Shoeless Joe Jackson reinstatement could mean more baseball cards

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By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor | Commentary

One of baseball’s banned legends might appear on more baseball cards soon — if a big announcement comes from Major League Baseball on Tuesday.

He’s “Shoeless Joe” Jackson and he’s one of the Black Sox players banned from the game for life — and beyond — for throwing the 1919 World Series. The “eight men out” presently will not appear on any officially licensed MLB trading cards — just like any other members of MLB’s Ineligible List.

That’s a group that includes Pete Rose, who has admitted to gambling on the game and his team. It includes Benny Kauff, who was banned in 1921 for stealing a car and receiving stolen cars. It includes “Shufflin’ Phil” Douglas, who once wrote a drunken letter offering to join the Chicago Cubs and walk out on his New York Giants because he hated manager John McGraw.

Jackson landed on the list along with Eddie Cicotte, Chick Gandil, Lefty Williams, Swede Risberg. Fred McMullin. Hap Felsch and Buck Weaver. The only baseball cards they can appear on today are made by Panini America and other non MLB-approved companies.

The proof of Jackson’s role in the fix isn’t ironclad — a judge acquitted him of taking a $5,000 bribe — but he was banned like his teammates by the commissioner. However, the curator of the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum in Greenville, S.C., said on Monday that there will be an announcement — yes or no — regarding his status to come on Tuesday. It had sent letters to MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred five times regarding Jackson’s reinstatement.

If reinstated, Jackson could be considered for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame via its Pre-Integration Era Committee. He could also be a prime candidate to appear on baseball cards from Topps because he’s a pretty strong seller. He appears on 341 different cards in the Beckett database valued at more than $526,000 excluding rarities. His biggest potential among today’s cardboard landscape would be for game-used cards. He has 94 different cards and the most common ones typically sell for between $80 to $300.

Could it happen? We’ll have to wait and see. If it does, it could make for some interesting new developments on cardboard.

Update: It’s a no. Manfred said it “would not be appropriate for me to reopen this matter” in a letter to the Museum.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball and Beckett Sports Card Monthly magazines. 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 31 August, 2015 at 19:33

    The problem with these “game used” card is that they don’t actually claim/state
    to have been used by the players pictured on the card.
    If they don’t have the confidence that the item is real to the point of guaranteeing that it
    was used by the player in an actual game, why should we?

    And they have been hearing this complaint from me and others for years and have plenty
    of time to modify the COA. Buyer beware.

  2. Brandon Nelson 3 November, 2019 at 09:03

    Aside from new evidence proving ones innocence, I believe a reinstatement after such a long period of time shouldn’t be something that is even considered. If you as an individual can forgive and forget, great. Good for you. Let it go and move on, go light a candle or something, but dont change a punishment that was handed down by someone who was there. Its pretty arrogant of people to even think that its within thier power. Rules are rules, and sure they were more strict back in the day, but thats how it was, and we were a lot better off for it. We were a lot stronger, as a nation then, and people had higher moral values. They had things going on that were important to them, not to you. Things that made a man what he was back then, like pride and honor, and if you reinstate these guys, your chipping away at that, and making it mean less. We have no right to do such a thing. If we today view it as harsh, fine. Call it harsh, call it unfair, call it BS if you want to, but dont you dare change the judgement that was given, just because you like the guy, or your too much of a wimp to even see, that it was probably harder for the person handing that judgement down to do, then it was for the person receiving it, to accept it. Baseball was different back then, most things were different then they are today. We have no power or authority to even consider such a disrespectful act, simply for our own amusement. We should be ashamed of even considering it. I for one, am embarrassed at the thought, that my peers could be so arrogant and disrespectful.
    You dont pull on super mans cape. You dont spit into the wind. You dont pull the mask off the ole lone ranger, and you dont reinstate baseball players who were banned by, other men who actually stood for something, just because you cant understand it or because it holds no value TO YOU. Men of honor and respect, proud Americans that actually stood for something that we today, haven’t the slightest clue about!!!

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