Historian's Corner


Jacob Pomrenke is SABR’s web content editor/producer. He is chairman of the Black Sox Scandal Research Committee and editor of Scandal on the South Side: The 1919 Chicago White Sox, published in 2015. He lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, with his wife, Tracy Greer, and their cats, Nixey Callahan and Bones Ely.

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Closing the Door on Black Sox Reinstatement

Less than a year into his tenure as commissioner of Major League Baseball, Rob Manfred gave a definitive answer to a question that had been evaded or ignored by every one of his predecessors: Would baseball finally consider reinstating Shoeless Joe Jackson and Buck Weaver, who were handed lifetime bans by Kenesaw Mountain Landis in the 1919 Black Sox Scandal?

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Three More Minor League Home Run Kings

Recently, I wrote about the “three kings” of minor league home runs—Mike Hessman, Buzz Arlett, and Héctor Espino—whose career records were set under such different circumstances that they each hold a legitimate claim to the throne.

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"Eight Men Out" by Eliot Asinof

Any avid reader will tell you one of their favorite feelings is to get so engrossed in a good book that all sense of time is lost. You forget where you are and what you are doing. Your mind gets transported to another world.

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Mike Hessman and the Evolution of the Minor League Home Run Record

With great fanfare, Mike Hessman of the Toledo Mud Hens hit his 433rd career minor league home run on August 3, 2015, a towering grand slam that moved him past Pacific Coast League (PCL) legend Buzz Arlett on the all-time leaderboard of Minor League Baseball.

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A Rose by Another Name: Ray Fisher's Ban from Baseball

“Charlie Hustle” was back in the news recently, making his case for reinstatement. Pete Rose’s banishment from baseball is a saga that’s well known to most fans—the then-Cincinnati Reds manager agreed to a lifetime ban from Commissioner Bart Giamatti in 1989 after an investigation revealed that he had bet on his own team for years. His actions cast doubt on the integrity of those games and violated baseball’s cardinal rule against gambling, enacted after the 1919 World Series was tarnished by the Black Sox Scandal.

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Perfection in a Pennant Race

It’s hard for a perfect game to get overshadowed. For many years, newspaper editors have been known to rip up their front pages and make room for a no-hitter on the other side of the country. But on October 2, 1908, in the midst of a thrilling pennant race that captivated the country like never before, Addie Joss’s historic performance against the Chicago White Sox wasn’t the most important baseball story of the afternoon. You could even make a case that he wasn’t the most dominant pitcher that day at Cleveland’s League Park.

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My First Game: Still Searching

I can tell you so much about the baseball games I’ve attended in my life.

As a big Braves fan who spent most of my formative years growing up near Atlanta, I can tell you that I saw Chipper Jones hit 12 home runs in person, including his first and 45th of his MVP season in 1999. I can tell you that I saw John Smoltz’s first shutout, his 100th save, and the final win of his career (No. 213) in 2009.

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The Final Pitch of the Season: Glory and Goats

When Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals struck out against Boston Red Sox closer Koji Uehara to end the 2013 World Series, it marked the 19th time that a Fall Classic ended on a strikeout—by far, the most common ending to a World Series.

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Judge Landis and the Forgotten Chicago Baseball Bombings

Late in the evening on Sunday, April 22, 1923, just days before the Chicago White Sox’s home opener, a violent explosion rocked Comiskey Park at 35th Street and Shields Avenue. The blast could be heard more than a mile away, but no injuries were reported—only the destruction of a hot dog concession stand on the sidewalk and shattered office windows above the ballpark’s main entrance.

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