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The Sports Heroes

Categories: BaseballHeroSports

Many people look for their sports heroes to demonstrate courage, strong character, discipline, and success. Sport heroes can be people, as well as animals. Two famous sports heroes are Shoeless Joe one of the greatest professional baseball players ever. The other one is Seabiscuit, a famous racehorse. They both were viewed to be sports heroes during their time because of the way the impacted other people around them.

On July 16th, 1887 in Brandon Mills South Carolina one of the most well-known greatest baseball players of all time was born.

Joseph Jefferson Jackson. Joseph Jackson’s nickname was Shoeless Joe. He was given the nickname Shoeless Joe because during one of his mill games in Greenville South Carolina he had blisters on his feet from a new pair of cleats. His feet hurt so bad, so he decided to take off the shoes before he went up to bat and ended up hitting a triple. When he reached third base someone from the stands yelled out “you shoeless son of a gun,” and many it made newspaper headlines talked about it and the nickname stuck with him.

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This is how Joseph Jackson got his nickname. Shoeless Joe played for three Major League teams during his twelve-year career. In 1908-1909 he was a member of the Philadelphia Athletics. They ended up giving up on him and traded him to the Cleveland Naps in 1910. He played most of 1910 with the New Orleans Pelicans and led the team to the pennant. Then he was called up to play for the big-league team.

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Shoeless Joe was best known for his swing, and he broke many records as a rookie player. Joe stayed with the Cleveland Naps till the beginning of the 1915 season then was traded to play with the Chicago White Sox where helped them win the American League pennant and the World Series in 1917. After the World Series games in 1919, eight players on the Chicago White Sox’s team including Shoeless Joe were accused of throwing the game away to the Cincinnati Reds, and if they did, they would receive five thousand dollars more on top of their pay. This was known as the Black Sox Scandal. All of the players who were accused of doing this were acquitted, and in 1920 Judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis banned the group involved from baseball for life. Shoeless Joe’s career was over at that point, but he still claimed his innocence and denied his involvement in the Black Sox Scandal. Even though this happened to him, many people still looked up to Shoeless Joe because he was a great baseball player and some believed he was honestly innocent due to his outstanding performance during the games, he committed no errors and hit solid throughout the whole world series.

Shoeless Joe Jackson was a hero to many people including Ray Kinsella. Ray Kinsella was an Iowa farmer who heard a voice in his head that said, “If you build it, he will come.” “The voice was that of a ballpark announcer. As he spoke, I instantly envisioned the finished product I knew I was asked to conceive.” (Kinsella 3) Ray took what he had heard and made it a reality and dedicated himself to building a baseball field. Ray said, “Three seasons I have spent seeding, watering, fussing, praying, codding, that field like a sick child.” (Kinsella 8). After he was finished with the left-field he did not know if his dreams would come true, but he waited for the “he” in which he thought was Shoeless Joe. “There’s someone on your lawn, Annie says to me” “It’s Shoeless Joe Jackson.” (Kinsella 12) Ray’s dreams had come true then. Shoeless Joe and the other baseball players appeared on the field. Shoeless Joe had promised Ray that he would come and play on the field if he finished it. Eventually, Ray finished the field and would come to watch the baseball players play with his family. The baseball players who were gloomy, the ones they did not recognize, were recognizable now and Ray realized it was his father Johnny Kinsella catching behind the plate. Shoeless Joe made an impact on Ray Kinsella’s life by his calling because tensions that had existed before between his father and him were finally put to rest.

Another famous sports hero is Seabiscuit. Seabiscuit was a famous racehorse during the Great Depression when America was in a financial crisis. During the Great Depression, many people lost all of their hard-earned money and life savings in the stock market when it crashed. “In 1938… the year’s #1 newsmaker was not FDR, Hitler, or Mussolini. Nor was its Lou Gehrig or Clark Gable. The subject of the most newspaper column inches in 1938 wasn’t even a person. It was an undersized, crooked legged racehorse named Seabiscuit. (Hillenbrand XVII) Seabiscuit was a smaller racehorse compare to others, only standing 15.2 hands tall and many people did not think he was an attractive horse.

“They had come from nowhere. The horse, a smallish mud-colored animal with forelegs that didn’t straighten out all the way, spent nearly two seasons floundering in the lowest ranks of racing, misunderstood and mishandled. His jockey, Red Pollard, was a tragic-faced young man who …. came to his partnership with Seabiscuit after years as a part-time prizefighter and failing jockey…. Seabiscuit’s trainer, a mysterious, virtually mute mustang breaker named Tom Smith, was a refugee from the vanishing frontier, bearing with him generations of lost wisdom about the secrets of horses. Seabiscuit’s owner, a broad, beaming, former cavalryman named Charles Howard, had begun his career as a bicycle mechanic before parlaying 21 cents into an automotive empire.” (Hillenbrand XVIII) Charles Howard who was Seabiscuit’s owner was a very successful automotive business. Unfortunately, his son passed away in a car accident. After that happened, he decided to buy Seabiscuit. A man named Tom Smith, who was friends with Charles, ended up becoming Seabiscuit’s trainer. “He had grown up in a world in which horsemanship was as essential as breathing. Born with a prodigy’s intuitive understanding of the animals, he had devoted himself to them so wholeheartedly that he was incomplete without them.” (Hillenbrand 20)

Even though Seabiscuit was stubborn and a pain to train at first, Tom did not give up on him. “Horses stay the same from the day they are born until the day they die… They are only changed by the way people treat them.” (Hillenbrand 28) One day after he was questioning if Seabiscuit would ever be able to get better, a man named Red Pollard finally came into the picture. When Red walked into Smith’s barn in 1936 Tom knew he had found Seabiscuit a jockey. There was a special connection between the two of them that Charles and Tom had never seen before with any other person. Red really helped Seabiscuit grow as a racehorse. He was very patient with him and did not overwhelm him. Red wanted all of Seabiscuit’s competitiveness attitude and effort going towards the other horses in the races. Seabiscuit did just that with the help of Red. He and Red ended up winning many races. He competed in 89 races and won 33, lost 15, and tied 1. One of the most memorable wins for Seabiscuit was when he beat War Admiral, a defending Triple Crown champion. Seabiscuit was definitely a sports hero in many people’s eyes during his time. “Seabiscuit was nothing short of a cultural icon in America, enjoying adulation so intense and broad-based that it transcended sport”. (Hillenbrand XVIII)

Sports heroes are people as well as animals who show a great amount of courage, effort, and willingness. Shoeless Joe Jackson and Seabiscuit were both sports heroes. They both were icons to many people because they did not give up and kept going when times were tough. They also inspired people to be open-minded and courageous during hard times and made light of it in the hope for good things to come. Shoeless Joe and Seabiscuit are both some of the greatest sports heroes to ever live.

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The Sports Heroes. (2020, Sep 03). Retrieved from

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