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Joseph "Shoeless Joe" Jackson

Humble Beginnings

Jackson was born to a poor family, the eldest of eight children. He had no formal education and worked from a very young age, beginning with a job cleaning up in the textile mill where most of the members of his family were employed. He played for the mill's team, but when he broke the catcher's arm with his powerful throw he was reassigned to the outfield. He next played for a semipro Greenville team, then the professional Greenville Spinners. During a game, he removed the new cleats that were giving him blisters, and a fan of the opposing team yelled out an insult to the shoeless runner as he rounded third base. The intended insult—"Shoeless Joe"—stuck even though Jackson had played without his spikes only one time.

Sportswriter Joe Williams, who knew Jackson, called him "pure country, a wide-eyed, gullible yokel. It would not have surprised me in those days to learn he had made a down payment on the Brooklyn Bridge…. He was a drinker and a heavy one. He carried his own tonic: triple-distilled corn. And on occasions he carried a parrot, a multicolored pest whose vocabulary was limited to screeching, 'You're out!'"

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Famous Sports StarsBaseballJoseph "Shoeless Joe" Jackson Biography - Humble Beginnings, A Major League Player, Black Sox Scandal, Chronology, Awards And Accomplishments