Custom Sunday: Ichiro And Other Bits Of Catching Up

I’ve been spending much of my hobby time working on the organization of my collection lately.  I haven’t been as active in the custom cards as I normally am, but I still have plenty to catch up on, plus a couple of new things to share.

About a month ago I made this Hot Stove card after the Mariners obtained Mallex Smith from the Rays.

…But had I known the extent of wheeling and dealing that Mariner’s GM Jerry Dipoto was going to be doing, I would’ve put a moratorium on making customs of any Mariners until Spring Training starts.  So far the only “flipping” that’s happened was obtaining Carlos Santana from the Phillies and then later trading him to the Indians, but it’s become clear that the Mariners are willing to trade anybody in the right deal, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see Mallex Smith and other new acquisitions (i.e. Edwin Encarnacion, Jay Bruce and J.P. Crawford) wearing someone else’s uniform by the time Spring Training rolls around.

…or not.  Who knows?  I don’t know whether Dipoto knows.

You know who will be with the Mariners in some capacity, if not on the playing field? Ichiro.

This is a “bonus card” for my tribute to the 1964 Topps Giant-Sized All-Stars set.

Last weekend was the second leg of the Curling World Cup, which is a new event that takes place over four different events in four cities across the globe. The second leg recently took place in Omaha, and congratulations go out to Team Shuster; they beat Sweden to earn the USA a Gold Medal in the second leg plus a spot in the Finals.

From the start of my interest in Curling, I’ve been rooting on the USA and, to a lesser extent, our neighbors in Canada. However, the more I watch other teams, I’ve found myself rooting for teams which fall outside of my ‘natural’ rooting interests. Japan’s Team Fujisawa is one of those teams I enjoy watching.

They’re fun to watch from a strictly curling standpoint, winning Silver in the 2016 World Women’s Championship and Bronze in the 2018 Olympic games… But they’re also fun to watch because they always come across as enjoying themselves and happy to be there, and they get very excited when they win. I just can’t help but root for them.

If you’ve been following along at home, you’ll know that this 2019 TSR Fauxback design comes with puzzle backs… but in the last post I didn’t feature any puzzle backs because I hadn’t decided who was going to be on “Puzzle B”. Now that I’ve got a new puzzle in place, here’s the back to that Fujisawa card:

Hmmm, who can that be?

Oh, one last thing… I realized earlier today that I’d never shared the full image of “Puzzle A”, which featured ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic posing with his new Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

You know, you can see all the stars as you walk down Hollywood Boulevard… Some that you recognize, some that you’ve hardly even heard of…

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Card #347 From 1972 to 1981 Topps

Today is the 347th day of 2018, and I didn’t feel like thinking about what to write today, so I was going to feature each card #347 from the 1970’s… but I don’t have the 1971 #347 card (Ted Uhlaender), and then I found out that card #347 from 1981 Topps has been unexpectedly in the news lately – no, it doesn’t have the Menendez brothers in the background – so I figured I’d just go from 1972 to 1981. Fun, fun, fun.

As it turns out, 347 isn’t such a bad number to feature. We’ve got three Hall-Of-Famers, the father of a HOFer and an MVP. Not too shabby.

1972 – TOM SEAVER BOYHOOD PHOTOS OF THE STARS

Here’s your first HOFer.  Can’t think of much to say about this card.

1973 – KANSAS CITY ROYALS

I checked the Royals roster from 1972, but no… no HOFers.  Sorry, I tried.

1974 – SANDY ALOMAR

Here’s the father of a HOFer;  Sandy’s best known as the father of Roberto and Sandy Jr., but Sandy Sr. had a pretty good 15-year career himself.  He was an All-Star with the Angels in 1970

1975 – MIKE CALDWELL

Mike Caldwell finished 2nd to Ron Guidry in the 1978 Cy Young Award voting (22-9, 2.36), but here’s an odd little bit of Mike Caldwell cardboard trivia… He pitched 14 games for the Reds but never appeared on a card as a Red.  HOWEVER, he never pitched for the Cardinals, yet appeared in the 1977 set airbrushed into a St. Louis cap.  The Giants traded him to St. Louis after the 1976 season, but the Cards traded him to the Reds at the end of 1977 Spring Training.  That June, the Reds traded him to Milwaukee.

