I recently wrote an article reviewing Field of Dreams, so that got me thinking. Should Shoeless Joe be in the hall of fame?
The first thing to know is that he only got 1.0% of the vote in 1946. Obviously, baseball was still scarred from what he allegedly did. But if you just look at the facts, it seems obvious that Shoeless Joe belongs in Cooperstown.
Shoeless Joe Jackson was banned from the game of baseball along with 7 other players from the White Sox after it was revealed that the White Sox lost on purpose in the 1919 World Series. Jackson has always denied it, and he says that he was tricked into admitting that he was guilty because he was illiterate.
In the 1919 World Series, Jackson slashed .375/.394/.563 with the series only home run. He also hit 3 doubles and 8 singles in 32 AB. One can point to the argument that he only had 3 RBI in games that the White Sox lost, but in game 1 he scored the White Sox’s only run. In game 2 he went 3-4, but 2 out of the 3 people ahead of him in the lineup threw the game! The White Sox won Game 3, but got shut out game 4 with Joe Jackson getting 1 of the White Sox’s 3 hits. Game 5 the White Sox got shut out again, and Game 6 the White Sox won. The White Sox also won Game 7, and in Game 8 he went 2-5 with 3 RBIs.
Game 8 was key, because everyone else that was throwing the game went a combined 3-16. But somehow, Shoeless Joe went 2-5 with a 2B and a HR. It’s almost like he didn’t know that he was supposed to lose.
He was also easily taken advantage of because he was illiterate, and for years he told people that he was taken advantage of.
He took $5,000, but not voluntarily. He says that he went out for a drink that night, so alcohol could’ve played a factor in his decision to keep the money.
He was also the White Sox’s best player in the series according to OPS and WPA(Win Probability Added).
He was also better than any Reds player with at least 10 PA according to OPS. So he was the best player of the series according to OPS.
In short, Shoeless Joe Jackson had a really, really good 1919 world series. So I don’t think that he threw the World Series. His 62.1 WAR also makes his hall of fame case even better, especially since that WAR came before the end of his peak.
Shoeless Joe Jackson should be in the hall of fame, and there’s no reason that he shouldn’t.