David ClydeSeptember 30, 2006
In this 1980 card, David Clyde’s last, the former nationwide high school sensation displays his league-leading thousand-yard stare in front of what appears to be a painted backdrop. Maybe the fake blue sky was wheeled in to cover the mildewed bricks of the windowless room, deep within the Indians’ spring training barracks, where the oft-disabled former number 1 draft pick preferred to endure his daylight hours. Maybe Topps purchased the backdrop at the going-out-of-business sale of a photographer who, until the word statutory started getting flung around, made his living creating portraits of high school seniors. Or maybe the picture was actually taken by said photographer, who had moved to Florida with a U-Haul full of backdrops to try to start anew and had picked up freelance work involving the subjects the pensioned Topps photographers preferred to avoid. Maybe after “the shoot” the photographer and David Clyde went for beers at the topless joint out by the abandoned A&W and neither one asked any questions about the past.