The strange fate of Shoeless Joe Jackson

I was raised within an easy drive of where the Field of Dreams[imdb] was filmed, and the ballpark in the middle of a cornfield is still there, albeit a tad bit of a tourist trap.  This post on BlogCritics addresses one of the key characters of the film.  It’s an interesting background about why Shoeless Joe Jackson was banned from baseball for life.

We all remember the movie Field of Dreams. Shoeless Joe Jackson comes back from the dead to stroll around in a cornfield and play a little ball. He’d been banned from the sport in the infamous 1919 Black Sox scandal, but was now being portrayed by Ray Liotta as representing the heart and soul of our national pastime. In reality, the 1919 Chicago White Sox were one of the greatest baseball teams ever to take the field, and “Shoeless” Joe Jackson was their superstar left fielder. But when the team made it to the World Series, two gamblers — “Sleepy Bill” Burns and Billy Maharg — backed by gangster Arnold Rothstein, bribed eight players with $100,000 to throw the championship.

The fix was a success: the Sox lost, and nobody really suspected a thing until late in the next season, whereupon the eight players were indicted. Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis suspended them all from baseball for life — a justified punishment, as they were all guilty. All but one, that is. Shoeless Joe, for his part, did all he could to avoid being involved He told Sox owner Charles Comiskey about the scam, but was ignored; he asked to be benched for the Series, but was refused; he even batted .375 for the Series, with the only homerun and 12 base hits (then a Series record), but was still considered guilty. The official judgment against Jackson has never been overturned and he’s still barred from the Baseball Hall of Fame — a sad fate for a player who could hit the dickens out of a Kevin Costner curveball.  [blogcritics]

Lifetime ban from baseball means lifetime.  Even after death, you can still be a star on the big screen.


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