2001 Joe Jackson Related News
Baseball bullet image Update on the "Shoeless Joe" Jackson Statue.
GREENVILLE, SC--- On November 2, 2001 Sculptor Doug Young told the Virtual Hall of Fame that the clay mold of Shoeless Joe Jackson had been completed by him and will soon be off to the foundry for bronzing.. The dedication of the statue is planned for Spring or early Summer 2002.......more detail on this as we get it.

Head shot of Joe Jackson statueClose-up view of the clay mold head of Joe Jackson.

Baseball bullet image Shoeless Joe's Bat "Black Betsy" Sales For $577,610.
A collector from Pennsylvania has agreed to pay $577,610 for "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's bat, "Black Betsy," one of sports' most fabled artifacts. It's believed to be the highest price ever paid for a bat.

The 10-day auction on eBay attracted only two bidders, one of whom did not enter until the final five minutes. The winning bid was made by Rob Mitchell, the 30-year-old owner of a marketing company in Pottstown, Pa. He plans for now to display the bat in the company offices.

"I was shocked for what the bat went for," he said. "I think the bat's worth somewhere between $1.7 million and $4 million. I think if it's not the best, it's in the top five best buys ever recorded in the memorabilia industry, baseball or any other sport."

The seller was Lester Erwin of Easley, S.C., who kept the bat on a bookcase for decades after inheriting it from Jackson's widow in 1959.

"Obviously with all the hype that's been done in the media, there has to be a little disappointment," he said Tuesday night. "But how can you be real disappointed with a half-million? I think whoever ended up with it got a steal."

Jackson, who holds baseball's third-highest career batting average, used the warped hickory bat throughout his major-league career and in semipro leagues after being banished for allegedly joining in the fix of the 1919 World Series by the Chicago White Sox.

Baseball bullet image Shoeless Joe's Bat To Be Auctioned on the Internet.
By Gary Hill

NEW YORK (Reuters) - "Black Betsy," the favorite bat of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, may fetch a record price for baseball memorabilia when it is auctioned on the Internet, the company managing the sale said on Tuesday.

The bat is pockmarked and crooked and has a small, jagged crack, but it gets a million-dollar shine from the stories surrounding "Shoeless Joe," one of baseball's greatest players but remembered mainly for his banishment from baseball in the "Black Sox" gambling scandal at the 1919 World Series.

"The minimum bid for the bat is going to be $500,000," said Kevin Hammond, president and CEO of Real Legends auctioneers.

"Because it's never been sold before, because it's been retained in the family and because the authenticity of the item is unquestionable, we really don't know where it will wind up."

The bat will be sold on eBay from Friday, July 27, to Monday, August 6.
Virtual Hall of Fame Official Historian Mike Nola holds Black Betsy
See full image
"Black Betsy", the bat used by "Shoeless" Joe Jackson during his 13 year Major League career is displayed by Mike Nola at a press conference in New York on July 24, 2001. (Reuters)

The price could surpass the $1.3 million paid for a Honus Wagner trading card and challenge the record $3.05 million paid for Mark McGwire's 70th home run ball, Hammond said.


Jackson's .356 lifetime batting average is still third all-time behind only Ty Cobb (.367) and Rogers Hornsby (.358).

The hickory-wood bat is actually brown with deep black indentations left by batted balls -- and rocks. Jackson let neighborhood children play with the bat after he retired.

The bat has black tape several inches up the handle and the remains of some tape near the knob. The barrel is smooth but bumpy to the touch.

Hand-whittled and given to Jackson by a streetcar conductor in 1924, it was later professionally refinished and stamped "The SPALDING Old Hickory."

Jackson had other bats, but there were accounts throughout his 13 years in the major leagues and then 14 years in "outlaw" or "barnstorming" baseball of "Black Betsy."

"There's a guy in Americus, Georgia, that's 98 years old that played ball with Joe in Waycross in 1924," said Mike Nola, who runs the "Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame" (www.blackbetsy.com).

"He described the bat to me, and I didn't know him from Adam's housecat. He said the bat was crooked, it was a darker bat, and Joe would take the crooked part and point it toward the pitcher," said Nola.

"When he hit with it, it sounded like a brickbat, it had its own sound."


The bat's seller is 54-year-old Lester Erwin, who inherited it in 1959 from his cousin and Jackson's wife, Katie.

