National Baseball Hall of Fame's Official Statement

Please see the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Eras Committee Rules For Election. You will notice Rule 6.c, which states "Any person designated by the Office of the Commissioner of Major League Baseball as ineligible shall not be an eligible candidate."

The National Baseball Hall of Fame web site goes on to say the following:

"Shoeless Joe Jackson was placed on Major League Baseball's ineligible list in 1920 by Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis. In order for Jackson to be eligible for the Hall of Fame, the following criteria must be met:
  • Since he is deceased, Jackson's estate must apply to the office of the Commissioner for reinstatement to Major League Baseball.
  • Should Jackson's estate apply for reinstatement and regain his eligibility, he would then be a viable candidate for consideration by the National Baseball Hall of Fame Committee on Baseball Veterans. (Qualifying Eligibility: Pre-1945 Major League players who competed in any portion of at least ten (10) championship seasons and who have been retired as players for at least twenty-three (23) years.)"

We want to clarify a few errors in the text above:

1.) Kenesaw Mountain Landis did not come into power until 1921. He did not effectively place Jackson and the others on the Ineligible List until August of 1921. To the best of our knowledge, Joe has never been formally put on any list, because an Ineligible List in the physical sense, does not exist. Joe was effectively put on "the list" when Landis issued his two paragraph ruling that ban the men from ever playing professional baseball.

2.) The Hall statement says Joe's estate must apply for reinstatement. That's simply not true, any person acting on behalf of Joe Jackson can apply to have his name cleared from the Ineligible List. It does not require the action of someone representing his estate.

3.) Reinstatement is not an option for Joe. Reinstatement only applies to a living entity, since Joe died in 1951, reinstatement is not an option. The best that can happen for Joe at this point is to simply have his name removed from the ineligible list.

4.) The rules for election above, have changed since we originally posted them in 1995. Please see Rule 6 on the Eras Committee Rules For Election page for the updated rules for election.

Jackson's baseball shoes, one of his bats, a pocket watch from 1919 and his complete 1919 uniform are among the artifacts currently on exhibit in the Museum.

Thanks to our good friend Gene Carney for pointing out this outdated material to us, so that we could get it updated for our visitors.

Last updated: Thursday February 11, 2016 at 4:45:00 PM
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