Classic card of the week
Joe Bitker, 1991 Fleer
Joe Bitker was the only guy to show up for picture day. Not many people realize this, but Major League Baseball designates one day a year during Spring Training as picture day, and allows a cavalcade of baseball card companies to come by in order to get the shots that they need for their upcoming sets. Unfortunately, because many of the players feel that picture day is stupid, no one ever shows up. It’s sort of a tradition, in fact, to blow off picture day. The players think it’s funny to force the card companies to come out to them, and take action shots from difficult angles. Such was not the case however, with Joe Bitker. There are a couple reasons why Joe Bitker, as opposed to every other player in baseball, may have been anxious to arrive for picture day. For one thing, Bitker had just spent approximately 37 years playing in the minor leagues, and most likely viewed picture day as the one opportunity to get a piece of concrete evidence that he ever actually made it to the big leagues. That, or nobody told him. Either way, Joe Bitker was looking his Sunday best in this particular photo, which was actually the 17th shot taken, because Bitker had his eyes closed for the first sixteen takes. Joe Bitker was also this close to choosing the popular laser beam-themed background, but eventually settled on plain white, so the focus was on him, and not the lasers. Grandma Bitker ordered two sheets of the wallet-sized photos to hand out to her friends at bingo, and the largest photo, the famous 8x10, sat on top of the grand piano in the Bitker household for 12 years, until the house was ravaged by wild coyotes. Also, after this picture was taken, Joe Bitker was sent back down to the minors, leaving him to incur the cost of having the photos delivered to an out-of-state address.
Did you know?
Joe Bitker wore spikes to his photo shoot, just in case.