Sunday, July 28, 2019

2020 Topps is here

A few days ago, Topps released the images of what the 2020 Topps design is going to look like. A week or so earlier than last year, but I guess since I make customs, I'm ok with that. I think Night Owl hit it on the head when he said it was the same as 2016 Bowman. Here they are side by side.

Basically a mirror image. I also think there is a little bit of 2003 Flair Greats of the Game in it with the bottom logo part and the kind of curvyness of the name and stuff coming out of the side of the card.
But yeah, Night Owl was right on the dot when he said it was 2016 Bowman Series 2. Remember when Bowman had 2 series? I'll admit that 1998 Bowman and 1999 Bowman were very similar, but back around that time, when Bowman had 2 different series, it was nice, and the sets were distinguishable. I miss the '90's. 

I decided to do some custom work with the 2020 design. Here is what I came up with. First is a custom of Rob Manfred. I usually try to do a custom of the Commish when the new Topps images come out. Part of it is because I like to see how close to the top my image can come in a '2020 Topps' image search on Google. The other part is because Topps doesn't do a card of the Commissioner, so there is no chance of it being made in Series 1 or 2 or Update.  
I also did a mock-up of the back. I am not sure what they are going to do with the backs. They may go with the name on the sides, but I think it's going to be a real conundrum. They usually incorporate the front of the card with the back, but I don't see how they can implement the card number and bio on the top of the card back if they have the name and stuff on the top. They could add the height/weight and stuff on the bottom, but normally the legal stuff goes there. Here is my take on what it could look like.
It's a little hard to read because I wanted to put a lot on the card, but it basically has a spot for a Twitter Handle, Instagram Handle, Facebook Page, AIM Screenname, Ham Radio Call Sign, and their Profile. Basically, everything you need. Of course, you will have the usual sabermetric stats, a limited number of years on the card (4-5). On the bottom right, instead of a tracking number, it will either say "YES! YOU GOT AN $P!!!!" or "COMMON, THROW IT AWAY!". 
With the crap that Topps has been throwing us the last few years, I think we should have a contest, and have any custom card maker who wants to be a part of it. They can design a front and back, and collectors can vote for the best one. Whichever one wins will be the official new flagship set of the year. Cards will be published of every player, and then they will be produced, and anyone who wants better cards than Topps can order cards of each player, team sets, or complete sets. Basically our way to make a better base set than Topps, and sold in a ToppsNow kind of way. If anyone feels like doing this, comment. I can get the word out to custom guys I know, and I'm sure we could probably get at least 6-10 original designs. I have 1 or 2 I could dust off, including a set with base, coach/manager, 3-player prospects, highlights, and team photo designs. Anyways, if voting on a custom set seems like something a good number of bloggers would like to do, send me a comment, and I will get the word out and make a post with some designs that have been submitted.
Lots is going on in my life, but I hope to get back in a routine and post a little more. I'll do one about the new card shop in my town sometime. 
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Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Bud Selig interview

Hey there, folks. It's your old buddy Bud Selig! I found my old shoebox, er, I mean expensive briefcase inside a vault full of baseball cards. Boy, am I going to have fun going through these!  So many memories.

What do we have first?
Oh wow! It's a 1970 Topps Seattle Pilots card!  You remember them, don't you? They are the team I purchased and re-located and then dabbled in the day-to-day business of even when I was Commissioner!  This was a sweet victory for me! I remember when I was an owner of the Milwaukee Braves and they were taken out from under me and moved to Atlanta. That pissed me off so bad! I mean, when I was still an owner of the Braves, I even founded Teams, Inc., to prevent those dumb Chicago-based majority owners of the Braves from moving them into a larger TV market like Atlanta. They challenged me legally, saying that no previous team re-locations left a city without a team. Darn judge!  I showed him, though. Since he let the Braves move and leave Milwaukee high and dry without a team, I purchased the Pilots and moved them from Seattle and left them without one. I've never cared for Seattle, anyways. All those coffee shops and non-stop rain! Enough about that old Seattle Pelicans team! Let's see what card is next in the stack!
Nice! A 1987 Topps Kirk Gibson!  I remember when me and the rest of the MLB team owners colluded against the players during the 1985-1987 offseasons. Gibby was a big one for us. He would've cost us millions of dollars if he would've had other clubs offer him lucrative contracts. By getting together with other owners, we saved a ton of money, and Kirk still got some decent money to re-sign with Detroit. If only we could've done that with A-Rod. Let's see the next card.
Aw, hell. I hate this SOB!  Vincent was the guy who called us all out on colluding!  That's ok, though. Me and my guys gave him a vote of no-confidence, and that meant I would eventually get to take his job. Speaking of his job, look what card is next!

