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Shoeless Joe Jackson is on Twitter. Kinda.

May 8, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT

Joe Jackson

This isn’t like our friend OldHossRadbourn, tweeting from beyond the grave in an over-the-top manner parodying 19th century attitudes. Shoeless Joe Jackson’s Twitter account is a straight-up exercise by the Chicago History Museum and its archivist, Peter Alter, who is seeking to put some historically accurate words in the mouth of a figure most know only in caricature. Chuck Garfien of CSNChicago.com has the story:

Since Opening Day, the museum’s account has been tweeting for Jackson using the Twitter handle@TheShoelessJoe. There’s also a Tumblr account chronicling his life. Jackson’s first tweet on April 1 reads, “I know what everyone has said about me for years. This is the chance to tell my story.”

They’re doing it as if it were actually Joe Jackson tweeting, commenting on things in the way he might if he were still alive. At the moment there are only 150 followers or so. They’re trying to get more and keep the very interesting project going.

So if you’re Twitter-inclined, go check it out.

  1. kcroyal - May 8, 2013 at 12:53 PM

    Let the man in the HOF.

    • carbydrash - May 8, 2013 at 1:07 PM

      Right on! What did he ever do?

      Wait! He did what?!?!

      Wow…that’s really bad. Like, amazingly bad. Actually, that’s basically about as bad as a thing you can do in baseball.

      Nevermind.

      • stlouis1baseball - May 8, 2013 at 4:22 PM

        This is what he did in the 1919 World Series…

        12 hits in 32 at bats (.375 batting average)…5 runs…3 doubles…1 home run, and 6 RBIs.

      • raysfan1 - May 8, 2013 at 10:13 PM

        …zero errors, and accounted for 11 of his team’s 20 runs in the series. His .375 batting average was the highest on either team. His one home run was the only one on either team.

        Joe told The Sporting News in 1942:

        “Regardless of what anybody says, I was innocent of any wrong-doing. I gave baseball all I had. The Supreme Being is the only one to whom I’ve got to answer. If I had been out there booting balls and looking foolish at bat against the Reds, there might have been some grounds for suspicion. I think my record in the 1919 World Series will stand up against that of any other man in that Series or any other World Series in all history.”

      • tuberippin - May 9, 2013 at 1:26 AM

        carbydrash clearly needs to do some research into Joe Jackson’s career and the 1919 World Series.

      • carbydrash - May 11, 2013 at 11:24 PM

        Oh sorry, I guess he didn’t take the gamblers money. Me and Major League Baseball are wrong.

        Note, the sarcasm please.

  2. historiophiliac - May 8, 2013 at 1:18 PM

    Out of curiosity, if they are going chronologically, what happens when they get to the end? Does the account go dormant, or what?

  3. Darkoestrada - May 8, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Carbydrash’s comment shows the very reason for this twitter account. Jackson had next to nothing to do with the black sox scandal and didn’t even participate in throwing the games. He was mostly a victim of his own lack of education and understanding and him being banned from baseball was a travesty

    • Craig Calcaterra - May 8, 2013 at 1:48 PM

      Actually, the Shoeless Joe Twitter account links to his own grand jury testimony in which he did, in fact, admit to participating in throwing the games. And that he knew exactly what he was doing.

      • historiophiliac - May 8, 2013 at 1:54 PM

        Dangit! I typed too much so you beat me to it! Grrrrr.

      • raysfan1 - May 8, 2013 at 11:02 PM

        …and he was very consistent for the remaining decades of his life that he was not guilty.

        There are conflicting reports as to whether he took the $5K he was offered. There are reports that Alfred Austrian plied him with alcohol prior to his admission. There are even statements from his teammates that he did not attend the meetings.

        Ultimately I think it comes down to what one chooses to believe. I think his play speaks louder than his at times contradictory testimony.

        Even so, I don’t actually blame any of the involved players nearly as much as the reserve system and the owners of the day. Jackson’s annual pay 1914-1919 was $6K, about the same as $83K in today’s money. He made Comiskey far more than that. It should be no surprise to anyone that players could be tempted by gambling interests when said interests could nearly double a star’s income just to throw one series.

    • historiophiliac - May 8, 2013 at 1:52 PM

      If you had read the news story linked to — or read the grand jury testimony, which it actually quotes from — you would have learned that Jackson DID actually agree to help throw the games. The grand jury testimony is online. You can read it all for yourself if you want. They won’t be tweeting a denial on Jackson’s part — in fact, they already hinted that they will try to “explain” instead.

      This is one of those fucking Betsy Ross things that makes me (and historians) crazy. People who do not actually read the evidence think they know the truth and perpetuate misinformation.

