The Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, South Carolina, will be the site of a book signing for another Jackson, Handsome Ransom, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, October 8. 2016. The museum is located at 356 Field Street in Greenville.
Jackson will sign copies of his book, Handsome Ransom Jackson: Accidental Big Leaguer, which will be on sale for $34. Admission to the museum is free.
Handsome Ransom, now 90 and living in Athens, Georgia, played baseball two years at the University of Texas for Bibb Falk, the Chicago White Sox outfielder who replaced Shoeless Joe Jackson after he was banned from baseball for his alleged role in fixing the 1919 World Series.
Falk coached 25 years, leading the Longhorns to consecutive national titles in 1949 and 1950 and 20 Southwest Conference championships. He played 12 seasons with the White Sox and Cleveland Indians, hitting .352 in 1924, third best in the American League behind Babe Ruth, the batting champion. For his career, Falk hit .314.
“I remember his batting stance and riding the umpires the way he did in the majors to earn the nickname, Jockey,” Ransom writes in Accidental Big Leaguer. “He treated his players like big-leaguers but made sure they didn’t have big-league egos.”
The only time Coach Falk complimented Ransom was after he hit a ninth-inning homer to win a game. “Nice hit, son,” he said.
On another occasion, he handed Ransom an envelope addressed to him. Inside was a three-by-five card with a handwritten message reading: “Can’t you get a third baseman and get rid of that lousy Ransom Jackson?”
Around the same time Ransom received a letter from a Chicago Cub scout wanting to know when he was getting out of college. “I never dreamed of playing in the big leagues so it was nice knowing somebody thought I could,” he says.
One of the chapters in Accidental Big Leaguer is titled, Shoeless Joe and Other Jacksons.
Over the years, Ransom has received letters from people mistaking him for Randy Jackson, the former American Idol judge and the ex-Chicago Bears lineman also named Randy Jackson. His favorite letter is one that confused him with the legendary Shoeless Joe. “I hope in due time you will justly be proved innocent for a crime you did not commit,” the fan wrote, requesting an autograph.
Shoeless Joe died in 1951, long before Ransom received the letter. So he answered: “You’re going to have to go to a higher power than me to get an autograph.”
Appearing with Jackson at the book signing will be co-author Gaylon H. White of Kingsport, Tennessee. White will sign copies of his book, The Bilko Athletic Club, about minor-league slugger Steve Bilko and the 1956 Los Angeles Angels.