Only On Paper: Nearly 1961 Senators and Angels

This is the third in a series about relatively notable players who were acquired by an expansion team ahead of its first season but weren’t on that team’s roster come Opening Day.

I’m going to cover the expansion Senators and Angels in one go, because they were partners in clumsily-handled American League expansion of 1961.  You can read about it more in this SABR article about the mis-management of that year’s expansion, but in a nutshell the AL rushed into expansion and didn’t hold teams to the established rules during the draft.  At some point it was realized that the involved draft rules weren’t being followed and adjustments were made so that the rules were followed after the fact.  Several players like Dean Chance, Ken Aspromonte and Coot Veal were “traded” from the Senators to the Angels and vice versa to get the expansion teams below the number of players who could be selected from each established team, while other players were assigned back to their original teams to ‘un-do’ their selection.

I bring this up to point out that I am not, for example, going to count future Cy Young winner Dean Chance as “Nearly A Senator” since his time on the Senators roster was more of a technicality than anything else.

I’ll also point out that any references to the Senators means the 1961 expansion team which was created to replace the original Senators who moved to the state of Minnesota for the 1961 season and became the Twins.

Haywood Sullivan – A Senator Only On Paper

Sullivan played in 312 career games, mostly as a catcher, but is more famous (infamous?) for his stint as GM of the Red Sox from 1978 to 1983.  The Senators drafted him from the Red Sox, and a little over two weeks later traded him to the Kansas City Athletics for pitcher Marty Kutyna.  Kutyna would pitch reasonably well in 104 games for the Senators in 1961 and 1962

Bobby Shantz – A Senator Only On Paper

Bobby Shantz was one of a number of Yankees taken in the expansion draft.  A couple of days later he was flipped to the Pirates for three players.  He would pitch in relief for the Bucs in 1961 and win his 5th consecutive Gold Glove.  The three players the Pirates sent to DC were Harry Bright, Bennie Daniels and R C Stevens.  Daniels would earn a 12-11 record for the 100-loss Senators, which is nothing to sneeze at.

Duke Maas – An Angel Only On Paper… And In Spring Training

Duke Maas, who won 14 games with the Yankees in 1959, was selected in the expansion draft and went to spring training with the Angels. He was dealt back to the Bronx shortly before the season started. On the surface it seems like an astute move by the Angels as Maas would make just one 1961 appearance before arm troubles shut him down for good… but the player they got in exchange, infielder Fritz Brickell, would play in just 21 games for the Angels and bat .122

As it would turn out, both players would appear in 1961 Topps as a Yankee… Brickell in the 4th series and Maas in the 5th. This was Brickell’s only Topps card

2021 TSR Olympic Games Custom Cards

I was going to include these in my next batch of custom cards, but I did a whole bunch of them this morning and figured I’d split them out into their own post.  After all, it’s not like I’m posting *too* often these days…

So as you might remember from a previous post, I impulsively decided to make some Olympic baseball customs, decided that the Tokyo Games should get a Japanese design (1993 BBM, although I didn’t do a horizontal custom like this Rick Schu original)…

…and as I went along I also decided that I wouldn’t limit it to baseball, although I’ve only got one non-baseball custom today, which I’ll save for the end.

Adrián González hasn’t played in the Majors since 2018, but he was there representing Mexico.  I have to say that there weren’t a lot of good photos to work with from Olympic baseball, a lot of photos were dark, distant or in shadows (and I’m making excuses already).  I also screwed up this design in that the accent marks in “Adrián González” go into the photo because I stuck too closely to the original design.

Danny Valencia also hasn’t played in the Majors since 2018.  Because players on the MLB 40-man rosters were not allowed to play, the teams were an interesting mix of veterans and minor leaguers.

Ian Kinsler was a 4-time All-Star and won a pair of Gold Gloves during his 14 year career

Another former Major Leaguer who hasn’t played since 2018, and like many of these guys I don’t think he ever officially retired, he just didn’t get any takers.

Masahiro Tanaka has been pitching for the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles in the Pacific League.

Long-time Dodgers catcher and Angels manager Mike Scioscia took the reigns for Team USA

Here’s the one non-baseball custom… Jessica Springsteen, who has a famous father whose name you can guess if you don’t already know, won Silver in Equestrian Jumping.  I figured that a known last name plus a medal deserves a custom…

This is another situation where if I’d given things more advance thought I would’ve changed things.  The uniform number part of the design works well when one has a uniform number, but it leaves an awkward gap when it doesn’t.  Oh, well.

More customs tomorrow… that’s a promise or a threat, depending on how you feel about my posting customs.

The 1970’s, A To Z: Carlos May to Rudy May

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.

REGARDLESS OF WHAT THE CALENDAR SAYS, IT’S “MAY DAY” IN THE 1970s: A-Z!


