2008 Joe Jackson Related News
Baseball bullet image Jerome Holtzman, MLB's Official Historian Dies.

By Paul Sullivan | Chicago Tribune staff reporter

Former Chicago Tribune baseball writer Jerome Holtzman, who rose from copy boy to Hall of Famer in an illustrious career as a Chicago sportswriter, passed away this weekend after a long illness. He was 82.

Holtzman, a baseball beat writer and columnist at the Chicago Sun-Times before moving to the Tribune in 1981, was the author of six books, including "No Cheering in the Press Box," a best-selling oral history of the game as told by 24 old-school sportswriters.

Known as "the Dean" in baseball press boxes, Holtzman chronicled the seasons of the White Sox and Cubs for more than 40 years at Chicago newspapers, beginning in 1957 at the Sun-Times. He was also responsible for the institution of the "save" rule to acknowledge effective relief pitching in 1966, the first major statistic recognized by Major League Baseball since the RBI was added in 1920.

Holtzman was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989, and became baseball's first official historian under Commissioner Bud Selig after retiring from the Tribune in 1999.

"He was the consummate writer," said George Vass, a former colleague and friend who collaborated with Holtzman on two books. "No one was ever more dedicated and clear-minded about the sport, and those who played it and wrote about. He was a great writer, but more important, a great friend."

Baseball bullet image Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum Opens Door To The Public.

By PATRICK OBLEY - pobley@thestate.com

GREENVILLE - History is the prosecution. It wants you to remember Shoeless Joe Jackson as a know-nothing rube with $5,000 cash in hand. A crook who dared to snatch away America's innocence at a time the country needed it most.

Arlene Marcley is the defense. She begs you to take the measure of the man by witnessing how he lived and by listening to the testimony of people he touched.

In the courtroom of popular opinion, History wants you to leave your finger on the "pause" button. Marcley simply wants you to press "play".

All trials have their shocking exhibits and star witnesses. At 356 Field Street, Marcley presents you with her 950-square-foot Exhibit A: Jackson's humble red-brick home.

Standing roughly 10 yards from that tiny home's front steps, Marcley rested her case.

"He may never be reinstated to baseball or elected to the hall of fame", said Marcley, the driving force behind the museum's existence. "But one thing is certain: He now has a museum to tell the story of his entire life".

Amid the fanfare of the Textile Heritage Band and the amusing stylings of the Pinch Hitters Choir, Greenville city officials and former Major League players Bobby Richardson, Lou Brissie, Billie O'Dell and Bob Bolin made their first pass through the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library.

Throughout the remainder of the day, the general public took its turn.

The verdict: "It's a great thing they've done", said Brissie, who played for the Philadelphia A's and Cleveland after recovering from a horrific leg injury in World War II.

"They've come a long way in a short time", Brissie said. "I think, long-term, it's going to become a focal point for people who have a love of baseball. I loved it. They've done a tremendous job here".

Marcley is an assistant to Greenville mayor Knox White. A few years ago, she oversaw a project to erect a statue of Jackson in Greenville's West End. Then, in 2006, she received a call from a man named Richard Davis, who had come up with the crazy notion of moving Jackson's home from its nondescript East Wilburn Street location to the grounds of the city's sparkling new stadium, Fluor Field.

Davis, of Trademark Properties, did the heavy lifting and Marcley, along with a collection of Jackson fanatics, attended to the details.

Saturday, on the 100th anniversary of Joe and Kate Jackson's wedding, Marcley yanked the cover off the museum's greeting sign.

The museum is a collection of Jackson memorabilia and personal items. The library contains books donated by baseball aficionados across nation. Marcley's intention is for the library to become the primary research center for the life and times of Jackson.

The museum's centerpiece arrived shortly before its grand-opening: Jackson's final will and testament. What makes the document special is Jackson's signature. He was illiterate and as such, the number of his known signatures can be counted on one hand.

Within these walls, details of who Jackson was begins to emerge. It becomes apparent that, while he was illiterate, he was smart. He might have not been rich, but money wasn't what mattered most.

That's the exhibit. As for the star witness, Marcley offers Joe Anders, one of Jackson's final proteges.

"At the end of a lot of my interviews, I ask if there is anyone out there who knows what he did to throw the World Series", Anders said. "The stats certainly aren't going to tell you".

"I can say this: Joe Jackson was one of the most generous people that you'd ever want to meet. He used to line kids up at the soda fountain and buy them ice cream cones. Joe was always lending people $5 or $10".

Standing on the fringe of the gathered crowd, the Jackson family looked on stoically. The family remains guarded in an attempt to heed Kate Jackson's dying wish that they "let it be".

"It's kind of amazing to look around and see how many people feel what they feel about Joe and see what they've done for him", said Joe Jackson, a great nephew of his namesake.

"As you know, Kate asked that the family just let it be. The family's not very active", Jackson said. "But Joe believed there was a higher power and so does my family. This may sound corny, but things happen for a reason and things always seem to work out".

"One day, I might be dead and gone, it may work out for Joe to get back in baseball and maybe get into the hall of fame", Jackson concluded.

Brissie said he believes the museum will eventually play a role if such a day is to come.

"I think as time passes things are going to filter out, people are going to get access to new information and this will be a great place for them to come to", he said. "The more that comes out about it, the more people feel like he was dealt an injustice, so I think the interest is there and I don't think it's ever going to die".

Baseball bullet image Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum Grand Opening Announced.

The Grand Opening for the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library in Greenville, SC will take place on Saturday June 21, 2008 from 10AM - 4PM. Special events will run until 4PM and are free and open to the public.

In 2006 the house which was located at 119 E. Wilburn Street, was dismantled, moved three miles and reassembled at 356 Field Street across from the minor league ballpark in downtown Greenville, SC. The house number was changed to 356 to represent Joe's lifetime batting average, which is third highest in Major League history behind Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby. The Museum will display items of interest associated with the historic life and baseball career of Shoeless Joe Jackson. The non-profit museum will also contain a collection of baseball books donated by baseball enthusiast from across America.

The Jackson house is small, but it has a big story to tell!

A Museum website will be launching soon, stay tune to the Virtual Hall of Fame for more details on this.

For further information, contact info@shoelessjoejackson.org.


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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