If you’ve ever thumbed through a stack of 1970 Topps, you’ve probably seen it. Looking not just a little like noted hijacker D.B. Cooper, Phillies pitcher Lowell Palmer sports a cool pair of dark sunglasses. While players of the era were sometimes captured donning tinted shades, this kind of look was, well, pretty unusual.
It’s just one of those quirky images that stands as one of the reasons why we love old baseball cards. That memorable photo has been recreated by Topps for noted collector and veteran pitcher Pat Neshek, who will appear in the upcoming Topps Heritage set in a pair of dark shades in a similar pose to the one struck by Palmer.
It falls in line with the Heritage brand, which is a giant shout out to a particular Topps set from years past. This year, it’ll mirror the ’70 Topps set. The Neshek card is #252 on the checklist, just as Palmer was. The veteran pitcher is a big fan of the original set and currently owns the number one rated set on PSA’s Registry but he told us today it was “Topps’ idea all the way.”
But back to the now 71-year-old journeyman reliever where this all started.
It turns out Palmer wore eye protection quite a lot–even during night games–because of issues with lighting and glare. He’s wearing a similar look on his 1971 Topps card.
He was good humored about the whole thing and even donned the sunglasses and glove pose when he joined the Senior Professional Baseball League’s West Palm Beach Tropics in 1990 (and you wondered where Will Ferrell got the team nickname for his movie).
2019 Topps Heritage is due out this week.