Welcome to Perspectives, a blog of thoughts, commentary and observations ranging from autistic adolescents to intimate portraits of urban communities.


Shoeless Joe

In the other election, Roger Clemens received 214 votes for baseball’s Hall of Fame; fellow first-ballot candidate Barry Bonds got 206. Both fell far short of the 427 votes needed for induction. Clemens ranks ninth in victories and third in strikeouts in the history of Major League pitching, while Bonds holds the season and career records for home runs. Until confronted with allegations of steroid use, which they vehemently deny but cannot shake, they were shoo-ins for the Hall. But their performances seemed to defy human limitations and, particularly in the case of Bonds, their bodies – at least those parts visible to the public eye – seemed weirdly changed. But they looked into the eyes of the press, the public, prosecutors and the United States Congress and flatly denied they had juiced – as Lance Armstrong had done, and as Pete Rose had denied he bet on baseball. Bonds, Clemens and Rose have joined Shoeless Joe Jackson as the greatest stars kept out of the Hall. Jackson is by far the most sympathetic figure. Born to sharecroppers, working by age six as a "lint head " in a textile mill, and illiterate, Jackson became one of the best players in history. He allegedly admitted – but subsequently denied – being part of the effort to throw the 1919 World Series. Acquitted by a jury, he was banned for life from the game he loved and swore he never betrayed. It was Jackson to whom a tearful young boy supposedly said, “Say it ain’t so, Joe?” What boy would say that now?

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