Thursday, February 25, 2016

2007 Topps Tim Salmon

PLAYER BIO:  Tim Salmon played for the Angels from 1992-2006. He was the 1993 AL Rookie of the Year and a member 2002 World Championship club. One of the most popular Angels ever.

YEARS PLAYED: 1992-2006



WHY I MADE THIS CARD:  Tim was one of the best players for the Angels during his career. There was a time in 1993 when he was probably just as hot as Mike Piazza in the hobby. He was nice enough to sign his 1994 Stadium Club Golden Rainbow card and 1996 Bowman's Best Refractor for me through the mail in 2005, and I've always been a fan of him since he came up in '92, even though I don't really go out of the way to get any of his cards. I can see why Topps left him off of the '06 and '07 sets since he was injured a lot at the end of his career and he missed the entire 2005 season, but he did play in 76 games in '06 and certainly deserved a sunset card, so I decided to make one of one of the most popular players for the Angels. Thanks for checking out the latest card.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Coaches Center Part 5: 2001 Topps Bobby Dews

BIO: Bobby Dews was a coach for the Braves from '79-'81, 1985, and '97-'06. He also served in various roles like roving instructor before and after those periods.


TOPPS SETS MISSING FROM:  1980-1982, 1986, and 1998-2007

WHY I MADE THIS CARD: Bobby was one of the nicest guys in the game. I've seen him at least twice in person during spring training. The first time I mistakenly thought he was Bobby Cox, and I handed him Cox's 2002 Topps card to get signed. Dews signed it and told me it wasn't him. I was embarrassed but happy to have the autograph all the same. The second time, he was hitting flies to outfielders during BP, and I jokingly told him to hit some left handed to confuse the outfielders. He then told me that he was actually a switch hitter and he probably could. After he was done he gave me a ball and signed a Braves sticker for me. I heard Dews' name a lot watching Braves games on TBS as a kid, so I had always wanted to get a card of him, so those are the main reason I chose to give Dews a card. I decided to use the '01 Topps design in honor of the '01 Topps Cox card that he signed.

I've been doing a ton of '99 Topps Devil Ray customs and am 8 away from finishing the set. That means at some point there will be like 30 posts of Devil Rays in a row, but I may do 5 cards in a post or maybe do all of them in one, not sure. I also have a number of cards in the Dick Pole Project coming up (2000-2009). I'll probably do them one by one, but most of them use designs that I haven't used for coaches yet, so I feel justified in posting them individually. Thanks for checking out my latest custom.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

1993 Topps Jamie Quirk

BIO:  I am trying a different format for my blog to try to give out more info on the players and the sets they appeared in and were missing from. If appreciate any feedback. Here goes....Jamie Quirk played baseball in the Majors from 1975-1992. He was on 2 World Series winning teams, the 1985 Royals and 1989 A's.

TOPPS SETS APPEARED IN: 1976-1984, 1987-1989, 1991-1992. Surprisingly for a journeyman catcher, Quirk appeared in a decent number of Topps sets throughout his career.

TOPPS SETS MISSING FROM: 1985, 1986, 1990, and 1993. In '84, Jamie only played in 4 games, so it's pretty easy to see why he was left off of the '85 set. In 1985, he played in 19, so again they decided to leave him out of the set. In 1989 he got into 47 games so he was again left off of the set due to lack of playing time. 1992 was the only year that leaves me kind of baffled. He played in 78 games for the A's, yet still didn't receive a '93 Topps card, even though he got one in '92 and played in 2 fewer games in 1991. I guess Topps just didn't want to give a catcher who was at the very end of the line a card in the next years' set in favor of giving some rookie a card in the base set.

WHY I MADE THIS CARD:  Quirk seemed like a nice guy from some of the stories I've read about him in various baseball books/sources, he was nice enough to sign his 1992 Topps card for me in a 1996 Spring Training game, and he needed a nice sunset card as the only major brand to give him one in 1993 was Fleer.

I hope you enjoyed the new format and that it made these posts a little more interesting and informative. Let me know if you enjoyed it or think it needs something different. Thanks for checking out my blog.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

'98 Devil Rays Set apart 1: 1999 Topps Larry Rothschild Manager

1998 was a big year for me. I was 15 then, I was getting a ton of baseball cards since I started getting 20 bucks a week to mow my grandpas yard, and there was finally a Major League Baseball team near me as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays started playing that year. I got a few Rays cards from packs in 1998, and in 1999 as the year went by I got even more, and this time with stats on the back for their first season. Topps probably left off a good 2/3rds of the team in their '99 set, so I am out to rectify that and give all of the '98 Rays team a '99 Topps card.

The first card I made for the set is one of Rays manager Larry Rothschild. Larry skippered the team until 2001. He didn't have much of a chance with the team as they only signed 2 really big free agents, Jose Canseco and Vinny Castilla, and one of them (Castilla) was injured for most of his tenure as a Ray. Perhaps if they would've got some pitching and signed a few big time hitters like Arizona, we wouldn't have had to wait until 2008 for our first playoff appearance and Larry could've stuck around a little longer.

