Thursday, November 20, 2014
I wasn't born quite early enough to remember Jack Morris as a Detroit Tiger, but I do remember him with the Toronto Blue Jays. He was a great pitcher, and I remember him winning 20 games for the Jays and helping them to 2 World Championship trophies. If the strike hadn't happened in 1994, it could've been 4 in a row and 5 overall (He pitched 10 shutout innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series with the Minnesota Twins to win the title, and his 1994 Cleveland Indians team was one of the strongest in the majors that year).
I personally think the Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame, especially after doing the research for this card. He won 250+ games, if he would've played 3 more seasons and been healthy, he would've had an outside shot at 300 wins, and maybe 3,000 strikeouts. One of the many problems I have with the Hall of Fame is that they base their membership on accumulated stats. For pitchers, it's 300 wins or 3,000 strikeouts. For hitters, it's 500 home runs or 3,000 hits. The problem with that is that if an average player plays in 20+ seasons, they can get close to any of those numbers. Heck, if Joe Carter played in 6 or so more seasons, he would've been close to those numbers. So Jack Morris gets penalized just because he didn't hit the 300 win total. News flash: Back in the 60's players played more seasons in their careers. Now in the '90's and '00's, we have 5-man rotations, players are getting pinch-hit for more often, and the players are making so much money, that they would rather retire than play a few seasons into their 40's. That wasn't the case 40-60 years ago, and players needed all the money they got, so they often had second jobs in the off-season, and many of them played into their 40's and put up those extra 50-100 home runs that pushed them over the 500 mark. Baseball is different now, and we need to accept that, and put players in the Hall because of how good they were during THEIR era, not if they compare with Mickey Mantle, Roy Campanella, or Bob Gibson's numbers. So what if a pitcher has an ERA close to 4.00? That is pretty decent nowadays, and you can have an ERA of 3.75 and still give your team a chance to win 70% of the games you start. I think Morris put up excellent numbers for his era, and he was the go-to pitcher (if not, the ace) of 4 World Series winning teams. He is a Hall of Famer in my book, and I hope the writers who vote realize that (the fact that writers, and not fans or former players get to vote is beyond me, and I'll save that for another post).
Topps gave Morris a card in their 1994 Traded set, but not in 1995. I like how this one turned out, and I think it's a good sunset card of Jack Morris.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Recently, a reader named Paul left a comment on one of my posts saying that he also wanted to make custom cards that never were, and was primarily focusing on players from 1990-1994 who never had cards, and asked if I had any templates available. That got me thinking, and I decided to make a post with a few basic templates and tips on how to make a custom card. Even though this blog is called "TOPPS cards that never were", I decided to make some templates with the 1991 Donruss and 1992 Upper Deck designs, just because those are really the only card designs that had fronts and backs that didn't have different colors for every team in the league.
I typically use Microsoft Paint while making my customs, but I also have GIMP, which is a great photo program similar to Photoshop (I just haven't toyed with GIMP much), and if you have Photoshop, I'm sure you can make some amazing customs with it. I'm going to go through how to make a custom in Paint, just becuase most computers have it, and you can get similar programs on a Mac.
Now you need to pick which player you are going to use. I am going to do Jeff Bagwell for this one. Once you decide that, you need a photo. I usually find photos by googling a player+ a year that I need or a team that I need, and usually that works. For some cards, I have to find a picture from a Major or Minor League card. www.comc.com works well for that, as well as www.tradingcarddb.com. I would try to find a photo that is around the same size as the card that you are working with (bigger ones or smaller ones look all grainy and crappy when you resize them), and one that you don't have to do much touch-up work to (erasing a watermark, blurring out an autograph, etc.). Once you have found a picture, open that up in your other window of Paint. Select the entire picture, and copy it.
As far as team logos, www.sportslogos.net offers a variety of team/league logos.
Now that the front is done, save the front. If you want to make a back, it's relatively simple. Just open the file for the Series 1 back, type the player name/bio, enter the stats, enter some career highlights, and give it a number.
www.baseball-reference.com, and I'll get any bio or highlights from the back of another card, or Wikipedia.
