Over the winter I got to thinking about how many different types of custom cards I’d made since I started futzing around with custom cards in 2008, as well as since I started to share them here in 2012. Some of the templates I created were used a number of times, some of them were one-offs used to illustrate a point or just to get one single idea of mine converted from thought to pixels.
Wondering how many templates there were got me thinking that I should make something of a Spring Training project out of creating new customs from all of these template I have, and in the process make something kinda sorta like Topps Archives… only in my case I wouldn’t be limited to Topps flagship baseball designs of a certain vintage.
Last week, I showed a tease in the form of this 1955 Bowman tribute…
…This week we’re going to start the project in earnest.
Just to emphasize the non-Archive-y nature of this custom set, I’ll continue with a template I’d made based on 1957/58 Topps Basketball, the first basketball set that Topps made.
I’m not a basketball fan or collector, but there’s something about this simple, colorful design which speaks to me. I think this is the first time I’ve used this design for baseball purposes.
The first and only time I used this horizontal 1973 Topps baseball template it was because I’d run across a photo that reminded me of 1973 Topps, and decided to build a custom around it. This time I did a 180 and went out looking for a photo which looked similar to a 1973 action shot… Relatively distant and with a couple of other players included.
I feel like I need to explain something with this next custom, a tribute to 1991 Topps Baseball.
The original cards had a logo at the top left which said “Topps 40 Years Of Baseball”. When I originally made these customs three years ago, my logo said “Shlabotnik 5 Years Of Customs”, but because the little ribbons of text were hard to read, people could only really read the “5” and asked me what it meant. This time around I’ve updated the number to reflect how long I’ve been publishing these customs on my blog, and yes, it says “Shlabotnik 8 Years Of Customs”. So there you go.
Here’s another custom which features a non-baseball design; this one uses the 1964 Philadelphia Gum Football design, which is a favorite of mine from the “less is more” school.
Every now and then when I get into a delusional state, I think that if I were to chase after a vintage football set again, I’d go after one of these 1960’s Philadelphia sets… and then the logical side of my brain kicks in and says “Seriously? Bart Starr? Johnny Unitas? Gale Sayers? You’re going to chase after THOSE cards?” and I back down and say “Yeah, you’re right, maybe I should just focus on my Steelers team sets and leave it at that”.
Going waaaay back for this one, this is the 1940 Play Ball design. The image of Jose Ramirez came from last year’s Spring Training “Photo Day”; this year’s Photo Day should be coming up in a week or two, and I’m planning/hoping to get some images of players who have changed teams.
…And ideally someone from the Marlins in their new uniforms. The question is: Which Marlin? Now that Realmuto’s gone, who would serve as a “big name” on that team? Looking over the roster, I’d probably go with former Oriole Wei-Yin Chen or newly-signed Neil Walker.
I’m going to wrap things up for this week by heading back to the 1980’s: Clayton Kershaw on the 1985 Topps Baseball design.
I was surprised to find I’d only used this design once before, in a post from last August where I predicted which designs would get used for 2019 Topps Archives. When I’d created it – and this one is completely from scratch, I didn’t just scan a 1985 Dodger card and change the player name – I was pleased enough with the results that I wanted to use it some more… and I just now realized that I never had until now. Maybe it was that lingering thought about not having used these templates enough that got me on this project in the first place.
I just realized I never shared the full “mission statement” for this project. I’m going to feature use each template once and only once within this project, I’m going to try to feature only players who could be considered to be among the top 100 or so players in the game (thus sparing you from looking at customs of my personal favorite players who are currently non-roster invites to Spring Training), and I’m planning on creating a couple of new templates for use in this project.
So there we go. If things go as planned, I’ll be doing this through the end of March.
Hope you enjoy it!