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Dave Freisleben

March 6, 2012

Tour Guide

Pitcher and Sky #4

I’m going to try to get out of the way for once, so I’ll keep this brief. Take a moment with this Dave Freisleben card, another 1976 offering of a long-sleeved San Diego Padres pitcher backed by blue sky. Your day is hectic, imperfect, a snarl of worries and frustrations. Step out of all that for one moment. That’s what these cards are for.

Now, let’s have a look at the moment behind this moment of blue sky. Go to the Fantography™ website homepage and click on the second photo from the top in the far left-hand column of photos. When you click on the photo, it will expand, and you’ll be able to see it along with this 1976 Dave Freisleben card and a caption: “This is the exact moment that Topps’ photographer Doug McWilliams shoots Dave Freisleben’s baseball card photo.”

So many things could have made it into the baseball card photo but didn’t. So many possible deflations and detractions. The blotchy brown grass, the measly bleachers, the empty field, the cages and fences and light tower and even any number of lesser versions of Dave Freisleben, whose lifetime record when the shutter clicked stood at 14 wins and 28 losses. McWilliams transforms a blotchy world. McWilliams transforms a young losing pitcher. Take one moment and attend transformation.

15 comments

  1. wow,
    coulda been so different cuase all the things you mentioned that are in that photograph of the photograph. thanks for sharing that transformation.
    i’m gonna be staring at the horizon on my way to work and fighting off distractions.


  2. Beautiful. Not many pitchers rock No. 14. David Price of the Rays is the only other who comes to mind.


  3. “Not many pitchers rock No. 14. David Price of the Rays is the only other who comes to mind.”

    Aw come on, what about Atlee Hammaker? 14 vs. 14, 1983 All-Star Game. Rice took him deep.


  4. As for the picture–that is crazy. I mean, for a lot of these sky shots, you can tell it’s spring training since there are no stands behind them, but I still think of them as at least being in a “ballpark,” as opposed to this, which may as well be where any of us played Little League. But at least we had green grass. Greener than this, anyway.


  5. That’s awesome.


  6. pitchers sure were cold back then….spring training should be warm.


  7. what city is this taken in? this is really cool….do you have more? although maybe peeling everything back and seeing what it really is like instead of the imagined world will further deflate the last vestige of childhood bubble i cling too.

    that sure seems like a high backstop.

    grass technology has come a long way since the 70s. major league parks grass was pretty crappy too my todays standards….check out the few oakland a’s you tube clips from the early 70s…..perhaps there should be a fielder adjustment for having to play on thos crappy fields


  8. i know the padres played in cactus league in AZ for spring training…so exciting seeing my indians getting to battle is out with the padres……

    so this has to be somewhere in AZ.

    Cleveland was in Tuscon in the 70s.

    were there even fences at this field? you can see forever! I am just glad this is a real picture, not some faux background


  9. Gedman you got me. Atlee Hammaker would be a great band name.

    The original picture seemed to have moved to the last photo in Gallery 3. Caption says it was shot in Yuma, Ariz.

    How did you find this one Josh, and was this the plan all along? This is one of your best series.


  10. Jon: Greg Hanlon (http://www.capitalnewyork.com/users/greg-hanlon) sent me a heads-up about the Freisleben “making of” photo on Fantography many months ago, and I noticed that several other ’76 Padres cards seemed to have a similar look. I’ve been meaning to make something of it ever since.


  11. Thanks to the person above pointing out that it’s Yuma, I went to Yuma on Google Maps and went to where the stadium is. I figured what we saw in the pic was a practice field next to the actual park they played in. Well, sure enough, there are three practice fields around the stadium. Same backstops. Same bad grass behind them. I think the backstop we see is from the field on the top right (see link below). See how in the pic there’s a single light tower, which would be for the field out of frame to the left? This makes sense on G-Maps, too, as you can see the field to the top left has that single light tower down the right field line, where as the field on the top right has no lights.

    http://g.co/maps/6qnr7


  12. I should point out that I cold be way off–maybe this place wasn’t even there back then. But it kinda makes sense. (Also, the light tower we’re seeing could also be the one closer to first base on that other field, but then we should see one farther down the line. Who knows….)


  13. I should point out that I could be way off–maybe this place wasn’t even there back then. But it kinda makes sense. (Also, the light tower we’re seeing could also be the one closer to first base on that other field, but then we should see one farther down the line. Who knows….)


  14. Really great blog..Love all the older stuff please check out http://www.walloffamesports.com


  15. Very cool.



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