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PSA Graded M101-2 Shoeless Joe Jackson & Honus Wagner/Ty Cobb - Lost, then Won!


Featured Contributor, Bridging the Gap, Senior Mem
May 18, 2012
There's no way around it. When you are going after something rare at auction you love, and you lose, it sucks. You can internalize it as "the one that got away". That's where our story begins.

1909-13 M101-2 Sporting News Supplements

About a month or so back, I was browsing an auction house website and came across a near complete set (96/100) of an extremely beautiful issue offered over 100 years ago.

Measuring in at nearly 8x10, the 100 piece set was inserted at a rate of one every other issue from 1909 to 1913 of Sporting News. They feature magnificent sepia toned action photographs that seem to capture the game in a way no other baseball cards were able to from before World War 1. With the way the photographs focus on the players, and blur the background, they are hauntingly beautiful.

There are many set collectors out there who go after this behemoth because of how truly incredible they are. Baseball card collectors who are heavily into presentation and displaying their treasures may consider these as some centerpieces of their collections, whereas those who desire to keep their collections in standard sized boxes may be turned off by their size.

Like the 1889 Goodwin A35 Round Album Set I recently customized and wrote about, these are a victim of their own size and beauty - perhaps even more so, though being 20 years newer. They are still over a century old. Produced on extremely thin stock, the 1909-13 M101-2 Sporting News Supplements are afflicted many times be their brittleness, tearing, creases and even multiple folds. Many collectors find these sorts of afflictions as forgivable given the medium and the road many of them have had to take just to survive. These aren't tiny T206 cards (produced around the same time period) that were much smaller, easier to store, thicker, less brittle and less prone to be tacked up on a wall. They were meant to be displayed - and oftentimes by being glued or tacked onto something.

The auction I lost out on

When I ran into a listing at an auction house selling 96 of the 100 piece set, I couldn't get them out of my mind. All 96 are beautiful, but if I'm being honest, there are two I was mainly interested in - the two most sought after in the set: The Ty Cobb / Honus Wagner, and the Shoeless Joe Jackson. Both of which were PSA graded as "Authentic". According to the auction house that had them graded, there is no reason to believe they were altered in any way, but it was suggested they may grade low, which is perhaps due to some light residue on the back sides. Because of this, the auction house decided to have them grade as Authentic.

I made a run at all of them, and played leapfrog with another bidder on the last day. At the 11th hour, I lost out and was really bummed, but placing another bid would put me quite a bit higher than I'd want to be on them. I immediately placed the Shoeless Joe Jackson and Honus Wagner / Ty Cobb on my want list, though frustrated that I may never see PSA graded copies that nice ever again.

Three Weeks Later...

One morning, I woke up, and as I was making breakfast, I checked eBay. Lo and behold, a PSA graded Cobb/Wagner was listed! I checked the seller's other listings, and sure enough, the Shoeless Joe Jackson was there as well! I reached out, and by lunchtime, I made a deal. They came in a couple days later and proudly displayed with my favorite cards of each player! Here they are ...

1910 M101-2 Sporting News Supplement Ty Cobb / Honus Wagner

This legendary photograph was taken from the famous 1909 World Series, the most anticipated of its time. It was the ultimate good vs. evil match-up between the two biggest titans in the game. The match-up had everything that sports fans dream of: The best of the best against each other. An in depth look at the titanic series can be found in the book "When Cobb Met Wagner". I generally like my cards and collectibles to feature one player, and one player alone. This is an extremely rare instance where I value the two on the same piece much higher than their solo issues. At the moment, this is a POP 1 ... yes, this is the first and only one that PSA has graded at the moment! It is in amazing condition as well.

1911 M101-2 Sporting News Supplement Shoeless Joe Jackson

It is high praise when arguably the best two players to ever play the game attribute so much to you. I often wonder why Jackson doesn't have many baseball cards available. Though iconic, three of his most recognizable cards don't do his likeness any favors.


Don't get me wrong, I'm in absolute love with all three of those issues (especially the Cracker Jack!), but the 1909-13 M101-2 Shoeless Joe Jackson captures him in a way no other card has.

I've looked at several of these that went to auction over the past 15 years, and this is the finest example I've seen. I was amazed at how beautiful and clean it was when it came in. This PSA graded version is a POP 3.

I have had dreams for about a couple months of displaying them with my favorite cards of each player. Here they are:

I love them! If you get a chance, pick up one or two from the M101-2 set - I don't think you will be disappointed!


Featured Contributor, Bridging the Gap, Senior Mem
May 18, 2012
I couldn't pass it up! This is quite possibly my favorite Walter Johnson "card" made. The full body shot is perfect. The sepia tone, the background fading from sharp to blurred bottom to top ... everything is excellent.

I had my hesitations because truth be told, I didn't know who the other guy was, and I like my cards with only one player on them. Come to find out, he was Walter Johnson's mentor!

Called “Old Sarge” due to his service in World War I where he was wounded in the Battle of the Argonne, Gabby Street is an interesting player from the Dead Ball era we don’t hear much about.

He set a record for catching a ball from the top of the Washington Monument for 555 feet.

“Gabby had a great arm, and he was pretty proud of it. I’d be tossing to first, and you could hear Gabby chattering all over the park, ‘Let ‘em run; Gabby’ll get ‘em.’ He would too. He’d throw anyone out at second. I’ve seen him make Ty Cobb quit on a steal many a time. What a receiver he was – a perfect target, a great arm, spry as a cat.” –Walter Johnson, speaking of his catcher, Gabby Street.

“All the catchers in those days had their gloves made special. The leather was hard, yet pliable, and once you got the glove broke in and the center pocket deep enough, you could bring off some mighty good noises. I made Walter Johnson’s pitch pop extra loud. I think sometimes the people who sat right back of the plate got scared.” –Gabby Street

Here they are, perhaps the greatest pitcher baseball has ever seen, and his mentor:


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