Here’s Another Hit: Straight Outta Cooperstown

Posted on: 08/03/15, 8:04pm

Taking something familiar and making it new is at the heart of many successful internet memes. Maybe that’s why Straight Outta Cooperstown has taken off. The Tumblr cleverly mashes up hip-hop figureheads and baseball classics into an imaginary series of trading cards, which adds up to quite an effective visual gag. So imagine our delight when we learned our friend (and creator of The Social Lights‘ first ever logo) designer Cori Johnson was revealed as part of the pair behind the project.

Straight Outta Cooperstown

Johnson and co-worker Zac Milner were joking around as usual at work (an NYC advertising firm) when the idea emerged: the legends of hip-hop superimposed into the world of the ballpark. Baseball references can be found in rappers’ wordplay, and the names of famous players combined with rap-star monikers were rife for making puns. When a mutual friend mentioned he would be headed to Cooperstown for the annual Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, the idea crystalized, and the pair would produce a pack of themed baseball cards to be handed out during the induction weekend. The cards were shared digitally on Tumblr with little fanfare, but the story was picked up by USA Today‘s FTW blog and quickly went viral.

Johnson chose to host the blog on Tumblr, not due to any particular connection to the Tumblr community, but because it was the easiest platform to get up and running quickly. Since then, Tumblr has been supportive, organically tweeting about the project, and featuring it in the Radar section of their app. The resulting attention has led to lots of interest, emails, and accolades from the likes of the A.V. Club and Lil Wayne.

Straight Outta CooperstownThe process for forming the baseball/rap-star hybrids is not particularly easy or straight-forward. While Johnson and Milner share a Google doc for potential ideas, matching preexisting cards to rappers isn’t easy. As Johnson puts it, the challenge lies in uniting two niche audiences – baseball fans and rap fans – that don’t necessarily have a lot of overlap. A successful card wins over both with references and cues that will appeal to baseball fans who don’t know every rapper, and hip-hop heads whose favorite sport isn’t baseball.

But when they nail it, boy do they nail it. While our standout favorites are TI Cobb and Jim Rice Cube, Johnson is most satisfied with their successful placement of 90’s rap godfathers Notorious B.I.G. and Tupac Shakur. As long as the kingpins of the East Coast/West Coast feud have a place in their project, it’s bound to reverberate with meme fans, regardless of their prior baseball or hip-hop knowledge.

Subscribe To Our Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to our blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Recent Posts

Reimagining Human Connectivity at Social Media Week

Four days, 27 sessions, and 114 Instagram stories later, social strategist Gina Vo landed back in Minneapolis. We sent Gina to Los Angeles, which played host to one of the nation’s four Social Media Week events this year. The event sported a tagline of “Reimagining Human Connectivity,” a compelling topic after Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook manifesto […]

Object Recognition Setting the Stage For Mixed-Reality Advertising

If you’ve kept up with social media news and updates over the first half of 2017, you’ve read the words “object recognition” about as often as you’ve read “Facebook copies Snapchat.” Pinterest’s Lens was among the first public-facing applications introduced around object recognition, one of their many moves aimed at integrating into the real world. […]

5 Insights Marketers Need to Know from the Social Shake Up

Two TSL team members hopped a plane last week, traveling to Atlanta for the 2017 Social Shake Up Show. Account Managers Alli Kahle and Kelsey Orthaus made the trip to network, gain insights, identify pain points, and see what the industry’s sharpest minds offered to take on social media’s most pressing issues. From Facebook advertising […]

Pinterest, the 5 W’s, and Real-World Relevance

By nature, Pinterest drives users into the real world. Whether through baking recipes, DIY projects, or fashion trends, pinners are constantly discovering new ideas on the platform, executing the ideas, and bringing their results back to the platform. This process is so streamlined and automatic that 93 percent of Pinners use the platform to drive […]