I’m not an artistic person. When I was six I won a coloring contest held at the local drugstore, and decided that it would be wise to reinvest my improbable ten dollar prize into some art supplies. Said supplies languished in the back of my desk drawer for years, and I never again established professional status as an artist. In high school I took a couple of art classes which killed my GPA, but allowed me to spend sixth period bullshitting with friends while smearing expensive oil paint onto cheap canvases with little forethought.
Despite being bad at art, I still enjoy making it. I don’t know if this is some pathetic attempt to create tangible evidence of my existence, a way of carving notches into the caves of my descendants, or whether it’s simple procrastination. My descent into new artistic depths occurred while trying to entertain eight year-olds with one of those summer projects no one actually engages in unless attending a summer camp. The process is simple and inexpensive: all you need are some sheets of clear plastic purchased from your least-detested local craft store, a fine-point sharpie, some worthless junk-era baseball cards, and an oven. If you don’t have an oven, this project may be somewhat less simple and inexpensive.
When finished, these masterpieces measure 1.25 inches by 1 inch, are too small to have any aesthetic merit and serve no utility whatsoever, being too light to weigh down paper and too dull to serve as shiv or razor. There is some precedent for this, however: between the years of 1991 and 1993, the Topps baseball card company, in its indefatigable crusade to create more baseball card variations than there were baseball card collectors, created a “micro” set to parallel its regular issues. These cards had all the convenience of normal cards, excepting all that tiresome legibility. The sets failed and the concept was lost to history… until now.
(All photos, naturally, are embiggenable.)
My first attempts were rough. Von Hayes, as befit his career, proved to be promising and yet ultimately disappointing. Dale Murphy isn’t much better, but at least with his card you can flip it over, making it a hundred times more valuable.
After getting the hang of things, I started adding color. Oscar Gamble’s eyes reveal the worldweariness of a life on the road. Jose Canseco, meanwhile, basks in repose during one of his few remaining moments in uniform. But I’m partial to the pensive stare of beat poet Jim Brosnan, who seems to have taken on a striking resemblance to Woodrow Wilson.
Finally, I moved away from color and concentrated on shading. Doug Jones, cloaked in the darkness, is developing his inner Hugh Prather while staring into the flames produced by one of his trademark 83-mph fastballs. And no collection is complete without the silky smooth lines of Dick Allen, whose grace and style could never be miniaturized.
Watch for this space next week, when I create a mural of Rick Monday saving the American flag out of box scores cut out of the USA Today.