Sunday, December 23, 2012

Kirby Puckett shirtless -- Score!

I found some old baseball cards from the early 90s, back in those pre-web days when every MLB team didn't have a TV contract so seeing a game once or twice a week felt like divine intervention bestowed upon you by some benevolent deity.  Beyond that, you kept up with your team with the daily newspaper and through baseball cards.  What did Wade Boggs hit in 1987?  You didn't know until you found his 1988 Topps card, and under the stats it included some completely useless information like "Wade Boggs has a wife, 2 kids and a dog."  I swear one of his Topps cards had that as a fact.

As baseball card collectors will remember, though, Topps wasn't the only company in town.  They weren't even the best company, but collectors bought their cards regardless of quality because collectors are a little OCD about collecting things.  The best cards in the early 1990s were produced by Upper Deck, who took spectacular photos.  Score was a close second, since their photos weren't as good as Upper Deck but they took time to write a 1-2 paragraph bio of each player on their card.  The historian in me loves this because I love all primary resources, and the player bio on Score cards stands as a first person account to how the player was thought of in the game at that point in time.  The bio that Score provided was far superior to Topps letting me know that Wade Boggs has a dog.

Baseball card companies had weird marketing gimmicks, as well.  Topps's gimmicks were mostly cheesy, but Score's were...  Surreal.  Creepy.  I'm not sure how to describe what you're about to witness.

In 1992, Score feature MLB's best players in a series of cards called "Dream Team".

As you can see, the Dream Team photos were taken in a studio and included a twist.  Score gave baseball fans a close up of Wade Boggs, Will Clark in a suit, Doug Jones contemplating why he has such a horrible mustache, and Benny Santiago playing with his ball. 

Then Score gave us this:

Yes, that is Kirby Puckett.  Shirtless.  His belly button, which we all now know is an "innie", hangs above the B in his name; and the natural satellite that orbits his belly button must have been somewhere behind Kirby's back when this picture was taken. 

Score should be noted for trying to push the baseball card medium out of the hokey corner that Topps had painted the industry into, but, you know... Giving us a half naked Kirby Puckett probably isn't the company's proudest moment. 

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