Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sharing 1957 Topps Zimmer photos

I was saddened to read about Don Zimmer's death. He was truly a baseball institution. He was ready for the big leagues at the wrong time or at least with the wrong team. Who was he going to replace? Pee Wee at shortstop? Jackie at 2B/3B?

He could play all over the right side of the infield, but he was a light hitter (.235 lifetime) with only modest power (7.5 HR per season ave.).

The news reminded me that somewhere in my files I had a few original Topps color transparencies from 1957, including the picture that was used on Zim's 1957 card. I don't remember where they came from, but I've had them for most of 30 years, along with what I believe is the original brown paper file envelope in which they kept in the proverbial Topps vault.

I figured someday they would come in handy for a custom card creation, but Topps did a pretty good job of covering Zimmer's days with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and he even made his way onto a Bowman card for 1955. Creating a 1954 Topps-style custom would be about the only void I could fill, and Topps already covered that base with a "1954 Prospect" card in the 1994 Archives set. Maybe someday . . . 

My own "archive" of Topps Zimmer photos includes the exact transparency used for his 1957 scarce-series card. It was cut down from a larger piece and measures about 1-9/16" x 2-1/4".

There is a similar pose, evidently taken in the same photo session, on a 4" x 5" transparency.

A pair of photos in a film format I'm not familiar with shows Zimmer in a portrait pose, and in a full-length batting follow-through with a delightful view of Ebbets Field in the background. The image area of each of these is about 2-1/4" x 3-1/4".

The brown kraft file envelope in which the transparencies have been housed for decades has a number of penned and penciled notations. Besides his name and team there is written, "2 action" and "2 low fielding". Penciled notes read "Reshoot / '59" and "Used '58 / Int Ptg". Al least I think it says "Int Ptg". I have no idea what it means. Also penciled at the bottom-left of the envelope is "GUNTHER," which may be the name of the photographer.

I figured these items were worth sharing as a tribute to one of the Boys of Summer and a childhood baseball card favorite of mine. 

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