Many baseball fans consider the Legendary outfielder “Shoeless” Joe Jackson to be one of the greatest players ever. He had a very good career but unfortunately is most remembered as a member of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. One of the most impressive parts of his career is one that is often overlooked, the beginning.
The Legendary “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. (Getty Images)
Joe Jackson began his major league career in 1908 with the Philadelphia Athletics. He would end his time with the Athletics after the 1909 season. During his two seasons with the club he only played in ten games. With 40 total at bats he only reach base 7 times. He would start the 1910 season with the minor league New Orleans Pelicans but signed on to the Major League Cleveland Naps at the end of the season. He finished playing 20 games and had 75 at bats, 29 hits and a batting average of .387. It was clear following the 1910 season that Jackson had great potential.
Joe Jackson returned to the Naps in 1911 for his first full season in the Major Leagues. Jackson played a total of 147 games and led the Naps to 80-73 record (3rd best in the American League). Jackson had one of the greatest rookie seasons baseball has ever seen with a rookie batting average record of .408. His batting average in 1911 stands as the second best single season batting record to this day. Jackson notched 233 hits, 7 home runs and batted in 83 runs. “Shoeless” Joe showed everyone a preview of how great his career would become. He was traded from the Naps to the Chicago White Sox during the 1915 season.
Joe Jackson was banned from baseball following the 1919 Black Sox scandal that tarnished the name of baseball. When his career was finished he had a career bating average of .356, 1,772 hits, 54 home runs and 785 RBI’s. He would be in the Hall Of Fame today if not for the controversy he found himself in following the 1919 World Series. Over one hundred years after “Shoeless” Joe amazed the baseball world he legend still lives on and will be remembered forever.
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On October 1, 1919 the World Series began at Redland Field in Cincinnati, OH in front of a crowd of 30,511 fans. The teams on the field were the Chicago White Sox and the Cincinnati Reds. No one knew that day that what they were witnessing would later beconsidered the most controversial World Series ever. When the Series was finished on October 9, 1919 the Reds were crowned Champions by winning five games in the best of nine Series. Baseball fans all over the country were shocked ass the White Sox were considered the best team in baseball by many. What unfolded in the next 2 years following the 1919 World Series has been chronicled very heavily in the last ninety years.
In 1920 it became public the that eight players on the 1919 Chicago White Sox team might have intentionally thrown the World Series. The allegation was that these players had conspired with gamblers to throw the Series in exchange for a payoff of $5,000 each. The case was later investigated by a Grand Jury to determine what exactly happened and if any criminal acts had been committed.
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson. (Getty Images)
The most prominent of those eight players was “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Jackson’s involvement made the story even more interesting. Jackson is considered one of the greatest baseball players to ever play the game. In his 23 season career he batted .375, collected 1,772 hits, 54 home runs and 785 RBI’s.
In 1921 the Grand Jury convinced in Chicago and eventually acquitted all eight players of committing any crime. Shortly thereafter The Commissioner Of Baseball Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned all eight players from the game of baseball for life. Landis logic was even though the players had been acquitted, they left a black eye of the game of baseball and must be thrown out in order to clean up baseball’s image. Because of this action one of the greatest baseball players ever is not allowed in The National Baseball Hall of Fame, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson.
His performance during the 1919 World Series was very impressive. During the eight games Jackson had 12 hits, batted .375 and committed no errors. He had the most hits and highest batting average of any player on either team. To think he was involved in the throwing of the world series is unfathomable. His play told a completely different story, one of a man playing his heart out and trying to help his team win.
The fact that a Grand Jury acquitted the eight players is also a strong statement. Landis felt like he had to make a statement about the supposed infraction that had occurred. Landis went too far by banning the players for life and ruining any possibility that these players could be immortalized in the Hall of Fame. Many baseball fans hold out hope that one day the ban will be lifted by a future Commissioner of Baseball and “Shoeless” Joe will be able to take his place where he deserves to be, the Hall Of Fame.
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Everyone who is a sports fan wants to appear smarter and more knowledgeable than anyone else. Sports provide so many historical moments and stats. I will bring you closer to the high level of sports learning you seek. I will do all of the hard research so you can become the ultimate sports fan. Each edition will be on one particular sport. You may know some of the events but I will open your eyes to something about them you may not yet know. I bring to you the 1st edition of “Get Smart” So let’s get started.
Joe Dimaggio’s 56 Game Hit Streak
In 1941 Joe Dimaggio had 56 straight games with a hit. This record still stands in 2012 and is widely considered the most elusive of all sports records. The final and 56th game of the streak occurred on July 16th against the Indians at Cleveland’s famed Municipal Stadium. The pitchers in that game were Al Milnar and Joe Krakauskas, Dimaggio went 2 for 4 and scored 3 runs. The great streak came to an end one day later July 17 in a game also against the Indians.
Joe Jackson And The Throwing Of The 1919 World Series
In 1919 one of the worst happenings in the history of Baseball occurred. The heavily favored Chicago White Sox threw the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. The truth came out two years later that some of the White Sox players were involved with gamblers and payed off to lose. In 1921 eight players from the White Sox were found guilty of intentionally losing the series and banned from baseball for life. The most notable of those player was the sure Hall Of Fame candidate “Shoeless” Joe Jackson. Jackson is considered one of the best short stops to ever have played the game. The puzzling fact of Joe Jackson’s involvement in the throwing of the Series are his stats. The stats Jackson had in that series do not look like that of a man that was intending to lose. Jackson batted .375, had 5 runs scored, hit a home run and batted in 6 runs. Jackson played no different than he usually did at the plate and made no critical fielding errors. It has been said that he was aware that the games where fixed but did not actively participate in the plan. We will truly never know if he was involved but if you judge it by the numbers the answer looks like he was not.
The Beginning Of The MLB Draft
The amateur draft has a history of good picks by teams but it has a even greater history of players not panning out. It is the least popular of the drafts amongst casual sports fans. The die hard baseball fans look forward to it every June. The first ever MLB amateur draft took place in 1965. The first team to pick was the Kansas City Royals, who selected outfielder Rick Monday from Arizona State University. Monday went on to play 19 seasons and retired in 1984 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Monday had a career batting average of .264, 271 Home Runs and 775 RBI’s. He was also a World Series Champion with the Dodgers in 1981. After his playing career ended he moved on to Broadcasting.
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