The concept of photobombing has probably been around as long as photography has. Well, perhaps not, because photography used to be a specialized art that few people could afford to have done. Sitting for a long time to have an image taken doesn’t lend itself to surprise images in the background, I guess.
But in today’s world, thanks to cellphone cameras, nearly everyone can take a picture on the fly. And this leads to people being in the background who really weren’t planning to be in the picture. A funny face at just the right moment can take you from being an innocent bystander into something that gets noticed by those who were taking your picture in the first place. Not to worry, they can just crop you out if they want to, and have access to a program that can do this. But otherwise, they’re just stuck with you.
Cesar Cedeno was photobombed by a high-rise building in this card from 1986. It’s strange that, as a member of the Cardinals–after more than a decade with the Astros and a few more seasons with the Cincinnati Reds–that they would pose him like this in Wrigley Field. The backdrop is unmistakably Wrigley, though, from the outfield wall and yellow distance indicator barely visible in his underarm region, to the highrise on Irving Park road visible behind his hands.
I’ve never seen this building on a baseball card before, but whoever was taking this shot either wanted an urban backdrop for Cedeno’s card, or didn’t think anybody would notice the building to begin with. Cedeno’s menacing look, which appears to be saying “Go ahead, throw me your best pitch and see what happens to it” is the focal point of the card, but it’s also hard to miss the building in the background too.
So this card goes into the “Not a Cubs player, but taken at Wrigley Field” pile, and also wins some kind of special merit for swapping game action for a more city-scape look. And for photobombing on a baseball card, before the term had even been invented. Well done, unknown 1980s baseball card photographer.