Dear Commissioner Manfred,
I write to add my name to the growing list of people who are outraged at your treatment of the Houston Astros, especially in light of your refusal to re-consider the case for removing Shoeless Joe Jackson from the Ineligible list and thus allowing him to be voted into the Hall of Fame, which he surely would, given his outstanding career.
In two 2015 letters from Arlene Marcley of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in his hometown of Greenville, SC she requested that you remove Jackson from the ineligible list. In denying her request, you wrote that your research into the historical record meant that you could “not be certain enough of the truth to over-rule Commissioner Landis’ determination” that Shoeless be banished for life. With the Astros, you can be certain of the truth-they have admitted it! Yet you granted the players immunity before doing any research. Why have you reached a conclusion to continue the punishment of Jackson after research and refused to punish the Astros players without research?
You cite Landis’ decision as precedent. Let me note that he banished Jackson despite the verdict of innocence by the jury. (In another trial, the jury awarded Jackson over $16,000 in back pay from White Sox owner Charles Comiskey). If Landis is to be your guide, then I humbly suggest it is incumbent upon you to banish the Houston players for life.
Or you might consider this: Jackson was banished for life. His life is over, and thus should be his banishment. If you cannot rectify your treatment of the Astros, at least remove Shoeless Joe Jackson from the Ineligible list and allow him to assume his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.
Author, The Last At-Bat of Shoeless Joe
Granville Wyche Burgess is an Emmy-nominated playwright and novelist. He is the author of The Last At-Bat of Shoeless Joe, a novel about Shoeless Joe Jackson, published by Chickadee Prince, and which is available on Kindle, and in paperback from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and your local bookstore.