Three Weeks Of Customs: “Where The Hell Is Memphis?”

I knew how long it had been since I did one of these posts, but I also kinda didn’t know.  Willfully, on some level.  The “blahs” of the holiday season have largely seeped into my January and it’s all too easy to say “Yeah, I’m not completely up to doing that”.

I thought about breaking this up into two posts, but think of it instead as a jumbo pack, and you can linger or skip as you see fit.

I knew it had been a while since my last custom post because the first custom to share is from a series I’ve wrapped up a while ago on Twitter (#DailyTSRcustom).  This is another of my mashups of my custom baseball designs and 1975 Topps, this time featuring 2019 MVP’s Mike Trout and Cody Bellinger.

These two customs were made this year with photos from 2019 and the original template.

In an effort to re-familiarize myself with the NHL, I’m playing fantasy hockey.  As with most things related to my return to following the NHL, it’s not going as I would like – I’m in 7th place out of 12 – but I wanted to feature my best player at this point of the season, the New York Rangers’ Chris Kreider.

In the fantasy league draft he was my 14th pick (165th overall), so I’m going to give myself a little pat on the back for that accidental but astute scouting job.

I’m also forging ahead with my Seattle Kraken cards.  I gotta tell you, I didn’t expect them to make it to the Stanley Cup finals like the Vegas Golden Knights had in their first season, but I also didn’t expect to suffer through a 9-game losing streak and an earlier 6-game streak.

That being said, here’s another one of my “super deluxe” Kraken customs… And they’re super deluxe because I make the backs as well as the front.  Marcus Johansson is a former 1st round draft pick who signed a one-year contract after playing last season for Minnesota.

The final mashup of my customs and 1975 Topps features 2020 MVPs José Abreu and Freddie Freeman. Because of the truncated 2020 season this design was meant to be a quickie riff on 2009 Upper Deck and 1961 Topps, but it ended up being a fun design anyway.


Rachel Balkovec was recently named the manager of the Tampa Tarpons, the Yankees Low-A farm team. This will make her the first woman to manage an affiliated minor league team, so I faked up a Tarpons “Hot Stove” custom to commemorate the event.

Even though I took the Tarpons logo from a cap being sold online, it still looks superimposed, I guess that’s something I’ll have to work on in the future.

The mid-engine Maserati MC20 signals a return to racing for the historic Italian brand and is the first mid-engine car Maserati has developed in-house since the 1970s.

Holy crap, the Winter Olympics start in just over a week!  For me that means a bit of international rules hockey (love the bigger rink) and a lot of curling.  I’ve been planning to make curling customs for months, and here’s the first;  it features John Shuster, whose men’s team will be defending their 2018 Gold Medal… something that still seems a bit odd to say about an American curling team.

Rachel Homan and John Morris were selected to represent Canada in Olympic Mixed Doubles.  I don’t spend a lot of time following mixed doubles mainly because I enjoy watching both men’s and women’s curling and I have to draw the line somewhere.

And for anyone wondering whether I meant to make my design look like 1978-79 Topps/O-Pee-Chee Hockey, the answer is yes, emphatically YES!  I quite blatantly ripped off the design because I thought it would work well.  The little inset that I use to designate the country was originally used in the Topps set to designate the All-Stars.  That’s a big part of why I’m using stars to fill in space on either side of the country name, although if anyone were to call me out on it, I’d say that they’re there because my set is called “Stars Of Curling”.

For what it’s worth, this isn’t intended to be an Olympics set, more of a “This Year In Curling” set.  I’m trying to decide if I want to have “Highlights” cards to match the original hockey set, but who am I trying to kid, I’ll most likely break down and do it before the end of the Olympics.

The Texas Rangers signed SS Marcus Semien to a 7-year, $175M contract.  I cheated a little on this one and used a closely-cropped press conference photo with a little faked-up jersey to cover some of his street clothes.

I’m still a bit sad that Betty White didn’t make it to her 100th birthday, but I’m glad she was with us as long as she was.  This design is from my “Shlabotnik’s Snack Cakes” series.

The Bruins’ Brad Marchand was named the NHL 1st Star for the week of Jan. 10-16. He recorded multiple points in each of his 4 games – including a hat trick against the Habs – and tallied 6 goals and 4 assists for the week.

