Shoeless Joe Jackson: New Sports Betting Laws Could Change His Legacy

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joe jackson fall from grace

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a federal anti-sports gambling law, which now gives states the right to allow betting on sports. The Supreme Court’s opinion on Murphy v. National Collegiate Athletic Association determined the federal ban on sports wagering, as established by the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 (PASPA) to be unconstitutional, which now paves the way for the legalization of sports betting in all 50 states.

In other words, this is a seismic event, and the sports gaming industry is about to boom once again. People will be wagering everywhere, including on the world wide web, and thus, online casino reviews will be seeing an increase in traffic. These are indeed exciting times for all topics relating to sports gaming. 

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In addition to looking ahead to the future, let’s also revisit the past. What about Shoeless Joe Jackson and the rest of the 1919 Chicago White Sox?

Shoeless Joe is, without a doubt, the greatest player in Major League Baseball history not to be enshrined in Cooperstown. He also a conflicting and complicated legacy. He claimed, up until his death that he played the infamous 1919 World Series on the level, and that his name was unfairly besmirched. 

In Fall from Grace, a Shoeless Joe Jackson biography by Tim Hornbaker which came out in paperback in last month, the reader is presented with all of the evidence that is available regarding Jackson’s guilt or innocence. Hornbaker lets the reader make up his or her own mind while showcasing how Joe Jackson may have been playing to win, and his statistics in the series clearly reflect that. 

However, Shoeless Joe Jackson also had first hand knowledge of the plot to throw the World Series, was even given money to take part, by some accounts, and never lifted a finger to try and do what would have been wholesome and honest.

shoeless joe jackson

For that, he is forever banished and the man with the third highest batting average in history remains out of the Hall of Fame. 

What Joe Jackson had to say publicly about his involvement in the conspiracy morphed over time, with a lot of contradictions. So much so that he was actually charged with perjury, due to his testimony conflicting with his previous testimony. However, the perjury charge was later dropped and none of the “Eight Men Out” (the eight “Black Sox” forever banished from baseball) were ever convicted of any crime due to the events of the “thrown” World Series.  

Perhaps their punishment was Draconian? Maybe it’s time to revisit this issue, and look at who Shoeless Joe Jackson was from a different perspective? How about this guy pictured in the tweet below?

Maybe it’s time to allow baseball’s all time hits leader into the Hall of Fame?

After all, sports gambling is about as mainstream and mainstream can get nowadays. It was trending that way for awhile, and then the Daily Fantasy Sports explosion cemented sports betting within the pause of the American culture.

American Gaming Association (AGA) President Geoff Freeman declared the decision “a victory for the millions of Americans who seek to bet on sports in a safe and regulated manner.”

“According to a Washington Post survey, a solid 55 percent of Americans believe it’s time to end the federal ban on sports betting,” he continued.

shoeless joe jackson

“Through smart, efficient regulation this new market will protect consumers, preserve the integrity of the games we love, empower law enforcement to fight illegal gambling, and generate new revenue for states, sporting bodies, broadcasters and many others.”

We need to hear the case of Pete Rose again. Now with attitudes having shifted so much in a new direction, perhaps he will get his call from the hall?

Ditto for Joe Jackson, the man who Babe Ruth admittedly modeled his swing on. Shoeless Joe has maintained a prominent place in the national consciousness since his banishment (Field of Dreams, Eight Men Out), and thus, we need to re-examine his place in Cooperstown as well.

After all, he is a man who was immortalized by sports writer John Lardner, son of the legendary Ring Lardner, as “the answer to a gambler’s prayer.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes regularly to WGN CLTV and the Tribune company’s blogging community Chicago Now.

Follow him on TwitterInstagramSound Cloud, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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