Erwin used to visit the Jacksons as a child, and since the couple had no children of their own, the bat was left to him.

Copies of the will and an affidavit from the executor of Katie Jackson's estate were displayed along with the bat at Mickey Mantle's Restaurant in Manhattan.

Jackson named all his bats. Why was this one Black Betsy? "The answer is we're still investigating," said Nola.

Joseph Jefferson Jackson was born July 16, 1889, and died December 5, 1951, in Greenville, South Carolina.

Illiterate but canny, he was called "Shoeless" after discarding some ill-fitting new shoes during a game early in his career.

He and seven other White Sox were banned for taking bribes from gamblers funded by Arnold Rothstein to throw the 1919 World Series, won by the Cincinnati Reds five games to three.


"Say it ain't so, Joe" entered the American lexicon. Jackson denied it was ever said, calling it a Chicago reporter's invention.

Jackson always maintained his innocence and won criminal and civil court trials but Kenesaw Landis, the first of baseball commissioners, never relented, nor has baseball yet.

"Baseball should basically say its sentence is done," argued Nola. "He died in 1951. To continue punishing 50 years after his death, it's crazy."

Nola said Jackson should only have been suspended "for his guilty knowledge," perhaps for a year.

"Joe just said, I'll go out and play the best series a guy could play and there would be no question. He had 12 hits, he accounted for 11 of the 20 runs that the Sox made, he fielded flawlessly and he batted .375.

"And he hit the only home run in the series. To me it's pretty obvious."

Baseball bullet image Fifth Annual "Shoeless Joe" Jackson Exhibit Opens In Greenville, SC.
GREENVILLE, SC---With recorded sounds of a ballgame echoing in the background, the fifth annual Shoeless Joe Jackson Exhibit opened on July 2 at Greenville City Hall. Mayor Knox White proclaimed July as SHOELESS JOE JACKSON MONTH, the official opening of a colorful display of photos and memorabilia about the life and career of baseball great, Joe Jackson.

Arlene Marcley, Executive Assistant to Mayor White, and the exhibit's creator, began displaying old photographs of Jackson at City Hall five years ago in support of national efforts to get Jackson reinstated to major league baseball. "Public response each year has been overwhelming," Marcley said. "The displays have continued to expand and improve and this year I kicked it up a notch with color designs and a new logo."

The main attraction is the life-size clay statue of "Shoeless Joe" which sculptor Doug Young has been creating in public view at City Hall since March. "When the fundraising campaign for the statue was announced last January 26, it was our plan to have the clay model ready for shipment to the foundry for bronzing in time for unveiling and dedication this year," Marcley said. "But, we slowed down the process because public interest was so incredible. It could have been completed in June, but I made the decision to keep it at City Hall during "Shoeless Joe Jackson Month" when we have a lot of visitors to the city."

Also included in the display is visitor access to the Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame. "From day one, Mike Nola has been a tremendous supporter of the annual exhibit. In return, I want to publicly promote his website for visitors to learn about the enormous effort to honor Jackson." Marcley said. "Yesterday, I noticed a tall elderly gentleman hovering over the computer station. I walked over and offered my assistance. He looked up at me, smiled, and as he moved aside, I saw a very small youngster standing in front of him scrolling through the website intent on looking at pictures of Joe. That was a classic example of young and old sharing an interest in Jackson."

The exhibit is open throughout July at Greenville City Hall, 206 S. Main Street, Greenville, SC, Monday through Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm. The exhibit will be open one evening only on Thursday, July 19, until 9:00pm. Joe and Kate Anders will have Joe Jackson specialty items for sale, and Joe Thompson will be on hand to sell and autograph his book, "Growing Up With Shoeless Joe." Special arrangements for viewing the exhibit on weekends can be made by contacting Arlene Marcley, 864-467-4590 or by e-mail at marclea@greatergreenville.com.

Pictures of Joe...young to oldPictures on display at City Hall in Greenville, SC show Joe different stages of his baseball career.
Cards that should have beenThis picture shows Joe Jackson card mock ups.....cards that should have been.
Signing the PetitionThere is a book to sign the petition to help clear Joe's name.
Letters and suchThis photo shows letters sent to Joe Jackson by his fans....as well as a replica of his bat and glove.
Where Triples Go To DieNot much we can add to that!!!
Our Personal Favorite!!The Virt on display at City Hall for the public to use to get more information about Joe....THANKS guys!!!

