The author, Tim Hornbaker, is quite good about giving tidbits into the life of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Baseball fans know all about his scandal at the end of his career. What we didn’t know is the upbringing in the South for Jackson and his effort to stay out of the mills that have had a lock on the family for generations. He does that through baseball.
Joe Jackson played baseball as a youngster among older kids and adults his entire life in the southern region of the United States. He felt at home doing that. Then a problem exists as baseball exec Connie Mack learns of his skills and gets him to come to Philadelphia to play major league baseball for good money. The unforeseen problem is Jackson is not in the south anymore and he is away from his girlfriend and family. He doesn’t last long and leaves the team. This gives Mack a sour taste on Jackson which will cause issues later on.
Eventually, Shoeless Joe will grow up a bit and can play baseball outside of his comfort zone. He sees it as a ticket to make money that has never been seen in his family. Jackson is, and always has been, a hitter. In the major leagues, he makes friends and one of those is his bitter batting rival, Ty Cobb.
It is through his relationship with Cobb that keeps him going. The two friends are always fighting for the batting average title and Cobb almost always comes out on top. Other baseball players are testing Jackson’s fortitude by heckling about his earlier days of running away from the game and going home.
The book goes into depth about the Black Sox Scandal and how it could or maybe didn’t really happen. Jackson’s has his detractors and his endorsers on this topic. Hornbaker gives us a lesson on the details that really come close to letting Shoeless Joe Jackson off the hook in a major scandal to baseball and his place in Cooperstown.
This book has details you can’t find in most. It is a good and easy read with a timeline and understanding into Jackson’s life. Baseball fans need to read this important book to the history of the game. – Highly recommended