Twenty five years ago, I was an innocent youth. I found my heroes in baseball players such as Mark McGwire and Roger Clemens. I even named my cat after Jose Canseco. My devotion, however, was evidenced mostly by the enormous baseball card collection I accumulated over just a few years.
My most prolific collecting year was 1988, and Topps was my brand of choice.
For years, it was Topps’ gimmick to include affirmative trivia about a player’s personal life or pre-season achievements on the reverse side of the card, just below the stat box:
“Mark’s father, Max, once played minor league ball.”
“Bill has worked as an electronics wave solder operator. His hobbies are sailing, water and snow skiing.”
Topps carefully curated the outgoing message with this sort of “positivity on positivity” approach. The information I gathered from rifling through thousands of these cards had a direct impact on the impression I formed of the players and helped to manufacture a world that seemed nothing other than hunky dory (or perhaps, peanuts and crackerjacks).
Well, twenty-five years have passed and I have gotten older, if not wiser.
The internet and today’s media have transformed the world into a much different place than it was in 1988. A paradox now exists where resources such as Wikipedia have provided free access to information, while media outlets continue to conversely distort our perceptions.
This burgeoning Information Age has been particularly unfavorable to the “stars” of our culture as they now must live their lives under a microscope. Flaws may overshadow virtues while achievements are often trumped by setbacks when looked upon with such scrutiny.
In a world that thrives on negativity, there is an insatiable appetite for getting the dirt on everyone. Postseason Highlights is a byproduct of this Zeitgeist and, thus, the antithesis of the 1988 Topps baseball card. In this mock simulation, the cards have been reissued 25 years later, informed by readily available data and modeled after modern-day media.
Offset Printing, Wax, Spray Paint, Bubble Gum [Edition of 100 Wax Packs + 3 AP], 19 x 3-1/2 x 1/4 in.