2007 Joe Jackson Related News
Baseball bullet image Chicago History Museum Wins Auction Of Black Sox Papers.

By James Janega
Chicago Tribune staff reporter
11:53 AM CST, December 13, 2007

The Chicago History Museum offered the winning bid on a trove of legal documents related to the 1919 Black Sox team, meaning the documents concerning the eight White Sox players accused of throwing the World Series 88 years ago and their underworld contacts will be available to the public.

The winning offer in the month-long online auction was for $100,000, said Julie Stoklosa, spokeswoman for Mastro Auctions in Burr Ridge. There were 36 bidders, she said.

"There's lots of reasons [we wanted these]," said Peter Alter, a curator at the Chicago History Museum. "You very rarely see a collection of this volume with this number of pieces on a topic like this. Corrupt politicians don't keep papers. Al Capone didn't keep papers. And rarely are there gamblers and others that keep papers."

In these papers the gamblers involved in the alleged fix, who were compelled to testify, offer their view of the scheme in a level of detail that is more than historians have known before, Alter said.

The documents include handwritten notes from the gamblers to lawyers and other sworn testimony. They express confusion at why money from New York was being placed on bets in St. Louis for a World Series played in Cincinnati.

"They were happy to have it," Alter said the papers show. But they had a sneaking suspicion they were involved in something much bigger than their own interests, he said.

The foot-high stack of yellowed papers, transcripts of the 1921 criminal trial in Chicago, evidence for a 1924 back-pay lawsuit in Milwaukee and business correspondence among team owners that led to the creation of the office of baseball commissioner have fascinated sports fans, historians and archivists since the discovery of the trove was announced in November.

A complete copy of the papers also will be provided to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., Mastro and Hall of Fame officials have said.

"I'm always pleased to hear that a credible archive is able to add something to their collection," said James Gates Jr., library director at the Hall of Fame. "That ensures something will be available to the public and for researchers to use in the future. You never know what's going to happen when something goes into private hands."

The papers offer details about the 1919 World Series allegedly fixed by gamblers from Boston, New York and St. Louis and carried out by White Sox pitchers Edward Cicotte and Claude "Lefty" Williams, first baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil, shortstop Charles "Swede" Risberg, infielder Fred McMullin, third baseman George "Buck" Weaver, center fielder Oscar "Happy" Felsch and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, the left fielder who seemed at once greater than all the rest and the most out of his league in the conspiracy.

All were acquitted in a 1921 criminal trial in Cook County Circuit Court but were permanently banned from the game by federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis of Chicago, who was picked as baseball's first commissioner during the investigation of gamblers and players because these papers say he possessed the requisite "unreviewable authority" for the job.

The museum probably will get the papers next week and plans to make them available to the public. Some key pieces will be displayed in the baseball case of the museum's "Chicago: Crossroads of America" exhibit. The full set of papers will be available to historians at the museum's research center.

"But I want to pore through them first," Alter said.

Baseball bullet image Black Sox Archive Suddenly Surfaces.

By James Janega
Chicago Tribune staff reporter

November 25, 2007

A mysterious box of letters, memos and legal documents pertaining to the White Sox team accused of throwing the 1919 World Series -- some of the papers thought to be lost since the middle of the last century -- is bound for the auction block this week after being uncovered by two Chicago-area collectors.

The identity of the sellers is not being disclosed and the story of how the papers came to emerge is incomplete. The auction house, Mastro Auctions in Burr Ridge, says the owners probably bought the box at a file sale without knowing what was inside. The auction house would not go into detail about its origins.

Nevertheless, the sudden emergence of an archive of previously unknown documents pertaining to the 1919 Black Sox case has seized the imagination of archivists and historians.

"We don't know what's out there. We don't know what's missing, what's lying around," said Jim Gates, director of the Baseball Hall of Fame Library. He said reports identifying Cooperstown, N.Y., as the birthplace of baseball were found in private files in 1998. Before that, everyone thought they had burned in a fire.

"There are magical moments like that," Gates said.

At first glance, it appears the new archive provides a few, baseball author Gene Carney said after he was shown samples from the box.

The thousands of pages include drafts of memos, author-unidentified, that presaged the creation of the commissioner of baseball. The box includes papers apparently from the 1921 criminal trial against the White Sox players accused of throwing the World Series and a 1924 suit in which some of those players sued the team for back pay.

The auction house allowed the Tribune to examine some of the papers. Within the small world of baseball historians - many of whom were contacted for this story - a buzz quickly formed around the collection.

"Wow," Carney said after looking at papers duplicated by the Tribune for this story. "This could be a treasure trove."

Several books, including Eliot Asinof's "Eight Men Out" and Carney's "Burying the Black Sox: How Baseball's Cover-Up of the 1919 World Series Fix Almost Succeeded," as well as a handful of movies have explored the Black Sox scandal and how it embarrassed and endangered baseball.

But historians lament they have had to weave the tale from newspaper accounts and scattered interviews, without most of the court documents that lay it out most directly. Now they may have their chance.

The Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum has asked for photocopies from Mastro Auctions and will get them, said Brian Marren, vice president of acquisitions for the auction house. The Chicago White Sox is interested in peeking at the very least, a spokesman said. And, of course, historians are thrilled.

