Monday, March 11, 2013

HEAVEN-SENT

This year's Topps Heritage pays homage to the 1964 design, which featured lots of head-and-shoulder portraits and mug shots. Mostly boring, right? Want to see it done right, 10 years prior? 

Presenting the 1954 Bowman Duke Snider.





Honestly, is this not one of the most beautiful baseball cards on the planet? Simple but elegant, it's an epiphany bursting forth from cardboard.
  • A Boy of Summer with an ivory smile.
  • The slightly rumpled iconic jersey with the pinstripe piping and loopy Dodgers script.
  • The Brooklyn crown jewel of a cap.
  • That Dodger Blue sky and the wispy clouds. With a different background, that'd be considered dead space. With this, well, it'd be a mortal sin to crop out heaven.
Is this heaven? No, it's a snapshot of '50s baseball, when New York was the capital and Willie, Mickey and The Duke were boy kings of their respective boroughs, Daddy-O. 

Then there's that understated card design, Bowman's best. Note how that nameplate melds into the card but doesn't go across the entire width, creating a slight imbalance. A neat cursive signature tops it off like an artist signing his piece and not forgetting to dot the "i's'' in "Edwin'' and in "Snider.''





Snappy back, too, with a good write up, and the clever bat and ball template that adds an interesting focal point.

I recently picked up The Duke of Flatbush from Greg Morris Cards. When I saw it, I had to bid on it, so imagine my surprise when I got it for $34.33, less than the cost of two Heritage blasters. 

The next time someone asks, "Why do you collect baseball cards?'' I'll show 'em this one.

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