On the spectrum of rare baseballs, the signature by Shoeless Joe Jackson – the star of the century who never learned to read or write – is high on the list.
Jackson never spent a day at school, unlike his father, doing odd jobs at Millon Mill in his hometown of Greenville, SK, as a kid and taking baseball in style since he was just a teenager. .
Jackson, who hit .408 for Cleveland in 1911 and was banned from baseball for his role – an extremely controversial role – in the 1919 Black Sox scandal, noted some important documents along the way. One of those rare signatures is coming up for auction right now, with Leland’s bid ending on Friday. It is a signed mortgage bond since 1916. At the time of this story’s publication, the high bid was $ 20,886.
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Here is a part of the official description of the item.
“This rarity is a signed by Joe Jackson mortgage payment voucher from the White Sox. It is dated February 28, 1916 in Savannah, Ga. It was paid at the behest of Savannah Realty Investment Corporation and its value was received and charged to Harry’s account. Grabiner, Secy. Chicago White Sox. This is a rare piece of baseball history. It is in very good to excellent condition with two small vertical folds and a tiny chip on the right end. It has been validated and trapped by PSA / DNA. “
I visited Greenville a few months ago to see how Shoeless Joe’s hometown is his most famous son – Spoiler: The town still loves Joe! – and while I was there, I spoke with Michael Wallach, the managing director of the Shoeless Joe Museum, about Jackson’s signatures, among many, many other subjects. The museum holds Jackson’s will and has an image projected out of the covenant (the original is certainly placed in a different position).
“We only know of six legally proven signatures. Personally I think there is a lot more,” Wallach told me. “The reason I think there’s so much more is because I can imagine moments when someone might have said, ‘Joe, give me the best you can.’ “
But mostly, he took a different approach.
“Because he couldn’t sign his name, he would sign his name like many people who couldn’t write back then, with an X,” Wallach said. “And then the person next to them would say, ‘I’m witnessing X as Joe’s legal signature. “”
I arrived at Wallach to ask about Leland’s subject.
The document, he said, is believed to be the real thing. The challenge with validating Jackson’s signatures, Wallach explained to me during my visit, is that because Jackson was unable to write, he was essentially trying to derive his name without writing muscle memory, meaning every time he wrote his name. different variant.
Jackson signed his will in 1950 and died the following year.
“For the sake of will, he wanted to sign his real name,” Wallach said. “He trained with his wife, Katie. They went to the lawyer’s office 20 minutes before their scheduled time and their lawyer gave them a large file, an 8 1/2 by 11 large file, to sign his name and for They played his name for 20 minutes. And they threw the envelope out. Can you imagine what the envelope is worth? I don’t think there is anything in the sport that comes close to the value of this dock. “
You won’t find the “Shoeless” section in any of his signatures, though. Jackson hated this nickname, which came from a game in Anderson, S.C., in 1908, when Jackson dropped a new pair of shoes that hurt his legs.
The auction document, however, is probably not the only time Jackson has signed a mortgage. Joe and Katie Jackson were actively involved in the Greenville real estate market.
“Katie, I think, was the original flip-this house person,” Wallach said. “They probably bought 20 different homes in the Greenville area that lived through the years. Sometimes they lived there for less than a year. I don’t know if they were really flipping or because they were on the street all the time, or whatever. But they would buy homes for his parents, for her families, and will sell them. I think she’s the original flip-it person. “