Mangin pictures published in MLB Opus book

Posted on December 15, 2010

The Major League Baseball Opus book can be yours for $3,000. The book is white and the slip case is blue.


Over the years I have had many photographs published in books. Some of the books have been cool, others have been crappy. Sometimes the pictures are used well with nice on-page photo credits, and other times the pictures are run small with all the photo credits buried in the back. Recently I had the chance to get some of my favorite baseball pictures published in the biggest and most expensive baseball book ever published: The Official Major League Baseball Opus. This 790 page monster weighs in at 75 pounds. The book is a gigantic 20 inches by 20 inches square with over 1,000 photographs, each of them spot varnished. This hand-bound leather book comes in a silk-covered clamshell case, and it could be yours for a mere $3,000. That’s right sports fans, if you want to see some of my pictures, as well as some other amazing work you will need to really bribe Santa this year, mow a few extra lawns, or rob a bank.

Wooden seats bask in the late-afternoon sun at Fenway Park in Boston before Game 2 of the 2007 World Series. This picture is published across two full pages in the MLB Opus book. When the book is opened this image is over three feet wide. (Photo by Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

Major League Baseball started working on this project over three years ago, and that is when I made my first submission for the book to former picture editor Paul Cunningham. I was excited to be a part of this book back then, especially after I saw the NFL Super Bowl Opus Book in Michael Zagaris’s living room. I had never seen a book so big and heavy before. The paper was so thick the pictures looked amazing. We photographers love to see our pictures used well, and Opus books seemed to be the ultimate in book publishing.

This picture is published across one full page in the MLB Opus Book. Matt Brown of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim jumps in the air for a high pick off throw as Kansas City Royals base runner Alberto Callaspo dives back into first base during their spring training at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Arizona on March 1, 2009. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

This project took several years to put together, and even after I made a second submission of pictures in January of 2010 I was wondering if this book would ever be published. Thanks to the hard work of MLB Photos picture editor Jessica Foster, and other hard workers in the MLB Publications department, the book finally came together and met their deadline. They wanted to have a few preview copies available for the press and fans to see at the All-Star FanFest in Anaheim during the All-Star Game festivities in the middle of July, 2010. I was going to be in Anaheim that week to cover the game, so I was both excited and scared to see the book. I went to the FanFest in search of the Opus as soon as I arrived in town on the Sunday before the game. I was hoping I would see some great pictures that I had never seen before. I did! I was also hoping that some of my pictures would make it in the book. Much to my surprise I recognized many of my pictures in the Opus as I went through the entire book, all 790 pages, one page at a time.

This is a two-pge spread in the MLB Opus book, with my image of Johnny Damon taking up one full page. This spread is over three feet wide. Johnny Damon celebrates in Red Sox clubhouse with the World Series trophy after Game 4 of the 2004 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox in St. Louis, MO on October 27, 2004. (Brad Mangin/MLB Photos)

I ended up having over 20 of my pictures published in the Opus. I was very proud to have so many images in the book, but I wondered if I would ever have the chance to show anyone. A few days later I took Zagaris by the Opus booth at the FanFest to look at the book. Zagaris usually hates everything. For him to like a book it has to be great. He has been known to pick up books that have treated his photographs badly and throw them across the room in a Barnes and Noble. I joked with him on the way over that it would be difficult for him to toss the 75 pound Opus across the FanFest floor. Luckily Z loved the book, and was happy to see that they did a very nice job with some of his pictures. I breathed a sigh of relief that there would be no book-tossing that day.

This picture is published across one full page, the last page, in the MLB Opus book. An official Major League Baseball sits in the grass behind home plate during the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California on Wednesday, July 29, 2009. The Giants defeated the Pirates 1-0. (Photo by Brad Mangin)

It is now December and the Opus has yet to appear at any of my neighborhood book stores on the remainder table. It doesn’t look like I will be able to pick one up cheap. Looks like I will have to settle with these cool PDF files in this blog post that Jessica sent me. I hope to someday have this book in my house. Of course, I might have to buy a bigger house to fit the book!

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