Monday, June 25, 2012

Mondays with Hoyt, Episode VIII

2001 Upper Deck Legends of New York #35 Hoyt Wilhelm

Posed shots are obviously a big part of the hobby.

I've often wondered what the ratio is between cards with posed photos and ones with in-action shots. 

Most cards from the '50s were posed. I couldn't really imagine a '52 Topps card with an in-action photo. The poses contribute to the overall elegance of those cards from the "Golden Age" of the game.

Feelings have certainly changed in today's hobby. For the most part, posed shots just come off as lazy on the part of card companies. As a result, most of today's cards feature in-action photos.

I'd say the closest the hobby has come to an even 50-50 split between poses and action shots was sometime during the mid-'70s. Perhaps I'm off on that estimate, but it just seems that way to me.

I'm an "action" guy myself. Although there have been a few memorable poses throughout the years, I still prefer a good action shot to a pose most of the time.

Part of that is because no two action shots are the same. We've seen the "mid-windup" or "ready to hit" poses hundreds of times without much variation.

There's one exception to this rule in my book, though.

The knuckleball pose.

Since Hoyt made his living with the knuckler, most pictures I've seen feature him showing off the famous pitch. I'd say a good 75 percent of my cards feature him with the knuckleball grip, including this one.

I've never grown tired of it. Whether it's Phil Niekro or Tom Candiotti, I've always been interested in the knuckeball. It's easily the most fascinating pitch in the game, purely because of its mystery.

Wilhelm was one of the first to use the pitch exclusively. From what I've read, he had a slider and an occasional fastball, but most of the pitches he threw were knucklers.

It's only fitting that he'd be showing it off on his baseball cards.

And speaking of that, I'm a fan of the '01 Legends of NY set, but I never realized just how busy the card fronts are.

First, we have Hoyt's number in the top-left (#49). Then, his name and the team he played for, followed by the years he played for the Giants. At the bottom-left, we have his position.

The picture does still take up a good chunk of the card front, although the name "Wilhelm" in orange letters at the bottom of the card is a bit distracting.

In the top-right, he have the card manufacturer in Upper Deck. Under that, we have my favorite quality of the set, the felt New York Giants logo. I don't know that any other company had ever done anything like that before.

And finally, in the bottom-right, we have the name of the set. "Legends of New York".

That's a lot to take in for just one card. Nevertheless, they're interesting additions. I know that's definitely true in the case of my Hoyt Wilhelm collection.

Few cards can top it.


William Regenthal said...

Ah crap, you've got this card. I just mailed one to you as a surprise. Dang.

Chuck's Used Cards said...

Nice New York Legends card. Knucksie was a classic. I like your blog theme.