2019 Post(ess)Season Customs Plus Football And Hockey

So here’s how it happened…

I had this idea of the direction I could take my customs in 2020, and part of it involved a slightly smaller “card size”… Something more like Hostess than a standard-sized card. After a quick review of the five years of Hostess cards, I decided that 1979 Hostess was closest to what I’d had in mind, so I whipped up a template and made up about 8 customs, just to see if it would work the way I thought it might.

I was happy with the way things turned out, so I posted four of them out on Twitter and they were – by my Twitter account’s standards – fairly popular. I guess there’s a pent-up demand for Hostess customs, even ones where the font isn’t quite right.

Part of the experiment was to see how quickly I could turn these things out when the urge strikes. While I’m aesthetically happy with my 2019 TSR custom design, each one takes a while to make and that resulted in my not going as far as I originally intended.

Anyway, I went ahead and continued to make a few to highlight players in the postseason. I’ve got the “original” four from Twitter at the bottom of this post, but here are some new ones using this template:

Because I seem to feel the need to spend too much time on my hobbies, I also created a couple of more football customs to represent today’s Steelers/Chargers game.

Minkah Fitzpatrick was picked up early in the seasons for draft picks… I suspect part of it was to attempt to salvage the season, but the team is currently sitting at 1-4.

I didn’t feel like putting a lot of thought into picking a Charger, so I found an online article about the 100 best players in the NFL and chose the top-rated Charger. Unsurprisingly, it’s Philip Rivers.

I really don’t intend to feature as many quarterbacks as I have so far, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

Moving on to hockey, because, as I’ve said, I apparently can’t rein myself in on these things…

Mika Zibanejad recently scored a hat trick for the Rangers, and I saw an article on – I think – the Hockey News that referred to him as being on the verge of stardom. Interesting. He was also the first “Star Of The Week” of the NHL season and the second player in Rangers history to get 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) over the first two games of the season.

Mika was born in Sweden to a Finnish mother and Iranian father, is an EDM DJ and speaks Swedish, Farsi, English and Finnish.

The other featured hockey player is the Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw. Shaw was obtained from the Canadiens during the offseason and was selected somewhat arbitrarily for this custom (I picked one of the Blackhawks’ +/- leaders).

To wrap things up, here are the four images I’d shared on Twitter this past week.


Some “Legendary Foreigners” In My Collection

A while ago I picked up a number of cards from the “2013 BBM Legendary Foreigners 2: Deep Impact” set. Despite the set’s movie sequel name, it’s interesting because a) it’s a Japanese baseball card set and b) the “foreigners” in question are non-Japanese players who have played in Japan… and needless to say, many of those Legendary Foreigners are from the Western Hemisphere and have played in the Major Leagues.

As you might have guessed, there’s another Legendary Foreigners set which came before it; I, however, don’t have any cards from that one… yet.

So here’s the first card I’m sharing; If you’re a regular reader of The Shlabotnik Report, you’ve seen a number of cards from my Rick Schu player collection before. Schu was one of my first “I saw him in the minors” guys.

Schu played 9 years in the Majors with the Phillies, Orioles, Tigers, Angels and (for one game) Expos. He also played for the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1993 and 1994.

Here’s the back of the card, just so you can see the back of one of these.

Many of you are familiar with Bill Madlock from his time with the Pirates, Cubs, Giants, Dodgers, Tigers and Rangers… but he also played the 1988 season with the Lotte Orions.

One of Madlock’s teammates with the Orions was a 19-year-old Hideki Irabu.  Also, in case you were wondering, the Lotte Orions became the Chiba Lotte Marines in 1992.

Terry Bross is a pitcher who name means little to anyone who’s not a Mets fan and who does not have many commons from the early 1990’s.

Bross pitched all of 8 games with the Mets in 1991 and 2 more with the Giants in 1993. However, he was a starting pitcher for four years in Japan; three years with the Yakult Swallows and one year with the Seibu Lions.

Oh, and he was also the Central League ERA champ in 1995.

Davey Johnson used to be the answer to a trivia question because he was a teammate of MLB home run king Hank Aaron and Japanese home run king Saduharu Oh.

Davey played most of the 1975 season and all of the 1976 season for the Yomiuri Giants.  He’d come back to the Majors and play for the Phillies and Cubs.

