Joe Jackson Tidbits
1. Joe got his nickname "Shoeless", which by the way he did not care for, when he was playing for the Greenville club in 1908. Joe had bought a new pair of spikes and they wore blisters on his feet. The next game the blisters hurt Joe's feet so bad that he took the spikes off and played in his stocking feet. Along about the seventh inning Joe hit a triple and was coming into third when some big guy in the stands stood up and hollered: "You shoeless sonofagun, you!" Although Joe played only one game without his spikes, he would forever be known as "Shoeless Joe".

2. Joe believed bats had only so many hits in them and when he went into a slump, Joe would discard the bat and get a new one. The only bat Joe did not discard was his original Black Betsy.

3. Joe said hairpins brought him good luck and he would pick them up where ever he saw them........the rustier the better. Like the bats, when Joe was going through a slump he would discard his collection of hairpins and start over. Joe would keep the hairpins in the back pocket of his baseball uniform, it's a wonder he didn't get hurt sliding with all those pins in his back pocket.

4. Joe had a name for all his bats; his most famous was Black Betsy, Although he had a Blond Betsy, Caroliny, Ol' Genril and Big Jim, Betsy was his favorite bat and unlike modern day players, who seem to break a bat every time they step up to the plate, Betsy lasted Joe's entire major league career. It has been said that Joe gave Black Betsy to the former mayor of Greenville, SC as a gift, but a recently discovered unpublished interview with Joe revealed he still had the bat and had not given it away as reported. If this account is true, then the original Black Betsy is still in the Jackson family
(VHOF Note: The original Black Betsy bat sold at auction in August of 2001 for over a half a million dollars). In the interview Joe states that a local woodworker by the name of Charlie Ferguson made his first bat for him and that a few years after he made it to the big leagues he sent the bat to the Spalding Sporting Goods Co. and they finished the bat out for him and stamped their brand on it. Some of our design team has actually seen and held this bat of which he speaks.

5. Joe's swing was so pure and natural that the great Babe Ruth copied his swing and stance. Babe said in later years that when he was coming up he looked around the league for a swing and stance that he could copy and Joe Jackson was good enough for him.

6. The famous incident about the kid outside the courthouse saying to Joe "Say it ain't so Joe", NEVER happened; it was made up by Charley Owens of the Chicago Daily News. It made for a good story, but it quite simply never happened.

7. Joe's original "Black Betsy" bat was thought to have been made for him by a local bat maker by the name of Charlie Ferguson. It is believed that Ferguson made the bat for Joe and gave it to Wesley Martin (Captain Martin as he was known), Martin drove the trolley car that Joe rode to and from his mill league games. Captain Martin gave Joe the bat on behalf of Charlie Furgeson.......this from the words of Joe Jackson himself. In the early 1990's an old interview Joe gave to the Greenville News was re-discovered by Joe Thompson while doing research for his book "Growing Up With 'Shoeless Joe'". In the article Joe says that Captain Martin, who drove the trolley car that Joe often rode.......gave the bat to him. This original bat became known as "Black Betsy". Even though there was only one "Betsy", to Joe's fans all his bats became known as "Black Betsy". This bat is believed to have been 36 inches long and weighed about 48 ounces.

8. Most of Joe's major league bats were made by Hillerich and Bradsby (Louisville Slugger) and these bats were not as heavy as his original "Black Betsy". His game bats were 35 ½ inches long and weighed in at around 39 ounces. Joe loved his bats so much that he would take his bats home with him to South Carolina in the winter, because he said "bats don't like to freeze no more than me".

9. When Joe was not using his bats he would rub them down with sweet oil and wrap them in a clean cotton cloth.

10. Joe started out as a pitcher on the mill league team, but he threw the ball so hard that he broke the catchers arm, so they put him in the outfield.

11. Joe Jackson began his professional career with the Greenville Spinners in 1908, his salary was $75.00 a month. Later that year his contract was purchased by the Philadelphia Athletics for $325.00.

12. Although Joe was nicknamed "Shoeless" he was hardly shoeless, in fact his closet was filled with dozens upon dozens of pairs of shoes.

13. In 1990 a scrap of paper bearing the shaking signature of Joe Jackson sold at auction for $23,100, the top sum paid for any nineteenth or twentieth century autograph. The record of $56,000 was paid for the rare signature of Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

14. There are photographs of Joe Jackson on the walls of the Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown; a pair of his spikes rest in a glass case. However, Joe Jackson (the man) has not taken his rightful place among the immortals of baseball YET.

15. Joe is in the Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame and was elected there on the initial ballot as a write in candidate. Joe's name did not appear on the charter ballot, however the fans in Cleveland thought so much of Joe that they wrote him in on the ballot and he was elected as a charter member back in 1951, shortly before his death.

16. Ted Williams thought enough of Joe Jackson to elect him to his Hitters Hall of Fame in Hernando, Florida. There is a very nice tribute/display to Joe here, as well as, one of his game used bats on display.

17. When Joe first moved to Savannah, Georgia he lived in an apartment at 143 Abercorn Street. Katie and Joe finally moved into a bungalow at 1411 East 39th Street, where they lived until 1929 when they moved back to Greenville, South Carolina to tend to Joe's ill mother Martha.

18. Joe's wife Katie was deathly afraid of snakes and Joe would tear out any pages from magazines or books that portrayed snakes.

19. When Joe played ball in Savannah, he played at Bolton Park on Henry Street.

20. It is said that Joe once threw a baseball from the backstop behind home plate over the center-field fence at a baseball field in Brunswick, Georgia.

21. Joe owned a bulldog which he named "Beauty". But according to friends and relatives it was the ugliest little thing you ever saw.

