This past week was “photo day” for many MLB teams, and it’s usually a time of year when I enjoy poking through the photos taken, seeing what goofy shots are out there, and seeing relocated players in their new uniforms… their actual uniforms, not the money-grab Spring Training caps and jerseys.
This time around, Photo Day wasn’t quite as much fun as past years… it seems like all of the teams who dropped big cash did so on re-signing players or re-acquiring players they’d recently had. We don’t need Photo Day to know what Aroldis Chapman looks like in a Yankees uniform. Sigh.
And, of course, Matt Wieters signed with the Nationals after that team’s Photo Day. Double sigh. (By the way, I posted last Sunday about Wieters being unsigned, and then the Nationals signed him a couple of days later. It’s nice to know that someone in the Nats organization reads The Shlabotnik Report… but it still won’t make me like the Nats).
All of this is not to say that I didn’t have fun looking at the pictures. I also felt the urge to make some customs out of the pictures I ran across… but what kind of customs should I make?
I didn’t want to use my 1970 Kellogg’s “Hot Stove” template, because these images aren’t photoshopped like those were, and I want to keep those in separate custom sets. I can’t make them 2017 TSR cards, because I’m still working on the design for those.
So the next best thing is to use a design from some past card set. I mentally went through card designs, trying to think of something I haven’t done lately and, more importantly, Topps hasn’t done (to death) lately… and I thought of the colorful 1958 Topps set, and I said:
It’s been 10 years since 2007 Heritage, and I don’t remember Topps Archives using the 1958 design recently (maybe I’m wrong) so I figured that this made it an ideal design to use.
So I took an hour or so when I really should’ve been in bed sleeping, and whipped up a template and the first custom. Yesterday I did the rest of the cards you’ll see here.
Unlike sets from the 1970’s and 1980’s, I’m not as much a student of the visual language of 1950’s sets, so if I screw up something that is part of the “visual logic” of 1958 Topps, please forgive me (and let me know, because I do want to know).
I did a custom of Kendrys Morales with the Jays earlier this winter, but it was a 1977 Topps homage with a hand-drawn Blue Jays logo. Here’s Kendrys in an actual Toronto uniform.
I had to wing it on the “DES. HITTER” position, because this obviously didn’t appear on 1958 baseball cards. Because the full team name would take up a good part of the bottom of the card, I did the 1958-ish abbreviation of “TOR. BLUE JAYS”. Looking back on it, I should’ve put an extra space between “DES.” and “HITTER”, as well as between “TOR.”, “BLUE” and “JAYS”.
I might not have a custom of Wieters just yet, but I do have one of the guy the Orioles got to serve as their primary catcher.
I’m not sure, but I think to be true to 1958, I should’ve used a smaller font for a long name like “Wellington Castillo” rather that horizontally smoosh the letters as I did. Then again, in 1958 this guy might’ve been listed as “Will Castillo”. (And I’m making a mental note to never use this design when doing a custom of Jarrod Saltalamacchia).
With Aroldis Chapman back in navy pinstripes, the Cubs gave up Jorge Soler to get closer Wade Davis from the Royals.
I was about to make a comment about how the Cubs should hope that Davis gets the job done, but you know what? Now that they’ve won a World Series, the Cubs have lost my “Mets and Cubs fans are in the same boat” empathy. Too bad, Cubs fans, your team is just another rival for my Mets.
Finally, I couldn’t resist using a scruffy R.A. Dickey headshot. I became a fan of his during his time with the Mets and began to collect him as well.
As I’d mentioned before, I’m not what you’d call an expert regarding 1958 Topps – the set is not only before my time, it’s before my Mets’ time, and I don’t put terribly much effort into collecting pre-1970’s Orioles. I always thought the colors in the set was more or less random with regards to teams, but there are an awful lot of Braves with green backgrounds. This was the first custom I did in this batch, and I originally did it with a blue background, but then changed it to green before working on the next custom.
I’m planning to have another batch of these 1958’s next weekend, and then we’ll get into these customs (tease, tease, tease):