Friday, January 1, 2010

Airbrushed Fridays: 1991 Bowman #261

Airbrushed Fridays takes us to 1991, where I was hoping to find a gaffe of some sort with the Topps base set. However, this was the year that I feel that Topps finally stepped it up and recognized that they had some competition and put out a really interesting product for their 40th anniversary year. You don't really have to be a baseball card historian to know that Topps took over and squashed their primary competitor Bowman back in the '50s. They ended up deciding to revive the brand name in 1989. I have to admit that I was a pretty big fan of the first three Bowman revival sets as they each had somewhat of a retro feel while also introducing undeveloped minor league prospects to the printing press.

Bret Boone was a strong hitting second baseman with equally strong Major League bloodlines. His father was Bob Boone and his father's father was Ray Boone. His brother is Aaron Boone, who underwent open-heart surgery last spring and yet recovered to play with the Astros before the season was over. He's perhaps best known for his series-winning home run off Tim Wakefield in the 2003 ALCS. For what it's worth, Bret had an impressive run during the first half of this past decade with Seattle as a slugger, but his career ended pretty abruptly after the 2005 season.

Why did Topps airbrush Bret's photo? From what I recall, in earlier Bowman issues some of the more recently traded/acquired players were airbrushed into their new uniforms as is the usual Topps practice, but it seems like by 1991 they had a better handle on this. However, there was a subset (complete with foil stamping) of minor league award winners that had obviously drawn cards instead of photos. Bowman's resurgence including a healthy dose of prospects even before they became known as the Home of the Rookie Card, so Topps felt it necessary (probably due to licensing issues) to depict all of the players in major league unis no matter who they were.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? I'm not sure what happened here, exactly. Bret's card looks mostly drawn (not just the cap - check out his hand!) but I actually wonder if his face may have been at least somewhat based in photograph. The bat also looks like it was not drawn. Normally here I'm picking apart what isn't real, but I think that in this case it's worth noting what might not be hand-drawn and wonder how this card even came to be.

I don't really know what to say about his shirt, either.

1 comment:

Todd Uncommon said...

He looks like he's wearing a blue snuggie.