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Jackson Must Remain Banned Part 2

Yesterday I pointed out many of the inaccuracies propogated on the internet concerning Joe Jackson.  I showed how the Black Sox acquittal was not a declaration of their innocence in the fix. 

Looking at Jackson's sparkling .375 batting average in the World Series, how can we say he played poorly on purpose?  The best source has to be Joe Jackson's voluntary Grand Jury confession.  Remember, he turned himself in out of guilt; he was not put to this confession by Charles Comiskey or any lawyer.  From Eight Men Out:   

"They would give him $20,000 for helping out.  It was easy; all he had to do was go along with it; let a ball drop a few feet in front of him; don't hit the big one with men on.  He could look good and still play badly.  Twenty thousand dollars.

Jackson rambled on for almost two hours.  He told the Jury how he hadn't played good baseball, despite his incredible .375 World Series average, and record 12 base hits."

Some say Jackson always maintained innocence - not true.  Others insist that his batting average guarantees honest play.  As we saw in Jackson's own testimony, a professional ballplayer can easily look good and still not play to the best of his abilities.

Eddie Cicotte was the #1 starter on the team and was an integral part of the fix.  But what about his 2.91 ERA?  Cicotte is another shining example that statistics can't tell the whole story. 

Only the players involved can truly say whether they conspired to lose.  And it's indisputable that Joe Jackson admitted to his participation.  Eight Men Out is a thorough, well-researched book and is the authority on the subject.  Eliot Asinof writes without any agenda.  Check it out if you remain unconvinced.

Joe Jackson was an incredible player in his ten full seasons.  His .356 batting average and .423 OBP are amazing.  But it's just not enough to put a player in the Hall of Fame.  With only 1772 hits, Jackson did not have the necessary longevity.  That he lacks this longevity due to his own corruption only strengthens the point. 

From 1998-2004, Todd Helton had seven incredible seasons.  But if his production declines sharply during the rest of his career, he doesn't deserve a free pass to the Hall just because he had a nice peak.

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I think there are really two seperate arguments to be made here. The first is whether or not the fact that Jackson took money in exchange for throwing games should keep him barred forever from the Hall of Fame. I tend to feel that the dangers of gamblers, or organized crime, bribing players is no longer very present, since even mediocre players make tons of money, more than any reasonable bribe amount.

But the arguement that Jackson's numbers don't belong in the Hall is, in my mind, an extremely weak one. There's a big difference between 7 seasons in Helton's case and 10 in Jackson's case. That's 43% more games. Additionally, we all know that Helton's excellence is vastly inflated by his homefield, as his career home/away splits indicate. If Sandy Koufax can get in 5 great seasons, then Jackson's 10 are more than enough.

I'm not saying he should be in, but let's be honest, it's the bribery that's keeping him out, not his play.

OK, I see your point about Coors obscuring Helton's accomplishments. And the time periods aren't that close. So let's take Vlad Guerrero. If he retired after the 2006 season, is he a HOFer? It would mark an excellent ten year run, one of the game's top players. Or if Manny Ramirez retired after this season? Koufax had five years of dominance in 10ish seasons. I honestly don't think he belongs in the Hall. Sacrilege, I know.

Great piece. I agree Jackson being banned. Just out of curiousity, what's your thoughts of Pete Rose?

Wow sorry... typo central there. To rephrase: "I agree with Jackson being banned. What are your thoughts on Pete Rose being banned?"

Thanks Ben. I think Rose's corruption is nowhere near as bad as Jackson's...I'd be arguing that way if I were Pete. Still, you have a liar's word that he never bet against his own team. Not very convincing. Plus, maybe Rose burnt out his bullpen for a game on which he bet at the expense of the next game? That's still pretty bad even though he's not technically betting against the Reds . I have to vote to keep Rose out - he knew what he was getting himself into. Your thoughts?

I feel, as you do, that Rose's crimes weren't as bad as Jackson's. I would put him in however, for a couple of reasons. I've heard throughout the years that Rose bet while playing and baseball let it go. The difference of course is Rose generated more money for the game as a player than a manager, so they let it slide then and punished him later. Secondly, could he have destroyed bullpens or run players ragged for the purpose of winning a bet? I suppose. But lots of managers do that anyway without extra money on the line. I'd have to see some sort of stat proving he misused players.

But yes, Rose made his bed and now he has to lie in it. I'd put him in, but I doubt he'll ever see the Hall in his lifetime.

I'd argue that while Manny belongs in the Hall right now, Vlad probably isn't quite there...

If you don't think Koufax belongs in, that's fine, I understand that you want to see sustained excellence. But 10 years is a reasonable career length, and I'd always rather induct a transcendant talent over a compiler. In other words, give me Koufax over Bert Blyleven.

Zach, I see your point. Sustained excellence or a period of dominance? Personal preference I guess. Ten seasons seems borderline to me but I see your point.

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