Saturday, September 18, 2010
Okay, card lovers. I admit I don't like early era Ranger uniforms. I know the font selected is trying to give a pioneer days, Texas ranch feel. Not great on baseball threads. Either way, Bibby looks like business. This is a good pose and he looks like a really solid athlete.
Jim's glove is a bit worn, and he's got the old fashioned open wrist strap type. No designed hole to stick your finger through. The grass behind him is a bit shoddy for today's standards. Groundskeeping has come a long way in the last two decades. Being traded from the NL to the AL during the '73 season, Bibby is one of the first players to lose his batting privileges due to the DH. He pitched a no-hitter against the A's in '73 and became a member of the We Are Family, Buccos championship team of 1979.
The '74 season was Jim's workhorse year, starting 41 games and going 19-19. That's 38 decisions, folks. He was just one win and loss away from being both a 20 game winner and a 20 game loser. Imagine a 20-game winner with a record under .500. Man, baseball has changed.
A personal note on card graphics here. I had a 20 year career in architecture, so I know a bit about hand drafting. This original card border was drafted by hand, most likely with a pencil, and reproduced a bit on the primitive side. If you look at the upper right curved piping, you can notice that the drafter didn't put the circle template down correctly, as the arcs fall just short of the straight lines. In the lower left, the opposite occurs. The arcs overshoot their tangent. The line value also changes around the card, especially where lines meet arcs. Today's computer software designs just don't have that. If I were a high school drafting teacher, the Topps graphic artist would get a B-. Okay, enough of my geekiness.
Cartoon: Jim's brother played with the NY Knicks? Wow. It's one thing for family members to play baseball, it's another to split sports. Notice that each cartoon character is left handed. Conspiracy?
Ballpark background: Here, Jim is having his picture taken at Yankee Stadium during the 1973 season, likely August 7th (a twi-night double header) or 8th (day game). He was traded from St. Louis to Texas after the Rangers' first visit to the Bronx Zoo, so this pic was likely taken on their last visit. It's an overcast day, so time of day is hard to pin down. The tiny crowd in the bleachers may indicate either Yankee futility or early afternoon warm-up photos.