"Shoeless" Joe Jackson was possibly the best hitter baseball has ever seen. His famous blue darter was the craze of all his fans. Fans loved him, pitchers feared him, and Babe Ruth copied his batting stance. Yet, poor Joe is infamously known for Chicago White Sox 1919 World Series scandal.
Joe Jackson joined his first major-league team, the Philadelphia Athletics, in 1908. Before then, he had played for old amateur mill teams in South Carolina. While there, he caught the eye of Connie Mack, manager of the Philadelphia Athletics.
In 1908, "Shoeless" Joe joined the team and began his major-league career. His two years with the Athletics, however, were troubled times for Joe. Because of his troubles, he played in the minor leagues for most of the time between 1908-1909. While in the minor leagues, Joe continued to wow crowds, hit balls, and set records
The Athletics eventually traded Jackson to the Cleveland Naps. Times got better for Joe after that. In his first full year with the Naps, he batted a .408 and set rookie records for the team. The next year, he had a .395 batting average, and the year after that he held the record for most triples and had a .551 batting average.
In 1915, Joe Jackson was traded again, this time to the Chicago White Sox. It was here where Joe fell on hard times once again. Almost none of the players ever got along with each other, and everyone was especially hard on Joe.
The White Sox made it to the playoffs in 1917 and managed to beat the New York Giants. In that series, Joe batted .385.
Another two years later, in 1919, the White Sox made it to the World Series once again. It was here where the White Sox scandal broke out. The White Sox lost to the Cincinnati Reds and there's proof that some of the players threw the series to the Reds.
According to Donald Gropman, author of Say It Ain't So, Joe, Joe initially refused to take part in the fix. During the series, Joe hit .375 and had 12 hits, leading both teams in hits and batting average. Many say that this proves that he had no part in the fix.
After the series, Joe was unwittingly tricked into admitting that he had taking part in the fix. Joe was banned for life from pro baseball after the series by commissioner Kenesaw Landis, despite the fact that a hearing had cleared Joe of all charges involving the fix.
After being banned, Joe went back to the minor leagues where he continued to wow crowds and hit his famous blue darters. He died in 1951 as possibly the best ball player not in the Hall of Fame.
Many attempts have been made to reinstate "Shoeless" Joe Jackson into the MLB so that he could get into the Hall of Fame. But every attempt has failed. Jackson still has the White Sox record for the most triples and highest career batting average.
He was listed as No. 35 on The Sporting News' list of the top-100 greatest baseball players ever. He was even a finalist for Major League Baseball's All-Century Team.
Despite all these honors though, Joe Jackson has yet to make it into the Hall of Fame. It's time for him to get the honor he deserves: induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.