Rothstein, Shoeless Joe, & Nash

Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM Mark_Mandel at DRAGONSYS.COM
Thu Jun 8 16:19:37 UTC 2000

Mike has taken us further down this scenic garden path with the following:

P.S.: I have a vague memory that the Ogden Nash poem has more to do with
Arnold Rothstein than a mere passing reference to his possible
involvement with the Black Sox Scandal.

What I think I recall is that Rothstein lingered at death's door for
some time, not consciously reacting to his surroundings but talking
non-stop nevertheless. Taken individually, his sentences are supposed to
have been grammatical, but the ensemble simply made no sense.  One
recurring theme was something about "shuffle and deal".  If my memory is
connected to the real facts at all, there was supposed to have been a
police stenographer writing down whatever Rothstein said in his dying
delirium, in hopes that he would at least name his killer.  (Or, as
elaborated in fictional reports of his death, in hopes that he might
either incriminate some of his associates or reveal where and how he had
hidden the bulk of his illicit wealth.) If Rothstein did reveal anything
in his ravings, nobody was able to make sense of what he said. Hence
Nash's "The killer whose name he hid".

The story I report in this postscript is FWIW.  I wouldn't know where or
how to start searching for confirmation or contradiction; it's just a
fugitive memory from I don't know where.  The story of Benny Goodman
recording as "Shoeless John Jackson", on the other hand, is fairly well
known to dedicated Goodman fans.

That story may well be behind Nash's reference, but I have quoted all of the
poem that relates to Rothstein. He figures as just one of a gallery of murder
victims and culprits.

-- Mark
"Someone's sent out the New Australian Grammar to Malaya nearly a
 century before it was invented, and I'm going to be all day
 sorting it out."     -- Diana Wynne Jones, _A Tale of Time City_

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