CARLOS MAY

1974 Topps #195

Played 1968 – 1977
1970’s Teams: White Sox, Yankees, Angels

1970’s Highlights:
Was an All-Star in 1972; Got some MVP votes in 1972 and 1973; Played in the postseason with the 1976 Yankees

Career Highlights:
Made the All-Star team during his rookie season; Was named the Sporting News 1969 AL Rookie of the Year (in the official AL ROY voting, Lou Piniella won a tightly-contested fight with May in 3rd); Was named to the 1969 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Played four seasons in Japan with the Nankai Hawks

Fun Stuff:
Is the Younger brother of Lee May (featured later in this post); Between his last name and his uniform number, May wore his birthday (MAY 17) on the back of his jersey; Lost the tip of his right thumb due to a mortar accident while serving with the Marine Reserves in 1969

Card Stuff:
His 1970 card should have featured a Topps All-Star Rookie trophy but did not; His last Major League card was a 1977 Burger King Yankees card; Appeared in the 1979 TCMA Japanese Baseball set


DAVE MAY

1976 Hostess #148

Played 1967 – 1978
1970’s Teams: Brewers, Braves, Rangers, Pirates

1970’s Highlights:
Was named to the 1973 AL All-Star Team; Was the key player traded to the Braves when Hank Aaron was sent back to Milwaukee late in 1974; Had a 24-game hitting streak, 1973; Lead the league in total bases in 1973; His 189 hits in 1973 stood as a Brewers team record for a few years (currently ranks 19th)

Fun Stuff:
His son Derrick played for 6 Major League teams including the Cubs and Astros


JERRY MAY

1970 Topps #423

Played 1964 – 1973
1970’s Teams: Pirates, Royals, Mets

1970’s Highlights:
Caught Dock Ellis’ no-hitter, 6/12/70

Career Highlights:
Was the Pirates starting catcher in 1967 and 1968


LEE MAY

1971 Topps #40

Played 1965 – 1982
1970’s Teams: Reds, Astros, Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
Was the starting 1st baseman for the AL in the 1972 All-Star Game and was also an All-Star in 1973; Lead the league with 109 RBI in 1976; Hit 2 homers in the same inning 4/29/74; Got the last hit and last home run at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field, 6/24/70; Voted the Reds MVP in 1971, but got traded to Houston that winter as part of the deal that brought Joe Morgan to Cincy; In the 1970 World Series he batted .389 with 2 homers, 8 RBI and 6 runs

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Orioles HOF in 1998 and the Reds HOF in 2006; Hit 354 career home runs and had 3 seasons of 30+ home runs; Was named to the 1967 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Played in the postseason with the Reds, Orioles and Royals

Fun Stuff:
His brother, as mentioned, is Carlos May… they both played in the same All-Star game in 1969; Lee’s grandson, Jacob May, played 15 games for the White Sox in 2017

Card Stuff
Appears in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s


MILT MAY

1975 Topps #279

Played 1970 – 1984
1970’s Teams: Pirates, Astros, Tigers, White Sox

1970’s Highlights:
Hit the home run which resulted in Bob Watson scoring baseball’s millionth run, 5/4/75; Was 1 for 2 with an RBI in the 1972 World Series; Primarily a backup catcher, he started for the 1974 Astros and 1977 Tigers

Fun Stuff:
Son of former Phillie Pinky May

Card Stuff:
Milt May’s 1975 Hostess card (#35) shows Lee May (Lee has his own 1975 Hostess with a correct photo)


RUDY MAY

1976 Topps #481

Played 1965 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Angels, Yankees, Orioles, Expos

1970’s Highlights:
Was the starting pitcher in the first game at renovated Yankee Stadium, 4/15/76; Won a career-high 18 games with the Orioles in 1977; Started and pitched twelve 3-hit innings with 13 K’s in the A’s 20-inning 1-0 win over California, July 9, 1971

Career Highlights:
Lead the AL with a 2.46 ERA and 1.044 WHIP in 1980

Fun Stuff:
Was a high school teammate of Joe Morgan

Card Stuff:
Appears in every flagship Topps set of the 1970s

2022 Heritage: Fears, Wishes, Guesses And Speculation

Earlier this week Topps unveiled some preview images for 2022 Heritage, which will be based on the 1973 Topps baseball design. The design of this set is pretty simple (but not in a bad way) which (hopefully) minimizes the number things they might do to irritate old school collectors like me.

The images look pretty good to me… Don’t know why the position is in italics, but I can think of worse things for them to futz with.

One of the things which makes 1973 Topps fairly unique among Topps sets is that there are pictograms (or icons, if you prefer) for each position, which in some ways make the cards more visually oriented towards those positions rather than they are towards the teams. I had only a handful of these when I was a kid, because they came out the year before I started collecting, but I know I spent a fair amount of time sorting my cards by position, something I didn’t really do with other years (BTW, this preview image is for Heritage Chrome)

I love these little guys, for me there’s just something inherently joyful about them.

Each position has its own little silhouette, and each has its own distinctly colored ball behind them. You hardly even need the text position below each one.

Thinking about these pictograms got me thinking about the limitations that come from using them, and also some of the other aspects of the 1973 design that will be interesting in terms of what Topps will do, as well as what they *could* do, what I fear they’ll do and what I wish they would do… And so, a post was born.

Wish: Topps will splurge, sign a bunch of managers to contracts and include them in the base set
… or make them short prints or inserts, I won’t be picky.

They can even leave out the coaches, just give the manager a standard vertical card and use the Manager pictogram.

I consider this to be very unlikely, though…

Speculation:  Will they create a DH pictogram?

