Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Pole Project is complete!

I finished up a few cards today, and have officially completed the Dick Pole Project, an effort to give Dick Pole a Topps card for every year he played or coached in MLB. Below are all of his Topps card, ones made by Topps, other bloggers, and myself and a short bio about each card.

1974 Topps- Pole's rookie card made by Topps shows him with 3 other pitchers. It's kind of funny because Mark Littell, to the left of Pole, invented a device called the "Nutty Buddy", a cup-like device designed to protect a pitchers' 'pole' from injury. 

1975 Topps- Pole's first solo card was also made by Topps, and features a facsimile autograph on it.

1976 Topps- This original Topps card came out the year after Red Sox won the AL Championship and lost to the Reds in the World Series.  Pole pitched in Game 5, walking 2 batters. It also had stats for the '75 season on the back, which was the year that he was struck by a line drive, giving him a broken jaw and damage to the retina in his right eye. 

1977 Topps-This original Topps card shows Pole's 1976 stats, which was his last season with the Red Sox. On the front, he is pictured with the Mariners, who selected him in the expansion draft after the '76 season. I kind of wish Topps would've made a '77 card of him in a Red Sox uni and made a Traded set with the Mariners photo, but since Topps put the Mariner card in the regular set and there was no Traded set, I didn't see a need to make a Sox card. I've seen a few customs of Pole's '77 card with another Mariner photo of him online as well. 

1978 Topps- This was the last Pole card Topps made. Pole's last season in the Majors was 1978, and Topps didn't give him the '79 sunset card. 

1979 Topps- My first custom of Pole, this would've been his final card as a player. I didn't think I would find a Mariner photo of Pole, but this one popped up on a search. About a year ago, I decided to only do customs of cards from 1989 Topps to the present, but I made a few exceptions for the Pole Project. 

1988 Topps Traded- This would've been Pole's first coach card. The '88 Topps set is alot easier to work with using GIMP, and I think I got the fonts pretty close, and I'm like how the card turned out.

1989 Topps- Pole's first regular-issue Topps coach card, I made this one mainly in GIMP as well. It features an older photo of Pole since Cubs photos from Pole's first tenure with them are difficult to find, but since the team logo hasn't changed much in 100+ years, I'm not too concerned with it. 

1990 Topps- I made this card using the same photo as the '88 Traded card. It's actually from a coach card, and I had to change the logo on the cap. This card would've featured bio about Pole and the Cubs from the 1989 season where they won the NL East and faced the Giants in the NLCS. 

1991 Topps- I made this card pretty similar to the manager cards in the '91 Topps set, and I like how it turned out. I wish I would've decided to use the regular Topps logos in early custom cards like this that I've made, but other than that, a nice card of Pole.

1992 Topps- I made this card as part of my attempt to complete the 1992 Topps set by making 1992 Topps customs for all players/coaches/managers that Topps left off of the '92 set. I've made fronts for all subjects who appeared in a game in '91, and the total number of cards in the '92 Topps set increased from 792 to 1468. I am making backs for the cards in numerical order, and am up to card #1020. Pole's card is towards the end of the set, but I made his back already. 

1993 Topps Traded- Dick was either a coach in the minors or out of baseball in 1992. He came to the Giants for the 1993 season, but Topps didn't make coach cards in 1993, so he was left off of the '93 Traded set, so I created this card. 

1994 Topps- I used the same photo for the '93 Traded card to make his '94 Topps card. The back highlights the 1993 season where Pole coached 2 20-game winners and the Giants won 100 games but still missed the Playoffs due to a dominant Braves team and mixed up divisions. 

1995 Topps- For this 1995 Topps custom, I used the '95 All-Star design, and love how it turned out. Pole's Giants missed out on the Playoffs in 1994, as did every team in MLB. The NL West was a pretty lousy division that year, but with Matt Williams challenging the HR record and Bonds in the lineup, it's hard to imagine the Giants not making the Postseason in '94. 

1996 Topps- I used the '96 prospects design for this custom, putting 4 Giants coaches on a card. 

1997 Topps- The only difference between this custom I made and a regular player card in the '97 set is the color bar with the coach designation on it. It's simple changes like this that Topps could've made in order to put coaches and managers in all of their sets. 