Panamanian outfielder Fernando Sequignol is another “I saw him in the minors” guy… I saw a teenaged Seguignol play for the NY-Penn League’s Oneonta Yankees.  He’d later play for the Expos but would put in more time in NPB, playing 8 years for the Fighters, the Rakuten Eagles and the Orix Buffaloes.

Alex Ochoa was an outfielder who, when the Mets acquired him as a prospect in a trade, was hyped as someone who would be a perennial All-Star.  He was not.

After playing with the Mets, Reds, Rockies, Brewers and Angels, he’d have some success with the Chunichi Dragons and Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

If there was any rookie prospecting going on in the early 1970’s, someone had a stash of Bobby Valentine cards at some point.  He was a first-round pick of the Dodgers and the MVP of two minor leagues, but never carried that success over to the Majors.  Now he’s far better known as the manager of the Rangers, Mets and Chiba Lotte Marines… and for one unsuccessful season managing the Boston Red Sox.

I’ll wrap up with a name who’s known to anyone who was a Cubs fan in 1994.  Tuffy Rhodes made everyone stand up and pay attention by hitting three home runs off of Dwight Gooden on Opening Day.  Could the Cubs have stumbled on their next big power hitter?  I’ll answer that by saying that Rhodes hit 5 home runs over the rest of the season.  BUT…

Rhodes would go to Japan and become one of their greatest foreign players of all time, hitting 464 home runs, tying Saduharu Oh for the single-season record of 55 (a record which would later be broken), winning a Pacific League MVP award and 7 “Best Nine” honors (given to the best player at each position in each league),

Still Lacking Time, Energy & Brain Cells

Intelligently-written, cohesive posts don’t grow on trees… and while I have ideas on several I could be doing, I don’t have what it takes to do one of those today (or this entire week), so I’m just picking scans out of my folders and writing what comes to mind.

I don’t see myself ever doing a “Dead Parrot” project for basketball like I do for hockey, but I occasionally pick up basketball cards representing long-lost teams, especially from the ABA.  I think this might be my first card for the Utah Stars.  While the Stars ultimately folded, they proved that pro basketball would work in Salt Lake City, and the Utah Jazz (almost as ridiculous of a relocated name as Los Angeles Lakers) have proven this to be true.

This 1974/75 Topps Basketball set is an odd one;  some shots are action shots, but all of the posed shots are superimposed in front of a psychedelically-colored game shot.  I kinda dig it.

The following year’s basketball cards look like this… One of these days I’m going to adapt this for some sort of custom design (I almost used it for a curling set I had in  mind to do this winter, but I’m going in another direction, leaving this design out there for some yet-to-be-determined future project).

BTW, I love the double shadows on Dan Issel.

I did a “Forgotten Franchises” post on the Kentucky Colonels over four (!!!) years ago;  The Forgotten Franchises series is not permanently in the “Forgotten Blog Post Themes” category;  I’d like to get back to it some day but the posts are time-intensive.

I recently bought a cheap 1965 Topps “Embossed” card of the Mets Ron Hunt… Not because I like the card… Gawd, no, these things are fugly… but my fairly-recently-completed 1965 Mets team set is 28 cards, which leaves just one card in the fourth 9-pocket sheet.  As a result, I’m making a half-hearted attempt to fill in those open pockets which mock me.

I found this B.J. Surhoff “The Rookies” card in a nickel box… Even if I weren’t a fan of B.J.’s from his time with the Orioles, I appreciate how he often looks good on a baseball card.  One of these days I’ll up my game and actively work on my B.J. Surhoff PC… Once I’ve got fewer irons in the fire.

B.J. has two nephews currently in the Majors:  Pirates infielder Colin Moran and his brother, Marlins pitcher Brian Moran.  Brian made his MLB Debut on September 5th against the Pirates, and the first batter he struck out was his brother.  You can’t make this stuff up.

Back on August 4th I was at a local card show, and I bought this 1960 Topps card of then-catchers Joe Pignatano and John Roseboro.  PIgnatano is someone I collect because he was a Mets coach during my first years of following baseball,  plus it’s just a nice-looking card.

I later found out that the day I bought this card – 8/4/2019 – happened to be Pignatano’s 90th birthday… which just made me like this particular card that much more.

I’ll finish up with a football card I’d scanned 7 years ago and it somehow never made it into the blog.  It always weirds me out to see Fran Tarkenton in a Giants uniform, even though he played five years with the team. From my childhood memories, Fran Tarkenton should be in a purple Vikings uniform with the helmet’s horns logos airbrushed out!