      BTW, here’s the link to the testimony:

      http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/blacksox/shoelessjoe.pdf

      On page 10, specifically, he admits that they threw game 2. You can read on from there. This was the basis of his ban. I know there’s more to it, but don’t ignore the evidence.

      • dadawg77 - May 8, 2013 at 6:31 PM

        He does deny playing bad to throw games on page 14.
        Q: (Did you throw ) Any game in the series?
        A: Not a one. I didn’t have an error or make no misplay.

        I think the best defense of Jackson is he was a country rube, who took the money but didn’t actually think any thing of screwing over the gamblers.

      • historiophiliac - May 8, 2013 at 9:41 PM

        He contradicts himself in several places — denies something but then admits it in follow up questions. But, he never denies agreeing to be in on the fix, admits that he knew about it and that some of the play in games was bad enough he knew it was intentional (wild pitches & not going for a dp), acknowledges taking money to fix the games (and feels ashamed afterwards) and failing to report any of this to management.

        BTW, if you’re right & he screwed the gamblers, he couldn’t have been much of a rube and he obviously wasn’t intimidated into going along with it.

  4. wallio - May 8, 2013 at 1:53 PM

    Mega props Craig. No baseball writers anywhere will admit that old Shoeless was just as guilty as all the rest. As a historian by trade, I thank you for spreading the truth. Maybe after nearly 100 years, it will finally come out.

    • tuberippin - May 9, 2013 at 1:33 AM

      1) Where does Craig make any statement such as what you’re alleging (“admit that old Shoeless was just as guilty as all the rest”) in the post? Maybe I missed it and he edited it out?

      2) As a fellow historian, you have piqued my interest. I’d love to see some primary sources showing “the truth” as to the extent of Shoeless Joe’s guilt or lack thereof.

      • tuberippin - May 9, 2013 at 1:34 AM

        Ah nevermind, I see it’s in the comments. My mistake. I will have to peruse this testimony, I’ve not seen it before.

  5. wlouden77 - May 8, 2013 at 2:46 PM

    despite what they are accused of or did, several of the 1919 Sox as well as Pete rose and steroid era guys belong in the hof. these guys were stars of their time and put butts in the seats. all of them helped shape baseballs history and should be included in the hall with notations of what they did in playing career as well as scandals

    • dadawg77 - May 8, 2013 at 6:16 PM

      There is a major difference between what PED users and the Black Sox/Rose did. The PED users were trying to play the baseball possible whereas the Sox and Rose weren’t. I am assuming when you bet against your team or agree to throw a game, you aren’t doing your best to win.

  6. turdfurgerson68 - May 8, 2013 at 3:20 PM

    ‘Shoeless’ Joe Jackson = Cheater

    His Hall of Fame chances = ZERO

    • tuberippin - May 9, 2013 at 1:29 AM

      Mickey Mantle’s in the Hall of Fame; he used a corked bat and also used an early combination of steroids and amphetamines.

      Gaylord Perry is in the Hall of Fame; he doctored the ball.

      John McGraw, though elected by the Vets Committee as a manager, was the most notorious cheater of his era when he played.

      I could go on, but I think you get the point. This whole “keep cheaters out of the Hall!!!1!!” shit is ridiculous and entirely arbitrary when there’s been cheaters in the Hall of Fame for decades.

      • turdfurgerson68 - May 9, 2013 at 4:42 PM

        His cheating is waaay beyond corked bats or scuffed baseballs. It threatens and corrupts the very sanctity of the game itself.

        Jackson, and the rest of the players who conspired to throw the 1919 series shoul NEVER be consided for induction to the HoF.

      • tuberippin - May 9, 2013 at 4:43 PM

        I never equated baseball with sanctity.

  7. rbj1 - May 8, 2013 at 3:52 PM

    Shoeless Joe actually had been eligible for the HoF. It was only after Pete Rose agreed to be put on the permanently ineligible list that the Hall added the rule that those on that list are barred from inclusion. You only get on that list after flunking a third PED test, so I’ve got no problem including Bonds and Clemens.

    As for the character rule for the Hall, Ty Cobb and Rogers Hornsby are in, so character is a low threshold.

  8. jdd428 - May 8, 2013 at 4:25 PM

    Jackson and his cohorts were most certainly not the only players who ever threw games for gamblers; just like Bonds and Clemens are certainly not the only PED users. People who think there aren’t already gamblers, game-fixers and PED users in the HOF are kidding themselves.

  9. yousuxxors - May 9, 2013 at 3:20 AM

    what the owners used to do to players, I don’t blame him.

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