Back in 1973, the Designated Hitter was a new position, and it wasn’t certain that teams would have a player who would be exclusively used as a DH. As a result, there is no pictogram for Designated Hitters. Players like Frank Robinson and Rico Carty, who would be used primarily as a DH during the 1973 season, were listed as “OUTFIELD” on their cards.

That’s certainly not true today, though. Topps could shoehorn guys like J.D. Martinez and Yordan Alvarez into the set as “OUTFIELD”, but what about Nelson Cruz?  He hasn’t played the field since 2018.

Honestly, a DH pictogram wouldn’t be hard to create… just pick a photo of a batter, make a silhouette out of it and put a colored circle behind it.  I whipped one up quickly using a photo of Nelson Cruz as a basis, and using the yellow of the Manager pictogram, assuming that Topps will not be using it for managers.

The edges are jaggy, but this was whipped up in about 10 minutes, including picking out the source image.  I can do better and I would hope Topps could as well.

Speculation:  And what about Utility Guys?

This might be more of an issue for this set.  Chris Taylor has split his time fairly equally between the outfield and 2nd base, which position would you ‘shoehorn’ him into?  The Diamondback’s Josh Rojas is even more Super-Sub-y, playing at 2nd, short, left and right.  Even if you labeled them as “IF/OF” or “UTILITY”, which pictogram would you use?  I suppose they could create a new one, but what would the silhouette be?

I don’t have any answers for that, I’m guessing they’ll just pick one position and go with it.

Fear:  Topps will either use one pictogram for all pitchers, or will screw up and use a RHP pictogram for a LHP

For those who don’t know or just hadn’t realized it, the pictograms for pitchers reflect their handedness, and even had different colors for each – red for righties, blue for lefties

I thought I remembered Topps getting this wrong when the used the 1973 design in 2014 Archives, but I misremembered, and they did use the right pictograms for lefties and righties… although I can’t swear that they *always* got it right.

Prediction:  Shohei Ohtani will get two cards

Since the design of this set is so centered on position, I’m thinking that there will be one Ohtani card as a pitcher and one as… Well, that depends on whether they do have something separate for the DH.

Observation:  Topps will get an easy way to start into the Cleveland Guardians era, and also get off easy for Heritage Minor League

As you probably heard by now, the baseball team in Cleveland is planning to switch from “Indians” to “Guardians” once the 2021 season has ended.   I’m sure the graphic artists at Topps cursed a blue streak when they realized that there’s one more team to factor in when they are preparing for a throwback set and can’t fall back on copying “Indians” from the original cards… especially 1978.

But they get off easy this year, at least for Heritage.  Modifying the team name in the 1973 design is as easy as changing the player’s name.  Same goes for Minor League Heritage, they don’t have to worry about how they’re going to work “Grasshoppers”, “Mighty Mussels” or “Cannon Ballers” into the card design, they can just type it in and they’re done.  I made the following custom within my lunch hour yesterday, just as an illustration of that.

Wish: Topps will ditch the All Time Home Run Leaders card this time around
Don’t let the extremely poor condition of my card detract from my point…

Back in 1973, Babe Ruth’s record was being challenged by two active players. Sure, Willie Mays hadn’t hit double-digit homers since 1971, but Aaron, of course, was coming after the record. This card was significant at the time, it’s not really significant today.

As I write this, it occurs to me that my wish might come true for legal reasons… Unless Topps has the rights to the likeness of Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth, then an updated version isn’t happening.

It occurs to me that the whole All-Time leader subset might also be endangered by the fact that Pete Rose is the Hits leader. I won’t lose sleep over that subset being excluded.

Prediction:  There will be base cards with the very 1973-ish distant action shots

Maybe not as distant as 1973, but if Topps were smart they’d lean into this quirk of 1973, especially given that there are plenty of current shots which are being taken from a distance due to social distancing.

Wish:  A card where the background includes parked SUVs

‘Nuff said


OK, I guess that’s enough rambling and brainstorming about 1973 and 2022 Heritage.  Do you have any wishes, fears, etc. you’d like to add?  I’d love to see your comments!

2021 TSR Daily: Still Catching Up, But Also Olympics and Hockey

I’m still catching up on customs after the week I missed on the blog, plus have a few “inserts” and other customs at the end.

So let’s dive into a “Jumbo Pack” of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (called “Daily” because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

The Braves signed Charlie Morton as a free agent last November; his 10-4 record and 148 strikeouts indicates that it was money well spent.

Matt Harvey’s been hit or miss this season, to put it mildly. After the all-star break he pitched 21.2 consecutive shutout innings before giving up a run. Three of those starts were wins… but overall he’s 6-10 with a 6.13 ERA

Nicky Lopez is tied for the AL Triples lead with 5, and leads the Royals in batting average (.277) and on-base percentage (.351)

Josh Rojas, who has played 14+ games at 4 different positions in 2021, leads the D-Backs in on-base % (.356) and walks (44). He came from the HOU org in the 2019 Zack Greinke trade

Last week Joey Votto was named NL Player of the Week (7 HR, 11 RBI, .375/.448/1.250) and Player of the Month (7-game HR streak, 11 HR, 25 RBI, .319/.440/.734). It was the first time in his career that Votto was named Player of the Month

Dane Dunning, who has been part of trades for Adam Eaton and Lance Lynn, was a first round pick in 2016

Reliever and occasional starter Andrew Kittredge was named to his first All-Star team this year. It’s interesting to compare his 2019 and 2021 seasons, because the GP and IP are similar, but the ERA drops from 4.17 to 1.38 and the WHIP drops from 1.250 to 0.885

Mitch Haniger leads the Mariners in runs, triples, homers and slugging % and is top 3 in nearly every major offensive category, with the exception of steals (he stole his first base at the end of July). He was the AL Player of the Week, July 12 – 18.

