They took only a minute to cut Josh Beckett from the roster. Same for local hero Tony C.
“That’s a nice fan photo and nice remembrance,” said Dick Bresciani, vice president/archives-historian for the Boston Red Sox.
“That means delete,” said Malcolm Rogers, director of the Museum of Fine Arts.
They laughed as the next image hit the screen.
This odd couple — one an expert on portraiture, the other capable of ticking off exactly how far Ted Williams hit the ball on June 9, 1946 (502 feet) — met Tuesday at the MFA to select works for a new kind of art exhibit for the museum, in which some of the pieces will be selected by a modified “American Idol”-style popular vote.
The museum also learned of the pitfalls of doing an online contest. On Thursday, one winner had to be disqualified when the MFA learned he submitted somebody else’s picture. The real photographer of the shot, Werner Kunz, had posted his photo to Flickr, but never thought somebody would download it and enter a contest.
The MFA conceived “Grandstand to Gallery: Museum of Fine Arts and Fenway Park Photo Project” in honor of Fenway Park’s centennial. The six-picture show will run from July 18 to Oct. 3.
About 700 submissions were made to the museum. The museum’s photography curators cut them down to 45 for Rogers and Bresciani. Their task was to select three winners from that pool.
To choose the other three photographs, the public has until Monday to winnow the 700 pictures down to 15 finalists by voting on the MFA’s Facebook page. Those 15 will be presented to the MFA’s photography curators, who will have the final say.
Before Tuesday, Rogers and Bresciani were strangers. But they said they shared a link through two institutions separated physically by less than 2 miles.
“You’re a member of the museum,” Rogers said, turning to Bresciani. “I’ve thrown out the first pitch. Some of my trustees are passionate Red Sox fans.”
“And to be able to do this, it’s terrific exposure for all of us,” Bresciani said.
There were rules, most of them dictated by Major League Baseball. Nobody connected to the MFA or Red Sox could enter, and the photos could not, among other things, denigrate baseball.
Oh, and each submission had to also “be entrant’s own original work.”
Rogers started the proceedings by showing off a watch given to him by a Japanese businessman a few years ago to commemorate the 2008 series the Red Sox played against the Oakland Athletics.
Bresciani had his own bling: A 2007 Red Sox World Series championship ring.
The photos were separated into portraits, landscapes, and curveballs. To streamline the selection process, the MFA’s Julie Frey projected the images one by one on a wall screen.
At the start, it became clear this might not be the easiest lineup card to fill out.
Bresciani loved a photograph of Red Sox outfielder Darnell McDonald stretching to make a catch against the Green Monster.
“It is such a part of Fenway Park,” he said. “That leap and that scoreboard.”
Rogers wasn’t impressed.
“The figure’s a bit blurry,” he said.
Then the screen flashed “Tag — 1976,” an action shot featuring Twins legend Rod Carew scoring as Red Sox catcher Carlton Fisk tried to tag him out at the plate. The photo also included Carl Yastrzemski and pitcher Ferguson Jenkins.
Rogers suggested cutting the photo. Bresciani objected.
“There are four Hall of Famers in that picture,” he said.
“Oh, see, I wouldn’t know that,” Rogers said, adding that he also appreciated the movement in the photo.
Before long, the curating duo had developed a rhythm. The process, thankfully, wasn’t going to take all day or, in baseball terms, as long as the third inning of a Sox-Yankees game. Rogers also altered his philosophy. He decided to factor the context into the photo, rather than only judging it on artistic merit.
The pair were particularly drawn to a photo of the red seat in right field where supposedly Ted Williams hit that 502-foot home run.
“Something like this, I can’t really tell how good the focus is, but I think it’s a brilliant design,” said Rogers. “Perhaps a photo curator may take a more technical angle on it. Is it a museum piece?”
“Ted’s Red Seat,” photographed by Bart Blumberg, will be, for at least this summer.
There was one unexpected knuckleball. Rogers and Bresciani selected “Dazzling Sky,” a photograph of Fenway at twilight, the clouds hovering over the stadium with rich colors.
“When I first looked at it, to me it almost struck me as a painting,” Bresciani said.
“It has a kind of Wagnerian sweep to it,” said Rogers.
It’s not surprising they liked the picture. Bridgewater’s Christopher Dalton submitted the photo, but Werner Kunz took it. The image served as the cover for the book “Fenway Park: A Salute to the Coolest, Cruelest, Longest-Running Major League Baseball Stadium in America,” produced recently by The Boston Globe.
Kunz, an assistant professor of marketing at the UMass Boston, found the situation amusing.
“What kind of strategy is that?” he said Friday in a phone interview. “On the other hand, it’s nice to have the feedback that this photo won.”
Actually, his photo didn’t win. The contest required that entries not be previously published.
When informed of the misrepresentation, the MFA disqualified Dalton, and Rogers and Bresciani selected “Fenway Pretzel Vendor” by Lora Brody.
Dalton, reached by phone Thursday, first said he couldn’t find the negative for his photo. Later in the conversation, he came cleaner, saying, “I’m not sure what happened, but by the sound of things, I mistakedly submitted [Kunz’s] photo instead of mine.”
Lora Brody’s photo will join five others that will go on display in an area just inside the entryway of the Huntington Avenue entrance.
Barbara Ross, the amateur photographer who took the “Tag — 1976” photo, said she was thrilled to be selected. Ross has been an MFA member for three decades, as long as she and her husband, Nelson, have had Red Sox season tickets.
“It’s great,” said Ross. “They’re both Boston institutions that I’ve always thought had wonderful character. There’s nothing like Fenway Park, and I think the MFA has a very unique flavor to it, as well.”