Ya Get Whatcha Get: 1970’s Hockey For Late March

It’s been a while since I’ve shown off some 1970’s Hockey Goodness, so here are four more cards I’ve required in the recent-to-semi-recent past…

I’ve never been to Cincinnati and have never seen a WHA game on TV, much less in person, but I’m collecting Cincinnati Stingers.  I really liked the logo and uniforms in my younger days, and something about that stuck with me.  My latest addition to this collection is this 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee Ron Plumb.
1977-78 OPC WHA Ron Plumb
When this card came out, Ron Plumb was fresh off of winning the Dennis A. Murphy Award as the WHA’s top defenseman.  Ron’s career took him on a tour of the WHA, playing for the Philadelphia Blazers, Vancouver Blazers, Stingers, San Diego Mariners and New England Whalers before moving to the NHL with the Whalers.  He was originally property of the Bruins before jumping to the WHA.

A 1970’s Rod Gilbert jersey was recently auctioned off for more than $5,000…  The jersey was very similar to the one on this card, except it didn’t have the Assistant Captan “A” on it.
1975-76 Topps Rod Gilbert
The jersey had blood stains on it, so maybe one could clone Rod Gibert from it… if the blood is Gilbert’s, that is…

Greg Joly was selected 1st overall in the 1974 amateur draft.  Obviously, great things were expected of him, but he may have been hurt by being thrown into the deep end with a very, very bad Capitals team.
1976-77 Topps Greg Joly
He played 2 seasons in Washington before being traded to the Red Wings.  He left the game having been a solid defenseman for 9 NHL seasons.

I bought this last card without hesitation even though I don’t remember Ralph Stewart…. but how could I resist an action shot like this?
1977-78 OPC Ralph Stewart
Besides, it’s a better card of the Ranger’s Ron Greschner than it is of Stewart.

Cards That Ain’t Never Been: 1976 Topps Larry Milbourne

…Because the name “Cards That Never Were” has already been taken…

While researching yesterday’s post, I stumbled across a nice photo of Larry Milbourne in the Astros uniform of the mid 1970’s.  I said to myself “I can’t NOT make a custom out of this baby.”

And so…
1976 Cards That Ain't Never Been Larry Milbourne

Larry Milbourne’s rookie card was 1975 Topps, but even though he appeared in 73 games in 1975 and 53 games in 1976, he did not appear on another Topps card until 1978 (with the Mariners).  Looking back with 20-20 vision, I think Larry deserved a 1976 card more than Tommy Helms (64 games in 1975),  Jerry DaVanon (32 games), or maybe Skip Jutze (51 games, but you have to cut him some slack because he was a backup catcher).

 

The Nightly Show With Larry Milbourne

The other day I was talking to someone about The Nightly Show, which is the new show on Comedy Central which airs after The Daily Show.

After a few minutes of conversation, I suddenly realized that instead of referring to the host as Larry Wilmore…
2015 TSR Fauxback Larry Wilmore

…I’d spent several minutes referring to him as Larry Milbourne.
1975 Topps Larry Milbourne

Whoops.

Larry Wilmore may have his own TV show, but he was never named to the Topps All-Star Rookie team…

1978 Topps Larry Milbourne

Wilmore didn’t have the walk-off double in the Mariners’ first-ever win (4/8/77).

1981 Fleer Larry Milbourne

And Wilmore was never involved in a trade where another player was essentially traded for himself:
November 18, 1980: Traded by the Seattle Mariners with a player to be named later to the New York Yankees for Brad Gulden and $150,000. The Seattle Mariners sent Brad Gulden (May 18, 1981) to the New York Yankees to complete the trade.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Mocking Allen & Ginter…

Two years ago I created a custom set I called Simon And Gintfunkel, and it was intended as a way of poking fun at Allen & Ginter, Gypsy Queen, Goodwin Champions and all of the other tobacco throwback sets being cranked out.
2013 Gintfunkel Gene Rayburn
I had fun with it; hopefully I wasn’t the only one.

