Tuesday, September 22, 2015

You've seen these before

I received a healthy stack of 2015 Stadium Club in the package that Dave sent last week. I still consider this the set of the year and, indeed, that's what Dave wrote on the team bag that contained the Stadium Club cards.

This stack of almost 50 cards -- only 2 or 3 of them dupes -- means that I should finally put up a want list for this set. And, even though you've seen all of these cards before, I still feel obligated to show some of them because they are so striking.

Here they are with no commentary:

You get the idea.

The reason that this set is so great is that the photography is so great, and that's because the photos were culled from the best of the best by the best photographers.

Most, if not all, of the Stadium Club photos were acquired from Getty Images, meaning that these photos are also available to you -- separate from the image that you see on a baseball card -- for a fee.

Want this image to put up in your spare room, or over your bed if you want to freak yourself out? Well, you can do that. Just go to Getty Images, type in "Dennis Eckersley," scan down about four rows, and you'll find the image. All that's left to do is supply the details on the kind of photo you want, fork over your credit card number, and you've got your picture.

I'm not sure how feasible this is for most people, because these images cost a lot of money (the Eck image that I tested out came to over $2,000). But the point is that a lot of the images that are in Stadium Club you have seen before -- or at the very least are available elsewhere.

I stumbled upon a couple other Stadium Club images over the weekend.

My wife is remodeling the living room (notice I didn't say "my wife and I"). There was a lot of painting involved and part of the process included taking down the "his and her" bookshelves, stacking the books on the floor for awhile, and then reassembling everything.

I don't look at the books I have enough, so when I was returning them to the shelves, I made some rediscoveries.

The largest book on my shelves is this one:

It's a coffee-style book, issued by Sports Illustrated in 2006.

It's a historical look at baseball over the previous century, separated by decades, and peppered with SI stories. But most of this book is Sports Illustrated's well-known photography. There are huge photos, most in full color, from every decade of the 1900s and into the first decade of the 2000s.

I received this book as a gift, I think from my mother-in-law, back in 2006 or 2007. I know I looked through it a few times, and then I put it on the shelf and let it collect dust for several years.

But going through it as I put the books back on the shelf, one photo jumped out at me.

First I'll put this card right here:

And now I'll show you the card with the picture that I saw in the book:

Now you know where the card photo originated.

This photo was taken by Paul Buck, and I'm assuming it first appeared in an edition of Sports Illustrated at some point in the 1990s.

But that image is now a part of the Getty Images catalog and after scanning through hundreds of photos of Ivan Rodriguez on Getty's site, I found the one that appeared in SI and on the 2015 SC card.

I also found out that the photo was taken June 30, 1998 during a game against the Dodgers. Cool!

Inspired by that discovery, I looked through the rest of the book to see if I could find any other images that appeared in this year's Stadium Club set.

I didn't find any -- at least not with the cards that I have -- but I did find one from last year's set.

I considered this the best card of 2014 when it came out. I really enjoy the story it tells on the card.

I should have known it was taken by a professional photographer and probably should have known that it appeared in Sports Illustrated, since they had the best sports photographers in the world for decades.

Here is the image from the book, with the card added:

It's not the same picture, obviously. But it's from the same moment.

The Baseball Book doesn't mention who took the photo -- it simply credits "TSN Archives." But it does say that it happened in 1948 during Dodgers spring training in the Dominican Republic.

That was interesting to me, because when I said that this was the card of the year, I said that the photo took place in Havana, Cuba, because a certain Official Dodgers website attributed the photo to Cuba and 1947.

But when you search Getty Images, you find the same thing that is mentioned in SI's baseball book. Jackie Robinson signing in the Dominican Republic in 1948.

So never mind what I said at the end of the end of the year post. (I'll have to edit it when I get a chance).

Stuff like this is fascinating to me. But I'm not sure how I feel about the whole matter of images appearing elsewhere and then appearing on a card.

Sure, I love to see the greatest sports photos ever show up on baseball cards. But the fact that they've been "elsewhere" diminishes it a little bit for me.

One of the joys of baseball cards growing up is knowing that the photos you saw on those cards would appear only on those cards, because Topps or whoever hired photographers for their exclusive use. I guess that doesn't happen anymore.

Anyway, I suppose the only thing that matters is cool cards, right?

That's what you get from 2015 Stadium Club.


  1. At this point I've learned that almost all of the photographs for the prospects in various Bowman/Topps brands are purchased from FourSeamImages and often just photoshopped. I've learned to live with it.

    Occasionally you can find "exclusive" cards when you come across the MiLB issued cards only available at minor league stadiums. Although even those have photographs taken by professionals.

  2. Since these photos have mostly appeared elsewhere, perhaps Topps should do some online voting or take suggestions as to the card photos to use for certain sets. Maybe give a set of limited edition cards out to each person whose suggestion "wins" or something...

    I'm all in favor of great photography on cards no matter where it comes from. It beats the repetitive use of the same photos over and over again just because a particular photo is one taken by and owned by Topps...

  3. I would love to see a Stadium Club card of Lou Whitaker, and Alan Trammell turning two. I tried to look up cards for Tram and Whitaker, but I have not been able to find one yet with the two of them on a single card. I think that Stadium Club could really do justice to a Hall of Fame double play combo that probably won't make it to the Hall of Fame individually. I can picture the card now, a horizontal night shot with Trammell underhanding the ball to Lou at second, and the beautiful green grass of Tiger Stadium behind them.

  4. Good investigative digging, I like learning about stuff like the Jackie Robinson photo. Reuse doesn't bother me from other sources much, but reusing photos from previous cards bugs me.

  5. I reviewed your want lists and have cards from those lists. I found that I have one of the Nebulous 9 cards, the 1972 Maury Wills In Action card. Do you still need the card? Also I have some of the 91 line drive cards and Topps 2015 second series cards. Would you be interested in these cards? My name is Mark and my blog is My Best Friend is Chipper Jones and email address is humdudeii@gmail.com. Thank you for your time.

  6. I'm shocked, just shocked to find that Topps reuses photographs. With apologies to Claude Raines.

    1. Love baseball themed coffee table books and both photos are awesome. I'll keep an eye out for this one the next time I hit the flea market.