We all have something we’re not quite sure of in terms of origin or exactly who is pictured on a particular item. We have some ideas as to who it might be, but no definitive proof.
With that introduction, we have our mystery item for this issue, pictured at right. From time to time, I like to run a question from a SCD reader regarding the identity of a piece. The item comes from Joe North, who believes the ballplayer pictured could be a young Joe Jackson.
“Is this an image of Jackson taken during his advanced teen years?” North wondered. “I am looking for feedback to help solve this mystery.”
The item itself is a type of cosmetic mirror, about 5 inches in diameter. In the background are what appear to be Dwarf Palmetto trees. Palmettos are the state trees of South Carolina, which might come into play here.
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson’s hometown was Greenville, S.C. As early as age 13, Jackson was playing on a textile mill’s baseball team, and he played semi-pro ball with the Greenville Spinners until 1908 when he joined the Philadelphia Athletics.
Personally, I can’t say for certain, but those pronounced eyebrows and big eyes do bear a resemblance to other photos of Jackson I have looked at. However, I can’t find anything similar to what North has provided. North has contacted the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library, but no definitive conclusions have been made.
If anyone has any input on the matter, or thinks they might know who this ballplayer is, please contact me or write to SCD Mystery, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990, and I’ll pass along the information to Joe.
If anyone else has a “mystery” item in their collection, pass it along. Chances are with our advanced sports aficionados we call readers, someone will have some input on the matter. After all these years, there are still plenty of surprises out there.