Prior to his expulsion from baseball, Jackson had already proved himself Hall of Fame worthy. In ten full Major League seasons, Shoeless Joe had over 1,700 hits and had a career batting average of .356. The latter remains iconic as this puts him third All Time. Jackson was easily amongst the hardest workers in baseball and his passion for the game was unequalled. He was in his prime when he was suspended and he clearly had many more great seasons ahead of him.
Where it gets murky is his participation in throwing the Series. Evidence does point that he was aware of it but after his Grand Jury Testimony where he claimed involvement he proclaimed his innocence for years thereafter. Jackson may have been a great player, but he was not an educated man, and by many accounts naïve. It is very possible that he was unaware of the ramifications of testifying that he received $5,000 to help throw the Series.
As he claimed his innocence, he had the stats to back up his claim. He batted .375 in the Series and made no errors in the field. If anything, the box scores shoes the efforts a man who played to win. As seen with our first selection, Major League Baseball has a zero tolerance policy for gambling and there are many reasons to think that this will not change in the near or distant future. As there are is some doubt about his guilt and considering his overall contribution to the game, we are hoping that MLB will reinstate Shoeless Joe Jackson and enshrine him in to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Sadly, he has been declared ineligible since the Hall’s inception….any real reason to think it will change now?