The legend that lies behind Joe Jackson’s nickname of “Shoeless” is as amusing as it is probably untrue. It is a fact that Joe went barefoot most of his youth as most poor boys in the South did. But he is reputed to have played baseball barefoot, too.
Then Joe started out in baseball before coming up to the big time, he found himself playing one after noon on a field that was littered with garbage like a city dump. He had to climb over heaps of trash and debris to reach his position and then plow through the junk to cover his position.
After several innings had been played, Joe came in from the outfield quite perturbed. Spotting the owner of the local club, Joe buttonholed him. “Say, Mister,” complained Joe, “you ought to clean up them broken bottles in the outfield.”
The owner looked down at Joe’s bare feet in amazement. ”You crazy hillbilly,” he exclaimed, “why don’t you wear shoes to protect your feet?”
“Oh, lain’ t worryin’ about my feet,” declared Joe earnestly. “That broken glass is minin’ the covers of the baseballs!”