Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Roy Campanella Original Drawing by Bob Parker - A Former Topps Cartoonist

Just take a look at those little generic Baseball men in the drawing above.  Don't they look familiar?

Featured is an cartoon drawn by Bob Parker, and he is known to be one of an handful of artist, like MAD Magazine co-founder Jack Davis, to have his work grace the back of Topps sportscards during it's heyday.  

The drawing above is actually the original artwork for an self-produced slightly larger than postcard sized (3 3/8" x 5 1/2") set he sold at collector shows throughout the 1970's to the early 1980's.  It is commonly known as the 1977-81 Bob Parker Hall of Fame set, and as you can see the drawing above is of former Dodger Roy Campanella.  I ran into this on eBay, so check out the auction here.  You can also see what the original card he sold looks like on the right.  The postcard set was produced from 1977 to 1981 in three series.  There are a total number of 103 postcards.  The first series, of which the drawing above comes from, consist of 54 cards.

Considering how little Topps paid for their drawings back then, as low as $3.00 each, it's not surprising that Parker decided to market his artwork on his own... and thank goodness for that.  Otherwise, we wouldn't have these fantastic illustrations to enjoy.

The above drawing measures 7 1/2" x 11", and it highlights much of Campanella's career.  He mentions Campanella's three MVP awards along with a caricature of a ballplayer hammering an MVP sign on the wall.  The bottom cartoon of a swinging batter goes along with Parker's mention of Campy's mighty home run swing.  Click on the above pic to embiggen.

BTW, while doing some research for this post I ran into one of Parker's card show display boards from 1981.  It is for the last (third) series of the set and includes examples of five other cards - Roberto Clemente, Al Kaline, Sandy Koufax, Yogi Berra and Lefty Gomez.  Check out the display below.  The eBay auction for this item can be found here.

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