Sunday, July 18, 2010

Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Black Sox Scandal

Above are the 1919 Chicago White Sox players accused of fixing the World Series that year against the Cincinnati Reds. Top row, then bottom row, from left....... Swede Risberg, Freddy McMillan, Lefty Williams, Chick Gandil, Buck Weaver, Shoeless Joe Jackson, Happy Felsch, and Eddie Cicotte. Also, above is a photo of Shoeless Joe Jackson (right) and Ty Cobb (left).

There is much legend and controversy regarding what actually went down during the World Series that year. The White Sox very unexpectedly lost the series to the Reds. It is said that Joe Jackson (who had a record 12 hits during the Series) admitted under oath that he was in on the fix. But there is dispute as to whether an admission appears in the actual stenographic record of Jackson's actual testimony in front of the grand jury.

Legend has it that when Jackson left the courthouse during the trial, a young boy tugged at his coattail and said, "Tell me it ain't so, Joe." Joe is reported to have looked at the boy and said, "Yes, I'm afraid it is kid." The boy opened a path for the ball player and stood in silence as he went by. "I never would have thought it", the lad said.

In 1921, a Chicago jury acquitted Shoeless Joe and the seven other players. Nonetheless, Kenasaw Mountain Landis, the newly appointed Commissioner of Baseball, banned all eight of the players out of concern for the reputation of baseball.

The story goes that Ty Cobb and legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice walked into a liquor store owned by Jackson in Greenville, South Carolina years later. Jackson acted as though he did not know Cobb. When Cobb said, "Joe, don't you know who I am?" Jackson replied he did, but said, "I wasn't sure you wanted to know me, Ty. Most of them don't."

There is much dispute over Jackson's role in the scandal. Evidence has surfaced shedding great doubt on his role......making it one of baseball's most intriguing stories and legends.
(The top photo comes compliments of friend Neal Robertson).

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