In a 1908 game in Anderson, S.C., a young Joe Jackson removed a new pair of cleats that were causing blisters on his feet and promptly tripled. A heckler shouted “You shoeless son of a gun, you,” and a legend was born.
More than a century later, another Joe Jackson is creating quite a story for himself.
Bulldog junior catcher Joe Jackson is turning in a season that recalls the greatness of his great-great-great uncle, helping to lead The Citadel to within two wins of a Southern Conference tournament championship at Fluor Field in Greenville.
Joe enters Saturday morning’s game against Appalachian State as the hottest hitter on a red-hot ballclub. He has reached base in all 10 of his plate appearances, including a walk-off home run in the opening round win over the Mountaineers that will echo in school history long after he plays his last game in a Bulldog uniform.
But it’s not what he’s doing rather than where it’s happening that makes this story worthy of a Hollywood script. You see, Joe is from nearby Mauldin and Fluor Field is located directly across the street from a museum that honors his famous relative.
But how much can the exploits of a baseball player from a long-past era influence the younger Jackson? More than you’d think.
“It was kinda cool as I was growing up to start learning about it and what it meant to be part of the family history,” said Joe. “It didn’t really start hitting me how important he was and how big a figure he was in the history of the game until I started playing. His 1917 World Series ring has been passed down within the family, and hopefully I will have it one day.”
And what about the postseason run taking place in Greenville and particularly at Fluor Field?
“I’m in my comfort zone here. It’s nice to be able to play in front of a lot of family and friends. I used to work at this field, and it’s like a second home to me.”
“Shoeless Joe” was the featured player in the classic movie Field of Dreams, and his name will live on as long as baseball is played. Hollywood may never put the story of our Joe Jackson on the big screen, but to Bulldog fans what he’s doing in 2013 is Oscar worthy.
Mike HoffmanSports Information Director