Tuesday, February 15, 2011

What are YOU looking at: Is this card awesome or awful?

Most folks would agree that '89 UD came a long and blew the big four out of the water photo-wise, but is this card a part of UD stepping up its game or someone in quality control falling asleep at the wheel?
On the one hand, you could not have possibly found a worse picture of Astros superutility guy Jim Pankovits. At first glance you think he must be spitting on fans or responding to someone's inane "a guy walks into a bar" joke. Either way, this ain't pretty.

On the other hand, it's a bit like an English bulldog, so ugly you start thinking, "Hey, there are some positives here." And yes, there are, starting with a quick rundown of how many absolutely off color baseball cards you can think of off of the top of your head. See, there aren't THAT many of these, which makes this "Eat $#%" look from Pankovits something of a rarity in baseball card photography. And why not? There are some questionable cards floating around out there, but I imagine photographers generally tried to make guys look as good as possible. Sometimes they might not have had much to work with, but you get the idea. So why rip on Pankovits?
Well, for one thing he went to the University of South Carolina, or THE USC as no one but the most die-hard of Southcarolinians call it. But that's all I've got for you. Like most of us in most of the things we do, Pankovits was solid if unspectacular as a player, but was highly thought of as a "citizen of the game" and so went on to a number of minor league managerial roles after the conclusion of his 6-year career. It really makes you think this was kind of a butthead move by the UD photographer, using that photograph of a guy whose main position, according to Baseball Reference, was "pinch hitter." There must be a story out there but as far as I can tell "mum's the word."

So what do you think: is this card awesome or awful?

Here's a cool interview with Pankovits from 2001.

And then of course there's the trivia that he actually has a STAT named after him.

Have a good one everybody and good night Pumpsie Green, wherever you are!


  1. I think he looks like he just got hit in the junk and he is about to bend over in pain. His hand are even in the general direction like he is covering up from it.

  2. I interviewed Pankovits once and wrote on the blog about how his '89 Topps card confused me because he had a stache and didn't look like he did on his '88 Topps. This card confuses me more as it's from '89 and it doesn't look like his '89 Topps card but does look like his '88 Topps card. Hmmm ... I may have to go digging.