Home Trading Cards & Memorabilia Forum

Sam Jones, Sam Jones, or Sam Jones?

As most of you know, I am a Cardinals team set collector. I also collect signed Topps Cardinals team sets which I have chronicled in an ongoing thread since 2007. I am approximately 95% complete from 1952 to 2019.

Here lately I have resorted to using cut signatures from index cards and gluing them to Topps cards for players that have long since passed away. So far, I have done 11 of them. There are 4 1952 Topps high numbers that are Cardinals. My Wilmer Mizell is an "on card" signature. The other three, Les Fusselman, Eddie Yuhas, and Hal Rice are all 3 cut signatures. All three of these are virtually impossible since the high numbers are rare enough coupled with the fact that all three died decades ago.

I have since done a few more - 1958 Herm Wehmeier who passed away in 1973, 1953 Topps Hal Rice, 1953 Topps Les Fusselman, 1953 Topps Eddie Yuhas, 1960 Topps Cardinals coaches card with Howie Pollet (already have Keane, Katt, and Walker), 2000, 2001, and 2002 Topps Darryl Kile.

The beginnings of this actually started before my idea with the 1952 Topps. In 2014, Oscar Taveras tragically passed away in a car accident in the Dominican Republic 11 days after his 2014 Topps Update and Update Rookie Debut were released. This means it is unlikely that there is a signed card in existence. I was able to snag 2 authentic (with pictures) clear stickers signed the day before he left for the D.R. immediately after the Cardinals were eliminated from the playoffs. I got these 2 clear stickers from a member on this board. I think they look fantastic on my two 2014 Topps Update cards (base and rookie debut).

So, now I have a few more cut signatures that I want to pursue. By the way.....any cards that I have used cut signatures for, I will always be looking to replace them because "on card" is what I really want. However, the cut signature method will work until then.

**Now, here is the reason for this post. **It concerns Cardinals pitcher Sam “Toothpick” Jones. He pitched for the Cardinals in 1957 and 1958, and has a Topps card in those years as well as 1959. All three feature him as a Cardinals player. Since he passed away in 1971, any signature of his is a target of mine so I can use the cut on his 1957, 58, and 59 Topps cards.

Here is the problem. There are 2 more athletes named Sam Jones to be concerned with. There is another baseball player that played from 1914 – 1935. His name is “Sad” Sam Jones. There is also a basketball player for the Boston Celtics who played in the 1960’s by the name of Sam Jones.

So, there is Sam “Toothpick” Jones who played for the Cardinals; there is a “Sad” Sam Jones who played baseball earlier, but not for the Cardinals whose career ended in 1935; and there is a the basketball HOF’er Sam Jones.

This is where it gets MORE confusing and this is where I NEED HELP!

As we all know, in some years Topps used facsimile autographs on their cards. If you look at Sam Jones’ 1952 Topps and the back of his 1953 Topps, his signature looks exactly like the pictures I posted below of an “on card” autograph on a 1962 Topps and an “on card” autograph on a 1960 Leaf card.

Please hang with me!

Sam_Jones_1952_Topps

Sam_Jones_1953_Topps

Sam_Jones_1962_Topps

Sam_Jones_1960_Leaf

= = =

Now, we go to Sam “Toothpick” Jones 1956 and 1959 Topps cards with facsimile autographs. These autographs are identical to an index card I found on Ebay signed “Sad” Sam Jones. See below and compare. How did Topps get a “Sad” Sam Jones signature on a Sam “Toothpick” Jones card when “Sad” Sam ended his career in 1935 before Topps produced cards? Also if you find the “Sad” Sam Jones signed index card on eBay, you will notice that the title says “Toothpick” Sam Jones (apparently incorrectly).

My brain is going bananas!

Look at the "J" in all of these "Jones' "

Sam_Jones_1956_Topps

Sam_Jones_1959_Topps

Sam_Jones_Ebay_index_Sad_Sam_01

Close up

Sam_Jones_Ebay_index_Sad_Sam_02

= = =

Also, if you look at the Boston Celtic’s Sam Jones, his signature looks VERY similar to what I believe to be real Sam “Toothpick” Jones (1962 Topps and 1960 Leaf). Even though they look similar, I don’t think there would be any mix ups, would there?....like a Celtics player signs a baseball card?

The Baseball Card Exchange (BBCE) on eBay has a Sam Jones cut signature authenticated by JSA and slabbed by Beckett. I messaged them and asked them which Sam Jones it was and they said it was the Boston Celtics Sam Jones. But if you look at the signature, it looks VERY similar to what I believe is Cardinals player Sam “Toothpick” Jones.

Sam_Jones_BBCE_Celtics

Sam_Jones_1962_Topps

Sam_Jones_1960_Leaf

= = =

Also, here is a modern Celtics Sam Jones signature for reference. It is a little more refined, but looks sort of like the JSA / Beckett slabbed one above. But in my opinion, the JSA / Beckett slabbed signature looks more like the Cardinals Sam "Toothpick" Jones than the Celtics Jones, but they are close.