Just a little side note… I hadn’t realized that the Bruins changed their logo from what I was familiar with. It’s not a major change, but it’s not a change I see as being for the better.

Vicky Persinger will be going to her first Olympics as she and teammate Chris Plys represent the USA in mixed doubles curling (and yes, a Chris Plys custom will come before too long)

For no particular reason, a custom of Kate McKinnon…

The Mets surprised this Mets fan by signing Max Scherzer to a 3-year $130M deal… it’s going to be like Tom Glavine was where I have to keep reminding myself that I need to root *for* him now

Here’s another Kraken… Riley Sheahan scored the first pre-season goal in Kraken history, but that doesn’t get mentioned on the card because they went to press before any of that happened (*wink*)


For anyone who’s interested, I’ve created customs for most of the current roster, with the exception of a handful of players who have appeared in fewer than half of the 40 games the Kraken have played so far. I’m not stopping yet, but at some point I might get to a point of diminishing returns.


The other day I was listening to the out-of-print Joe Jackson album which was meant as a soundtrack to the 1984 movie “Mike’s Murder”.  I saw the movie years ago, you’re not missing anything – plus most of the Joe Jackson music was minimized in the actual film. While the album itself is out of print, most of the songs are available as bonus tracks or on compilations. Anyway, this is more background than any actual point I’m making… The main thing is that I heard this song and thought I should feature it in my next customs post (except I’m using the superior live version of “Memphis” from an album which came out later in the 1980s)

Two Weeks Of Customs: What Is And What Should Never Be

I normally feature a week’s worth of customs which were originally out on Twitter ( #DailyTSRcustom ) but the holidays threw me off of my schedule, so…

Here’s another mashup of my customs and 1975 Topps, featuring the MVP’s of 2016, Mike Trout and Kris Bryant. The general idea of the design was to have a foul pole as one border and the team name on the ‘outfield wall’, but I never felt like people ‘got it’. I’m not 100% satisfied with the execution, but I still like the concept.


Detroit captain Dylan Larkin was named the NHL’s 1st star for the week of Dec 13-19; Larkin had 5 goals and 2 assists, including his first career hat trick in a game against the Devils.

My hockey customs have slowed down with all the cancellations for the season… I was planning to do Olympic Hockey customs in the style of 1975/76 Topps, but with the NHL pulling out I’ll probably save that design for some other project.

The Athletics have formally named Mark Kotsay as their manager.   Kotsay was the team’s 3rd base coach in 2021 and held other coaching positions in the 6 years before that.

Another 1975 Topps MVP mashup featuring 2017 MVP’s Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Altuve



This design was a mixed bag; it looked good with the colors I’d assigned to certain teams, but as I started to add teams I realized there were… um… issues.  The design looked pretty good with the teams I’d started out doing, but as I went into other teams/colors I realized some of them were pretty ugly. Since then I create a lot more ‘proofs’ before I make a new design public.

Javier Baéz signed a 6-year contract with the Detroit Tigers. As a Mets fan I still don’t know what to think of this (although “Hell, I don’t know” has become my take on a lot of things lately)

A third mashup featuring 2018 MVP’s Mookie Betts and Christian Yelich. This design might be the one that went through the most changes during the time I was developing it, but I’m happy with the end result


A friend of mine bemoaned the lack of manual transmissions in new cars outside of expensive performance models. I suggested the upcoming Nissan Z as an affordable car with a manual, but I don’t think she’s going for it

Kendall Graveman had a 0.82 ERA over 30 games with the Mariners last year before being traded to Houston before the deadline. He made 9 postseason appearances and signed as a free agent with the White Sox.

Another Seattle Kraken custom… Ryan Donato, whose father Ted also played in the NHL, signed with the Kraken after playing for the Bruins, Wild and Sharks


For no real reason, here’s Led Zeppelin performing “What Is And What Should Never Be” at the Royal Albert Hall in 1970

A Week Of Customs: Jingle Hells Bells

Another week’s worth of customs which were originally out on Twitter (#DailyTSRcustom …when I remember to include the hashtag, anyway…)

We’ll start with another mashup of my customs and 1975 Topps; First it’s my original 2014 TSR design and the MVP’s of 2014 – Mike Trout and Clayton Kershaw. Seven years later and this design is still possibly my favorite of the ones I’ve done.

