Shoeless Joe Essay

1285 words - 5 pages

Imagine your fate and future resting in the hands of one man's judgment. This was actually reality for Shoeless Joe Jackson. Many argue that he was one of the best ever to play the game of baseball and was the greatest natural hitter of all-time. Yet, surprisingly, you will not find him among the familiar faces at the Hall of Fame. He was permanently banned from baseball, as well as seven others, for allegedly helping to throw the 1919 World Series. Joe Jackson was born on July 16, 1888 in Pickins County, South Carolina. He was the oldest of eight children and grew up the son of a cotton mill worker. He began working in the mill at age thirteen and never learned how to read or write. He played baseball in his spare time, and his exceptional skills landed him in the minor leagues by the age of eighteen. He first entered professional baseball in 1908 with Greenville in the Carolina Association. It was during this same year that he received the nickname "Shoeless" Joe after he had just bought a new pair of spikes. They wore blisters on his feet and they hurt so badly that he just played in his stocking feet. Although he played only one game without the spikes, he was known as "Shoeless Joe" from then on (McGee 1). Shoeless Joe made his major league debut later that year, in 1908, with the Philadelphia Athletics. He only played there a short time before being transferred to the Cleveland Indians. Finally, in 1915 he was sold to Charles Comiskey and the Chicago White Sox. It was here that he played his last few years of professional baseball and his life would be forever changed. From the years 1917 to 1919 the Chicago White Sox were by far the dominant team in baseball. It is speculated that they could have "gone on to become one of the greatest teams in history" (Schwalbe 2). However, despite having the most talented team around, Charles Comiskey paid his players considerably less than any other winning team (Durst 2). Due to the oppression they were under, the player's morale began to decrease as their need for money increased. They considered going on strike, but were talked out of it by their manager, "Kid" Gleason. They remained desperate until first baseman Chick Gandil met with a notorious gambler named "Sport" Sullivan.The White Sox were far ahead in the standings and were headed to the World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Gandil told Sullivan that he knew the Series could be fixed, especially due to the present conditions. He wanted $80,000, which Sullivan agreed to. Gandil had difficulties at first, but he ostensibly persuaded teammates Eddie Cicotte, Claude "Lefty" Williams, Buck Weaver, Fred McMullen, "Happy" Felsch, Swede Risberg, and Joe Jackson into joining him in the fix (Schwalbe 4). The scandal began to rise to great proportions as the rumors began to spread. One of the biggest professional gamblers became involved, Arnold Rothstein, as well as gamblers "Sleepy Bill" Burns and Billy Maharg. Other...

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