If 2018 Heritage Were True To 1969 Topps, Part 2

Last week, in Part 1, I got into some of the weirdness which would have to be perpetrated by Topps if they really wanted 2018 Heritage to be 100% faithful to the quirks of 1969 Topps.

I’ve got a few more examples, including two suggested by readers of The Shlabotnik Report!

First off I have a suggestion made on Twitter by Lanny Ribes @DOCBZ17:

There are a couple of instances I know of where Topps reused a photo from 1968 or earlier, but by referencing Freddie Freeman I believe Lanny is specifically referring to Topps using the same photo of Hank Aaron in both 1968 and 1969 Topps.  Unfortunately I don’t have a Freddie Freeman card from last year’s Heritage set, so I hope Nick Markakis will do.

I had to tighten the crop on the custom card on the right, being that I needed to get rid of the puple “BRAVES” circle on the 2017 Heritage card… but it works out fine, because the two Aaron cards were cropped differently anyway (although the 1968 was cropped tighter than the 1969, but that’s the way things go.)

Next up was a suggestion from Night Owl, who suggested riffing on this card:

This is another instance of Topps repeating a photo from 1968 Topps, but the key thing with this card is that Topps flipped the negative for 1969, thus making Larry Haney a left-handed catcher.

The Seattle Pilots are, of course, now the Brewers.  I went looking for a photo of a Brewers catcher on which I could pull similar shenanigans.  Nobody poses for pictures like this anymore, but I did find an action shot of Jett Bandy which does the trick.

A little side note:  I just realized that I’ve made a mistake on all of these customs thus far in that I’ve been making the position all capitals (CATCHER) when it should be sentence case (Catcher).  I’ll fix this in future customs.

One last custom for this week… or to be precise, one last pair of customs.

On January 20, 1969, the Phillies traded catcher Clay Dalrymple to the Orioles for outfielder Ron Stone.  For whatever reason, Topps decided to update Dalrymple’s 2nd series card after printing a number of cards showing him with the Phillies.  The updated card showed a bare-headed Dalrymple on an Orioles card (and much to my chagrin, I don’t have either of these cards, but I intend to remedy that in 2018).

For the purposes of this post, I figured where the traded player was going wasn’t as important as where he came from, so I went with Freddy Galvis, who was traded from the Phillies to the Padres this past December 15th.

Here’s the Phillies version of the Galvis:

I suspect that the capless photo of Clay Dalrymple was an old photo (and honestly, the full uniform photo was likely pretty old as well), so when I went looking for a Freddy Galvis photo, I chose a pre-dreadlocks shot from 2016.  I think his expression also fits pretty well…

That wraps things up for now, but I intend to do at least one more post in this series.  Feel free to make a suggestion on what particular quirk of 1969 Topps could be replicated… Suggestions which are already in the works include having the Astros be just “HOUSTON” and having a traded player with a blacked-out cap.  I have a couple of other ideas in mind which I won’t mention just yet.


Before I go…

Some of you probably read an off-hand reference to Twitter above and said “Twitter?  Since when is he on Twitter?”

Well, dear readers, I had never made an official announcement about it here in this blog, but The Shlabotnik Report has been on Twitter since November.  The Twitter handle is @Shlabotnik_Rpt.  If you’re searching on it, keep in mind that there are no C’s in Shlabotnik and that there’s an underscore between “Shlabotnik” and “Rpt”.

After looking at my own Twitter feed for the past two months, I feel it necessary to point out that @Shlabotnik_Rpt is this blog’s Twitter account and is intended as another channel for the same kind of content and PG-rated nonsense you get here.  So far it’s largely been notifications of new posts, but I’m starting into some Twitter-specific content.  What you won’t find are political views, fat-shaming or other bits of shouting… unless I’m quoting Daleks or Vogons (“RESISTANCE IS USELESS!”).

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If 2018 Heritage Were True To 1969 Topps, Part 1

1969 Topps, as a set, has plenty of quirks, and enough bad ones that that we wouldn’t really want 2018 Heritage to be 100% faithful to the source material… But if Topps were to make a full effort to duplicate 69T, warts and all, what would be involved?

This is the question I’d asked myself at some point where I really should’ve been doing something more productive, but if nothing else it got me to lay the groundwork for creating some 1969 Topps customs.

