The meaning of Shoeless Joe may not be immediately clear to readers: Why should they care if Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven other dead members of the 1919 White Sox get the opportunity to play baseball once again, or if Ray Kinsella succeeds in persuading J. D. Salinger that he should resume writing fiction? Readers gradually come to the realization, however, that the main themes of Shoeless Joe are not associated with baseball but rather with death and individuals’ attempts to deal with the past. Like all people, Ray Kinsella wishes that he could change his past and have a final conversation with his late father. Readers know that this is impossible; nevertheless, they wish that reality could correspond to one’s dreams.
When he first hears the voice telling him “If you build it, he will come” and “Ease his pain,” Ray Kinsella assumes that the voice is referring only to Shoeless Joe Jackson, and he builds only a left field because Shoeless Joe was a left fielder. He believes that this will “ease the pain” of Shoeless Joe, who was banned for life by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis from the sport that had brought him so much happiness. Although quite beautiful and green, Ray’s left field is not a complete baseball field, and, when Shoeless Joe arrives, he persuades Ray that there are other players who would like to play; Ray then builds a complete baseball field. He also discovers that only those who believe in the miraculous happenings on his baseball diamond see the ghostly players and learn anything from them. Ray’s brother-in-law, Mark, who thinks only of all the money that could be made...
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Shoeless Joe Jackson Research Paper
In 1919 the Major League Baseball World Series was played between the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. The White Sox were 5:1 favorites over Cincinnati, the story of the World Series would be forever be known as the darkest day in the history of baseball. The series would forever be known as the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. The White Sox lost the series five games to three. Rumors circulated that the series had been thrown. White Sox players had been given money in return for sub-par performances. Eight men were implicated as conspirators in the fix. Among the conspirators implicated in the scandal was a man by the name of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson. Jackson was a future hall of fame. His performance in the 1919 series was superb; however, he was one of the eight players of the White Sox to be banned for life from professional baseball. The lifetime banishment ended the careers of the eight men, and Jackson could never be allowed as a member of the hall of fame. This has led to many debates as to whether or not Jackson was among the seven other men who threw the World Series.__________________________________________________________
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There are two different accounts of the Black Sox Scandal. One account of the scandal labels Jackson as being innocent. The other side of the story says that Jackson was guilty and got what he deserved. Although Jackson contributed the most towards his team season success, under closer inspection, the true facts of the Black Sox scandal of 1919 shows Jackson did conspire in fixing the World Series.
Jackson was an illiterate farm boy from South Carolina, whose lifetime batting average of .356 and outstanding running and fielding abilities would have eventually put him in the Hall of Fame, if it had not been for his lifetime banishment. He had a rifle of an arm. His glove was said to be "the resting place for many would-be doubles"(Baseball page). His swing was even copied by Babe Ruth. Jackson was a competitor who played the game the way it was supposed to be played. He played for the love of the game. He played to win.
In the World Series of 1919, Jackson allegedly threw the series. However in the series "he led the White Sox with a .375 batting average, had 13 hits, threw out five baserunners, fielded 1000%, and, handled thirty chances in the outfield with no errors"(Nixon). His performance shows Jackson did better than any player on either team. Jackson played to his full potential in the 1919 World Series. In the game of baseball "Statistics do not lie. Joe Jackson did nothing to throw any game in the 1919 World Series, he played his heart out in the game he loved"(Nixon). Even one of the official scorers, Christy Mathewson, could see nothing dishonest with Jackson's playing during the series.
Even before the Series began there were rumors swirling around a fix of the Series was on. When Cincinnati took the best of nine series - 5 games to 3, it did not sit well with a lot of baseball fans. The fix became public "One year later after the series was held a Chicago Grand Jury blew the whole thing wide open naming eight players as having conspired with gamblers to throw the series"(Mr. Baseball). The White Sox players were paid very poorly because their owner, Charles Comiskey, was one of the stingiest owners in baseball. This led to an easy persuasion by the gamblers. "The men were easy pickings for the gamblers who offered the eight teammates $100,000 (but actually only paid $10,000) to loose the series"(Mr. Baseball). The eight men, including Jackson were found innocent in court. However, being proven innocent in a trial court was not enough for newly appointed baseball Commissioner, Kenesaw Landis. He chose to ignore the courts ruling; giving the eight men the death sentence in baseball. This was because "In his zeal to clean up Baseball, Landis handed down the stiffest penalty he could "lifetime banishment"(Nixon). A court had ruled the men innocent so they should not have been given lifetime banishment in baseball. Many felt a year or two penalties at most but not a career ending punishment.
