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Shoeless Joe

Page history last edited by Mrs. K. 1 year, 10 months ago


The Great "Black Sox" Trial of 1919


Members of the Chicago White Sox intentionally lost the 1919 World Series to win money from gamblers. All of the players implicated were tried and found innocent of criminal charges. However, the day after the verdict, Baseball Commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, banned all eight of the tried ball players for life from baseball. This was one of baseball's most controversial decisions. Clearly, some of the "eight men out" were guilty. In the cases of a few others, there is some gray area.


The novel Shoeless Joe centers around Joe Jackson's unjust banning from baseball. One of the major themes of the book is the idea of rewriting history to correct wrongs. We will be doing sometime travel of our own. Instead of building a ball park, our task will be to fairly retry the Chicago "Black Sox."

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Everyone will take on a role as a defendant, one of the eight players; a material witness, a player not involved in the or involved personality; the prosecution team, three attorneys; the defense team, three attorneys; or the jury. We will research the people involved the scandal in order to convict or defend the players. The ending event will be a trail. After listening to arguments from both sides, the jury will decide the fate of the eight ball players. This activity is designed for twenty-five to thirty students. Students will be working in groups and individually to complete tasks. Since there will be inevitable lag time between completion on individual work and the actual trial simulation, students are expected to independently read the first five chapters of Shoeless Joe.

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The Defendants

Defendants or the “Eight Men Out” must do in-depth research on their person in order answer questions posed by attorneys. Defendants will produce a “rap sheet” which gives the basic demographics, baseball statistics, and other life information. Each piece of information must be referenced in case it is challenged by the Prosecution team. Based upon the information in the “rap sheet” Defendants must work with Defense Attorneys to create a favorable, but realistic plea to the crime. The “rap sheet” will be plugged into both the defense and prosecution database which the defendants will work with all the attorneys to create. A short summery from each defendant that describes their participation in the crime and the rational for their plea.

The Defendants: Click on a player's name for resource information

Defendants will produce: (Click each item to see the grading rubric)

  • A Short Biography(this information will be used in testimony)

  • A Rap Sheet (the players' level of involvement in the Fix, World Series stats, ect.)

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The Witnesses

The Witnesses will be use by both the Prosecution and Defense to help prove or disprove their cases. During the first day or two of group work Witnesses should build background knowledge similar to the Defendants. They will produce a background sheet that will be used by both the Prosecution and Defense teams to help prove their case. During later workdays, Witnesses may be questioned by the two teams to prepare for the trail. Witnesses are also required to decide how their person feels about the trail. They must create this rationale in written form based upon the research they have done. Note, not all Witness roles are necessary, some could be left out, or doubled up. There could be additional Witnesses added as well.

Witnesses: Click on a person's name for resource information


Witnesses will produce:

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The Jury

The Jurors must decide the fate of the Defendants. While the Defense and Prosecution are building their cases,  Jurors will  be doing general time period research to help contextualize the crimes. Jurors must take notes during the presentation. Then during their deliberation time they will sort their information  decide who, if any, of the defendants are guilty and what consequences should be dealt out. Each Juror will be responsible for writing a rationale of why they voted the way they did.

Jurors, follow the links below for references:

Jurors will produce:

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The Defense Team

The Defense team consists of the two attorneys and all of the defendants. Like the prosecuting attorneys, the defense attorneys must produce an opening statement which will outline their case to prove the defendants not guilty. The defense attorneys must also design a database which will help them sort information to prove their clients innocence. A set of questions for the Witnesses will also be devised to prove the innocence of the defendants. A closing statement must also be written up and presented. The Defense team will keep a binder which has all of their case material. The team's evaluation will be based on this binder.

The Defense Team will Produce:

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The Prosecution Team

The team consists of the two prosecuting attorneys. They will work to produce and opening statement which sets up the case. A set of questions for specific witnesses which will prove their case, and based upon the results of the trial, a closing statement with a recommendation for sentencing for each defendant. This will require some in-depth research on the defendants. A database will be used to assist Prosecution Attorneys in targeting defendants and making decisions on what type of punishments to recommend for each defendant. The Prosecution team will keep a binder which has all of their case material. The team's evaluation will be based on this binder.

The Prosecution Team will produce:

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 Click on Shoeless Joe's Bat (Black Betsy) to do a search.



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Updated by jkrambeer@nfv.k12.ia.us North Fayette Valley Schools


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