The papers offer details about the 1919 World Series allegedly fixed by gamblers from Boston, New York and St. Louis and carried out by White Sox pitchers Edward Cicotte and Claude "Lefty" Williams, first baseman Arnold "Chick" Gandil, shortstop Charles "Swede" Risberg, infielder Fred McMullin, third baseman George "Buck" Weaver, center fielder Oscar "Happy" Felsch and "Shoeless" Joe Jackson, the left fielder who seemed at once greater than all the rest and the most out of his league in the conspiracy.

All were acquitted in a 1921 criminal trial in Cook County Circuit Court but were permanently banned from the game by federal Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis of Chicago, who was picked as baseball's first commissioner during the investigation of gamblers and players because -- these papers say -- he possessed the requisite "unreviewable authority" for the job.

On the archive's pages, a feud plays out in full, libelous color between Sox owner Charles Comiskey and then-American League president Byron Johnson, whose hand can be seen at work trying to frustrate Comiskey's ambitions with league procedural maneuvers.

In a letter to other team owners, the Sox owner lashed out in response by supporting a new all-powerful commissioner like Landis to overrule his rival -- and by accusing Johnson of drunkenness.

Comiskey sulked in a letter to a fan in 1920 as the scandal broke: "Words utterly fail to express my appreciation of the kind things you and my other friends have taken every opportunity to express. They are indeed compensation for much that I have recently endured."

Even as he publicly defended his players, Comiskey sought the truth about gambling in the World Series soon after the season ended.

His attorney, Alfred Austrian, hired private eyes from John Hunter's Secret Service to dog Sox players in case they bragged about their alleged deeds in the off-season.

In a report to Austrian, "Operative #11" offers observations from Felsch's hometown of Milwaukee, made just after the series in November 1919. Felsch "has just purchased a large Hupmobile [roadster] and is out hunting for ducks," the operative says.

Also in the file are two cashed paychecks, apparently exhibits from the civil trial over back pay, showing Cicotte made $476.25 a month in 1919 while Williams made $250. The pitchers endorsed each on the back.

And, poignantly, Joe Jackson's 1921 criminal court testimony shows his mounting panic as he realizes Austrian wasn't looking out for him.

"He says, 'Have you got a lawyer?' And I says, 'No, sir,'" Jackson said as he recounted his conversation with Comiskey's lawyer. "'Have you got a bondsman?' he said, and I said 'No.' I says, 'I guess I can get a lawyer.' Well, he says, 'You need a lawyer damn bad.'"

Under cross-examination by Assistant State's Atty. George Gorman, Jackson was asked whether he had been told he was about to sign an immunity waiver before he set pen to page. The outfielder couldn't recall.

"You would sign anything?" Gorman asked of the allegedly signed waiver, which later disappeared from the court file.

"Sure," Jackson said. "I would sign a death warrant."

The new trove of documents probably came from a lawyer's file related to Jackson's 1924 back pay trial in Milwaukee. But little can be guessed about whose, and nothing is known about what happened to the papers next.

News of the impending auction has spread among the parties most likely to be interested, including museums and nostalgic Baby Boomers.

Whoever buys it, historians and archivists hope they will have access to it.

And that it has anything new to say.

The papers go up for auction Monday to Dec. 12.

Baseball bullet image Newly Published "Just Joe" By Author Tom Perry Now Available For Sale.

The newly published book about Joe Jackson as told from the imagined perspective of his wife Katie entitled "Just Joe: Baseball's Natural" is now available for sale via the Books section of the web site. The book is published by Pocol Press in Clifton, VA

"Just Joe: Baseball's Natural" highlights the extraordinary career of Shoeless Joe Jackson. It is related, however, from the imagined perspective of his wife Katie. The novel examines the life of a couple devoted to baseball, and more importantly, to each other.

While the book is a factional account of the life of Joe and Katie Jackson, it is based on well researched facts about Joe and Katie. Author Tom Perry spent several years doing extensive research into the life and times of Katie Jackson and he brings her to life in this new novel. There are many parts in this book where the reader will wonder if Katie wasn't somehow talking directly to Perry as he wrote the book.

Jackson's career, especially his batting prowess and his involvement in the 1919 World Series "Black Sox" scandal, is well known. However, what's largely unknown is how Joe and Katie Jackson gracefully weathered the criticism and condemnation from fans and the first commissioner of the game, Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis. With a quiet dignity, Jackson relied on his fabled Black Betsy bat, scorching "blue darters" and winning the hearts of fans long after his major league days were over. Through it all, Katie Jackson offers a heartfelt portrait of her man and their life and times.

Tom Perry is also author of "Textile League Baseball: South Carolina's Mill Teams 1880 - 1955" and the play entitled "Shoeless Joe" which premiered in 1995.

Baseball bullet image TLC TV Show About Joe Jackson's House - Saturday March 31,2007.

GREENVILLE, S.C. - The home where former Major League Baseball player Shoeless Joe Jackson lived in the 1940s is featured in The Learning Channel's "A Home Run For Trademark".

Trademark Properties owner Richard Davis and his team move the home of Shoeless Joe Jackson from it's original location to just outside the right field wall of the minor league baseball park in downtown Greenville, SC. The house will be turned into a museum for the former Chicago White Sox player and resident South Carolina legend.

The show is scheduled to air on (TLC) The Learning Channel on Saturday March 31, 2007 at 9 PM and again just a few hours later on Sunday April 1, 2007 at midnight.

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