Sunday, January 26, 2020

1972 Topps Traded Willie Mays

Not much of a post today, just decided I would show off a 1972 Topps Traded Willie Mays custom I made today. I have been working on making a blank 1972 Topps template, and have also made one for the Traded subset. After doing that, I decided to make one for Willie Mays featuring him in a Mets jersey. Giovanni from When Topps had Balls made one, and I decided to use a different photo, and I think it turned out pretty good. I have finished the 1972 Topps missing player checklist, and am starting on the '73 set. Hopefully I will get through the '70's pretty quick, and with the 5 or so Traded sets that I have finished in the '80's, I should be pretty close to the '90's when the '70's checklists are finished.

On a more dark note, I'm sure you have recently heard that one of the greatest basketball players of all time, Kobe Bryant, passed away today. I wasn't ever a big fan of his, but I have to admit that scoring 80 points in a game is amazing, and that he was unstoppable at times.
When I first started making customs, I made a 1996 Topps custom of Bryant featuring him in a Charlotte Hornets uniform. The Hornets drafted him, but traded him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac. Here is the custom.
Image result for 1996 topps kobe bryant hornets"
My thoughts and prayers go out to his family, friends, and fans.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Craig Anderson career Topps run

Yesterday, my card/autograph collecting buddy Jim contacted me and let me know about a card show coming up where former Mets/Cardinals pitcher Craig Anderson would be signing autographs at. While I won't be able to attend the show, I figured I would make a few customs of Craig and see if I could give them to Jim to get signed.

Craig played from 1961 to 1964. He spent 1961 with the St. Louis Cardinals, was selected by the New York Mets in the expansion draft, and played with them from 1962 to 1964. He only got regular Topps cards in the 1962 and 1963 sets, so I gave him the missing 1961, 1962 (yearbook style), 1964 (yearbook style), and 1965 Topps (yearbook style) cards.

1962 Topps #593 Rookie Parade Pitchers Front
1963 Topps #59 Craig Anderson Front

Craig had a son Micheal, who was drafted by the Rangers in the '90's. Might try to whip one up of him tomorrow. There is also a former Stetson Hatter (I can't remember the name off hand) who is in the Phillies organization who will also be signing at the show, so hopefully I can do a custom of him as well. 
That should wrap up a short post. Might update tomorrow with more customs. 
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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

A few random Tigers customs

I have been working on making these missing player checklists for a few years now, and sometimes I will admit that the checklists have gotten in the way of allowing me to make customs. I have been trying to go hard core at the checklists for the past month or so in order to try to get me closer to finishing them all (traded and yearbook style). The yearbook style ones are finished, and in traded style, I have '51-'69, and '83-'87 done (perhaps a few more as well, I will know as I work my way through all of them). That leaves me with approximately 45 more sets to go through. That is approximately 6 sets for me to get done per month if I want to get them done by the end of the year. If I can do a few teams per day, that should help. I can usually have an hour or so when I get home from work, and right now in the winter/spring when the lawn doesn't need to be mowed every week, a full off day to get at them during the week. I usually have Sundays off, which allows me to get a few done while everyone is napping or watching TV. I think I might have a shot at finishing them by the end of the year, which would allow me to actually make more customs.

With that being said, I have took a little time to work on customs (and templates) when I just needed a break from going through rosters and crossing out names. While doing so, I have worked with some of my Detroit Tiger templates to see how they came out. Here are a few ones I have done recently.

The Bertoia is a rookie card. The '69 guys were coaches on the '68 championship team. The '85 guys were coaches on the '84 championship team. The '03 cards were done just because I wanted to work with the template and see how it looked, and the '14 Leyland is his sunset card. The '53 Bertia and a few of the '68 cards were colorized. I really don't get into pre-1980's baseball that much just because I started following the sport in the early '90's and don't recognize many of the names of '50's guys who aren't stars, but it has been enjoyable doing some pre-'80's customs. I probably won't do a full set or anything from before 1980, but it doesn't mean I won't do a card or two. 

I would love to make more templates, especially a Tigers and Rays one for every set, but dang, they take a while to do. There are a lot of sets ('54, '73, '75, '76, etc.) which have multiple color or position variations per team. When you have 25-30 teams per set, it can get tedious and time consuming. With that being said, I have templates for every team for the 1951, 1952, 1964, 1965, 1968, and 1986-2001 sets. Other sets like 1957, 1962, and 1970 have basic templates where you can just download the correct font and type out the team name. Still others like 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018, are easy to make cards of on the Topps website. I have posted links to the correct fonts for each set as well as an example of the correct fonts for all of the sets I have complete checklists to so far (1951-1969), so if you are into making customs, there are some treats for you. Just check the checklist pages for each set located to the right of my blog in desktop mode. 

