Friday, January 21, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 2006 Topps #163

Although there signs of it here and there in earlier issues, Topps took the full Photoshop plunge in 2006 when it by and large dropped the campy studio photos of some of its recently traded players and draft picks. This, coincidentally, was the first year I returned to buying base Topps packs in earnest (after a 12+ year layoff) and this particular card was extremely confusing to me at the time.

Tom "Flash" Gordon was a hard throwing right handed starting pitcher who gained some notoriety later in his career as a reliever, even inspiring a Stephen King novel to be named after him. He was also one of the subjects of one of the first articles I ever read on the dangers of what card collectors tend to refer to as "prospecting". In the article, he was not-so-kindly referred to as "Flash in the Pan" Gordon. I should mention that the article was written in the late '80s, probably in either one of the Krause Publications magazines or Beckett itself.

Why did Topps airbrush Tom's photo? Topps has adjusted its release schedule a number of times, at times even releasing Series 1 in time for the holidays of the closing year, but they never press their flagship set after live baseball has begun in the new year. Gordon was signed by the Phillies in December of 2005 after a successful two year run setting up for Mariano Rivera.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? They got the team right - even though the photo is clearly altered (the Nike swoosh is threatening to leave his right shoe altogether.) The background is a blurry mess, so I'm not sure if they did anything to it but it definitely doesn't fit the scheme of Yankee Stadium. For once, the most messed up thing of all is the fact that they clearly altered Gordon's card to make him a Phillie, took care of the back of the card with the new logo and cartoon, yet completely forgot to change his team name in the foil lettering at the top. Nice.

If you are interested in obtaining a card featured here, please send me an e-mail. If you have a card you would like to nominate for Airbrushed Fridays, please get in touch as well. I will require that I am able to see the card in person, either on loan or as a donation, so that I can examine the card and experience it in all its cruddiness.


Anonymous said...

Yick. Somehow I'd rather have the old air-brushed artists play "Match the Pantone" whilst on hash than this kind of work with photoshop.

Bo said...

They painted the blue wall and tarp red!

longlivethewho said...

I've always hated this card. Is it a Yanks card or not? Is it worth a lot because its an error card? After finding out the answer was no for both questions, I tore apart every copy I had and threw them in the trash.

I hate Tom Gordon.

deal said...

one of my favorite photoshope disasters.