Friends of VJ
Victor James "V.J." Lovero, 44, staff photographer for Sports Illustrated, and team photographer for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and Anaheim Angels, died on January 12, 2004 in Newport Beach, CA, after a four-year battle with cancer. Lovero, considered by many to be one of the best sports photographers in the business, was a frequent contributor to Sports Illustrated, garnering 39 of the magazine's covers during his career. Fellow photographers say his skill with a camera was surpassed only by his ability to make friends with nearly everyone he came in contact with. Sports Illustrated photographer Peter Read Miller said Lovero's ability to connect on a personal level with the players he photographed gave him unprecedented access to their lives both on and off the field. "He was one of them and they sensed that," Miller says. "He was truly a nice man, over and above being a truly talented photographer." During the early Nineties, the market for baseball cards exploded and Lovero was right in the thick of things. Lovero's company won exclusive rights to supply photos to the upstart card maker Upper Deck, and Lovero in turn introduced higher standards to baseball card photography. Gone were the boring spring training photos and posed portraits. In their place came exciting action shots and off-beat behind-the-scenes moments, many of them taken by Sports Illustrated's top photographers.
Many of Lovero's fellow sports photojournalists were with him during his final days in the hospital in Newport Beach, traveling from assign-ments around the country when they got word that his condition had worsened. Tributes to Lovero, and extensive recollections from friends and colleagues, have been collected by Brad Mangin and can be viewed on the web site SportsShooter.com, a site that V.J. was a member of since January, 2003. V.J. Lovero is survived by his wife Trish, and sons John, 16, and Jay, 13.
On Saturday, February 7, 2004 an autograph and collectible show to benefit V.J. Lovero's sons John and Jay was held in Southern California. Coordinated through the efforts of Hall of Famer Rod Carew and photographer Lou Sauritch, this show was a resounding success. Among the athletes who graciously donated their time to sign autographs and take photos with fans were Randy Johnson, Troy Percival, Mark Langston, Bobby Grich, Brent Mayne, Eric Davis, Tony La Russa, Shawn Green, Reggie Jackson, Jay Buhner, Garret Anderson, Mike Sweeney, Rod Carew, Jim Edmonds, Robb Nen, Chuck Finley, and Wally Joyner. As an extension of that event, SportsCards Plus is please to host the "Friends of VJ" benefit auction presented here. The following selection of memorabilia items was donated by many of V.J.'s friends who were unable to attend the show. 100%of the final bid price for each of the following lots (407-435) will be donated to The Lovero Children's Trust 2004. On behalf of all those involved in bringing this event to fruition, we thank you for your generosity and support.