Here are the “full size” versions of the customs which, I’ll admit, were made a couple of weeks ago using photos from 2014 and my templates


I usually get my inspiration from past trading card designs, but this one was partly inspired by a vintage team program… I think it might’ve been the Cubs but I honestly don’t remember anymore.

Former ROY Corey Seager signed a 10-year, $325M contract with the Texas Rangers. I’m no fan of the Rangers, but it’s nice to see $$$ thrown around by someone other than the usual teams.  Hopefully for the Rangers it works out better than the last time they threw big bucks at a shortstop (*cough* A-Rod *cough*)

Another mashup of my customs and 1975 Topps; This one features the MVP’s of 2015 – Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper

…and the non-original “originals” (again, made a few weeks ago)

It’s kind of odd to look back at Donaldson as an MVP… Not that he was bad this year, but it’s been a while since I thought of him as MVP material.


Bryce Harper was, of course, the MVP this past season, but he’s also considerably younger than Donaldson.

In one of the less-noticed free agent signings by the Mets this offseason, outfielder Mark Canha signed a 3-year contract, and that seemed to have been a sign that Michael Conforto will be playing elsewhere whenever games end up being played.

They Rays signed Corey Kluber to a one-year contract hoping that his veteran presence will complement their young rotation.  It’s a somewhat unusual big name for the Rays, but I trust they know what they’re doing.

And finally, we have another one of my Seattle Kraken customs using the 1974/75 Topps & O-Pee-Chee design.  Mason Appleton was drafted from the Winnipeg Jets, but I’ve seen a few rumors about him being traded… one was to Boston for unhappy left wing Jake DeBrusk.


It’s less than a week before Christmas and I’ve realized I’ve done TOO GOOD of a job of avoiding Christmas music.  No Vince Guaraldi, no Bob & Doug McKenzie’s “12 Days Of Christmas”, not even anything from Bob Rivers.  I think it’s time to rectify that with an AC/DC parody version of “My Favorite Things”…

A Week Of Customs: One Of Submarines Is Missing Tonight

Another week’s worth of customs which were originally out on Twitter (#DailyTSRcustom …when I remember to include the hashtag, anyway…)

We’ve got a whole lot of images to share this week, so let’s get to business.

I’ve got another couple of mashups of my customs and 1975 Topps; First up it’s my original 2012 TSR design and the MVP’s of 2012 – Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey.

The design is admittedly rudimentary, but hey, it’s my first public design (I’d played around with some other designs before this but this is the first that anybody else saw). Through 2021 eyes it needs *something* to zhuzh it up a bit, but on the whole I still like it.

BTW, the design is 2012 and the images are from 2012 but each of these particular customs was made two weeks ago.

Just for the heck of it, here are the two new customs in ‘full size’:

Next is my original 2013 TSR design and the MVP’s of 2013 – Miguel Cabrera and Andrew McCutchen. These 2013 customs were actually made in 2013, which made life easier for me.

Here are the originals which were featured on this blog lo those eight years ago:

This design was largely “inspired” by 1983 Topps football…

With a little bit of 1988 Topps Baseball thrown in

Jackie Bradley Jr. is back with the Red Sox after an unspectacular year in Milwaukee. I welcome any opportunity to create a Hot Stove custom without having to digitally alter a photo… and there was a lot going on this past week, so it’s pretty much the only way I was getting a Hot Stove done.

Florida’s Jonathan Huberdeau was named the NHL’s 1st Star of the Week for Nov 29 – Dec 5.

In three games he had a goal and 8 assists, helping the Panthers to comeback wins in each of the games. The goal and four of the assists came when rallying from 3 goals down against the Sabres. He currently has 31 points, which is good for 10th in the league.

The next custom came from this challenge on Twitter:

My version may not be the most original, but I had fun doing it (and may do more like it).  I wouldn’t be surprised if most of you had never heard of Hector Heathcote, but I remember watching it as a kid (and I loved Tennessee Tuxedo and Gigantor)

One challenge of my own, that I thought of a number of years ago, was to make a custom card set using only images from the opening and closing credits of The Monkees.  I started on something a couple of years ago, didn’t get far, but was spurred to action again with the passing of former Monkee Mike Nesmith.  I’ve long thought that the “Peter screws up the names” sequence would make for a good ‘subset’.

