Wednesday, November 21, 2007

1994 Upper Deck American Epic Ray Chapman

In 1920, Cleveland Shortstop Ray Chapman was hit in the head by a pitch. Within hours, he was dead. He is the only player known to have been killed during an in-game play. Though I have collected Indians cards since I was a small boy, somehow, the story of Ray Chapman escaped my Tribe-al education. It was not until about two weeks ago that I learned of this fateful event. When I did, I went on a hunt for Ray Chapman cards, and this was one of the ones I found.

I like the tin-type effect of the front of the card. Having studied photography in college, it brought back many memories of studying and styles. It actually looks like it was taken in 1920 and magically transported into the moder era. Ray looks truly happy, blissfully unaware of the events to unfold in his future.

The back of the card is a half "bronze" color/half white, and reading the black text on the bronzing is tough. The stories on the back, though are short, but well-written: "The Pitch That Killed. A .300 hitter and ace shortstop, Chapman was leading the Indians to the 1920 pennant...Carl Mays, a Yankee pitcher with a menacing fastball and a submarine delivery... threw high and inside... The ball crushed (Chapman's) skull. He died the next morning." Umpires were told to remove any discolored balls following that game. Balls were often rubbed with dirt, spit, you name it, in an effort to trick the batter from seeing the ball. (This unquoted bit of info comes from my learning about the event and not the back of the card).

The white portion sums up Chapman's career. After Chapman died, Joe Sewell was called up to replace him.

So far, I've had one taker on my Tradeaway, and I look forward to seeing what he sends me! :-)

In semi-related news, I am selling a bunch of non-Indians/duplicates on eBay (list is here). There is a bunch of eTopps in-port stuff, a Pirates in-hand Master set of eTopps, a slew of 1995 Classic Phone Cards, and whatever else I threw up there...

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