Local Legend is Still a Hit

Baseball legend Joseph Jefferson Jackson (1887-1951) got his start in the textile league with the Greenville Spinners. It was here he got his nickname “Shoeless Joe,” for running the bases in his stocking feet after a new pair of spikes rubbed blisters on his feet.

Jackson went on to become an outfielder for the Chicago White Sox, where he solidified his reputation as the greatest natural hitter to ever play the game. In 1911, he set the all-time record for highest batting average ever by a rookie — .408 — a record that still stands today. In 1919, he set a World Series record with 12 base hits.

Jackson was banned from the MLB, however, as a result of the Black Sox scandal, in which members of the Chicago White Sox allegedly participated in a conspiracy to fix the 1919 World Series. Jackson’s role in the plot was never proven and, indeed, most people believe he was innocent.

Today, a statue of Shoeless Joe and his bat, Black Betsy, marks the entrance to Fluor Field in the West End, and his former home — now the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum & Baseball Library — sits across from the baseball stadium. The original street number on the house was changed to 356 to reflect Jackson’s career batting average, the third-highest in baseball history.

For more information, visit ShoelessJoeJackson.org.