Kelly O’Connor is not a professional photographer – but she takes some of the best sports photographs that I have ever seen. And since I started this blog, she’s been kind enough to allow me to pick and choose whatever fits my entries from her online photo gallery.
Her job involves working at Boston University for former president John Silber, but for the last five years, one of her hobbies has been shooting pictures of the Boston Red Sox and their minor league prospects. Nearly all of Kelly’s photos have been taken from the stands as a ticket-buying fan, but she’s managed to grab images of great Red Sox moments and displays a unique ability to capture the personality of the players.
As 2010 winds down, I thought it would be fun to post the “Top 10 Photos of the Year” involving members of last year’s PawSox. With a huge assist from the “Official Unpaid Photographer” of my blog, here goes:
(all photos courtesy of Kelly O’Connor)
10. Gil Velazquez safe at second base on a double. How about the framing in that shot? It couldn’t have been done any better if Kelly had asked the trio to pose.
9. Lars Anderson rides the tarp. This play happened on the day that Josh Beckett made a rehab start at McCoy Stadium. My radio partner Steve Hyder pointed out early in the broadcast that the PawSox seemed to have a little extra pep in their step with Beckett on the hill, and moments later, Lars made a tremendous sprawling catch. Nice timing by Hydes, and a great photo by Kelly.
8. Josh Reddick tagged out at the plate. Josh didn’t have a great year – although his .326 average (.566 slugging) after July 1st bodes well for next season – but hustle is never an issue for the young outfielder. He’s fun to watch on a daily basis.
7. Ryan Kalish follows the path of his first MLB hit. Kelly took several great photographs of Kalish throughout the year, but this is my personal favorite. It’s an unusual angle and I think it somehow captures how the big leagues were not “too big” for this 22-year-old kid.
6. Jacoby Ellsbury smiling while on rehab at McCoy. Jacoby didn’t do much smiling last year as he battled broken ribs. Here’s hoping that he’s healthy and happy in 2011. A healthy Ellsbury could be a bigger addition than Carl Crawford.
5. Daniel Nava belts a grand slam on his first big league swing. Daniel’s father Don didn’t do a very good job of catching the swing on home video, but Kelly nailed the money shot. Oddly enough, she says she nearly missed it too because she was telling the fans seated around her who Daniel was!
4. PawSox relievers break out of jail. Leave it to Chad Paronto to choreograph a hysterical pre-game routine for the Pawtucket relief pitchers as they would sprint to the bullpen at the start of the game and scale the 5-foot tall wall. Classic! That’s Tommy Hottovy on the far right electing not to go with the Fosbury Flop.
3. Outfielders celebrate. Josh Reddick, Bubba Bell, and Daniel Nava celebrate a Pawtucket victory with a flying 3-way hip bump. Let’s hope celebrations of that nature are more frequent next season.
2. Daniel Nava in pre-game prayer at Fenway before debut. Here’s what Kelly had to say about this photo:
I always wonder what’s going on in a player’s head before the game, when he’s just been called up–what it’s like to work so long and so hard toward a goal, and then to have those long moments where that achievement is both in hand–there you are, in the park, in the lineup–and not yet experienced. I knew from McCoy that Nava had a pregame ritual of sorts where he would be out on the field, but clearly gathering his own thoughts, whether praying or meditating–a very private moment in a very public space. I actually debated a little bit whether I would put up that shot, because of that private aspect.
I love that photo and I’m sure that Daniel Nava does too.
1. Chad Paronto proudly displays the WWF Championship belt that he received from his teammates. As I’ve written previously, the veteran reliever kept all of us in stitches last year. I’m still holding out hope that the Red Sox bring him back in 2011.
Those were my choices for a Top 10, but I left out dozens of great pictures. Here’s a link to Kelly’s favorite photos from last year:
Thanks again to the great Kelly O’Connor for allowing me to share her work.
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