By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor
“The Big Train” was one of the first five players inducted into Cooperstown after winning 417 games over 21 seasons — an average of 19 wins a year — striking out 3,509 batters and throwing 110 shutouts, which is still an MLB record.
But there was one thing that Walter Johnson had never done until recently — appear on a game-used memorabilia card.
Before the arrival of 2012 Panini National Treasures on Wednesday, Johnson appeared on a total of just four total game-used memorabilia cards — all 1/1s — found in 2011 Prime Cuts from Panini America.
Now, he has nine more for collectors to find — a total of just 20 game-used memorabilia cards — in National Treasures, the first high-end release in the Panini America line that has been around in other sports since 2006.
The item embedded into the 24 total cards is a game-used ball — one reason there are so few — which is from a shutout Johnson threw against the Detroit Tigers on July 30, 1923. Another reason there are so few Johnson cards, of course, is the rarity and price for game-used items from his career, which was from 1907-27.
The most-plentiful card in the new product are his All-Decade and Greatness cards, which are each limited to just five copies. The bidding on the first to land on eBay has been brisk in only a few hours. His standard card is limited to four, while the remaining six cards are all 1/1s.
Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.