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Vehicles in the background

The 2020 Heritage team set for the Dodgers has been a milestone moment in terms of cars in the background on baseball cards.

If there was a timeline for chronicling cars on cards -- or should I say "vehicles on cards," very few drive a mere car these days -- it would include the 1964 Philadelphia Jim Brown card, the 1973 Topps Luis Alvarado card, another card I'll show in just a moment, and several others.

The latest stop on the timeline would be the Dodgers in 2020 Heritage.


Those are just a few examples. Most of the Dodgers Heritage cards this year feature a vehicle in the background if you look close enough. It has to be the most vehicle-infiltrated baseball team set ever. Even the two short-printed cards that I don't own yet -- Walker Buehler and A.J. Pollock -- each show cars.

I love this and I've documented the reasons why a few times. I am a recovered Matchbox cars addict and vehicles were my obsession as a kid before baseball came along. It also reminds me of those days from the '70s and '80s when you could see aspects of life in the background of baseball cards.

As a kid, I didn't really notice the vehicles and other things in the backgrounds of my cards but sometimes you need the benefit of age to realize how special those things were now that they are in such short supply, hidden by smoke effects or background deleted entirely or whatever. (I have noticed this in particular with music from when I was a teenager, it had a certain sonic sound that musicians just don't produce anymore).

Thank goodness for Heritage.

I know some of you feel the same way, too. Because some of you send me cards that feature just what I'm talking about.

I am now the owner of the famed 1971 Topps Garo Yepremian station wagon card!

I received the card from JWL who says he picks up this card every time he sees one because it's just that delightful. How did they make the station wagon look so real and the football so fake?

(By the way, I got on Twitter to find the link to JWL's account, and stumbled into a tweet that pissed me off so much on a professional level that I wrote a tweet, deleted it, rewrote it, redeleted it, quietly fumed, and then realized I still hadn't found JWL's account. That's Twitter in a nutshell).

I'm not sure why we decided we didn't need stuff like this in the background anymore but it's a fact that cards aren't nearly as delightful as they were back then and haven't been for some time. The cure for this is to do exactly what 2020 Heritage is doing and get some vehicles in the background again!

A handful of other needs from JWL. The TCMA Johnny Podres photo appears to have been taken at Wrigley Field. The Kiki Jones card does show a vehicle in the background, although I think it's some sort of grounds crew tractor. The Hideo Nomo '90s shiny? Yeah, we were far too cool for backgrounds by that point.

It seems to be an either-or situation. Do you want your backgrounds or do you want your shiny? This chrome version of Josh Turner's Heritage card wipes clean the vehicles in the background, although they're a bit more apparent in hand.

This card was sent by Kerry of Cards On Cards. It was kind of a "throw-in" to go with the cards that I selected during one of his Free Card Fridays, although Cards On Cards and I trade so often, it's a given I'm going to get cool Dodgers in every package.

But here are the Friday winnings. It's a selection of 1986 Topps Traded cards.

It's my goal to finish off all of the '80s Topps Traded sets someday, but I'm not committed enough to seek them out. I don't even know what I still need (I believe it's 1984, 1986, 1987 and 1988). So bit-by-bit it is.

This is the only one I really wanted. My goodness, what were we wearing in the '80s? We were all so confident back then that at least it wasn't what we wearing in the '70s.

The Dodgers Kerry sent were pretty key. I missed out on the Big League Top of the Class break. I'm not too sad as it's one of those logo parallel things I can easily ignore. I prefer my parallels bright and noticeable like the Opening Day Joc.

Two pivotal Kershaws in this package. The first is one of the great "As Seen" (On TV) inserts from this year's Donruss. Those Visa and MasterCard logos are interesting.

The other 2020 Kershaw is an advanced stats parallel. I was doing OK reading these advanced stats until I got to around the seventh column or so. Those baseball writers who geek up for online columns about spin rate and such, I worry about them a little.

Now, with those last few cards, I got away from backgrounds. I need to steer this thing back with a handful of cards I received from blog reader Bruce.

OK, so no cars in the background, but at least there are people!

I love the Waits card. While Rick Waits for his picture to be taken, fans pose, too!

Not much in the background to these cards but I still love mid-1980s Fleer.

Backgrounds also allow you to play detective and determine where a game was played, and sometimes when it was played, too!

