Friday, September 14, 2012

Airbrushed Fridays: 1978 Topps #489

Oh baseball season, where did you go? It seems like just yesterday the season was so full of endless possibilities. Even the Baltimore Orioles had a chance at a playoff spot and... wait... what? I'm confused. How did ESPN and the East Coast Media Conglomerate allow the O's in the playoff picture? It's going to be a very interesting last couple of weeks, as there are also six teams in the NL vying for two Wild Card spots, even if most of those teams seem intent on losing whenever possible.

Who is this week's victim, and why do we care? Rudy Meoli was a utility infielder who just so happened to be on the field for three of Nolan Ryan's four no-hitters as a member of the California Angels. He amassed just one full season's worth of at bats in six years in the league, with substandard production from the plate. He's perhaps best known for a '70s style Web Gem, saving Ryan's second no-hitter in 1973.

Why does this card exist? After a two year absence from the majors that saw Meoli's rights bounce from the Angels to the Padres to the Reds, the Chicago Cubs purchased his contract and put him back on the field for very limited duty in 1978. I'm not sure how this led to him getting a baseball card after years away from the bright lights, but here he is in all his mustachioed and airbrushed glory. I've seen worse work.

Airbrushed Fridays is a weekly feature as the name seems to imply. If you know of a card with an altered photograph that you'd like to see featured, please contact me. You probably won't win anything other than a hyperlink and a strange sense of entitlement, but you never know!

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