29 December 2009

when a remake doesn't work

back in 2005, leaf issued an insert set based on the late 1970's 'sportscaster' cards. i thought these were box toppers and was anxious to add one to my collection which i quickly did thanks to ebay. sadly, in my opinion, they failed to capture the essence and whimsy of the original release. here's an eric gagne card from the leaf set. it's regulation baseball card sized while the original sportscaster cards were more squarish and larger, which means it can't hold a candle to the amount of information that was provided on the backs of the originals (backs which i am too lazy to scan).

one thing i especially liked about the original sportscasters was that the symbol they used to identify cards related to sport was a cricket player (as you can see on this maury wills card), not a baseball player as on the leaf set. this detail reminded me that there was a larger population in the world that was more likely to recognize cricket than baseball. it just contributed to the oddball-ness of these cards.

the larger size allowed them to expand on their subjects, like jackie robinson and serve as a mini-encyclopedia - in this case, on the subject of jackie and the integration of the sport.

similarly, this card (featuring rick rhoden and a lurking davey lopes) touches on the meaning of several baseball phrases, and tommy john's card
gives several paragraphs to the subject of his surgery and subsequent comeback.

much better than the three sentences on the back of gagne's card. sometimes, failing to meet the intent of the original is worse than not even trying. with that said, i am happy to have the gagne card in my collection, so i suppose it's not all bad.


MattR said...

Those old sportscasters cards were great. Too bad they were so expensive.

Anonymous said...

I give them points for trying, but I think the concept might have worked better as a box topper insert so they could have stuck with the original size.