Friday, May 28, 2010

Airbrushed Fridays: 1987 Topps #221

While most collectors these days are going gaga for Stephen Strasburg, Series 2 Topps and spendy group breaks, I'm writing here today about a 23 year old card of a guy named Vern. The name Vern seems to have slipped in popularity these days. According to some website I just found about thirty seconds ago, Vern is the 659th most popular male name in the U.S.

Vern Ruhle was a right-handed swingman who spent most of his career with the Houston Astros. He logged 327 appearances in the big leagues, with a bit less than half of them coming out of the bullpen. Ruhle made three separate playoff appearances in three different seasons (1980, 1981 and 1986) before retiring during the 1987 season, which he spent in AAA.

Why did Topps airbrush Vern's photo? Ruhle was signed by the Angels as a free agent in June of 1986 while trying to make it back to the bigs after a short stint with an independent league team after a subpar 2-10 season the previous year with Cleveland. It just seems like Topps dropped the ball, as they had 16 game chances to capture Ruhle with his current team.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? The familiar 'A' logo on Vern's cap is too tall, too skinny and... well... fake. Someday... and I know this is impossible thinking... but I wish that Topps would release the actual photos they used for these cards so you could compare them to the "after" airbrushing photo used on the cards. That would be awesome.

(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.)

1 comment:

kevincrumbs said...

FWIW, The Vern also caught on fire on Friday night.