1976 – ALL-TIME ALL-STARS TED WILLIAMS

So, Ted Williams… he was pretty good, right?

1977 – GEORGE FOSTER

Here’s your MVP, in his MVP year, no less. Foster had a monster season, leading the NL in Runs (124) and he lead the Majors in Homers (52), RBI (149), Slugging % (.631) and Total Bases (388),

1978 – TERRY FORSTER

From Foster to Forster… Terry gets the glorious airbrush job after signing with the Dodgers as a free agent.  He spent 1977 with the Pirates, but judging from the neckline on his “Dodgers jersey”, I’d say this photo originally showed him with the White Sox (and their awful leisure suit uniforms… which we’ll unfortunately be seeing more of in just a bit).

Terry Forster was never an All-Star.  I find that kind of surprising.

1979 – DOUG RAU

Rau was a good pitcher whose career was cut short by injury;  he had an 81-60 career record and won at least 15 games three times.

1980 – HARRY CHAPPAS (ROOKIE CARD)

This is Harry Chappas’ only Major League card. He played with the White Sox from 1978 to 1980, but never appeared in more than 26 games in a season.

1981 – HAROLD BAINES (ROOKIE CARD)

And we wrap up with the card which has been in the news lately… well, Harold Baines has been in the news after being voted into the Hall Of Fame by the “Today’s Game” committee, and this is his rookie card.  I like Baines, I rooted him on during his three different stints with the Orioles, but I don’t see him as a Hall of Famer.  Clearly I’m not alone in that opinion, judging from some of the articles and comments I’ve seen.

Not Knowing What To Write About, He Turns To A Recent COMC Shipment For Inspiration…

It’s been two weeks since I’ve written about actual, real baseball cards.  I’ve posted custom cards, I’ve written about postcards (baseball and otherwise), I’ve written about soccer cards, but nothing about baseball recently.

Since I don’t have a theme in mind… well, not one I’m ready to write about given the time I have… I figured I’d just grab some scans from the COMC shipment I received in October. And so, in no particular order…

I have no delusions about collecting the 1969 Topps set, much less the 1969 Topps MASTER set, but for some reason I felt compelled to get both versions of the Clay Dalrymple card. I guess I was just drawn in by the photo variation.

Here are the backs, if anyone’s interested.

You know what, as long as I’m sharing 1969 Topps cards that I have no good reason for buying… I already had the “HOUSTON” version of the 1969 Donn Clendenon card, but at a July card show I got all impulsive and got the “EXPOS” version as well.

The Expos took Clendenon from the Pirates in the 1968 expansion draft and then traded him to the Astros… but Clendenon threatened to retire rather than report to the Astros, so the trade was reworked, he started the season with the Expos, got traded to the Mets in June and he became a World Series hero.

A miscut but affordable HOFer in Juan Marichal for my “I have no illusions of ever completing this set but let’s see how far I can get without busting my budget” 1972 Topps project.

There’s so much to like about this card… The Pirates uniform, the tilted photo, the gloves scattered on the ground, the player or coach looking down at something…

I’m confident that every one of you have had this happen… There’s a card you run across at a show and it’s on your wantlist but you say “Nah, that’s a mistake, I have that card!” and then you get home and look in your binder and find your wantlist was smarter than you are. This is one of those cards for me, I think I said “Nah, I have that!” two or three times before I broke down and bought the damn thing.

I overpaid a bit to buy this 2004 Topps Total card of Jae Weong Seo which was the only card I needed to complete my 2004 Total Mets team set… but because I overpaid for it, I decided I’m damn well going to share it here.

Marco Scutaro is a third-tier player collection for me, but I ran across this 2013 Topps/Chevron card – I believe it was part of a ballpark giveaway – and decided I wanted to have it… It’s kind of a photo variation.

