Wilson: Say what you will about Shoeless Joe, but these things ain’t so

From SABR member Doug Wilson at Seamheads.com on September 4, 2015:

News arrived this week that Major League Baseball has once again turned down an appeal to reinstate Shoeless Joe Jackson. This continues a tradition going back to 1951 when Happy Chandler failed to respond to a resolution by the South Carolina Legislature. Apparently it is the policy of baseball commissioners to never reverse mandates made by a former commissioner–news that does not bode well for a certain hit king and his fans.

While reading the reports of the Jackson non-decision, it struck me that Joe Jackson may be the most misunderstood great player in baseball history. For more than 100 years, Jackson and his image have been twisted, stretched and molded to fit whatever needs are desired at the time–blending the line between fantasy, mythology and reality. This is unfortunate for Joe Jackson and his memory; his story was great enough without the perpetuated lies and inaccuracies.

First and foremost, forget Hollywood. Joe Jackson was not a sparkly-eyed, right-handed hitting, left-handed throwing Ray Liotta, speaking in a New Jersey accent about his love of the game and how being kicked out of baseball was like “having a part of me amputated,” and how he would have played for food money. Jackson was, of course, a southerner who sported a decidedly hillbilly look with big ears and a bad haircut. And as for playing for mere food money, that’s a quaint cliche, spread  exhaustively by those with other more mundane jobs, but that thought hasn’t really been considered by the country’s elite baseball players since 1869.

Read the full article here: http://seamheads.com/2015/09/04/say-what-you-will-about-shoeless-joe-but-these-things-aint-so/

Originally published: September 4, 2015. Last Updated: September 4, 2015.