To date, just a handful of native South Carolinians have been deemed worthy of the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame: Larry Doby, Jim Rice and Ben Taylor. But the Palmetto State’s greatest baseball prodigy remains Shoeless Joe Jackson, the Pickens County, SC, native whose involvement in the Black Sox Scandal earned him a lifetime ban.
Jackson remains an enigma, nearly 90 years after he was kicked out of the majors and nearly 60 years after his death. During his brilliant 12-year career, he posted a career batting average of .358, still the third-highest in the history of the game, and is commonly included among the top 100 players in major league history.
Yet because of his purported role in throwing the 1919 World Series, Jackson’s name remains on the Major League Baseball Ineligible List and he cannot be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame until he is removed.
Even though significant evidence has come to light in recent years that casts doubt on Jackson’s role in fixing the series and Major League Baseball has confirmed that the case has been reviewed, no action has been taken to allow Jackson’s reinstatement.
As one of baseball’s tragic figures, Shoeless Joe Jackson’s memorabilia is much sought after by collectors. This month, Heritage Auction Galleries is selling off some rare items associated with Jackson.
Among the pieces: A 1908 team photo of the Greenville Spinners, which included 19-year-old Jackson.
According to Heritage, “The piece derives from the family of one of Jackson’s teammates, who were likely the only recipients of the photo when it was created just over a century ago. This is the first ever to reach the hobby’s auction block, and the first we’ve ever encountered, period.”
Heritage notes that it was during a doubleheader in Jackson’s 1908 season with Greenville that he earned his nickname.
“After suffering through the first game in a pair of new spikes that raised blisters on his skin, Jackson removed them for the second. In the seventh inning, he laced a long line drive, sliding into third with a triple. As the dust cloud settled, an opposing fan shouted to him, ‘You shoeless son-of-a-gun!’”
Jackson was called up to the majors later in 1908, by Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics.
Bidding for the photo ends April 24. As of April 12, the price stood at $12,000.
Also up for auction is a baseball autographed by Jackson and fellow 1919 Chicago White Sox teammate Buck Weaver.
Weaver played third base for the White Sox and, like Jackson, was implicated in the Black Sox Scandal. He too was banned by Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis.
Heritage estimates the ball’s value at $75,000.
A third item up for auction is a 1915 Cracker Jack baseball card of Jackson, which Heritage estimates is worth $45,000-$60,000.
While many numismatists and Civil War buffs have long been interested in War Between the States currency, it’s Confederate paper money that’s far better known than the federal Greenbacks of the era, both because the former represents a curious product of a lost cause and also demonstrates the rampant inflation that results when a nation churns out fiat money.
But unlike the Confederacy, the US had better luck with what was the country’s first formal foray into paper currency.
Beginning in 1862, the US Treasury was having trouble selling government securities to meet the rising costs of the war, so it passed the Legal Tender Act, which authorized the issue of $150 million in US Notes, which were also called Greenbacks. By 1864, $450 million in Greenbacks had been issued.
The Union issued $1 and $2 currency notes beginning in 1862, and added a second issue in 1862-63, with $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 notes.
The Greenbacks had an engraved Treasury seal and red and blue fibers in the paper, which made them difficult to counterfeit, according to the blog trackdollarbills.
Unlike the contemporary Confederate issues, the Union notes were printed in smaller numbers with better specie backing. As the war progressed the notes traded at only a percentage of their stated values; but they also traded at a major premium to Confederate notes, according to Heritage Auction Galleries.
Pressure from business interests and creditors in the postwar period led to an effort to retire the greenbacks. These forces did not want to receive payments in cheap money and opposed any government policy that would lead to inflation. By the 1870s, confidence in the government was such that when the Treasury Department redeemed the Greenbacks for specie, few were actually presented were surrender.
US Notes were not immediately redeemable in gold. However, while the United States was on the gold standard, it was possible to redeem them for gold indirectly by exchanging them for a currency of a different obligation, for example a Gold Certificate.
After the end of the gold standard in 1933, all types of issued currency (silver certificates, Federal Reserve Notes, and US Notes) were redeemable only for silver. This ceased to be the case in 1963-4, during a time in which all U.S. currency (both coins and paper currency) was changed to fiat currency.
At this point, the US Note became obsolete and began to be removed from circulation, according to Wikipedia.
Today, the orginal Union Greenbacks are much rarer than most Confederate issues. The $1 note is the most common. Depending on condition these notes usually sell for between $100 and $1,000.
“Buying local” sounds great until one examines what the concept actually entails.
George Mason University economics professor Don Boudreaux explains the downside of the “Buy Local” propaganda here, in a letter to The Florida Times-Union:
In “Florida’s economy: Support local business” (April 9) you report that some Floridians are trying to boost Florida’s economy by “buying local.” The idea, of course, is that if Floridians buy as much as possible from other Floridians, rather than non-Floridians, then economic activity in Florida will be stronger.
Suppose that to promote, say, Florida peach growers, consumers in Florida reject good deals on peaches from South Carolina. Florida peach growers benefit, but other Floridians suffer. Florida consumers not only directly make themselves poorer, but they also have less money to spend elsewhere, such as at the local car-repair shop and at local restaurants. In addition, to the extent that the misguided ethic of “buying local” takes hold, local firms have weaker incentives to improve efficiencies and product offerings. The state’s economy suffers, both today and especially tomorrow.
Florida’s buy-local effort boasts the charming name “Backyard Economics.” A more appropriate name would be “Backward Economics.”
Donald J. Boudreaux
There are benefits to buying locally produced food, including that it may be fresher and easier on the environment, and doing so may give one a sense of loyalty at the idea of supporting home-grown goods.
But it’s foolish to let a poor grasp of economics delude oneself into thinking that buying local represents the key to prosperity for regional economies.