Whenever Joe Jackson joins a new team, he knows what’s coming.
Teammates hear his name and a light bulb goes on.
“Yeah, it’s kinda funny,” he says. “The first time I’m with a team, they’re like, ‘Oh, Shoeless,’ just joking around. Sometimes I let them go on with it and then tell them, ‘Hey, man, I really am related to him.’ Really, they can’t believe it.”
Joe Jackson is the great-great-great nephew of “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, and he’s not about to say it ain’t so.
Though Shoeless Joe was one of the best hitters baseball has ever known, he’s forever associated with the Black Sox scandal and his banishment from the game. Yet for 20-year-old Joe Jackson, a catcher at The Citadel who has been playing in the Cape Cod League this summer, being a relative of Shoeless Joe is a source of pride.
The younger Joe grew up in Greenville, S.C., where his famous relative lived most of his life and died in 1951. In Greenville there’s a statue of the lifetime .356 hitter, as well as the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and his well-visited gravesite.