The “regular” Topps card is a horizontal card showing Scutaro turning two while Joey Votto slides into second.

I don’t have a lot of online exclusive cards, but I found this 2017 All-Star Game card for cheap, so I pulled the trigger. This is supposed to be a tribute to 1987, which is stretching things a bit, but whatever.

I don’t exactly regret getting this card, because I collect Mets and I like Conforto… but I’m starting to question how much I should chase some of these recent oddball-ish sets. This really isn’t a very good looking card, and I don’t now how much my collection would suffer without it… but METS… and CONFORTO… Ah, I dunno.

Last card for today… part of my quest to complete the 1957 Topps Orioles team set. I’m all kinds of amused at seeing Bob Hale stretching out as if fielding a ball at first base… only he’s got his foot on third and is stretching into foul territory to catch a ball thrown from… the dugout?

I’m currently on an organizational kick with my cards, so don’t expect the next post to be any more coherent than this one. Just thought I’d warn you.

Custom Sunday: Hooray for Captain Spalding (No, Not Groucho)

Lately, I’ve been focusing many of my customs posts on my tribute to the 1964 Topps “Giants” set – indeed, there’s another one at the end of this post – but I have been making other customs and will spend much of this post catching up on the backlog. I’m also floating the idea of a new custom project… as if I really *need* a new project. Actually, I’ve got one other custom project in my head, but I’m intentionally holding off on that until Spring Training.

Earlier this week I saw singer/songwriter Rufus Wainwright being interviewed on a late night talk show… I think of Rufus as the son of singer/songwriter/actor Loudon Wainwright III;  I’m not exactly a fan of LW3, but I have a couple of his albums.  For whatever reason, that made me think of how I first became aware of LW3 as “Captain Spalding”, a character in three episodes of the third season of M*A*S*H.  That, in turn, got me thinking about a project long in the mental noodling stage but never executed – a custom set devoted to the M*A*S*H TV series.

If there were a way of telling how many lifetime hours I’ve spent watching different TV shows, M*A*S*H would be up there at the top with Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Star Trek.  I watched much of the original run on CBS, and when it hit syndication I would come home from school and watch the reruns.  At my peak I knew pretty much everything there was to be known about the show, from “Ah, Bach!” to Zelmo Zale.

Normally this kind of obsessive behavior would cross over into my obsessive collecting behavior, but there’s been just one card set devoted to M*A*S*H, a disappointing 66-card Donruss set from 1982.  I bought a couple of packs at the time and never went further. This is one of the better cards from that set in my collection.

The set was pretty much what you’d expect from Donruss in the early 1980’s, put together without a whole lot of apparent effort.  Some of the images used were kind of odd outside of the context of the episode they were from, and there was nothing to explain, for example, why B.J. is wearing a white tuxedo in the O.R.  (it was from an episode that explored the dreams/nightmares of the characters).

As with many things of this sort, my reaction was “Pffft, I could do better than this!”  I’d long pondered making a custom set in a late 1970’s / early 1980’s non-sport style, floated a bunch of ideas, but never actually went about creating the first custom.

…Until I was very indirectly inspired by Rufus Wainwright on a late night talk show.

I present to you the first promo card for a M*A*S*H custom set, featuring LW3’s character Captain Calvin Spalding, the “Singing Surgeon”.

I’m given to believe that it’s not a coincidence that Captain Spalding shares a name (if not the exact spelling) with the Groucho Marx character in “Animal Crackers”.

Now I honestly don’t know how far I would go with a custom set like this, but I wanted to float it out there to see what the reaction would be.  If I went further with this, I’d be just as likely to dip into the recurring characters (Sidney Friedman, Colonel Flagg, Nurse Kellye) as much as the stars of the show.

Any input?


Moving on…

When I was a kid, there were three George Blanda cards in 1975 Topps Football;  one for his breaking the career points-scoring record (he’d end up with 2002), and two other cards because they needed two card backs to fit all of his career highlights and stats.  HOFer Blanda played 26(!) seasons in the NFL and was 48 years old during his final season.

