Thursday, March 31, 2016

1991 Topps Keith Hernandez

Keith Hernandez was on his way out of baseball by the time 1990 hit. He played for the Mets in 1989, but was just a fraction of his former self, hitting only .233. He got a card in the 1990 Topps set, and signed with the Indians for the 1990 season. He only played in 45 games, hitting .200 with 1 Home Run, and retired after the season. He didn't get a 1991 sunset card from Topps, and only appeared in Fleer and Score sets in 1991.

Keith played in the Majors from 1974-1990, and the 1991 set was the only one that didn't include Hernandez. There were a few good players missing from that set, including Goose Gossage, a Bill Buckner sunset card, and Keith.

I am headed to Alabama for the weekend to see my cousin get married. Hopefully I won't see too many obnoxious 'Bama fans. I probably won't post again until sometime next week, but wanted to go ahead and post this one before I leave.
Thanks for checking out my latest custom.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

1999 Topps Cecil Fielder

Cecil Fielder was one of my favorite players growing up. My first love is the Detroit Tigers since I was born in Michigan and lived in Lakeland, Florida as a teenager, which is their Spring Training home. I've seen Cecil play in person many times, and always wanted to get his autograph.

He got a card in the 1998 Topps set, but was left off of the 1999 set, so he never recieved a sunset card. This one was pretty simple to make, and it finally gives him his final Topps card.

I finally got my Cecil autograph in 2005 I believe when he signed a few cards for me through the mail when he was a coach. In 2010, I got to meet Cecil at a free agent showcase that was organized by former MLB player Rob Ducey. Cecil was there as a coach. I found a website for the showcase and wanted to contact Ducey and see if I could attend and try to get autographs. There was an e-mail address for Ducey, so I sent him a short e-mail asking if I could come. Maybe an hour after I e-mailed him, he replied and said it was ok. I was impressed at how fast he responded. I came to the showcase and got some autographs of some cool players. I got one of Pete LaForest, who I saw hit a game-winning RBI Double in the bottom of the 12th Inning in 2002 when he was in Orlando in the Minors. I got one of Sheldon Fulse, who I went to grade school with from 1991-1995. Midway through the day, I met Ducey and thanked him for letting me come. He signed some cards for me, and later in teh day at lunch, he asked me if I was hungry and let me go through the food line and get some of the bbq that they had got for the players attending. Ducey is a truly nice guy. At the end of the day, I finally was able to get close to Cecil and try to get him to sign some cards. He was talking with someone, so I waited for him to finish. He saw me, and motioned for me to come over. He signed my cards and I got to shake his hand. It was a totally amazing day, and the only thing that could've made it better is if I would've thought to take some selfies. Or maybe if I would've had this card printed.

There is a blog that highlights some of Cecil's cards. Every now and then, they highlight some of his cards, and there are some hard to find cards on it. If you are a fan of Cecil, check it out.

This is actually the 2nd card of Fielder that I made on this blog. The first is a '91 Topps card of Big Daddy highlighting his 50th Home Run. I'm hoping to get a ton of cards on this blog and have multiple cards of many players, so it's nice to see it when it happens. Thanks for checking out my latest post.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Favorite Player Collection Part 7: 1998 Topps Jason Johnson

Jason Johnson pitched in MLB from 1997-2008. He only received cards from Topps in the 2003-2005 sets. They could've at least put him in the '98 set since most of the players selected in the '97 Expansion Draft were included (I mean come on! Yamil freaking Benitez was in the '98 set and nobody outside of his family probably knew about him in 1998). This would've been one of Jason's first Topps cards.

Jason is in my Favorite Player Collection because he was one of the first players I knew of who is a Type 1 Diabetic, and so am I. Diabetes is a disease that basically affects the body's ability to convert food into energy. The pancreas normally produces insulin which converts food into energy. Food will raise the body's blood sugar levels (especially with more sugary foods). A normal range is about 75-140. The insulin will lower the blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetics have a pancreas that makes basically no insulin, and Type 2 diabetics have a pancreas that makes more insulin but still needs the help of pills to lower blood sugar levels. If my blood sugar is too high I normally get headaches, still muscles, upset stomach, and if too high for too long, complications can develop (short term and long term) and there is also a risk of seizures and even death. If it is too low, however, I get tired, weak, sweaty, and generally confused and irritable. There are also the risks of complications with a low sugar as well. Food will correct a low blood sugar, and insulin as well as exercise will correct a high one. I'll have to monitor my blood sugar levels the rest of my life and give insulin injections and always watch what I eat, but it could always be worse. Back to Jason Johnson, I was diagnosed with the disease in the 3rd grade at age 10 in 1993.  When the Rays came to Tampa in 1998, I learned of Jason and his diabetes. I went to a sports camp for diabetics that summer and me and my fellow campers got to go to a Rays game. It would've been the perfect story if we got to meet Jason, but whoever was in charge of planning the activities totally dropped the ball on that one. Later in 2004 and 2005 during Spring Training, I went to Tigertown in Lakeland, Florida where I lived to catch some games and practices. I got to meet Jason a few times and told him I was a diabetic and we discussed the disease a little bit. Unfortunately, this was a few years before sites like COMC became well known, and wouldn't you know it, I didn't get any cards of Jason until after Spring Training that year, and by next year, he was in Cleveland, and I missed out on seeing him during the one time I went up to Winter Haven to catch the Indians. I moved to Alabama shortly after Spring Training in 2006, and by the time I moved back to Lakeland in 2009, Jason was out of the game. I have a few more cards of him now, but would still love to meet him and get them signed.

