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The HOF Case for Kid Gleason

Should Kid Gleason be in the Hall of Fame? Author and former college baseball coach Dirk Baker thinks so.

In this episode of the Irish Baseball Podcast, host Rick Becker interviews Dirk Baker about his research on William “Kid” Gleason, the manager of the 1919 Chicago White Sox team that threw the World Series.

Gleason was born on October 26, 1866, in Camden, New Jersey. His Irish roots can be traced back to County Leitrim.

Baker, who is a writer and former college baseball coach, discusses his extensive research on Gleason and his case for his induction to the Baseball Hall of Fame. He highlights Gleason’s achievements as a player, coach, and manager, including winning 38 games in 1890 for the Phillies, leading his league in multiple statistical categories, and spending his entire adult life in baseball.

Kid Gleason, the 1919 World Series, and the 1920 Season

Baker also addresses the portrayal of Gleason in the movie “Eight Men Out” and the inaccuracies in the book of the same name. He emphasizes the need to separate Gleason’s legacy from the Black Sox scandal and shed light on his contributions to the game. Baker mentions his ongoing efforts to gather information about Gleason’s life and family, including a search for a mysterious locker of equipment and connections to his relatives.

The conversation then shifts to the 1919 World Series and the role of Gleason as the manager. Baker discusses the sympathy the players had for Gleason and the stress they faced during the 1920 season when the scandal started to break. He also mentions the irony of the team’s performance in the last week of the season, where they had a shot at back-to-back pennants but ultimately lost.

Should Kid Gleason Be in the Hall of Fame?

The discussion delves into the question of whether Gleason is worthy of the Hall of Fame without the stain of the 1919 World Series. Baker argues that Gleason’s overall contributions to the game, his versatility as a player and coach, and his impact on Irish immigrants and the working class make him deserving of recognition. He highlights the importance of understanding the historical context, including the class dynamics and the role of gambling in the sport.

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