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Shoeless Joe

2 min read

In Field of Dreams, Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) tells his wife, Annie (Amy Madigan), about Shoeless Joe Jackson:

My father said he saw him years later, playing under a made-up name in some tenth-rate league in Carolina. He'd put on fifty pounds, and the spring was gone from his step, but he could still hit. Dad used to say no one could hit like Shoeless Joe.

Of course, he's really talking about his father. The whole movie—spoiler alert—is about his father.

Most of what I know about Shoeless Joe Jackson came from the movies—Field of Dreams, Eight Men Out. Which is to say I don't know anything about Shoeless Joe Jackson. Or didn't, until I happened upon this 1949 magazine article where Jackson tells his own story about his career, and everything that followed it.

If I had been the kind of fellow who brooded when things went wrong, I probably would have gone out of my mind when Judge Landis ruled me out of baseball. I would have lived in regret. I would have been bitter and resentful because I felt I had been wronged. But I haven’t been resentful at all.

About the other White Sox who were banned from baseball after throwing the World Series:

None of the other banned White Sox have had it quite as good as I have, I understand, unless it is Williams. He is a big Christian Science Church worker out on the West Coast. Last I heard Cicotte was working in the automobile industry in Detroit. Felsch was a bartender in Milwaukee. Risberg was working in the fruit business out in California. Buck Weaver was still in Chicago, tinkering with softball, I think. Gandil is down in Louisiana and Fred McMullin is out on the West Coast. I don’t know what they’re doing.

He sounds like a man comfortable with his role in history, regardless of how history has treated him:

I have no axe to grind, that I’m not asking anybody for anything. It’s all water over the dam as far as I am concerned. I can say that my conscience is clear and that I’ll stand on my record in that World Series. I’m not what you call a good Christian, but I believe in the Good Book, particularly where it says “what you sow, so shall you reap.”

It's a fascinating read for any baseball fan, or anyone who loved Field of Dreams.



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