While we have a general idea of what kind of parallels and inserts will be used for 2018 Heritage, I don’t believe we fully know what kind of gimmicks Topps might foist upon us.  You’d think there would be white letter variations; A super-short-printed white letter Aaron Judge variation (replicating the pricey Mickey Mantle variation) seems so obvious that it’d be shocking if it doesn’t happen.

But if Heritage were completely true to 1969 Topps we’d have…

…Plenty of capless photos, especially of newly-relocated players like Giancarlo Stanton…

…and plenty of photos which were taken years before the release date, like this relatively-unshaggy Justin Turner…

There are many other ways in which Topps could be true to 1969 Topps.  Of course, one significant way is to include managers, but it seems like that ship has sailed.  I’ve got some others in mind, but I’ll play my cards close to the vest until I share those in another post or two (hint:  I’m looking for a photo of an MLB batboy, preferably from the Angels).

And now it’s feedback time… What other things can you think of which would make 2018 Heritage more like 1969 Topps?  It doesn’t necessarily have to be a good thing, or one we’d want to see, but it still might be fun to replicate some of these in custom form.

Olympic Curling Customs: Alright, Hamilton(s)!

Last weekend saw the last of the USA Curling Olympic qualifying, as Becca and Matt Hamilton won a tightly-contested battle to be the American team in the debut of Olympic mixed doubles curling as a medal sport.

Although the lost the first two games in the round-robin portion of the trials, they won the remaining seven games and an exciting finals against Cory Christensen & John Shuster wasn’t decided until the last shot of the final end.

Both Hamiltons will also be in PyeongChang as members of the women’s and men’s teams.

…And they got to appear on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and along with Jason Sudeikis (not to be confused with former Dodger Bill Sudakis)

I’m sure a lot of people are like Jason Sudeikis and think of the musical Hamilton, but me…  When Becca & Matt won, I thought of Fast Times At Ridgemont High, channeled my ‘Inner Spicoli’ and said:

Assorted Customs For December 17th

It’s that time of year when I don’t have energy for a lot of things, including catchy post titles and customs which take more than a half-hour or so… so no photoshopped images of relocating Major Leaguers this week. I think part of this is because the obvious candidate for such a card is Giancarlo Stanton, and I’m already tired of hearing about him.

So anyway, today I’ve got four assorted customs, all baseball-related.

I made this custom of Delino DeShields Jr. at the end of October, but didn’t use it at the time. Now I can’t remember why I made it… but it turned out nice enough that I’m sharing it anyway.

He did get largely overlooked by Topps in 2017, that may have had something to do with it. He played in 120 games but only appeared in Heritage High #’s and Topps Now. Something I just learned: He and his former-MLBer father have different middle names, so he’s technically not a “Jr.”

I do remember why I made this custom of Ronald Acuna… He’s a five-tool prospect, he’s Baseball America’s Minor League Player of the Year, he’s the MVP of the Arizona Fall League, he moved from A-ball to AA to AAA in 2017, he’s up near the top of any prospect list you may find and… this is sheer coincidence, BTW… he turns 20 tomorrow.

He also has a shot of being “The rookie you tire of pulling” in 2018.

The Winter Meetings were held this past week, and as always it concludes with the Rule 5 draft. The Orioles went a bit nuts, drafting two pitchers from the Yankees and one from the Cubs. There’s almost no way all three will stick, but the O’s have had decent luck with the Rule 5 in recent history, so fingers crossed.

I was a bit indecisive with this one in terms of how far I should go with the photos. How much time should I take with guys who may just be memories by Opening Day? I decided that, for a 1971 custom, having the Minor League cap logos removed would be most true to the originals… not to mention easiest (Hello, “clone brush”!)

As for the three players drafted… Nestor Cortes is a lefty who impressed at three levels in the Yankees system and is probably the most likely to stick. Pedro Araujo has only 2 innings in AA, but had a 1.74 ERA and 0.677 WHIP in the Arizona Fall League this year. Jose Mesa Jr. also has minimal experience in the higher levels, but is (surprise!) the son of former MLB reliever Jose Mesa.

Phillies fans must be excited this winter, because they have a number of well-regarded prospects and they’ve made a few moves which have made this Mets fan say “Uh-oh”.

Ditching Pete Mackanin for Gabe Kapler seemed odd earlier this offseason, but it certainly seems that they’ve decided to accelerate the rebuilding process.

Oh! Oh! Oh! Ohtani! …And Other Customs

The jingle for a chain of auto parts stores popped in my head while I was trying to think of a Shohei Ohtani-related title for this post, so I decided to go with it.