1998 Topps- This was Dick's last card with the Giants. Pole would head to Boston for the '98 season. I used a regular '98 Topps design in this custom, but instead of having the team name at the color bar in the bottom, I added the coach designation. 

 1998 Topps Traded- Topps didn't have a Traded set in '98, so I made this custom of him to give collectors what would've been Pole's first Red Sox coach card.
1999 Topps- In 1998 Dick coached the Red Sox, and got to coach Pedro Martinez in his first season with the team. Topps didn't have coaches or managers in their '99 set, so I made this custom.

1999 Topps Traded- Pole went to the Angels for the '99 season. I added a little rectangle to the top of the bar on this custom and used it to list Pole as a coach. 

2000 Topps- This would've been Pole's only regular Topps issue as an Angel. This custom is basically the same as a 2000 Topps card with Pitching Coach listed as Pole's position.

2000 Topps Traded- Dick went to the Indians in 2000, and although Topps had a Traded set in 2000, they didn't include coaches or managers, so I made this custom of Pole for the set.

2001 Topps- In the 2001 Topps set, they finally brought back managers, but didn't have coaches. I made this one using the manager design in the '01 set. 

2002 Topps- Probably one of the hardest set to make customs of, I did a lot of detailed work to make this card, using the letters from the word 'manager' on a manager card to make the word 'coach'. The sideways lettering on the color ribbon was also difficult as was cutting around all of the borders.

2002 Topps Traded- Topps included a few managers in the '02 Traded set, but again, no coaches. This custom was a little easier to make, but difficult none the less. 

 2003 Topps- Pole coached for the Expos in 2002. This custom was made with the manager design for the '03 set.
2003 Topps Traded- This custom was made by John from Cards that Never Were. He has this one listed as a 2003 Topps card, but in my opinion, this card should be listed as a 2003 Topps Traded card since all Topps cards have stats for the previous year, and Pole was with the Expos in 2002, therefore, his 2003 Topps card should feature him as an Expo, and his '03 Traded and '04 Topps cards should feature him as a Cubbie. 
2004 Topps- This custom I made features a cameo by Dusty Bakers' son at the bottom of the card. If the Cubs hadn't got screwed by Bartman and the lucky Marlins, I think they would've had a decent shot at winning the '03 World Series, giving Pole a championship.

2005 Topps- I thought this was a unique photo, featuring Pole behind a chain link fence, so I decided to use it in this '05 Topps custom I made. The only bad thing about 2005 Topps is that they list the name and team twice, but nowhere is the position of the player/coach/manager to be found. 

2006 Topps- I like how the '06 Topps design looks, but I know a good number of collectors don't agree. This custom was hard to make customs of due to the curvature on the nameplate and team heading, but I think this on I made looks decent.

2007 Topps- This custom I made is Pole's last Topps card of him as a Cub. Another Topps set with no position listed. The regular player cards feature facsimile autographs, but the manager ones don't so I didn't include them on the coach ones either. Kind of ironic since coaches and managers are more likely to do ttm autographs than most players.

2007 Topps Updates and Highlights- I found this photo of Pole online and knew I had to use it for a Pole custom. This card is his first Reds card. 

2008 Topps- I like the 2008 set more than most collectors. The 2007 set wasn't bad in my opinion, but when compared to 2008, the '08 set and the colors for the team names just blow it out of the water. I chose not to include the facsimile auto on this custom again due to the fact that the manager cards didn't include them. 

2009 Topps- I was really stoked for the 2009 Topps design when it was released, and I still like it years later. The set is really easy to do customs with, and it probably took me less than 10 minutes to make this one. 

2010 Topps- Pole's final season as a coach (so far) was in 2009 with the Reds. He may come back one day, but as of 2016, his final Topps card would've been in the 2010 set. I don't really care for the 2010 design (it is better than this years crap fest), and it's difficult with customs too. It looks ok, I guess, but I have a feeling I won't be doing too many '10 Topps customs.

So that completes the Dick Pole Project. I think I'll still post the individual cards just so I can have them come up if someone searches for them and so I can tag the posts, but I might do them back to back so I can get on to other cards in the set. The last Pole card I made brings my set up to 191 cards. 
Thanks for checking out my latest post.


  1. Cool project. There were a few years there where Dick resembled Don (Zimmer).

  2. Thanks. I can totally see the resemblance.