In my first post, I mentioned the simplicity of the poses in many of the cards in the 1972 set. This was not exclusive to the 72 set by any means. Topps was famous for many bland poses. I’m not sure how much of that was Topps and how much of it was the era in general. Once Donruss and Fleer entered the fray in 1981, the poses didn’t get much better. The quality of the photography in baseball cards in general didn’t really improve until Upper Deck issued their first set in 1989.
I lived in Clearwater, Florida for about 10 years and worked around baseball for the entire time I was down there. One of the things I noticed early was the photographers in spring training would tape rosters to their telephoto lenses. The names would have various marks next to them. I once asked about the system and I was told that one slash represented a portrait, one was another type of pose (I don’t remember) and if the photog would draw a circle around the “X” that meant they also had an action photo of the player in question.
My guess in in the 1970s those marks would have stood for:
1) Portrait staring up in the air
2) Hokey batting stance photo
3) Some horrible pose indicative of that player’s position.
Pitchers got this one: “Here I am, in the middle of my windup. Watch out ‘cause here it comes!”
The other pitcher variation was this one: “I just threw a pitch and this is my follow through. Bet you can’t hit it!”
Catchers got this beauty: This one reminds me of Crash Davis saying, “No, no. Serve it up,” right after he and Nuke LaLoosh argued about how the batter had never seen Nuke’s fastball.
Middle infielders got this one. “Check me out! I’m about to field a ground ball!”
Bonus points were also awarded if you got your picture taken in your positional pose while wearing a really, really shiny jacket.
I had a few of the Starter jackets back in the 80s but none of them were nearly that shiny.
There were also plenty of photos of guys wearing those rubber undershirts. Nothing screams 1970s baseball card like the guy wearing the rubber undershirt. Those were the days when you had a second job in the offseason selling insurance and showed up to spring training 25 pounds overweight. That problem was addressed by simply wearing a rubber undershirt and sweating off those pesky excess pounds. Foot Note: I may need to buy some of those rubber shirts.
If you were known as more of a hitter, there were poses for you too.
Check me out, I hit right handed
Oh yea! Well I hit lefty!
There have been many changes in baseball cards over the years. Some are good in my opinion and some have been horrible. Vastly improved photography is certainly one of the better ones.
But there’s a part of me that longs for the old days. I’m not sure if that makes me nostalgic or just old.