Jose Altuve was named an All-Star for the seventh time. He leads the Astros with 25 homers and 81 runs.

Triston McKenzie has had his struggles this year, but the top Indians prospect is expected to be a part of the team’s rotation going forward.

I think this “Highlights” custom catches me up on the no-hitters, even though this isn’t the most recent no-hitter.  It seems like a long time ago that Corey Kluber shut down the Rangers

OK, now onto some of the other sports… I’ve been busy with the customs lately.

Because I can’t help myself with some of these things, I had the idea of doing some customs of Olympic baseball, and since the Olympics were in Tokyo it seemed like I should use a Japanese design.  I settled on 1993 BBM, even if it is very ProSet, because I like the design and because I didn’t want to spend *too* much time on it.

Eddy Alvarez, for those who didn’t know, is just the third American to medal in both the Summer and Winter Olympics.  Back in 2014 he won Silver in a speed skating competition, and just this weekend he was part of the USA baseball team that won Silver.  Alvarez was also one of two flag bearers in the opening ceremonies.

For those of you who are not familiar with 1993 BBM Baseball, here’s an example

My original plan was to replace the team flag on the original with the national flag of each baseball team… but I later decided to make this set cover a few other sports, so I ditched the flags and went with the pictograms representing each sport at the Tokyo 2020 Games.

I first decided to do other sports after getting sucked into a handball match between Denmark and Egypt. I didn’t have a dog in the fight going into the game, but Denmark made more of an impression on me… Especially Mikkel Hanson, who is one of the world’s top handball players but also has a strong “Thor” thing going. Let’s get him together with Noah Syndergaard!

Along with getting interested in Handball, I was – very much to my surprise – drawn in to watching a women’s basketball game between Japan and France. Now I’ve tried and failed to get into basketball in the past, but the Japanese team just intrigued me. For starters, nobody on the team is taller than 6’1″.  Yeah, that’s not totally surprising for Japan, but it is unusual for basketball.  They compensate for it by being fast, accurate from the foul line and by sinking a lot of threes.  I watched them wear down France in the semi-finals, but the USA team was too much for them in the finals.  Even so, nobody expected them to win Silver, and no Japanese womens basketball team had medaled before

During the semis against France, point guard Rui Machida set an Olympic womens record with 18 assists in one game.  Ideally I’d create a custom of her passing the ball, but I came across this shot of a layup and just liked it too much.

I’ve got one more Olympic card, but for reasons you’ll understand in a moment, I want to share this hockey custom first.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m making another attempt to follow the NHL, and this time I’m hitching my wagon to the expansion Seattle Kraken.  Defenseman Jamie Oleksiak was signed as a free agent before the expansion draft, and his signing counted as their expansion draft pick from the Dallas Stars.  Oleksiak was in-person at the expansion draft, which is where this image comes from.

For the ‘card back’ I was going to go with a generic cartoon but then I found out that Jamie’s sister Penny Oleksiak is an Olympic swimmer and that made for an obvious cartoon to draw for the back.

And that brings us to the third and final Olympic custom…  Penny Oleksiak won four medals at the 2016 Rio games, which made her the first Canadian to win four medals at an Olympic Games.  She won three more in Tokyo to make her the Canadian athlete with the most Olympic medals.

I had to fudge things a little on the bottom of this one, since the originals have the uniform number and the position.  Also, it was not a creative choice to have “CANADA” in white and “[SWIMMING]” in black.  That was, if you don’t mind some technical terminology, a mistake.

OK, that’s more than enough for one post.  There will be more of all of these next week.

The 1970’s, A To Z: Jon Matlack to Gene Mauch

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


JON MATLACK

1977 Topps #440

Played 1971 – 1983
1970’s Teams: Mets, Rangers

1970’s Highlights:
was named the 1972 NL Rookie of the Year and was the LHP on the 1972 Topps All-Star Rookie team; Shut out the Reds in Game 2 of the 1973 NLCS; Was the winning pitcher of Game 4 of the 1973 World Series; Got a first place vote in 1976 NL Cy Young voting, but finished 6h behind winner Randy Jones; Was a 3-time All-Star; Matlack and Bill Madlock were named co-MVP’s of the 1975 All-Star game… in Matlack’s case, he pitched 2 innings of scoreless relief, got the win and struck out Rod Carew, rookie sensation Fred Lynn and two others; Was the Rangers’ opening day starting pitcher in 1978; Twice lead the league in shutouts; Set a Mets single season record for left-handed pitchers by striking out 205 batters in 1973; Had four seasons with 15 or more wins

