Cards of the banned members of the 1919 Chicago White Sox team continue to be very popular among baseball card collectors. Shoeless Joe Jackson is the clear leader in the clubhouse in terms of players that are desired. However, cards of some of the lesser known players are even harder to come by and, as a result, can be quite expensive.
Collectors wanting cards from the ‘Black Sox’ can be predictably frustrated by the affordable options out there. Finding inexpensive cards of the banned players is not an easy thing to do. But one player’s cards more than any other represent the best bargain — and that’s Eddie Cicotte.
Cicotte’s cards are not necessarily dirt cheap, mind you. But in comparing them to cards of the others, they are relatively inexpensive. And the great thing about Cicotte is that he was no slouch as a pitcher. Cicotte was the ace of the staff and led the league in wins twice. Some even think that he could have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame if not for his participation in the gambling scandal of the 1919 World Series.
Here’s a look at five of the star pitcher’s cheaper cards from his playing days.
1920-21 W516 Strip Card
Cicotte is found in this popular strip card set and while strip cards aren’t necessarily for everyone, it’s a bargain. As a bonus, Cicotte’s card in this issue is not that bad from an aesthetics standpoint.
One of the great things about this card in particular is that it was actually issued after the 1919 World Series fix. Some collectors don’t realize that while the players were ultimately banned, they were allowed to play baseball the following season in 1920.
There are actually a total of five different W516 strip card sets. While the images are the same in all of them, there are some variances in typeface and in the way images are presented (some of the images are reversed).
This is one of Cicotte’s last cards from his playing days and decent copies of it can be found for under $200, sometimes much less.
T206 cards continue to rise in value and cards of the stars are beginning to be priced out for some collectors.
But while Cicotte’s card is not dirt cheap, it is still affordable given where the prices have been headed.
Cicotte’s T206 card pictures him with the Boston Red Sox near the start of his career and it is one of his earlier issues. While it does not feature him as a member of the White Sox, it is one of his first cards and that’s the allure to it — that and the fact that it is part of the most popular baseball card set of all time.
Cards with rarer back advertisements are of course going to be more expensive. But the bulk of them with the common Piedmont or Sweet Caporal backs are the more affordable buys and are readily available on eBay. Low-grade examples of those can sometimes still be found under $100 and ones in decent condition start around $150.
1911 T201 Mecca Double Folders
Another great buy for collectors is Cicotte’s T201 Mecca Double Folders card. Cicotte’s T206 card is no doubt more popular but in terms of value, this is probably his best, most affordable tobacco card.
The T201 Mecca Double Folders cards feature two players and are a bit more on the affordable side. Even decent Ty Cobb cards in the set can be bought for under $500, which is kind of unheard for him.
Cicotte is pictured on his card with John Thoney. It can routinely be found in decent, lower-grade condition for under $100. Even a PSA 3 available in a straight auction on eBay recently sold for just under that.
1920 W519 Strip Card
The W519 set is another strip issue where Cicotte can be found. Like the earlier W516 release mentioned, it’s another card that was printed just after the scandal of the 1919 World Series.
In all, there are actually three different W519 sets. The sets all use the same images but are slightly different. Cicotte is found in two of the three with one of his cards having a card number and the other being without it.
W519s are not quite as plentiful as other strip card issues but Cicotte’s card is a relative bargain and starts at under $100 in decent shape.
All things considered, this is one of Cicotte’s more popular cards. While the T206 set is more sought after, there’s little doubt that this is a more attractive card of Cicotte.
The T205 gold borders cards are highly collectible and are lauded for their outstanding artwork. As an American League player, Cicotte’s card pictures a portrait image inside of a baseball diamond. Like his T206 card, Cicotte is still shown as a member of the Red Sox.
Pricing is similar to Cicotte’s T206 card and given that this one is much rarer, to me, it is an even better buy.