2004 Joe Jackson Related News
Baseball bullet image Louisville Slugger signed by Joe Jackson gets highest bid at auction.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- A Louisville Slugger signed by "Shoeless" Joe Jackson sold for $137,500 Saturday, November 6, 2004 at a memorabilia auction held at the museum where the bats are made.

Cracked on the handle and worn on the barrel, the bat, made in 1910 or 1911, has Jackson's signature along the hitting area in bold ink. An unidentified private collector made the purchase.

The bat was the featured piece among 412 items sold. The Louisville Slugger Museum planned to use the funds raised by the auction to pursue other pieces of baseball memorabilia.

The museum dredged many of the auctioned items from a warehouse and file cabinets in the basement of the downtown Hillerich & Bradsby Co., where the trademark bats are still manufactured.

Also Saturday, a bat used by Ty Cobb went for $132,000, a record for a Cobb bat. Chris Cavalier, who runs a sports memorabilia business in San Ramon, Calif., made the purchase.

"I really didn't think I'd be leaving with this bat," Cavalier said. "It's still hard to believe I actually own it now."

The bat's value was enhanced by grease-penciled writing on the barrel. The markings were not made by Cobb, but by a Hillerich & Bradsby receiving agent working at the factory during Cobb's era. They indicate that Cobb probably used the bat, then had it sent back to Louisville to have more made exactly like it.

Bats weren't the only items on sale.

A Cleveland Indians jersey worn by Satchel Paige was sold for $110,000. A letter handwritten by Babe Ruth, with six of his signatures at the bottom, and its original envelope went for $41,800. A baseball signed by Ruth and Lou Gehrig went for $31,900.

Baseball bullet image Louisville Slugger Museum To Offer Autographed Shoeless Joe Jackson Bat For Auction.

The Louisville Slugger Museum in Louisville, KY along with Hunt Auctions is offering up for sale a 1911 era baseball bat autographed by Shoeless Joe Jackson. The bat once belonged to Sydney Smith a former teammate of Joe's on the Cleveland Indians and a lifelong friend of Joe's. Smith was an honorary pallbearer at Jackson's funeral in 1951. After Smith passed away, this bat was found in his belongings and is in great shape for it's age.

You can see the bat here

Along with the Jackson bat, the Museum is selling a Ty Cobb bat, a letter written by Babe Ruth and other items from private collections. You can view these items at huntauctions.com

If you're interested in participating in the auction, you must first register by either calling (610) 524-0822 or by visiting the Hunt web site listed above. There is no charge to register.

The auction is open to the public.

Baseball bullet image Costner backs Shoeless Joe Jackson for Hall of Fame.

Gary Gentile,
Associated Press

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. - Kevin Costner says he would be glad to make another baseball movie, and wants to direct another cowboy film.

He also believes that disgraced Chicago White Sox star Shoeless Joe Jackson should be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Costner was on hand Wednesday at the DVD release party for the 15th anniversary edition of "Field of Dreams." Universal Studios dressed a West Hollywood baseball field with corn stalks and bleachers and projected the film on an outdoor screen for a crowd that included Costner's co-stars Amy Madigan and Timothy Busfield.

Costner said the mystical tale, which reunites a son with his dead father and includes famous lines such as "If you build it, he will come," might have a tough time finding an audience today in the middle of special effects-laden blockbusters and sequels.

"It's always surprising when you're talking about a movie 15 years later," Costner said. "But actually, that's how you should make them. You should make a movie, not for its opening box-office weekend. You should make a movie with the idea that people are going to watch it 20 years from now."

The movie follows Costner's character as he builds a baseball diamond in an Iowa cornfield to attract Shoeless Joe Jackson, who was banned for life after his team was found to have thrown the 1919 World Series.

Jackson's teammates were found to have taken money from gamblers to purposely lose the series. Jackson knew about the scheme, but said he refused the money and actually played some of the best games of his career during the series.

"It's amazing the people we've managed to forgive in this country and those that we don't seem to be able to forgive," Costner said. "He seemed like a fairly simple man."