I made a back template for Series 1 & 2. Series 1 has pitching headers, and 2 has hitting headers. Since Bagwell is a hitter, all you have to do to change it is open the Series 2 back template, copy the hitter header, and paste it over the Series 1 back, and do color correction if needed. For the stats on Bagwell, he just gets a simple NO MAJOR LEAGUE RECORD on his stat lines. Simple enough.
Baseball Card Pedia is a great place to find out how many cards are in a certain set, what size the cards are, and if any numbers are missing in the set.
One last note, I probably should've used the select color tool and selected the shade of black that Donruss used on "CAREER HIGHLIGHTS", because I used black from the pallate tray on the bottom of Paint, and it looks a lot darker than the shade Donruss used. I'm not going to fix it, but I think it would look a lot better in the original black shade Donruss used.
I hope this post helps any aspiring custom card makers. I also put templates for 1992 Upper Deck up, which is probably an easier custom to make than a 1991 Donruss. On the backs of '92 Upper Deck, the National League gets the green nameplate, and the AL gets the red ones, and you can also put another picture on the back, just do it the same way as the front. You can rotate the back by selecting IMAGE from the toolbar, FLIP/ROTATE, and then rotate it by angle to type in the stats and NAME/TEAM/POSITION sideways, and then rotate it back to normal. Feel free to post any comments, questions, and links to any customs you have made, and as always thanks for checking out my blog.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Mike Scott had a great 5-year run with the Astros from 1986-1990. He led the NL in Wins, Strikeouts, ERA, won NLCS MVP, and threw a no-hitter during those 5 years. Injuries plagued him after that, and he retired in 1991 after playing in only 2 games. He didn't appear on any cards that year. Here is what his 1992 Topps card may have looked like. I plan on doing a post of this card on my other blog as well, since it is from the 1992 Topps set. I originally started my other blog, planning to give every player a 1992 Topps card that played a MLB game in 1991. I have done around 25 cards on it, before focusing more on this blog just because of the variety of sets I can choose from, but I think I'll try to do a few more posts on the '92 Topps blog, because it's going to be a heck of a lot of work to finish that set, and as somebody told me "The best time to plant an apple tree was 10 years ago. The next best time is now. So I will try not to let that blog slip by the wayside, and I'll try to make cards for this one too. Thanks for reading.
Monday, November 10, 2014
Topps could've made a highlight card of George Brett's pine tar game in their 1984 set, but they chose not to. '84 would be the last year they would put highlight cards in the set until 1997. I thought this would be a cool card to do of the Royals legend. After doing this card, I can check another Topps set off of my list that I have added a card to in the regular set. I probably won't do many cards before 1984. I still need to do cards from the '85, '86, '88, '99-'07, and '09-'15 sets, and although I have cards from those sets in later series down the road, you never know when I might feel the need to deviate from the checklist and maybe push one of those cards to the front. Only 3 more cards left in the 2nd Series.
Saturday, November 8, 2014
In 1993, Nolan Ryan was playing in his 27th and final season. His Rangers were playing the White Sox on August 4th, and Ryan, who had a few grudges against Ventura and the White Sox, hit Ventura with a pitch. Ventura started walking to first, and then turned and charged the mound. Ryan managed to get Ventura into a headlock, and started wailing on his head before teammates came along and the fight got broken up. I remember hearing about it on the news for the next few days.
I decided to do a highlight card of the famous fight. I used a 1994 Topps pre-production card of Ryan for the front. The area above the color bar underneath the name is brown on this card, unlike the regular cards in the set, which are green. I think I might stick with that design if I end up making more 1994 Topps highlight cards.
Thanks for checking out my custom cards.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
I thought I would use this post to let you readers know what I have been mostly doing during my off days besides making custom cards.
Around age 6 or 7, my Dad got a Commodore 64 computer. My Uncle Tom was a big computer geek, and I think he encouraged my dad to get it. Whenever we would see my uncle, he would give us floppy disks with games on them. One of these games was Hardball, which came out in the mid '80's, and is one of the all-time best baseball games in my opinion. I played Hardball for hours on end as a kid. Somewhere between middle school and college, the Commodore disappeared (I think my Mom threw it out). Around 2002, I downloaded a C64 emulator, and I was back to playing Hardball again.