So, it caught my attention when, in September, Adam Vinatieri broke Morten Andersen’s record for career field goals (he as 576 as of this morning), and then in October he set the career points record (2570 as of this morning).  “This deserves a custom!” I said…. back in October.  Sorry for the delay, Vinatieri fans, here it is.

In case you’re curious, George Blanda currently ranks 7th on the list of career scoring leaders.


The Diamondbacks made an interesting free agent signing this week; they signed pitcher Merrill Kelly to a two-year MLB contract.

You’re probably like me in saying “Who?”. Kelly was in the Tampa Bay Rays system, but spent the last 4 years pitching for the SK Wyverns in the Korea Baseball Organization and is coming back to the US as a 30-year-old rookie. Kelly’s numbers weren’t outstanding by US standards, but within the very offense-friendly KBO they gave MLB organizations thoughts of the next Miles Mikolas.

Here are two more “Hot Stove” customs… I think you probably know about these transactions already. If you follow me on Twitter (@Shlabotnik_Rpt) then you’ve already seen these.


I’ve also got more customs from my “Fauxback” set.

Baseball America named former Met Jordany Valdespin their 2018 Independent League Player Of The Year.

I’m happy for Valdespin and for the Ducks.  I grew up on Long Island and didn’t see my first minor league game until I was a legal adult.  The Ducks came along a couple of years after I left Long Island in one of those “Don’t that just figure” moments.  I’d love to go to a Ducks game, but on the rare occasion when I go back to Long Island, my time is filled with visiting people (all of whom say I need to come up there more often).

Say what you want about social media, one thing I’ve discovered is that you don’t have to wait until Spring Training to see pictures of big name players in their new uniforms.

It’s funny where going down the rabbit hole can lead… I was making comments on Twitter about how I wasn’t sure about how well Portland, OR would work out as a host city for an MLB expansion team. While I was researching to make sure I wasn’t mis-remembering my main point – that at one point the AAA Portland Beavers were evicted to make room for a Major League Soccer team – I found out that Giovanni Savarese, one of the top players on my all-time favorite soccer team, the mid-1990’s Long Island Rough Riders, is the coach of the Portland Timbers, who were in last night’s MLS Cup game.

So I started out researching Portland as an MLB expansion candidate and ended up with a mild rooting interest in the MLS Cup. Too bad the Timbers lost to Atlanta FC.


Wrapping things up with a “Bonus Card” for my 2018 TSR “Giants” set. Kyle Freeland had a great season with the Rockies, going 17-7 with a 2.85 ERA. I left him out of the “regular” set because most of his success came in the second half of the sason, which under the rules I was playing by would’ve been after the checklist was finalized and the set went into imaginary production.

But that doesn’t mean that I couldn’t create a card anyway…

Well, that’s more than enough customs for one week.

2018 Postcard Show, Part 2: Indians, Underdogs And A Famous Stadium

As I mentioned last week, I went to an annual postcard show in November and had a lot of fun with it. There really is a significant overlap between “traditional” sports card collecting and postcard collecting, plus there are plenty of other items at a postcard show to make for a fun outing.

One discovery I made this past show came when one of the dealers invited me to look at their “Ephemera binders”. I didn’t realize that any of the dealers had items other than postcards for sale, and I didn’t really know what “ephemera” might mean in this context, but the binders (which were loosely grouped by subject) contained all kinds of paper items that were often neat but didn’t fall into any particular category… Brochures, schedules, stickers, placemats, small posters, those promotional booklets that car dealers use to list all of the details for a new car… I didn’t buy anything but it was a heck of a lot of fun to look through.  I bring this up because anyone who has the opportunity to attend a postcard show might want to keep an eye out for any binders the dealers might have… Don’t assume, like I had, that they were just higher-valued postcards.  There could be something of interest in there!

Moving on to the actual postcards I got…  Today I’m featuring several different sports-related postcards, most of which wouldn’t normally fit into my collection but I couldn’t pass them by.

