Instead of paying attention to 6th Grade history, I vividly remember sketching out a sheet of basketball cards — Juwan Howard in particular — that I would plan to cut out and sell to my classmates. They were artistic, full of detail and I spent hours on each card.
They were awful.
If you were card collector like myself and dreamed of one day designing your own, then be careful not to turn a jealous eye to Amelie Mancini. A French born artist currently residing in Brooklyn, Mancini fell head over heels for our American pastime after friends took her to Shea Stadium to see a Mets-Phillies game back in 2007.
It wasn't long before Mancini started mixing her art with baseball. What started with seven paintings of baseball players, soon turned into the idea to create her own baseball cards. By using her art and combining it with affordable linoleum blocks, Mancini has started a small hipster-like movement in the baseball card collecting world — Left Field Cards.
Mancini's cards are not the typical cardboard-paper-like cut-outs. She says she wanted to make her art more affordable and fun.
It's safe to say her cards aren't the standard run of the mill.
"When I turned to start making baseball cards I thought about…doing the best players…just doing Babe Ruth [etc.]…The legendary players…But I thought it would be more fun, to make it fun. Choose from silly things and just go for the absurd. And so I started with the bizarre injuries series," Mancini said.
The 'Left Field Cards' name is apparently appropriate.
Did you know Clint Barmes broke his collarbone while attempting to carry deer meat up a flight of stairs? How about Adam Eaton stabbing himself while trying to open a DVD with a knife? Or better yet, Joel Zumaya injuring his wrist playing too much guitar hero?
Now you do; thanks to Left Field Cards' Bizarre Injuries Series.
And the fun doesn't stop there. Other series' include Marvelous Mustaches, Edible All-Stars and United States of Baseball, which consists of players with presidential names.
"I just finished the last series, Second Careers… for next year I have lots of ideas and projects and I can't wait to share them. There will be an announcement on the website in January," Mancini said.
Given her obscure — yet spectacular — taste in art, I had to ask who her favorite player of all-time was. While she's a die-hard Mets fan, I guess I wasn't shocked when she told me her favorite player was Harvey Haddix — the player known famously for pitching a 12-inning perfect game, only to lose it in the 13th inning off an error. The game was in 1959 while he was with the Pirates. It wasn't until the 90s when Major League Baseball decided to change the 'rules' of a perfect game, kicking Haddix off the list of accomplished, which Mancini calls 'sad.'
The good news is that I don't see Mancini being kicked off any lists with collectors. It seems the more the absurdity, the higher her sales. Too bad the same doesn't go for the Mets.
The painter turned baseball card enthusiast was able to quit her job back in March to focus on Left Field Cards full-time, and now her product is in 20 stores across the country. You can also see more and make purchases on the Left Field Cards website.