Jackson knew there was a fix going on before the series was started. It does not make him guilty in throwing the series. Jackson went to Charles Comiskey before the series started and pleaded with Comiskey about sitting him for the series because "something was wrong"(Jackson) with the games to be played. Jackson did not want to be involved in a crooked series. Although "Comiskey knew that the series was fixed, he could not afford to lose many thousands of dollars if the series was called off"(Nixon). Jackson even told Kid Gleason, the White Sox manager, that he did not want to play. Gleason ordered him to play, and Jackson was forced to play in a "dishonorable" World Series.
Even after the series was over and the trial started Jackson kept the stance, that he was innocent. When the trial started the men had to give statements on what their part in the series was. Charles Comiskey hired his personal lawyer, Alfred Austrian, to be Jackson's as well as the other seven White Sox players implicated in the scandal's lawyer. When Jackson met with Austrian he told him he was innocent. In an effort to protect Charles Comiskey, "Austrian told Jackson what to say on the witness stand, or, go to jail"(Nixon). Jackson had no other option but to sign a confession linking him to the scandal. Jackson believed if he signed the confessions then he would be able to return to baseball, the game he loved.
For the other side of the story, a closer look must be viewed at the statistics and the entire story more clearly. It is true that Jackson put up incredible numbers and performed well in the series, but is that entirely true; it might not be. Jackson always insisted he played to win, but his .375 batting average in the Series contains an interesting split. "In the four thrown games, Jackson hit .250 with one run scored and no RBI; in the other four, he batted .500 with four runs and six RBI"(Pappas). In each of the first two games Jackson allowed a two-out, two-run triple to left field. That last piece of evidence stands out the most. Jackson was always known for his defense in the outfield. It was said, "his glove was the resting place for many a would-be double" (Holmes). It is odd that a "Gold Glove" left fielder would allow triples in back to back games. This would not of happen if Joe had not wanted it to happen. He was not the type of player to have four bad games during the four thrown games. This was not a coincidence.
Jackson signed a confession and testified before a grand jury investigating the incident he did, in fact, accept money to help throw the series in favor of Cincinnati. People have tried to say it was Comiskey's lawyer who had him sign a confession, which he could not read. That is believable, but the fact that Jackson lied under oath he helped in fixing the Series, is not.
A teammate of Jackson's, Ed Cicotte, even pinned Jackson as one of the conspirators. His confession broke the scandal wide open. He identified Jackson as one of his co-conspirators. Years later so did Chick Gandil, the ringleader behind the fix. These two men linked Jackson to the fix. Jackson also was given $5,000 for throwing the series. He admitted to keeping the money, which he knew was from the gamblers who bribed the Sox to throw the Series.
Even though Jackson was acquitted in a federal court on all charges, it has no bearing on the decision to ban the eight men from baseball. Jackson and the other men were not charged with throwing the World Series, because it is not a crime. He and the other Black Sox were charged with throwing games with the intent to defraud the public. The jury was instructed by law: "The State must prove that it was the intent of the ballplayers and gamblers charged with conspiracy through the throwing of the World Series, to defraud the public and others, and not merely to throw games" (Pappas). Since there was no evidence the Black Sox were motivated by anything but the desire to line their own pockets, Jackson would have been acquitted even if he had admitted throwing the Series. Thus the court decision had nothing to do with the decision of Landis to ban the players.
These two accounts of the scandal differ in whose to blame. A baseball historian might take the side of Jackson being to blame for the scandal. They would feel Jackson got what he deserved. Then there is the average baseball enthusiast who has seen movies about the scandal and they believe Jackson is innocent. Those fans believe that it was someone other than Jackson's fault. He was led to believe things were different and he played incredible in the 1919 series.
The facts show that Jackson did in fact conspire with seven other men to throw the World Series. He did in fact play well in the World Series. However he played well in the games that the White Sox won. In the four thrown games he played entirely different. Those four games were uncommon for the future hall of fame. That is why Jackson did in fact throw the series. The myth of him not throwing the series and all of the other factors is just that, a myth. When the myth is stripped away, Shoeless Joe Jackson stands exposed as a willing participant in baseball's greatest crime.
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