Oh, snap: Topps photographer visits Crew camp

Oh, snap: Topps photographer visits Crew camp

PHOENIX -- Ed Mailliard has a difficult time choosing a favorite from his 15,000 or so photographs that made it onto Topps baseball cards over the years, but it might be the 1989 Bo Jackson. The pose on card No. 540 of that set is simple enough; Jackson in a blue Royals jersey holding a black bat out to the side in his right hand during batting practice. Mailliard remembers seeing the image printed on T-shirts.

Early Wednesday morning at Maryvale Baseball Park, Mailliard may have been shooting the next memorable card. He was the final station at Brewers photo day, and one by one every member of Milwaukee's big league camp posed for photographs.

"There's a good chance a lot of these will be used next year," Mailliard said. "They have to get moving on their sets."

Mailliard's sports photography career began with football. He said Topps hired him in 1988 and sent him to Indians camp in Tucson, Ariz. Albert Belle sticks in Mailliard's mind as one of the first players he photographed, though Belle didn't debut in the Majors until the following year. He would photograph players from other teams during batting practice, and many of those shots wound up on cards, too.

In 2015, Mailliard was inducted to the Cactus League Hall of Fame.

"A lot of guys really do appreciate their cards. There are a lot of collectors out there," Mailliard said. "[Former Giants catcher] Kirt Manwaring is famous for looking up card shops in the yellow pages in every city. He tried to collect all of his cards."

Mailliard was inducted to the Cactus League Hall of Fame in 2015.Ben Platt/MLB.com

Joba Chamberlain, the veteran reliever, has all of his cards from a career that began with the Yankees in 2007. But second-year outfielder Keon Broxton was just getting started. A fan handed him his Topps card just this week, showing Broxton in the batter's box holding the bat with his hands low.

"I honestly never thought about it until just now, but it's really awesome to be on a Major League baseball card," Broxton said. "It's an accomplishment in my life."

Mailliard has a favorite pose at Maryvale Baseball Park, and used it for manager Craig Counsell on Wednesday. One foot up on a stool, looking toward the sun.

"Something about this ballpark, you get this bath of really beautiful light," Mailliard said.

Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.