Swish in my work: Orlando Sentinel Spring Training preview

I often found a way to have my profession — journalism — cross paths with my hobby before my current job made that meshing permanent. Here’s one where Nick Swisher had a prominent place in one project almost entirely by accident.

In late 2006 during a lull one night while working the copy desk at the Orlando Sentinel, I hopped on eBay to see what Swisher stuff I could find. I found the game-used bat you see at the bottom of the above image — firewood, really — for $50 Buy it Now. At that point, I didn’t have a game-used bat — just a signed pro stock bat — so the credit card couldn’t come out of the wallet fast enough.

In the auction listing, the seller noted that it was from a game on July 23, 2006, in Detroit. On a whim — after it was bought, of course — I checked Getty Images to see if I could research anything from that game. What did I find? An exact photo of the bat being used. You can’t beat that when it comes to authentication. (At higher resolution on this photo and one more from the play, you can match specs of pine tar on the bat in the photos to those on my firewood.)

A few months later — for the newspaper’s 2007 Spring Training preview special section — the combo was the centerpiece of an infographic about the life of a baseball bat from forest to death (and beyond as a game-used baseball card). I pitched that idea for information and aesthetic for the entire section with this exact item in mind.

I wrote, researched and gathered the info for the spread while one of our designers, Adam Shiver, pulled it all together. You’ll see a few other baseball-card related items on the entire package.

Click on the image above to read the story of the Swisher bat — and see the full doubletruck infographic from the newspaper after the jump.

Do you have a Swisher item I might want? Contact me on Twitter, @chrisolds2009.

For a closer look — one you can read — click on the image below.