Statue Dedication Speech By Mike Nola - July 13, 2002
Good Morning.....
(Include David's acceptance speech from Joe's 1969 induction into the SC Hall of Fame here)......."Thank you, I'm glad to be here....."

Mike Nola with the Shoeless Joe Jackson Virtual Hall of Fame (http://www.blackbetsy.com).

I was asked several months ago by Arlene to come here today to speak about some of the honors Joe Jackson received from the time he was playing ball until now. Understand this is not an all inclusive list, there are too many honors associated with Joe to name in this short of time.....so I will be hitting just the highlights.

One of Joe's first honors was that he was a member of the 1911 All Star team at the Addie Joss Benefit Game. (Joss was a member of the Cleveland Naps and had died from tubercular meningitis on April 14, 1911.). The game was held on July 24, 1911 to benefit the family of Addie Joss.

1911 Season - Joe bats .408 for the season.....highest batting average ever for a rookie and record he still holds today.

September 27, 1917 - Member of A.L. All Star team at Tim Murnane Day (Murnane was a player turned sportswriter in Boston who died suddenly in February 1917). Various competitions were held before the benefit game was played (longest throw, longest hit, fastest time around the bases and the like). Joe won the long throw competition with a throw of 396 feet, 8 inches, which beat the next longest throw by some 12 feet.

October 1917 -- Joe was a member of the Chicago White Sox team that played the New York Giants in the World Series. The Sox won the series 4 games to 2. Joe batted .304 with 7 hits, 2 RBI's and a stolen base.

October 1919 - Joe was a member of the Chicago White Sox team that played the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series. The Sox lost the series 5 games to 3. Some people may not see this as an honor since this is the series that was associated with the Black Sox Scandal, which cost Joe Jackson his career in Major League Baseball. He and seven of his teammates were implicated in the plot to throw the series to the Reds. Some people may not see this as an honor, but I do, for Joe could not have possibly participated in such a fix, as he batted .375, had 12 hits (A world series record at the time), accounted for 11 of the Sox 20 runs, hit the only homerun in the series, played errorless ball in the field, he also led the batting on both teams, not really statistics of a guy trying to lose ballgames. So in that light, it was an honor for him, to go out and single handedly try to win games when he knew 6 of his teammates were trying to lose them.

1940's - Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker name Joe Jackson to their all time team, both men say Joe was the greatest natural hitter to ever play the game.

September 2, 1951 -- Joe is elected to the Cleveland Hall of Fame along with ten other former Indian greats. The national attention landed Joe a spot on the December 16th, 1951 Ed Sullivan Toast of the Town show (later the Ed Sullivan Show). Sadly though, Joe died on December 5th before he could make his appearance on National TV.

April 1969 -- Joe is inducted in the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame along with Bobo Newsome, Marty Marion and Earl Wooten.

Move this to the introduction.............
( *** Talk about Joe's brother David, who was asked to make an acceptance speech, to which he got up and said; "Thank you, I'm glad to be here....." Then he sat down, Earl Wooten said it was the greatest speech he had ever heard. )

1980's -- Joe was inducted into the Ohio Sports Hall of Fame.
*** Apologize for not having the exact date.

Early 1980's -- Shoeless Joe Jackson Society founded in Greenville, SC by Jackson relative Lester Erwin and Jackson historian Ray Allen.
Talk about why it was formed.....
Membership.

January 1995 - Joe is honored by having an entire web site devoted to his memory. Shoeless Joe Jackson's Virtual Hall of Fame, again at www.blackbetsy.com.

September 1995 - Joe's life is honored with the play "Shoeless Joe" written by Tom Perry and starring Tom McDowell as Joe Jackson.

October 1995 -- Joe is inducted into the Pennsylvania Baseball Sports Hall of Fame.

