All Things Photography & Baseball www.ballparkprints.com
Author: Paul Plaine www.ballparkprints.com
Paul Plaine www.ballparkprints.com
What started as a kid getting to use the family camera, that lead to lifelong affair capturing still images? After a 37-year career working in advertising, it was only natural that in my next chapter, I return to my roots, and pick-up the camera for myself this time. Now, I create my schedule photographing, ballparks, baseball games, sporting events, and the world around me.
Today, my [new] work with my older works of baseball action shots, combined with my archives of intellectual properties, has been used in advertising, documentaries, and publications.
When home, I can be found working in my White Plains Art Studio. Where I also use my other skill, Master Printer, and I get to work with other artists reproducing limited edition Archival Inkjet Pigment Prints for their art gallery shows and resale.
3Rd Ave, Grandpa, My Sister, A Big Green Cadillac, and Red Cowboy Boots
Grandpa started as a chauffeur around 1905; it was the early days of automobiles. I recall seeing a few pictures of him wearing a fur coat and boots. The car was large, and the driver sat in the open. In the 1920s, grandpa was now driving a taxicab for a living. By 1930 had become an owner of a small taxi company. He worked long days inside the garage and still drove a taxi. Then after World War II, he sold the company. But grandpa was a car guy. 1952-54, his car was a Green Cadillac with whitewall tires. He washed that car all the time, and the white walls on the tires were painted white for that bright, clean look. After cleaning the car, I would ride in the front seat to the Mobile Gas Station; they had the flying red horse He would pull into the gas station, and three or four guys in blue uniforms would start working on the car. Each one would have a task, pumping the gas, checking the oil and water in the radiator, checking the tire pressure, and cleaning the car windows. All that for about 25-cents a gallon. Between 1951-54, mom would ask her father, grandpa, to babysit my sister and me. We loved it, and off into the back seat of the Cadillac, we would go. It always seemed enormous. It was.
Next, we would head down to Manhattan. From his taxicab days, grandpa had his favorite places. All over New York City, we would stop in businesses where he knew people. Many would give us candy. He especially liked 3rd Ave. Back then, the 3rd Ave still had elevated subway tracks, commonly referred to as the 3rd Ave El. Real estate under the elevated subway lines was not considered a prime location. On 3rd Ave, south of 42nd street, there were many bars, and grandpa took my sister and me to them. We would sit in the big (we were little) booths drinking sodas and eat bar food. Mostly what I remember of those places is they all smelled terrible. I don’t know what prompted this but, once grandpa bought us red cowboy boots. My sister and I still remember wearing them and often bring them up. When we arrive home wearing our red cowboy boots, I can still see mom staring at them and saying, “dad, why are they wearing red cowboy boots” and grandpa leaving as fast as he could. I think he just wanted to buy them for us. Through my work, I had daily meetings with clients on 3rd Ave. As I walked up and down 3rd Ave, often eating at some well-known places on 3rd Ave, I would think of grandpa, my sister, his big green Cadillac, and those red cowboy boots.
In March, on my Twitter account, with the help of The New York Times Time Machine, I started recreating the New York Yankees 1961 baseball season.
It was Major League Baseball’s first season of expansion to ten teams in a league. 1961, the American League is the first to expand to ten teams, with the National League expanding in 1962. This expansion also created an unbalanced number of the game each league would play in 1961. Ten teams had to alter the traditional 154 game schedule and extended it by eight games to 162. The addition of those eight games would haunt the 1961 season and Roger Maris for years.
Screen Grab One: Yankees Season
On Memorial Day 1961, the Cincinnati Reds sweep a doubleheader from the San Francisco Giants, leaving both teams tied for first place, with Los Angeles Dodgers just 0.10% behind. Until late September, the Dodgers teams would be chasing the Reds. In the American League, the Detroit Tigers, with a 4.5 game lead over the Yankees, continue to play well with their heavy-hitting lineup carrying them. The Yankees have started to improve. On May 30, 1961, Mantle and Maris each connected for two home runs apiece. From this point, forward Mantle and Maris would continue to hit home runs at a record pace, ultimately with Maris hitting 61 and Mantle 54 home run.
May 5, 1961—I’m a freshman in high school. It’s 10:34 AM. We were all standing huddled around a small TV in the classroom. Many of the teachers brought in TVs’ that day to witness and historical moment. We watched in silence as Navy Commander Alan Shepard lifted off. Next, you could hear the excitement of that moment in the school building.
October 4, 1957, is when the Space age began with Sputnik 1 by the USSR. This event led to the Space Race.
I was already an avid reader of science fiction; I started reading all the articles in the newspapers on Space.
Then in 1959, America and the world were introduced to seven astronauts. There was soon a flood of books to choose from about them, and I read as many as possible.
The New York Times—Time Machine news clips and timely placed advertising reflected what we woke up to on May 6, 1961.
I never lost my affection for science fiction or interest in Space.
A night game at San Francisco AT&T Park in Black & White. When I started in photography, all I could afford to shot was Black & White. A few years ago, I dusted off my Nikon F5 and started reshooting film. At first, I shot 35mm color slides, then next, color negative film, and finally Black & White negative film. Of course, slide and film processing was an issue that ironically was solved next door to the building where I worked from 1971 – 1993. Now, this particular picture was originally in color. I discard it for one reason the color balance was not appealing, the shot had no drama. Shooting film and digital have reenergized my thinking of looking at shots and rethinking how I want them to look. My approach to pigment-ink printing has always been to recreate the color of Kodachrome. Now, I will again think of Silver Highlight Black & White prints.
