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January 6, 2012

Here is the action photo that was air-brushed to appear on the 1956 Topps Dave Pope card

Click on photo to enlarge

By FRANK BARNING


My November 16, 2011 story had to do with the 1956 Topps baseball card (No. 154) of Baltimore Orioles outfielder Dave Pope. Part of that article stated:


The 1956 Topps typically had two images, usually a head shot and also an action or posed photo of the player. The action shot of Pope was what caught my attention. I vividly recalled the photo. It was from the 1954 World Series when he played for the Cleveland Indians against the New York Giants.


Topps, in those days, often airbrushed uniforms and caps of players who had been traded to update the information. In the action shot of Pope, the Cleveland on the front of his uniform had been removed and no team name appears. It is also of note that Pope appears to have a ball in his glove, which wasn't the reality of the play.


The photo was memorable because Pope's leap was at the right-field wall at the Polo Grounds as he made a desperate attempt to catch what became one of the most memorable home runs in baseball history. The batter was pinch hitter Dusty Rhodes whose 10th inning "blast" off future Hall of Famer Bob Lemon went all of 260 feet and gave the Giants a 5-2 victory in the first game of the World Series. It was referred to, at the time, as a "Chinese Home Run."


To update the story, I knew that we had the wire service photo of the catch in our collection and after a thorough search, it was finally found. The picture confirms what I had written in November. It was taken by an International News photographer.


The caption attached to the picture explained, "Fans battling to make the catch, DEFLECTED the ball. This gave many TV viewers the impression that the ball had bounced off the wall instead of going into the stands."


Our next blog post will include a photo of the same play, from a different angle.

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