Costner said that baseball cannot tolerate gambling because "it absolutely destroys the integrity of the game.

"But I think wise people sitting in a room with a certain amount of humility, a certain amount of compassion, I think a lot of us would like to see Shoeless Joe Jackson in the Hall of Fame."

The actor will portray a former baseball star in the upcoming film "The Upside of Anger" and has said he has signed to appear in a film that advances the story line of "The Graduate."

"Field of Dreams" writer and director Phil Alden Robinson said the film's enduring popularity might have something to do with the fact that it leaves so much to the imagination.

"We don't explain anything," Robinson said. "It's mysterious and allows you to read into it what you want to."

One mystery Robinson declined to clear up - who whispered the movie's haunting lines such as "Ease his pain," and "Go the distance."

"I'll never tell," Robinson said.

Baseball bullet image Rose confession may get Jackson's shoe in door.

Scott Brown
Gannett News Service

When Ted Williams died in July of 2002, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's chances of getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame seemingly went with him.

Williams had moved to the forefront of the crusade to get Jackson into the Baseball Hall of Fame late in life. Too late, it appeared.

Indeed, if Jackson makes it to Cooperstown anytime soon, it won't be because of one of baseball's most revered figures as much as it will be because of one of baseball's most disgraced figures.

Call Pete Rose's apology in his recently released book and a national TV interview disingenuous. Call it a transparent ploy to get reinstated by commissioner Bud Selig. But what some see as purely a selfish act may end up benefiting someone else, as well.

The possibility that Rose's confession will get him into the Hall of Fame raises the hopes of Jackson supporters that "Shoeless" Joe too will one day receive baseball's highest honor. For if Rose, who admittedly gambled on baseball and lied about it for 14 years, makes the Hall, they argue, surely the player who was acquitted of the gambling charges that ultimately led to his banishment from baseball belongs, as well.

"If Bud Selig clears Rose, then the doors to the church of baseball will be blown clean off the hinges and Joe will stride down center aisle and take his rightful place on the first pew," Mike Nola said.

Nola founded the Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame in 1996. He got interested in Jackson through his father, who had seen the legendary outfielder play, and he initially believed what others, including Major League Baseball's official historian, believe to this day: Jackson was clearly guilty of gambling for the role he played in fixing the 1919 World Series.

But extensive research turned the once-skeptical Nola into one of Jackson's biggest backers.

He does more than cite the .375 average Jackson had during the 1919 Series -- one in which then-commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis ruled that he and seven other White Sox players conspired to throw before banning them from the game -- as a reason why Jackson has unjustly been kept out of the Hall of Fame.

Nola is the first to admit that Jackson's acquittal of gambling charges by a federal jury in 1921 doesn't exonerate him.

"I believe Joe knew there was a fix going on and I believe he knew bits and pieces," said Nola, who works as a computer specialist at Florida State University. "But I don't believe he was on the inside and I believe he did the best he could to try and stop it."

Added Dr. Richard Crepeau, a history professor at the University of Central Florida and author of a book about baseball from 1919-1941: "I'm not sure a lifetime ban was appropriate, given all of the circumstances involved."

Stepping to the plate Williams certainly appears to have felt the punishment was draconian.

He and Jackson are among a group of seven players to hit .400 during a season, and in the mid-1990s, Williams became active in trying to get Jackson to join him in another exclusive club: the Hall of Fame.

His efforts included organizing a symposium on Jackson in 1998 that featured Jim Riley, who authored the only encyclopedia on the Negro Leagues and has long been active in the Society of American Baseball Research.

Williams, who hired a lawyer to file motions with MLB on Jackson's behalf, also received support from former big leaguers Andy Seminick and Elden Auker.

"Ted had his own Hitters Hall of Fame and he has Joe Jackson in that Hall of Fame and I think he's the only one in there who's not in Cooperstown," said Riley, who met with Williams several times about Jackson. "People who knew him feel he did play his best (in the 1919 World Series)."

Even if he did, said a history professor who has written several baseball books, that is not relevant.

