Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Awesome night card, pt. 233 (where have I seen that before?)

Other than an interest in sports and a certain amount of creativity, my work life doesn't resemble the life of a baseball card maker much.

But there is one similarity -- selecting photos.

In my job, I try to pick the best photos for the sports section that day. It's an inexact process because games run late, photographers take forever to get photos to you, and there's an ever-present deadline looming. So you grab a photo that won't make you upset when you see it in the paper the next day and hope that a better one doesn't come along later.

I have to think that this is something like what happens when Topps is selecting pictures for sets. Sure, they'd like the best possible photos, but because of time and availability that might not be possible.

Take this card of Adam Everett from 2006 Topps. It's good for what it is: Everett watching the flight of the ball after hitting it. You can even pinpoint former Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson stationed in the dugout, wearing his tell-tale jacket and with charts rolled up in his hand.

As collectors -- particularly set-collectors -- we would like this to be a photo distinct from any other photo in the set. This is Adam Everett's photo. His card is unique to him.

But then why do we have this?

Same set. Same team. Same camera position. Same general action from the player and general look on his face. Look, Rick Peterson is there again, only with his rolled-up charts at his face. And it appears that manager Willie Randolph has joined him (I'd recognize that cap and top of an ear anywhere).

This Willy Taveras card isn't that much different from the Adam Everett card.

But then as cool as it is to have distinctive photos for player in the same set, maybe it's a little too much to ask.

I have no knowledge of how Topps gets its photos. I don't think there was ever a time when it employed a fleet of photographers, which would be the ideal. But I think now, instead of relying on some free-lancers or something, they probably pay Getty Images or AP for pix and that's what we get. And your hands are tied when someone else is providing the work.

That doesn't mean I don't get sick of the relentless up-close action shots or the repeated zoomed-in photos on players' faces. That stuff needs to stop. (Oh, and repetition of images across brands, but that's another well-traveled topic).

Still as long as we're avoiding this ...

... I'll let the Everett and Taveras photos slide.


Night card binder candidates: Adam Everett, 2006 Topps, #37; Willy Taveras, 2006 Topps, #173
Do they make the binder?: Neither of them do. Sorry. Maybe if the Astros move back to the National League, I'll reconsider.


  1. Topps contracts with Getty now. It's an exclusive deal too, so they can't use other photos. That's my understanding of what Sooz said to me when I asked on Twitter.

    But variety in poses,locales, etc. would be good....

  2. They might not make the Night Owl binder, but if they're up for trade they'll fit right in my Astros binder. Let me know.

    1. Send me an email and I'll ship them to ya.