Before & After:
Every subject in the Pilgrims series has his own statistical or informational box on the reverse and one of twenty different vintage images, all shown below.
I track the images I use on the reverse of each card and rotate them with each new release in order to cycle each subject in the series through all 20 reverses. Depending upon the release schedule of the series, which may change from year to year, it will take about 8 years for any one subject to be released with the same reverse twice.
Mecca Double Folders (T201)
The Pilgrims series is inspired by the Mecca Double Folders (T201), produced and issued by the Mecca cigarette company in 1911.
Featuring color drawings of 100 ballplayers on 50 tall and narrow cards (2 3/16” x 4 3/4“), the innovative design contains a full-length portrait of one player on the front and the inverted upper-body of another player on the top third of the reverse. When the top-third of the card is folded forward, the half-player on the reverse meets the front of the card at the first player’s knees, forming a new image of a second player. In every case, the two players are teammates.
Mecca Double Folders were among the first baseball cards to feature statistics. Both players’ statistics are printed on the bottom two-thirds of the reverse, along with an advertisement for Mecca brand cigarettes that claimed, “Perfect Satisfaction.”
The set features players from the American, National, and Eastern Leagues and the American Association. The inclusion of two minor leagues made for some pretty obscure player depictions, to the curious exclusion of many prominent Major League stars, such as Eddie Plank, Cy Young and Honus Wagner.
Ars Longa: Pilgrims
The Pilgrims name came into use early during the set’s development, being the first word I free-associated with the word Mecca.
While I originally intended for the Pilgrims to mirror the Meccas precisely, in which colorized photographs of all 100 players would be matched with their original Mecca backgrounds, I discovered that I could not find images for most of the obscure players in the set. After wrestling with that dilemma, I decided to replace those obscure players with some of the notable omissions from the original set, including umpires, managers and Negro Leaguers.
Like the 1880’s series, the style for this set evolved over time. As stated above, my original intention was to maintain the integrity of the original Mecca artwork and simply place a colorized photograph of the player on his Mecca background. While I was striving for one interpretation of authenticity, I learned from collectors and customers that a different interpretation of authenticity was preferred – a sharp, crisp, clean, vibrant, and richly colored interpretation; and furthermore, that my attempts to match each player to his original Mecca background wasn’t too important to people. The message was clear: pay less homage to the Meccas and invoke greater originality from the Pilgrims.
So my work evolved as I used the Mecca backgrounds as canvases, upon which I added environmental and architectural elements such as grass and buildings to increase the photorealism, depth, vibrancy and color palette of the original Meccas. If you compare an original Mecca to its Pilgrim counterpart, you will find striking similarities, but the style evolved to the point where the Mecca canvas has given way to something unique in its own right.
Creating this set has been a great adventure and learning process. The Pilgrims mark a turning point in my development as an artist, a watershed moment when a unique and discernible style emerged from a rudimentary idea. It’s been a true labor of love and discovery, a project nearly 3,000 hours in the making, and I am thrilled by the response.
As always, I am grateful, humbled and honored by your interest and support. Thank you for being here!
Size, Weight & Design:
- Dimensions: 2.25″ x 4.75″
- Thickness: 24 pts
- Designed: July, 2013
- I designed & issued the first Pilgrims cards in July of 2013. Nearly two years later, in May of 2015, I designed & released the 100th and final card in the series.
- Of the 100 players depicted, 54 appear in the original Mecca set. They appear here on an inspired re-imagining of their original Mecca backgrounds.
- Conversely, 46 of the players did not appear in the original Mecca set. They appear here on the Mecca backgrounds of the more obscure original players.
- The Pilgrims set consists of: 50 Hall of Famers; 7 Negro Leaguers; 4 Umpires.
- Click for printable: Alphabetical Checklist
- Click for printable: Team Checklist
Most Popular Cards:
- These cards are presented in reverse order by average winning bid
- A card is eligible to make this list only after it has been issued four times
- This list will be updated whenever changes are necessary
- Last updated: 4/20/2017