4. “Shoeless” Joe to the White Sox
What if the Cleveland Indians had never traded Joe Jackson to the Chicago White Sox in 1915? We may be talking about Shoeless Joe as a Hall of Famer, and a key member of the Tribe’s 1920 run to the title.
Jackson spent the best part of six seasons in an Indians uniform. Here’s his batting averages during those times: .387, .408, .395, .373, .338, .327.
Klepfer’s last season was in 1919, while the Braggster hit .299, .286, .285 and .283 in his 3.5 seasons with the Tribe. He was traded to the Philadelphia Athletics and returned Charlie Jamieson, a leftfielder who hit .313 for the World Championship winning Indians. Wowzer, that was weird to write.
Chappell was purchased by the Red Sox for $18,000. He would join the military during World War I and died after contracting the Spanish Flu back in 1918. He was 28.
As for Jackson, well, he’s infamously remembered as one of the eight players suspended by MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis for conspiring to throw the 1919 World Series. There’s debate as to how much of a role Jackson had in the undertaking, but the questions haven’t helped Jackson’s posthumous cause to be enshrined into the Hall.
If Jackson stays in Cleveland, who knows how the future would’ve played out. Eight months after dealing him away, the Tribe sent a package, in addition to $55,000 in cash for Tris Speaker. Imagine those to greats in the same lineup!
Perhaps the organization was able to acquire Speaker with some of the money received in the Jackson deal. Still, history remembers the trade, and it wasn’t a good one for Cleveland.