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Joe Jackson was a top major league baseball player during the early 20th century who was ousted from the sport for his alleged role in game fixing.
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Joseph Jackson was born in Greensville, South Carolina, on July 16, 1887. He was a phenomenal natural hitter who went on to play for the Chicago White Sox. Jackson earned his nickname by once playing in stockings as his baseball shoes weren’t broken in. He had a career .356 batting average, one of the highest ever, and was banished from the sport for his involvement in fixing a World Series outcome. Jackson died on December 5, 1951, in South Carolina.
"I ain't afraid to tell the world that it don't take school stuff to help a fella play ball."
Professional baseball player Joseph Jefferson Jackson was born on July 16, 1888, in Brandon Mills, South Carolina. His family never had any money and at the age of 6, Jackson, who never went to school and was illiterate his entire life, worked at a cotton mill.
By his early teen years, however, the gangly Jackson was already a superb baseball player, dominating older players while playing for the mill team. It was during this time that Jackson earned the nickname that would stick for life: Shoeless, for hitting a base clearing triple after forgoing a pair of baseball spikes that had started to irritate his feet.
In 1908 the Philadelphia A's purchased Jackson's contract for $325 from the Greenville Spinners. While a country boy at heart, Jackson, who was traded to the Cleveland franchise prior to the 1910 season, quickly grew accustomed to his new city life and playing in the big leagues.
In 1911, his first season as a full-time player, Jackson, with his trusty bat, Black Betsy, slugged a .408 average, banging out 19 triples and 45 doubles. The next season it was much the same. Jackson's abilities were such that he drew praise from the mercurial Ty Cobb and even Babe Ruth, who gushed: "I copied (Shoeless Joe) Jackson's style because I thought he was the greatest hitter I had ever seen, the greatest natural hitter I ever saw. He's the guy who made me a hitter."
A little more than halfway through the 1915 season, Jackson was on the move again, this time courtesy of a trade from Cleveland to Chicago, where the outfielder suited up for the White Sox. In 1917, Jackson helped lead his new club to a World Series title.
During the 1919 season, it looked as though Jackson and the White Sox would again finish the season as champs. The club steamrolled through the competition, with Jackson hitting .351 and knocking in 96 runners.
But for all the team's success, the club's owner, Charles Comiskey, preferred to underpay his players and not pay out promised bonuses. Disgruntled and angry, eight members, including Jackson, decided to accept payment for throwing the 1919 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.
For Jackson's part, the hard-hitting ballplayer was promised $20,000, a significant bump in pay from his $6,000 salary. Still, Jackson didn't quite throw in the towel for every single game. Over the course of the eight-game series, which Cincinnati won, five games to three, Shoeless batted .375, including an impressive .545 in those contests the White Sox won.
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America’s favorite pastime has had quite a few heavy hitters and powerful pitchers throughout its history. With their impressive RBIs, game-winning strikeouts and larger-than-life personalities, these famous baseball players have become sports legends. From breaking barriers – Jackie Robinson, Hank Aaron and Toni Stone – to breaking records – Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Alex Rodriguez – here are the athletes that have made baseball a national treasure.
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