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Tuesday, January 7, 2020

1951 Topps customs

Recently, I finished the checklist and every template for Topps' first set, the 1951 Red & Blue Back set. While most people think that the classic 1952 set was the first one that Topps produced, it is actually the 1951 set which was a card game that was the first baseball card set from Topps.
The set was issued in 2 52-card series, one with blue backs, and one with red ones. It featured ballplayers on the front in black and white, and had a little bio about their career and the 1950 season (see people?! When Topps issued their first set, it was in YEARBOOK FORM!!!). On the corners of the card were results from baseball plays. I don't know the entire rules for the game, and haven't been able to find anything on it, but I think you basically drew cards, and whatever the result on the corners was became what happened in the game.

After updating the checklist and putting the templates on my 1951 Topps page, I decided to make some customs. They take a while to make, and it is almost like doing fronts and backs of a card because of the bio and stuff, but I have done 10, and I will showcase them here.

First up is Hank Borowy. This card would've been his sunset card. Hank was the last guy to win a World Series game for the Cubs until they finally won a title a few years back. He was the first card in my updated set. 

 Hal Newhouser was just on the cusp to where he was old enough to play before Topps made cards, but young enough to where he would appear on a few.
 Johnny Lipon played in the Majors for a few years, but really gained notoriety as a coach. He coached my hometown Lakeland Tigers for many years, and I just might have went to a game he coached in, as his last season was 1992 one, and I know I went to a Lakeland game in 3rd grade or so, which would've made me around 8 or 9 years old, putting the year at 1991 or 1992. I have 1 or 2 cards of Lipon as a coach, one of which came from Night Owl last May.
There weren't any announcers in the '51 set, but I decided to make a card of Vin Scully. I remember the Dodgers came to play the Tigers in Spring Training one year, and Scully came. I was getting autographs after the game, and out came Vin, and he was swarmed. At the same time, Eric Munson came out, and nobody stopped him. I stupidly went for quantity over quality, and got Munson to sign a few cards, while Scully signed and went into the bus before I could get to him. I hate having to make tough choices. 

 Carl Erskine is a great guy who is great with the fans. I have a few autographs of him, and while I don't believe he is signing through the mail anymore (he is 93), every time he signed for me, he would include something extra. He was a great pitcher too, throwing 2 no-hitters.
 I had to make a card of Jackie. I never really looked at his stats, but when I researched for this card, they just jumped out at me. Batting Averages in the .330's, 20 Home Runs, 30 Stolen Bases every year. Wow. I'm glad he had the chance to play baseball.
 Many of these cards have given us the chance to see Hall of Famers who played long long ago. A number of guys had HOF careers in the early 1900's, and went on to coach, but retired after 1950, just short of when Topps made cards. The 1951 set at least gives us cards of a few guys like that. The next 3, (Honus Wagner, Mickey Cochrane, and Connie Mack), give us the only Topps card we will ever have of thse legendary players. Honus would actually coach into the 1951 season, letting us get a card of him in the amazing 1952 set. Maybe I will work on that one next....
 Cochrane was kind of put into the GM role for Philly in 1950 in order to take away power from Connie Mack. Cochrane was previously a coach, and the higher ups in Philadelphia wanted Connie Mack to resign. The A's looked decent in 1949, but the 1950 season saw them dive in the standings, and an 87-year old Connie Mack leading the team didn't look all that good to ownership. Mack's sons convinced him to step down in the middle of the '50 season and to promote Jimmy Dykes to Manager. When Cochrane was promoted to GM, it basically took all of Mack's power away, although he did advise the team. With that being said, Cochrane would finish up the 1950 season, and retire, leaving us with no Topps cards of Mickey, save this one.
 Here is Mack's card. Mack has managed the most games, won the most games, lost the most games, and has won 5 World Series titles in his long career. He played from 1886 to 1896, and was a manager from 1894 to 1896, and then from 1901 to 1950. Had he retired just a year sooner, we would not be seeing the final (and only) Topps card of Mack.
 The last one is of Eddie Gaedel. Eddie had 1 AB for the Browns in 1951, drawing a Walk. I am surprised that nobody has tried to make this card yet. It goes well with the sunset 1952 Topps card I made ot him a while back.

