Why The “1972 Mini” Cards Might Look Wrong To You

Whenever Topps does something Heritage-y, Archive-y or Lineage-y, my thoughts turn to “How will they re-create these cards for teams which didn’t exist at the time?”

So when I saw that they were going to do 1972 minis, my first thought was –

Well, to be honest, my first thought was “Minis. Why did it have to be minis?”

– But my second thought was “I’ll be curious to see how they handle all the teams that they can’t just copy from the original 1972 cards” (i.e. the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rockies, Marlins, Rays, Diamondbacks and Nationals).

So after pulling this Giancarlo Stanton card from a pack…
2013 Topps 1972 Mini Giancarlo Stanton
…I just shook my head and disapprovingly said “Duuuuuuuuuuuuuude…”

The first thing I noticed was the fact that the “LINS” part of “MARLINS” sort of sags down closer to the border, which looks sloppy.

…but something else about it looked wrong.

After a minute or two, I realized that the big problem is on the perspective. The letters are supposed to look like they’re coming out from behind the photo, all of them originating at some distant vanishing point.

Here, I’ll give you an example… I took a 1972 Frank Robinson card and used pink lines to extend the drop shadow on the letters (This was done virtually; no HOFers were harmed during this exercise):
1972 Topps Frank Robinson with lines
The letters are meant to look like they’re emerging from some distant point behind Frank’s head.  These lines don’t all converge on exactly the same point, but that’s probably just me not drawing the pink lines right… it’s still close enough to get the idea across.

But look at what happens when I do the same thing to the Stanton card:
2013 Topps 1972 Mini Giancarlo Stanton with lines
See? It’s a freakin’ mess. The person who did this may have the skills, but didn’t “get” what the original artist was doing… or maybe they weren’t given enough time to do it right.

Whatever the reason for this, it fails a critical test: Is it better than I could’ve done?  I’ve got some artistic ability and I like to play around with Paint Shop Pro, but I am not, by anyone’s definition, a Graphic Artist.  I’m not even one of these people who thinks they can call themselves a Graphic Designer because he/she made up a business card saying that they’re a Graphic Designer.

…So when someone who makes a living out of manipulating pixels, someone who ostensibly calls this their career, when that person produces something which makes me feel like I could do better, then that’s a failure.

You know what? I’m not objective on this. We should ask someone who doesn’t have a stake in this… someone like…. Oh, I don’t know… Someone like the 1971 National League ERA Leaders. I just happen to have them here… OK, guys. Look at this mini. What do you think of the job Topps did on this card?

1972 Topps 1971 NL ERA Leaders

See, it’s not just me. Even Seaver, Roberts and Wilson are unimpressed.

“The Champs” Then…. The Champs Again?

In 1966, The Orioles had just switched to the “cartoon bird” caps, went 97-63 and finished 9 games ahead of the 2nd place Twins (and the Red Sox & Yankees finished in 9th & 10th… those were the days).  The O’s would sweep the Dodgers in 4 and bring a World Championship to Baltimore for the first time.

Here’s hoping that “Cartoon Bird 2” brings the current Orioles the same fortune.  I’m going to fight off the temptation to make any predictions;  right now, I’m  happy the Orioles don’t  have to face the red-hot A’s.

Two of the guys on this card are currently immortalized in bronze at Camden Yards…  Well, no, not the guys themselves, it’s not a Han Solo thing where Frank & Brooks are in suspended animation.  I’m talking about the new bronze statues… very nice bronze statues, if I may say so.

The guy in the middle is Orioles manager Hank Bauer.  I’ll tell you, “24” has ruined the name Bauer for me.  Back when Rick Bauer was a pitcher for the Orioles, and 24 was on the air, Mrs. Shlabotnik and I referred to him as “Federal Agent Rick Bauer”.  Now I find that phenomenon has spread to Federal Agent Hank Bauer.  Yep, Jack, Rick and Hank Bauer, the terrorist-fighting dynasty.

1974 Week: Gary Matthews and Frank Robinson

Nice action shot – or “just-after-the-action shot” – from Shea  Stadium… Wayne Garrett is the Met standing on third, and John McNamara is the Giants’ third base coach.

For those of you who wonder about partial ads in the background, above the 396 mark on the fence is the bottom of an ad for Manufacturers Hanover, a New York bank of the period.

Gary Matthews is the father of recent (and overpaid) Major Leaguer Gary Matthews, Jr.

While trying to confirm that John McNamara was the third base coach of the Giants, I found a February 3rd, 1974 article from the Modesto Bee about how John McNamara was hired as the third manager of the Padres… but what raised my eyebrows was the line “…after team  officials decided against making Maury Wills the first black manager in the Major Leagues…”  I’d never heard about this before, I’ll have to do more research.  The article quoted the team officials as saying they were looking for someone with more experience.

…and here’s the guy who would become the first black manager (and another cool card).

The End Of A Crazy Week

Without getting into details which will interest nobody, the week started with the death of a major appliance and continued with work during the day and nights of appliance shopping and income tax preparation… Today I came home, signed on to my blog and found that even though I haven’t had a chance to post anything since yesterday afternoon, I got far more views today than I’d ever gotten before, aided largely by 56 views from Venezuela.  I could count my previous Venezuelan views on one hand, so this caught me by surprise… I’m not complaining, just surprised.  And I wouldn’t want to be rude, so…

¡Buenas tardes, pueblo de Venezuela!

I’d say more, but the Spanish I know is mainly scattered words and phrases, many of them I learned years ago from a foul-mouthed Colombian co-worker.

So, after a long day at the end of a long week, I need the baseball card equivalent of comfort food… Something vintage… something I got at the show I went to two weeks ago… Let’s see, what do I have?  How about a 1972 Frank Robinson?

Mmmmmmm… Psychedelic goodness…