Friday, April 22, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1985 Topps Traded #74T

In a world of video trading cards, what will be the new airbrushing technology? Will players be replaced with their EA Sports/2K Sports video game likeness? Will robots be involved somehow? The mind wanders...

Johnnie LeMaster was no-hit, no-field shortstop who played primarily for the San Francisco Giants from the mid-'70s through the mid-'80s. He somehow managed to amass more than 3500 plate appearances in a career that saw him total just a .566 OPS. Rarely does someone who ranks so low in so many statistical categories actually see that much playing time. Usually these types are reserve bench players... "good clubhouse guys"... possible future coaches? No Johnnie, who has an entire article dedicated to his candidacy as the worst player ever. (This is where I feel obligated to remind everyone that I personally have zero career plate appearances and that number is not likely to change.)

Why did Topps airbrush Johnnie's photo? While it's possible that his former team no longer wished to associate with him and requested that Topps "do something else" with his helmet, the actual story is that Johnnie was traded twice in May 1985, first to Cleveland and later to Pittsburgh. Such luminaries as Mike Jeffcoat, Luis Quinones and Scott Bailes were involved in these matters.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? The airbrusher can be proud of him/herself in this case. Not much stands out aside from the weird goldish color of the helmet, which dominates the entire photo. Still, it appears that there are some brush strokes on the brim of the helmet where the black is, and also some weird shading on the rest of the helmet.

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.

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