I hope you have enjoyed this journey back in time to 1951. Feel free to use any of the templates I have on the 1951 Topps page to make customs from the list.
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Monday, January 6, 2020

Trade with Dodger Cardboard & Other Finds

A few weeks ago, Lee from Dodger Cardboard & other Finds reached out to me about making a trade, and I recieved his end on Saturday. Funny how our posts almost came out on the same day as he posted what I sent him a few hours before I did. 

Lee sent me a nice thick stack of cards carefully packaged in these cool Ultra-Pro packages for sleeves that almost resembled team bags. I was appreciative of the extra protection as we got rain almost all of Saturday and nothing is worse than rain-soaked cards. The stack was so big that I just hit some of my favorite cards of the bunch, but they all were great, and 95% were all cards I needed. 
First up are Tigers. The Alan Trammell is a 1987 Fleer Baseball's Hottest Stars insert, which I have never seen. Many of the ones I picked to show are from sets I never had cards of, or only just a few. The same is the case for the '90 Classic Tony Phillips. I have maybe 5 cards from the entire set total. The next 4 cards are from sets I have many cards of, but are of some cool former Tigers. Scott Livingstone was a favorite of mine because I saw him practicing before a Spring Training game in 1992 against the Pirates in Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, Florida, and I took a picture of him leaning against a batting cage. I think I still have it somewhere. I got Milt Cuyler's autograph not at a Tigers game, but at a celebrity softball game featuring Christian music artists and baseball players. It was during the 1998 offseason, and boy, do I have some stories. I found some telephone number about the game, and had the nerve to call it and ask which baseball players were going to attend so I could have cards to sign. The guy on the phone was very patient with me, and I got a ton of autographs because of him. The weirdest thing was that since the Padres and Yankee$ played in the World Series in '98, whoever decided the names of the teams made one be the Padres and one be the Yankees and they all wore the official jerseys. Well, Dante Bichette of the Rockies and Gary Carter of the Expos and Mets both were there. I got Bichette's autograph and asked if he was going to hit 71 HRs in '99 (since McGwire his 70 in '98). He said maybe. I got Carter's autograph as well, and posed for pictures with both, and now I have a nice photo of Dante Bichette in a Padres uniform and Gary Carter wearing Yankees gear. All next to me with a a cheap Orlando Magic hat, Tampa Bay Bucs shirt, and some Fila's that I thought would make me popular (they didn't). I must've left the fanny pack at home. I think I was 15 at the time. 