I used the 1964 Topps baseball design because those rookie cards worked best with the landscape TV captures that I had.

Rest in peace, Nez.

Finally, we’ll wrap up with another Seattle Kraken from my 2021/22 TSR Hockey custom set.  Carson Soucy was drafted from the Minnesota Wild and currently leads the team with a +5 plus/minus.

I thank Mr. Soucy for being born in the uniquely named town of Viking, which gave me something to draw a cartoon about


This morning I was listening to a radio show that features Alternative music from the 1980s, and they played “One Of Our Submarines” by Thomas Dolby… a song I hadn’t heard in a good number of years.  If Thomas Dolby gets played these days it’s usually “She Blinded Me With Science”, but he had a number of good songs… like this one

A Week Of Customs: They Say She Plays Guitar And Cries And Sings

Another week’s worth of customs which were originally out on Twitter (#DailyTSRcustom …when I remember to include the hashtag, anyway…)

Noah Syndergaard disappointed me and many other Mets fans by signing a 2-year contract with the Angels. I don’t blame him, but I still won’t enjoy seeing him in another uniform.

Another mashup of 1975 Topps and my 2021 TSR Daily customs, this time featuring Comeback players Trey Mancini and Buster Posey. Ideally the heading of the card should be plural – “COMEBACKS OF THE YEAR” – but it just seemed kind of awkward.

Due to popular demand (i.e. someone suggested it and offered mild encouragement), in the near future I’m going to do a series of these featuring the 2012 – 2020 MVP TSR customs featuring each year’s MVP in this 1975 design.  In years past I didn’t make as many customs as I did in 2021, so most of these will involve me going back and creating new customs using my old templates (and, in a couple of cases, retrieving fonts that were on a previous laptop).

During the month of November, Nathan MacKinnon ranked 2nd in the NHL with 25 points (10 G, 15 A) over 14 games, plus he lead the league with 79 shots on goal.

Good news for those who pulled redemptions out of packs of 2021 TSR Daily – the 3-D inserts have started to ship, starting with Ronald Acuña Jr!

It’s been a few years since I did a faux 3-D card, so I’ll need to work out a couple of bugs before I do any more of these

Marcus Stroman recently signed a 3-year, $71M contract with the Cubs. I’m sorry to see him go, but it does seem like a lot of money for his accomplishments. This past season he went 10-13, 3.02 with the Mets

Marcus Stroman and Steven Matz once faced off in a legendary high school baseball game on Long Island (not generally a hotbed for Major League prospects), both were teammates with the Mets, and now both will be rivals in the NL Central. So it goes.

Another Seattle Kraken from my 2021/22 TSR Hockey custom card project… Swedish forward Calle Jarnkrok, currently on injured reserve, was drafted from the Nashville Predators. I’m hoping that his slow start this season is due to whatever injury has caused him to be on IR.


The cartoon at the bottom of the card back is based on a photo from the 1972 Summit Series between Canada and the USSR.  Late last night, just before I dozed off, I realized that I’d neglected to ‘color in’ the goalposts.  Damn.

Y’know, each time I do one of these card backs I hope that I can find out something interesting about the player for the text or the cartoon, but most of the biographical information I can find online is about each player’s hockey accomplishments, and there’s rarely anything like “Connor and his wife were married on top of a Zamboni” or “Oskar works as an accountant in the off-season”.  I will continue to hold on to hope.


For no real reason, here’s a live 1975 performance of Led Zeppelin’s “Goin’ To California”. The former college newspaper editor within me cringes at the misspelled Led Zep scarf near the beginning of the video.

A Week Of Customs: Calling Dr. Funk

Another week’s worth of customs which were originally out on Twitter (#DailyTSRcustom)

The Cubs recently claimed Wade Miley on waivers, and since he threw a no-hitter and won 12 games in 2021, it could be a salary dump on the part of the Reds… or maybe a wager that he won’t be able to duplicate it in 2022.

This custom displeases me a little… I wish I’d either did a better job on the bill of Miley’s cap, or did it as an intentionally-not-great fake airbrushing job.

Alex Ovechkin was named the NHL’s 1st Star for the week of 11/8 – 11/14.  During that week Ovi had 2 goals and 6 assists and moved past Brett Hull into the 4th spot in career goals.