Career Highlights:
Was inducted into the Mets Hall-of Fame this past weekend; was the 4th overall pick in the 1967 draft

Fun Stuff:
Matlack gave up Roberto Clemente’s 3000th and final hit, a double in the next-to-last game of the 1972 regular season; Gave up Gary Carter’s first hit, a pinch hit single, 9/18/74


GARY MATTHEWS

1974 Topps #386

Played 1972 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Giants, Braves

1970’s Highlights:
Won the 1973 NL Rookie of the Year award after batting .300 with 22 doubles, 10 triples, 12 homers, 74 runs scored and 58 RBI; Was named to the 1973 Topps All-Star Rookie Team; In 1979 he was named to the All-Star team and had a career year, getting career-high numbers for batting (.304), homers (27), and RBI (90)

Career Highlights:
Was named the MVP of the 1983 NLCS after batting .429 with 3 homers and 8 RBI; Lead the NL with 103 walks and a .410 on-base % in 1984; Has a .323 postseason bating average, as well as 7 postseason homers and 15 RBI

Fun Stuff:
His nickname is “Sarge”; His son, Gary Jr., played for 7 teams between 1999 and 2010; Nationals manager Dave Martinez played with both Sr. and Jr.

Card Stuff:
The featured card is one of my favorites from the 1974 set and shows Mets 3rd baseman Wayne Garrett and Giants 3rd base coach John McNamara


GENE MAUCH

1978 Topps #601

Played 1944 – 1957
Managed 1960 – 1987
1970’s Teams: Expos, Twins

1970’s Highlights:
Was named the NL Manager of the year in 1973 after keeping the Expos in contention for much of the season and ultimately guiding the Expos to a 79-83 record and a 4th place finish

Career Highlights:
Was the Expos first manager, taking the team to a 52-110 record; Managed in the Majors every season from 1960 to 1982, and then again from 1985 to 1987; Won division titles in 1982 and 1986

Fun Stuff:
Mauch is the uncle of Roy Smalley III (who played in the Majors from 1975 to 1987) and the brother-in-law of Roy Smalley Jr (who played from 1948 to 1958 and is Roy III’s father)

Card Stuff:
Appeared in 1951 Bowman and 1957 Topps as a player, and the “PLAYER” photo on the featured card is the same image that was used on his 1957 card

A Well-Loved Nolan Ryan, Other 1971s and Weigh-In #71

At a recent show I made some unexpected progress towards a two goals involving 1971 Topps baseball.  I made a little bit of progress towards the set, which is a long-term goal at this point because I’m only about halfway done with the set, and I want to complete 1972 (90% complete) and/or 1970 (85% complete) before I get any kind of serious about 1971.

Before I get into that too much, I’m going to admit that a decent chunk of this post is dedicated to one of my “Weigh-Ins”, which tracks my progress in organizing and streamlining my collection… but I’ll get back to that.

At the show I also made unexpected progress towards my goals of completing vintage Mets team sets.  For at least a year or two, all four of my Mets team sets from 1968 to 1971 all had the same status:  “Got everything but Nolan Ryan”.

So I was pleased to run across this card at the show:

It’s got surface wear, it’s got dinged-up corners, it’s got something written on the left-hand side – possibly “AUGIES” – but on the other hand it was under $20 and I don’t care about the rest.

It also goes well with my Steve Garvey rookie I picked up about 10 years ago…

So now that I have completed my 1971 Mets team set, I only need the 1970 Nolan Ryan card to finish off my run of 1970s Mets Topps sets. The 1960’s is a different story between Ryan, Seaver and those tough 1966 high numbers.

So aside from featuring these 1971 cards, I also wanted to go public with a Weigh-In… and it wasn’t until I started writing this post that I realized that this is Weigh-In #71.  I never intended to feature 1971 cards in Weigh-In #71, but it’s a theme I might have to go with going forward… I’ll have to start thinking of 1972 cards to feature for #72.

So here is my official “Mission Statement” for these posts: Posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection gives me a look at the big picture, keeps me honest and helps with motivation and/or guilt.

…and here’s the first of several other 1971s I picked up at this show…

Changes since the last weigh-in (from 4/10/2021 to 7/7/2021):
Net change in the collection: +343 (354 added, 11 removed)
Net change to the # of cards in the house: +466 (522 came in, 56 went out)

My second quarter of 2021 fell into three phases:
1) April through mid-May: Yay, I can find retail! Oh, wait, it’s gone again
2) First card show in 16 months!
3) Organize, organize, organize.

Totals since I started tracking on 10/16/2011:
Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 15,033
Net change to the collection, to date: +6,850

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 53,203
Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -12,725

In my last weigh-in, I said there would likely be an upward trend in cards leaving the house, but that still hasn’t happened. 3rd quarter for sure!

Size of the collection:
Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 71,430
Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 12,491

…which means I’ve got at least 83,921 cards in my collection

Money spent on cards:
This quarter (does not count money spent on show admission, shipping, supplies, etc): $244.38

As you can see, my average spending per month is still significantly down from the past few years…
Average per month for 2021 so far: $45.56
Average per month for 2020: $76.66
Average per month for 2019: $80.38
Average per month for 2018: $79.03
Average per month for 2017: $43.63
Average per month for 2016: $36.11

I didn’t track my spending before 2016. In 2016 and 2017 I didn’t go to as many card shows because there weren’t any local shows, and I made the 5 hour roundtrip to a regional card show only once or twice a year.