It's kind of funny.  I was researching new insulin pumps yesterday because I need to get a new one that will be compatible with a new type of continuous glucose monitoring sensors that I am getting, and while on Medtronic's website, there was a few pictures of Jason with him saying how he liked the Medtronic pump design and features. I'm glad he was in the 2015 Pride and Perserverance set by Topps and hopefully it will shed some light on the disease and raise awareness. I hope Topps continues the set in this years update set. It's one of the few good things they could give us after this years set so far.

I also made a 1999 card of Jason that I will be highlighting in another post. I hate how Topps used dark gold foil in '98 and '99 because when it is up against a dark background, you can't read it.

I hope that you enjoyed this post and learned a little about Jason, myself, and hopefully about diabetes. Thanks for checking out my latest post. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

1994 Topps Pete O'Brien

Today's card is a 1994 Topps Pete O'Brien, which would've been his sunset card. I'm kind of surprised that Topps didn't use him as a checklist replacement in the ToppsGold set that year. Dan Pasqua was one that year, and I always kind of thought him and O'Brien were similar, 1st Base-DH types who could hit homers at a good pace and had a specialty (O'Brien was an excellent fielder, Pasqua could also field pretty well and was probably a better power hitter).

Pete got his last Topps card in the 1993 set. He got a Topps card for every year that he played (1983 a Traded set, '84 regular set-'93 regular set) except for the '94 sunset card. Now he has one, and the 1994 Topps set is a little more complete. Thanks for checking out my latest card.

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.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Dick Pole Project Part 13: 2002 Topps Dick Pole coach

Today's Topps Card that Never Was is a 2002 Topps Dick Pole coach card. He was finishing up his 2nd year with the Indians in 2001, getting a nice rookie season from CC Sabathia. That wasn't enough to keep him from being let go, but the good news is that he ended up with the Expos in 2002. 2002 Topps is one of the hardest sets to master customs with in my opinion (along with 1988 Topps) because of the ribbon-y lettering on it. I am going to try to make some Topps Traded cards for Pole along with his regular ones, and it's going to suck having to deal with '02 Topps again as I will have to do a Traded card for him with the Expos. Best case scenario is that the Indians colors on the color ribbon match the Expos ones. If I recall correctly, I think they don't.

I did a '79 Topps Dick Pole yesterday to give him one final Topps card from his playing career. Today, I got an '88 Topps Traded and a sweet '93 Topps Traded card featuring Larry Herndon with him. I think by the time the Dick Pole Project is over with, he will have about 20 new Topps cards. Maybe somebody can print some of these customs and have him sign them (if he does ttm). I would love to see what he thinks.

I'm off tomorrow, so there's a chance I might be able to finish the 5 customs needed to complete the Dick Pole Project (player, coach, and Traded coach cards). I might update this post if I do. Thanks for checking out the latest card in my set.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Dick Pole Project Part 12: 2001 Topps Dick Pole coach

The latest card in the Dick Pole Project is his 2001 Topps card. I was a senior in high school in the spring of 2001, and I eagerly tried to complete the 2001 Topps set when it came out. I would've loved for this card to be in the set. I went to a few Spring Training games every year, and had this card came out and I been a few years older and the internet had more info on it, I could've easily got this card signed at an Indians Spring Training game. I probably had the chance to get Pole's autograph a few times over the years, but didn't have any cards of him so I probably ignored him.

Pole would have 1 more season with Cleveland before moving to Montreal. I'm not quite sure, but it looks like Terry Francona in the background of the photo I used.

I haven't worked much on cards for this site lately (choosing to keep making backs in an effort to complete the 1992 Topps set), but that doesn't mean I will run out of cards for this site, as I probably have 40 or so cards in the reserves.  I will keep posting on and still keep making cards, don't worry.
Thanks for checking out my latest card.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Dick Pole Project Part 11: 2000 Topps Dick Pole coach

BIO: Dick Pole played in the Majors from 1973-1978 with the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners. He then went on to coach in the Bigs from 1988-1991 and from 1993-2009. His name has made him a hit with bloggers and fans alike.

YEARS PLAYED/COACHED: 1973-1978 (player), 1988-1991 and 1993-2009 (coach)


TOPPS SETS MISSING FROM: 1979, 1989-1992, 1994-2010

WHY I MADE THIS CARD: Just another card in the ever-growing Dick Pole Project. Only 9 more cards to go (including a '79 card) and Pole will have Topps cards for every year he played or coached in the Bigs.

NOTES:  The next few cards are going to be Pole cards and that will finish up his career Topps run, so I'll probably do one with all of his cards once they are all done. Thanks for checking out the latest card.