Friday, November 6, 2009

Airbrushed Fridays: 1989 Topps UK Mini #69

Didn't think I'd go all oddball mini on you, did you? I was actually digging through my oddball card stacks for Fred McGriff cards for a trade to be mentioned later when I ran across an old friend, Mr. Steve Sax. I actually sent another copy of this card to Night Owl Cards once upon a time in a completely unintentional mixup in which I had mistaken Sax for a Dodgers player. Given how much he detests the 27-time champs (congrats, by the way - to the zero Yankee fans who actually read this blog) I'm convinced he saw this as a dirty trick of some sort. I'm already wary of sending cards to people in team trades when said player left their favorite team for a hated rival or in a less than amicable way (hello, J.D. Drew, Mark Teixeira, John Smoltz...) but that's for another discussion.

Steve Sax was a five-time all-star second baseman who was speedy on the basepaths and provided a pretty handy bat for a middle infielder of the era. He was, in fact, best known as a Dodger, for better and for worse. At one point he caught a pretty nasty case of the Yips, but also seemed to be one of the few that actually recovered well from the issue (ahem... Chuck Knoblauch.)

Why did Topps airbrush Steve's photo? Sax joined the Yankees shortly after the 1988 season, but at the time it was virtually unheard of for Topps to capture a player in their new team's uniform, even for sets that came out in the middle of the new season. As shown before, even year-end traded sets rarely escaped the airbrushing phenomenon. Given the white card stock and the fact that this set was a UK release, the cards were likely produced by Topps Ireland. They either were likewise not opposed to airbrushing or they had no creative input into the photo selection.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? To my credit, I can say that I shouldn't feel so bad that I sent one of these cards to a die-hard Dodgers fan, since it's clear that Sax's uniform was really glossed over Dodgers gear all along. Without seeing the lettering, and fake drawn-on buttons aside, Sax's jersey top could just as easily contain Dodgers script as it could the Yankees. The photo is cropped low enough, however, that I think that some lettering was probably removed altogether as to remain ambiguous. The Yankees helmet logo isn't the worst thing I've ever seen, but it does seem ever so slightly off.


Bo said...

I am a Yankee fan who enjoys your blog and thought that the Sax and Randolph signings were actually a cover for a trade between the Dodgers and the Yankees as a 12-year-old in 1989.
BTW the Cardinals are my National League team and have been for my Yankee-fan family since the 1940s

kevincrumbs said...

Isn't he from Albany or something? I vaguely remember having a conversation with an old co-worker about him and how they went on a date when they were both in high school.

This is That Was Great said...
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