Nostalgia’s the name of the game. Baseball's drenched in it. So much so that when looking back at old footage, or a photograph, the game itself is lost in the personality of the subject, or the magnitude of the moment. It was more than just a game to millions; and many times, to hold that feeling, all it takes is a still.
The photograph taken here has an extremely artistic quality. The composition is well-catered to the eye. Even being unaware of who is making the over-the-shoulder grab in center field, this image can evoke a visceral reaction. But, the center fielder is Willy Mayes, and the catch was at a critical moment in the game, in the deepest part of the then deepest ball park in baseball. It was also Game 1 of the 1954 World Series, which Mayes and the NY Giants ended up winning.
Okay. I'm saying this as a Red Sox fan. I love Derek Jeter. And one of the reasons why is this play that occurred against the Sox. The photograph freezes at the point just after he snags the baseball and moments before crashing head first into the stands, airborne, and then busting up his face. It's one of the toughest moments in baseball history, and this image captures so much: the fans’ fear, A-Rod's helpless reaction, and Jeter's grit; solidifying his status as a legendary winner.
Like I said before, I'm a Red Sox fan. This image will live on forever as controversial and beloved. I was 14 watching TV in my parents’ home, when a limping Curt Shilling took the mound against the hated Yankees. There it was, the bloody sock. Whether it was ketchup or real blood, I don't care. When I was 14 I believed it was blood, and I'm looking forward to telling the story when I'm old and wrinkled, truth or fiction aside. I'll show them this photograph after I'm done telling the story. A small red splotch: it's the little things...
This image reveals the power behind documenting; the truth it captures. Mickey Mantle was received by the public as happy-go-lucky, a warm personality. But really, behind Mantle's portrayed image, he was a very frustrated, depressed, and complex person. This black and white photograph captures a moment of just that. It's hard sometimes to take a step back and acknowledge that these legends of the diamond are human beings who experience feelings and doubts about themselves.
Babe Ruth was more than just a baseball icon. He had one of the most recognizable faces in America. His personality was a spectacle. This photograph does Ruth justice. He stood out above all others, like a mystical beast, something fake, unbelievable. Although sports photography is inherently journalistic, there is a remarkable opportunity for artistic direction, which changes the way fans see the game. In this image, the photographer encapsulates Babe Ruth as a myth, and a legendary figure.
Text by Carlos J Fonts