I really liked Tarkenton as a kid;  another “someday, not now” project will be to start a Tarkenton PC… most likely without the very expensive rookie card, but at some point I’ll be keeping an eye out for a badly cut and well loved 1962 Post Football rookie year card of “Francis Tarkenton”… I’m not a rookie card guy, but that one just calls out to me.

OK, that’s enough rambling for now. Gotta get back to the rest of my life.

Custom Sunday, 9/29/2019

Three customs today, plus a small request to help me with my plans for the upcoming NHL season… more on this at the end.

The Steelers are playing the Bengals on Monday night, so for one of my 1973 Topps-inspired football customs, I’m featuring wide receiver A.J. Green, the current AFC Offensive Player of the Week. Green had a career-high 227 receiving yards and two touchdowns; both came in the 4th quarter and helped the Bengals beat the Ravens.

If I’m ever looking for ideas of who to make a football custom for, I might just go with “Who helped their team to beat the Ravens?”

JuJu Smith-Schuster was one of the better Steelers in the loss to the 49ers, mainly for his 76-yard TD reception to put the Steelers ahead in the 3rd quarter.

I’m still catching up on my Baseball Scoops customs; here’s one from July, when the Orioles’ bench player Stevie Wilkerson pitched a 1-2-3 16th inning to get the save against the Angels. The Save has been an official stat since 1969, and this was the first time a position played had gotten one.

It pains me slightly that I neglected to include a hyphen between “First” and “Ever”.

At the rate I’m going, you’ll still be seeing these Scoops customs well after the World Series is over.

OK, now on to my NHL request. Back in 2004 when the league lost an entire season to a labor dispute, I walked away from the league and I’m only now considering giving it another shot… The thing is, I no longer have a team because my “ex”, the Washington Capitals, left me. I’m speaking figuratively, of course; I didn’t like the direction they moved in during the 1990’s, and I’m not a fan of where they are now.

If I’m going to give the NHL another shot, it would help to have a team and I’m too indecisive to pick one myself. What I did instead was make a list of 16 teams and started a tournament on Twitter.

We’re in the Elite Eight right now; the Final Four begins Monday morning and the final vote starts Tuesday morning.

If you’re on Twitter and would like to join in on the voting, you can check it out here or you can search on #ShlabotnikNHL2020.

As of right now, I’m thinking that there will be customs involved. :-)


Drowning My Sorrows In 1960’s Post

So, it turns out there’s a significant difference between “I don’t think the Mets really have a chance” and “The Mets have been mathematically eliminated from the postseason”.

Wednesday was a very “sigh” day to begin with, and Major League Baseball saw to it that things didn’t get any better for me.

I had several posts in mind that I’d intended to be writing, but instead I decided to go with what just felt like fun… and today that’s a sampling of some Post cereal cards that I picked up at recent shows.  Post cards are a relatively recent thing for me… They kinda flew under my radar for years, and I recently discovered “Hey, these things are FUN!”

…Especially if, like me, you’re not particularly concerned with condition.  If badly-cut edges and handwriting samples are not an issue for you, then HOFers can be affordable.

I see these cards as having character.  Unlike a mint Topps card which might have been sitting in an unopened pack for 50 years, there’s no questioning that these cards were part of some kid’s collection.

I couldn’t pass this next card by… Aside from the fact that it features Ed “The Glider” Charles from his days with the KC Athletics, some kid (for reasons unknown) wrote “TOPPS” on it.

Did someone think that they were going to fool some potential trading buddy that this was a Topps card of Ed Charles?  The world may never know.

The original Washington Senators packed up their bats and gloves and moved to the Twin Cities for the 1961 season, it wasn’t a given that they would call themselves “Minnesota”… I read somewhere that the original intent was to call them the “Twin Cities Twins”, which is why the hats have the “TC” logo on them.

…But there was a certain amount of uncertainty about the team’s name after the move, and the cards of the 1961 Post Twins have two versions;  the rarer has the correct “Minnesota” listed as the team’s home, but the more common versions say “Minneapolis”.

I actually didn’t think about any of this until after I had the card.. I bought the card because of a small desire to start a Reno Bertoia collection, for reasons I don’t want to get into now (It’s more about happenstance than any real connection I have with Bertoia).

