About my interview with Shoeless Joe Jackson, not many realize that it took place in 1949!! That’s right, in the first-half of last century. I was still with the Charlotte News at the time and drove to Greenville, SC, to sit with Joe. Which we did, in metal yard chairs at his home in front of the modest bungalow in which he lived, near the mill village where he had grown up.
It was not a piercing interview, but a quite casual one in which he told his story and I recorded it, to be published in Sport Magazine, the pioneer of sports magazines. (It is no more, ceased publication about five years ago. I marketed the story to Sport, and each of us was paid $250, and glad to get it in 1949.)
After writing it, I returned to Greenville for his approval and signature—though the public personna of Joe is that he was illiterate, something I seriously doubt. Somewhere in the musty files of Sport Magazine, wherever they may be, there must be a copy of the original, bearing his signature, which would be worth a fortune today. I returned it to the editor—I think it was Ed Fitzgerald then—because I had to.
That’s about it. Strangely, it has gotten more attention in recent years than it did then, having a lot to do with electronic communication. That was not my first view of Shoeless Joe, but that’s another story, dating back to 1934—and that ‘s enough for now.