Like with the four Dodgers I shared in the last post, I got three postcards of a team that I wouldn’t normally chase after… but in this case, my 1970’s upbringing plays a significant role in my impulse buys.

I’ve been to two postcard shows and both times I picked up a Fritz Peterson postcard for my collection. This is from the Indians 1974 team-issued postcard set; Fritz went to the Indians on April 26, 1974 in a seven-player trade that saw Chris Chambliss and Dick Tidrow heading to the Bronx.

I seem to run across a fair number of these mid-1970’s Indians postcards, and because this is what the Indians wore when I first got into baseball, this is a look I feel the Indians never should have gone away from.  They might not be great uniforms, but they’re at least interesting uniforms (especially when compared to today’s uniforms which are kinda dull).

I’ve been a Mets fan since I started following baseball, but during my first couple of seasons I also liked the Yankees (before I finally wised up). Dick Tidrow pitched for the Yankees during that three-year period, so he qualifies as a “Good Yankee”. Here, on a 1973 team-issued postcard, he’s shown before he grew his awesome Fu Manchu.  From the bunting in the stadium I would guess that these postcard photos were taken on or around opening day.

I was a little surprised when TradingCardDB listed this as a 1973 postcard, because I think of these uniforms as starting in 1974… but it turns out to be one of those timeline-type issues which always screws me up…  the Indians started wearing these uniforms in 1973, but they didn’t appear on Topps baseball cards until 1974.

One of the first baseball cards I remember getting was a 1974 Topps Charlie Spikes… I believe I got it as an insert in one of the early issues of “Dynamite” magazine. I lived for Scholastic catalogs back in the day. Anyway, even though I don’t really collect Charlie Spikes I couldn’t resist spending a buck on this postcard.

Although the same photo of Charlie Spikes was apparently used in the 1973 and 1974 postcard sets, I believe this postcard is from 1973 because the back matches the 1973 Tidrow but not the 1974 Peterson.

I was a big NASCAR fan in the 1990’s, and my favorite driver was 1992 Winston Cup champion Alan Kulwicki, who tragically died in an airplane crash the April after winning the title. When I first started following NASCAR I was drawn to Kulwicki because he was an underdog (fielding his own team on a relatively small budget) and different from the traditional NASCAR drivers (he was from north of the Mason-Dixon line and had a degree in Mechanical Engineering).  I thought this postcard would make a nice addition to my modest Alan Kulwicki collection…

…but I’ll be honest, 25 years later Alan Kulwicki collectibles are still a bittersweet reminder of what had been and what could have been.

Easily my favorite single purchase at the postcard show was this stadium postcard. Simultaneously familiar and strange, it caught my eye even before I knew what it was.

Curious, I turned it over and saw that it was a Japanese postcard…

…and then focused on the one bit I was able to read, and that’s what got me excited.

Tokyo’s Korakuen Stadium had been home to the Yomiuri Giants before they moved next door to the Tokyo Dome for the 1988 season.  Korakuen also hosted the first NFL game outside of the US (a 1976 preseason matchup between the Cardinals and Chargers) and concerts by the likes of Michael Jackson and Madonnna. Since I didn’t know when I might run across something like this again and it was only $4, I quickly added it to stack of cards I was buying from that particular vendor.

Japanese baseball has fascinated me ever since the late 1970’s when I stumbled across a game broadcast on a small New York TV station which carried international programming.  My Japanese baseball collection is fairly small and generally scattershot, but I love to add to it anyway.


That wraps up the sports-related part of my postcard show recap.  For the next and final post in this series, I have a number of postcards relating to one particular international event from the 1960’s.

Here’s a hint for fans of the band They Might Be Giants:
Eighty dolls yelling ‘Small girl after all’.
(Only I wasn’t all alone, my family was with me.)

My Tribute to 1964 Topps “Giants: The Final Dedicated Post

As with the other posts in this series, I’m simulating the checklist from the 1964 Topps Giant-Sized All-Stars set (commonly known as “1964 Giants”) by selecting three representative players from each team.