Size of my MS Access card database:
I track my collection in a Microsoft Access database of my own creation. There’s quite a bit of work involved in keeping it up-to-date, so I like to satisfy my own curiosity by finding out how much information is currently in my database.

My database currently contains 1,001 set definitions (up 6 from the last weigh-in) and
247,290 card definitions (up 130 from the last weigh-in).

It’s important to point out that this is merely the number of sets and cards which are represented within my database; for example, although I have no cards from 1949 Bowman, that set represents 1 set definition and 240 card definitions.\

2021 TSR Daily: Back On The Blog After An Unintended Break

So, I took an unintentional week off from the blog. It started with missing the ‘deadline’ for one of my 1970s: A-Z posts and after that it just started to snowball. Stuff was going on, and it was becoming a struggle to keep it from affecting the tone of my writing… so I stopped writing.

I didn’t stop making customs, though, so I’ve got a bit of a backlog to get into. I’m not going to do two weeks worth here, but I’ll cover more than a week and include almost as many “inserts”, plus wrap things up with another hockey custom.

So let’s dive into a “Jumbo Pack” of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (called “Daily” because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

One thing to be aware of… The oldest of these customs was Tweeted nearly two weeks before the deadline, so that’s why you’re getting Max Scherzer still with the Nats. He’s not the only outdated custom in this jumbo pack.

Here’s a bit of Max Scherzer trivia… He currently has an 8-4 record, and the last time he had a losing record was in 2009, his first full season. That year he went 9-11 for the 92-loss Diamondbacks

Bo Joseph Bichette – yes, his legal name is Bo – leads the AL with 81 runs and was an All-Star

First insert!

This weekend the Angels threw back to the 1970s, and when something like that happens I can’t help but dust off my 1970s templates. I almost went with the 1974 design, but I’m happy I decided on 1975 instead.

Even though he’s split his time among 6 positions this year (primarily 2nd base and center field), Chris Taylor is an All-Star who’s 2nd in the NL with 76 runs scored.

Mark Melancon leads the Majors with 32 saves and was named to the NL All-Star team.  I didn’t set out to make it look like he’s pointing at the Padres logo, but I’m happy with the way it worked out.

Here’s one of the earlier transactions of the deadline… The Twins sent Nelson Cruz and his big bat to the Rays.

Gregory Soto, 4-2 with 11 saves, was named to the All-Star team for the first time.

All-Star Craig Kimbrel and his microscopic 0.48 ERA made his debut for the White Sox yesterday. A little over a month ago he pitched the 9th inning of a combined no-no of the Dodgers.

Since Trea Turner is now with the Dodgers, I figured I’d better clear out his “highlight” with the Nationals.

Twins All-Star Taylor Rogers is a player I’d expected to be in a new uniform this weekend, but he’s still with the Twins. I always think of him as the guy whose name is sort of the reverse of Roger Taylor, the drummer from the band Queen.

Matt Barnes, at the age of 31, appeared in the All-Star for the first time in his career.

Adam Duvall leads the Marlins with 22 homers and a .478 slugging percentage… but he’s now with the Braves, so maybe Jesus Aguilar will catch him in the Marlins rankings.

The Braves also threw back to the 1970s as part of their Hank Aaron weekend festivities. I didn’t intend for this 1975 custom of Adam Duvall to be an ‘update’, but what the heck, I’ll put it here anyway.

Pirates shortstop Kevin Newman recently ended a 76 game errorless streak.

All-Star Lance Lynn, who has pitched for 5 teams over his ten year career, leads the league with a 2.07 ERA. His 10 wins had lead the league at the time of this tweet, but now it’s part of a five-way tie for 2nd place in the AL.

Lance Lynn was the 160th TSR Daily custom, which puts us two-thirds of the way through this custom set.  At this milestone, I’m more concerned than ever about my original goal to create eight customs per team.  The teams entering the season in rebuild mode had already been a concern, but now I’m also concerned about the Cubs and Nationals. They both traded away a big chunk of their active roster and got mostly prospects back. The only un-customed Nats player left from my tentative team checklist is Stephen Strasburg, and he pitched only five games before undergoing season-ending surgery. So… Do I start to include former utility guys who are now starters? Starting players with unimpressive stats? Prospects I can get images of? Or do I abandon the 8-per-team rule going forward? I honestly don’t know at this point.

On that somewhat down note I’m going to switch over to a 2021-22 TSR Hockey custom, for those who might be interested in such things. I put a lot of work into these templates, so  Interested or not interested, you’re getting these. :-)

Goalie Chris Driedger, a Florida Panthers free agent, signed with the Seattle Kraken before the expansion draft, which then made him their pick from the Panthers roster. He was one of several players who appeared in person at the expansion draft, and that’s where this photo comes from… the event was held outside and what appears to be a solid white background is actually washed-out Seattle sky.

Because I’m giving the Kraken my support this coming season, Driedger’s custom gets a back as well. Do not take this honor lightly, I almost never make the backs.

