A series where I post some thoughts about favorite cards. Previous cards in the series are available here.
Quick thought exercise:
You're on a baseball field, in uniform, when a photographer walks up to you and asks if they can take your photo for a baseball card.
What's the first pose you think about taking?
For quite a few of you, I'd bet it looks like Robin Yount here.
It’s just a timeless image. And lately I've been wondering why.
I think some of it has to do with the anticipation and potential energy that's so prevalent in the game of baseball. Mr. Yount is in a good position there. His energy is stored up and ready to go. The pitcher is standing on the mound 60 feet away, and all he needs to do is throw that ball toward home plate. Everyone in the entire stadium is hanging on the moment. And so the picture you see above really is worth a thousand baseball words, isn't it?
Maybe another part of it has something to do with the warrior spirit—getting into that ready position to deal a solid blow to your enemy (in this case, a baseball that's been flung in your direction at a high speed.)
There's also something to be said about portraiture. Consider other vintage sports cards. Football quarterbacks pose with football in hand, drawn back, with their other arm stretched forward to help show you their aim is true. Basketball players pose holding the ball in front of them, ready to pass it right out of the frame and into your room. Hockey players pose with two hands on the stick, blade solidly on the ice in front of them, ready for the face-off.
But I'm not sure any of those other sports poses have had quite the longevity of baseball poses like the one you see on the card above.
I think it's a real possibility that in the early 1960s, a young Robin Yount saw a baseball card depicting a professional ballplayer in that batting pose. Then Yount, in turn, took the same pose as a young professional on this 1978 card. And when a little kid pulled this Robin Yount card from a pack in 1978, he was inspired enough to take the very same pose when he became a young professional in the mid-1990s. And so on. And so on. All the way up to this day. I've even gotten in front of a mirror holding a bat to see how I'd fit into the continuity of it all. I'm sure some of you readers and baseball fans have done the same. There's something I like about that.
And for beautifully proving that some things in baseball never change (and never should), 1978 Topps #173 has a spot in my box of favorite cards.
PS: Stay tuned for some big news here next Sunday. Big, fun news.