In the past 100 years, there have been all kinds of glitches in baseball cards, from misspelled names to images of the wrong player. None is as bad as one of the cards that Topps is bringing out as part of its “Project 2020” set this year.
The idea of the set is simple: let famous artists recreate historical maps with their own twist. Entries include Derek Jeter’s 1992 map, Mark McGwire’s 1987 map, and George Brett’s 1975 map.
Then there is the reproduction of Bob Gibson’s 1959 rookie card by artist Keith Shore at number 54 in the collection. It’s an absurd perspective from Gibson that looks like it was put together in a hurry in Microsoft Paint. The exaggerated representation of Gibson’s lips – a historically problematic cartoon of blacks in the United States– seems special. The lips (and eyebrows) are so central to the work that they do not match the original photo at all.
For reference, his other contributions to the series – namely his interpretation of McGwire and Don Mattingly – are not that bad and are done in a different way (possibly supported by the original photo perspective). It’s hard to believe that his Gibson is not a joke at first glance.
Check out the worst baseball card ever:
For reference, here is the iconic map on which it is based:
On the back of the card, the series is described by a description of “Project 2020” as Topps, “which ushers in a new era of groundbreaking art.”
If the new era of groundbreaking artwork really looks like a digital primary school masterpiece, baseball cards will be wild in the coming decades.
In his honor, Shore has a defining art style for which he is known and from which he would not stray in this project. This may have been a poor match between an approach that works well in other media and a traditionalist canvas like a baseball card.
Past baseball card mishaps have actually increased the value, and it is possible that this will also happen here if collectors really consider the Bob Gibson recovery the worst card ever. Or it’s something that some people find cool because it’s so different. It is currently sold on eBay for more than $ 80.