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Due process is a wonderful thing, even if the outcomes are sometimes a little hard to figure. Just ask Joe Jackson.

We have yet to hear much more about the rationale behind the Ryan Braun decision except rumors about irregularities in the handling of his urine sample, but if it is indeed the case that he was let off the hook because the chain of evidence was broken, his acquittal is a triumph for due process. Sorry, Baseball, but your minions screwed up, and therefore you did as well.

Our Constitution is an amazing living document that stretches and evolves with the times, surviving generations of politicians and Supreme Court justices who life to play taffy pull with its brittle old pages. As a result, sometimes we get a Constitution that’s very expansive in its grant of rights and at other times it’s a bit stingy. For a long time, due process was more about corporations than individuals—the Supreme Court spent decades saying you couldn’t have labor laws because they inhibited the free market, and any law that does that is messing with the right of due process.

The 1919 Black Sox had their case fall squarely during the period of time when due process was more concerned with protecting employers from labor than vice-versa. Had the case happened roughly 20 years later, Joe Jackson and friends might have kept on playing. In some cases (Jackson, Buck Weaver) that might have been a better outcome than what actually happened, whereas in others (Chick Gandil), the result would have been the continuance on the field of some players who were clearly guilty. Still, to the extent that “the verdict of juries,” as Commissioner Landis put it, is one of the keystone of our rights, the Sox clearly got a raw deal.

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We open the Tomb of the Baseball Prospectus on Jack Fournier, who everyone pretended was French.

Dead Player of the Day (Jack Fournier Edition)

#26 Jack “Jacques” Fournier 1B 1912-1918, 1920-1927 (1889-1973)

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The Washington Senators' history of first basemen makes one wonder if Lyle Overbay might have been an original Nat in a previous incarnation.

Lyle Overbay has never had an at-bat in the postseason. Some would say that this is not a coincidence, that a team operating with a de-powered first baseman is working under a handicap compared to those teams that carry hulking sluggers at the gateway. Yet, you can win a championship with Overbay. The Washington Senators did it three times.

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July 20, 2006 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: A Plethora of Blunders


Dan Fox

Dan dissects Rob Neyer's latest book--about the greatest mistakes in baseball history--and nominates a few recent moves for inclusion.

"Except it wasn't."

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March 17, 2006 12:00 am

You Could Look It Up: Judge Landis on Steroids Edition


Steven Goldman

The steroid scandal bears an eerie resemblance to an earlier scandal. Steven explains.

Last weekend Chris Kahrl, Cliff Corcoran, Neil deMause and I spent a pleasant evening answering questions at Coliseum Books in Manhattan. Actually, we didn't answer questions, we answered question, because all anyone wanted to talk about was Performance-Enhancing Apple Jack, Barry Bonds, and Baseball Between the Numbers' take on the latter. As we do radio spots around the galaxy talking about our vast array of spring products (Two books! Branded Horse Blankets! Will Carroll's All-Ages Slumber Party!) all anyone wants to do is engage us in judging players and handing out asterisks. We're the stats guys, after all--we must know Where They Should Go.

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