Friday, April 1, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1987 Topps #157

I have to confess that I was trying to come up with a good April Fools' joke today, but I never really got anywhere other than finding Derek Jeter in an Orioles uniform. With the Cardinals defensive meltdown on Day 1 of the season and Matt Holliday hospitalized with an emergency appendectomy surgery, it seems that this year the joke is on me. Still, it's great that baseball season is finally here and I've been enjoying every minute of my two vacation days.

Danny Darwin was a right-handed starting pitcher and occasional reliever, logging more than 3000 innings pitched in a 21 year career that included starts in almost half of the games he appeared. He pitched for 8 different franchises, including both Houston and Texas twice, and earned the nickname "Dr. Death" from then teammate Nolan Ryan due to his Chuck Norris-like reputation. In fact, taking another glance at his 1987 Topps photo, that could actually be Chuck Norris.

Why did Topps airbrush Danny's photo? Darwin was traded by the Brewers to Houston in August 1986 for the immortal Don August and nearly-immortal Mark Knudson. He did pitch in 12 games for the Astros that year, but I don't imagine Topps works on collecting photos for their cards past maybe the end of April in any given season.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? I wouldn't want to mess with Darwin, also known as "The Bonham Bullet" after his birthplace in Texas, so I probably shouldn't say anything. I shouldn't mention the odd 'H' logo on his cap or the fact that the cap itself is badly misshapen to make it look like his head is much larger in the front than the back. I also shouldn't mention how goofy the Astros rainbow stripes look on his shoulder. I won't be mentioning any of that. Darwin might kill me. Survival of the fittest, you know.

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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