Friday, June 4, 2010

Airbrushed Fridays: 1989 Topps #109

Sometimes it's easy to look at baseball cards and remember a certain moment that you may have shared or witnessed involving the subject or photo itself. Often times, I'm left wondering if the individual actually existed. Did Hipolito Pena actually exist? I see no evidence of him playing baseball here. Did anyone see him play for Pittsburgh? Are we to just simply trust The Topps Company and all of their piles of money and flat slabs of bubble gum are not making someone up as some sort of hoax? The further back you go into history, the more you have to rely on fuzzy memories, newspaper articles and the word of some guy who knows a guy to prove a player's existence. There are no YouTube clips of Hipolito Pena, are there?

Hipolito Pena was, for all I know, a left-handed relief pitcher who made 42 appearances in the majors which are all documented on the back of this card.

Why did Topps airbrush Hipolito's photo? Maybe because he doesn't really exist? For all we know, they slapped a trucker's cap on a guy that was walking by the office one day and turned it into Yankees blue...

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? ...which, in this case, is not very blue at all. Okay, according to the back of the card (once again), Pena did not join the Yanks until just before the start of the 1988 season which was not enough time for them to include him with his new team in the 1988 set. I don't know what their excuse is for the 1989 set.

Big thanks to reader Scott for the tip on today's Airbrushed selection!

(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:

Bo said...

I remember him pitching for the Pirates late in the 86 or 87 season against the Mets. He was getting belted around by the Mets and someone hit a home run and Tim McCarver, then a Mets announcer, said in a horrible pun on Pena's name: "He poled it too!" I still think of that every time I hear his name.