Posted by Andy on October 29, 2010
(If you can't see the images, click here and they should come up.)
This week, let's do something a little different.
Above are the backs of two cards from 1982.
The first one is a regular-issue Topps card, #501. It was part of the "In Action" subset from that year's set. On the back, you read about Carew's achievements in the All-Star game, LCS, and World Series. Carew had 3 other cards in the 1982 set: his main card (#500), the Angels Team Leaders card that also featured Ken Forsch (#276), and his All-Star card (#547). Back in those days, for a guy to appear on four different cards was pretty special.
The second card back shown above is from his regular-issue 1982 Fleer card, #455. This is a pretty standard card back. I don't believe Carew was featured on any other cards from the 1982 Fleer set.
So why am I showing these two cards? Check out their fronts:
Quite unusually, they feature the exact same photo. Carew's unusual facial expression gives away that the photos are from the same instant in time and the angle is identical.
The only logical conclusion is that a freelancer sold the same photo to both Fleer and Topps. This is surprising to me--I would think that both companies would require exclusivity on any purchase. I seem to recall that in its early days, Fleer bought some photos from Topps, though, so perhaps that's how this one got shared.
There's another weird thing about this photo. Based on what we can see, I think Carew must be playing 3rd base. He's come in on the grass and we can see the 2nd base umpire blurred out in the background. I suppose it's possible that Carew is playing 1st base and he's fielding a slow-roller, but if so he's coming at a very strange angle, given the cut of infield grass visible behind him.
This is weird because Carew never played 3rd base with the Angels. This is almost certainly a spring training photo, so it's conceivable he played 3rd in a pre-season game.
Anyway--does anybody out there have any more info (or even speculation) on the story behind these two cards?
Thanks to reader Seth M. for emailing in this idea.