Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Post of the Angels

To bookend Thursday's Post of the Devil, today I've got the Post of the Angels.

We start with this 1964 rookie card of Billy Cowan. It looks like both players had their photograph painted over. My assumption is that the original photo showed the players wearing the hat of a minor league team. The paint job put them in Cubs hats.

Cowan was a regular in 1964 and hit .241 with 19 HR and 51 RBIs. They seem like ok numbers for a rookie, but the Cubs must have thought otherwise because in January, 1965, he was traded to the Mets for veteran George Altman.

But Topps' 1965 card has Billy still with the Cubs.

Fast forward to 1972 and now Cowan is a member of the California Angels. At home in Anaheim Stadium, the Topps photographer lines him up for this famous pose....

...centering the Big A's halo right above Billy's head.

Did Cowan know what the photograph was doing? Was it Billy's idea in the first place? I often wondered just what happened.

Then a few days ago, while browsing through my 1972 set, I happened upon this card.

It looks like the photographer has Clyde Wright in the same spot as Billy. It's a cheesy fielding pose, which seems strange since Wright was a pitcher. I don't remember any other card of a pitcher posed to pick up a groundball.

I wonder if an upright picture was taken too? Could there have been another halo card?

When I noticed the second card, it made me assume that the halo shot of Cowan was all the photographer's doing. His master plan: Line a few players up in the same spot, take some posed shots, and then get the money shot with the halo.

Sound like a plausible theory?

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