Coming attractions for the next post: I will include a number of trade deadline transactions plus – if all goes according to plan – some Tokyo 2020 customs using a design from a 1990s Japanese baseball card set!

The 1970’s, A To Z: Juan Marichal to Dennis Martinez

Recap: I’m going through all of the notable and somewhat notable players and managers of the 1970’s and I’m basically making like it’s an all-encompassing 1970’s throwback baseball card set. For the “card front”, I’m sharing my favorite 1970’s card of that guy. I’m also including a card back’s worth of information and thoughts about him and his cardboard.


JUAN MARICHAL

1974 Topps #330

Played 1960 – 1975
1970’s Teams: Giants, Red Sox, Dodgers

1970’s Highlights:
Giants Opening Day Starter from 1971 to 1973; Was an All-Star in 1971; Pitched just two games for the Dodgers in 1975, giving up 9 runs over 6 innings

Career Highlights:
Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1983; Was a 6-time 20-game winner, an All-Star in 9 seasons and lead the league with a 2.10 ERA in 1969; In his first Major League game in 1960 he pitched a 1-hitter with 12 strikeouts against the Phillies; No-hit the Colt .45’s in 1963; was named the MVP of the 1965 All-Star Game

Fun Stuff:
Marichal is the father-in-law of former pitcher José Rijo

Card Stuff:
His final baseball card as an active player came in the 1974 Topps Traded set, after his contract was sold to the Red Sox


MIKE MARSHALL

1975 Topps #330

Played 1967 – 1981
1970’s Teams: Astros, Expos, Dodgers, Braves, Rangers, Twins

1970’s Highlights:
Won the Cy Young Award in 1974, a season where he made a record-setting 106 appearances and lead the league with 21 saves, on top of his 15-12 record; The 106 games remains a Major League record; Came in a strong second to 1973 Cy Young winner Tom Seaver, getting 9 first place votes to Seaver’s 10; Won the 1973, 1974 and 1979 Fireman of the Year awards; Lead the league in Saves three times; Was an All-Star two times; Got MVP votes in four different seasons, a notable accomplishment for a reliever; Set still-standing team records for games in 1973 with the Expos (92 games) and in 1979 with th Twins (90 games)

Fun Stuff:
Has a Ph.D. in Kinesiology from Michigan State University; Is related to current Rays pitcher Brent Honeywell; Started his career in the Phillies system as a shortstop

Card Stuff:
Was uncooperative with Topps photographers and Topps in general… Many of his cards feature either on-field shots taken from some distance or older, airbrushed photos (according to Keith Olbermann, his 1973 and 1974 Traded cards featured a photo taken in 1968 with the AAA Toledo Mud Hens); His final Topps card came in 1977, but he did appear in 1982 Fleer with the Mets


Fun stuff linking Marichal to Marshall: the featured cards for Marichal and Marshall are both card #330 from their respective sets, and they were briefly teammates with the 1975 Dodgers


BILLY MARTIN

1978 Topps #721

Managed 1969 – 1988
1970’s Teams: Tigers, Rangers, Yankees

1970’s Highlights:
Established a reputation for winning games and wearing out his welcome; Managed the Twins, Tigers and Rangers before famously managing the Yankees in five different stints between 1975 and 1988; Won a pennant with the 1976 Yankees and a World Championship with the 1977 Yankees; Won the AL East with the Tigers in 1972 and took the previously woeful 1974 Texas Rangers to 84 wins and a 2nd place finish

Career Highlights As A Manager:
Won six division titles and had a career winning record with three of his 5 teams, and the other two were nearly .500… He went 137-141 with the Rangers and 215-218 with the A’s; Was named the 1981 Manager of the Year; His uniform number (1) was retired by the Yankees in 1986

Career Highlights As A Player:
Played from 1950 to 1961, but missed all of 1954 and much of 1955 to military service; Was a star of the 1953 World Series, getting 12 hits in 6 games, including a double, two triples and two home runs… All told he scored 5 runs and drove in 8; Has a career .333 World Series batting average in 28 games over five seasons; Played for 7 different teams over the last 5 seasons of his playing career

Fun Stuff:
Played himself in the TV movie “One In A Million: The Ron LeFlore Story”

Card Stuff:
His notorious 1972 Topps card seems to show him giving the finger to the Topps photographer; Appeared on 1962 Topps and Post cards, but had been released at the end of spring training and decided to retire as a player


DENNIS MARTINEZ

1978 Topps #119

Played 1976 – 1998
1970’s Teams: Orioles

1970’s Highlights:
Had five complete games in his 1977 rookie season; Lead the league in 1979 with 18 complete games and 292.1 innings pitched; Pitched for the Orioles in the 1979 ALCS and World Series

Career Highlights:
Was the first Nicaraguan in the Majors; Was inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 2002, the Latino Baseball HOF in 2011 and the Canadian Baseball HOF in 2016; In the strike-shortened 1981 season he lead the league with 14 wins, but had only 5 losses; Although he never won more than 16 games in a season he still totaled up 245 career wins, which had been a record for pitchers born in Latin America until it was broken by Bartolo Colon (Juan Marichal had 243, since I’m sure many of you are wondering that right now); Martinez was a four-time All-Star even though he was named to his first All-Star team at the age of 36

Fun Stuff:
His nickname is “El Presidente”

2021 TSR Daily: With HR Derby, Draft Picks and… HOCKEY?!?

Time for another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

Freddy Peralta was named to his first All-Star team and is top 5 in the NL in strikeouts and WHIP

Charlie Blackmon could be in another uniform this time next month… and in my twisted custom logic I wanted to make sure I got him in this set as a Rockie because I’m running short on Rockies candidates for my checklist. I can always give him an “update” custom if need be.

