Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shoeless Joe Jackson Part II

Jackson did, however, admit to receiving a cash payment of $5,000 ($83,099 in current dollar terms) and that he had been originally promised a $20,000 ($332,396 in current dollar terms) bribe.

Legend has it that as Jackson was leaving the courthouse during the trial, a young boy begged of him,

"Say it ain't so, Joe,"

and that Joe did not respond. In an interview in Sport Magazine nearly three decades later, Jackson contended that this story was a myth.
A contemporary press account does, however, refer to an exchange of Jackson with young fans outside of the Chicago grand jury hearing on September 28:

When Jackson left criminal court building in custody of a sheriff after telling his story to the grand jury, he found several hundred youngsters, aged from 6 to 16, awaiting for a glimpse of their idol.

One urchin stepped up to the outfielder, and, grabbing his coat sleeve, said:"It ain't true, is it, Joe?"

"Yes, kid, I'm afraid it is," Jackson replied.

The boys opened a path for the ball player and stood in silence until he passed out of sight."Well, I'd never have thought it," sighed the lad.

Regardless of whether Jackson's exchange with the shocked young fan was a true historical event or a fabrication by a journalist, the "Say It Ain't So" story remains an oft-repeated and well-known part of baseball lore.

He is, still to this day, considered one of the greatest players of all time. He was exonerated and inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Even Babe Ruth adapted his style after Shoeless Joe.


PS According to the information available, the reason the White Sox were called the Black Sox had nothing to do with the scandal. It had to do with wearing dirty uniforms, as they were charged .25 cents for each cleaning and did not want to pay for it.

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