NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)- While New York is beginning to re-open, the coronavirus pandemic remains a considerable threat. Local and state officials continue to remind New Yorkers of the importance of wearing a mask whenever they are out in public in order to help mitigate the virus’ spread. In attempting to help that effort, local artist Eric “Efdot” Friedensohn has teamed up with Topps and Mets legend Dwight “Doc” Gooden for a new artistic interpretation of Gooden’s 1985 baseball card.
The card, which drops Tuesday on Topps’ website, features Gooden with his nickname, Dr. K wearing a mask with Mets and his number 16 on it. The card is part of Topps’ Project 2020 re-imagining baseball cards baseball cards as modern artworks. For Friedensohn, the decision to have Gooden wearing a mask was a simple one as he points out that with things beginning to open back up, some have begun to relax and lapse in their mask wearing.
“With this project, we are reimagining iconic cards from the past, but we are also creating a record of the current context in 2020,” said Friedensohn via email. “This felt like a great opportunity to bring awareness to the pandemic, and its ongoing effect on our society in 2020. The spreading of the virus in New York especially, is still a serious issue, and yet people are getting more relaxed in their habits and interactions. Literally every doctor is recommending that we wear masks and take precautions, and Dr. K agrees!”
Friedensohn says he discussed the idea of portraying Gooden wearing a mask in the card with Gooden himself and the Mets legend agreed that it would be a good way to speak to the current state of affairs. And, of course, it is a play on the Dr. K nickname that Gooden earned throughout his career but particularly in the 1984-85 seasons when he struck out 544 batters.
Aside from trying to reinforce the necessity of wearing a mask in our current times, some of the proceeds from the card sales will go towards United Way NYC’s COVID-19 relief efforts. Friedensohn said the decision to partner with United Way was an easy one due to their consistent work in the community that has only increased in importance in the wake of the pandemic.
“We at United Way of New York City want to thank Efdot for his contribution to our efforts to help New Yorkers during this critical time,” said Sheena Wright, president and CEO of United Way of New York City. “Through his art, Efdot has found a way to give back to his community, showing how each and every one of us can play a role in helping our City recover from COVID-19.”
The card is currently available through the Topps website and will be for sale for the next 48 hours. Following that period, autographed copies from Efdot will be available through his Patreon.