With Ohtani officially signing with the Los Angeles Angels, I decided it was time to fire up my relatively-ancient copy of Paint Shop Pro and get to work on my first “Photoshopped” Hot Stove card of the season.

The downside of being the first is that I’m out of practice;  I haven’t photoshopped someone into a new uniform since last February.  Hopefully you won’t notice the difference, but I look at it and see things I could’ve done better. Ah, well… No matter…

One thing that occurred to me is that if Ohtani has any sort of success – and likely even if he doesn’t – we’re going to see an onslaught of rookie cards, inserts, Topps Now and other online exclusives, the likes of which we haven’t seen since… um… Well, if you’re tired of Aaron Judge now, you’ll probably be tired of Shohei Ohtani in December, 2018.

I spent a fair amount of time waffling about which statistical category to use for this week’s “2017 Leaders” card, but finally decided on doing Total Bases.  This category gives us three players from the two 1993 expansion teams, and gives us one last look as Giancarlo Stanton as a Marlin.

Charlie Blackmon lead the Majors with 387 total bases.  That’s 127 singles, 35 doubles, 14 triples and 37 homers.

Giancarlo Stanton came up second with 377;  77 singles, 32 doubles, no triples and 59 homers.  It’s interesting how different Blackmon’s totals and Stanton’s totals are.

Nolan Arenado was third with 355;  100 singles, 43 doubles, 7 triples and 37 homers.

For the record, Jose Abreu came in 4th overall and 1st in the American League with 343 total bases.

As for Stanton, it’s looking like he’s going to the Yankees, which is a good thing for first-time manager Aaron Boone.

I don’t have anything against Aaron Boone, but as a Mets fan I am morally and legally obligated to wish nothing but ill on the Yankees, so here’s hoping that he’s unable to find enough playing time to keep his multitude of outfielders happy.

It’s been a while since I posted a sheet of U-KNOW-M stamps… “You love ’em because U-KNOW-M!”

Remember to look for U-KNOW-M stamp albums at your favorite virtual retailer!

Gigante is a mascot for the Single-A San Jose Giants; he amuses me because he kinda sorta reminds me of a friend of mine from High School (I guess that may not be the nicest thing to say about someone, but anyway…)

I screwed up a bit when I picked out the subjects of these stamps.. I thought that today would have been Kirsty MacColl’s birthday, but it was actually October 10th. Since it’s December, you may be hearing her sing with The Pogues on the Christmas-themed “Fairytale Of New York”. She had a few solo Top 10’s in the UK, but was largely unknown in the US… but if you listened to the right radio stations in the 1990’s, you might know songs like “Walking Down Madison”, “In These Shoes?” or “I Can’t Stop Killing You”. I found out about her from two songs on a 1989 mix tape, and she one of my favorite musical artists. Sadly, she was killed in an accident in 2000, but she’ll always have a special place in my music collection.

Although I originally knew her from The West Wing, Allison Janney really caught my attention on the short-lived Matthew Perry vehicle “Mr. Sunshine”…. She was easily the best part of that show. This stamp was originally intended to publish on her birthday, but in another birthday mishap I blew way past that.

…As Maxwell Smart would say, “Missed it by THAT much!”… or perhaps “Sorry about that, Chief!”

Customs, 1972-Style: Arcane Leaders, Canadian Football And… 3-D Hockey?

A little while ago I posted which featured, among other things, a 1970 Kellogg’s Football card. In the comments, Hackenbush speculated on how cool a Kellogg’s Hockey card would’ve been. That got my wheels turning, and since I’ve been getting ready for my Faux-3D “Hot Stove” customs, I figured I’d tease it (plus work out a couple of kinks in my template) by creating a couple of customs featuring current NHL players. Here’s the first:

The NHL and I had a falling out over a dozen years ago – not that the NHL knows the difference – so I don’t currently have a favorite active hockey player, not exactly. The Sabres’ Jack Eichel is someone who caught my eye when I saw him on TV playing for Boston University, and at the moment “I’ve heard of him and have maintained a favorable impression of him” is as close as I get to “he’s my favorite hockey player”.

I wanted to do a second 3-D custom, so I figured I’d make a “Thanks for the idea” custom of one of Hackenbush’s Blackhawks.  As is often the case, the second effort proved to be the better one.

