New Sports Illustrated book examines priceless artifacts

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A new book from Sports Illustrated called Slide Show: How The Picture Tells Its Story is examining the most vital pieces of memorabilia in the illustrious magazine’s 55-year history.

Their photo slides.

For a magazine that was a trailblazer for sports photography for decades, photo books are no-brainers — they’ve made several through the years — but this one analyzes the details of what every little mark on many notable slides mean. It offers stories behind the images that make up more than a few mental highlight reels out there, the images that helped shape sports history long before the senses-overloading media landscape of 24-hour cable television and the Internet.

namathcardAnd for sports fans who collect everything even little works of art like the famous image of  Joe Namath talking to reporters poolside before Super Bowl III photo are priceless. (I’m not going to insult the greatness of the slide above by trying to estimate a value — it’s notable and it’s obvious as it and its brethren will sell more than a few books.)

A similar image even appeared on an Upper Deck football card more than a decade ago, a card that’s not valuable at all, but a lot more interesting than many of the action-shot fueled releases in years since.

Perhaps the book is more of a trip for those who have spent their careers behind the scenes to produce what ends up in readers’ hands, I don’t know, but I know I dig it. And, really, this book goes back to something I’ve said for years in the card world — whether it’s a common card from last year or a weathered Ryne Duren 1958 Topps rookie, literally every card has a story.

Or, in this case, it’s every slide.

The book arrives in stores on May 5.

Chris Olds has collected sports cards and memorabilia since 1987. Before coming to Beckett Media, he wrote about the hobby for the Orlando Sentinel on his blog, SportsStuff, and for the San Antonio Express-News and The Tuscaloosa (Ala.) News. Do you have a comment, question or idea? Send e-mail to him at

One Comment

  1. Posted May 4, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    BTW, in the uncropped Namath photo above, that’s Brent Musburger sitting on the far left with the briefcase between his feet.

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