Thursday, March 17, 2016

Fantasy '56-style custom card for Paul Pettit

It's taken me nearly four years but I've now completed the second of a real fantasy card series.

This purports to  be a 1956 Topps-style regional form the Donovan's Drive-In chain of Southern California.

You can read the back story on my blog posting of May 16, 2012, here: Donovan's '56 Maz.

Some years back in my perusal of microfilms of 1950 back issues of The Sporting News, I read the contemporary accounts of the first $100,000 pitching phenom, Paul Pettit. His story epitomizes the bonus baby phenomenon of that era. 

For their $100,000 gamble on a high school kid, the Pittsburgh Pirates got a return of exactly one major-league victory in the 12 games in which Pettit appeared at the big-league level in 1951 and 1953.

My fantasy card looks back to the 12 seasons Pettit played in the minors. Early on he was a pitcher, then, after arm injuries, he hung on as an outfielder and first baseman in the higher minors. He played in five seasons for the Pirates' Pacific Coast League farm club, the Hollywood Stars.

If you're a veteran vintage baseball card collector, you may recognize the background of my new card as that used by Topps for Dale Long's 1956 card.

There are no career-contemporary baseball cards for Pettit. I'd like to make a 1953 Topps-style card, but I have yet to find a suitable photo, though I do have the germ of an idea that piques my interest.

For all the ink that he got as an impossibly handsome high school hero, there really isn't a lot of material on Pettit to be readily found on the internet. Over the years I set aside dozens of notes about his baseball struggles, but I don't want to author a definitive biographical sketch.

I'm just going to share my fantasy card creation of one of baseball's most interesting players of the early 1950s.

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