Thursday, May 24, 2012

RedSox.Com Background Collage Photos (Mostly) Solved

Here's the current background/border of, also shown at left (click to enlarge, then click again to enlarge the enlargement). It's been up on the site for a while, but I'm just now getting around to--you guessed it--figuring out when the pics are from. Or at the very least, who's in each one. For some of the close-ups, it would be crazy even by my standards to attempt to get the date. But I did what I could. (Note that despite that this seems to be a celebration of Fenway shots, there are some that were taken on the road.) So let's start from the top left and go down each column. (For the extra-nerdy: open the big pic in another window so you can read along with what you're looking at!)

1. Josh Beckett. I had to cheat on this one, since there weren't many clues. I used Google's reverse image search, and it brought me to this picture, which, if you look very closely, is a slightly different angle (more right cheek showing on side of mouth, hand covering part of right sleeve, Green Monster in background instead of left field stands) on the same moment. The places I found this did not credit the photographer, but one said it was "2007 World Series footage," and another called the file "BeckettWhiffsMorales." I checked Beckett's start in the '07 WS, and current Red Sox reliever Franklin Morales pitched in that game--but did not bat. I was confused...until I checked Beckett's "vs. batters" info, and saw that he faced Kendrys Morales in that same postseason, and struck him out. It was ALDS game 1, bottom of the 8th, to end the inning. I have confirmed through other pics of this moment that Beckett was indeed pumping the fist. So I'm gonna go with that moment. 99.9% sure. The person who said it was the World Series was on a site advertising those magic necklaces, so he probably doesn't know anything about baseball....

2. Down at Beckett's thigh, you can see a faint picture, which seems to be an old B&W shot of someone with the Green Monster in the background. It could be from anywhere between when they took the ads off the Wall in '47 to when they took the piping off the home jersey after '67. And if you take out your microscope, you can see the scoreboard on the Wall, and to its right you see it's the pre-1962 electronic lineups setup. So this is between '47 and '61. Corbis has plenty of player portraits taken in this spot, by the home dugout with the Wall in the background (like this one), but I couldn't find a match. If I had to guess I'd say Mel Parnell since it kind of looks like a left handed pitcher's body angle (though it could be a righty's follow-through). I'll go with Parnell, c. mid-1950s.

3. Clay Buchholz. He has long hair so this is 2010 or 2011. One of his daytime starts. On August 22, 2010, he wore the same necklace combo--that day's as good a guess as any.

4. Below Clay we've got Carlton Fisk on his way to first after hitting his famous home run in the 12th inning of Game 6 of the 1975 World Series at Fenway. It is this shot, which comes from the series taken by Harry Cabluck from center field as Fisk began to round the bases.

5. At the bottom left: I think this is Luis Aparicio but I could be wrong. It seems to be from the '68-'74 uniform era, and Luis played with us from '71 to '73. It's Fenway anyway.

6. Back to the top, to the right of Beckett: This one has proven to be quite controversial. We have a catcher in pinstripes. Yes, the Red Sox used to wear pinstripes, back before 1932. But I've been doing a lot of research on this, and the gear and the sleeve length tell me this is much later, like the late 30s at the earliest. Also, this "throw off the mask" pose didn't gain popularity until then--catchers up until that point were usually posed in a crouch. And by then, you pretty much had one team wearing pinstripes. That's right, I feel like this has to be a Yankee catcher. I don't see a sign of the NY or anything else on the chest, but it could be barely hidden by the chest protector. Call me crazy, but this looks like Bill Dickey. The face kind of looks like anybody's face when they look upwards, but it still seems to match all the pics I see of Dickey. In fact, from what I've seen, I might even go so far as calling Dickey the "father" of this pose. And the background looks like Yankee Stadium. Fenway back when the Red Sox wore pinstripes had its seats set higher up, almost on top of the fence. I also found a shot of Dickey at the Yanks' spring training park, and it also looks like this. But I think it's Dickey, at Yankee Stadium, circa 1941. Why would the Red Sox use a Yankee picture? I don't know, maybe they found an old catcher photo in their archives and assumed it was one of their own. I hope I'm wrong here, but all signs point to Bill Dickey, or at least a Yankee. Or at least not a Red Sock. Weird. Tell me what you think....

7. Below that, David Ortiz breaking his bat. We know this is an "important" game because of the buntings. And the Volvo "Safe + Sound" (changed to "Safe + Secure" early in the 2010 season) slogan didn't appear until 2009. Looks like a Yankee catcher. My first thought was Opening Night 2010. Still, I first went with a search of just "papi broken bat," and not too far down the page was something that looked like this moment, from a different angle. Sure enough, it was from Opening Night 2010. 6th inning. (3rd pic down on this page.) Did a search of Op. Nt. 2010 and saw that a fan got another shot of the moment, and you can see the same fans in the background. And here's a Getty Images version. So it's April 4, 2010, 6th inning, Sox vs. Yanks, Fenway Park.

8. Moving down, we've got a picture of Jim Lonborg being carried off the field after the Red Sox clinched at least a tie of the A.L. pennant on October 1, 1967 at Fenway Park. Here's the shot in the Cape Cod Times--no photo credit is given. (And they cut out that kid who was the first to reach Lonnie when the fans rushed the field. I feel like I've read that guy's account of the moment somewhere....) (The more common shot of this moment is from a higher angle and features the Twins' Rich Rollins scooting past the celebrating pack of Sox back to the visitors' dugout.)

9. Below that, it's Luis Tiant. He's pitching at Fenway in the 70s jammies, but he's got the all-blue hat, which means it's between 1972 and 1974. This shot is reminiscent of the amazing "thatsmyboy03" series, but it's not one of those. And with no luck on the reverse image search, and no other clues, I can't give a date. Though I feel like since thatsmyboy has a shot of Luis with the blue hat but with the red sleeves, which supposedly weren't worn till '74, I could guess that our shot is not '74, leaving '72-'73 as the range.

