The old-school feel of the portrait is spectacular. I appreciate the recent iterations of Topps 206 have tried to replicate this, but they come up far short compared to the real thing. You don't need Clayton Kershaw in front of turn of the century insane asylums. A vintage feel is all about the the baroque feel of Bender's posture here, the kind of self-contradictory motions described by Eugenio d'Ors that you'd expect to see exhibited by the saints of a European cathedral. Bender's torso is in full follow-through, twisting above his lower body that betrays almost no movement save for a left foot that seems to shift away from the throw. You cannot throw a baseball as represented here, period. The posture is impossible the way the ballpark is improbably spacious, the way the wine-bottle-shaped shadow at his feet is simply not something that could ever exist.
Then there's the back. I love how they include Bender's batting stats along with his pitching stats. When was the last time you saw that? At any rate, by all accounts he was a decent hitter.
What really makes the card cool, though is this:
You flip the card over and you get Rube Oldring, a man who was not only Bender's teammate but also his roommate on the road. As with Bender you get the same feel here. Oldring is somewhere lost in space, in a cow field perhaps, and unnaturally bent over like he's the hunchback of Notre Dame. He's supposed to fit on the card, sure, but he appears to be a human trying to enter the home of a hobbit, not someone preparing to field ground balls.
Anyway, a little vintage on a Friday. Golden Press is coming, just not yet. Have a good one everybody and goodnight Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!