Free Shoeless Joe Jackson!
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LIFT THE BAN ON SHOELESS JOE JACKSON, SO THAT HE MAY BE INDUCTED INTO THE NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME.
We the undersigned, believe that the time has come for Major League Baseball to lift the ban on Joseph Jefferson Jackson so that he will become eligible for election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Joe Jackson was banned from baseball for his part in the notorious Black Sox Scandal in which certain members of the Chicago White Sox conspired to profit by throwing the 1919 World Series.
Whereas the evidence is clear that Jackson had knowledge of his teammates' plot and also that he accepted hush money to protect them, it is also clear that his situation was materially different from the other players who were involved. Some of the extenuating circumstances that warrant reconsideration are detailed below:
Joe Jackson was an uneducated small town boy who found himself surrounded by a slick crowd with big contacts in the gambling underworld.
Jackson was not in favor of the fix and did not participate in the planning meetings or on the field. He swore to this until his death in 1951.
His statistics in the World Series confirm his claim: He was errorless in the field, led both teams in batting average(.375), hit the only home run by either team, and either scored or batted in eleven of the White Sox' twenty runs in the series.
Even though Jackson was acquitted of all charges by a court of law, baseball commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis made an example of all of the participants by banning them from professional baseball.
As the star of the team---and one of the best players of all time---Joe Jackson had the farthest to fall. So, even though he was the least "guilty," he endured the harshest punishment.
Joe Jackson was banished from baseball for life. He has been dead for over 50 years now. His sentence has been more than served.
In 2005, Jackson's hometown, Greenville SC, applied to MLB to name their minor league team the "Greenville Joes" in his honor. The name was turned down because of its obvious association with Shoeless Joe. In effect, his punishment has now been extended, posthumously, to his hometown.
It is time for Shoeless Joe Jackson to be allowed to take his rightful place among baseball's greats. Surely the man with the third highest career batting average in history---the man who still holds the record for highest batting average in a rookie season---and the man after whom Babe Ruth patterned his swing---deserves the tribute that true baseball fans wish to bestow on him.
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