Representative Jim DeMint's 1999 Letter to Bud Selig


June 20, 2000

Commissioner Alan Selig
Major League Baseball
245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
New York, New York 10167

Dear Commissioner Selig:

       Thank you for taking time to meet with Senator Thurmond and me regarding the status of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson. I am sorry Ted Williams was not able to attend on short notice, and I know he looks forward to speaking with you again on this issue.

       I appreciate the complexities of the Joe Jackson situation, as well as the position in which it places you, and I am grateful for your abiding concern for the integrity of the game. Baseball must always embody America's best ideals in justice, integrity, and fair play. It is with this in mind that we have asked you to recognize Jackson has fulfilled his sentence, finally bringing closure to this issue. This does not bring into question the judgement of a previous Commissioner, but rather recognizes that the sentence handed down by that Commissioner has been fulfilled.

       Clearly, there is still a great deal of doubt surrounding Jackson's role in the scandal of the 1919 World Series. It is truly disappointing that an investigation was never conducted at the time. As you know, I am convinced -- along with many in South Carolina in Congress, and in baseball -- that Jackson did not participate in the "fix". There is no need to repeat here his statistics during the Series or the findings of two courts. Regardless, Commissioner Landis issued his judgement, and Jackson was among those banned for life from professional baseball.

       When Jackson and his wife returned to South Carolina, he started a small business and continued to teach the children in the community to play the game he loved. While he insisted on his innocence to his deathbed, Jackson served out his sentence with dignity and without rancor toward baseball. He remains a local hero. Fifty years after his death, it is justice to recognize Jackson has served his sentence with dignity. I ask that you bring closure to this chapter in baseball history, and recognize that the sentence -- whether deserved or not -- has been fulfilled.

       Again, thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration of this issue. If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Jim DeMint
Member of Congress

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