"When I was up there at the plate, my purpose was to get on base anyway I could, whether by hitting or by getting hit." -- “Shoeless” Joe Jackson
The same goes for his great-great-great nephew, who carries the same name, Joe Jackson. Jackson, who will be a junior at The Citadel in the fall, is on the Cape for the first time this summer. The catcher for the Bourne Braves hit .279 with 26 RBIs and 22 walks at The Citadel this past spring season. Jackson was drafted out of high school by the Kansas City Royals, but didn’t really consider going. “It was a late round and I know way too many people who have gotten hurt and didn’t have an education to fall back on,” he said.
Being from Simpsonville, South Carolina, Joe was excited to come to Cape Cod. He said, “It’s nice being somewhere I’ve never been before and the weather is great.”
Jackson originally signed on with the Bourne Braves as a temporary player. With a temporary contract, players are not guaranteed a spot on the summer roster but have a chance to prove themselves and sign a full contract. Jackson noted, “I felt I had to play well from the get-go. At first I didn’t hit well but I caught well and I knew they were giving me a chance. I wasn’t going to be disappointed if I didn’t get a spot, but now that I did, I’m pretty happy about it.” Jackson signed a full contract earlier this month. The Braves also signed temps Mike Ahmed (Holy Cross), Timothy Giel (Columbia), and Justin Leeson (Georgetown).
Not hitting well at the beginning of the season is a normal sight for Cape players who are having to adjust to the rigorous demands of the high-profile league. “It’s harder then expected. You don’t get a day off and everyone is good up here. It’s a grind and I learned that pretty quick,” Jackson said. The competition of the Cape Cod Baseball League is some the toughest in the country for summer ball .
Hopefully one day Jackson can be as good as his namesake, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson one of the greatest hitters in all of baseball. “It’s not a bad name to be associated with in the game of baseball and the family enjoys it. We don’t really talk about it much unless people ask,” Jackson said about his relative.
“My dad has his 1917 World Series ring that was passed down in the family. I get to wear it sometimes at community functions around town honoring ‘Shoeless’ Joe’.” “Shoeless” Joe Jackson played for the Chicago White Sox- infamously dubbed the “Black Sox” in 1919. There were nine players on that 1919 World Series roster that were accused of throwing the series against the Cincinnati Reds- “Shoeless” Joe included. “Shoeless” Joe was banned from the game of baseball in 1920.
When asked what his favorite part of the summer on the Cape is, he replied “I just enjoy being away from my every day life but we’re still here to play. It’s a chance to get better.”