Sunday, December 28, 2014

1952 Red Man Ted Williams . . . now I know

For some years I have puzzled over the artwork used by Red Man chewing tobacco for the Ted Williams card in its 1952 set (it was the only year Williams was in Red Man).

The chest-up portrait shows Williams with a bat over his left shoulder . . . but what a left shoulder! He looks like Quasimodo.

I never understood why the Red Man artist added so much extra jersey.

Now, thanks to the Nov. 19-20 Legendary Auctions sale, I see what happened.

The Legendary auction included a number of original photographs by New York photographer William Jacobellis that were used either as photos or as the basis for artwork on classic baseball card sets of the 1950s.

One of those photos is that upon which the '52 Red Man T.W. artwork was based. The Red Man artist removed the American League 50th Anniversary patch that was visible on the left sleeve in the Jacobellis photo.

I believe that Red Man didn't want to date their picture as "old" by showing the patch used on 1951 A.L. uniforms. A cursory search of other American League cards in the set shows none of them with the anniversary patch.

I might have opted to truncate the left sleeve more radically when preparing the painting, but evidently the original artist felt that would create too much unused space on the card.

The Williams photo, by the way, sold for $2,032 in the Legendary auction.

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