Tuesday, June 26, 2012

My first Joe DiMaggio custom card

Frankly, I've never been a big fan of Joe DiMaggio.

I was too young to have first-hand knowledge or appreciation of him as a player.

My involvement in the hobby later brought me into contact with people who knew him -- as much as any outsider could know Joe DiMaggio -- in later life. The stories they told of the reclusive, even paranoid figure he became didn't give me any reason to change my impression.

Most recently, reading contemporary accounts of his final years as a player in The Sporting News have also failed to improve my estimation of the man.

Likewise, I have never been a fan of the 1968 Topps baseball card format. I had stopped collecting as a kid several years earlier, and my youngest brother had no yet begun to collect in 1968, so I didn't have any contact with those burlap beasties prior to my becoming a professional in the hobby in 1980.

Yet, strangely, here is my latest custom card: a 1968 Topps-style Joe DiMaggio card.

I could have chosen to work with the 1969 format, but the managers' cards in that set featured line art on the backs that I would have found daunting. I'm not saying it won't happen someday, but for now this is the extent of my DiMaggio opus.

There's not much I can tell you about my card. It combines a colorized photo of the A's coach with the background of Dick Green's 1968 Topps card.

I can tell you one impressive thing I learned about DiMaggio while researching to write the card back: He holds the all-time record for home runs to strikeout ratio.

In his big league career, DiMaggio hit 361 home runs, while striking out only 369 times. That's a ratio of 1.02 K's for every HR.

By contrast, Mickey Mantle homered 536 times, while striking out 1,710 times -- a 3.19 ratio.

Babe Ruth numbers were 714 HR, 1,3039 K, a ratio of 1.86.

Barry Bonds has a 2.023 ratio, striking out just over twice (1,539) for every home run (762).

Maybe if I'd been exposed to DiMaggio as a player in his prime, I'd have developed at least a grudging admiration for his on-field skills, but I still don't think I'd have liked the man.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments, criticism, additional information, questions, etc., are welcome . . . as long as they are germane to the original topic. All comments are moderated before they are allowed to appear and spam comments are deleted before they ever appear. No "Anonymous User" comments are allowed.