The Beckett Blog


Black Sox’s staining of the game hasn’t hurt their cards by Chris Olds

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There are plenty of scandals and black eyes for baseball through the years but today is the day, albeit 90 years ago, that one of the most egregious tales officially began.

The Black Sox — the throwing of the 1919 World Series by the Chicago White Sox.

Eight players — Joe Jackson, Eddie Cicotte, Lefty Williams, Chick Gandil, Fred McMullen, Swede Risberg, Happy Felsch and Buck Weaver — were banned from the game for life, added to baseball’s ineligible list for their involvement in or knowledge of the fix.

And because those players are on the ineligible list, they have largely been unseen on modern-day baseball cards because they are ineligible to appear on any cards licensed by Major League Baseball.

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Baseball artist Monty Sheldon to commemorate 90th anniversary of Black Sox with eight sketch cards by Chris Olds
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An example of Monty Sheldon's sketch cards -- a past Sheldon’s Sketch Card Champions card of "Shoeless" Joe Jackson.

Noted baseball artist Monty Sheldon is commemorating the 90th anniversary of the Black Sox scandal with a series of eight hand-drawn and intricately detailed pencil sketch cards that he will complete, unveil and sell on the anniversary of each game from the 1919 World Series.

His “Eight Men Out” concept is an interesting piece of self-promotion — he already sells his Sheldon’s Sketch Card Champions cards, which are part of a larger set weekly on eBay (user rube77) — but this project will acknowledge the history of the game and, with the auctions’ subjects and timing, also perhaps bring some attention to one of baseball’s more interesting stories.

But it’s also a project that ties into his creative past.

“When I first started painting on baseballs back in 1998, I knew the following year would be the 80th anniversary of the Black Sox scandal, and I finished painting a baseball of each player to correspond with each game’s date,” Sheldon said on Friday afternoon. “Back then, that group of baseballs proved to be quite popular when I would display them at the card shows.

“Now, it is 10 years later, and I wanted to add something special to my sketch card set, so the 90th anniversary set made perfect sense.”

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