Friday, March 15, 2013

Going out in style

If there's one thing I've learned as a blogger, it's this.

Always take a good look at your cardboard.

You'll probably find something new to love about a certain card the second time around. Or the third. Or the fourth.

When I'm not swamped by sorting and organizing as I am now, I usually like to plop down and browse through one of my binders every so often. It's a good way to take in a baseball game as well, as I've found.

Thanks to the blogosphere, I'm continually finding great hidden aspects of my favorite cards. Even ones that I've had since my childhood are still prone to a little discovery.

I've found a number of things through my searches. Funny faces, special "cameo" appearances by some of my favorite players, you name it.

Heck, thanks to my quest for discovery, baseball cards have even taught me about the evolution of fashion. 

These beautiful Panini Cooperstown "Ballparks" inserts are a great way to see what the predominant "style" for baseball fans was during the turn of the century.

I'd estimate that this neat panoramic shot of the South Side Grounds was taken during the early 1900's, perhaps early-teens.

Now, aside from the fact that people were actually able to sit on the field while a ballgame was taking place, the numerous bowler and derby caps were what initially grabbed my attention. I think I even see a few straw hats mixed in there, too.

Baseball games were quite a formal affair back in the day.

This card made a couple things painfully obvious to me.

For one thing, my scanner is in dire need of cleaning. Prominent dust and particles on my scans annoy me to no end.

But, more importantly, the "Babe" here showed me that ballpark fashion stayed pretty constant into the 1920's.

Personally, it's hard to imagine wearing anything "fancy" to a ballgame these days. Then again, I didn't grow up during the early '20s.

If the appearance of unbelievably corrupt former president Warren G. Harding is any indication, suits and ties were still expected at the ballpark.

Derby hats were apparently still the prime fashion at the time as well.

I still think those things should make a comeback.

The first major shift I could find came during the late '50s and early '60s.

I couldn't say for certain what year this shot of "Say Hey" was snapped, but I'd say sometime during the 1960's is a good guess.

I'm surprised that such a terrific photo made its way into the largely-forgettable Donruss Team Heroes set. You don't see in-action shots from this era too often anymore.

Now, judging by the crowed in the backdrop, attire was nowhere near as formal. Although there are a few fancy hats present in this shot, the trend was largely on its way out by this time.

Still, it looks as though suits and ties were still worn by the "old-time" fans. Overcoats were probably a newer ballpark fashion around the time period.

Ballgames were becoming more of a casual event by then.

Still, you'd never know it by the looks of this one.

Nearly each and every one of the eager fans in this shot are sporting fancy suits and ties of absolutely all colors.

While I'm sure the more formal atmosphere of the World Series had something to do with that, I'd imagine that this is how your everyday crowd looked during the 1920's. 

Except for the lack of hats, of course.

This is actually the card that inspired tonight's post. 

Initially, I only bought it because of the awesome action shot on the front. Personally, I think I'd have to rate this Manny Sanguillen-Frank Robinson combo as my favorite "Postseason Highlights" card from the '70s.

Had the famous '71 Thurman Munson not existed, this would've probably been the first great catching action shot in hobby history.

Only upon closer examination did I notice the rather corporate attire of the fans in the backdrop.

Like I said, never be afraid to take a second look at your collection.

As it happens, the 1970's were a revolutionary time for ballpark fashion.

Just five years before this iconic picture was taken, people were dressing up in suits to watch Pirates-Orioles World Series ballgames.

By 1976, however, the trend had been thrown to the wayside.

The rather loud sweater being worn by the fan to Fisk's right indicates a major turning point in that regard.

People were beginning to wear what they darn well pleased to ballgames by the mid '70s.

That's pretty much how it stands today.

This terrific 2006 UD card of the late Ryan Freel is one of my personal favorites for that very reason. I doubt many of the fans there agonized over what to wear to the game that day.

All that mattered was that they were going to see their beloved Cincinnati Reds.

That young fan on the left would've probably benefited from wearing a glove to the park, though.

Fashion has never been much of a "hot topic" in my life. I guess that sets me apart from most people my age, in a way.

But, yes, despite its fashion-based roots, I can honestly say that researching and writing this post was a boatload of fun.

My collection actually inspired me to write an entire post about what people wore to ballgames throughout history.

I guess baseball cards can have educational benefits, too.


Spiegel83 said...

Someday I will show up to Dodger Stadium in a suit and fedora. Kick it old school like 1910.

CaptKirk42 said...

I tend to think in general the "getting dressed up to go out" started dying out in the 50s, more so in the mid to late 60s. Whether it was to go to the ballpark or to the "Theatre" Up until around the mid 20th century you got dressed up in your "Sunday" best. Now days unless something is specified as a "Black tie" or "formal" affair you will see very few coats and ties. Some of the entertainment awards shows, the performers are wearing whatever, and in general some of the men are tieless sometimes coatless. Most awards shows used to be strictly Black Tie and Tux affairs.