March 1996 -- Joe is once again in the spotlight by having the ball field at Brandon Mill renamed in his honor Shoeless Joe Jackson Memorial Park. The South Carolina Legislature also passed legislation to change the name of a portion of highway that runs close to the field to Shoeless Joe Jackson Memorial Highway.

January 1998 -- Ted Williams takes up the fight to get Joe Jackson's name cleared from MLB's Ineligible List by filing a petition with the Commissioner of Baseball asking him to clear his name so that he may be considered for induction into the Hall of Fame.

February 1998 -- The South Carolina Legislature passed a resolution to ask the Commissioner of Baseball to reinstate Joe Jackson as a member in good standing in professional baseball. (Bill 993)

July 1998 - Greenville Mayor Knox White declares the month of July Shoeless Joe Jackson Month, which quite frankly (in my opinion) started the push to honor Greenville's native son and to have this statue placed here.

November 1998 - Shoeless Joe For the Hall of Fame Night held here in Greenville at the Pointsett Club. Ted Williams was given the first Shoeless Joe Jackson Society award for his contributions to the game, humanity and the American way of life.

Summer 1999 - Joe finishes 12th in the balloting for the All Century Team (Outfield), which is not bad considering that probably no one voting saw Jackson play. Joe is honor by having an National American Legion Baseball Tournament in Iowa named after him (The Shoeless Joe Jackson National Baseball Tournament). Held in Dyersville, IA, site of the Field of Dreams.

November 1999 - The U.S. Congress passes resolutions asking MLB to clear Joe Jackson's name from their Ineligible List. Resolution in the Senate was sponsored by Tom Harkin (D. Iowa), Fritz Hollings (D. SC) and Strom Thurmond (R. SC). The House version was sponsored by Rep. Jim DeMint.

August 2001 - Joe's famous bat "Black Betsy" sells at auction for over a half million dollars, the highest sum ever paid for a bat (and I believe for any sports memorabilia), which is an honor to what kind of player he was that someone would pay that kind of money for some old lumber that he used many years before they were born.

July 13, 2002 - Dedication of this fine statue in honor of Joe Jackson. Ole Joe would be quite embarrassed by all the hoopla and fuss being made over him. But deep down he would be swelling up with pride to know that each and every one of you still cared enough about him some 51 years after his death to honor his memory with this statue.

It doesn't stop there folks.....

July 28, 2002 -- Joe is being inducted into the Shrine of Eternals (what I like to call the West Coast Hall of Fame) in Los Angeles, CA along with Minnie Minosa and Mark "The Bird" Fyderich. I will be attending to make the acceptance speech on behalf of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Society and whatever they give for that, whether it be a certificate, plaque or whatever will wind up here in Greenville for display at some yet to be determined location.

And lastly, but not leastly, I cannot do a speech on Joe Jackson's honors without bringing to your attention the greatest honor Joe Jackson received in his life, and one the Greenville News said at the time, and I quote:

"Joe Jackson, The popular center fielder of the local team made the greatest home run of his career on Sunday. The home run was made on Cupid's diamond and the victory was a fair young lady. On Sunday afternoon at 4:30 o'clock Joe was married to Miss Kate Wynn" END QUOTE. July 19, 1908.

Katie was Joe's soul mate and he hers. You always hear behind every great man there is a great woman, well Katie didn't stand behind Joe, she stood beside him, his partner in life, his business manager, his escape when the world turned ugly. Katie was always there for Joe. If not for Katie, the world probably would not have known Joe Jackson, for Katie gave Joe the strength to venture into the big cities of the North to play Major League Baseball. She managed his businesses when he was playing ball in the summers, and she continued to do so until he left the ball diamond for good in 1937. She simply was there, during the good times, during the worst of times, and again in the good times, right there for her man until the Lord called him home in 1951.

So in conclusion..... I say to you that we cannot honor Joe with this statue without somehow honoring Katie too.....which I believe we just did, thank you Miss Katie.

(Introduction of song here????) Am I doing the introduction, if so, need title and who is performing???
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