A new set of baseball cards doesn’t have any statistics on it — but it’s made with a love for the game.
A French painter who had not seen a baseball game until she moved to New York is now a hardball fanatic who is single-handedly creating some of the most inventive baseball cards since Topps decks hit the market, carving a player’s likeness on a linoleum block and printing each card using a letterpress.
Expatriate Amelie Mancini went to her first Mets game shortly after arriving in Brooklyn. She loved the atmosphere of the crowd, she said, and was immediately hooked — so she started following her new team’s daily exploits in the sports pages of the New York Post.
Soon, she began creating large paintings of her new favorite pasttime.
“Like most painters, I painted what interested me,” she said.
The paintings have a collage-like quality to them, featuring pitchers posed in mid-throw like dancers, surrounded by symbols, architectural details, and often glimpses of plant and animal wildlife. They have a mythic quality to them — but they were big and expensive and hard to sell, Mancini said.
So she came up with the idea of making custom baseball cards that were affordable and not limited edition.
The cards don’t have players’ ERAs or batting averages, but the three series of cards (and counting) are something baseball fans and art lovers alike can enjoy.
Each series has its own quirky theme, including bizarre injuries (like Nolan Ryan’s coyote bite), edible all-stars (Darryl Strawberry being one of them), and some of the most marvelous moustaches to grace the game.
She plans to release the next series this fall, and wants to keep it going for as long as she has a love for the game — and her new country.
“It’s a game that really appeals to [me] because it’s so American,” she said. “It makes you want to belong.”
In fact, even Mancini’s sister in Paris has become a fan after being introduced to the sport thanks to Mancini’s art.
They exchanged texts when the Mets’ Johan Santana threw a no-hitter a few weeks ago.
“She couldn’t believe she missed it,” Mancini said.
Buy packs of Left Field Cards at Stinky Bklyn [215 Smith St. (718) 596–2873], BookCourt [163 Court St. (718) 875–3677], WORD [126 Franklin St. (718) 383–0096], Catbird [219 Bedford Ave. (718) 599–3457], or visit www.leftfieldcards.com