Back to the cards, the John Doherty reminds me of the time I met some relatives of John's at another Spring Training game and I got talking to them. I found out they knew him and said that I had some cards of him at home (this was after he was retired). They called John and asked if it was ok to give me his address to send him some cards to sign. He was ok with it, and in a month or so, I had some John Doherty cards signed. I've admired Rich Rowland ever since I sent him an autograph request in the mail. Rich signed my cards and added a sticky note that thanked me for hand-writing my letter and that he would sign all day for someone who hand writes their request. The Mike Henneman '94 Triple Play card is only my 2nd card from the entire set. The Damion Easley Pacific card might be as well. I know for sure that the Seth Greisinger card is only my 2nd from '99 Upper Deck Black Diamond because I got my first (a Fred McGriff) back in June from my brother-in-law on my birthday. I don't know why I have so few '99 Upper Deck Victory cards, but the Justin Thompson card from the set helps add to it. The '54 Bowman Kaline is a sweet reprint from 2004 Bowman Heritage. I would've totally got this card signed by Al had I had it about 10 years ago in Spring Traning. The '06 Bowman Andrew Kown kind of stumped me because around that time, I knew just about every Detroit minor league prospect and had seen 90% of the guys in Bowman sets at the time come through Lakeland in single-A ball, but I don't remember anything about Kown. Baseball-Reference shows that he pitched in Lakeland in '06 and '07. I was living in Montgomery, Alabama by then, but I still should've remembered the name. Maybe I am getting old. The Justin Verlander is from 2006 Sweet Spot, a set I have maybe 4 cards from. I have a ton of '09 Topps, but not this combo of Carlos Guillen and Miguel Cabrera. The '10 Brent Dlugach and '11 Bowman Chrome Rob Brantly are card that I could've easily got signed at Lakeland. I have never heard of the '13 Topps Calling Card insert set, but now have a Prince Fielder from it. Last one in the picture is fan favorite Ramon Santiago, who I own an autographed game-used bat of. 
The last 2 Tigers cards are Holiday set cards of Miggy. So far, the only Topps Holiday cards I have are ones that have been sent to me from other bloggers. Lee was also kind enough to give my Auburn Tigers collection a boost, with cards from Sammie Coates, Dee Ford, Tyrone Goodson, Quentin Groves, Bo, Tre Mason, Frank Sanders, the Big Hurt, and a cool schedule card for the '14 season. I have a feeling that if Jameis Winston were convicted of his crimes in 2013 (like he should've been) and not have been able to play in the Championship game, Auburn would've easily won the title and things in 2014 (and the years ahead) would've been alot different. It's funny how things turn your way if you go into a season as a #1 team instead of a #15 team. Glad Auburn knocked 'Bama out of playoff contention this year, though. War Eagle!
Next are some Rays that Lee sent. I don't have many 2001 Fleer Tradition cards, so it was nice to get John Flaherty and a few others. I purchased a good number of '06 Upper Deck packs, but never pulled the Sean Burroughs card. Never pulled his '06 Topps one either. Now I have both. I have always loved Jorge Cantu, ever since seeing him play for the Orlando Rays in 2003. I'm still sore about him not getting selected to at least 1 All-Star game. The 2013 Bowman Platinum Richie Shaffer card is probably the 6th card of him that I have recieved in the past 6 months after owning maybe 1 before that. The '13 Topps Wil Myers card was hot back when he won the ROY award. I'm looking for Wil to break out this year. I love the Camo Mallex Smith card! Mallex has a ton of speed, and I wish the Rays had him (and Myers) back on the team. The Blake Snell insert is from 2017, before he set the Rays team record for Wins in a season. I love the card of Kiermaier making the catch from 2019 Archives. Kevin is the face of the franchise, and I would love to hopefully attend a game this year and get his autograph. The Blake Snell '19 Chrome card gets me very close to completing the Rays set, as does the '19 Heritage Ji-Man Choi. Glad Choi will be back this year. I wish Tommy Pham was too, but at least I have this cool looking '19 Topps Opening Day parallel of him as a Ray to remember him with.
I saved what I thought was the best for last. I don't know where Lee found them, but he send me a Tigers sticker (which I will have to hide from my 3-year old who loves stickers), some photos of Anibal Sanchez and Justin Verlander, and finally proof that I am the worlds greatest Tigers fan. 

Thanks so much Lee for your package. Let's trade again soon.

I have spent the good portion of today working on missing player checklists, finishing off the end of 1957, and working all of the way through 1961. I am off all day tomorrow, my wife is out of town doing some training for work, so once all of the housekeeping stuff is done, I should have a tone of time to knock out some more. I also haven't forgotten about doing a post with some 1951 Topps customs. It is a tad of a pain to make the cards because it is kind of like doing a front and back with all of the text, but I might try to get another 6 or so done, giving you at least 10, and then post them by the end of the week. I was going to try to put my Favorite Player cards, Tigers cards, and Rays cards in binders over the next few days, but after going through letters A-I, I have realized 2 things. 1, I have got way more cards than I realized through trading in the past few months, and I will soon run out of empty binder pages, and 2, it is going to take a little longer than just 1 day off. I think I'll wait until I get some new pages and try the process again, and work on checklists and customs as priority #1 for now.
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Thursday, January 2, 2020

Trade with Nachos Grande

A month or two ago, Chris, the writer of the Nachos Grande blog reached out to me about getting a trade started. He mentioned the Season of Giving that he does every year on his blog, and said he had a bunch of Rays to ship me, and he would be happy if I sent him some cards back, but if I couldn't that was ok too. Well, I sent him some cards I had for sets he was working on, and he sent me a bunch of nice Rays cards for my collection. 

