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Two Lawyers Try to Prove It Wasn't So, Joe

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Sep 10, 2009 2:20PM

2009_09_shoeless_joe.jpg In the long, mostly disappointing history of Chicago baseball one of its lowest moments came when members of the 1919 White Sox threw the World Series. Among the "Black Sox" permanently banned from the game was the team's biggest star, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. Ninety years later, two Chicago lawyers involved with the start-up Chicago Baseball Museum are taking another stab at clearing Shoeless Joe's name. Paul Duffy and Daniel Voelker take exception with assertions made about Jackson in the 1963 book by Eliot Asinof, Eight Men Out. They are plowing through Asinof's research, which is now part of the Chicago History Museum's collection. With research consisting of primarily newspaper recount, the pair was surprised that the notes included no interviews with any of the events' principals.

Said Voelker, "As a result of reviewing the files ... we drew some pretty strong conclusions that what was in the book was more fiction than fact." The findings have persuaded the lawyers to dig even deeper into documents from the event, including grand jury proceedings. But while there may be enough information to cast doubts on Jackson's involvement, is there enough to exonerate him? That hasn't stopped some from starting the campaign to get Shoeless Joe's good name cleared, as organizations dedicated to Jackson's legacy will try to persuade Major League Baseball to remove Jackson from its list of permanently ineligible players, which could make him eligible for the Hall of Fame.