016.