See that display case over to the right? Looks a bit empty, no? That's an exhibit case at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown dedicated to "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, the star hitter of the 1919 Black Sox. Sure, Jackson is still not enshrined officially in the Hall of Fame, but that didn't stop HOF officials from stockpiling some historic Shoeless Joe memorabilia, including a game-worn jersey and a mitt. Or so they thought.
Thanks to the hard work and sleuthing of Peter Nash at the blog Hauls of Shame, a 1919 Joe Jackson glove and jersey that used to sit in that display case have been found to be sheer and utter frauds. Both items were acquired by the Hall of Fame in a 175-item, eight-million-dollar purchase from New Jersey collector Barry Halper. The jersey appears to have been made by the wrong manufacturer and didn't even match the style of jersey that the White Sox wore that season. Also they found a Cheez Whiz stain on the sleeve and that stuff wasn't introduced until the 1950s.
As for the glove:
In addition, the report exposed conflicting public statements made by Halper as to his acquisition of the jersey and several other Jackson items, including the glove displayed at the Hall of Fame. In The Sporting News of February, 1985, Halper stated he'd purchased the materials "recently" in a cash transaction through the mail from Jackson's relatives. However, by the time of the MLB purchase in 1998, Halper had changed his story, stating that he'd acquired his Jackson items directly from Jackson's widow on a visit to her home in the 1950's.
Liar, liar, pants afire. Nash goes on to describe a coverup in Cooperstown involving stolen items like photographs, documents, and the hearts and souls of every Bert Blyleven fan. A 1905 photo of Christy Mathewson once in the possession of the HOF sold for $12,000 at auction in 2008.
It's a simmering scandal, no doubt, and one that Nash thinks the state of New York should investigate. Go read his piece and learn that it's not just Joe Jackson's exclusion that is the most despicable thing about Cooperstown.