“My greatest talent is determining which ballpark is depicted in the background of a photograph taken between the ’70 and early ’90s,” boats Let’s Go Sox‘s Jere, revealing to bubblegum card neophytes, “the most common background item–the one that makes you recognize Yankee Stadium instantly, is the Brut sign.” (link culled from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory)
There was something about that sign–the way it snuck in to the posed pictures so often. It couldn’t be missed. The other signs were sometimes visible, but a big, short word was most likely to be recognized. Unless you’ve got a very distinct logo, nobody’s gonna recognize your ad way in the blurry background; BRUT had the power to bust through.
The Stadium returned in its renovated form in 1976. A few ads appeared above the bleachers that season, but it wasn’t until the next season, when all the spaces were filled in, that BRUT made its debut. Remember, baseball cards feature pictures from the previous season, so it was Topps’ 1978 set that put the sign in little kids’ hands across the country. And they went hog wild, too–the ’78 set would be the Brut-iest one of all. Visiting players were shot time and again on the third base side in pre-game, posed with left field behind them. Entire teams seemed to be posed, one by one. Mariners players were heard to complain, “ain’t no variety in these shots….” No less than 28 American Leaguers that year were shown with a portion of the Brut sign peering over their shoulders. Some guys, not thinking about becoming part of this exclusive list 30 years later, stood so that the sign was completely blocked.