Cooperstown Chronicles – Shoeless Joe Jackson
I’ve just lobbied for Pete Ro$e, so getting on my soap box for Shoeless Joe should be much easier. Yes, Shoeless Joe was part of the infamous Black Sox Scandal, but there is some debate of his role in it. In that series Joe his .375, scoring five runs and driving in six more. Furthermore, he didn’t make any errors in the series. There is also debate as to whether or not he understood what he was getting into. What’s not up for debate is his talent.
.356 Batting Average (3rd All-time)
1772 Hits (in 1332 games)
168 Triples (26th All-time)
54 Home Runs
202 Stolen Bases
2577 Total Bases
.423 On-base % (16th All-time)
.517 Slugging % (63rd All-time)
.940 OPS (32nd All-time)
Playoffs – .345, 9 runs, 19 hits, 3 doubles, 1 HRs, 8 RBI in fourteen games.
MVP votes in 4 seasons
.400 season in 1911
Top Ten Finishes
Batting Average - 8 times (Runner-up in ’11, ’12, ’13)
On-base % - 9 times (Led league in ‘11)
Slugging % – 9 times (Led league in ‘13)
OPS – 9 times (Led league in ’13)
Games - 4 times
At Bats – Twice
Runs - 6 times
Hits - 6 times (Led league in ’11 & ’12)
Total Bases - 7 times (Led league in ’12 & ’16)
Doubles - 6 times (Led league in ’13)
Triples - 9 times (Led league in ’12, ’16 & ’20)
Home Runs – 6 times
RBI – 8 times
Walks – Twice
Stolen Bases – Twice
The sad thing is, if he didn’t take part in the Scandal, he likely would have been one of the best players of all-time. He was 30 when he was banished from the game he loved. He hit .382 in his final season with 218 hits, 42 Doubles, 20 Triples, 12 Home Runs, 105 Runs and 121 RBI. He was just entering his prime.
The league was totally different in those days. There was no Players Association to protect the players’ rights. Shoeless Joe made $6000 in the 1919 season. Accoring to an Inflation Calculator, $6000 was the equivelant of around $71,000 of 2007 dollars. He was paid $5000 to be part of the scandal. The White Sox took a big hit in attendance, going from 684, 521 in 1917 to 195,081. Some suggest that Charles Comiskey passed some of the losses to his players by refusing to launder their uniforms. The players objected to this and wore them without washing them. From here the nickname “Black Sox” was born. It’s hard to justify what the Black Sox members did, but judging by his stats in the World Series, I’m not sure Shoeless Joe followed through.
If you think I’m off my rocker for wanting to induct Shoeless Joe into the HOF, please let me know.
Buck O’Neill & Minnie Minoso