The Mythical Relic
For me, baseball has always had an interesting allure to it. History of any kind, I suppose, does have a certain measure of mystery that surrounds the events, places, and people involved in any story, and the further away from that time, the more mysterious the story becomes. Facts fade, histories become distorted through the process of re-telling, and perhaps selective memories become a factor as specifics are gradually lost forever.
The history of baseball is no different. But we do have the relics, and these items, these physical things, can convey histories both real and imagined. Baseball cards are relics, and for me, the most powerful of these is this card pictured here, the T206 White Borders Napolean Lajoie (with bat pose). In all honesty, this could be thought of as very strange, because Nap Lajoie is not one of my favorite players. Aside from knowing that he was such a feared hitter that he was the first major leaguer to be intentionally walked with the bases loaded, I actually know very little about him, his style of play, his career statistics, or the teams he played for during his Hall of Fame career at the turn of the previous century. But that is most likely a large part of why I view this card as representative of the mythic in the history of baseball. The image itself accounts for the rest of the phenomenon, and this aesthetic aspect of the relic is what personalizes the sense of the mythic for each person. For me, this is a very rich image of baseball. The colors of the sunset, the old wooden fence in the field, the collared wool uniform, the older style cut of the bat handle, and the detail of the facial expression and the eyes all combine to communicate another era in baseball history. This is the most powerful, mythic baseball card image I have found. The effect is one that makes me want to learn the player, the era, and try to research and uncover the mysteries within the history.