As I did last year and followed Babe Ruth’s first year with the Yankees 1920 season, through The New York Times—Time Machine this year 2021, I picked the 1961 Yankees. This year marks the 60th anniversary of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris home run chase to break Ruth’s record of 60 home runs. I was a freshman in high school, and for a class, we had to read The New York Times. It was also one of the many newspapers that were part of my daily reading at home. 1961 is my favorite baseball season. Baseball fans and none fans became involved in the daily news of did Mantle or Maris hit a home run. Lost in the home run chase was the battle for first place with the Detroit Tigers. It was in doubt until early September. But more on those storylines to follow this baseball season.
Reading the 1961 times stirs up memories. April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin becomes the first spaceman to orbit the earth. May 2 Alan Shepard space flight delayed until May 5. In the article, John Glenn was his backup and for breakfast, at 2 am they had, filet mignon wrapped in bacon, eggs, and tea. Besides tracking the Yankees, Mantle, Maris, and other base games, I read all sorts of articles and advertising ads. Today a few ads:
One of the original New York City sporting goods stores. Closed in the 1990s. I shopped there for sneakers, sweatshirts, etc.
Through The New York Times, Time Machine archives on Twitter, I’m recreating the Yankees 1961 season. Mickey Mantle hit 54 home runs, and Roger Maris hit 61, breaking Babe Ruth’s record 60. Also lost to time, the Detroit Tigers (101-61) incredible run and pressure they put on the Yankees (109-53) into early September.
But on this day, April 22, 1961, New York State approved the building of Shea Stadium in Flushing Queens, NY. Reading the articles reminded me of grandma.
My grandmother loved the Dodgers, as did dad. In 1962 grandma pours her heart and soul into the Mets. She went to church every day, but when the Mets lost, and they lost a lot back then. I would talk baseball with her all the time, and when the subject hit the Mets, and they lost that day or evening, with a cigarette in hand or lip, “those dirty bastards lost again” would pierce through the smoke. Grandma went to church every day until she couldn’t; baseball can really grip one’s soul.
April 17, 1951, seventy years ago today, at Yankee Stadium, Mickey Mantle made his major league debut. It would also be Joe DiMaggio’s last opening day game. Since spring training DiMaggio has been hinting 1951 would be his last season. The Yankees, opening day opponent was the Boston Red Sox lead by Ted Williams.
Before the game: Joe, Mickey, and Ted were put together for a photograph by the photographers. As Joe and Ted greeted each other, Mantle shifted awkwardly, as Joe forgot to introduce him to Williams. It was Williams who stuck his hand. “You must be Mick,” he said. Does he belong in the same picture with such super-stars as DiMaggio and Williams? The next 153 games will go a long way toward deciding that question. Arthur Daley April 18, 1951.
Mickey Mantle’s first MLB game boxscore line in his first game, 4AB, 1R, 1H 1RBI.
Sixty years ago, the New York Yankees were on the eve of a new season. Last year on Twitter, I covered Babe Ruth’s first season with the Yankees, 1920, through The New York Times——Time Machine—— Archives. I heard from many how much they enjoyed reading daily articles. It was historic not only because of the home run chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record but also a battle for first place between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees.
*That positive feedback inspired me to cover the 1961 season.
The 1961 baseball season was the start of expansion in MLB, first the American League was expanding to ten teams. A new team in Washington D.C. replacing the original franchise that relocated to Minnesota and is now known as the Twins. The other new addition is the Los Angeles Angels, the first west coast team in the AL. Another change is the 154 game schedule is now going to 162. The newly expanded schedule had already started many debates surrounding one recorded, Babe Ruth’s 1927 60 home runs in 154 games. On April 10, 1961, the season of change in the AL started. With the Chicago White Sox defeating the (new) Washington Senators.
Tomorrow April 11, the Yankees home opener vs.Minnesota Twins. *Every morning, I read 1961, The New York Time sports coverage. I then prepare the articles for capture and create my Twitter posts. ** When I looked at the Times sports page today, I thought the full page deserved to be shared. Unlike last year I will add from time to time an extra element, the entire page.
Spring Training 2021 comes to an end on March 30, and the 2021 MLB season officially begins April 1, with the Yankees vs. Blue Jays at 1:05 at Yankee Stadium.
My archives are a series of Ozzie Sweet original film/pictures taken in 1971 at the Washington Senators Training camp. This year made it 50 years ago. Since 90-percent of those pictures have not been seen in public, I thought, time to share them. On March 22, I began posting pictures of Ozzie Sweets 1971, Washington Senators, photoshoot for Sport magazine on my Twitter page.
Why 1971? In February 1971, the Washington Senators spring-training camp opened, helmed by manager Ted Williams.
In camp is Curt Flood, who lost his challenge to baseball reserve clause in court. And Denny McLain, who broke baseball’s rules associating with gamblers.
Curt Flood, age 33, left the team 13 games into the season, never to play again. Denny McLain fought with Ted Williams all season, winning only 10-games, losing 22. By the age of 28, 1972 playing for two other teams, 2x Cy Young and 1x MVP, and last pitcher to win 30 games going 31-6 1n 1968, was out of baseball forever.
For 50-years, I have been involved in printing and making prints, a subject I will expand on in future blogs. Part of why I revised and updated my website was my desire to close down my fine art studio. Going into 2020, I was thinking about how to close down. As much as I love photography, I love printmaking. The shutdown allowed me to be away from the studio and think uninterrupted about what I wanted. Then one day, my inbox started dinging, with sales from images of mine on Fine Art America. I had not forgotten about them, just not thinking of them. There printing is excellent, and I visited my page and started looking at other artist’s works. Then I remembered Getty was on FAA selling images using their services. Then I discovered that the Daily News, a New York City newspaper, was also working with FAA printing service. Needless to say, lightbulbs were popping off, and pieces starting to come together. The next thing I knew, I was working with Squarespace, 99design, and Soda Creek.
Letting go of printing, in the end, was easier than I imagined.