True confessions: Ovechkin gets an uninteresting head shot because I don’t like him.

Gabe Kapler guided the Giants to a franchise-best 107 wins and was named 2021 NL Manager of the Year (and yes, he knows where the team logo is)

The Rays won 100 games for the first time in franchise history and Kevin Cash was named the 2021 AL Manager of the Year.

I saw Lance Reddick on an episode of Young Sheldon, thought of everything he’s been in – John Wick, Fringe, The Wire, Lost, The Blacklist, etc. – and I decided he’s deserving of a TSR Random custom (free on boxes of Shlabotnik’s Snack Cakes!)

I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a series of customs featuring those actors who you see in a show and think “Hey, it’s the guy from… Oh… Damn, where have I seen him before?” This may or may not kick off that series.

Another Seattle Kraken… Jeremy Lauzon was drafted from the Bruins and has played in nearly every game this season.

Writing the text for some of these players is turning out to be harder than I thought. A bunch of these guys on the Kraken can be summed up as “Well, he’s shown promise but hadn’t accomplished enough to be protected in an expansion draft”.


Vince Guaraldi achieved much of his fame for two things: 1) His Grammy-winning 1963 song “Cast Your Fate To The Wind” and 2) His scores for the Peanuts specials up through 1976. This song falls into neither category, but the title caught my attention.

One! One Custom! Two! Two Customs! Ah-ah-ah-ahhhhh!

Another week’s worth of customs which were originally out on Twitter (#DailyTSRcustom)

Sesame Street’s Count von Count… For no reason other than I ran across the image and felt like a custom needed to come of it.

Ke’Bryan Hayes was passed over as the third baseman for the 2021 Topps All-Star Rookie team in favor of the Cubs’ Patrick Wisdom. I would’ve gone with Hayes, who has better stats in most category but doesn’t have Wisdom’s power.

I was going to make an argument that Ian Anderson should’ve been the Topps All-Star Rookie RHP over the Astros Luis Garcia, but then at the last minute I realized I was inadvertently comparing career stats, not 2021 stats (Anderson pitched well in a number of 2020 games, which skewed the numbers).

The Giants claimed pitcher Hunter Harvey off waivers from Baltimore, to the dismay of this Orioles fan. I’m playing with fire by making a custom of an offseason waiver claim who could very well be put back on waivers tomorrow, but we’ll see what happens…

Hunter Harvey is, for those who don’t know, the son of former Angels & Marlins reliever Bryan Harvey.  BTW, photo altering doesn’t get much easier than this one.  I looked for photos of Harvey in his black Friday alternates, picked one where you couldn’t see the Orioles script on the front, and then copied a Giants cap logo from another photo.  Boom, done.  I’m not sure how closely this corresponds to any actual Giants uniforms, but it’s close enough for my purposes.  I’m generally shooting for “Better than 1970s airbrushing… but not by much”.

Andrew Heaney, the first free agent to change teams this offseason, signed a one-year contract with the Dodgers after splitting 2021 between the Angels and Yankees

Advice for when you’re updating a photo of a player with the Yankees, Mets or other pinstriped team: Start with a picture taken on the road.  In this case, the photo was from the “Field Of Dreams” game.

The next custom came out of this tweet:

I liked Dave Henderson when he was an active player – I couldn’t say exactly why, I just did – so this challenge appealed to me and after searching through online images of Dave Henderson I decided I should find a photo shot “from quite a long way away” (You’re welcome, people who get that Monty Python reference) and make a 1973-style horizontal card out of it.  I found an image I liked and here you go…

Graeme Edge, drummer for The Moody Blues, passed away this week. Edge was a member of the original lineup (Pre-Days of Future Passed) and wrote the poems that graced the first four albums of the band’s “classic” lineup… although Mike Pinder was the one who read the poems.  Possibly the most famous of the poems, “Late Lament”, comes after “Nights In White Satin” and begins with the line ‘Breath deep the gathering gloom…’

I tell people that I’m a huge fan of the Moody Blues, and that’s true… to a point.  I’m a huge fan of the band from “Days Of Future Passed” (1967) to “Seventh Sojourn” (1972), I like their early 1980s albums “Long Distance Voyager” (1981) and “The Present” (1983) because those were the first albums to come out after my friends and I had retroactively “discovered” the band and I’m pretty ‘meh’ on everything else.  Someone told me that “Keys Of The Kingdom” (1991) was good, but I was so utterly disappointed in “Sur La Mer” (1988) – which I derisively nicknamed “Sur La Merde” – that I never so much as listened to anything on the final three albums.

