Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Horizontal bop, part 2 ... finally
Way back when, I wrote a tribute to horizontal cards. In it, I said I'd break the tribute into two parts -- the pre-1992 cards that I displayed in that post, and the 1992-present cards that I said I would write in Part 2 sometime in the future.
Well, months went by and Part 2 is one of the many, many ideas, promises, commitments and vows to be a better man that escaped from my brain during that period.
I'm not here to pick up my forgotten vow to be a better man. But I am here to continue my look at horizontal baseball cards. Aren't you lucky.
The thing about post 1991 horizontal cards is there are SO MANY of them. After a gap of 15 years without a single horizontal player card, Upper Deck opened the door for card companies to issue as many horizontal cards as they wanted. Soon after, just about every set featured sideways rectangular photographs.
But for me, even though there's a lot of horizontal pics, it hasn't gotten old. In fact, if you'll remember my favorite card of last year is a horizontal card:
And my second-favorite card of last year is a horizontal card:
And my favorite card of this year, so far, is a horizontal card:
I have praised several other horizontal cards whether in random posts or in cardboard appreciations:
And, my very first post on this blog featured a horizontal card.
So, yeah, I like the wide-angle look.
I missed a lot of cards that came out in the 1990s and early 2000s, so I'm sure there are plenty of cool horizontal cards that I have never seen, let alone own, but I'll show you what I've stumbled across from my collection.
First, one of my favorite sets of all-time, 1993 Upper Deck, is filled with great horizontal cards:
This one is in the header and I have shown it too much already.
This is the same thing, but doesn't quite do the job as the previous card. Dawson looks a bit clumsy.
Horizontal photos are great for plays at the plate. I like this one because it looks like Gary Carter both tagged out the Giant and knocked him out cold.
Here is another one. Cecil Fielder peeking through the wickets makes the entire card.
If you're looking for great wide shots in cards, after turning to early Upper Deck, the next place you should go is 1992 Stadium Club.
Yes, it's overproduced, but it's got some great stuff:
Everything you need right there.
Another good set for the horizontal is Fleer Ultra. I've complained about Ultra before because the design barely changed from year to year and I'm forever confusing the cards -- is this a 2006 or a 2007? It drives me loopy. But if you don't care at all about organization, then feast your eyes on these photos:
Shawn Green shrinking himself down and going the other way.
Mark Prior with a stare that says 2003. Unfortunately it will never be 2003 again.
Aside from play-at-the-plate photos, horizontal shots work great with "signing autographs" photos.
Back to 1993, here is Charles Johnson and a whole mess of teal.
And this is a personal favorite.
Sometimes card sets go with the horizontal shot and they really shouldn't. I complained about that once during a worst card of 2010 post. But there are other instances in which the card design really doesn't work with horizontal photos.
This could have been a card of the year if featured on a full-bleed card. It's a great shot. But the black border kills the horizontal cards in the 2007 Topps set.
Here is another example. Please note the woman on her cell phone that I circled in red.
I know exactly what she's saying:
"You've got to get me out of here. I'm surrounded by sweaty guys who keep acting like they play for the team on the field. They won't shut up. They're loud, they're obnoxious, they chant for no reason, I think I've been spit on five times, and now they're cheering like idiots for this greasy looking dude. Come pick me up."
All right, here are a couple other examples from some "kid-friendly" sets:
1994 Collector's Choice was filled with horizontal photos. It seems like 75 percent of the set is horizontal (but not my dream of 100 percent for a full set).
Personally, I'd like to see a set that features players on the field but doing things you don't normally associate with ballplayers. It doesn't have to be anything wild, just something like the Olson card, or this:
Al Leiter operating the pitching machine.
Unfortunately, right now Leiter is a Yankee broadcaster drone. At this moment he's on TV, saying, "The Yankees are the great almighty organization. Every player in baseball wishes they could wear the Yankee uniform and stare at the splendor of Yankee Stadium and thank God every hour that they don't play for one of those other teams. I'm not saying this because I'm wearing the headphones. Every single player is in awe of us. They would lick the filthy alleys of New York just for one at-bat in Yankee pinstripes."
Michael Kay interjects: "Well, you know the Yankees have more Series flags flying at their stadium than any other team. Far, far more. A giant gap exists between us and the useless peons who populate the major leagues. It's a void really. A yawning chasm. Here's us. Here's them. A tremendous gulf of envy in between. I am contractually obligated to remind everyone of that at least five times during every broadcast. Soon we will be putting up virtual flags for future World Series we might win, just so we can stay ahead forever in the race to see who brags obnoxiously the most."
Me: Note to self, never watch YES for the rest of my life.
OK, that was a tangent. And to wash that ugliness away, I'll just throw up some more of my personal favorite horizontal cards:
There are several key horizontals in Masterpieces, but this one is super awesome.
Head-first slide shots have not been unique for years, but this one has it all. The dirt flying, the helmet flying, the look on Smith's face. It embarrasses other head-first photos.
Not a lot of cards show a famous baseball moment on a player card, but this is the famed play in which Eliot Johnson bowled over Cervelli and everyone got their undies wadded up.
Awesome. Yes, he cheated. It's still awesome. If only for the old SportChannel logo on the railing.
This would have been much better with a different player. But I can't argue with the shot.
Here is Cal in a photo that reminds me of the Roger Clemens card from the previous year. It's not as good as that one, but it's still pretty cool. This was three years before Ripken would pass Gehrig.
I'll end it with Campy, just because it's Campy. And I've got more Campy coming up soon.
So that's my long delayed Part 2. I hope you enjoyed. For those who were looking forward to this post way back in September, I'm sorry. I promise to be a better man.