I love the Division Series!  The Division Series wouldn't be possible without the Wild Card, and the Wild Card wouldn't have happened if I wouldn't have got Fay Vincent's job!  The Wild Card was one of the best things I did as MLB Commissioner!  Don't you just love how it makes the post-season longer?  Just between you and me, if I were still in office, we would have had 4 Wild Card teams in each League by now!  If you think the NBA Playoffs is way too long, you should've seen what I could've done! 
Nice! I remember this one! I had Jeremy from the Topps Cards that Never Were blog design this one for me. I hate his blog, but I really needed a custom card, and Gavin from Baseball Card Breakdown had other commitments, so I had to settle with the 2nd-best custom guy out there. What makes this card so special is that I had suspended Marge Schott earlier that year for comments she had made, so this card features her overgrown mutt, and not her, since no photos of her on the field in 1993 exist!  I need to get someone to make me a custom of my good friend George (Steinbrenner), whom I re-instated the same year.  Kind of like a little owner trade I made there! I'm sure glad that I was able to get George re-instated, because if my Brewers couldn't win a title, I really want somebody who is a rich owner and the face of a monopoly to win titles, and that's just what I rigged, uh, I mean, saw happen over the next decade or so.

Hey! How did this card get in my collection?  It must've been one of the ones I stole from Night Owl when I was over at his house. This sorry card reminds me of the 1994 strike that I let happen. It's ok. I needed to stick to my guns and refuse to give in to players and not have a salary cap. These players earn too much as it is, and with rising ticket prices, I am giving them a lot more of my profit than I would if we would've got the cap in place. It was worth losing the 1994 World Series and screwing the Montreal Expos franchise in order to try to keep my salary cap idea in place. And everyone would forget about everything in 1998....
Here's another one of my good ideas!  Interleague play!  What I did here was take away all of the intrigue of the All-Star Game, and bring it to the regular season!  Who doesn't want to see a Yankees-Mets, Cubs-White Sox, and Pirates-Mariners series? Don't worry that I made the All-Star game mean nothing. I've proved I could add some fun to it. I think I have a card we'll see later that will prove that.

Here's another 2 of those pesky team cards. These 2 teams are ones that I never cared for, though. At the end of the 2001 season where the New York Yankees blew all of my closed eyes to steroid users and lost the World Series, I decided to contract 2 teams to give them (and my Brewers) a better chance. I did get sued for racketeering and conspiring with Jeffrey Loria for deliberately defrauding minority Expos owners, but it was worth it!  The Expos and the Twins had the 2 lowest payrolls, and if I was willing to spend money on Brewers payroll even as I was the acting Commissioner, you can bet your life that all of the other owners better do it too. If only the Twins hadn't won the division the next few years, I would've at least contracted them and got Morneau and Mauer in Milwaukee and New York.

I love this card! This one helped me get one of my greatest ideas. It almost didn't happen. Here's the story. The 2002 All-Star game was tied after the bottom of the 11th. Ol' Freddy had pitched 2 innings, and was due to pitch the 12th, but there was concerns with his pitch count. I had almost thought about letting a pitcher who previously pitched in the game to come back in, when I got the idea to call Freddy's manager, Lou Piniella, and ask him if it was ok to work him another inning. I was going to do the same thing with Vicente Padilla's manager, Larry Bowa, and ask if it was ok for him to pitch the 12th after already pitching 2 already. I stalled for a second, and got the best idea of my life. I had realized that Interleague Play had taken away the fun from the All-Star game, and the AL-NL matchup didn't have any intrigue anymore. What if I let the game end in a tie, and let the winner of the future All-Star games decide something as important as home-field advantage in the World Series. With my Brewers not contending, and the AL having some great players, what better way to guarantee the Yankees home field in the Fall Classic?!  And to think, I almost hit send after I dialed Lou Piniella's number on my old Nokia flip-phone.

Hey look!  It's my friend, and former NL President Bill White!  I remember in 1992, we had a situation. Vince Namoli and his group of investors had a deal in place to buy the San Francisco Giants out from under me and move them to Tampa Bay. I knew the contract was already signed, but I couldn't let that happen!  We already gave Florida the Marlins. They didn't need another team!  I already knew Barry Bonds was doing steroids, and I knew that people wouldn't come to Tampa to see a slugger hit bombs out of the park, and I needed them in a big city like San Francisco. I didn't care that the contract to sell to the Namoli group was approved. I needed someone else to buy the team. So, I sent former Giant Bill White down to San Francisco to round up a group of investors to put up a better offer. Fortunately, we found Peter McGowan, and the rest is history.