One thing I’ve noticed after doing these two customs is that hockey arenas don’t provide the best “faux-3D” backgrounds. I’ve found that the 3-D effect works best when the background has lines and contrasting colors (as one gets with ballparks). I also should’ve kept the puck (the blur in the lower left) as part of the foreground.


Towards the end of this past season, I had an idea that had been floating around in my head, waiting for the right vehicle.  There were so many strikeouts this year – Aaron Judge had an astronomical 208 and there were over 40K for the Majors as a whole – it would be nice to somehow honor the batters who struck out the fewest times. This idea kinda floated around for a while, until I also had the idea that it might be fun also honor those players who lead the Majors in other less-publicized statistical categories.

Earlier this week I went looking for something to use as a template, looked at various League Leader cards from the 1970’s, and decided on this:

You may recognize that this is not an exact copy of a 1972 Topps Leader Card… First off, I didn’t want to go absolutely nuts and make customs for each league, so instead of “A.L. Leaders” or “N.L. Leaders”, it’s going to be an implied “Major League Leaders”… and because it’s a different type of Leader card than the original 1972 cards, I also changed up the color scheme.

As for the honorees… Based on a minimum of 502 plate appearances, Joe Panik set the pace by striking out just 54 times, “Sideshow Bob” impersonator Yuli Gurriel was in second with 62 K’s and Andrelton Simmons was third with 67. Others who did us proud included Jose Ramirez, Didi Gregorius, Brandon Phillips, Miguel Cabrera, Daniel Murphy and Mookie Betts.

I intend to do more of these “Leader” cards, and I welcome any suggestions for statistical categories… just leave a comment.


After using the 1972 Topps and 1972 Kellogg’s designs for customs, I felt like I should do something else related to 1972 and I thought of the 1972 Topps football template I had worked out a little while ago… But what to do with it? Even though I’ve been a Steelers fan for 30+ years and they’re one of best teams in the AFC, they’re leaving me cold this year, for reasons I don’t fully understand. (Well, other than I really don’t like Roethlisberger, despite his accomplishments). I don’t currently have a favorite Steeler; that title went unclaimed after Heath Miller retired.

…Then I thought about last weekend’s Grey Cup game. The Grey Cup is the Canadian Football League’s championship game, and even though I didn’t watch it or really follow the CFL, I’d heard it was a very exciting game.

That’s when I found out that one of the highlights of the game involved the Toronto Argonauts’ defensive back Cassius Vaughn scoring a 109-yard touchdown on a fumble recovery (Canadian football fields are 110 yards long), and I knew I had my final custom.

I couldn’t get the video of this to embed in this post, but you can check it out on the CFL’s website by going here.

 

More Olympic Curling Customs: The USA Men’s Team

The Team USA Curling Trials concluded two weeks ago, and in the process we found out who would be representing the US in the 2018 Winter Games.

Last Saturday’s post was about the Women’s Team; this time we’ll be representing the Men. Team Shuster lost the first game to Heath McCormick’s team, but rallied back to win games 2 and 3 to win the spot in Pyeongchang.

John Shuster, John Landsteiner and alternate Joe Polo have been to the Olympics before, but this will be the first time for Ty George and Matt Hamilton. Hamilton is the brother of Becca Hamilton, who’s on the women’s team going to Pyeongchang.

The US Men finished in a 3-way tie for 7th in the 2014 games, but Team Shuster made the playoffs in the 2017 World Men’s Curling Championship back in April.

The US Men would lose the Bronze Medal game to Switzerland, 7-5.

This will be skip John Shuster’s 4th Olympics. He was on Pete Fenson’s team which won Bronze in 2006, and he also represented the USA in 2010 and 2014.


Elsewhere in Olympic qualifying… The Canadian qualifying event, Tim Hortons Roar Of The Rings, starts today in Ottawa. You may remember that Canada took both the Men’s and Women’s Gold in Sochi in 2014…  Here are the 1973-style customs I made nearly 4 years ago to commemorate those teams:

Both of these teams are competing for another shot, but there’s always plenty of competition in any type of Canadian curling championship.

This coming Tuesday sees the beginning of the World Curling Federation’s Olympic Qualification Event in Pilsen, Czech Republic.  This will determine the final two countries for the Men and Women.  For the Women, the competition is between China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy and Latvia.  You may notice that this is only 7 teams;  Norway had qualified for the event but the Norwegian Curling Association decided not to send a women’s team.

For the Men, it’s between China, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Russia.

Quick note for those of you who prefer non-curling customs:  You’ll get your turn tomorrow.