Gazing and Bunting: Three Weird Cards

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At the tail end of his career, Carl Yastrzemski was the subject of three very odd baseball cards.  Two were issued by Topps and one by the fledgling Donruss company, whose baseball cards debuted in 1981.  In 1978 and 1979, Topps printed cards with Yaz in a pensive, almost forlorn pose, his head tipped back, looking outward and upward, shocks of gray hair hinting at the age of the near-quadragenarian.  The ’79 card has a particularly sad feel, coming so soon after Yaz’ foul popout to Nettles to end the 1978 season. 

In 1982, Donruss issued a truly strange card showing Yaz, at the ripe age of 42, in drag/slap-bunt posture, certainly one of the rarer poses of Yastrzemski’s historic career.  Basically a full-time DH at this point, the Sox legend had his final productive season, going .265-17-62 in 459 at-bats.  We were 13 years old at the time and, though the memories are hazy, we don’t much recall Yaz leaning forward in the box, hand on the throat of the bat, preparing to race towards first to beat the toss.

6 comments… add one
  • Peculiar though it may be, the Don Russ card is a great picture. There is so much anticipation as to what will happen, Yaz’s body frozen in a pose that defies gravity and on the cusp of action. Love those kind of shots.

    attackgerbil March 4, 2007, 6:31 pm
  • That was the great Yaz drag bunt of 1981 wasn’t it? If I remember correctly it was that single example of a drag bunt in Yaz’ career that lead to Vince Coleman’s entire career.

    walein March 4, 2007, 8:14 pm
  • This reminds me tangentially of a beef I have with Topps currently — that they often recycle pictures in their various brands. For example, the Manny Ramirez illustration on the awesome 2006 Topps Allen and Ginter set is the exact same altered old-timey photo of Manny in the 2006 Topps Heritage set (also very good, for what it’s worth). For some younger players, who maybe didn’t have much playing time to get good photos, I can understand, but I see a lot of photo cross-pollenation between the Topps/Bowman sets, and that strikes me as kind of cheap.
    The similarity of the two Topps Yaz cards is what led me to that rant. So is that autograph your own card, SF, or a Net image? My dad got a ball autographed by Yaz and gave it to me for Christmas — still one of my most treasured items.

    Paul SF March 4, 2007, 8:55 pm
  • Great post. I’ve actually been planning something just along these lines—players whose cards give a good idea of personality (Say, Eddie Murray) or don’t (Say, Steve Carlton). Will get to that soon, but for the moment this hits the spot.

    YF March 4, 2007, 9:51 pm
  • I remember as a nine year old Catholic school student getting that middle card in a pack and staring at it for hours. (Alright, maybe minutes.)
    With his face to the sky and the light shining down it’s like he’s staring at the friggin’ Rapture.

    Anonymous March 4, 2007, 10:43 pm
  • it’s like he’s staring at the friggin’ Rapture.
    Or the Goodyear blimp…

    SF March 4, 2007, 10:51 pm

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