Larry only has 1 Topps card, in the 2001 set. Had Topps put managers in their sets from '94 to '00, he would've been in probably 3 more sets as I suspect they would've included him in the '98 set. This is the first manager card I've made in the '99 set and I did it basically the same as I did for my 1999 Topps Dick Pole coach card, putting his Manager title in a box at the top of the card and his name underneath that. I'm going to try to make a page for my '99 Rays project with pictures to each card I have done. I'm probably about 1/5th of the way done so far.

I am also working on making 1992 Topps cards for every player/manager/coach who played in 1991 and wasn't in the original '92 Topps or Traded (rookies, not traded players) set. Larry was a coach for the Reds in '91, so I made his card in the set. It's just the front for now, but it is another card that Larry doesn't have.

I hope you enjoyed the 2 Cards that Never Were.  Thanks for checking out my latest custom.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Favorite Player Collection Part 6: Topps Rafael Bournigal

Card #119 in my custom set is this 1998 Topps Rafael Bournigal. Raffy was one of my favorite players growing up in Lakeland, Florida. He started out in the Bigs with the Dodgers in 1992. I pulled his '93 Score and '93 Topps cards out of packs in '93. He played with them in '93 and '94 before being traded to the Expos. He didn't make the Majors in '95, but saw decent time with Oakland in '96, '97, and '98. It was around that time that he moved to Lakeland, Florida. I knew this because our local paper had a section in sports called "Polk County players in the Pro's", and he was always in it with his weekly stats. In '96 we moved near the local YMCA, and I found out that he worked out there sometimes. I was no stranger to ballplayers coming to the Y, since earlier that year Michael Salazar, a reliever on our local Minor League team worked there at the front desk. I brought a program over one day and he signed it. 

So one day, I was shooting hoops and just about to leave when I got a drink of water and I spotted Raffy. Don't ask me how I knew it was him, I just did. I asked him if I could run home (I lived literally a block away) and bring a few cards to get signed. He was also leaving, so he offered to drive me home because I told him how close I was. So I got in his car, and Raffy and his brother drove to my house and waited while I got his cards and a pen. He signed my cards and took a picture with me. 

I saw him a few other times in 1997 and 1998. A few years later when I started working for Publix, he would come in and usually came through my line. I didn't see him too much more at the Y, but I played basketball against his brother Shawn a lot. Shawn would always chuck up threes and would make a good amount of them. I haven't seen either of them in about 10 years, partially due to the fact that I've moved a few times, but I'd like to think if I were ever back in Lakeland that they would recognize me. 

Raffy appeared in the '93 Topps set as well as the '95 set and was on a '96 Topps preview card. I'm trying to give him all the cards he is missing, and this '98 one brings me one step closer. Thanks for checking out this post of one of my favorite players. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

1995 Topps Indians Chiefs

Back in 1994, the Cleveland Indians were one of baseball's hottest teams. They would've probably represented the AL in the '94 World Series had it been played, and they actually won it in Topps' computer simulation of the remainder of the '94 season. 3 of their key cogs were Centerfielder Kenny Lofton, Leftfielder Albert Belle, and Second Baseman Carlos Baerga. Kenny was the fastest player in the Majors at the time (maybe second to Rickey Henderson), Belle had 50-Home Run power, and Baerga had power (19 HRs in '94) and could hit for Average (.314 Batting Average in '94). With these 3 guys in the lineup, the Indians made it to the Series in '95.

The last time Topps made random cards with a few of the teams' players on it was back in the '60's. Topps had the Leader cards in the '80's which sometimes had shots of a few players, but just with the teams' leaders listed on the back and no text. Topps finally gave us some combo cards in 2006, and have put some in just about every set since. I like combo cards. They can feature just about anyone, and you can make them for any team, and if you work them out right, you can make them for 2 guys at the same position, 2 players with excellent speed, 2 ace lefties, whatever you can think of. For this one, I had wanted to get a picture of Belle, Lofton, and Jim Thome from that era, but couldn't find one. This picture came up, and it more than sufficed.

The '95 Topps set is difficult to work with, but I was able to isolate every consonant and vowel by themselves, and have a file with them by themself with a white background, so that makes the process a lot easier. I will probably do that with the '10 Topps set as well. Most of the other Topps sets are easy to find similar fonts to. After cutting out the inside of the card, all I had to do was place the border over the photo, and then place the lettering over everything, and I was basically done.

I've made a few cool cards tonight. 1 is a final card of a Hall of Famer that I am really surprised nobody has made yet. I may be wrong, but I did a Google image search and couldn't find one. I also made a rookie card of one of my favorite Detroit Tigers who is now in a pretty powerful position in MLB. Those cards are #s 151 and 152 in my set, the first 2 cards in the 5th Series. I save each card as part of a custom set, and also save it with the Topps set it is a part of, so it is cool to look at some of the sets that have a good number of cards in them. I think 1999, 1990, 1994, and 1993 are some of the ones with the most cards. 1991 and 1996 might be close too.