Jackson attended the meetings that preceded the fix and was involved in the plot. That, said Dr. Reed Browning, left a permanent stain on his reputation, no matter how much his supporters claim he was on the periphery of the fix.

"To me, (extenuating circumstances) miss the point again because what he did cuts to the very heart of what baseball is all about," said Browning, who teaches history at Kenyon College in Ohio and wrote a biography on Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young.

Browning also disputes that Jackson, a lifetime .356 career, played his best during the Series even though he accounted for 11 of the White Sox's 20 runs and hit the only homer.

Christy Mathewson, the Hall of Fame pitcher, was suspicious enough about Jackson not playing his best in crucial situations that he made notes about it, Reed said.

Jerome Holtzman, MLB's official historian, also contends that Jackson's numbers during the World Series were misleading, adding that Jackson repeatedly left men on base.

"He got all of his hits after the Series was thrown," said Holtzman, a longtime baseball writer for the Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago Tribune. "People who are trying to get Joe Jackson into the Hall of Fame are whipping a dead horse."

Selig had Holtzman send him a finding on Jackson in response to the support drummed up by Williams. That nothing has come of that does not surprise Nola, who calls Holtzman the "No. 1 hater" of Jackson.

This much is certain: Holtzman toes a hard line when it comes to baseball and gambling.

He is no more open to the idea of the Rose getting into the Hall of Fame than he is Jackson, and he calls Rose a "scumbag."

"If you let Pete Rose or anyone else in," Holtzman said, "you're saying 'Crime pays.' "

Lifetime ban expired?

The strongest argument Nola said Jackson backers have is their contention that his lifetime ban from baseball expired when he died in 1951.

"I don't think that's a bad argument," said Eldon Ham, who teaches sports law at Chicago-Kent College of Law. "Even if you concede Jackson was a scumbag gambler, the purpose (of the suspension) was to keep him away from the game. I guarantee you today he is away from the game. I don't see a reason to keep a historic figure like that out of the Hall of Fame."

"I would have no trouble with 'Shoeless' Joe Jackson going into the Hall of Fame at this point," said Crepeau, who wrote Baseball: America's Diamond Mind, 1919-41. "And I'd have no trouble with Pete Rose going in after he's dead."

Jackson supporters concede that the movement to get him into the Hall of Fame lost a lot of momentum when Williams died.

"With Ted in the lead, it would have been great," Riley said. "Without some recognizable name, it might not materialize."

The recognizable name that may ultimately give the Jackson movement the push it needs is Rose.

"If you make an exception for Pete Rose's case, what does it do to the notion of the unforgivable sin that you cannot bet on baseball?" said Philadelphia Daily News writer Paul Hagan, who is the outgoing president of the Baseball Writers Association of America.

"There's no comparison between the two," Auker said. "Joe Jackson was never convicted of anything."

Whether the two cases are comparable is debatable. What is certain is that Jackson supporters will be waiting to see what Selig does in response to Rose's confession just as eagerly as Rose backers (and detractors, for that matter).

For if Rose becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame, then surely Jackson deserves the chance to make it to Cooperstown, his supporters will surely and loudly argue.

"I would say strongly so because Rose actually admits everything and he's alive and didn't serve his sentence," Ham said. "If they're willing to let in an admitted gambler, then they should let 'Shoeless' Joe, who never admitted anything, in."

Baseball bullet image Rose's confession reopens debate about Shoeless Joe.

Florida Today

When Ted Williams died in July 2002, "Shoeless" Joe Jackson's chances of getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame seemingly went with him.

Williams had moved to the forefront of the crusade to get Jackson into the Baseball Hall of Fame late in life. Too late, it appeared. Indeed, if Jackson makes it to Cooperstown any time soon, it won't be because of one of baseball's most revered figures as much as it will be because of one of baseball's most disgraced figures.

Call Pete Rose's apology in his recently released book and a national TV interview disingenuous. Call it a transparent ploy to get reinstated by commissioner Bud Selig. But what some see as purely a selfish act might end up benefiting someone else.

