Every Topps set from the ‘50s to the ‘70s is filled with questionable photo selections. Many of the photos are so bad that one wonders if the editors selected them as an inside joke. More likely, the cost of film and processing meant photographers needed to conserve shots, resulting in a limited selection. Another explanation could simply be that baseball cards were for kids to collect and not thought of as works of art. In any case, the result is many memorable, quirky photos that will never again be part of the hobby.
1962 is loaded with “head shots,” due partly to the need to depict players on the expansion Mets and Colt .45’s. Channeling my inner Allen Funt, I will use this set to take a two-part look at some cardboard from the year of my birth.
Apparently, the early ‘60s photographers decided that “head shots” would be more interesting if the players weren’t looking directly at the camera. This artistic approach worked spectacularly well in the case of this iconic Mickey Mantle pose (which is used on the ’68 game card as well).
This concept didn’t work so well when the subject failed to grasp the need to turn the head, not just the eyes. Harry Craft, manager of the newly minted Colt ‘45s, appears not quite grasp the concept in this shot taken while coaching for the Cubs.
Future Hall-of-Fame inductee, Richie Ashburn, was already suffering the indignity of joining the ’62 Mets when Topps piled on with this beauty.
“Paranoia strikes deep” in the minds of Don Lee and Sam Jones. Apparently, something might be gaining on them.
Don Cardwell and Dick Stigman decided that somnambulism is the way to go for the most photogenic effect.
A bad hair day for George Whit and John Anderson was no impediment for the photographer.
The great Rocky Colavito and Bob Oldis appear to be experiencing confusion or angst. Perhaps “Trader” Lane walked by.
Existential sadness or clinical depression grips Barry Latman and Tracy Stallard. Latman is undoubtedly melancholy over having to play in Cleveland, while Stallard’s sadness stems from having recurring dreams of some guy with a crew cut and the number 61.
Since the prospect of part-two is probably generating great anger in some of you, I’ll close with the pent- up rage of George Thomas bubbling to the surface.