Sam_Jones_Celtics_Modern

= = =

I just need some guidance, folks. Cardinals pitcher Sam Jones passed away in 1971 and it is going to be very difficult to land these. A cut signature is my best option for now, but I need to know what to look for! As you can see, even the facsimile signatures are not much help because Topps contradicted itself!

Any help or comments would be appreciated.

Shane

Comments

  • mrmoparmrmopar Posts: 1,020 ✭✭✭✭

    I have been there before. I was collecting players who were on an all-Star roster and I seem to recall Bill Lee was one that I struggled with, the 1934-47 Lee, not Space Man Lee. Any common name can really cause issues. Bob Wilson is another. Bob "Red" Wilson of the Tigers is common. Bob Wilson of the Dodgers was not. How about Bob Miller? 3 of them playing right around the same time in the late 50s/early 60s!

    i don't have any good advice other than to be patient and do your homework (as you have done) and don't believe anything a graded company or seller says necessarily.

    I collect Steve Garvey, Dodgers and signed cards. Collector since 1978.
  • frankhardyfrankhardy Posts: 8,033 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 5, 2023 7:09AM

    @mrmopar said:
    I have been there before. I was collecting players who were on an all-Star roster and I seem to recall Bill Lee was one that I struggled with, the 1934-47 Lee, not Space Man Lee. Any common name can really cause issues. Bob Wilson is another. Bob "Red" Wilson of the Tigers is common. Bob Wilson of the Dodgers was not. How about Bob Miller? 3 of them playing right around the same time in the late 50s/early 60s!

    i don't have any good advice other than to be patient and do your homework (as you have done) and don't believe anything a graded company or seller says necessarily.

    I had a thread a while back on the Bob Millers. Two of the were featured on Cardinals cards. The 1959 Topps was the older Bob Miller. The 1960 and 1961 Topps was the younger. I originally had a 1961 Topps that had the older Miller's signature. I researched and confirmed that. I found the right signature eventually. It got really confusing because their 2 signatures were very similar, but I figured out the subtleties and differences of them.

    Shane

  • mrmoparmrmopar Posts: 1,020 ✭✭✭✭

    I was only interested in the one who would later pitch for the Dodgers, but I think he was one of them on the Cards too.

    I collect Steve Garvey, Dodgers and signed cards. Collector since 1978.
  • frankhardyfrankhardy Posts: 8,033 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited December 8, 2023 12:10PM

    @mrmopar

    Yes. He was the younger Bob Miller with Cardinals cards in 1960 and 1961. The 1959 Topps Bob Miller was traded to the Cardinals but never pitched for them because he retired.

    Their signatures are very similar. I will look in my thread in a minute to tell you what page where I describe the differences and show the differences in the two autographs if you do not know.

    Edited to say - it is on page 18 of my thread middle ways down. Looks like you commented on it then.

    Shane

  • frankhardyfrankhardy Posts: 8,033 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have been able to piece together a bit of information that confirms a few things.

    First of all, I have been able to confirm, from 2 different sources, that Sam "Toothpick" Jones ALSO went by "Sad" Sam Jones just like the Sam Jones that played from 1914 to 1935. Sometimes, he signed his name "Sad" Sam to pay homage to the original "Sad" Sam, according to SABR (the Society for American Baseball Research).

    Also, right on the back of his 1957 Topps card, the biography starts by saying "Sad Sam was the National League's Strikeout King last year for the second straight season.

    This means that there are 2 official sources that say that the Cardinals Sam Jones ALSO was known as "Sad" Sam Jones (the second "Sad" Sam).

    But that's not all. He was also known as Sam "Toothpick" Jones because he always kept a toothpick in his mouth while pitching according to the back of his 1958 Topps card. So, he was known by both "Sad" Sam and Sam "Toothpick" Jones.

    With that mystery being solved, I have also been able to distinguish the signatures between the original "Sad" Sam and the 2nd "Sad Sam "Toothpick" Jones. The confusing thing is that the Cardinals Sam Jones (who also played for the Indians, Cubs, Giants, Tigers, and the Orioles)......he not only had two nicknames, but he also had 2 different styles of signatures.

    I have been able to confirm this by looking at Topps facsimile autographs and also by process of elimination by studying the original "Sad" Sam Jones' signature and the Celtics' Sam Jones' signature.

    I have a couple of leads on a couple of cut signatures that I hope to obtain. I need 3, so if anybody has one for sale, I am open to purchasing if the price is right. Thanks.

    Shane

  • frankhardyfrankhardy Posts: 8,033 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I was able to find out on the Beckett slab signature above from the Baseball Card Exchange that after I presented evidence they were not sure that it was the Celtics Sam Jones after all. After I presented the evidence to them they told me that they had just assumed it was the basketball player and that also I was probably right in my assessment. I have carefully researched that autograph and I am certain that it is the Sam Jones that I am after so I was able to purchase it.

    I also purchased another index card that has a date on it with him playing for the Detroit Tigers in 1962 which confirms that this is the same Sam Jones that I'm after as well. So I have 2 index cards on the way that are authentic and the Sam Jones that I am looking for. Very excited to have some progress on this research.

    Shane

Sign In or Register to comment.