Dan's Dugout: Shoeless Joe had better case than Pete • Latino Sports

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Dan’s Dugout: Shoeless Joe had better case than Pete

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NEW YORK — In less than a year as Commissioner of Baseball, Rob Manfred has upheld the decisions of his predecessors to keep gambling offenders out of the game.

Shoeless Joe Jackson hit .375 in the World Series he was banned for fixing

Shoeless Joe Jackson hit .375 in the World Series he was banned for fixing

Months ago, he ruled against posthumous reinstatement for Shoeless Joe Jackson, one of the 1919 Chicago White Sox who inspired the book Eight Men Out. Now he’s done likewise with Pete Rose, the leader in lifetime hits.

But the cases are hardly the same.

When Kenesaw Mountain Landis, baseball’s first commissioner, banned the Black Sox for alleged accepting money to throw the World Series to the Cincinnati Reds, he also ordered that their playing records be erased.

All were acquitted — the evidence somehow disappeared — but the fearsome Landis wanted to prove he could clean up the game.

Jackson, the team’s biggest star, was quite probably involved in guilt by association. After all, his batting average in the 1919 Series was .375 — hardly the mark of someone trying to tip games to his opponents.

The owner of a .358 lifetime batting average that would rank second only to Ty Cobb’s .367, Jackson was literally expunged from professional baseball.

Not so with Rose, whose multiple violations of Rule 21 — the one prohibiting uniformed personnel from gambling — were coupled with years of cover-ups.

If Manfred really wanted to make a statement, he could have doled out the same treatment to Rose that Judge Landis gave to Jackson.

Rob Manfred says the bloom is off the Rose

Rob Manfred says the bloom is off the Rose

 

With all Rose records revoked, Ty Cobb would become the career hits king. Again.

Had Landis been in power today, he also might have stricken the records of all alleged steroids users, erasing Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and others as if they never existed.

Hank Aaron would become the career home run king. Roger Maris would hold the single-season record. And the combined 14 MVP awards and Cy Young trophies of Bonds and Clemens would be reassigned to players who didn’t cheat.

Instead, Major League Baseball is playing some strange half-way game.

It allows Bonds to resurface as hitting coach of the Miami Marlins. At the same time, McGwire remains in uniform as the new bench coach of the San Diego Padres.

Pete Rose is retreating in disgrace

Pete Rose is retreating in disgrace

Manfred says Rose cannot wear a uniform again but can still appear at Cincinnati Reds functions, as he did at the 2015 All-Star Game. He can’t work as a manager but he can work as a broadcaster — even though he admits he still bets on baseball.

All Rose had to do to win reinstatement, at least in the eyes of this reporter, is to issue two little words: “I’m sorry.”

But he’s hardly shown any remorse, seeming more intent to sell his book and his autograph than to restore his reputation.

For years, Rose and Jackson have been linked in an embrace that spans a baseball century. But there’s no proof Shoeless Joe did anything wrong except to be on the wrong team at the wrong time.

The same can’t be said for Rose.

Say it ain’t so, Pete.

Elsewhere in baseball:

Failing to reel in Zack Greinke as a free agent, San Francisco lavished millions upon Jeff Samardjzia, who

Johnny Cueto returns to the NL with San Francisco

Johnny Cueto returns to the NL with San Francisco

has never had a winning record, and Johnny Cueto, who struggled mightily in Kansas City after his July trade for Cincinnati . . .

In the wake of Greg Bird’s strong late-summer performance, the New York Yankees are willing to entertainment offers for incumbent first baseman Mark Teixeira, a switch-hitting slugger whose best days are behind him . . .

Hats off to Michael Cuddyer, whose honesty about his health prompted his retirement a year before his Mets contract expires . . .

Condolences to the family of long-time New York sportswriter Phil Pepe, whose love of the game and its history found few equals in big-league press boxes.

 

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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