Joe Jackson 1949 Sport Magazine Interview
This is the Truth!

     He was a generous man when it came to contracts, too. The first year I came up to Cleveland, in 1910, I led the league unofficially in hitting. When I went to talk contract with him for 1911, I told him I wanted $10,000. He wasn't figuring on giving me more than $6,000, and he wouldn't listen to me.
     "I'll make a deal with you," I told him. "If I hit .400 you give me $10,000. If I don't, you don't give me a cent."
     It was a deal, I signed the contract, and I hit .408. But I still didn't win the American League batting title. That was the year Ty Cobb hit .420. I was hitting .420 about three weeks before the season was over and Mr. Somers called me in to pay off, told me I could sit it out the rest of the season. I told him to wait until the season was ended and I wasn't quitting. I wrote my own contract the rest of the time I was in Cleveland.
     Babe Ruth used to say that he copied my batting stance, and I felt right complimented. I was a left-handed hitter, and I did have an unusual stance. I used to draw a line three inches out from the plate every time I went to bat. I drew a right-angle line at the end next to the catcher and put my left foot on it exactly three inches from the plate. I kept both feet together, then took a long stride into the ball.
     They say I was the greatest natural hitter of all time. Well that's saying a lot with hitters like Wagner, Cobb, Speaker and Ruth around. I had good eyes and I guess that was the reason I hit as well as I did. I still don't use glasses today.
     I have been pretty lucky since I left the big leagues. No man who has done the things they accuse me of doing could have been as successful. Everything I touched seemed to turn to money, and I've made my share down through the years. I've been blessed with a good banker, too -- my wife. Handing the money to her was just like putting it in the bank. We were married in 1908 when I was just 19 and she was 15, and she has stood by me through everything. We never had any children of our own, but we raised one of my brother's boys from babyhood.
     He never was interested in baseball, but they used to tell me he would have been a fine football player. He didn't get to go to college. The war came along and he went into the Navy as a flier. He was killed accidentally a couple of years ago when a gun he was cleaning went off. Katie and me felt like we'd lost our own boy.
     I hadn't been able to do much work for a year until last Summer because of liver trouble. A good doctor in Greenville took my case when I thought my time was about here, and he brought me back to good health. I went back to my liquor store last July and I'm running the business now myself, I had leased it out while I was sick. I've been doing about $50,000 to $100,000 a year business.
     Some people might think it's odd, but I still have a connection in baseball, sort of a judicial connection, I guess you'd call it. I am chairman of the protest board of the Western Carolina Semi-Pro League. I think that is an indication of how I stand with my own people. They have stood by me all these years, the folks from my mill country, and I love them for their loyalty.
     None of the other banned White Sox have had it quite as good as I have, I understand, unless it is Williams. He is a big Christian Science Church worker out on the West Coast. Last I heard Cicotte was working in the automobile industry in Detroit. Felsch was a bartender in Milwaukee. Risberg was working in the fruit business out in California. Buck Weaver was still in Chicago, tinkering with softball, I think. Gandil is down in Louisiana and Fred McMullin is out on the West Coast. I don't know what they're doing.
     I'm 61 years old now, living quietly and happily out on my little street close to Brandon Mill. I weighed 186 and stood six feet, one inch tall in my playing days. I'm still about the same size.
     There never were any other ballplayers in my family that went to the big leagues. I had five brothers, but only one, Jerry, played pro ball long. He was a pretty good minor-league pitcher, they tell me. Jerry's 48 years old now and he's one of my umpires in the Western Carolina League.
     Well, that's my story. I repeat what I said when I started out -- that I have no axe to grind, that I'm not asking anybody for anything. It's all water over the dam as far as I am concerned. I can say that my conscience is clear and that I'll stand on my record in that World Series. I'm not what you call a good Christian, but I believe in the Good Book, particularly where it says "what you sow, so shall you reap." I have asked the Lord for guidance before, and I am sure He gave it to me. I'm willing to let the Lord be my judge.


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