Baseball is all about history, and all about rarity of players outside of the modern players we all have come to collect. As a result, reliance on historical artifacts of the game have become more valuable as the material has been used up. We have seen pre-war memorabilia sell for hundreds of thousands if not millions, and it should come as no surprise that card collectors want a piece of the action.
Topps has made bat knobs a focus of their products over the last few years, and Panini has followed suit with knob cards in National Treasures. Unlike Topps, however, Panini is not bound by the same rules regarding players banned from the game. Joe Jackson is one of those players. His bat knob JUST surfaced on eBay, and it might be one of the rarest memorabilia cards ever produced.
Its not like Jackson has been absent from products, either. Both Panini and Upper Deck have produced bat relics of Jackson prior – from bats used during his days travelling around the country barnstorming. They sell VERY well.
Joe Jackson was a VERY important player in the old baseball landscape, as he is one of the players that should be mentioned with Cobb, Gherig and Ruth. However, because of the scandal and subsequent ban, he is not. Ruth was known for his persona as someone who could almost be defined by modern standards, and frequently signed autographs as much as he could. Jackson, on the other hand, was illiterate and only has a handful of authenticated autograph examples known to exist. His memorabilia is not as scarce, but compared to Ruth and other titans of the game, it might as well be.
When you consider that Ruth has had a few bat knob cards in Topps products recently, and Gherig has also been included with Mantle and others – all of which have sold for ridiculous money, what does this card mean to the overall scheme of things? I think the card looks very clean and nice, even though Joe Jackson should widely be considered to be one of the ugliest men to walk the face of the earth. The destroyed foil auth sticker is very distracting, but this bat is one that may not have the same level of authentication that needs to be presented. I would personally rather have a Ruth knob or even a Mantle one, as the allure of the Mick and the Babe will overshadow every single player out there. Everyone has heard of Mantle and Ruth, not everyone has heard about Joe Jackson. I guess that kind of presents the reason why this card is so cool – its the one that everyone has never had the chance to need.
I know that people are fans of the bat knob cards, but I am someone that thinks autographs should be the true calling card of a collection. Of course, with Joe Jackson, that isnt available, so is this the next best thing?