“It was the worst shoot of my life,” says Rust. “I had two hours to do it, had to set up my equipment in the back room of this memorabilia store and had to use a camera I’d never used before because of the size of the picture. I think it worked out well, but it was a lot of pressure.”
What added to the pressure was the historical significance of the picture. The bat and ball are the ones Pete Rose used when he collected his 4,192nd hit and became the sport’s all-time hits leader. They were borrowed from a sports collector in Cincinnati, where they had to be unlocked from a glass display case.
“The ball we handled with cotton gloves so we didn’t smudge the autograph,” says Rust. “But the first thing we did with the bat was pass it around and take a few swings.”