Editor’s note: re-publishing this from 2018 as the Field of Dreams game unveiled their special uniforms today.
Shoeless Joe Jackson is a whole lot more than the man with the 3rd highest career batting average in Major League Baseball history and still NOT in the Hall of Fame.
You’ve read about him in books and seen him portrayed in movies such as Eight Men Out (a thorough biography of the Black Sox scandal, written by Eliot Asinof and adapted for the screen by John Sayles, Jackson was played by D.B. Sweeney) and Field of Dreams (where he was played by Ray Liotta, a movie based on the novel Shoeless Joe by W.P. Kinsella).
However, the real life Shoeless Joe Jackson was plenty interesting enough and doesn’t actually need to be fictionalized.
We’ll (myself and Travis Miller) will tell you all about it for the Hammers and Rails podcast, on the SB Nation network. Click below, and enjoy this fast-paced, insightful, informative, concise and fun listen:
Also, pick up a copy of Fall from Grace, a Shoeless Joe Jackson biography by Tim Hornbaker, a must read Shoeless Joe Jackson biography that came out this spring.
Here are some of the Shoeless Joe Jackson fun facts and anecdotes that were covered in the podcast:
-Spent his whole life married to the same woman, and when they tied the not when she was just 15 years old. During the off-seasons he moonlighted as a vaudeville actor, and one spring training he held out of camp, and almost quite baseball in his prime, to focus on acting.
-She almost left him when he mysteriously went AWOL for awhile in Atlanta with a vaudeville actress. Very little is known about what actually happened when he disappeared, otherwise I would have loved to spend more time
-Avoided WWI draft by joining a warship painting company. then starred in a ship building league while still in the prime of his MLB career.
-He was ripped in the media, by leading MLB figures, and even his own club owner, Charles Comiskey, and branded a coward and unpatriotic for many years afterward due to this. Many believe this partially inspired him to throw the series.
-Stared at a candle with one eye covered, for the purpose of improving his batting eye and hand-to-eye-coordination.
-Charged with perjury and sentenced to jail time (but avoided time served) when he sued Comiskey for backpay.
-It was common for newspaper articles to consistently rip him for being dumb and/or illiterate, even in the midst of basic game coverage.
-Babe Ruth said on more than one occasion that he modeled his swing after him
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, is currently a regular contributor to SB Nation, WGN CLTV and Chicago Now.
Follow him on Twitter, Instagram, Sound Cloud and YouTube. The content of his cat’s Instagram account is unquestionably superior to any and all of his.
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