Thursday, October 24, 2013

WHEN AIRBRUSHING GOES TERRIBLY...RIGHT! 1973 DAVEY JOHNSON

With all the bitching and moaning I have done about Topps and their airbrushing abilities, it's about time I give them SOME credit with a great job on one of their cards: 1973 Dave(y) Johnson #550.
Unless you really stare at the card and notice that the player on the ground is wearing a Yankee uniform, thereby making this odd since Johnson is in a Braves uniform, you wouldn't even realize that Johnson was completely airbrushed.
Talk about a really good job!
Actually Davey Johnson was originally wearing a Baltimore Orioles uniform, for whom he played with in 1972. THAT'S why he's seen here playing against the Yanks.
Nicely done. To be honest I never even realized this airbrush gem until I saw someone else mention it on their blog a few years ago.
What particularly strikes me is the great job of airbrushing the Braves "leaf" icon on Johnson's short-sleeve. Excellent work there!

Seems like the Braves played the Yankees in 1972!
On a side note here: Johnson's 1973 season really is something out of the Twilight Zone as we all know.
Let's take a quick look at the improbable year he had in his first season at the "Launching Pad", Fulton County Stadium:
From 1965-1972 while playing for the Orioles, Johnson put up decent numbers for the day, averaging about 10 home runs a year with about 60 runs batted in.
All of a sudden it seems the change of scenery made him a powerhouse of a batter, as he launched 43 home runs with 99 R.B.I.'s!
Now WHERE on earth did THAT come from!?
He was also part of history, as teammates Hank Aaron and Darrell Evans also hit 40+ homers, making them the first trio in baseball history to hit 40+ homers as teamamtes.
Now, with Evans and Aaron, it was NOT a shock. But with Johnson, you have to wonder what on earth went on there!
I STILL have never heard a good reason as to Johnson's offensive outburst that year.
The very next year he ended up with 15 homers, more to his career average, and then never played a full season in the Majors again.
In his entire career, the highest slugging percentage he ever posted for a season outside of 1973 was .443 in 1971. Then in '73 he posts an eye-popping .546!
If that were to happen today (Jacoby Ellsbury anyone?), you KNOW what he'd be accused of...

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