Baseball bullet image Joe Jackson's Famous Baseball Bat "Black Betsy" Going On The Auction Block.
The original "Black Betsy" baseball bat used by Shoeless Joe Jackson -- will be offered exclusively on eBay. The seller, Real Legends, a leader in the sports memorabilia industry, will offer the "Black Betsy" bat and other authentic Shoeless Joe memorabilia that have been held by Joe Jackson's family and never been sold before.

Shoeless Joe used "Black Betsy" throughout his magnificent 13-year career. Handmade for Joe, "Black Betsy" is made from hickory and weighs more than 40 ounces, compared to today's average bat weight of 32 to 34 ounces. "Black Betsy," in addition to Joe's actual Cleveland Naps (now known as the Indians) uniform jersey, a bat bearing his rare autograph and many other unique Shoeless Joe items will be available for bid on eBay. These items will be promoted in July for eBay's Collectibles Month promotion and available for bid for 10 days, from July 27 to August 6.

Letters of Authencity Concerning Black Betsy
Page 1 From Vince MaltaThe first page of Vince Malta, who is regarded as one of the most knowledgeable authenticators of professional baseball bats.
Page 2 From Vince MaltaThe second page from Vince Malta's authentication of "Black Betsy".
Letter From Stephen RocchiLetter from Stephen Rocchi (PSA/DNA Authentication Services) stating that the bat is the original "Black Betsy"....but of course we didn't need him to tell us that.

Baseball bullet image The City of Greenville, SC Proclaims July As "Shoeless Joe" Jackson Month.
City of Greenville, SC Mayor Knox White, through the proclamation below has declared the month of July "Shoeless Joe" Jackson month.

WHEREAS, JOSEPH JEFFERSON JACKSON, known by baseball fans all over the world as 'SHOELESS JOE" JACKSON, grew up in the Brandon Mill community of Greenville, South Carolina; and

WHEREAS, at the peak of his baseball career, Jackson and several of his Chicago White Sox teammates were indicted for allegedly conspiring to accept bribes and were accused of throwing the 1919 World Series against Cincinnati; and

WHEREAS, though a jury found all eight players innocent of all criminal and civil charges, Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis, the first commissioner of baseball, without conducting an investigation of Jackson's alleged activities, issued a summary judgment without due process procedures, and banished Jackson from the sport for life; and

WHEREAS, "Shoeless Joe" Jackson died on December 5, 1951, having served his "lifetime" ban with dignity and therefore should be reinstated to major league baseball; and

WHEREAS, because of Jackson's lifetime ban, he has been excluded from consideration for admission to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame, although the Hall of Fame publicly displays original artifacts and memorabilia about Jackson, but is unprepared to display his name in its rightful place of honor; and

WHEREAS, Ted Williams, the Congress of the United States led by South Carolinians Senator Strom Thurmond and Congressman Jim DeMint; and many thousands of Jackson supporters across the country who have signed petitions have taken the lead to have Joe Jackson reinstated to major league baseball; and

WHEREAS, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig has within his sole jurisdiction the authority to reinstate Joe Jackson into Major League Baseball; and

WHEREAS, across America people who believe in fair play and justice are calling for the reinstatement of "Shoeless Joe" Jackson, a humble man from humble origins who continues to be one of the most publicized baseball players in the history of the game.

NOW THEREFORE, I, Knox H. White, Mayor of the City of Greenville, South Carolina, in memory of Joe's death fifty years ago this year; in celebration of Joe's 113th birthday on July 16, 2001; and in support of nationwide efforts to have "Shoeless Joe" Jackson reinstated as a member in good standing to Major League Baseball, do hereby declare July 2001

in the City of Greenville. Signed, Sealed and Delivered this first day of July, 2001.
KNOX H. WHITE Mayor, City of Greenville, SC

Baseball bullet image Joe Jackson Posters Now Available Through The Virtual Hall of Fame.
The Virtual Hall of Fame has a limited number of posters of Joe Jackson available for sale to the general public. These posters were used to promote the Virtual Hall of Fame and to bring awareness of the injustice done to Joe. These posters are designed to look like the old tobacco cards of the early 1900's and come in three designs....each having it's own unique message and photo of Joe. The posters measure 23 inches long by 15 inches wide and are printed on poster stock. While supplies last the posters are priced at $22.00 each or all three designs for $45.00, all pricing includes shipping and handling. See the Merchandise section of our site to order 1 or all three of these great posters.

