“Shoeless” Joe Jackson, OF, Cleveland Indians 1910-1915
Yes, I know. I said I was going to stay away from controversies, but I did say of the last 50 years. Shoeless Joe Jackson ran into his issue over 100 years ago and it’s time to put him in the Hall of Fame. If it could be obviously proven he participated in the scandal, then it would be a different story, but his stats from the series say otherwise.
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When you look at Jackson’s stats, specifically from when he was in Cleveland, it’s honestly crazy to think that he isn’t in the Hall of Fame. He led all of Major League Baseball in hits in both 1912 and 1913. The 1912 season also saw Jackson tally a league-leading 26 triples. As for 1913, he tallied a league-best 39 doubles. Thanks to the strong seasons, Jackson finished in the Top 10 for MVP voting each year from 1911 until 1914, including a second place finish in 1913.
What’s even more impressive are his career numbers. Jackson posted a career batting average of .356, which is third in baseball history. Despite the shortened career, his 168 triples are still 26th all-time. He completed his slash line with marks of .356/.423/.517.
Had Jackson not been associated with the Black Sox Scandal, he would have been a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame (pun intended). Considering that many believe he didn’t partake in the throwing of the series, he should be inducted. It’s been over 100 years since he last played, I think he served his time for his alleged crime against the integrity of the game.