22. Before Joe was sold to Chicago in 1915 he expressed a desire to play for the Washington Senators. The Senators could not come up with the money needed to buy Joe's services from Cleveland. If that deal had of happened, this site would not have been necessary and no doubt Joe would have been in the Hall on the first ballot.

23. Just prior to his sale to the Chicago White Sox, Joe signed a 3 year iron clad contract with the Indians for the seasons 1917, 1918, and 1919.......it's just ashame that never came to pass for Joe.

24. The Federal League offered Joe $10,000.00 to jump from the American League to their league, Joe declined the offer stating that he was very happy with the treatment he was receiving from Indians owner Charlie Somers and the fans of Cleveland.

25. Prior to his trade to Chicago, Joe was injured in an automobile accident. On an afternoon off from playing ball, Joe and his wife Katie were out riding East of Cleveland when their car began acting up. Joe surrended the wheel of the car to his wife Katie and he climbed out on the running board to listen to the engine. A passing wagon sideswiped the car and knocked Joe off and onto the ground and he was dragged some 75 feet before the car could be stopped. It is believed that this incident scared Indians owner Charlie Somers into unloading Joe for fear Joe would not be able to perform up to his former status.

26. While in Cleveland Joe lived at 7209 Lexington Avenue, which was close to League Park.

27. Joe might have used ole "Black Betsy" on opponents while in Cleveland and "Betsy" was his favorite bat, but Joe used a bat he named "Dixie" more on opposing teams than he did "Betsy". The Cleveland fans even knew it by named and told ole Joe to "give'em Dixie, Joe give'em Dixie", to which the mighty Jackson usually replied with a Blue Darter through the infield.

29. During a Spring Training game Joe caught a snake in right field and then threaten Naps pitcher Nick Cullop with it. It seems Cullop was having a bad day on the mound prior to Joe's threat, Joe told him if he didn't start pitching better he was going to put the snake down his shirt. It is said that for the remainder of the game Cullop kept one eye on the batter and one eye on Joe and that snake in right.

30. We have been told by Jackson family members that Joe only ate one meal a day, but it was a big meal.

31. On July 16, 1923, Joe was signed by Americus, GA of the independent South Georgia League for $75.00 a week. Joe managed and played right field for the team.

32. In the Georgia Little World Series in 1923 Joe, playing for the Americus, Georgia team went 11 for 22 (.500), he hit two home runs in the second game. Behind Joe's spectacular hitting and fielding Americus went on to win the series in six games.

33. Joe signed on in 1932 to play for the Greenville Spinns for the sum of $100.00 per game, which was pretty good money during the depression.

34. Charles Comiskey testified under oath (not once, not twice, but three times) that he did not believe Joe Jackson had anything to do with the throwing of the 1919 World Series. He thought Joe was treated unfairly, however he did not try to convince Landis otherwise.

35. The only man to ever say that Joe Jackson was present at any meetings between the gamblers and the players was Abe Attell. Abe told this story to Eliot Asinof when Asinof was doing research for his book "Eight Men Out". The meeting between Attell and Asinof took place at Jack Dempsey's restaurant in New York City. Dempsey was present that day in the restaurant and came over after Attell left and asked Asinof what he was doing talking to that scum. Dempsey said something to the effect that he would rather go 12 rounds with Joe Louis than be caught talking to that scum....... in otherwords....Attell was known to tell a lie to benefit himself.

36. When Eliot Asinof wrote his book "Eight Men Out" in the early 1960's, the confession of Joe Jackson was not available (in turned up in the 1970's at the Chicago Historial Society). Based on what was available then, Asinof made some statements about Joe that are not factual. Since the confession and other evidence have come to light in the last 20 years Asinof has changed some of his stance taken in the book, he now believes that Joe got a raw deal......we at the Virtual Hall of Fame have often wondered why Eliot has not come out with a revision to his great book to make this point known.

37. Joe owned and operated a barbecue restaurant prior to opening the liquor store. It was located at 1605 Augusta Road in Greenville......it was simply known as Joe Jackson's Restaurant.

38. On June 25, 1922 Joe played for a Westwood, NJ team under the name Joe Josephs. Joe played centerfield and in the first game he went 4 for 5, including a homerun and a double. In the field he made a great running catch to take away an extra base hit and threw out a runner at the plate. Fans went crazy and wanted to know who the new phenom was and when they found out he was the great Shoeless Joe Jackson....the cat was out of the bag....Joe only played 2 more games for Westwood before moving on.

39. On September 20, 1913, while playing right field for Cleveland, Joe threw out Roger Peckinpaugh of New York A.L. at first base on what appeared to be a safe hit.

40. On June 30, 1912, Joe Jackson of the Cleveland Naps versus the St. Louis Browns hit three triples in one game.

41. On September 30, 1916, Eddie Collins, Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch pulled off a triple steal against Cleveland.

42. In the morning game of a double header on the Fourth of July, 1911, Joe batting against Red Nelson of the St. Louis Browns hit a shot to the outfield that the fielder tried to make a shoestring catch on......he missed.....and Joe recorded his first and only inside- the-park homerun.

43. While in Cleveland, Joe's wife Katie was a devoted fan, missing very few games throughout the year. She sat in the last row of the grandstand behind home plate....sitting in the same seat game after game...she thought brought her husband Joe good luck on the playing field. When the seventh inning rolled around....no matter how the game was going, Katie would leave and go home to prepare Joe a good home cooked meal.

44. When Joe arrived in Cleveland in mid-September 1910....the newspapers called him "The Champion Batter of Dixie", the "Southern Star" and some even called him the "Carolina Crashsmith".

45. One of Joe's favorite activities while on the road, was getting into bed at night and eating animal crackers and washing them down with corn liquor......Joe did love animal crackers.........

46. More to come soon !!!!!
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