PME from Night Owl

What’s better than a PWE? How about a PME. Last week instead of a plain white envelope I found a plain manilla envelope from Greg/Night Owl. Distinct from a bubble mailer which is a package of regular cards, a manilla envelope comes in as a flat of a handful of oversized cards.

As much as I like cards the weird oversize stuff is much more exciting. This time it was another batch of Jay Publishing cards. Not as many as November but just as enjoyable.

Jack Sanford and Mike McCormick both appear to be from 1960. Sanford shows the Phoenix Spring Training stadium stands in a nice action shot from the mound. Clearly not a game since the cameraman is standing on the field to take this (there’s also a screen in front of first base peeking in just a little on the left edge) but Sanford is actually throwing the ball here.

McCormick’s photo is from an overhead angle which I’m not used to seeing on pitcher photos. I kind of dig it though since it’s so well cropped with his right foot in one corner and his left hand in another.

Don Blasingame and Stu Miller are both from 1961. I kind of love the Blasingame photo with the ball coming right at the camera lens. It’s not quite as cool as his bunting in-action Jay Publishing from 1960 but it’s still very cool. The low angle is great and the deep focus showing off the outfield wall details while not detracting from the player is fantastic.

The Miller meanwhile is just a solid headshot with good use of flash and a dark background. Palm trees still say Spring Training but the geometry of the outfield wall is super interesting.

Al Dark is from 1961. Felipe Alou is from 1963. The Dark is a similar kind of shot to the Miller but the background isn’t as nicely handled and the light isn’t as nicely balanced. Is good to have a manager card though since most of the Jay Publishing photos I’ve gotten are common players.

The Alou meanwhile is an image that got used repeatedly as the hat logo got blacked out for his Braves cards. It’s not as nice as the earlier Jay Publishing cards—I much prefer the action shots and portraits that show the uniform details—but it’s still a nice striking image of Felipe.

Greg also included a handful of cards in the envelope. The two older cards are a 1970 Mike McCormick and a 1990 Will Clark. The McCormick is in good shape and will go on the pile of cards for the boys. The Clark Mothers Cookies is one where I’m wondering how it made its way to Greg out by Buffalo. It’s one of my favorite sets and takes me back to my childhood in the Bay Area and trying to convince my mom to get a bag of iced animal crackers (or really anything else Mothers made too).

Two minis. One from 2011 and 2012. The 2011 Mel Ott is kind of wonderful. I didn’t know Topps had this in them. It’s printed using an FM screen which is a much better method of emulating the old Ben Day stipple effects. The Vogelsong meanwhile is traditional screening and is saved by the spot gold ink used for the border.

I don’t seek minis out but I very much enjoy adding them to the binder. I’ve only got a page and a half worth so far but they do look great in 20-pocket pages.

And finally two more-modern cards. I don’t know what to call this 2011 Barry Zito effect. Not my kind of thing but I do find myself appreciating the way the spot white ink effect (I think) works in making the player image pop. The Willie Mays is an insert from this year which I’m passively building. This is another one I need—I’m at 7 out of 20 now—and it’ll be nice to complete a page soon. This one is especially nice with the Seals Stadium background and the awesome Hamm’s Brewery sign.

Two more thoughts on the Mays. This is clearly colorized from a black and white photo and I can’t help but notice that Topps didn’t include the red rails on the box seats. Also, regarding the Hamm’s sign, I’m surprised that Topps included a beer advertisement but maybe they colored the beer red instead of yellow to disguise what the beverage was.

Anyway very cool Greg. Thanks!

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

6 thoughts on “PME from Night Owl”

  1. Very interesting your perspective in cards. I never would have spotted the change in the beer color on the Mays card. And my knowledge of photography is zero. … Clark cards always find me. This came in a random prize lot.

  2. Those giant Giants are fantastic! They remind me a bit of 1960 Leaf. I’ve found a few Mother’s Cookies cards in dime boxes here in the Midwest, and I really wish I could find out the story of how they got from California to a sleepy Illinois suburb. Maybe one day we’ll have GPS technology in our cards (half-kidding?).

  3. Those iced animal crackers sure were delicious back in the day… especially when those bags came with a Mother’s Cookie card. And you have a sharp eye. I never would have noticed that beer sign had you not pointed it out.

  4. So the change to the Hamm’s sign is one of those things I noticed while scanning. Is interesting how scanning shows me different card details than I see in-hand.

    The sign itself is worth a google. It not only was yellow, it was filled with yellow light bulbs that filled and emptied the glass all day. Sadly I can’t find a video of it in action.

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