Today’s post is going to wrap up the remaining team checklist… however, I’m going to include some additional customs in future “Customs Sunday” posts.  More about this at the end.

Before I go ahead and wrap this series of posts up…

TWO IMPORTANT THINGS TO POINT OUT:
1) Because I’ve been doing these posts since May and I want to keep the selection process relatively uniform, my checklists reflects each team’s roster as of June or thereabouts.  This is important to understand for two reasons…. If someone was traded at or near the deadline, they were considered to be on the team he started the season with.  Also, players who had breakout (Miles Mikolas) or comeback (Nick Markakis) seasons might not be included because they hadn’t done enough at that point to warrant inclusion.
2) The players are not listed in “1st to 3rd” order, and I didn’t always make a custom for who I regarded to be the best player. In a lot of cases, it was more about who I wanted to make a custom for, or which player’s photos made for a better custom.

OK, so let’s move on to the final teams:

ORIOLES

…I’ll remind you about the “Checklist picked in June” rule, because that very much applies to the O’s, who traded away anybody who had value (except for Adam Jones, who invoked his no-trade clause).

Kevin Gausman
Best ERA and WHIP among starters and, for what it’s worth, he had much better numbers with the Braves

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Manny Machado – Starting Shortstop in All-Star Game, might possibly had lead the team in pretty much every offensive category had he been with the team the full year.
  • Adam Jones – Statistically speaking, Adam might not deserve to be included (although he did lead the team with 35 doubles), but I regarded him to be the face of the team for a number of years, and so I’m including him.

Also considered: Trey Mancini (The O’s Runs and Triples leader, tied with Manny for HR’s), Michael Givens, Dylan Bundy, Jonathan Schoop

Decidedly NOT considered: Chris Davis (Mr. Lowest-Batting-Average-In-MLB-History)

TIGERS
Because the Tigers were stripped down to the bare walls going into the season, there’s not a lot of players who would be considered deserving based on performance in 2017 or 2018.  For the most part I let the “big names” dictate the checklist.

Nicholas Castellanos – Lead the team in every significant offensive category except for Triples;  JaCoby Jones had 6 while Nicholas had 5.

The other two unmade customs on this checklist, and both were chosen strictly for being well-known players:

  • Miguel Caberera
  • Victor Martinez

Also considered:  Joe Jimenez (All-Star), Mike Fiers (good enough to get traded)

In another season I would’ve gone with Michael Fulmer or Jordan Zimmerman, but both had a 2018 to forget.

ROYALS

Whit Merrifield
He lead the Majors in Hits (192) and Stolen Bases (45) this year, and wasn’t too shabby last year. He was an easy choice.

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Salvador Perez – Not a whole lot of mental calisthenics when selecting Perez. He Starting Catcher in the All-Star Game, has been an All-Star six years straight, has five Gold Gloves and two Silver Slugger awards.
  • Mike Moustakas – Was good enough to get traded to Milwaukee.

Also considered:  Jakob Junis, Brad Keller (Don’t know much about him, but he managed a 9-6 record on a 100-loss team and that counts for something)

RAYS

Blake Snell
One could argue that I let 2018 factor in too much when selecting Blake Snell for a checklist that was, in theory, finalized in June… but many of the best Rays of 2017 weren’t back in 2018 and Snell has been a highly-anticipated pitching prospect. In 2018 he was an All Star, was named the AL Pitcher of the Month for August and September, lead the Majors with 21 wins and lead the AL with a 1.89 ERA

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Chris Archer – Had been the Rays best pitcher; got traded to Pirates; Rays got better, Archer got worse
  • Wilson Ramos – All-Star who got traded at deadline to Phillies

Others cosidered: Jose Alverado, Carlos Gomez, Kevin Kiermaier, Daniel Robertson, Sergio Romo, Mallex Smith, Joey Wendle, Ryan Yarbrough

RANGERS

Shin-Soo Choo
An All-Star who lead the team in Runs, Hits and On-Base Percentage.