The possibility that Rose's confession will get him into the Hall of Fame raises the hopes of Jackson supporters that "Shoeless" Joe, too, one day will receive baseball's highest honor. For if Rose, who admittedly gambled on baseball and lied about it for 14 years, makes the Hall, they argue, surely the player who was acquitted of the gambling charges that led to his banishment from baseball belongs, as well.

"If Bud Selig clears Rose, then the doors to the church of baseball will be blown clean off the hinges, and Joe will stride down center aisle and take his rightful place on the first pew," Mike Nola said.

Nola founded the Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame in 1996. He initially believed what others believe to this day: Jackson was guilty of gambling for the role he played in fixing the 1919 World Series. But extensive research turned the once-skeptical Nola into one of Jackson's biggest backers.

Nola is the first to admit that Jackson's acquittal of gambling charges doesn't exonerate him. He believes Jackson was a pawn in the scandal that rocked baseball, not a major player in it.

Longtime baseball writer Jerome Holtzman doesn't buy Jackson's innocence.

"If you let Pete Rose or anyone else in," Holtzman said, "you're saying 'Crime pays.' "

Rose ultimately might give the Jackson movement the push it needs.

"If you make an exception for Pete Rose's case, what does it do to the notion of the unforgivable sin that you cannot bet on baseball?" said Philadelphia Daily News writer Paul Hagan, the outgoing president of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Whether the two cases are comparable is debatable. What is certain is that Jackson supporters will be waiting to see what Selig does in response to Rose's confession.

For if Rose becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame, surely Jackson deserves the chance to make it to Cooperstown.

Baseball bullet image What about Shoeless Joe?

By Willie T. Smith III
The Greenville News

The possibility of Pete Rose's reinstatement to Major League Baseball has revived the hopes of supporters of Greenville's Shoeless Joe Jackson.

Rose admitted in his book "My Prison Without Bars," which goes on sale today, that he bet on baseball while manager of the Cincinnati Reds. Rose's admission is viewed as a first step toward a decision by Major League Baseball on whether to lift his lifetime ban from the sport, which then would make him eligible for enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. Rose, baseball's all-time hits leader, was banned in 1989; he applied for reinstatement in 1997.

Jackson supporters said the publicity of the Rose case may enable the spotlight to shine again on Jackson's plight.

"If they clear Pete Rose's name, it's going to blow the doors to the church of baseball clean off the hinges, and ole Joe Jackson will stride right down the center aisle and sit in the first pew," said Mike Nola, Official Historian for the Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame.

"Whether that's going to happen or not ... I know (MLB Commissioner) Bud Selig well enough to know he can clear Pete Rose's name and never do anything for Joe Jackson," Nola said. "But you'd like to think all Americans generally have that sense-of-fair-play thing going on and that Bud Selig is no different, and, if he clears Pete Rose's name, he would also correct the injustice done to Joe Jackson over 80-plus years ago."

Jackson was one of eight Chicago White Sox players banned for life after being accused of accepting money from gamblers in order to fix games in the 1919 World Series. Jackson admitted to accepting $5,000, but denied trying to lose any games. Jackson battted .375 in the eight games and played oustanding defense in the outfield.

Although a Chicago jury acquitted the players of the charges in 1921, but then-Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned them for life. Jackson later returned to Greenville, where he became a shopkeeper. He died in 1951.

"Shoeless Joe served his life sentence with dignity and honor and now deserves recognition for his baseball accomplishments," said U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint, a longtime supporter of Jackson's reinstatement, in a statement released by his office. "Before baseball bets on Pete Rose, Shoeless Joe deserves his due."

Joe Anders, 83, who as a teen-ager got pointers on baseball from Jackson and became a longtime friend, said he believes reinstatement for Rose would help Jackson's cause.

"I don't see how in the world they could reinstate Pete and not reinstate Joe," he said. "I haven't given up hope. We've been working on it a long time. Maybe something will happen where they'll open their eyes, realize a mistake has been made and reinstate Joe."