I have always played with the Champs (Blue team), and have always wanted to know what kind of stats the team would put up in a 162 game season. I had incorporated the Champs into many baseball simulation programs, but never had got stats from playing 162 games and keeping them. In 2011, I came across a post on a C64 forum where the author, Doomtints, actually played 162 games with the Champs and kept stats. He played the game with the DH rule in effect. If you know anything about Hardball, you know that the hitter's skills depend not on who they are, but on where they are in the batting order. I always played without a DH (contrary to my beliefs about MLB), so I wanted to get the stats without it. So, sometime this year, I started playing the games and keeping stats. I just finished game #142, and with 20 games left, Doomtint's stats are pretty spot-on. I am a tad better Win-Loss wise, but that could change at any time. My pitchers have better W/L records, and better ERAs, but I have been walking many of the All-Star hitters, so my Walks are WAAAAAAY worse, and my Strikeouts are below his. The hitters are probably going to be a little weaker stat-wise that his, but I think many of them will end up posting similar stats. I am hoping to get game 162 played by the end of the year, and if not by December 31, then maybe have all the stats sorted out and posted on the C64 forum (my screenname is Jeremya1um).
So that is basically what I have been up to outside of making customs. How about any of you? Have you ever played Hardball? Do you even know what a Commodore 64 is?
Monday, November 3, 2014
This is another World Series Highlight card that Topps missed between 1982 and 1997. Most people know the story, but if not, I'll refresh everyone's memory. The Toronto Blue Jays were up 3 games to 2 on the Philadelpha Phillies in the 1993 World Series. They were down, however, by the score of 6-5 with runners on 1st and 2nd with 1 out when Joe Carter stepped to the plate. He belted a Mitch Williams pitch into the seats for a World Series-winning Home Run. The Jays won the championship, and that has been their last appearance in the playoffs.
I decided to use the Blue Jays design from the 1994 Topps set for the front, and use a horizontal back without a picture cutout. As I have said before, I think 1994 Topps is one of the hardest designs to work with as a custom card maker. I will be using it again soon, as the next card is a 1994 Topps highlight card of the Nolan Ryan/Robin Ventura fight.
Friday, October 31, 2014
Topps didn't make Season Highlight cards from 1985 up through 1996. This is my take on what a 1995 Topps Season Highlight card would look like.
Kenny Rogers pitched a Perfect Game on July 28, 1994 against the Angels. I remember being 11 and hearing all about it on the news the day after. A few years later, in 1998, I went to a Tampa Bay Devil Rays game and got to meet Kenny. He was playing with the Oakland A's, and they were playing the Rays, and after the game, Kenny went to the third base side and started signing autographs. I had his 1994 Pinnacle Museum Collection card, and had it ready to be signed, when this lady got my attention. It turned out to be Kenny's mom, and she had never seen the card I had, and offered to trade it for one of the cards of Kenny that she kept in her purse. So I traded his '94 Pinnacle Museum Collection for his '90 Upper Deck card, and got him to sign that one instead. It was kind of neat. I'm sure not many people have traded cards with a ballplayers Mom, and I was happy to give her a card that she hadn't seen before.
Like this one, a few of the last cards in Series 2 will be Season Highlight cards. The next 2 are from 1994, and I'm not sure how to change the fronts, but I think I have some ideas. Stay tuned for them in the next few days. Thanks for reading my blog.
Thursday, October 30, 2014
Well, the Royals didn't win, so that means card #43 will be this 2008 Topps Buster Posey Draft Pick card. I was really pulling for the Royals, but I guess it wasn't meant to be. I will make a George Brett Pine tar card soon, though. Congratulations to the Giants.
Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Edgar Martinez's first appearance on a Topps card came in 1990. He could've got a card in the 1988 or 1989 set, and if not in the regular set, then maybe in the Traded set. Omar Vizquel appeared in the 1989 Traded set, and he made it to the Majors only a year after Edgar. I decided to give Edgar a card in the 1987 Topps Traded set. He put up some good numbers in the fall of 1987 with the Mariners, and it's concievable that Topps could've put him in the '87 Traded set.