The lot starts off with some cool late '90's Rays cards from sets that I have just really never purchased packs from (other than 1998 Topps). I had never seen any of the '98 Fleer cards (although I did buy one pack and pull a '63 Boggs insert). The Boggs card looks like the 2nd Paul Sorrento card, with a photo of Wade signing autographs. As with '98 Fleer, I only purchased 1 pack of '99 UD Choice and '99 Upper Deck. I vividly remember the '99 Upper Deck pack. I was at Wal-Mart with my mom. She got groceries, and I picked the pack of '99 UD and stood in line behind her, and paid for it with the few dollars I had in my wallet, and remember the cashier rolling her eyes at me like I should've been spending my money on other things. Well, the joke was on her, because I pulled a Jin-Ho Cho Star Rookie card, and a Glendon Rusch base card, which would allow me to retire at age 16. I still don't regret buying the pack, though. None of the other sets shown have ever been lucky enough to have me open a pack of, so all of these cards are new to me. I love the Jim Morris rookie. He doesn't have very many cards at all. 
The next photo starts showing sets I've purchased more packs of, starting with '00 Pacific (1 or 2 packs), '00 Topps (I purchased the whole Series 2 set), and then gets to stuff I have purchased a ton of ('02 Total, '05 Topps, and '07 Topps). The funny thing is that I haven't really pulled that many Rays from any of the sets, so just about all of these cards are new to me. I love the '01 Topps Opening Day Hamilton. I believe this just about completes the rainbow of this card for me, just leaving with his '01 base Gold card, and the '01 Chrome Refractor. I love the new '03 Heritage cards, and the Lucky 13 Delmon Young. I would've been stoked to pull that back in '07. The '07 Allen & Ginter Upton painting has me a little confused. I didn't purchase any packs of the set that year, but remember pulling a painting or two from the previous years' set, and it almost looks like on the Upton that it says 1/1 next to Dick Perez's signature, but there doesn't seem to be anything else indicating that it is a 1/1. I don't remember there being a 1/1 next to Perez's signature in the '06 version, but maybe it's just part of the card design in the '07 set. 
I think I was missing the majority of cards from the next photo, which is surprising, given the amount of cards I opened from '07-'11. Most of the newer Bowman stuff I am pretty lacking on, but I think with all of the cards Chris sent that I am close to a full set from 2012. 
Like I said, I think he helped me finish the '12 Bowman set, as well as the '12 Topps Rays set. Hopefully by the end of the month, I will go through all of the new cards I have, put them in binders, and get my Want List back up-to-date, and for sets that I only have 1-2 cards needed, listing those in a 'need it' form insted of 'have it' like most of them are. 

Chris got me close to finishing the '14 Topps, '14 Topps Heritage, 15 Topps, and '15 Topps Heritage sets with these cards. I started buying a lot more cards in '15, but from '12-'14, I barely purchased anything at all.

The last photo has more current stuff. I love the Brendan McKay Finest card. I hope with a rotation featuring Blake Snell, Tyler Glasnow, McKay, Charlie Morton, and the healthiest 2 of either Jose DeLeon, Brent Honeywell, and Anthony Banda, that the Rays can compete in the AL East in the future. It could be a fun next few years if they do.

Last up are some guys in my Favorite Player Collection, and a cool hit that Chris sent. I have never pulled that many Rolando Arrojo cards when he was a Ray, so it's nice to get some of them dumped on me. I never knew that '99 Upper Deck MVP had a Silver Signature parallel, but now I do, and I have one of Rolando. I think the Cust Draft Pick might be a double, but no worries, I can now stick it in my Rays binder, and use it to cross Jason Standridge's name off the list of cards that I need. The Joey Gathright '04 Ultra is a Gold Medallion edition. All 3 Aubrey Huff cards are new. I have the Camo version of the Elliot Johnson card, and now I have the base to go with it. Kind of the same thing with the Quinton McCracken card. I have a version of the card with a 'preview' stamp at the top, and now I have the regular verson. I don't believe I have either of the Ben Zobrist cards, as the first one fell into the range of years where I didn't purchase many packs, and as for the Gypsy Queen, well, I just feel that they mostly look the same year after year, and I never really purchase any packs of it. Still enjoy it when I get some as they cross cards off of my list.
The Carlos Pena relic is cool. It comes from the '11 Allen & Ginter set, and what makes it so cool is the relic. I don't believe I have ever seen Rays uniforms with that color combination in plaid. I could be missing something, but I really don't remember their uniforms having part that looked like the relic does. Maybe it is an undershirt, or maybe part of one of Joe Maddon's famous 'dress up nights'. A very cool relic on a very cool card. Thank you so much, Chris, for 'dumping' your Rays on me. I appreciate them all very much. 

I believe that gets me up-to-date with all of the packages I have recieved lately. I might have 1 or 2 coming in over the next few weeks, and I'm thinking about seeing if I can find a Rays team set for cheap on Amazon so I can use a 10 dollar gift card I got for Amazon for Christmas. Any ideas on how to get the most for 10 bucks on cards on Amazon? 

I am plugging away at missing player checklists, and am in the middle of 1957 right now. By this time next week, perhaps I will be somewhere towards the end of the '60's. I should have a good amount of free time, so we'll see. I have also been working on some templates and customs in the 1951 Topps set, and I think I will write about them in my next post.

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