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Why It’s Time For Shoeless Joe and Pete Rose to be in the Hall of Fame

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The Astros cheating scandal has cast a dark cloud over Major League Baseball since the story broke. Players have been attacking each other in the press, fans have lost faith in the sport, and both players and fans are angry about the lack of punishments being handed down to the players involved. This is why now is the perfect time for baseball to lift its ban on two of the games most prolific players, Pete Rose and Shoeless Joe Jackson. Both players were banned from baseball after being involved in scandals that resulted in them never being allowed to participate in Major League Baseball activities again. Since their initial punishments, fans have called for Rose to be inducted for his accomplishments as a player, not a manager, and Jackson as he was acquitted of the charges brought against him.

Jackson Hall of Fame Career Goes Unrecognized

During the 1911 baseball season, Shoeless Joe made a name for himself in Cleveland. In his first season with the team, he had 233 hits and a .408 batting average. He followed up with another impressive year in 1912 with a batting average of .395. However, Jackson never won a batting title each time he was eligible Ty Cobb edged him out. After several seasons in Cleveland, Jackson was traded to the Chicago White Sox.

In 1919 the White Sox were accused of fixing the World Series against the Reds. It was later discovered that the first baseman for the White Sox had connections in the world of gambling and had planned to throw the series. Several other players were said to be involved, one of them being Jackson. Even though he accepted the money promised to him if he helped throw the game Jackson’s production at the plate was on par with his regular-season performance.

It wasn’t until September 27, 1920, that newspapers reported that the White Sox had purposely lost the 1919 World Series. All the players alleged to be involved were suspended. The next day players were set to stand before a grand jury and plead their case. This is the day that reporters claimed a small child came up to Jackson and said, “Say it ain’t so Joe,” but this never happened. A journalist conjured up the incident and made a story of it.

At the end of the trial, the judge acquitted all players. However, the only one who was said to have no contact with the man how orchestrated the fix was Jackson. Unfortunately for Jackson, it did not matter. Jackson was banned from baseball, which means he can never be inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Fans have disagreed with this punishment for decades. They feel that Jackson suffered enough by being slandered in the press and never getting to play the game he loved again. In 2015 MLB was reported to have been reconsidering Jackson’s Hall of Fame status but nothing came of it. Currently, the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in his hometown of Greenville, South Carolina is petitioning to have Jackson reinstated to baseball and ultimately inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Pete Rose Gains Presidential Support

February 8, 2020, President Donald Trump tweeted that it was time for Pete Rose to be inducted into Cooperstown. Fans have been calling for Rose to be inducted for years, not as a manager but as a player. So will this tweet get Rose inducted? Probably not, but Rose is still appealing his ban this year. A large part of his appeals comes from the lack of punishment that the Astros received.

Pete Rose played in the MLB from 1963 until 1986. During that time Rose had 4,256 hits, a record that still stands to this day. Rose also earned Rookie of the Year, an MVP award, and played in 17 All-Star Games in five different positions. Baseball has yet to have any other player break many of Rose’s records. Rose was one of the four players that made up “The Big Red Machine” in Cincinnati, Ohio. All of the other players in this group have since been inducted into the Hall of Fame.  But the problem with Rose doesn’t come from anything he did as a player. He was banned for what he did as a manager.

As a manager, it was alleged that Rose had been betting on baseball games. MLB rules state that players, coaches, and umpires are prohibited from betting on games they are not participating in as well as games they are involved in. It was alleged in March 1989 that Rose had bet on the Cinncinatti Reds to win in several games 1987. In August 1989 Rose accepted his punishment of being banned from baseball.

In the time since his punishment fans have argued that Rose did nothing wrong. He was not betting against his team and therefore throwing games in an effort to win money. Rose bet on his own team to win games. While the official report states that Rose could influence his team to win games, fans don’t understand how that equates to a ban from baseball. Doesn’t every manager have influence over their team to help them win games? Isn’t that what makes them a good manager? But beyond these questions, fans acknowledge that Rose did break the rules as a manager and shouldn’t be awarded for that. As a player, there is no evidence that Rose placed any money on the outcome of games, and should be allowed into the Hall of Fame as a player.

What’s Next for these Players?

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As it stands both players will not have a plaque in Cooperstown anytime but Rose will be appealing his ineligibility once again before the 2020 season. With the scandal currently surrounding baseball now would be the time that he could potentially get reinstated. Fans are angry with the lack of punishment for the Astros and this could change their attitudes. In the case of the late Shoeless Joe, fans in Greenville are spreading the word of what truly happened in Chicago in 1919 and hoping to clear his name. 2020 would be another great opportunity for baseball to regain fan support and let Joe into the Hall of Fame after a century of being blacklisted.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Great article!!! I have been to Greenville and went to the museum. The history of the textile leagues and its players needs to be told and inducting Shoeless Joe!!!

  2. Another great article by this young writer maybe someone should send this to the baseball commissioner great job

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