On another note, the Royals won Game 6, so that means I will know tonight who will appear on the next card. I'm thinking that if the Royals win, instead of doing a 1973 Brett/Schmidt/Cey card, I might to a highlight card of the Pine Tar game. That might be fun. Hopefully the Royals can pull it off tonight.
Tuesday, October 28, 2014
Got back from my trip yesterday, and had time to make this card today before I go to work. Charles Nagy was one of the most solid pitchers for the Cleveland Indians in the 1990's. He won 16 in '95, 17 in '96, and helped them make it to the World Series that year. I met him a few times over the years at Indian Spring Training games in Winter Haven, Florida, and he was always nice, signing autographs and being pretty fan-friendly. He was one of 3 players the Indians picked up in the first round in 1988. Mark Lewis was the first, and he was given a 1989 Topps card. Next came Nagy, who wasn't given a card, and last came Jeff Mutis, who wasn't given a 1989 Topps card (but who I did make a http://completingthe1992toppsset.blogspot.com/2014/07/1992-topps-jeff-mutis.html of).
So now Charles Nagy has his 1989 Topps Draft Pick card. Card #42 is a 1987 Topps Traded Edgar Martinez, and depending on if the Kansas City Royals or the San Francisco Giants win the World Series, card #43 will either be a 1973 Topps George Brett/Mike Schmidt/Ron Cey card, or a 2008 Topps Buster Posey Draft Pick card. I personally hope the Royals win, just because most of the players on the Giants already have 2 rings, and most of the Royals haven't won any. I do sympathize with Tim Hudson, but I'm rooting for the Royals.
I do think the 2008 Posey Draft Pick card would be fun to make, and making that card unlocks an even bigger can of worms: Since Topps can't make a card of a player until they are on the MLB roster, they wouldn't have been able to make this card in 2008. But, if Topps gave every #1 draft choice a Bowman, and then once they made the Bigs, issued their "true" Topps Draft Pick card in a Topps Archives set, and gave it all the bells and whistles that previous Topps Draft Pick cards had before 2006 (autographs, Chrome/Refractors, maybe serial numbering), would those cards carry their weight as if they were issued during the player's draft year? I would personally get them to complete my Topps run of the player. Would MLB frown upon the practice? Would the cards just be considered another regular card of the player? I don't know, but I intend to make a few just to see what people think. Thanks for checking out my blog.
Sunday, October 26, 2014
1993 was the last year Topps included Manager cards in their sets until 2001. I think we missed out on a bunch of cool cards during that period. We missed a 1995 Topps card of Felipe Alou (manager of the great 1994 Montreal Expos team, we missed a 1996 Bobby Cox card (manager of the 1995 World Series winning Atlanta Braves), and we missed out on manager cards of the expansion Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Devil Rays during their first seasons (I fixed half of that mistake with a 1998 Topps Buck Showalter custom that I made a few weeks ago).
I decided to try to make a 1994 Topps card of Sparky Anderson. I made the front basically the same as a normal card, but messed around a little on the back so it didn't have a picture and had more room for stats. I like how it turned out. I will be doing more manager cards in the future, and if you have any ideas for manager cards (or anything else), feel free to leave me a comment and let me know. Thanks for checking out my blog.
Friday, October 24, 2014
A little over a month ago, Nick from the Dime Box blog did a post on Dave Winfield's sunset cards. Topps made their last Winfield card in 1995, so I put a 1996 Topps Winfield on my list of cards to make. His card finally came up, so here it is. I really like how it turned out. It was a little bit of a challenge, but not so much that it wasn't fun to make.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Todd Van Poppel was the next big pitcher when he was drafted by the Oakland A's in 1990. He would've been the first overall pick if the Atlanta Braves thought he was signable. Instead, he slipped down to #14 and Oakland took him. He was rushed to the Majors quickly, and could've used a few years experience in the minors. Todd bounced around to a few different teams, and played into the mid '00's, but never was the ace pitcher everyone expected him to be.