I'm not sharp enough to figure out the when of this game. It looks like Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium. And it looks to be the day time. The Pirates played the Phillies a lot in 1984 so I didn't look it up.

But there's no doubt about it: backgrounds are sometimes educational and always fun. Especially when there are cars and trucks that go vroom, vroom!


Zippy Zappy said…
Now I'm curious to know if there are any cards of athletes standing in front of other vehicles like planes, trains and boats.
The station wagon in the Garo Yepremian card probably could have driven through a concrete wall and kept on mom had a similar one in the 70's and the thing was a tank.
night owl said…
The plane card I think of automatically is the '75 Supersonics team card:
Brian said…
"Vehicles" a great mini collection - would a card featuring Wade Boggs on a horse after the World Series fit in the category? (A Horse is a horse of course of COURSE)

The recent Topps NOW (I think it was last year) with the return of the bullpen car is a gray area for me. I mean sure it's a "car" but you wouldn't be able to drive it home. Also, not really in the background.

My theory on the weird football is that it had an NFL logo on it, so it had to be airbrushed out.
Bo said…
Re Zippy Zappy's comment there were some cards like that in the 90s. Sean Berry in a plane cockpit is a famous one. There was a 94 UD minor league card of someone at a boat cockpit, I forget who now.
Fred Pike said…
I see empty seats in the background. Fits my Frankenset criteria. Thanks.
Old Cards said…
The card I remember the most with a vehicle in the background is the 1970 Jim Fregosi with the pickup truck visible between his legs. I know you are collecting the 1970 set, so you may have it.
John Bateman said…
A lot of Cleveland Brown cards in the 1964 Philadelphia set featured Jim Browns card in the background. Also, I remember 2012 Bowman Alex Rodriguez card showing about 5 or 6 fans as plain as day that those fans could call his card their rookie card.
Commishbob said…
TCMA Stars of the 50s Charlie Dressen with a sweet car cameo.
I love cool backgrounds in card photos. My favorite minor league ballpark is Harbor Park Stadium, home of the Norfolk Tides. The park is on the Elizabeth River in downtown Norfolk, VA, and it looks out at the Norfolk Naval Station, which is a few miles away. On one of the cards in the 1994 ProCards Norfolk team set, if you look very closely, you'll see in the distant background an aircraft carrier.
Jon Renaut said…
Those Dodgers Heritage cards look like they were shot at spring training. I haven't been to the Dodgers' spring training field, but that looks a lot like where the Phillies play.
Fuji said…
I love it when people play cardboard detective with backgrounds. Unfortunately I just drank some ZzzQuil and not in the mood to use my brain right now.
There is a baseball card of a player inside an airplane.
Nick Vossbrink said…
Those Dodgers Heritage cards give me hope for Heritage in 2 years when chain link and cars will be 100% on brand.

Also I've been totally wanting to write a post about those mesh caps and spring training and how they were all over cardboard for a couple years and then have never been seen again.
Big League said…
I have a card (Bobby Bolin maybe) that shows a helicopter flying near Shea Stadium. I can take a photo and post it on Twitter.

A number of the New York Jets cards of 1975 have cars in the background.

An Upper Deck card of Cecil Fielder and Mickey Tettleton shows a crushed car. I think it was mentioned in a post here earlier this year.
Billy Kingsley said…
If I was a baseball guy I'd be hunting for those automotive cameos.
One of the SPs in 2020 Topps shows Ted Williams and his car. I might grab one if I ever see it cheap just for the car.
Then there's the card where the player himself is turned into a car (bus, anyway) that I wrote about earlier this year...
Anonymous said…
Jim Fregosi 1970 card is in spring training in Holtville California.
GCA said…
That Tudor card almost reminded me of church paintings where they have the halos around people. A little lean forward and he'd have lined it up...
bryan was here said…
I don't think anyone's mentioned the 1977 Dan Fouts with the Ford Country Squire in the background, the 1984 Fleer Kent Hrbek with the Chevette, or the one Upper Deck card of Franco Harris with a Dodge Dart on the sidelines.

And who could forget the Deion Sanders card where he's sitting in a helicopter? Not to mention the Edmonton Oilers card of Dean MacAmmond where he's laying on a snowmobile feeding deer.

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