Here’s a lovely 1961 Post card of Marv Throneberry.

I probably should have included this card when I featured Marvelous Marv in my first “1961 Mets” post, but I frankly had forgotten that I’d acquired this card… I bought just enough of these to have lost track of which particular cards I’d bought.

Without meaning to, I managed to get a complete run of Post cards for slugger Jim Gentile who’s a member of the Orioles Hall Of Fame. Gentile was an All-Star in each of his first three seasons (1960 – 1962).

In 1961 his 46 homers got him a 3rd place tie in the Majors; he was tied with Orlando Cepeda and Harmon Killebrew, and finished behind Mickey Mantle (54) and Roger Maris (61, of course). Gentile finished 2nd in the Majors in RBI’s as well; he and Maris had 141, and Cepeda had 142.

Here’s a fun thing I’d not been aware of: all three of the players who got 1960 A.L. Rookie of the Year votes were Orioles: Winner Ron Hansen got 22 votes, while Gentile and pitcher Chuck Estrada both got 1 vote. I wonder who the sportswriter from Baltimore voted for. Gentile’s batting stats are largely better than Hansen’s, which leads me to believe that Hansen got the votes because he was a shortstop and must’ve been smooth with a glove.

I’m going to wrap up with my first Post *Football* card. Punter/Halfback Bobby Joe Green played for the Steelers in 1960 and 1961, was traded to the Bears and made the Pro Bowl after the 1970 season. Since Green rushed for all of 7 yards in 1970, I’m guessing he made the Pro Bowl as a punter.

This card seems to be considered to be a “pre-rookie” card, I’m guessing because it preceeded Green’s first card which came in packs (1965 Philadelphia).

And that’s all the Post cards I have for now (but not all of the ones I recently bought). Gotta admit, I feel a little better now.

Down The Rabbit Hole With Juan Marichal And Cy Young

This post came almost directly from last week’s post about some recent 1970 Kellogg’s acquisitions. While looking to hype that post on Twitter (@Shlabotnik_Rpt), I was touting how many All-Stars, MVP’s and Cy Young winners were included among those five cards.

When I was counting up the accomplishments of Juan Marichal I noticed something odd…

Marichal is in the Hall of Fame, had been in 10 All-Star games (two of which were back when they had two All-Star Games each year), had the best ERA in the National League in 1965, was the 1965 All-Star Game MVP and won 20 games six different times.

And yet, when you scan down that right-most “Awards” column on his Baseball Reference page, you’ll see only one entry for Cy Young voting:  1971, when he finished tied for 8th (last) in the voting, and with no first place votes.

A HOF pitcher was eligible for the Cy Young Award yet never got a single first-place vote?  How can this be?

To try to figure this out, I decided to see what the voting was like for each of Marichal’s nine All-Star seasons, and to compare Marichal’s basic numbers to the pitchers who did factor significantly into the voting.

…and we’ll start with the 1962 season.  Right off the bat, I was reminded of one major factor working against Marichal:  From 1956 to 1966, there was only one Cy Young Award for all of Major League Baseball, and there was only one vote for each sportswriter representing a team (so in 1962 that was 20 total votes).

In that 1962 season, Marichal went 18-11, 3.36 and tied for 22nd in MVP voting. Don Drysdale (25-9, 2.83) won the Cy Young Award, while votes also went to Jack Sanford (24-7, 3.43), Billy Pierce (16-6, 3.49) and Bob Purkey (23-5, 2.81).  Drysdale lead the league in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched.

1963 introduces another major factor working against Juan Marichal:  Sandy Koufax.  Marichal went 25-8, 2.41, lead the league with wins and IP and finished 11th in MVP voting… BUT Sandy Koufax  went 25-5, 1.88, leading the league in wins, ERA, strikeouts and shutouts.  Sandy was the unanimous choice for the Cy and won the N.L. MVP as well.

In 1964, Marichal went 21-8, 2.48, lead the league with 22 complete games and finished 15th in MVP voting. However, the Cy went to Dean Chance (20-9, 1.65) with Larry Jackson (24-11, 3.14) and Sandy Koufax (19-5, 1.74) also getting votes.  Chance lead his league in wins, ERA, complete games, shutouts and innings pitched.