Thanks for checking out the latest card in my custom set.

Friday, February 5, 2016

1991 Topps Larry McWilliams

The latest custom card in my set is this 1991 Topps Larry McWilliams. Larry played in the Majors from 1978-1990. He is most famous for pitching in the game that stopped Pete Rose's 44-game hit streak in 1978. He also went 15-8 for the Pirates in 1983. He appeared on Topps sets from 1979-1987, and again in 1989. He was included in the '88 Traded set as a Cardinal, but not on the '88 regular set, which would've pictured him as a Pirate. That means the only Topps cards he is missing are from the '88 set, the '90 set, and his '91 sunset card. 

McWilliams is a pretty good ttm signer. When I used to to ttm autographs, I sent an '85 Topps and '89 Bowman card to Larry, and he signed them for me. I wrote a Bible verse with my signature on my letter, and he sent my letter back with a nice response on it with a few verses on it. I wish I would've made this custom back then. Btw, I got a new printer recently, and if I can figure out a good way to print my cards, I want to try to print some of these customs. I would love to print some of my favorites and put them in my binders. If any of you readers would like to print any of my customs for autographs, please just ask me and I'll try to get you a good image of my card (with or without the numbers on the bottom). Although I don't really do autographs anymore, I would love to see what some of these cards look like signed and would love to know what some of the players think of them.

There weren't many cards of McWilliams featuring him as a Royal, so I had to use an image from his 1990 Donruss card. The '91 Topps set is a little difficult to use, just because you have to cut around the team logo, the color lines, and the Topps logo, but I got it done without too much issue. The key is to finding a card image that is scanned pretty straight so you don't have to fix much. 

Thanks for checking out my latest custom.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2016 Topps!!

today, I thought I would take a break from customs and do a post about my first packs of '16 Topps. I don't usually post too much about my collecion, but I mainly collect Topps cards and like to collect cards of the Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays, Detroit Tigers, and my favorite players. At last count, I had over 50,000 cards, and that was probably 5 years ago. I have been reorganizing my binders, and I might try to count them once I'm done.

 My first card of 2016: Sonny Gray!
I opened 3 regular packs and 1 jumbo. Probably should've just got a few jumbos, but I think I got some good cards out of the regular packs. I won't bore you with the base cards. I pulled 3 First Pitch inserts, one of Bree Morse, Evelyn Jones, and Steve Aoki. Don't know what the insert rate is for those, but if it's like last years' set, I think I beat the odds. I pulled a Wrigley Field insert (7th Inning Stretch), an Evan Longoria Perspectives insert, a 1961 Bill Mazeroski and 1994 Mike Piazza Berger's Best, and a '78 Topps Bob Stinson buyback. Pretty happy with the inserts, even the rainbow Brian McCann (boo Yankee$!!!). 

 I pulled 2 other Rays, a Steven Sousa, Jr. and a Richie Shaffer card. I got 2 Tigers, JD Martinez, and the team card. As for favorite players, I only got 2, but I think I did ok. I got Steve Pearce (a former classmate of mine at Lakeland High School in Lakeland, Florida), and a Scouting Report jersey card of Corey Kluber, who went to school at Steton University in DeLand, Florida (where I now live). Guess the Card Gods want me to get cards of players close to home.

 I do have a few complaints about the cards. Besides the obvious one of the cards lacking foil on the names (Topps must be saving a ton of money on that), and the ESPN graphic-type nameplates and the super close photos, I really have to say that the backs are basically the same as last years' set. Let's look at 2015 (Update) and 2016 card backs of Jimmy Paredes.
2015 has the O's logo on the top left and has the same design behind the logo as it does on the front of the card. It has the player name at the top center, a number on the top right with the indication of the series above it. There is a bar under all that with height/weight/etc., and under that a bio, a color bar, stats, and the Topps logo, disclaimers, and MLB logos. 

In 2016, it has the same thing, a team logo under the same design on the front of the card in the top left portion, name in the middle (basically the same font, too), card number and indication of the series on the top right (same font!). Underneath is the height/weight, bio, color bar, stats, and Topps/MLB logos. I used to think that the 2004 and 2005 backs looked similar, but these are so similar, they could almost pass off for a Bowman back. I mean really, Topps, is it that hard to come up with a back just a little different than the one from last year? This is why everyone should just quit spending money on Topps' cards and recruit 20-50 custom card makers to design a set. They could include every player, coach, the designs could be voted on, and then the custom artists could get to work. I'm sure they would be better than some of the crap Topps forces on us, and it might even come out cheaper in the end. Seriously, I'm up for it.

Other than the backs, I enjoyed the cards and am organizing them and putting them in my binders. Even though I didn't show many base cards, I enjoy getting them and reading the backs. It was nice to add some 2016 cards to my collection, and I hope to add more in the coming months. Thanks for checking out the latest post on my blog.