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Why is a Chief Wahoo patch on this card?

A reader made an interesting inquiry about a baseball card auctioned on eBay that had a Chief Wahoo patch on it. Does anybody have a reasonable explanation as to why, since it definitely looks out of place?


Jim Bratton of Kirtland, Ohio, explains:

“To me the card is either misrepresented by Panini or just an outright fake jersey card.

“The card in question is a Panini Flawless Jake Bauers. It shows part of a Chief Wahoo patch as a jersey card. Jake Bauers only played for the Indians in 2019; he was acquired from Tampa on Dec. 13, 2018. Chief Wahoo was eliminated from Cleveland uniforms after the October 2018 playoffs. He did not appear on uniforms in 2019, not even in spring training.

“Therefore, Jake Bauers could not have played in a game with this patch.

“As a technicality, the back of the card reads ‘The enclosed player-used material and autograph are guaranteed by Panini America Inc.’ I'm not sure what ‘player used material’ means, as it doesn't say game used. I guess Bauers could have used the jersey for something or another player could have used it in 2018. Same thing for the autograph. Yes, it is an autograph, but did Bauers sign it or Jane Doe?

“Maybe I haven't followed the hobby as closely enough to know that this is the norm, but if I bought this card I would certainly expect the jersey & signature be from Jake Bauers.”

It would be a reasonable assumption. But might there be a reasonable explanation? Got any guesses out there?

SCD reached out twice to Panini in an effort to get an explanation about the card but have yet to hear back. We’ll be sure to relay its response if one ever comes.

For the record, the card in question sold on eBay for $33 on Jan. 12.  

Dave Strege is Editor of SCD. Reach him at

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