Saturday, March 5, 2011

Derrek Lee: Real or Photoshopped

Here is Derrek Lee's card from the 2011 Topps set.

I wonder why Topps included him in the first series? Knowing that he was a free agent and would be moving to another team, why not save him for series 2?

A recent comment from rynobooks wondered if the card was an actual photograph or if it was Photoshopped. I've seen the same question in a couple other blogs, so I decided to put on my detective cap and see if I can come up with an answer.

I'm sure the reason to assume Photoshop is because the picture was taken at Wrigley.

Wrigley Field has been the scene of some bad airbrushing in the past, so it's not out of the question that Topps took a picture of Lee in Cubbie Blue and doctored it.

I've seen a blogger mention that Lee seems to have blue spikes, which could also be a sign of a doctored photo.

Well, after some digging around, here's my conclusion:

The picture is real.

My evidence:
Derrek Lee did play for the Braves at Wrigley Field. In fact, the three games on August 20-22 were his first as a Brave. The Wrigley fans gave him a very nice ovation his first time at bat on the 20th, which was a nice moment. So it is entirely possible that a Topps photographer got a picture of Lee at Wrigley.

This is a picture I found from the game on August 22. Notice a couple things: In both the photo and the card, he's got the black sleeves and high wrist bands. The spikes look to be the same also. Everything seems to match up between the two.

Also, the card looks pretty good. I'm not sure that I'm willing to give the Topps artists that much credit to say that they doctored the picture. I would lean toward Photoshopped if the Lee card wasn't taken at Wrigley. It seems like it would be much harder to take a Cubs home white pinstriped uniform and make it into a Braves uniform. It would be much easier to change a Cubs gray road uni to a Braves uni.

I rest my case. And what say you, the jury?


  1. I say real. But I have a question: Do you think the Marlon Byrd 2010 Topps card is photoshopped? I've already come to my conclusion, but I'd like to hear your opinion on it.

  2. I'm thinking they photoshopped Lee into Wrigley w/o messing with the uni. I've noticed a lot of doctoring of OF grass and the infield this year. For me the card is borderline (I'm not SURE they did), but the stands seems slightly off with the nuclear OF grass.

  3. Hm. The color of the uniform in the Topps photo seems quite a bit lighter than the undoctored one. He seems to have a much larger shirt in the Topps photo and there seems to be quite a difference in the placement of the stripes on the shoes.

  4. One more suspicious thing...the Topps uni is awfully clean.

  5. Something about the lighting looks off to me. I vote Photoshopped.


  6. Interesting observations, everyone.

    Cubsfan731, I would say with 100% certainty that the Bryd card is fake. There are two mistakes: the names on the back of the blue jerseys are red with a white outline; the Byrd card is the opposite. Also, the helmet he's wearing is wrong. The Cubs only used that type for one season, I think 2008. Since then they have gone back to the traditional helmet.

  7. The uniform looks pretty good, although I'm somewhat suspicious of it. But what puzzles me is the background. Where are the other players? If this was taken during a game or practice, wouldn't there be a player in the distance or an arm or an leg somewhere?

  8. I think its real. If not real then it's probably the best photoshop I've seen by Topps so far. I've also wondered for years why Topps didn't save players that were going to be free agents or on the trading block for series 2. Then again they would have to watch baseball or to a further extent collect cards.