Panini includes Joe Jackson bat barrel in Prime Cuts


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

One single card teased on Thursday by Panini America shows that there’s nothing casual about the return edition of Prime Cuts, which is packing out as we speak for an arrival soon.

This Joe Jackson Barrel Up insert is as serious as it gets.

It’s the first of its kind as the Jackson barrel would not be allowed with an MLB Properties license as Jackson is on baseball’s Ineligible List for his role in the 1919 Black Sox scandal. Because of that, Jackson has far fewer cards in the database than others of similar lore. (Want a full checklist or a Joe Jackson OPG? Click here.)

In all, Jackson appears on just 231 cards — 42 of those being memorabilia cards, most made by the Donruss/Playoff company after it lost its MLB license in 2005 and before Panini acquired its assets in 2009. Those simple small-chip bat cards regularly command more than $100. This one?

“Putting a value on such a rare piece of baseball memorabilia is difficult, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the card surpasses the $10,000 mark,” said Beckett Baseball Senior Market Analyst Brian Fleischer. “As a comparison, Babe Ruth barrel cards — he has 13 total — have sold in the past in the $5,000-$10,000 range. With this being the first and only in existence, I don’t think five figures is out of the question. This is certainly one of the most important and desirable memorabilia cards produced in the modern era.”

Now, with Panini back in the baseball game with an MLBPA license — which does allow the use of players on the Ineligible list — crazy cardboard like this can exist.

In a word, wow.

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Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. Richard 5 April, 2012 at 10:52

    To be honest, if I got it, I would trade it for some of his original cards along with
    vintage cards of Ruth, etc.

  2. JimB 5 April, 2012 at 11:11

    I am appalled at the idea of destroying a Joe Jackson bat for a stupid card like this! You should be ashamed! What’s next, cutting up the Mona Lisa? When do we start cutting up T206 Wagners into a bunch of pieces?

  3. Jon Waldman 5 April, 2012 at 11:48

    Really? You’re complaining about this card? Little late don’t you think given that, as the article says, mem cards of Shoeless Joe have been around for a while, going back to the D/P era.

    It’s one thing if the piece is from a one-of-a-kind item; but there are a few Jackson bats in existence, with them showing up from time to time in auctions.

  4. chrisolds 5 April, 2012 at 11:49

    Actually, a T206 Wagner memorabilia card was talked about a LONG, LONG time ago …

  5. David Johnson 5 April, 2012 at 12:03

    I am a little upset that they destroyed a historic and rare bat. However the destruction happened almost a decade ago by Donruss, so since the bat was already destroyed I am glad that they finally did a card with this portion and didn’t cut up the name plate onto multiple cards.

  6. Devan James 5 April, 2012 at 12:28

    I think that while original bats from that era are very scarce, this is a great way to randomize and give all baseball fans the chance to own such a cool piece of history. You don’t have to be a millionaire to hit it big in a pack of cards. That’s why I think relics have become such a popular item, anyone has as good a chance as the next person to pull an amazing card. It also helps Panini’s bottom line which is to sell cards. Things like this are not new, Topps has reaped the benefits of several prospects moving cases of Bowman products for years.

  7. Andy 5 April, 2012 at 13:15

    I agree with Jim and Merovius. This is a very stupid thing. Give out a redemption card for the full bat. Why cut up any of his stuff?

  8. doug goodman 5 April, 2012 at 13:38

    A stupid “card” created by stupid people who don’t care about our stupid hobby

  9. IrishDenny 5 April, 2012 at 14:07

    Jon Waldman! You, my wanna be hobby friend, Need to rethink that unthinkable, No Knowledge thought! If there are ONLY 3 of Joe’s Bat’s left, Why on Gods’ Green Earth would you cut up ONE of theM uP!? It’s Guys like YOU that make decisions like this, that create less for the Hobbiest to come! We are just those who preserve the Relic’s in order to pass them on to those who will remain behind us… We are NOT Complaining, Per Say, But However, We are sending out a Message to those “WHO SIMPLY DON’T CARE!!!” If YOU are one THEM, Then Listen uP!!!

  10. anon 5 April, 2012 at 14:37

    Mr Olds, it seems clear from the commenters and the poll that there’s at least a vocal minority who opposes the destruction of historical pieces for these cards. I would hope that we vote with our wallets by avoiding such things even on the secondary market. I know I will avoid these products, but these kinds of cards not only don’t interest me but also make me upset.

    What I am struggling to understand is with your background as a reporter, I think it is completely reasonable to acknowledge this viewpoint in these posts.

  11. chris 5 April, 2012 at 15:02

    well if anyone is upset that they are “destroying” baseball history, these bats and jerseys were sold at auction and still are. if it upsets you so much, bid on them and win them and you can do what you want with them. donruss won them and they are free to do whatever they like with them. i think its cool to offer a piece of history to all collectors. when someone owns something they are free to do whatever they like with the item. i would rather own a gu bat card from joe jackson or babe ruth rather than see it in a book at some museum.