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Adrian Beltre – Future Hall Of Famer
  • Joey Gallo – lead team in Homers, RBI and Slugging

Others considered: Elvis Andrus, Mike Minor, Rougned Odor, Jurickson Profar

BLUE JAYS

Russell Martin
He may not have been one of the best Blue Jays this year, but you can’t leave the Canadian star out of the Toronto Blue Jays’ checklist, can you?

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • J.A. Happ – An All-Star and currently a sought-after free agent
  • Randall Grichuk – This third slot honestly could’ve gone to Justin Smoak or Kevin Pillar with just as much justification, but I had to pick someone.

Also considered: Kendrys Morales, Seunghwan Oh, Kevin Pillar, Justin Smoak


As part of wrapping this up I wanted to share the “checklists” for the prior teams:
DODGERS – Cody Bellinger, Kenley Jansen, Clayton Kershaw
ASTROS – Jose Altuve, George Springer, Justin Verlander
BRAVES – Ozzie Albies, Freddie Freeman, Ender Inciarte
YANKEES – Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Giancarlo Stanton
BREWERS – Josh Hader, Travis Shaw, Christian Yelich
WHITE SOX – Jose Abreu, Tim Anderson, Yolmer Sanchez
CARDINALS – Yadier Molina, Marcell Ozuna, Tommy Pham
TWINS – Brian Dozier, Joe Mauer, Ervin Santana
RED SOX – Mookie Betts, J.D. Martinez, Chris Sale
INDIANS – Corey Kluber, Francisco Lindor, Jose Ramirez
CUBS – Javier Baez, Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo
ATHLETICS – Matt Chapman, Khris Davis, Blake Treinen
ROCKIES – Nolan Arenado, Charlie Blackmon, Wade Davis
PHILLIES – Jake Arrieta, Rhys Hoskins, Aaron Nola
METS – Michael Conforto, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard
DIAMONDBACKS – Patrick Corbin, Paul Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke
MARLINS – Brian Anderson, Justin Bour, J.T. Realmuto
NATIONALS – Bryce Harper, Max Scherzer. Trea Turner
PADRES – Eric Hosmer, Travis Jankowski, Hunter Renfroe
GIANTS – Madison Bumgarner, Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey
PIRATES – Starling Marte, Gregory Polanco, Jameson Taillon
REDS – Scooter Gennett, Eugenio Suarez, Joey Votto
MARINERS – Nelson Cruz, Edwin Diaz, Mitch Haniger
ANGELS – Shohei Ohtani, Andrelton Simmons, Mike Trout


I’ve been somewhat surprised at how well the 1964 Giants customs have been received, so even though I’m done with posts about the original concept – Which three players would get selected for each team – I’m going to continue to make a few more of these customs and feature them in my Sunday posts, which has been a day I’ve dedicated to posting custom cards.

Here are the players I’m planning to include in future “Custom Sunday” posts: Ichiro, Kyle Freeland, Andrew McCutchen, Trevor Williams, Joey Votto, Mike Trout, Travis Jankowski.

Some of these, like Ichiro and Kyle Freeland, are going to be “Bonus Cards”, given that they didn’t make the 90-card checklist.  Others, like Mike Trout and Joey Votto, were players who made the checklist but I didn’t make a custom the first time around.

If you’d like to see a particular player as either a Bonus Card or as filling out the checklist, leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can do.  The biggest challenge for these is finding a suitable image to use for the custom.

Thank you for following along through many posts (and a prolonged stoppage)!

Postcard Show!!! Part 1: In Which The Author Gets Unusually Dodgery

Some of you may remember that last fall I went to a postcard show for the first time. Well, my experience at that annual event was good enough that when I received notification of this year’s show – via postcard, naturally – I blocked the date off on my calendar. Once again, it was well worth the hour-long drive (nothing comes easy for collectors here in Shlabotsylvania).

