captivating to fans
From "Eight Men Out" to
"Field of Dreams," the story of South Carolina's Joe Jackson and his heroics on
the field have been brought to millions of people. Probably one of the biggest
footnotes on a Hall of Fame career came in the 1919 World Series and the
banishment from baseball that would come in 1920.Jackson's baseball skills
surfaced at the age of 13.
too young to work in the mill, but he became a
regular on the Brandon Mill baseball team. When Joe hit a home run, his brothers
would pass the hat through the crowd. It wouldn't be unusual for Jackson to make
$25 for his efforts.
The early years of his
career, Jackson not only played in the field, but he also pitched. He dropped
the pitching after he made a wild throw and broke a batter's arm.
The "Shoeless Joe" nickname
is credited to Scoop Latimer, a writer for The Greenville News. According to the
story, Jackson was breaking in a new pair of cleats in a textile baseball game.
When his feet became blistered, Jackson asked to be taken out of the game. His
coach refused, so Jackson pulled off his shoes and played in his stockings.
Later in the game, when he hit a home run, a fan for the other team shouted,
"Oh, you shoeless son of a bitch." Latimer heard the comment and censored
it down to, simply, "Shoeless Joe."
At 19, Jackson left the
Brandon Mill team to play for Victor Mill. From there, he moved on to play for
the Greenville Spinners of the South Atlantic League.
Famed Connie Mack signed
Jackson to play for his Athletics. Mack agreed to allow the Greenville Spinners'
manager to accompany Jackson to Philadelphia. The trip wasn't a long one.
Jackson ducked off the train in Charlotte and took another one back to
Mack was undaunted and soon had Jackson with the Athletics. After the 1909 season,
the Athletics traded Jackson to the Cleveland Indians. In his first full
season in the major leagues in 1911, Jackson hit .408. Even with that high
of an average, he still lost the batting title. Ty Cobb hit .420. Near
the end of 1915, the Indians traded Jackson to the Chicago White Sox.
Eight players changed
game of baseball in 1919
In 1919, Jackson and seven other members of the Chicago White Sox were implicated
in fixing the World Series and letting the Cincinnati Reds win. Jackson
had a .375 in the series, 12 hits and no errors. Jackson hit the lone home
run for the White Sox.
Following the 1920 season, the eight players were banned from baseball for life
by Commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis. Following the ruling, Jackson
is said to have played on teams in New York and New Jersey under an assumed
name. Later, he joined barnstorming teams with Eddie Cicotte and Lefty
Williams, two players who had also been banned as part of the scandal.
In 1924, Jackson and the other banned players were reported to have participated
in a league in Georgia. Jackson also filed a lawsuit against White Sox
owner Charlie Commiskey for back pay. Jackson won the lawsuit and it was
later overruled by a judge.
Jackson returned to
Greenville, South Carolina, where he ran a liquor store and never stayed far
from baseball. Jackson is reported to have hit in Textile League games when he
was in his late 50s.
Jackson died on Dec. 5,
1951, just 10 days before he was scheduled to appear on Ed Sullivan's "Toast of
the Town" in an effort to clear his name. With Jackson's death the effort to
vindicate him was put on hold for many years.
More Joe Jackson links located
on the site:
excerpts on '19 series
had questions about World Series
Ruth was fan of Jackson's
batting style earned a reputation around the league. It was emulated by
one of the biggest power hitters in the game -- Babe Ruth.
He also had
one of the strongest arms in the game. In 1917, Jackson out threw Babe Ruth,
Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker and Duffy Lewis in a contest.
Jackson threw a ball
396 feet before it hit the ground.