  12. Nate 5 April, 2012 at 15:28

    Is this a game used or store model bat? To the best of my knowlege Joe’s only bat was the “Black Betsy”, which he used for 24 years. That bat or any others from his playing era did not even have their names engraved. Just speculating, but this is not a bat that ever touched Joe’s hands…. but a manufactured bat made to look old. Please correct me if I’m wrong!

  13. Richard 5 April, 2012 at 16:06

    *sigh* It’s simple.
    They cut up the bat because they figure they will sell more product at a level
    that makes them more money. Our hobby is weird at times.
    Consider the Pinnacle Joe Dimmagio auto card. Sells for under $200.
    However, Upper Deck makes “cuts” from these cards and those cut cards sell
    for more than $400 per.

    Likely the Bat used had a crack or the like and they could make a thousand +
    common bat cards plus a handful of premium ones like the name plate.
    (Bat slice, bat knob, name plate, name of maker/team/etc.)
    The “market” value of these cards is many times the “value” of the bat itself.
    The truth is, 99.999% of us will never own a full bat of some one like Ruth, but
    most of us can afford a game used material piece one.

  14. chrisolds 5 April, 2012 at 16:16

    Anon: Oh, I get people’s reactions. I’ve heard it before, though. And what is not acknowledged? The practice is commonplace and the topic has been discussed many a time before. Nothing new here. My logic tends to side with the comment left by “Chris” below yours.

  15. Tom Waldron 5 April, 2012 at 18:47

    Chris as suggested above What is the offical word from Panini on the bat itself is it “GAME USED”
    or ‘Store USED” I for one bought 08 Threads hopping to hit one of his bat cards. Historical is correct I would never sell it if i was lucky to hit this BUT Authenticty needs to be clear.
    I guess I’m saving up for this one……or 2?
    thanks Chris
    Tom W

  16. Fabio 6 April, 2012 at 02:48

    There’s a place for preserving history and heritage, and it’s in Cooperstown, NY, the rest is open market and I don’t see the reason why you couldn’t do what you want with a relic you own.
    But as previously seen, when it’s Topps making these moves, everybody claps and says yeah, when it’s Panini, they are “stupid people who don’t care about our stupid hobby”.

  17. charles faires 6 April, 2012 at 07:00

    Well Chris your responce to Anon is tipical yes man responce, we understand you can’t bite the hand (s) that feed you, some day when they have cut up all there is to cut up, you will be scatching yours heads, its all gone, now what. you stated that there can’t be to many of these gems around, i see greed written all over this, profit is the name of the game . not this, “its mine i can do what i want logic”.

  18. chrisolds 6 April, 2012 at 09:25

    Charles: Let me get this straight … I don’t agree with your opinion on an issue, so I am a “yes man” for a company I don’t work for?

    The memorabilia debate is not a new one — and I am well aware of the concept of supply … but also demand. Both come into play here when companies make the decisions to turn a single item that one person or company can afford into thousands of items that many can cherish.

    Card companies can do whatever they want with their property — just as you can do whatever you want with yours.

    As for the overall amount of items available, that’s an issue the card companies will face eventually if they stay the course and have no future plans — however, the biggest items never get used completely in a single product or even year. Managing those assets is carefully done.

  19. chrisolds 6 April, 2012 at 11:31

    Tom: Past Donruss cards that used swatches from the same bat had an authentication statement on the back that reads: “The enclosed piece of bat was cut from an authentic bat personally used by Joe Jackson in a professional baseball game. The authentic game-used bat was obtained and is guaranteed by Donruss Playoff L.P.”

  20. charles faires 6 April, 2012 at 16:04

    wow chris just went to panini web site click on the news botton low and behold what did i see your name and beckett praising this product, do you think that if you where against this, mite things be different, look its about money, for panini, for , MLBPA. i would really like to believe that its about the fan, but that fact is long gone, your rite they can do what they want with there property, and mine is but one opinion, but reading comments about this it seems there are a few that fell the same. just saying

  21. chris 6 April, 2012 at 19:16

    its funny how people think that these bats are so rare when there is another one sold every other auction. if cooperstown is the only place to “store” baseballs “relics” then why dont they “buy” these bats and put them there? or you buy it and “donate” it to them. if i buy something it is mine to do with what i want. i dont care who owned it before me or its historical place in the universe. if its mine its mine. these people have a right to cut them up if they want. save your money and win one and you preserve history on your own. stop putting down the card companies because they choose to make a product that we ALL buy. and i bet when you get that bat barrel card or that babe ruth bat card, you are the first person to list it on ebay and make money from it. save it and preserve history. right? no! its all about the money and if anyone says anything different they are lying. thats why we all work and thats why we all do what we do. MONEY! now stop crying about baseballs past getting “cut up” and just enjoy owning a small piece of history. cause if it wasnt for the card companies cutting up “history”, people like you and i would never touch a joe jackson bat or babe ruth bat.

  22. afff 6 April, 2012 at 23:15

    I have to agree with Richard
    Thats the only way i could a would get a piece if history

  23. Tom Waldron 6 April, 2012 at 23:16

    THanks for the info I always appreciated Donruss for that authenticity on the back of their cards especially the Absolute Tools of the trade one of my favorite inserts.
    I’m looking for change in my couch now waiting to buy.