Last year I made a brief run with another S&G design, but to be honest, the joke had already run its course. I liked the design I’d created (which was cribbed from U.S. currency)…
2014 Simon & Gintfunkel Kaka
…but as a parody it kind of flailed around a bit, crawled into the corner and died.

(Side note:  Kaká is now plying his trade with the new Orlando City team in MLS.   “Kaká”…  Hee hee heeeeeeeeeeee).

A few months ago I made a half-hearted attempt at designing a third S&G set, and that attempt ended with me asking myself why I was even bothering.

After some navel gazing and toenail contemplation, I realized that I enjoy having a custom design for non-baseball purposes. It’s useful for illustrating points and highlighting people, places and things which didn’t really fit into a custom baseball card design.

I also gave myself a little kick in the butt when I filled out the questionnaire for Nachos Grande’s “Better Know A Blogger” series, and answered the question about sparking Topps’ creativity with the following:

I would take the people who’ve done such a nice job of creating original A&G designs and assign them to create a new set which has a “Vintage Topps” feel to it – and yet is not based on a vintage set nor just a lazy ripoff of existing vintage card designs.

I know something like this is not happening anytime soon, and I pondered taking matters into my own hands.

One night I was suddenly possessed by the custom card muse, I sketched ideas out on paper, which lead to more ideas and…

Long story short…

Today I am introducing the 2015 TSR Fauxback set:
2015 TSR Fauxback Lauren Cohan

And the main reason I’m giving this design a formal “release party” rather than just slipping it into a post is because I’ve gotta ask…

Does this design look familiar to you?

Here, take a look at another one….
2015 TSR Fauxback - Al Tuna
I’ll be honest, the ideas for this came together pretty quickly – almost too quickly – which made me wonder if I was subconsciously plagiarizing the design from somewhere else. Does anybody have any input on it?

And I sincerely hope that I didn’t inadvertently lift this design from somewhere, because I’ve got another card like it in tomorrow’s post…

For the record, the term “Fauxback” usually applies to throwback uniforms which don’t “throw back” to anything real… Like the “1979 Tampa Bay Rays” uniforms.
1979 Joe Maddon
I was brainstorming names for the set, thought of “Fauxback” and decided it was a perfectly apropos description of what I have in mind.

In case you’re wondering about the subjects of these Fauxback card…

Lauren Cohan is an actress I have a mini-crush on. She’s best known as “Maggie” on The Walking Dead, and I’m not going to be too happy if and when her number comes up on the show. Lauren grew up in New Jersey until she was 14, which is when her family moved to London… which leaves her with an accent that’s interesting listen to when she’s talking in her normal voice.

Al Tuna is one of the mascots for the AA team in – of course – Altoona, PA.  I’ve never seen the Altoona Curve play at home, but I love the idea that they have a fish mascot named Al Tuna.

1976 SSPC #323: Jose Morales (Expos)

1976 SSPC #323 Jose Morales
Jose Morales… played for 9 years in the Minors before making his debut at age 28, and even with the late start he still had a 12 year MLB career as an outstanding pinch-hitter and DH. At one point he had the third-most career pinch hits, but he’s been passed by Lenny Harris and others.  According to baseball-reference.com, Jose currently sits at 8th all-time (after the 2011 season).

Morales played for the A’s, Expos, Twins, Orioles and Dodgers.  He’s one of just 11 Major Leaguers from the U.S. Virgin Islands.  Among the others are Elrod Hendricks, Horace Clark, Jerry Browne, Joe Christopher and Midre Cummings.

In 1976, Jose… had 25 pinch hits, breaking a record set by Dave Philley in 1961 and tied by Vic Davalillo in 1970.  Morales’ record would stand for 19 years.  This record-breaking feat was commemorated by a 1977 Topps card and a 1977 O-Pee-Chee card (Pssst!  In 1977, OPC used different photos for both his record-breaker and his regular card).

