Thursday, October 13, 2005

Person Of The Day: Joe Jackson

"Shoeless" Joe Jackson was one of baseball's greatest players! He started in 1908 for Philadelphia. In 1910 he was traded to Cleveland until 1915. Mid-Season of 1915, he went to play for the Chicago White Sox owned by Charles Comisky. Joe lead the White Sox to a World Series Championship in 1917 with a .301 batting average, 5 homeruns and 75 rbi's. Two years later, he would go down in history as one of the eight members of the "Black Sox" who were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
Although Jackson knew that other players were talking about fixing the series, he and his team mate Bucky Weaver, took no part in it. Joe had a record setting 13 hits in the series, led both teams in hitting with a .375 batting average, handled 30 balls in the outfield and never made an error or allowed a man to take an extra base. He threw out 5 men at home and could have had 3 more if bad cutoffs hadn't been made and also hit the only home run of the series. To even think that he took part in the fix is absurd! Joe and the other seven men were acquitted of all wrong doing by a grand jury, but all eight men were banned from baseball for life by the newly appointed commissioner of baseball, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Along with Bucky Weaver, Joe Jackson got a raw deal. He should not have been banned from baseball. His banishment means that one of the greatest players ever to play the game will never be in the Baseball Hall of Fame where he definitely deserves to be! If you believe Joe to be innocent you can visit the Official Site of Joe Jackson and print up a form letter petitioning commissioner Selig to reinstate Joe to baseball and make him eligible for the Hall of Fame.
For more info on the 1919 White Sox see the movie Eight Men Out written and directed by John Sayles and starring John Cusack, Charlie Sheen, D.B. Sweeney, and the guy who played Fraiser's father.

Little known fact: Joe Jackson received the nickname "Shoeless" when he played a minor league game in his stockinged feet when he was with Greenville in 1908.
He played in a new pair of shoes one day and they wore big blisters on his feet. The next day the team was short on players, a couple of men hurt and one missing. Tommy Stouch, the manager, told Joe that he had to play, blisters or not. He tried it with his old shoes on and just couldn't make it, so he threw away the shoes and went to the outfield in his stockinged feet. He hadn't put out much until about the seventh inning when Joe hit a long triple. As he pulled into third, some big guy stood up and hollered, "You shoeless sonofagun, you!" They picked it up and started calling him Shoeless Joe all around the league, and it stuck. Joe never played the outfield barefoot, and that was the only day he ever played in his stockinged feet, but it stuck with him.

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