Friday, June 10, 2011

Airbrushed Fridays: 1987 Topps #64

Food for thought: Lance Berkman has already surpassed his 2010 home run total after hitting his 15th of the season. He is 8th in MLB (4th in NL) in home runs, is 3rd in the NL in batting average and has an OPS of 1.070. Only Joey Votto and Jose Bautista have been more impressive at the plate so far this season, and I'm pretty sure Bautista has the teacher's edition to baseball in his locker somewhere because no one can have an OPS north of 1.200. That's insane.

Harry Spilman was a first baseman who at best was constantly on the wrong side of a platoon. At worst, Spilman was a pinch hit specialist with a career OPS of .654. With apologies to Mr. Spilman, who managed to log 12 seasons in the majors, you just don't see players like that in today's game.

Why did Topps airbrush Harry photo? Spilman was unceremoniously released by the Detroit Tigers in June of the 1986 season after they realized they had someone who averages about 60 at-bats a season and is not a pitcher taking up an active roster spot. He joined the Giants and instantly doubled his plate appearances.

What's wrong with this picture, anyway? Some sort of optical illusion made it look like Spilman has an extra large cap with no bill, and so the artist adjusted accordingly by putting an absurdly large logo on it. This logo may or may not have inspired the "huge logo" futuristic craze of the late '90s as exemplified by MLB's most genius promotion ever, the Turn Ahead the Clock promotion. And here you thought that today's holiday caps were bad.

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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