Best Hitter PosterThis poster talks about Babe Ruth copying his swing.
If He Was Guilty PosterThis poster talks about his statistics.
Fast Ball/Change-Up PosterThis poster talks about Judge Landis and the ruling that barred Joe from organized baseball.

Baseball bullet image Virtual Hall of Fame Becomes An Amazon.com Associate.
The Virtual Hall of Fame joined the Amazon.com Associates program that will allow our visitors to buy books via the Books section of our site. We have also added related video and DVD titles to our list of Joe Jackson related items in the Books section. We suggest you look at the books related to Joe here and buy something through our site. The Virtual Hall of Fame receives a certain percentage of every book you buy through our site......which helps to defray the cost of maintaining our infrastructure.

Baseball bullet image New Book About Joe Published - April, 2001.
A new book about Joe Jackson was published in April of 2001 by first time author David Fleitz. The book entitled "Shoeless: The Life and Times of Joe Jackson" tells the story of Joe Jackson that many other authors have stayed away from and while the book does not agree with the findings of our site.......it is still a book about Joe.... filled with many rare pictures of Joe and stories about him that haven't been printed since they appeared in the newspapers of the day. You may purchase a copy of this book through our site by going to the Books section of our site.

Baseball bullet image City of Greenville, SC Needs Your Help In Raising Money For The Shoeless Joe Jackson Statue.
The Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame is asking all our visitors and members of the Society to help the City of Greenville raise money to build a statue in honor of Joe Jackson in downtown Greenville. $40,000.00 has been raised so far, but it is far short of the money needed to build the statue. The statue will be made out of bronze and will be a life size model of Joe in his batting stance (see the pictures below). We're asking for your help....donate any amount you can afford...... no amount too small.......from $1.00 on up. This is our opportunity to do something for Joe.......to make the world realize what he meant to baseball and to his community of Greenville, SC.......lets not let this effort fail........if we don't raise the money.......the statue will not be built unless it can be a first class monument.........only through your donations can this statue be built. We have had many visitors to our site over the last 6 years and a lot of you have asked "what can I do to help Joe???"......well....here is your opportunity.....you can donate some money to the cause of building this statue in Greenville and by doing so.....you will help educate the world as to the kind of individual Joe Jackson was......and still is to his hometown. The Virtual Hall of Fame has always been free and it will continue to be.....we have never made folks paid to join the site......or the Society and we never will........on the same note we don't bug our members or visitors for money....and we're really not doing that here......we just want folks to help with this great cause...... Again, you don't have to donate $100.00 (although that would be quite nice)......just donate what you can.....every little bit helps. Each contributor will be named in the official program for the historic dedication ceremony and will receive a copy of the program. Contributors of $50 or more will also receive a limited edition color photograph of the statue. For further information, contact Arlene Marcley, 864-467-4590, or e-mail marclea@greatergreenville.com.

Joe Arrives At City Hall in GreenvilleThe sculptor's model of Joe arrives at City Hall in Greenville
Another ViewAnother view from within the lobby at City Hall
Set Up In Batting StanceThis picture shows the model set up in the batting stance
The Head and Photo Of JoeThe head of Joe Jackson and a picture that is being used to model the statue
Mike Nola and Doug YoungThe Virtual Hall of Fame's Mike Nola and Sculptor Doug Young
The Gang(from left to right) Sculptor Doug Young, Mike Nola, Joe Anders, Kate Anders and Tom "Shoeless Joe" McDowell (Tom portrays Jackson in a one man play about Joe)

Baseball bullet image Joe Jackson's Hometown Slated For Renewal By Local Businessmen.
"GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN" could be the theme of West Greenville, South Carolina's upcoming efforts to rejuvenate the small business area of the Brandon Mill community where Joe Jackson grew up. The town, known as West Greenville, wants to establish a SHOELESS JOE JACKSON MECCA dedicated to the famous baseball player's memory.

Businessmen and property owners, namely Buddy Hunt, John Scovil, Roy Gullick and Richard Heusel are spearheading the plans to establish an area where fans can come to pay homage to Jackson, and to see the community where he lived and died.