I had the pleasure of meeting Todd in 1996 or 1997 when he was with the Texas Rangers organization. He was playing with the Charlotte Rangers, and I saw them take on my hometown Lakeland Tigers. Todd was nice enough to sign my 2 baseball cards in the rain, and I've been a fan of his ever since.
I think that Todd's 1991 Topps Draft Pick card would've been hot had it been issued that year. Here's what mine turned out like.
Monday, October 20, 2014
1993 Topps is an important set to me. I was 8 in 1992, and had just started purchasing packs of cards with my own money. I remember the next year, 1993, that Topps put the Topps Gold cards in every pack, and I liked getting them. I liked getting the All-Star, Draft Pick, Manager, Top Prospect, and Coming Attraction cards. Topps also put cards of the Colorado Rockies and Florida Marlins in their set in Series 2, and being from Central Florida, I loved getting Marlin cards. I always found it funny, though, that Topps never gave a Coming Attraction subset card to the Rockies or Marlins. They gave each team a Draft Pick card, had a few Rockies and Marlins in the Top Prospect cards, and even had cards of their managers. Todays card fixes half of the problem, giving Charles Johnson the Marlins Top Prospect card. Charles was the Marlins #1 Draft Choice in 1992, but Topps chose to give left-hander Rich Ireland the Draft Pick card instead. CJ was one of the finest defensive catchers to play the game, and I remember him being a big part of the Marlins 1997 World Championship team. He appeared in the 1991 Topps Traded set when he was with Team USA, but (I believe due to contract negotiations with Topps) didn't appear on another Topps card until years later.
This card was a little easier to work with on the back due to the fact that the Marlins had Charlie Hough and John Johnstone on 1993 Topps cards, so I used their cards to help me with the name on the back. It also helped that Bret Boone of the Seattle Mariners had a Coming Attraction card. His card, instead of having the Mariners team colors on the back, had the Marlins team colors on the back, so I didn't have to use the back of a Marlins card and try to paste the Coming Attractions logo in the picture area. Maybe one of these days, I'll do a post showing the making of a card from start to finish.
I'll be traveling in the next few days, so I'll try to do a post tomorrow, and then will pretty much be off the radar for a week. And finally, I'm super excited to be recieving my package of Surge soda from Amazon today! I loved Surge when I was in high school in the late '90's! The citrus taste was legendary. I probably had one of my last Surge's sometime in the late '90's (probably out of the vending machine in my church's hallway). I searched for it for the next 4-5 years, and while driving around town with my friend Joe, we stopped to get some gas, and I found some in the fountain drinks that had to be way past the expiration date. I got a 64-oz cup, a 6-pack of Krispy Kreme donuts (which I had also been trying to find for a year or so), and chugged the soda and had 2 donuts. I got a huge sugar headache and was almost late for work. That was the last time I had Surge. I probably won't have any Krispy Kreme's with it, but I am sure going to enjoy having my first Surge since 2002 or so! Thanks for checking out my blog.
Thursday, October 16, 2014
Topps never gave Pete Rose a 1990 card, and it's not difficult to see why. Tommy Helms managed the Reds for the rest of the 1989 season, so he got the Manager card in the 1990 set. Pete was banned from baseball, which also meant that he was banned from any MLB-licensed card sets, including 1990 Topps. I met Pete at a celebrity softball game in 2005, and he seemed like a nice guy, signing tons of autographs. I decided to dream a little and give him a final card from 1990 Topps.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
In 2006, Topps made a set called Topps '52, featuring every rookie from 2006 on a card with the 1952 Topps design. It was a great set, and if Topps isn't going to bring back the MLB Debut set, Topps '52 is a good alternative.
In the Topps '52 set, there was an insert set featuring 2 players from the same team called Dynamic Duos. It used various aspects of the 1952 Topps design, and I really liked it. I was wondering the other day what it would've looked like if Topps had used the Dynamic Duos design in the original 1952 set. They could've paired Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford (if Ford would've had a contract with Topps), and that would've been one amazing card. I chose to pair teammates who were rookies in 1952 and didn't get a 1952 Topps card. The best pair I could come up with were Johnny Podres and Jim Gilliam. I used photos from their 1953 Topps cards (to stay true to the painted effect of the '52 set), and changed the wording on the card from Dynamic Duos to 1952 Rookies. I might try to make more 2-player rookie cards from early Topps sets. I have some great cards coming up next, so stay tuned.
