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Friday, August 09, 2019

How Good Was Shoeless Joe?

Joe Jackson has been in the news since 2019 is the 100th anniversary of the 1919 Black Sox scandal season. Even more so today because it was announced that the White Sox will meet the Yankees on August 13, 2020 in the “MLB at Field of Dreams” game to be held in Dyersville, Iowa, the site of the popular 1989 baseball film.

Field of Dreams helped pull Joe Jackson from the dustbin of history, and all of a sudden, most baseball fans today know who he was. But how good was he?

Shoeless Joe Jackson is a player often distorted by myth and legend, but is best appreciated by simply examining the facts.

Joe could never exist today.  Perhaps this is why he remains one of the more intriguing figures in baseball history.  Can you imagine a guy playing an actual game in his socks?  Even in the minors?  Even for one game? For that matter, who was the last illiterate superstar to grace the diamond?

None of this will really be news to us, but any excuse to discuss baseball history is a good one….

 

QLE Posted: August 09, 2019 at 07:44 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: shoeless joe jackson

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   1. Don August(us) Cesar Geronimo Berroa Posted: August 09, 2019 at 08:17 AM (#5869763)
All I know is, his getting banned has made him far more famous than most of the guys in the Hall of Fame. I would guess that if you polled "average" baseball fans, more of them would know Joe than would know Nap Lajoie or Tris Speaker, or heck, even Joe's Chicago teammate Eddie Collins. All of whom were greater players than Joe.

That said, Joe was damn good. I believe he has the best ab/3b ratio (29.65) of anyone in history. Sam Crawford, the all-time 3b leader had a ratio of 30.97.
   2. Rennie's Tenet Posted: August 09, 2019 at 08:33 AM (#5869764)
Inescapable logic from the writer:

Shoeless Joe Jackson (along with the other seven Black Sox) and John D. Rockefeller (a stunning $29 million fine imposed in 1907 on his Standard Oil in antitrust case) were the two most notable opponents taken down by Kenesaw Mountain Landis. The Standard Oil fine was overturned long ago. Isn’t it about time to give Joe his due?
   3. Rally Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:02 AM (#5869768)
As to how good he was, I thought first of Tris Speaker. They were born within a year of each other, and just missed being teammates in Cleveland.

Through 1920, Speaker hit 342/424/484, 164 OPS+

Jackson was a better hitter, 356/423/517, 170 OPS+

But Speaker had significantly more value, due to better defense, an earlier start, and better durability, so he's got about 50% more WAR than Jackson's 62. Wasn't quite as good as Cobb (a year and a half older, 184 OPS+ through age 32), but Jackson was a great, great player and his numbers live up to his reputation.
   4. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 09:19 AM (#5869774)
but Jackson was a great, great player and his numbers live up to his reputation.

Yup, slam dunk HoFer, not quite "Innner Circle".
   5. TomH Posted: August 09, 2019 at 10:14 AM (#5869790)
https://www.baseball-reference.com/leaders/leaders_32_bat_career-upto.shtml

As a hitter, he was one of the best thru his banishment after age 32; by Offensive Winning Pct thru 32, he is 5th behind Ruth-Williams-Cobb-Hornsby-Mantle. By Batting Wins, he is further back (nowhere near top 10), as he did come up as early, and so his career marks are less, but his OWP may be a bit higher than if he had played when very young.
   6. The Good Face Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:34 AM (#5869819)
For that matter, who was the last illiterate superstar to grace the diamond?


This is an interesting question. Pedro Guerrero maybe?
   7. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:37 AM (#5869821)
This is an interesting question. Pedro Guerrero maybe?

I would vote for John Rocker, but that's just me
   8. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:41 AM (#5869822)
I would vote for John Rocker, but that's just me

Ooh. I have a good line for this but I'd have to use a word no longer acceptable in polite company. Damn it!
   9. Rally Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:49 AM (#5869824)
Joe Morgan? He obviously could not distinguish "Billy Beane" from "Michael Lewis" on that book cover.
   10. Traderdave Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:54 AM (#5869825)
Ooh. I have a good line for this but I'd have to use a word no longer acceptable in polite company. Damn it!


Then it's certainly acceptable to use at BTF.
   11. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:56 AM (#5869827)
Ooh. I have a good line for this but I'd have to use a word no longer acceptable in polite company. Damn it!

You can tell us tomorrow.
   12. Shooty would run in but these bone spurs hurt! Posted: August 09, 2019 at 11:57 AM (#5869829)

You can tell us tomorrow.

Don't build it up. It's really not that clever!
   13. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2019 at 05:50 PM (#5869986)
Likely there have been some largely under-educated players from the DR ... a poor country with a poor education system to begin with and these kids would have been spending most of their time on baseball since they were about 10. Whether the under-education rose to the level of illiteracy we'll likely never know.

I assume that baseball players that are dumb as rocks are still in good supply. :-)

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