Friday, October 31, 2014

1995 Topps Kenny Rogers Highlights

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

2008 Topps Buster Posey Draft Pick

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

1987 Topps Traded Edgar Martinez

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

1989 Topps Charles Nagy Draft Pick

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 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

1994 Topps Sparky Anderson

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

1996 Topps Dave Winfield

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

1991 Topps Todd Van Poppel Draft Pick

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 Charles Johnson Coming Attractions, and I'm getting Surge today!

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

1990 Topps Pete Rose

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

1952 Topps Johnny Podres/Jim Gilliam

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

1998 Topps Ron Karkovice

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.

Friday, October 10, 2014

1987 Topps Mookie Wilson World Series Highlights

I have always wished that Topps would've made more World Series Highlight cards. They made some in the '60's and '70's, but if I'm not mistaken, the last year they made them in the '80's was 1981, and they didn't bring them back until 1998. They missed out on cards like a 1989 Kirk Gibson, a 1994 Joe Carter, a 1996 David Justice, and this one, a 1987 Mookie Wilson. This game is one of the most remembered games of all-time, and for Topps not to showcase it on a card is a shame. Here is my attempt at a 1987 Topps Mookie Wilson World Series Highlights card.

Monday, October 6, 2014

1998 Topps Buck Showalter

Card #32 in my set has had a lot of changes made to it. Originally, I had planned to do a 1986 Topps Traded Greg Maddux. The 1986 is kind of blah and easy to do, so I decided to put off doing that card, and substitute it for a card that was towards the end of my set that I really looked forward to making.

Growing up in Lakeland, Florida, I remember in 1993 when the San Francisco Giants appeared to be heading to Tampa Bay, Florida. But Bill White decided that other potential owners from California could bid on the team even after the Florida group signed the contract, and the Giants ended up staying in San Francisco. I longed for a Major League team in Florida that was near me, and finally, in 1996, it was announced that Tampa Bay was awarded a franchise. I looked forward to it, and was excited to pull cards of the new Devil Rays players out of packs of (mostly) 1998 Topps. If I were a little older then and Check out my Cards were around, I would've spent a lot of money chasing those early Rays cards.

The idea popped into my head to give 1998 Topps cards for every player the Rays drafted in the 1997 Expansion Draft, as well as some of the Free Agents that didn't get '98 Topps cards. In one of the later series (12), I planned on starting to make those cards. I started off the series with a card of Larry Rothschild, the first manager of the Rays. After deciding to pull the 1986 Traded Maddux, I thought the '98 Topps Rothschild would be a great card to substitute. Then, last night, I toyed with the idea of doing a 1998 Topps Buck Showalter instead. He is more well-known, and I decided if his Baltimore Orioles beat my Detroit Tigers, that I would do the '98 Showalter. Well, Nelson Bleeping Cruz killed Detroit again, hitting another crushing Homer. I would like to think that when he had his 3-HR game in the 2011 ALCS that he didn't use steroids. I would like to think that he isn't on them now. It would be a shame that the 1 hitter who almost single-handedly crushed my favorite team's post-season hopes TWICE was juiced up when he did it. I do hope that Buck Showalter can get a ring finally. I think he really deserves his due. Plus, I would love to see my former high-school classmate Steve Pearce get one too. I think the Orioles can beat the Royals (although it would be sweet to see the Royals make it all the way), and they have a shot against some of the NL teams. I would hate to see the Giants or Cardinals win another title, don't really care for LA, but would love to see Washington win a title. We will all know who wins in a few weeks. For now, here is a 1998 Topps Buck Showalter card as promised. Congratulations on beating my team!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

1993 Topps Rick Dempsey

Rick Dempsey recieved his final Topps card in 1991, even though he played his final game in 1992. He was left off of the 1992 and 1993 Topps sets. He was one of only a few players to play in 4 decades ('60's, '70's, '80's and '90's to be exact), and won World Series championships with the Baltimore Orioles in 1983 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988. The 1993 Topps set is one of the most difficult sets to make custom cards of in my opinion because of the odd angles of the printing on the back. Here is my humble attempt at a 1993 Topps Rick Dempsey.