Commissioner Denies Request To Re-instate Shoeless Joe Jackson
A decision has been rendered by new Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred in the appeal of the lifetime banishment of Shoeless Joe Jackson, a member of the infamous "Black Sox Scandal" that saw the Chicago White Sox "throw" the 1919 World Series. The scandal was featured in the movie 8 Men Out.
Manfred, who replaced former MLB Commissioner Bud Selig earlier this year, has denied re-instatement to the player whose .356 career batting average ranks third highest of all time. Jackson, along with 7 teammates, was accused of accepting $5000 bribes from gamblers to intentionally lose the 1919 World Series to the underdog Cincinnati Reds. After allegations of the "fix" became public, all 8 of the players were charged with conspiracy and later found not guilty by a jury. Regardless of the players judged innocent, all 8 were banned for life by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
Jackson spent the next 20 years bouncing from one semi-pro team to another, maintaining his innocence until the day he died. The stats back up Jackson's claim, as he collected a still record 12 hits, hitting .375 in the series. Defensively he made no errors in the field and even threw a runner out at home trying to score. No direct quote with documentation from Jackson admitting guilt or written evidence proving him guilty has ever been found. The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, South Carolina, had petitioned Major League Baseball earlier this year to "re-instate" Jackson, who died in 1951, to the "eligible list" in order for the player that many consider the games greatest all-time hitter to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
This was not the first time a request to re-instate Jackson has been denied. In 1989, then commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti also declined to reinstate Jackson because the case was "now best given to historical analysis and debate as opposed to a present-day review with an eye to reinstatement." Manfred has said he checked the records of Giamatti's review when making his decision.
Said Manfred of Giamatti's analysis: "I agree with that determination and conclude that it would not be appropriate for me to reopen this matter."
Jackson, who played with three teams from 1908 to 1920, finished his career with a .356 batting average and 1,772 hits. There are many who believe that Manfred's decision on Jackson leaves a very strong doubt that the new commissioner will re-instate all-time hits leader Pete Rose, who was banned for life by Giamatti in August of 1989 because of gambling allegations.