Strasberg book ‘Fantography’ pulls baseball fans into the bigger picture

From David Davis at the Los Angeles Times on April 15, 2012, with quotes from SABR members Andy Strasberg and Tom Larwin:

Homer Osterhoudt was born and raised in Cooperstown, N.Y., site of the Baseball Hall of Fame since 1939. Every summer, when the immortals of the diamond visited for the annual induction ceremony, the longtime mail carrier was waiting on Main Street, camera at the ready.

His photographs capture shards of hardball splendor: a dapper Babe Ruth giving his induction speech, Dizzy Dean warming up on the sidelines. “You read about these big-time players in the newspapers,” Osterhoudt said, “and here I am taking photographs of them. It was a thrill because you could get so close.”

Now 94, Osterhoudt and his black-and-white images have achieved their own form of immortality in “Baseball Fantography: A Celebration in Snapshots and Stories from the Fans” (Abrams Image), a new book that features vernacular photography from the bleachers.

“Fantography” was conceived and curated by Andy Strasberg, who worked in the San Diego Padres front office for more than 20 years and co-wrote “Baseball’s Greatest Hit,” about the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” Strasberg was also a consultant on the HBO film “61*.”

Several years ago, he came across a photo of himself with his boyhood idol, home run king Roger Maris, awkwardly posing together in Yankee Stadium when Strasberg was a teenager. How many of these “Roger & Me” moments, he wondered, were buried in fans’ scrapbooks and shoeboxes?

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Originally published: April 16, 2012. Last Updated: April 16, 2012.