Monday, October 13, 2014
I think I am getting to know myself better as a card collector and a custom card maker. I think that like many other card collectors, that I am mainly interested in cards that came out during the years I collected (1988-2012 or so). While I have many cards from before 1988, and I will always be fascinated with older cards, I guess you could say that sets that I remember busting packs of, or seeing in a beckett, or seeing in friends collections are ones that I enjoy. So I guess I shouldn't be surprised that I have been deviating from my set checklists when it comes to making custom cards. This card was supposed to be a 1984 Topps Traded Kirby Puckett. While Puckett was a great player, I know other bloggers have made this card before, and I guess I kind of want to be different and make cards nobody else will make. I loved the 1998 Topps set, and I had Ron Karkovice in my list of final cards to make from that set, so I decided to do his '98 Topps card for card #34.
I have been a fan of "Karko" for a while now. I got his 1989 Topps card out of one of the first packs of cards I ever opened, I watched him and the Chicago White Sox on WGN games since probably 1993 or so, but the real thing that sticks out in my mind about Ron was the 1994 Post-Season. "But wait. There wasn't a Post-season in 1994", you say. Oh yes there was. In 1994, Dateline NBC simulated the rest of the 1994 season on a computer program, and if I'm not mistaken, they had the New York Banee$ beating the Cincinatti Reds in the World Series. Topps also did the same thing with a computer system, and they actually kept the stats that were made, added them to players' 1994 regular stats, and put versions of cards with the computer-simulated stats added into their 1995 Topps sets in the paralell set called 'Cyberstats' or 'Spectra Light', whichever you prefer to call it. In their simulations, they had the Cleveland Indians beating the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. They also made a 7-card insert set that was placed in factory sets, which highlighted the Playoffs and World Series. I had wanted that set ever since it came out, but since I only had a small card shop, and haven't really been on eBay much, I wasn't able to get the set until 2009 when I finally got the set off of COMC.
Around that time, I had got Strategic Baseball Simulator for my laptop, and decided I wanted to do my own version of the 1994 season. I simmed the season, and the playoffs, and the Chicago White Sox and Cincinatti Reds were the last 2 teams standing. The playoffs had some great moments, including a Paul O'Neill walkoff HR off of Dennis Eckersley, a Sean Berry series-clinching walkoff HR, and a Complete-Game Shutout by Cleveland Indians pitcher Denny Martinez against the Baltimore Orioles in a 1-game playoff to determine the AL Wild Card. In the World Series, the White Sox took on the Reds. In Game 1, the Sox won 19-2. Robin Ventura had 2 HRs and 7 RBIs, and Ozzie Guillen had 5 hits. Karkovice hit a 2-run HR in the bottom of the 8th to give the White Sox a lead they would never relinquish. Bret Boone hit a Sac-Fly to give the Reds a 3-2 lead in the 8th of Game 3, that would prove to be the winning run. Boone also won Game 4 with a RBI hit in the bottom of the 10th Inning. Jose Rijo pitched 7 innings of 3-run ball, and had 2 RBIs at the plate to give the Reds a 5-3 win in Game 5. In a must-win game for the White Sox, Julio Franco came through with a game-winning Sac-Fly in the bottom of the 12th inning of Game 6. Game 7 was never in doubt, as the White Sox took an early lead, and ended up winning 12-4. Karko had 3 Home Runs in Game 7, and was named the World Series MVP with a .310 Batting Average, 4 Home Runs, and 11 RBIs.
I was in the midst of making an ill-fated custom set featuring me, some of my friends, places I've been to, and great memories I've had at the time, and decided to make a set similar to the Cyberstats 7-card playoff insert in my set. The whole custom set turned out to be a waste of time, but I still have the photo of the Karkovice World Series card.
Hope this post wasn't too long or too confusing to understand. In the end, Karko gets his final Topps card, a World Series ring, a 3-HR World Series game, and an extra Cyberstats card.