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Articles Tagged Shoeless Joe Jackson 

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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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A look at some of the most underrated baseball films in cinematic history.

1) Bad Lieutenant
Bad Lieutenant is Harvey Keitel at his most intense. He's a drunk, a drug addict, a degenerate gambler, an unfaithful man, a sadist, and in every way among the worst human beings ever portrayed on film. He has countless enemies, from drug dealers to rapists to bookies he owes money to, but there is one that bothers him most of all. That person is Daryl Strawberry. Among the biggest of many weights dragging down on Keitel is his gambling debt, which he tries to eliminate by constantly going double-or-nothing on a fictional playoff series between the Mets and the Dodgers. After the Dodgers win the first three games of the series, Keitel continuously bets on the Dodgers to put the series away, and time and time again it's Strawberry, who in real life joined the Dodgers in 1991, who ruins his game and ultimately his bet. I've always wondered if Strawberry has seen the movie, as Keitel (his character's name is never revealed) rampages against him in ways that seem far more personal than any crowd simply chanting DAAAAA-RYL. It would disturb me. Hell, it would disturb anyone. —Kevin Goldstein

2) The Fan
The Fan is a delightfully creepy movie which features Wesley Snipes as a baseball player (how original!) and Robert DeNiro as a really angry, creepy guy (also very original!) named Gil. Snipes plays an outfielder named Bobby Rayburn who signs a big contract to join the San Francisco Giants and soon becomes DeNiro’s obsession. DeNiro quickly becomes the Pedro Gomez to Snipes’s Barry Bonds in San Francisco, tracking his every move on and off the field from a distance. I’m somewhat surprised that this movie isn’t listed among the pantheon of baseball cinematic classics, considering it has some of the best scenes in cinematic history. These include, but are not limited to: Gil killing another player on the Giants because he wouldn’t give Rayburn his lucky number, Gil kidnapping Rayburn’s son and then killing a man with an aluminum bat for helping the child escape, and at one point someone yells “HE’S CALLING FROM INSIDE THE STADIUM!” which is just wonderful.



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A grab bag of Sox-related reminiscences from the pages of South Side history.

With all quiet after the trading deadline, a grab-bag o'thoughts. I didn't intend for this to be the case, but somehow things keep circling back to the White Sox:

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November 8, 2007 12:00 am

Schrodinger's Bat: The Biggest Booms and Busts?

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Dan Fox

Dan invests a bit of time to come up with something pretty authoritative on the subject.

"The present is never our goal: the past and present are our means: the future alone is our goal. Thus, we never live but we hope to live; and always hoping to be happy, it is inevitable that we will never be so."
--Blaise Pascal


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May 5, 2006 12:00 am

The Prince Is Dead

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Jonah Keri

Jonah Keri checks in with some historical comparables for Albert Pujols.

But compare Albert Pujols’ performance in the first five years of his career to those of MLB’s other greats, and the name Prince starts to look inadequate. By the numbers, Pujols looks more like a king.

Pujols’ first five seasons rank among the top 10 performances in major league history by just about every advanced metric possible. BP’s Equivalent Average stat lets us compare hitters across all eras by adjusting for league and park effects and quality of competition. The result is then boiled down to a number that runs along the same scale as batting average. If a hitter nets a .350 EqA, he’s a superstar. If he puts up a .175, he shouldn't be in the big leagues.

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August 15, 2005 12:00 am

An Objective Hall of Fame

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Clay Davenport

The top-rated player in baseball history highlights these three classes in our Objective Hall of Fame.

We're up to the 1940s in our attempt to construct an Objective Hall of Fame. Be sure to check out the first and second parts of this series for more information. The information presented below is the player's name, position, Career MVP WARP3, (year elected by real HOF).

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Since it's the Yankees, let's play six degrees of Casey Stengel. First test: Casey Stengel to "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson. Casey Stengel went to high school with William Powell. William Powell co-starred with Clark Gable in "Manhattan Melodrama," 1934. Gable headlined "Gone with the Wind" with Vivien Leigh. Leigh was married to Sir Laurence Olivier, who was in "War Requiem" with Sean Bean. Bean was "Boromir" in Jackson's trilogy.

Idling at the worst moment. With the Red Sox and Yankees on a collision course, the Angels needed to stay close so as to pick up the pieces. Instead they split six with the Blue Jays and the White Sox, two teams that have been cooked for so long they're dryer than my aunt's Thanksgiving turkey, which knowing my aunt is probably hitting the oven right about now. But for Aaron Sele the pitching staff did a good job--all the losses were close. It was the offense that slowed down a bit this week, with Darin Erstad showing what happens when he fails to hit .350. The cool thing about power hitters is that when they get on a little hot streak and hit .350 for a week, they can channel seven days of Barry Bonds even if they're not Barry Bonds. Then, when they go into a slump, they channel some Rob Deer, perhaps batting .220 but sending two or three home runs out of the park and taking some walks. That's still useful, even if it's not ideal. If you're Darin Erstad and you slump, you lack the peripherals to turn into anyone but Rey Ordonez. Even good managers have their blind spots; Erstad is Mike Scioscia's. On the good side of the manager's ledger, Chone Figgins, entirely a Scioscia invention, posted a 1.213 OPS. GRADE: C

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March 19, 2004 12:00 am

You Could Look It Up: Prejudices

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Steven Goldman

Earlier this week, the merry BP Brigade was found shooting the baseball breeze in the bullpen at our secret HQ, the Prospectus Nexus. As our lovely girl Friday Esm Chimre (author of BPs upcoming column for our female readers, The Boys on the Basepaths) tended the hibachi, weighty topics were bandied about like the tainted games of the 1919 World Series that suggested to Ring Lardner pretty bubbles marred by cancer spots. One of the questions we briefly kicked around and the YOU-crew has gnawed like a bucket of Sammy Byrd's legs ever since is that of where a manager makes his primary contribution to his teams fortunes. Some would say that the managers main job is morale-building. Before agreeing, we should probably ask Larry Bowa what he thinks. It was easy to eliminate in-game tactics, because aside from the odd obsessional bunter (Don Baylor) or compulsive lefty-righty switcher (Tony LaRussa), these are largely rote decisions. It has been suggested elsewhere that constructing the batting order was where the manager most exerts his influence. This is closer to the heart of the matter, a minor truth in search of a major one. Its not what order the players bat in that defines the manager, but who is allowed to bat in the first place.

One of the questions we briefly kicked around and the YOU-crew has gnawed like a bucket of Sammy Byrd's legs ever since is that of where a manager makes his primary contribution to his team's fortunes. Some would say that the manager's main job is morale-building. Before agreeing, we should probably ask Larry Bowa what he thinks. It was easy to eliminate in-game tactics, because aside from the odd obsessional bunter (Don Baylor) or compulsive lefty-righty switcher (Tony LaRussa), these are largely rote decisions.

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