The other thorny issue

Updated: January 6, 2004, 5:14 PM ET
By Ray Ratto | Special to

Tonight on "Larry King Live," Larry's guest is another Jackson weighing in on the topic that has gripped the news media for weeks.

"Good evening, and with me tonight is Joe Jackson, one of Michael's closest cousins, who ..."

"Uhh, pardon me, Mr. King, but I don't know who this Michael is to whom you refer. I'm just a ballplayer. Well, I used to be, anyway."

"Hey, you're D.B. Sweeney!"

"No, sir. He's the fella who played me in 'Eight Men Out.' "

"So you are ..."

"Shoeless Joe Jackson, yes sir."

"But aren't you ..."

"Dead as Britney Spears' agent? Yes, sir. Been dead for years now."

"So what brings you here," King said as he stares menacingly at his executive producer.

"Well, actually, I'm here to tell you that I am now ready to admit to whatever I need to admit to, to get into the Hall of Fame."

"Yes, but didn't you admit to taking money to throw the 1919 World Series?"

"Yes sir, in 1920. I took the money, but I tried my best, that's right. And I've been banned ever since."

"So what's changed for you, Mr. Jackson?"

"Well, nothing, except that this Pete Rose fella just admitted to betting on baseball in a book after denying it for 15 some-odd years, and apparently that's supposed to improve his chances of being voted into the Hall of Fame."

"Yes, and Pete will be here Thursday, along with Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, and actress Kathy Bates ..."

"Well, sir ..."

"And Friday, the Pope will be here, with Michael Imperioli and Pink."

"Anyway, sir ..."

"Oh, yes, Mr. Jackson. Please go on."

"Well, it seems to me that even beyond the grave, I've done pretty much what this Rose fella has done, and I'm just wondering what else I have to say I did to get into the Hall of Fame myself. I mean, it isn't so much for me, seeing as how I've been dead all these years and all, but my great grandkids were just asking. I mean, I can get someone to write a book for me if that will help, but I sort of thought I'd already been in enough books and movies and I wasn't getting a sniff, and suddenly this Rose fella admits he's been a liar for 15 years and that's supposed to be enough to get him in, so I'm just wondering ..."

"Well, that's a good point. Topeka, you're on with Shoeless Joe ..."

"Uhh, Joe, I've loved baseball my entire life, and I was just wondering who you thought did a better job of playing you in the movies, that Sweeney fella or the guy in 'Field Of Dreams.' "

"Well, sorry, but I can't say I've seen many movies lately. But what I'd like to talk about is ..."

"OK, thank you for the call. Las Cruces, you're on with Shoeless Joe Jackson ..."

"Joe, what up, ho? Hey, could you whip Pete Rose's ass?"

"Excuse me?"

"Thank you. Milwaukee, you're up ..."

"Er, yes, Shoeless Joe, good evening. I'm surprised to see you."

"Say, is this ...?"

"Yes, Larry, it's Bud Selig, commissioner of baseball and Sentinel Of The Everlasting Purity Of The Game, More Or Less. I just wanted to say congratulations on your show, I never miss it, and I particularly loved your interview with Daniel Baldwin."

"Well, thank you, Commissioner, and Go Yankees."

"Be that as it may, Larry, I'd like to address Mr. Jackson's concerns. As your viewers know, we have never said specifically that we would reinstate Mr. Rose, but that it has been taken under serious and careful advisement since it became clear that Mr. Rose was going to nag us and nag us until we all went mad."

"And do you have any intention of reinstating Pete, who is one of my very good friends, by the way?"

"Say, I could be one of your very best friends too, Mr. King."

"Why, you already are, Shoeless."

"Anyway, Larry, we'll be happy to take Mr. Jackson's application for reinstatement very seriously indeed -- as soon as we receive it."

"Well, Mr. Selig sir, I can't really fill out an application, because I'm not very good at that writing thing, plus as I've said, I'm really dead."

"Well, we have a process that we need to follow, and your case will be given careful and serious consideration, Mr. Jackson, I can assure you."

"And there you have it from the horse's mouth. Bud Selig speaks to the great Shoeless Joe Jackson in the Great Beyond telling him that he will take Mr. Jackson's request, well, seriously."

"Well, that's fine, Mr. King, and thank you for your help. But again, what should I do now?"

"I'll tell you, Shoeless, your best bet is to get a literary agent. Oh, and if you have any kind of blood connection to Michael Jackson, that would really go a long way. I've been at this a long time, and I know the value of a self-serving book. And after this break, we'll be visited by Steve Buscemi, and later, the fabulous Lainie Kazan."

Ray Ratto is a columnist with the San Francisco Chronicle and a regular contributor to