Another post in the “Randomly Occurring Periodic Post About Something Design Related” series, to fulfill my Monthly Quota.
Do you remember when baseball card companies had to use an airbrush to make alterations to a photograph? I used to love the botch-jobs Topps in particular would produce, with completely fake-looking jerseys and helmets painted onto players who’d been traded after their photo was taken.
And sometimes, they would go NUTS and airbrush more than just the cap. Check out this sweet 1978 Dave Kingman Topps card, wherein the graphic designers at Topps airbrushed his cap, jersey, hair, neck, and shoulders, as well as the background. The only thing real in the entire photo is his face. The result is a cartoonish-looking hodgepodge that, if one did not know better, could be mistaken for a mash-up of parts of other photos. Let me guess: Ryne Sandberg’s nose, Ron Santo’s eyes, Greg Maddux’s jaw, and Kingman’s eyebrows? I’m right? Hilarious.
You know what else was dominant? When there would be an error in the photo, like the infamous Billy Ripken “F*** Face” card.
Everybody you knew “claimed” to have the Eff Face card, just like everybody “claimed” they had made out with that one really hot girl from the 7th grade that totally never talked to dorky 5th graders but still somehow you were convinced that everyone believed it when you said she kissed YOU. And, just like the sad truth to that story, very few people actually had the Billy Ripken Eff Face card. It was like the white whale for an eleven-year old kid in 1989, like myself. I would have paid $20 for the card if I had $20 to spend, just to have it.
Well, in the just-released 2007 Topps set, both of these scenarios converge in one epic masterpiece. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you the Derek Jeter 2007 Topps card:
From Sports Collectors Daily: “Someone was having a little fun between the final proofing and the printing process,” Topps spokesman Clay Luraschi told SportsCollectorsDaily.com. “We first saw the card only after it was printed and honestly, could not do anything but laugh.”
There’s so many things to love about this, beyond the fact that this card was actually printed and continues to be distributed in packs of cards. First up, the artist spent the time to re-draw the fence lines in front of 1955 Mickey Mantle in the dugout to enhance the realism. They could have done some adjusting with the lighting, but all in all, a halfway decent job.
But the cut-out of President Bush above the dugout is another story entirely. Every single person around him in the original photo is blurry due to the camera’s depth of field focusing on the action — namely, Derek Jeter striking out. But W is completely in focus, because one of the powers you are bestowed with as Commander in Chief is “Anti-Gaussian Blur”. Everyone around you becomes blurry, while you stay in complete focus, allowing the eyes of the world to enjoy your awesome power that much more. Because having your finger on the nuclear button isn’t enough: Anti-Gaussian Blur! How’s that for a sales pitch?
The real fun, though, is in imagining what W would be doing were the photo real. I look at it and imagine he has a bluetooth hands-free cell phone in his ear, talking to Jeb, who’s at home watching the game on TV. “Do you see me, Jebber? I’m waving now! You see me now? Sweet! Rock on!”
I hate people who do that at baseball games. Which is why imagining W doing it is so satisfying.
I showed the card online to my friend Mandy, who proclaimed “It looks like W is just back from active duty in the middle east. He’s missing his left arm and both legs.” Wow. Only from the mind of college a student.
On a lighter note, I showed it to a guy at the office, and he said, “Well, that’s it then. The terrorists have won. Bastards.”
But the best reaction came from my brother, who upon seeing the card uttered, “Hey, I think I see Elaine Benes in an Orioles cap!”