Joe Jackson 1949 Sport Magazine Interview
This is the Truth!

Wisconsin hunting lodge back about 1917.      Mr. Comiskey had caught two big trout and they were such beauties he sent them to Mr. Johnson. He packed the fish in ice and expressed them, but by the time they got to Chicago the ice had melted and the fish had spoiled. They smelled awful and Mr. Johnson always thought Mr. Comiskey had deliberately pulled a joke on him. He never would believe it any other way.
     That fish incident was the cause of it all. When Mr. Johnson got a chance to get even with Mr. Comiskey, he did it. He was the man who ruled us ineligible. He was the man who caused the thing to go into the courts. He did everything he could against Mr. Comiskey.
     I'll show you how much he had it in for him. I sued Mr. Comiskey for the salary I had coming to me under the five year contract I had with the White Sox. When I won the verdict --I got only a little out of it --the first one I heard from was Mr. Johnson. He wired me congratulations on beating Mr. Comiskey and his son, Louis.
     I have heard the story that Mr. Comiskey went to Mr. Johnson on his deathbed, held out his hand and asked that they let bygones be bygones. They say Mr. Johnson turned his head away and refused to speak to him.
     I doubt if I'd have gone back into baseball, anyway, even if Judge Landis had reinstated me after the trial. I had a good valet business in Savannah, Georgia with 22 people working for me, and I had to look after it. I was away from it about a year waiting for the trial. They served papers on me which ordered me not to leave Illinois. I finally opened up a little place of business at 55th and Woodlawn, across from the University of Chicago. It was a sort of pool room and sports center and I got a lot of business from the University students.
     I made my home in Chicago, but I didn't follow orders completely. I sneaked out of Illinois now and then to play with semi-pro teams in Indiana and Wisconsin. I always asked my lawyer, Mr. Benedictine Short, first and he told me to go if I could get that kind of money.
     They kept delaying the trial until I personally went to the State Supreme Court judge, after which he ordered that the case be heard. They tried me and Buck Weaver together, and it took seven weeks. They used three weeks trying to get a jury, and I was on the witness stand one day and a half. After it was all over, Katie, my wife, and I went on back to Savannah, settled down there, and lived there until we came back to Greenville to bury my mother in 1935.
     I have read now and then that I am one of the most tragic figures in baseball. Well, maybe that's the way some people look at it, but I don't quite see it that way myself. I guess one of the reasons I never fought my suspension any harder than I did was that I thought I had spent a pretty full life in the big leagues. I was 32 years old at the time, and I had been in the majors 13 years; I had a life time batting average of .356; I held the all-time throwing record for distance; and I had made pretty good salaries for those days. There wasn't much left for me in the big leagues.
     All the big sportswriters seemed to enjoy writing about me as an ignorant cotton-mill boy with nothing but lint where my brains ought to be. That was all right with me. I was able to fool a lot of pitchers and managers and club owners I wouldn't have been able to fool if they'd thought I was smarter.
     I guess right here is a good place for me to get the record straight on how I got to be "Shoeless Joe." I've read and heard every kind of yarn imaginable about how I got the name, but this is how it really happened:
     When I was with Greenville back in 1908, we only had 12 men on the roster. I was first off a pitcher, but when I wasn't pitching I played the outfield. I played in a new pair of shoes one day and they wore big blisters on my feet. The next day we came up short of players, a couple of men hurt and one missing. Tommy Stouch --he was a sportswriter in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, the last I heard of him--was the manager, and he told me I'd just have to play, blisters or not.
     I tried it with my old shoes on and just couldn't make it. He told me I'd have to play anyway, so I threw away the shoes and went to the outfield in my stockinged feet. I hadn't put out much until along about the seventh inning I hit a long triple and I turned it on. That was in Anderson, and the bleachers were close to the baselines there. As I pulled into third, some big guy stood up and hollered:
     "You shoeless sonofagun, you!"
     They picked it up and started calling me Shoeless Joe all around the league, and it stuck. I never played the outfield barefoot, and that was the only day I ever played in my stockinged feet, but it stuck with me.
Joe Jackson Reflecting On His Life - Summer of 1949
When Joe did this interview at age 61, he was
living a happy, prosperous life in Greenville, SC.
He showed no resentment towards the game that banished him for life.
     When I started out in the majors a fellow named Hyder Barr and me reported to the Athletics in the middle of the season. We got in right close to game time one day, so we checked our bags at the station and went straight to the park. They were playing the Yankees, and I hit the first pitch Jack Warhop threw me for a double. I got a single later and had two for three.
     But I didn't stick around Philadelphia long then. I went back to the station to get my bag that night, and while I was waiting for it I heard the station announcer call out: "Baltimore, Washington, Richmond, Danville, Greensboro, Charlotte, Spartanburg, Greenville, Anderson" and so on. I couldn't stand it. I went up to the window and bought a ticket to Greenville and caught that train.
     Sam Kennedy came after me on the next train. He found out I'd gone from Barr. I was supposed to get Barr's bag, too. He was quite a ladies man and he'd taken up with some girl while I went for the bags. When I didn't come back, he came after me and found out I'd gone.
     That was just the first time. I went back with Sam Kennedy, after he offered me more money. But I came home three other times before the season was over. It wasn't anything I had against Mr. Mack or the ball club. Mr Mack was a mighty fine man, and he taught me more baseball than any other manager I had. I just didn't like Philadelphia.
     I was traded to Cleveland later on and I liked it there. Charley Somers, who owned the Indians, was the most generous club owner I have ever seen. We couldn't play Sunday ball in Washington then, and when we were playing the Senators over a weekend, we'd make a jump back to Cleveland for a Sunday game, then back to Washington Sunday night. There never was a time we made that jump that Charley Somers didn't come down the aisle of the train and give all the players $20 gold pieces.

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