Christopher Paluso is a well-known artist in the San Diego area, specializing in sports and aerospace painting. He kindly answered my questions about baseball cards.
Do you have any behind-the-scenes stories about cards you created?
The 2003 Upper Deck Play Ball Major League Baseball set where I was the
lead illustrator. It started out they wanted to have me be the lone
artist, it became evident that the timeline was too tight, so they added
two other illustrators to complete the set. What is unique is that the
images were done with white backgrounds, but I did a series of images
that were similar to the original 1941 Playball set we fashioned the new
set after. I did them in a way that they were equivalent to four widths
of a card. This way no two backgrounds would be alike and would mean a
background I did was behind an illustration of another artist.
Do you have a favorite card (either one you painted or a different card)?
Well this one card was special for a couple of reasons. It was the Troy
Glaus then California Angel. He was a Southern California boy playing
for the Angels and when I was painting his image they were playing in
the 2002 World Series, and right when I was finishing it he was up to
bat and he hits a homerun. I had a tv going in my studio so I would not
miss the games. Makes for a great memory.
- Do you collect baseball cards?
So here comes the fun story with this. Yes I collect some cards, but
mostly I have balls, bats, and misc. memorabilia in my collection, which
is small. So as part of our payment for the artwork we did for the set,
we were given five factory sealed boxes of the cards. Five cards per
pack and 24 packs per box. I received them UPS on the day I was going
down to my Tax man who was a big collector and very good friend Tony
Pulli. His dad's cousin was MLB Umpire Frank Pulli. My wife tells me not
to stop and look at them so as not to be late for my appointment. I
said I have to take at least one box and because this was my first time
with my art on a card. I take one random box and head out the door. Get
to Tony's and go into his office and we decided to go ahead and open at
least one of the packs. Now there is a back story to this. UpperDeck
bought one set of the original set from 1941(only 72 cards) and randomly
placed into packs. Now back to the opening of the first pack. I
carefully opened up the pack and reached in and pulled out what I
thought was one of the cards. Only it was in a plastic soft sleeve and
it had a printed note congratulating me on getting an original 1941
card. The card I got was special on a number of levels, it was of a
player who came from my hometown of San Diego and was the first of the
144 Hall of Fame images I have done for the San Diego Hall of Champions
Sports Hall of Fame who I had two special meetings with, none other than
Ted Williams. His card is the second most valuable card to Joe
DiMaggio. What a great pull I have been told whenever I tell the story.
The card is in our safety deposit box.
Thanks! Here once again is the original Paluso painting I acquired last week, which is what inspired me to look him up and reach out to him:
#307 Dan Serafini
1 hour ago