“A Mile in My Shoes: Joe Jackson,” by Don Waldo

We have been discussing the book Eight Men Out in class (summary/review to come soon!), so this piece seemed appropriate this morning.  Published in Spitball Magazine, this poem does seem to capture the spirit of Jackson’s view on the 1919 fix.

*

I had a uniform that was dirty but a conscience that was clean.
I never laid eyes on a one of them but knew them all by name.
I never spoke to them directly but heard what they were asking.
I told them to go to hell, but they said I was already there.
I asked to sit this one out but was told I would never stand.
I never asked for nothing, but they gave it to me anyways.
I tried to tell them what was going down, but they knew what was up.
I always played to win but somehow managed to lose.
I never learned to read or write, but my signed confession still damns me.
I was owed a living wage, but he’s paying me beyond the grave.
History has called me out, but His is the only call that matters.

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8 Comments on ““A Mile in My Shoes: Joe Jackson,” by Don Waldo”

  1. verdun2 says:

    Sorry, team, I think he’s guilty as hell.
    v

      • Don I. Waldo says:

        Q. Did you make any intentional errors yourself that day?

        A. No sir, not during the whole series.

        Q. Did you bat to win?

        A. Yes.

        Q. And run the bases to win?

        A. Yes, sir.

        Q. And field the balls at the outfield to win?

        A. I did. . . . I tried to win all the games.

      • Q. Did you make any intentional errors yourself that day?

        A. No sir, not during the whole series.

        Q. Did you bat to win?

        A. Yes.

        Q. And run the bases to win?

        A. Yes, sir.

        Q. And field the balls at the outfield to win?

        A. I did. . . . I tried to win all the games.

        • Q. (by assistant state’s attorney Hartley L. Replogle): Did anybody pay you any money to help throw that Series in favor of Cincinnati?

          A. They did.

          Q. How much did they pay you?

          A. They promised me $20,000 and paid me 5.

          Q. (Did Mrs. Jackson) know that you got $5,000 for helping throw these games?

          A. She did . . . yes.

          Q. What did she say about it?

          A. She said she thought it was an awful thing to do.

          Q. That was after the fourth game?

          A. I believe it was, yes.

          (Jackson said that Lefty Williams, the Chicago pitcher, was the intermediary between him and the gamblers.)

          Q. When did he promise the $20,000?

          A. It was to be paid after each game.

          (But Jackson got only $5,000, thrown onto his hotel bed by Williams after the fourth game. Jackson was asked what he said to Williams.)

          A. I asked him what the hell had come off here.

          Q. What did he say?

          A. He said (Chick) Gandil (the Chicago first baseman, and player ringleader) said we all got a screw . . . that we got double-crossed. I don’t think Gandil was crossed as much as he crossed us.

          Q. At the end of the first game you didn’t get any money, did you?

          A. No, I did not, no, sir.

          Q. What did you do then?

          A. I asked Gandil what is the trouble? He says, ”Everything is all right.” He had it.

          Q. Then you went ahead and threw the second game, thinking you would get it then, is that right?

          A. We went ahead and threw the second game.

          After the third game I says, ”Somebody is getting a nice little jazz, everybody is crossed.” He said, ”Well, Abe Attel and Bill Burns had crossed him.” Attel and Burns were gamblers in the conspiracy.

  2. Vickie says:

    Thank God nobody here will ever be the judge at my trial, I be hung, drawn and quartered.


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