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Go Back Forums > Net54baseball Main Forum - WWII & Older Baseball Cards > Net54baseball Vintage (WWII & Older) Baseball Cards & New Member Introductions

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Old 09-25-2020, 10:22 AM
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1880nonsports 1880nonsports is offline
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Originally Posted by cubman1941 View Post
Apparently many people have reached out to the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum regarding their article in the last newsletter. For those who do not get the newsletter I provide this response.

"Hello and welcome to Issue 004 of Shoeless Notes, the email newsletter for the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum and Baseball Library in Greenville, South Carolina.
After reading the last newsletter about the B18 Blankets, a handful of people reached out, unsatisfied with the notion that those pieces were originally intended to be pen wipes when they were released in 1914. An argument being made is “if they were intended to be ink blotters, then many of the blankets which have survived all these years later should be stained.” While that is a logical initial thought, it isn’t necessarily true, for a number of reasons.
Firstly, if you ruined a piece of fabric with ink (whether it had been used for its intended purpose or not), would you have kept that used, dirty fabric? Most likely no, you would have thrown it away. It would be like finding a Kleenex package in 100 years, and saying “there’s no way these were intended to be used for people to blow their nose… all of the ones here in this package are completely clean!” That would be because the ones that were used for their intended purpose had been discarded.
Secondly, there are plenty of examples of B18s which have stains. Some stains are bigger than others. Some stains are darker than others. But very few B18 examples have survived in pristine condition 100+ years later. A quick eBay search shows many examples with stains of some kind and in varying sizes. Whether those stains were caused by ink from a pen is clearly up for debate.
In addition to the ones which have stains, there are many examples today which have been faded. Is the fading because they were subjected to sunlight? Maybe, though I’m not aware of many blankets or pillowcases that are faded from sun damage since blankets and pillowcases are primarily used indoors. Another possibility is that there was an attempt to clean an ink-stained B18 so it could be re-used, and the cleaning chemicals used to remove the ink also helped fade the print on the piece. That’s just a theory, obviously, but it seems entirely plausible to me.
Whatever the case, it is clear that age, alone, does not fade the print because there are hundreds of examples of B18s today which still have bold, dark images. I had always been under the impression that the B18s were intended to be sewn to create blankets or pillowcases or quilts ..., so the John Thorn “discovery” came as a shock to me, too. But just because this potentially new information turns our preconceived notions on their head, doesn’t mean it’s impossible for it to be true. There was a time when everyone alive was absolutely positive that the earth was flat, too.
There is a lesson to be learned from all of this, though. And that is a lesson that can be applied to any research, whether it’s about Joe Jackson, about baseball cards, or about anything else: trusting just one source, no matter how reliable that source may normally be, can be a dangerous thing. "
Sorry cubman - oh that what we wish to be were always true - there is NO CHANCE these were issued to be used as pen wipes. PERIOD. You can use a baseball to plug a hole in a dam but that doesn't mean it was meant to be.
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