10. Last shot in that column is Ellis Burks making a catch at the wall at Fenway in 1990, which we can tell from the armband. I did a news search for "ellis burks leaping" in 1990 and came up with a catch he made in Game 2 of that year's ALCS, in the 5th inning on a Rickey Henderson fly ball. I found three other Burks leaping catches, but two were on the road, and one was in a day game, and this shot is clearly a night game, which Game 2 of the ALCS was. And even if he made some more similar catches that year, I'm always more likely to assume the more important game, with more cameras in the building, would be correct. So I'm going with October 7, 1990.

11. Now we start to go across the bridge to the right side. First we have the K cards on Fenway's back bleacher wall (sec 41-42) from Roger Clemens's first 20-strikeout game, April 29th, 1986. This pic by Stan Grossfeld is almost identical (the fourth person from left's head is higher) and is proof that it's from that game. Not that you needed it.

12. A picture of Fenway Park. Signage tells me this is from at least 2007 and probably later.

13. A light tower. No clues. Looks like the current towers so it's a relatively new pic, not the '50s or anything.

14. This one is oddly placed. You can barely see a hat but that's it. This is right on top--make it so something shows up in that spot!

15. Now we're on the right side. The pic with the 100 Years logo on it is of the Red Sox celebrating the clinching of the 1986 A.L. East title at Fenway. Oil Can Boyd has just pitched a complete game against the Blue Jays on 9/28/86 and has jumped into Rich Gedman's arms, as Al Nipper rushes from the dugout to join the crowd. Barrett and Owen are partially obscured behind Nipper and more guys are to the right. I couldn't find the source of this photo, but here's a UPI photo of almost the exact same moment. (Per the Globe, the last out happened at 4:17 p.m. so we've got an exact time on this one.)

16. Below that, it's Dwight Evans in right field at Fenway. Later in his career. Not many clues. I'll say '88-ish. The catcher in the visitors' bullpen seems to have a green mask, so this could be from the '88 ALCS vs. Oakland. (And to the left you can see the border of another presumed photo, which I won't even count.)

17. I may need your help on the next one. It's a Red Sox first baseman diving into the crowd for a foul pop-up. The catcher's number starts with 1. I'd say that's Gedman. Which makes sense since the crowd looks pretty 80s, as do the stirrups. The fielder's bare left hand is showing, so assuming his glove didn't fall off, it pretty much has to be Buckner, since he's essentially the only left-handed throwing first baseman we had in the whole decade. But I couldn't find this catch mentioned in a news search. So my guess is that it's Buckner and Gedman, circa '86, but I really don't know. Anybody?

18. Below that, it's third baseman Kevin Youkilis fielding a sharp grounder at Fenway Park. Actually, it looks like he's ole-ing it a little. Looks like it's very recent. Again, not a lot of clues, so I tried the reverse image search, and I see the Red Sox used this shot as part of the "We Won't Rest" campaign, which started last year. I see from my own photo galleries that that Budweiser sign changed to that style between '09 and '10. Youk only played 2 games at third in '10, so the pic is probably from '11. (The New Balance cleats probably clinch this, since he wore different brands before '11.) Early season, maybe like a Patriots' Day or something. Which means they would have had to have been adding current pics to that campaign last year, which is possible. (This pic could be from the day. Not that it helps us narrow down the date.)

19. The very bottom pic is Ellsbury making a sliding catch, in the "old" road uniform. So it's '07 or '08. It took a while, but I figured out that SHARP sign is from Anaheim. Ellsbury played a series there in 2008, but also played in the ALDS there in both '07 and '08. I did an image search for "Ellsbury diving catch Anaheim" and right away saw similar images. It was from Game 1, 2008 ALDS. Here's an photo of the same moment from a different angle. And look, Jacoby blogged about the play (with another pic!) at the time. Teixeira hit the ball. Ellsbury said he didn't even think he'd catch it, but he did, and saved the day. October 1, 2008.

20. Back up to the top, far right, for the last column. The top one is almost impossible. I see 80s stirrups and the Green Monster padding, which isn't part of the '86 celebration shot because it's lower. The player doesn't seem to have a hat on. All I can think of is that it's some pre-game shot of a player, at home, in the 80s, maybe with a warm-up top on with the home pants. Not much I can do with this one. It's barely visible at all anyway.

21. Below that, it's Pedroia, at Fenway, after a swing. Looks like it's from the July 2011 beard era. Maybe from Weiland's debut game.

22. Then we have Wade Boggs in ready position at third base, in the 80s road uniform. It's '86 at the latest, as he's got the "BO|S|TON" on the uni. He switched to "BOS|T|ON" for '87, as we know. Very dark behind him. I thought maybe the '86 WS at Shea, but I checked and it turns out he wore the long undershirt in those games. It looks like the Yankee Stadium 3rd base side camera angle, and maybe the background is so dark because the black batter's eye in back there--but I don't know why the blue outfield wall wouldn't be visible. Can't figure this one out.

23. Last one. Another Pedroia. And another night game with buntings, making it either Opening Night 2010 or a playoff game. Again we see that Volvo "Safe + ...." sign, so it's probably O. N. 2010. And check this out--here's a pic from the same spot from that night. Look closely and you'll see the fans match up, between the bunting and the word "Safe." So I'm sure of it--April 4, 2010, Fenway Park, Sox vs. Yanks. Probably the same swing from the ESPN photo, 7th inning dong.

So there you have it. Let me know if you can figure anything out I missed.

Until next time,

Inspectah On-Deck, Esq.


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