From SABR member Graham Womack at The Sporting News on September 8, 2015, with mention of SABR member Jacob Pomrenke:
It’s as if Shoeless Joe Jackson will live forever. Though the legendary White Sox outfielder has been dead 63 years, Arlene Marcley, president of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum, put him in the news again recently by applying for his reinstatement with Major League Baseball. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred turned down this request, of course, as commissioners have been doing for more than 80 years.
Reinstatement requests for Jackson go back as far as December 1933, when the disgraced star wrote the commissioner who banned him for life in 1921, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, asking permission to coach a minor league team in Greenville, S.C., Landis turned him down. Through the years, commissioners Bart Giamatti, Fay Vincent and Bud Selig have looked into Jackson’s case, none willing to overturn Landis’s monumental ruling.
As is well known, Landis banned Jackson and seven other White Sox players for their alleged roles in fixing the 1919 World Series. Their involvement is termed here as alleged because a jury acquitted them of criminal charges in 1921, though numerous accounts attest to improprieties with the series. Jackson, for one, testified before a Cook County grand jury in September 1920 and in a civil trial in Wisconsin in 1924 to accepting $5,000 from teammate Lefty Williams.
There’s this myth that Jackson slunk off in shame for the remainder of his life after his ban. He actually more or less got on with life, as many people do after a life-altering event. He played baseball under assumed names, ran a few small businesses — a clean and press business, a barbecue stand and a liquor store among them — and, perhaps most important, publicly recanted his confessions of helping fix the 1919 World Series.
Originally published: September 8, 2015. Last Updated: September 8, 2015.