Shea-o-meter: Many of the photos in 1976 SSPC were taken in Shea Stadium; Every team came through Shea because the Yankees were temporarily playing in Shea while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. “Can two Major League teams share a ballpark without driving each other crazy?”

I’m putting this down as “Can’t tell”.
Shea: 51
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 8
Can’t tell: 14
Not Shea: 7

1970’s Census
We’re going to keep track of all the instances of 1970’s facial hair and other 1970’s trends… Sideburns, afros, mustaches, Aviator glasses…

Jose is largely 1970’s-free.
Total Cards: 80
1970’s Sideburns: 40
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 25
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 6
Long Hair: 18

1976 SSPC #323 Jose Morales back

“Don’t Confuse Effort With Results”

I’ve had the boss from an old summer job in my head this week, chastising me for letting several days go by without a post.  I can hear him asking what’s taking so long, and I explain to him that on top of organizing my 1994 cards and entering 2015 sets into my card database, I’ve been coming up with posting ideas, researching, writing, scanning, feverishly working on customs… but he just tells me that I shouldn’t confuse effort with results.

It’s at this point that my mentally-conjured boss turns to walk away and I make a rude gesture at his back.

This is all a form of mea culpa for my meager output of this past week…  I guess I have to “work smarter, not harder”.

For now, at least, I’m  going to take “work smarter, not harder” to mean that I should post four somewhat unusual cards that had been scanned for post ideas that didn’t work out. When life gives you lemons, post oddballs.

1992 UD Cal & Billy Ripken

1999 Best Baseball America Bronson Arroyo

1975 Hostess Gene Tenace

1980 Kellogg's Lee Mazzilli

Getting back to bosses, it’s been a while since I’ve had a boss that spouted aphorisms.  Most of my recent bosses tend towards buzzwords, many of which involve incorrectly turning nouns into verbs and verbs into nouns:  “We’ve got to do some decisioning on the spend”.

What are your favorite boss-isms or buzzwords?

2015 Opening Day: Topps Misled Me, Wrecked My Truck And Made Off With My Woman

Forgive me while I work on a stereotypical Country song about Topps Opening Day.  I may have taken some liberties in the part about my woman… and I’ve never owned a truck.

But I’ve been cheated… been mistreated… When will I love Topps Opening Day?

Last month, I speculated that this year’s Opening Day set might have different photos because the Yasiel Puig and Masahiro Tanaka cards highlighted in the promotional materials featured different photos than the ones used in the Topps flagship set.

On top of that, I conjectured, given that the flagship Topps only uses foil on the Topps logo, would they really make an Opening Day set where the only differences were the logos on the front and the card number on the back?

After buying some Opening Day yesterday, I can tell you that, sadly, the answer to that is generally “Yes”.

Yes, the Puig has a different photo… I even pulled the Puig to confirm that it’s a different photo.
2015 Topps Opening Day Yasiel Puig

But many of the other cards I got were pretty much the same as regular Topps, except for the things I mentioned before.
2015 Topps Opening Day vs Series 1 fronts

2015 Topps Opening Day vs Series 1 backs

So now that we know that 2015 Opening Day is just another Opening Day set, what does that get us?

Well, there’s always additional guys photoshopped into their new uniforms…
2015 Topps Opening Day Alfredo Simon

2015 Topps Opening Day Jeff Samaradzija

…And there are the inserts that are unique to Opening Day…
2015 Topps Opening Day Franchise Flashback Castro

2015 Topps Opening Day Hit The Dirt Kinsler

This one is interesting… it’s from an insert set where the photos were taken by fans.
2015 Topps Opening Day Stadium Scenes McKinnon

But on the whole, I can’t help but feel that Topps sold a bill of goods on this one.  They highlighted two of the cards that had different photos, implying that this was the norm rather than the exception.

Now If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go out back and drink my whiskey.