  24. Jacob kimbrough 7 April, 2012 at 04:48

    Press pass box giveaway

    I like press pass because most of the cards are prospects and I like that unlike sage you don’t have to search through one hundred or more cards in a retail box to find an autograph

    I think mark Barron will be the best prospect out of the 2012 draft outside of Andrew luck because safeties are underrated and good ones can fall into the later first round. After seeing interviews of his he has a great work ethic and strives to improve. I think he should go faster in the draft but will be a great fit for the cowboys at fourteenth overall

  25. Jon Waldman 7 April, 2012 at 22:44

    IrishDenny, I’ll take your argument point by point:

    If there are ONLY 3 of Joe’s Bat’s left, Why on Gods’ Green Earth would you cut up ONE of theM uP!?
    — I said in my comment that this is not a one-of-a-kind, and that’s what I stand by. Let’s compare this to, say, a company that cut up the only known pads from Georges Vezina. If this was the only known bat of Shoeless Joe or something so unique, like the Black Betsy, that’s one thing – but in this case there are multiples available.

    It’s Guys like YOU that make decisions like this, that create less for the Hobbiest to come! We are just those who preserve the Relic’s in order to pass them on to those who will remain behind us…
    — Okay two points here. First, I’ve never had, nor will I ever likely have the power to choose whether an item can be cut or not.

    Now let’s look at another argument, and I say this as someone who believes in preserving sports history.
    You state above there are three known bats in existance of Shoeless Joe’s, one being Betsy.

    Now it’s fair to say that this particular Joe bat was purchased either from a private collector or at auction from a descendent or an ex-trainer’s estate. In either of those cases, they were held privately, and next to no one would have the opportunity to see it. In this cut form, there are a possibility of thousands owning pieces and thousands more seeing them. That’s how you preserve history – not by putting it in a storage locker or in someone’s basement.

    If we want to designate those out, let’s say one could reside in Cooperstown and the other in a Joe Jackson museum. That covers the “remaining two” in public forums where they can be viewed, admired, and most importantly properly cared for.

    We are NOT Complaining, Per Say, But However, We are sending out a Message to those “WHO SIMPLY DON’T CARE!!!” If YOU are one THEM, Then Listen uP!!!

    — Believe me bro, I’m huge on sports history and care about preservation. I’ve made it part of my working life to preserve sports history and dedicated hours outside to the study of sport and memorabilia history.

  26. Anthony Summers 8 April, 2012 at 06:56

    ‎”I am appalled at the idea of destroying a Joe Jackson bat for a stupid card like this! You should be ashamed! What’s next, cutting up the Mona Lisa?”

    Incredible. Whoever wrote that doesn’t understand the distinction between a tool and a creation. Splitting up the bat so that it can be enjoyed in whatever way someone might enjoy having a tiny piece of it (search me) as opposed to putting it up in some private collection or a museum… brilliant idea, and completely harmless. Jackson’s creations were his hits, his defensive plays, etc… and those can’t be shared like the Mona Lisa can be in a museum. Baseball’s history is shared by spreading stories, films, photos, stats… not by preserving a piece of wood on a wall… and anything which encourages more conversation is a good thing. Kudos to Prime Cuts.

  27. Sean 1 June, 2012 at 23:16

    Extremely outrageous.

    50 years from now a Shoeless Joe Jackson bat would have been an interesting thing with immense historical value and interest. A very nice thing for this generation to have handed down to future generations of baseball fans.

    Instead what this generation of baseball fans will hand down to the next, via their support of horrendous products like this, is a bunch of non-descript pieces of wood chips that are basically worthless and have no intrinsic, aesthetic or historical value. The only indicator future generations will have that these were once part of something interesting is the fact that they come encapsulated in a little piece of cardboard or plastic produced by some company that, by then, will probably have been bankrupt for decades and nothing but a meaningless name to them.

    Priceless pieces of history turned into nothing more than future landfill. Well done, Pannini. .

    That anyone would actually defend this wanton destruction of baseball history is just beyond my comprehension. This type of thing is beneath contempt. The closest parrallel I can think of is the Taliban`s deliberate destruction of ancient Buddhist statues of immense historical significance in Afghanistan a few years ago.

    Just really really incredibly awful.

  28. Randy Ware 22 July, 2015 at 15:37

    It is amazing to me that these ignorant people start attacking others because they don’t want a baseball bat cut up / destroyed and instead want it preserved in a museum…I would say 1) Don’t worry about it, and if you are truly concerned don’t buy the product or go out and buy another J Jackson bat and preserve it any way you like; 2) How about not buying any baseball cards or any item that is using cardstock – cutting down trees that are or will become historic and vintage, when they could be allowed to grow and left standing in their natural setting, to be enjoyed by many generations, as these trees could be on the property / owned by a future military hero, or a famous inventor who finds the cure for all cancers, and yet you bought a baseball card that was made by cutting down the tree and pulped in to cardstock! How DARE YOU PEOPLE!

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