Upper Deck and Shoeless Joe may not be on MLB’s party list, but they’re partnering on baseball cards next year.
His ban from baseball may keep him off the Topps printing press, but Joe Jackson’s exile from baseball works fine for Upper Deck.
The company announced Tuesday that it will feature Jackson’s cards, including some game-used memorabilia cards–in many of its 2010 baseball card products.
“We are extremely excited to have reached an agreement with his estate that allows us to include this former baseball standout in many of our sets next year,” said UD Brand Manager Gabriel Garcia.
Jackson has not been featured on an Upper Deck baseball card since 2001 but he’ll return first as part of Upper Deck’s 2010 Goudey Baseball set, which hits store shelves on March 16. Game-used memorabilia cards will feature pieces of one of Jackson’s famous bats he swung nearly a century ago.
Jackson posted a big league batting average of .356 over 13 seasons (1908-1920) and batted .375 during the infamous 1919 Fall Classic, going 12-for-32 with a home run and six runs batted in. But his real legend was born outside of the baseball diamond when he was found to have conspired with gamblers to fix games during the 1919 World Series, a fact Jackson disputed. He was banned from the game for life and has never been eligible for Hall of Fame election despite a stellar career.
In his own defense, Jackson once said: "God knows I gave my best in baseball at all times and no man on earth can truthfully judge me otherwise. When I was up there at the plate, my purpose was to get on base anyway I could, whether by hitting or by getting hit."
Jackson appeared on several cards prior to 1920, many of which are extremely popular with collectors and investors. Upper Deck’s Garcia is hoping his presence will boost sales more than a century after he first appeared on cardboard. “The legend of Shoeless Joe Jackson grows every year."