It has been said that baseball is the All-American game. Perhaps even more American is the idea of baseball cards. So imagine my surprise when I came across some really neat baseball cards made by a French artist – Amelie Mancini. As if the cards weren’t cool enough, it turns out that Mancini now lives in Brooklyn and is a Mets fan.
Before producing baseball cards, Mancini had a solo exhibit in 2010 entitled, “Sacrebleu! Napoleon Would Have Made A Fine Shortstop.”
One day Mancini began to search out facts about baseball and caught on to the wide variety of information available online. As an artist she was naturally drawn to the quirky side of what she found. The idea was hatched to create baseball cards based on these weird things that help make our modern heroes seem more like everyday people.
The first series, consisting of 10 cards, is called Bizarre Injuries and features players ranging from little-known journeymen to Hall of Famers. Their common bond is that they hurt themselves off the field in a way that can’t help but to make you laugh, perhaps similar to something that your uncle or cousin did once and the family still makes fun of him for doing.
Recently, Mancini graciously agreed to answer some questions about her cards and life.
What is your background in art?
AM: I’m a painter and printmaker. I went to the Sorbonne University in Paris.
How did you become interested in baseball?
AM: Friends of mine took me to Shea Stadium one September afternoon of 2007. Mets lost, but I discovered baseball. Over the next year or so, I became more and more interested in the game as I watched and read about it. I finally understood the rules and that the team I had picked wasn’t an easy choice. By then it was too late, I’d already gotten a Mets tattoo.
Do you remember the first baseball cards that you saw and what was your reaction to them?
AM: The first time I looked at baseball cards and really paid attention was when my boyfriend brought home from his parents’ house a big box full of old cards and there were quite a few 86′ Mets in there. I remember thinking this is awesome! Also that I had turned into an 8 year old boy.
What made you think of using linocuts for cards?
AM: It’s easy, cheap, fast.
Explain the process that goes into making these cards.
AM: I come up with a design, I make a drawing, I carve the block, I print the card by hand on a letterpress. Then I wrap them in the printed vellum package and sew them shut. A one-woman operation.
Is there anything on the back?
AM: The back is a postcard – room for a note, stamp, the usual, plus the Left Field Cards logo.
What are the dimensions of the cards and how much does each one weigh?
AM: 4×6 inches. I have no idea how much they weigh. I use a letterpress cotton paper so on the thicker side.
How are they sold and packaged?
AM: They’re sold on the website, at craft fairs and two Brooklyn bookstores: BookCourt in Cobble Hill and WORD in Greenpoint. Right now I’m sold out but I’m printing more, so place your order anyway and get on the waiting list! I’ll start shipping the new packs after January 6th.
How many of each card is produced?
AM: I’ll keep printing as long as people want them. So, an infinite number of cards.
What’s the best way to display these cards?
AM: You can frame them, put them on your fridge, use them as bookmarks, mail them to your baseball friend or favorite player, whatever you like. Trade them, you know.
Where can we see your other baseball-related art?
AM: You can see a series of paintings at www.ameliemancini.com.
How do people purchase your cards?
AM: Through the website, www.leftfieldcards.com, or at those two bookstores I mentioned if you’re in NYC. Check the website or the Facebook page for special events and markets, or new distributors.
What do you plan on doing next?
AM: Make more! I have a ton of series already planned out. I’m having a lot of fun. Next series is Edible All-Stars. Spoiler alert: Darryl Strawberry is one.
In all, Mancini plans to make five different series of her unique cards.
Series 1 – Bizarre Injuries
Series 2 – Edible All-Stars
Series 3 – Curious Second Careers
Series 4 – Remarkable Mustaches
Series 5 – Men With A Van