Almost one hundred years after he played his final major league game clouded in suspicion, Joe Jackson remains one of the most controversial athletes to ever grace the stage of American sport. In 1920 he was banned from baseball†by a stern commissioner who was hired primarily to address the scandal that Jackson was at the center of. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis vowed to “clean up the game” and his banishment of the eight Chicago players who came to be known as “The Black Sox” was his first step.
A book and a popular movie have blurred†the facts of what really happened with Shoeless Joe and the 1919 White Sox, which has led to myths that have overshadowed the ugly truth. Jackson and at least six of his teammates threw the World Series in 1919. Shoeless Joe, a popular figure on the streets of the Windy City and one of baseball’s most natural talents, tossed away his career and his reputation for the sum of ,000. Though a starstruck grand jury acquitted the Black Sox Eight, baseball’s new czar was not fooled. He sent a strong message that gambling would no longer be allowed to lurk in the shadows of the national pastime and permanently banished the players from organized professional baseball. No appeal was ever heard.
Jackson and his teammates were not the only players to have ever†thrown games for a few dollars, they were just the first ones to get caught on such a grand stage. The scandal enveloped the city of Chicago for months and hung like a string of anchovies around the neck of the franchise for years. After the Black Sox scandal, the ChiSox didn’t win a World Series until 2005, three decades after the last of the eight players had died.
Learn more about Shoeless Joe Jackson and the 1919 Black Sox Scandal
—†How Joe Jackson Threw the 1919 World Series >
—†Shoeless Joe Jackson was not a sympathetic character, he was guilty >