Saturday, February 10, 2018

"Baseball Flashback" at The Gettysburg Times in 1994

As Major League Baseball careens toward its next potential boycott, strike or work stoppage, here's a flashback to a Flashback.

When baseball players went on strike in August 1994, it resulted, disastrously, in the cancellation of the remainder of that MLB season, including the World Series.

At the time, I was working as the sports editor of The Gettysburg Times1 and, partly to fill the baseball-shaped void left for our readers, I launched a series called "Baseball Flashback." It was a glorified version of those "On This Date" features that used to be a staple of so many newspapers.

For each day of the Times' publication from mid-August through mid-October, I published a short recap of how three regional World Championship baseball teams of the past had fared on that date. The teams were the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies, the 1966 Baltimore Orioles and the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates. Most of the information came from my hours of solitary and nerdy research in the Times' microfilm library. (This was long before the Internet could be of much assistance.)

The series needed a logo, and that's it, pictured at the top of this post, created by yours truly, with some help from the Times paste-up room. It measures about 2⅛ inches by 2⅝ inches, and it consists of a tiny file photograph of a ballpark2, a typeset label, and border tape. It was created once, and then used every day. The back of the logo would be freshly waxed and applied to the proper location on the sports page in the paste-up room. After the page was shot as a negative, so that plates could be made for the press, the logo and other reusable elements were stripped from the page and saved for the next edition.

And that's how we published daily newspapers in the 1990s, with metal pica sticks, X-Acto knives, hot wax and rollers. I could share many tales from paste-up rooms in State College, Gettysburg, York and Spartanburg, but I'll save those for another day.

Baseball Flashback ran six days a week (the Times didn't publish on Sundays) for about two months. When it was all over, I kept the logo. And so here it is, nearly a quarter-century later. I'm sure it can survive a full century or more, if stashed properly in an envelope or drawer.

Here's a look at the Baseball Flashback logo in action, in the October 3, 1994, edition of The Gettysburg Times.

1. I worked at The Gettysburg Times from May 1993 until January 1995, at which point I began working for The York Dispatch/Sunday News.
2. I think the baseball stadium pictured in the logo is one of the versions of Yankee Stadium, but I'm not 100 percent sure.

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