Marichal once again put up strong numbers in 1965: 22-13, 2.13, while leading the league with 10 shutouts and finishing 9th in MVP voting. Sandy Koufax (26-8, 2.04) was again the unanimous Cy.  Sandy lead in wins, winning %, ERA, strikeouts, complete games and innings pitched, plus he also finished 2nd in MVP voting (with Willie Mays winning the award).

It was the same story in 1966;  Marichal went 25-6, 2.23, lead league with .806 Winning percentage, also lead the league with a 0.859 WHIP (not that anyone tracked WHIP Leaders in 1966) and finished 6th in MVP voting.  The Cy unanimously went to Sandy again (27-9, 1.73).  Koufax lead the league in wins, winning %, ERA, strikeouts, shutouts and complete games, and finished second to Roberto Clemente in MVP voting.

1967 was the first year of two Cy Young Awards rather than one, and Sandy Koufax had retired after the 1966 season, but Marichal had a somewhat pedestrian season by his standards:  14-10, 2.76.  Marichal’s teammate Mike McCormick (22-10, 2.85) won the National League Cy with Jim Bunning (17-15, 2.29) and Fergie Jenkins (20-13, 2.80) getting votes.

In 1968; Marichal went 26-9, 2.43 and lead the league with 26 wins and 30 complete games. He also finished 5th in MVP voting. However, like with Sandy Koufax two years prior, there was a pitcher who dominated the league, and the NL Cy went unanimously to Bob Gibson (22-9, 1.12).  Gibson was also the MVP, and lead the league in ERA, shutouts and strikeouts.

With the expansion in 1969 also came an expansion of Cy Young voting;  there was still one vote representing each team, but now there were 24 teams.  Marichal put up a 21-11 record with a 2.10 ERA, and lead the league in ERA, shutouts and WHIP.  He also finished 23rd in MVP voting. The 1969 NL Cy went to Tom Seaver (25-7, 2.21) with Phil Niekro (23-13, 2.56) getting a first place vote.

1970 Cy voting changed to allow sportswriters to have three votes:  1st (5 points), 2nd (3 points) and 3rd (1 point).  Marichal (12-10, 4.12) was not a factor in voting that year.  For the record, Bob Gibson overwhelmingly won his 2nd Cy Young that year, with Gaylord Perry getting one first place vote.

For Marichal’s last All-Star season in 1971, he went 18-11, 2.94;  the Cy went to Fergie Jenkins (24-13, 2.77) with six 1st place votes going to Seaver (20-10 ,1.76) and one going to Al Downing (20-9, 2.68). Marichal and Bill Stoneman (17-19, 3.15) tied for 8th with one 3rd place vote each.

So all in all, while Marichal clearly had a Hall-Of-Fame career, when it came to the Cy Young award he was just born at the wrong time.

Custom Sunday: More Scoops, More Football

Just a few scattershot customs today…

First off, I’m continuing to catch up on the “Scoops” for this season. I’d like to do this again in 2020, but I need to find a way to streamline my processes so I can do a better job of keeping up.

Since they got a good response and I enjoy doing them, I’m also going to try to keep up on these Football customs (based on 1973 Topps Football). Last week I featured Ben Roethlisberger and I admitted that I was tired of him, but now he’s out for the season after elbow surgery, so the Steelers’ starting quarterback from here on out is 2nd year pro Mason Rudolph. Rudolph looked pretty good from what I saw of last week’s game, so we’ll see how he does today against the 49ers.

I don’t want to make this custom set be all about my Steelers, so I’m thinking up ways of featuring players from other teams. This time around I’m featuring the Steelers opponents from San Francisco. George Kittle set a record last season for receiving yards by a tight end.

I might come up with other ways to pick players to feature… Each conference names an offensive, defensive and special teams player of the week, so if nothing else I’ve got six topical names to pick from.

I’ll also take requests… but with all of these, a lot depends on whether I can find decent images to work with.

One last custom, this time I’m reviving my original “Fauxback” template to feature a WNBA player who caught my eye when I happened to see a few minutes of a WNBA game a few weeks ago.

Diamond DeShields is a guard with the Chicago Sky, and if you’re asking “Is she?”, the answer is “Yes, she is”.

DeShields and the Sky got into the second round of the WNBA playoffs before losing to the Las Vegas Aces. He father is former Major Leaguer Delino DeShields and her brother is, of course, Texas Ranger outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.

So that’s it for this week’s customs. As a sort of bad tease, I’ll just mention that at this point I have little idea of what customs will be featured next week.