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Baseball: Black Sox player Shoeless Joe Jackson still banned

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For Shoeless Joe Jackson, it still isn’t so.

Jackson, the old outfielder for the Chicago White Sox (or Black Sox), has been denied reconsideration for his lifetime ban by baseball commissioner Rob Manfred, which might have led to admission into the Hall of Fame.

The story is almost 100 years old, but it remains one of baseball’s most fascinating tales. Eight members of the White Sox (made famous in Eliot Asinof’s book and the subsequent movie Eight Men Out), conspired to fix the 1919 World Series but were discovered by Chicago sportswriters Ring Lardner and Hugh Fullerton. They met with gamblers and took money to enable the fix, getting in so deep they could not back out even when the gamblers reneged on their deal.

The eight were found not guilty in a court trial, but baseball commissioner Kennesaw “Mountain” Landis banned them for life regardless.

There are those who have consistently defended Jackson, who did not attend a meeting and whose .375 average led the series. But Jackson did take money, however, and no one will ever be sure what his intentions might have been if he had come to bat in a big moment in a deciding game.

Another player, Buck Weaver, also insisted on his innocence. He knew about the fix but took no money.

The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum had urged Manfred to reconsider Jackson, but he pointed out since it had been more than 95 years, that “it was not possible … to be certain enough of the truth” to overrule Landis. He also pointed out that in the years when Jackson was eligible to be put into the Hall, he received only four votes total.

Instead, Jackson seems destined to be a figure of constant debate, but one who is outside of the Hall of Fame.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit [email protected]

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