Shoeless Joe Jackson items being auctioned
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.