The town, a derelict area since the Brandon Textile Mill closed its doors years ago, is ripe for renewal. Ambitious plans include the eventual establishment of a sports museum featuring the area's native son, plus tourist shops, cafes, and other businesses to attract and serve the community---especially the fans of Shoeless Joe.

A huge mural of Jackson greets visitors as they enter the three block business district of West Greenville, located on Pendleton Street. Hunt is readying a small coffee shop, (Cuppa Joe's) and beginning renovation of other spaces in the area, as is Scovil, who owns an historic flatiron building close by. According to Hunt, the new spaces can be tailored to the needs of interested parties.

Hunt says, "We are interested in feedback from fans of Shoeless Joe, and of textile league sports, as well as fans of other area sports heros, such as Joe Anders and Earl Wooten."


WHEN? Saturday, May 26, 2001

WHERE? Cuppa Joe's Coffee Shop, Pendleton Street, West Greenville, South Carolina

TIME? 10:00 to 5:00

CONTACTS: Buddy Hunt: (864) 233-8726 or (864) 907-6132

John Scovil: (864) 855-2480

Investors, merchants, shopkeepers, as well as friends and fans are welcome and encouraged to respond!

Joe Jackson Mural On West Greenville BuildingThe mural painted by Polly Neal is located on one of the buildings in the West Greenville area.
Another ViewAnother view of the mural.
Close-Up Number 1A close-up of one of the murals.
Close-Up Number 2A close-up of one of the murals.
Close-Up Number 3A close-up of one of the murals.
Close-Up Number 4A close-up of one of the murals.

Baseball bullet image $40,000 Donated For Statue Of Shoeless Joe.
GREENVILLE, SC-Fans of Joe Jackson will gather at City Hall on January 26, 2001, when Mayor Knox White officially recognizes two Greenville foundations which have given a kick start to a campaign to erect a statue of Jackson. The Shoeless Joe Jackson Statue Fund recently established by the City of Greenville has received two local grants totaling $40,000. "What an incredible beginning to our fund raising efforts," Mayor White said.

The statue, a vision of Arlene Marcley, the mayor's executive assistant, will be molded in the lobby of City Hall. "I want to give Joe's supporters the opportunity to watch the statue being created and to actually take part in the process by kneading the clay the artist will use," she said. Marcley has also received a contribution of over six hundred bricks removed from the old Comisky Park in Chicago which she plans to incorporate in the design of the statue's base or in the public space surrounding it.

The sculptor, Doug Young of Greenville, will begin work on the project in January, and expects to use 200 pounds of clay sculpted over a steel armature covered with styrofoam. Young anticipates it will take 3-4 months to complete the clay model which will then be shipped to a foundry in North Carolina for the bronzing process. A dedication ceremony is planned for late summer or early fall, 2001.

The life-size statue of Joe at bat will be placed on one of two possible sites in the historic West End of downtown Greenville. Both sites are currently undergoing design and review plans by Freeman & Major, a local architectural firm. "No matter which site is chosen for the statue, it will have prominence, and visitors will have easy access for viewing," Marcley said.

The public space surrounding the statue will be landscaped and maintained by the city. For the past few years, the West End has been undergoing a major renaissance in economic development, and is becoming a destination point for locals and visitors alike. "Joe's going to be in the thick of things, right smack dab in the heart of Greenville," Marcley said.

"We need $10,000 more to fully pay for the statue, and we also need money for the statue base and bronze plaque," Marcley said. "This is a chance for Joe's fans all over the country to give something in his memory; to actually take part in honoring him in a way the baseball commissioner and Hall of Fame never will."

If you want to help create a lasting memorial to Joe, please make your tax deductible contribution payable to the CITY OF GREENVILLE and send it to: The Shoeless Joe Jackson Statue Fund, Office of the Mayor, P. O. Box 2207, Greenville, SC 29602.

Each contributor will be named in the official program for the historic dedication ceremony and will receive a copy of the program. Contributors of $50 or more will also receive a limited edition color photograph of the statue. For further information, contact Arlene Marcley, 864-467-4590, or e-mail marclea@greatergreenville.com.


Baseball bullet image See our Frequently Asked Questions about Joe Jackson and the Virtual Hall of Fame.

Baseball bullet image Read the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Official Statement concerning Joe.

Baseball bullet image Read the The Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame's Official Statement concerning Joe.

Baseball bullet image Read Joe Jackson's Last Will and Testament

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