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  • hypothetically


    John Clarkson murdered his wife.
    John Clarkson is a Hall of Fame pitcher.
    John Clarkson has the numbers to be a Hall of Fame pitcher.
    John Clarkson was elected, I believe, sixty years after he died and about eighty after he retired.


    Undisputably Great Pitcher Today (Not Linked to Steroids) kills his wife.
    UGPTNLS is up for election to the Hall of Fame.
    UGPTNLS has the numbers to be a Hall of Fame pitcher.
    Do you believe he should be elected?

    For me, "Don't murder anyone" and "don't commit any sex crimes" are about the only characteristic I asks for in "character" from a ballplayer. Much of everything else can be...underemphasized. I'm just not sure I know what I'd do in such a situation. Some, like DiMaggio and Monroe, can be understood; others, like any one of numerous drunks, are perfectly fine; jerks, well -- I don't care about that, and I find it endearing with some like Bob Gibson. But...murder?

    What do you believe about murder and the Hall? (Clarkson didn't just murder his wife, he slashed her with a razor, if "way of murder" counts.) Do you think that, in today's age, it would take sixty years or would they never get in at all?

  • #2
    AFAIK, Clarkson did not murder his wife. That is an unsubstantiated rumor. He suffered a mental breakdown in 1906 and lived the remainder of his short life in an insane asylum.


    • #3
      Originally posted by jjpm74 View Post
      Clarkson did not murder his wife. That is an unsubstantiated rumor.
      Absolutely right. This was discussed and answered in a thread Gregory Pratt started called "Murderers in the Hall of Fame." Yet, he still perpetuates false information.
      Last edited by Brian McKenna; 03-11-2008, 10:17 AM.


      • #4
        From the Bay Journal from Clarkson's hometown of Bay City, Michigan:

        On May 15, 1909, baseball fans from around the Bay City area eagerly gathered at their new ballpark just south of Center avenue east of Livingston street. It promised to be a special day at the new Clarkson Park, which was the home field of the newly formed Bay City Cardinals professional team.

        The only shadow casted over the occasion was John Clarkson wouldn't be there for the honor being bestowed upon him. He passed on only three months earlier from pneumonia. However, his wife Ella along with his his father and brother, were present to accept the gratitude being extended to John for his achievements as a major league ballplayer.

        Clarkson Ball Park: The ballpark was roughly located about 500 feet south off Center avenue just east of the present Rail Trail according to old insurance maps. The Polk Directories list it as Center avenue and P.M.R.R. Belt Line. Also listed as Bay City Ball Park in another reference.

        John died in Winthrop, MA, where he was temporarily living with his parents while getting care from a hospital in Belmont for a lingering health problem. His death was unexpected. John's health seemed to be getting better until he came down with pneumonia, and he planning on returning to Bay City where he lived with Ella and his brother, Arthur, at 1200 Sixth street. (The 1910 Polk Directory has Arthur's occupation listed as a tailor working at 415 Shearer Blk., and in 1911, Ella is listed as milliner at 313 Shearer blk.)


        • #5
          Clarkson and Cambridge

          The Clarksons lived in the Cambridgeport neighborhood of Cambridge MA. John Clarkson's boyhood house is standing and a next-door house identical in design has not been modified.

          The card on file at Cambridge Cemetery gives place of death Waverly MA and another official record (loc. by Dick Thompson) gives Belmont MA.
          This map shows Waverley, Massachusetts in the center. I understand that it is a neighborhood, not a city or town. McLean Hospital, Belmont, which specializes in mental health is directly across Pleasant Street from Waverley on a hilly campus that is empty space on the map. At bottom right in this view, within ritzy private Mount Auburn Cemetery, the "Ca-- C" of neighboring public Cambridge Cemetery is visible from behind the inset border.

          On this smaller scale map centered on Cambridge, Waverley/Belmont is in the West. Cambridge Cemetery is along the Charles River below the Route 2 symbol. The Clarkson home is near Pearl Street and the river directly below the red pushpin. South End Grounds, home of the Boston NL club during Clarkson's major league career, was near the R in 'Roxbury', now a short walk across the river from Pearl Street. (but which bridges were in place then? Anyway, I don't know whether the Clarkson family still lived there when John was on the team.) Much younger brother Walter Clarkson, AL 1904-1908, pitched for Harvard University whose athletic grounds already were and still are at the H in 'Harvard'. (I live in Watertown, upstream, near the N in 'N Beacon Street'.)

          Tim Keefe and Joe Kelley were also born in Cambridge. Keefe retired to Cambridge and a house that is still standing, practically neighboring Harvard University on the East. Keefe is buried in Cambridge Cemetery, near Clarkson. They are both in family plots.


          • #6
            --To answer the hypothetical anyway, I probably would not support a murderer during his lifetime. If he was a clearly deserving Hall of Famer I probably would support him once he passed. If a player had already been inudcted I would not support their removal for any non-baseball crime.


            • #7
              I would tend to doubt such a player would be elected today. On the other hand, how much does murdering your wife bear on whether or not you were a great ballplayer?

              As distasteful as some people's inductions might be, if the Hall wants to honor the greatest players in its history, it needs to do that, even if that means holding its nose from time to time.

              The Hall could, conceivably, induct an individual but not invite that person to the induction ceremony, thus making a public statement on a person's character and disassociating itself from the individual, while still maintaining the historical integrity of its selections.
              "It is a simple matter to erect a Hall of Fame, but difficult to select the tenants." -- Ken Smith
              "I am led to suspect that some of the electorate is very dumb." -- Henry P. Edwards
              "You have a Hall of Fame to put people in, not keep people out." -- Brian Kenny
              "There's no such thing as a perfect ballot." -- Jay Jaffe


              • #8
                Originally posted by Paul Wendt View Post
                The card on file at Cambridge Cemetery gives place of death Waverly MA and another official record (loc. by Dick Thompson) gives Belmont MA.
                Clarkson died at McLean Psychiatric Hospital on February 4, 1909. I believe he had been a resident there since leaving Michigan in March 1906.


                • #9
                  I did not read every thread in the Murderers in the Hall thread. I, therefore, was misinformed but not perpetuating misinformation despite knowing to the contrary. Thanks for jumping to conclusions, Mac, and thanks to the others for debunking that here as I hadn't seen it before.


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