If there are any Rockies fans out there, I’m open to nominations. Other than Blackmon I’ve already done Trevor Story, German Márquez, Jon Gray and Ryan McMahon.

Anthony DeSclafani has the league lead with 2 shutouts and has 10 wins against 3 losses. He’s one of the players who has flown under my radar because I’m not doing fantasy baseball this year… and I do kinda miss it, even if it does take a fair amount of time. I’ll have to see what I can do about 2022

I’ve watched home run derbies on TV… A couple of years ago I went to a minor league home run derby… So it’s not just a knee-jerk reaction when I say that home run derbies are dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. But I felt like I should watch this year because of Trey Mancini and Pete Alonso. It turned out that my two guys in this competition made it to the finals… and I struggled to stay awake. But I have to make a custom, right?

I made sure to get Mets bench coach Dave Jauss included in the custom, because he put on a show of a different sort by throwing pitch after pitch in the same place.

Jean Segura leads the Phillies with a .315 average, plus is among the the league leaders in a number of defensive statistics

Rookie 2nd baseman Jonathan India leads the Reds in On-Base % and stolen bases, plus he’s been hit by a pitch 14 times, tied for the most in MLB. You’d have to think he’s a ROY candidate.

Aroldis Chapman was named to the All-Star team even though his stats are not particularly impressive. I will assume I’m missing something, unless it’s mainly about his reputation and being the Yankees closer

I made up a couple of Draft Picks customs, and since I don’t want to overload on Mets customs I’ll feature the second one I made – #2 overall pick Jack Leiter, drafted out of Vanderbilt by the Texas Rangers.

One thing about Jack Leiter that I hadn’t realized until I watched the draft is that Jack looks a whole lot like Steve George.

Ha, you’re welcome 1988 Topps fans.

Jack Leiter is the son of former Major Leaguer Al Leiter, and Jack looks a lot like his old man. He also wears #22, which Al wore with the Mets and Marlins.


One more custom… this is a sort of “promo card” for a project I’ve been slowly working on for months, and which I hope that you’ll appreciate the work that went into it, even if — well, sorry, but it’s not baseball.

A little backstory… I was a big hockey fan for about 20 years and a devoted fan of the Washington Capitals, but in the late 1990’s a series of disappointing moves by the Caps and the NHL, compounded by my moving from hockey-mad Long Island to “Hockey? Whuzzat?” Shlabotsylvania made me lose interest in the league as a whole. I still enjoyed watching hockey, especially in the Olympics, but I gave up on the NHL. Over the last couple of years I’d thought about starting over with another team, since the Caps of today are still more the “ex” I grew apart from than the team I fell in love with. I made an attempt with the Rangers and Blackhawks before the pandemic, but that didn’t completely take.

I decided I’d give it one last try with the expansion Seattle Kraken, who will start play in October. They’re a bit problematic in that they are clear across the country from Shlabotsylvania, but I got a good vibe from the organization and I decided to go for it.

I haven’t paid much attention to the NHL over the past 15 or so years, so I decided I would get to know the players on my new team by making customs of them. Somewhere along the line I had the idea of making card backs as well, which is very much out of character for me.

To this former Capitals fan (and retroactive fan of the Kansas City Scouts), 1974/75 Topps is the set that most says “EXPANSION!” to me, and I kinda like the cheesy attempts to show players in uniforms which clearly weren’t for the expansion team in question.

Like Topps in 1974, I didn’t want to put a huge amount of effort into this custom set.

…But as I tend to do, I got carried away with things. I had a lot of fun trying to duplicate the card backs, something I’d never really tried to do before. I also wasn’t sure what to do about duplicating the cartoons, which was a whole ‘nother rabbit hole for me.

Quick apology – if I knew I’d be writing this much about my hockey customs, I would’ve made it a separate post. Too late now. :-)

Anyway…

We’re just days away from the expansion draft… Oh, excuse me, from the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft™ presented by Upper Deck. I just recently learned that it’s sponsored by Upper Deck, which I thought was an interesting sponsorship.

ANYWAY…

The expansion draft is this Wednesday, NHL rosters are already frozen in preparation and I’m ready to hit the ground running with these things. I’ve already tweeted out team-related customs and one of head coach Dave Hakstol, but the only Kraken player’s card I’ve created so far is this BLOG EXCLUSIVE card of Luke Henman who became the first player under contract to the Kraken after he was signed out of the Juniors.

I cheated a bit with the cartoon portrait of Gordie Howe on the back of the card… I tried doing it free hand but ended up digitally tracing a photo of him and used that as the ‘cartoon’.

OK, that’s enough babbling from me for now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! (or “Have a good day!” if you’re reading this later)