Heritage Auctions News – `Jackson`s fall from grace was one of the real tragedies of baseball,` Connie Mack once claimed. `I always felt he was more sinned against than sinning.` Judge Landis` banishment of Shoeless Joe from Major League Baseball was a particularly sad occasion for Mack, who discovered the illiterate farmhand playing for the Greenville club of the Carolina Association and wisely secured the employment of Jackson, though his service to the Philadelphia Athletic would ultimately last for just ten games. Difficulty in adjusting to life with the A`s confined Jackson to a minor league farm club almost the entirety of his time on Mack`s payroll, and Jackson wouldn`t become a dominant figure in the big leagues until his trade to Cleveland in July of 1910.
Collectors are well aware of the rarity and desirability of any memorabilia relating to the tragic life of Shoeless Joe, and the rare surviving artifact draws tremendous attention when presented to the hobby. Most dates from Jackson’s post-Majors barnstorming career, though pre-banishment material does occasionally arise. We have never before, however, encountered anything predating Jackson’s signing with the Mack Men, until now.
Heritage is proud to present an astonishing rarity making its hobby debut in our April 2009 Signature Sports Auction, a phenomenal cabinet photograph picturing the nineteen-year old legend as a member of the Greenville Spinners. This is the club scouted by Mack that resulted in Jackson’s rise to fame, and the one with which Jackson acquired his famous “Shoeless” nickname. It derives from the family of one of Jackson’s teammates, and is the first such image we have ever encountered of the 1908 Greenville team. Clearly it is one of the most exciting photographic finds in the baseball collecting community in recent years.