I’m going to assume that the majority of you haven’t been to a postcard show, so I’ll give you an overview in case you get the opportunity. Like a sports collectibles show, you’ve got dealers with numerous boxes set up on folding tables. These boxes are generally divided up into two major categories. The first is a location, so if you’re looking for postcards of landmarks in Cincinnati, you’ll go look for the divider which reads “CINCINNATI”… or maybe “OHIO – CINCINNATI”. How each dealer organizes his/her inventory is fairly subjective.

The other major category is “Topic”, and that’s done by what is featured on the postcard. It’s astounding how many different types of topic can be featured on a postcard… There are postcards of chickens and churches and chimpanzees, lighthouses and outhouses,  hospitals and schools, presidents and “nudes”…  The list goes on and on.

The thing is, every dealer has their own method of organizing their inventory, so if you’re not finding something it’s always best to talk to the dealer because there might be a different line of thinking involved.  For instances, one of my quests was to find postcards related to Curling (as in the Olympic sport).  Curling could be under “Winter Sports” or “Sports – Miscellaneous” or “Olympics” or some other category. I did find one old German postcard which featured Curling, but if I bought that it would’ve used up a good chunk of the money I brought with me, so I decided to pass.

Coming into the show I had a number of different ideas of what I was going to look for;  In this post and one next week I’ll cover the sports-related postcards, and then I’ll wrap up with a non-sport subject that I had a lot of fun chasing.

There were a pretty good number of baseball postcards. Most of the ones I saw appeared to be either team-issued or related to members of the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

As it so happened, I bought three Dodgers postcards which seem like they could be from the same set – all featured photos from Dodger Stadium and featured a white facsimile autograph – but none of the three players I picked up had played for the Dodgers at the same time, so these weren’t all from the same set.  Maybe Night Owl or some other Dodger collector is familiar with these.

Jim “The Toy Cannon” Wynn played for the Dodgers in 1974 and 1975.

Although Wynn was the first Major Leaguer I’d ever seen up close and in person, it somehow never occurred to me until recently that I should collect the guy.  This is my first acquisition after officially declaring Jim Wynn to be A PLAYER I COLLECT.

Dick Allen played just one season (1971) with the Dodgers, so I couldn’t resist a “Short Term Stop” postcard.

The main reason I got this Jeff Torborg postcard was just that I liked the photo, but I could rationalize it by saying I got it because Torborg managed the Mets in 1992 and part of 1993 before being replaced by Dallas Green (Joe turns and spits on the ground at the mere mention of Dallas Green).

Torborg played for the Dodgers from 1964 to 1970 and he looks pretty young in this photo… but even if this came late in his Dodger career, he still didn’t overlap with Allen or Wynn.

One last Dodger, this one features Jerry Reuss from 1986…

I like Jerry Reuss in general, but he and I also have an extremely tenuous personal connection… A few years ago my wife was selling off some of our no-longer-wanted CD’s on eBay and one day I was taking several packages to the post offices and noticed that one of them was addressed to “Jerry Reuss”. After some internet searches I found references to Jerry collecting CD’s and living in the same city that was on the mailing label, so I feel confident that a CD that I originally bought is in Jerry Reuss’ collection.

Hey, I’ve had far worse reasons for collecting a player.

Here’s the back of that postcard with a boilerplate greeting; these were clearly provided to the players for responding to fan mail and the like:

I’m going to wrap this post up with a hockey postcard which was very much an impulse buy…  This postcard of the Buffalo Sabres’ Ric Seiling is nice enough, but not something I would normally bother with. Seiling played for the Sabres in the 1970’s and 1980’s and was a regular in the hockey sets I collected as a kid.

Because I didn’t immediately recognize Seiling from the front of the postcard, I flipped the card over to see what the back of the card said, and that’s when I found out that…

…This postcard had been autographed! Even though the postcard is creased (although not as obvious in person as it is in the scan) and doesn’t really fit in my collection, I just couldn’t walk away from this.  It’s just a shame my name isn’t Daniel.


In my next post in this series I’ll feature several postcards from another Major League team (and, again, one I don’t normally collect), plus my favorite single acquisition from the show, one featuring a famous baseball stadium… but not one you would normally think of.