Back in the 1950s and 1960s, it was common place to re-purpose player images. In those cases, player photos were often used for two consecutive years as a process efficiency. These days, this sort of thing is generally considered uncommon and instances where images are older than the immediately previous year are exceedingly rare if ever seen at all and yet, here we are. Topps used the same image on MJ Melendez’ 2022 Topps Chrome RC that it used three years prior on MJ Melendez’ 2019 Bowman Chrome Draft card. After doing some research, here’s how many images are available for MJ Melendez from 2019-2022:
With that in mind, it’s understandable why Topps went with an image from 2019, especially if the 2022 Topps Chrome design had deadlines prior to Opening Day. It’s important here to note that MJ Melendez logged enough At Bats to qualify for rookie status in 2022 and prior to the release of 2022 Topps Chrome, which apparently debuted on September 16, 2022. That said, Topps could’ve used an image it used on a previous 2022 release instead of using one from 2019.
Why Topps used an image from 2019 may have been the result of tight deadlines, lack of approvals, and the like. We’re not privy to knowing why Topps used a three-year-old image on the 2022 Topps Chrome MJ Melendez RC but it sure makes for interesting discussion if nothing else.
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It’s notable that the Royals uniform is different. If we assume that it was photoshopped in the first place from a minor league uniform, this suggests that they might not even have known the image was used before.
Thanks for the comment and your attention to detail. That’s a very good point.