Skip to main content

Awesome night card, pt. 1

This is the first in what should be a regular series featuring cards of players photographed at night. Like I mentioned in an earlier post, I collect cards like this because they are totally awesome, or whatever the kids are saying these days (I've watched "Fast Times ..." a few times. Sue me).

Part of the trick to "night cards" is first figuring out whether they were actually photographed at night. For example, a number of photos on cards taken during games at Yankee Stadium, especially in the '70s, look like night shots, but they're not. The darkness of the stands there seems to give the illusion of a night game.

Once that's established, I like to figure out the date of the game in the photo, especially if it's a card that doesn't feature a postseason game. It's usually simple to pinpoint the date of playoff games.

This one was a little tricky, and until I stumbled upon one key fact, I was about to put out a plea to White Sox Cards to help me figure it out. But I think I've got it. Here is the scenario:

This 1983 Topps photo is from a game Britt Burns pitched in 1982 (I know it's '82 because that was the first year the White Sox wore their red, white and blue unis with the block SOX thingy stripped across the chest). There is flag bunting in the background but it's not an All-Star Game because Burns didn't pitch in an All-Star Game (he was selected in 1981 but didn't play -- thank you baseball-reference). The White Sox weren't in the postseason in '82, so the flag bunting means it was Chicago's home opener (Burns is wearing a home jersey).

Burns pitched his first home game that year against Baltimore. It was a doubleheader. Burns pitched the first game. It must've been a twi-nighter because retrosheet says both games were at night. At first, I didn't think that could be the home opener because why would the White Sox schedule a doubleheader as the home opener? But then I remembered, the start of the 1982 season was plagued by a series of April snowstorms that called off games in the East and Midwest. So it makes sense that Chicago's home opener was a doubleheader. Add the fact that the White Sox didn't play a game the previous day before the doubleheader and that previous day was a Friday, and it makes even MORE sense (snow-out?). And if you look at Chicago's schedule, sure enough, the team played five straight games on the road to open the season before coming home to Comiskey on April 17, the date Burns pitched.

Phew! That's a long way to go to come up with this: the photo was taken on April 17, 1982, a 3-1 victory by the White Sox over the Orioles in Comiskey Park. Burns was the winner, pitching seven innings and allowing three hits, Dennis Martinez was the loser, Greg Luzinski hit a two-run home run, and it was Mrs. Peacock in the study with the candlestick!

The White Sox won the second game, too, 10-6, to go to 7-0 on the season. They'd start the year 8-0 before losing to the (ugh!) Yankees.

Hope you enjoyed playing night card detective.

Comments

madding said…
That's pretty awesome. I don't think I've ever attempted to deconstruct a baseball card to determine what the date of the photo was, other than noticing certain things like World Series or All-Star patches and figuring out that they must have been taken at such events.
Steve Gierman said…
Cunning deduction! I think you are right on the money with that one.

Popular posts from this blog

Stuck in traffic with Series 2

In the whirlwind that has been my life this month, I found myself going absolutely nowhere for a portion of Thursday afternoon. I was in the middle of yet another road trip, the third one this week. This one was for work, and because it was job-related, it became quickly apparent that it would be a waste of time. The only thing that could save it was a side visit to the nearby Walmart to see if I could spot some Topps Series 2. I found it right away, which was shocking as I was pretty much in the middle of the country, where SUVs share the road with tractors and buggies. Who knew that the Amish wanted Series 2, too? The problem was getting back into civilization to open the contents of the 72-card hanger box I bought. The neighboring village is undergoing a summer construction project smack in the middle of downtown. It's not much of a downtown, but the main road happens to be the main artery in the entire county. Everyone -- and by everyone I mean every tractor trailer ha

Heading upstate

  Back in 1999, Sports Illustrated published an edition at the end of the year rating the top 50 athletes of the century for every state.   As a lifelong Upstate New Yorker, I braced for a list of New York State athletes that consisted almost entirely of downstate natives, that is, folks from the greater NYC area and Long Island.   We Upstaters are used to New York City trampling all over the rest of the state. They have the most people, the loudest voices. It happens all the time. It's a phenomenon unique to this state. Heck, there are still people out there who, when you tell them you're from New York, automatically think you're from NYC. They don't think of cows and chickens when they think of New York. But trust me, there are a lot of cows and chickens in New York State. Especially cows.   So, anyway, when I counted up the baseball players that SI listed as the greatest from New York State, six of the nine were from New York City or Long Island. I was surprised all

G.O.A.T, the '80s: 30-21

  I often call this current period of the television sports calendar the black hole of sports programming. The time between the end of the Super Bowl and the beginning of televised Spring Training baseball games is an empty void when I'm looking for something to watch on traditional television. I don't watch the NBA and the NHL on TV holds my interest for maybe a period. College basketball I can't watch until the tournament. This didn't used to be as much of a problem back when I could turn instead to my favorite sitcoms in February. Do you remember when February was "sweeps month"? (Maybe it still is, I don't know). Networks would make sure that every top show aired original episodes that month, no reruns. So you'd always have something to view during the week even when the sports scene was boring. (I know, people have multiple streaming viewing options now. But I find myself going weeks sometimes before I see something I want to view on Netflix or Am