Jackson's career .356 lifetime average caught the attention of Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams, who publicly advocated Jackson's reinstatement until his death in 2002. Former manager Tom Lasorda, inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997, also has supported Jackson's reinstatement.

"I think the majority of the baseball population is in favor of having Joe inducted before Pete Rose because Pete Rose is a flat-out liar," said Joe Thompson, author of "Growing up with Shoeless Joe" and a Greenville resident. "... Shoeless Joe died claiming his innocence and served his life sentence very prominently without complaint."

Baseball bullet image Shoeless Joe Jackson supporters hope Pete Rose's quest for baseball reinstatement brings attention to Jackson.

PETE IACOBELLI
Associated Press

GREENVILLE, S.C. - Shoeless Joe Jackson supporters hope Pete Rose's quest for baseball reinstatement brings attention to the Black Sox scandal's most celebrated figure and his case to enter the Hall of Fame.

"We're hoping so," Joe Anders told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "We certainly think it could open the door."

Anders, who'll turn 83 next month, befriended Jackson in Greenville when the player was a long-retired shopkeeper and Anders among teens that got baseball pointers from one of the sport's all-time greats.

Anders has long tried to get Jackson back in baseball and, eventually, in Cooperstown. Anders has closely followed Rose's case. He said if baseball's hits leader gets in, so should Jackson.

"It's frustrating," Anders said.

Rose is in baseball's spotlight this week. In his book, "My Prison Without Bars," that is due out Thursday, Rose admits betting on baseball while he managed the Cincinnati Reds. Rose has also taped an interview for ABC News' "Primetime Thursday."

Jackson, who honed his talent in the city's old Brandon Mills textile village, became one of sport's most tragic figures during his time with the Chicago White Sox. He was accused of participating in a gambling scheme to throw the 1919 World Series. He and several teammates were banned from baseball for life, their stories told and retold since then in books, documentaries and movies.

However, Anders said many in the Upstate and around the country never believed Shoeless Joe took part in the fix. They work to this day, he says, to right that wrong.

Anders remembers asking Jackson about the supposed crime. "I'm innocent," Jackson told him. "That's all he ever said about it," Anders said. "That was good enough for me."

Jackson eventually returned to Greenville where he became a successful shopkeeper until his death in 1951.

In the past 10 years, Jackson's native city has worked to honor his life. A ballpark at Brandon Mills is dedicated to Jackson. Signs commemorate Greenville as "The Home of Shoeless Joe Jackson." A statue of Jackson swinging was unveiled in the West End shopping district in 2002.

U.S. Rep. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., renewed his call Tuesday for Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig to consider Jackson's reinstatement.

DeMint wants Selig to affirm that "Shoeless Joe has served his sentence and that baseball has no further hold on him, and to clarify that he is eligible to be considered for the Hall of Fame."

Anders says Selig is dragging baseball's feet and leaving Jackson out in the cold.

"We've been hearing that for four years," Anders said. "We've been getting the same old story."

A message left with Selig's office by The Associated Press was not immediately returned. Selig has continually said Jackson's case was under review.

Author Tom Perry, a Textile League historian who recently finished a manuscript about Jackson's wife Katie, says hopes of restoring Shoeless Joe grow dimmer as time goes on.

One of Jackson's most vocal and visible supporters, Boston great Ted Williams, died in 2002. Fewer and fewer people who ever saw Jackson in his prime remain, Perry said.

"Except for a few grainy swings, we don't ever see him," Perry said. "We all saw Rose and know he was 'Charlie Hustle.'"

"As time passes," said Perry, "our strength is going to lessen."

Anders also grows weary at times wondering if he'll be around for Shoeless Joe's Hall of Fame ceremony.

He says every few years, there's a groundswell of support for Shoeless Joe - like in 1999 when Anders attended a festival in Dyersville, Iowa, dedicated to Jackson. Then, Anders says, it disappears.

"We were so close at one time, I thought we were going to get it," Anders said. "But as long as we can, we're still going to keep plugging."

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