Braves-Gamecock 2013: A-Rod and Shoeless Joe before Kick-Offs
Cockstradamus says this will be the year when USC (founded 1801) finally wins their first SEC Championship Game (on Pearl Harbor Day, 2013) in the Georgia Dome (Crimson Tide will probably have to fumble late in the fourth quarter), Atlanta wins the fourth World Series in Braves franchise history and Arthur Blank’s Falcons win their second NFC championship (thus punching the ticket to their first NFL championship win in Super Bowl XLVIII on Groundhog Day, 2014).
These events will make Mike DeVine Law Gamecock a very happy rooster and be good for America, but I digress.
But before next week’s annual Braves-Gamecock preview** of the annual religious services known as College Football Saturdays, let us address the A-Rod/PED issue before the Yankees are inevitably and mathematically eliminated from the MLB playoffs.
We still consider Hank Aaron (755, career) and Roger Maris (61 in a season) to be the legitimate holders of the two most prolific home run records in Major League Baseball history, but we don’t wish for A-Rod (nor Bonds, Sosa or McGuire for that matter) to suffer J-Hey’s HBP-fate or worse for using PEDs. And given the vicissitudes of processes necessary for accurate asterisks, much less lifetime bans, we are happy to have voters deny gamblers and serial steroids-abusers from induction at Cooperstown.
Having said that, we had always wondered when a creative lawyer would challenge the supposed bright PED-line between proper Hippocratic Oath-informed medical treatment and malpractice born of the dim line (if any exists) between medicines (and the proper dosages of same) that at once heal and enhance performance. Where one draws the line between the monstrously large head of Barry Bonds and what was the required medical treatment for Alex Rodriquez’s various injuries, we do not know; but are glad that the subject is finally ripe for discussion, albeit via the distorted crucible of NLRB/MLB union grievance procedures rather than English Common Law in a New York state court or Article III federal court of law but again, I digress.
Yes, absent asterisks, after this generation passes from the scene, increasing numbers of casual baseball fans will treat the record book as presumably accurate; and yes, it is quite obtuse that the man Babe Ruth considered the best hitter of his day, and even fashioned his Sultan of Swat-swing after, and the National Pastime’s all-time hits leader are not in its Hall of Fame. But DeVine Law has calculated that the trip down the PED-asterisked, record book-road would require a bridge too far of Rumsfeld-ian “unknown unknowns” and that getting to keep one’s records and income earned in the Sherman Anti-Trust-exempt industry, more than compensates for HOF induction-bannings.
Despite its non-racial original sin of participants wagering against one’s own team culminating in the Black Sox scandal and the life-time bans handed down by MLB’s first all-powerful Commissioner (and federal judge) Kenesaw Mountain Landis against Shoeless Joe Jackson and seven other players for the heavily favored-Chicago White Sox who lost the 1919 World series to the Cincinnati Reds; we do think, given the relative minor infraction of betting on the games of other teams or in favor of his own team, the banning of Pete Rose from baseball since 1989 has been long enough. It is time for the portraits of both members of the 4,000- hit club to grace the inductee-wall of the hall in Upstate New York: Pete Rose of the Big Red Machine (4256) and Royston, Georgia’s Peach of a Ty Cobb (4191)
Many informed baseball fans (including Attorney Alan Dershowitz*), and especially those in my native Palmetto State, would also like to see Greenville, S.C.-native Shoeless Joe Jackson (.355) join the only two players (Cobb .366 and Rogers Hornsby .358) that hit better for average during their careers than the former White/Black Sock, Philadelphia Athletic and Cleveland Indian. But even Dershowitz admits that Shoeless Joe accepted $5000 as a partial “share” of his pay-out from a co-conspirator and only “tried” to inform team owner Charles Comiskey that the fix was in. No one can ever know whether Jackson (who set a then-World Series record with 12 hits) mis-performed for money, but:
We do know that he knew of the scandal before the Fall Classic started and could have taken more radical steps to make sure he wasn’t past of the scandal, e.g. Shoeless could have gone barefoot to a press conference revealing all he knew about the scandal, including the naming of names outside Redland Field before Game One in Cincinnati and offered the Five Gees to Charles Comiskey in a laundry trust fund in order to render moot the “Black Sox” epithet already hurled against the grimy-uniformed White Sox before eight would live in infamy.
Given the above, the only way to give Can’t-Say-It-Ain’t-So Joe a pass would have to buy into the Shoeless as Clueless ignorant Southerner media-portrait of him*, despite the astute business prowess he exhibited after his 1920 banning at the hands of a judge named (albeit sans one “n”) after the Kennesaw Mountain, Georgia battle where the senior Landis was wounded fighting under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman just before he burned Atlanta, thus ensuring President Abraham Lincoln’s re-election and the preservation of the Union.
So if Joe Jackson must be the final casualty of the War Between the States as last penance for his state’s initial secession and firing upon Fort Sumter and enduring Pete Rose-colored example to keep Sox white and the Pastime “clean” (at least from performance-distorting wagers), then so be it.
* Say It Ain’t So, Joe!: The Story of Shoeless Joe Jackson (1979) by Donald Gropman
Mike DeVine‘s Right.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
**[Early Braves-Gamecock next week: All issues NCAA football, including Johnny and incidental contact with Jadeveon Clowney helmets]