Now these 3 bring me back....I don't usually tell anyone this, but as part of an interview with a blog that probably nobody reads, I'm happy to dish. McGwire, Sosa, and Bonds were some of the best things to happen to me. Don't get me wrong, the steroids started with Canseco, and traveled their way to different teams, but the 3 big boppers I just mentioned were the ones who put me, uh I mean baseball, back on the map. After McGwire broke the Home Run record, everyone forgot about the strike I let happen, everyone forgot about the Expos, and everyone wondered what I would do for an encore. Well, nobody had seen a player break Aaron's Home Run record, so why not get Bonds to do it?  Unfortunately, by that point, everyone found out about steroids, so I had to distance myself from everything, but it was my idea for him to break it. And it worked out well for everyone, even the card companies. If I hadn't ignored Bonds using steroids, he wouldn't have broke the Home Run record, and Fuji would've been able to buy Bonds autograph cards for just dimes instead of a few Andrew Jacksons. You're welcome, Topps! And if you were wondering the steroid family tree, it goes like this: Canseco-A's gives some to McGwire A's. Canseco gets traded to the Rangers, introduces it to Palmeiro. Canseco bounces around, and hooks up with the Yankees. Gives it to Clemens, Grimsley, Glenallen Hill, among others. Meanwhile, in Texas, Palmeiro gives them to A-Rod, they get to Arizona via Tony LaRussa, who managed McGwire and Canseco in Oakland. LaRussa managed the Cardinals after Oakland, Todd Stottlemyre pitched for St. Louis, brought them along with him to Arizona, and all of their big boppers (Luis Gonzalez, Jay Bell, Tony Batista) used them. Bonds was linked in all of this due to his trainer. Kind of like a steroid underground railroad at first, but look what I helped start once it got going!

This is one of my favorite cards. It reminds me of the best of times I had with the Brewers. We almost didn't have them, but since I was Commissioner, I had to help. In 2008, my Brewers were poised for a playoff spot, but the pesky Houston Astros kept winning. Hurricane Ike came, and Houston had to be evacuated, so I decided to move 2 Astros home games to Milwaukee, instead of a closer location like Dallas or Atlanta. The move worked for me, and 2 Astro losses later, we gained 2 games on the club. This wouldn't be the last time I would screw the Astros over. In 1998, my Brewers had to move to the NL in order to keep the leagues with even numbered teams. It sucked at first, because we didn't get to play cupcake teams like the Tigers and White Sox, but I knew the Pirates and Reds would suck for a while. Fast forward to 2011, and instead of moving my Brewers back to the AL, I made the Astros move, and play up-and-coming powerhouse teams like Kansas City, Detroit, and Cleveland. Meanwhile, we kept playing the Pirates and Reds.

Boy, this was a great trip down memory lane!  So many things I've done during my career. I guess that's why the Hall of Fame wanted my bust in their hallowed halls. Just put me next to my favorite player, Harold Baines! 

Well, this is Jeremy. Uh, thanks Bud. You were really, um, interesting!  I would like to thank It's Like Having my Own Card Shop for having this awesome contest, and for letting me publish this great interview with the former part-time Baseball Commissioner/part-time Brewer owner Bud Selig.
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Thursday, July 18, 2019

Compilation of '69 Topps Pilots

A few days ago on the Facebook Custom Cards Group Page, one of the members posted all of the Seattle Pilots customs they had made. I had worked on the 1969 Topps missing player checklist, and had wondered if I could locate customs of all of the missing Pilots cards in the '69 Topps set. After some editing and searching, I was able to locate custom 1969 Topps cards of every missing Seattle Pilot. Most of those were done by David and Lynn in the FB Group, and I edited one or two. There may be some that were made by others, and if they are yours, let me know and I will give you credit. Here are all of the missing 1969 Topps Seattle Pilots cards.

The Seattle Pilots are a popular team among collectors, and I am happy that all of the original '69 team now have '69 Topps cards.

On another note, about a week ago, a new baseball card shop opened where I live. It is maybe a 2 minute drive from my house. They didn't have much inventory yet, but they had about 12 500-count boxes of 20 for $1 cards. Most of them were like '89 Topps, '91 Donruss, and '87 Topps, but there were a few from newer sets, and there was a box of '89 Fleer that I pulled a Griffey rookie from. I'll probably go back and try to pull out some cards from the '89 Fleer box (I forgot about the Billy Ripken card). It was a nice surprise, and I'll try to take pictures next time I'm in and do a nice post about it. I really hope the business does well and it stays open.
That's about it for me. The '62 Topps missing player checklist is done, and I'm working on the '61 one.
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