Sorry about the Moodies diatribe, I’ll move on now.

Let’s wrap up the customs with another Seattle Kraken done in the style of 1974-75 Topps/O-Pee-Chee.  23-year-old Morgan Geekie was drafted from the Hurricanes and has appeared in every Kraken game this season


I couldn’t come up with any cartoon ideas that were particular to Morgan Geekie, and I wanted to do something other than the HOFer portraits I’d been doing, so I found some action photos which were from the mid 1970s and made a cartoonish version of one of them.  I wasn’t sure how well it would work in the awkward puck-shaped frame that Topps used, but I’m pretty happy with the way it turned out.


We’re in between “It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving”, which put me in the mood for Vince Guaraldi, the jazz musician who did the music for all of the Peanuts specials from the 1960s and early-to-mid 1970s.  This track is called “Baseball Theme”, but it’s essentially a riff on “Take Me Out To The Ball Game”… and it’s unmistakably Vince Guaraldi. The animated video – which reminds me of recent Diamond King sets as well as 2012 Triple Play – was released this past summer, and the song can be found on the Vince Guaraldi Trio album “A Boy Named Charlie Brown”.

Custom Stuff: How I Came Up With My New Hot Stove Design

I’ve had some inquiries about how I come up with my custom designs, and also about how I came up with this latest “Hot Stove” design in particular…

…So I figured I’d run through my though process and “proofs of concept” from late in the summer when I was working this one up.

One method I use to come up with custom designs is to pick one design element from somewhere else and build something around it.  I often get inspiration from a sports card from before the 1990s, but I’ve also ‘borrowed’ elements from things like baseball programs and cereal boxes.

In this case, the main inspiration came from the 1973-74 Topps team stickers which were inserted into packs of hockey and basketball cards.

I don’t even own any of these stickers… not yet, anyway.  I borrowed the images above from a web site.  I just like the way that pennant looks… it’s just a very “60s/70s sports card” vibe to it.

Before I went too far down this path, I tried to see if I could duplicate the pennant to my satisfaction.  I’m self-taught in using Paintshop Pro, my software of choice, and while I knew how to make the text ‘ride the wave’ so that it fits in the flying pennant motif, I couldn’t figure out a good way of getting the text to get smaller as you go from left to right.

As a result, I ended up making my own similar pennant… mine is more of a ribbon, but I’m going to continue calling it a pennant here.

Since I couldn’t duplicate the original font, I just tried a number of different ones I had on my laptop and went with the one I thought looked best.

OK, so now I’ve got the main part of the design… Now how do I work that into a card design?  I thought about other designs which had a similar pennant/ribbon thing going, and the one I liked best was 1975 Topps Football.

Due to the size of my pennant, I thought it would look best at the top of the custom, so I started looking at 1975 Topps Football subsets which had the pennant/ribbon at the top.

In particular I chose one of the cards for George Blanda, who had set a career points record in 1974 and whose career accomplishments and career stats were apparently too much to fit on one standard card so they gave him two base cards (plus a “Record Holders” card) using a different design.  The main thing about this card as opposed to the other subset cards is that I liked the “name – dot – position” format for the bottom of the card.

So I tried to adapt that design to my pennant, having the top of the picture border run parallel the bottom of the pennant, but I couldn’t make it work to my satisfaction. FYI, I used a photo of Sean Doolittle because his “Photo Day” image was (figuratively) within arm’s reach.  For this test I used “GUARDIANS” just to see how it would look on a card.

I found the transition from the pennant to the photo frame to be awkward, so I started looking for other ways to do it.

I tried a box with rounded corners all the way around, but still wasn’t happy.  (And note that I’m still playing with fonts and such at this point).

I tried extending the box to run up ‘behind’ the pennant, and I liked it… but I felt it still needed something to ‘zhuzh’ it up a bit.

I came on the idea of having a colored border with black outlines, like on 1974 Topps Baseball (an all-time favorite of mine), and I was largely satisfied with what I had.  There were still some playing around here and there, but that was mainly along the lines of ‘try this other font’ or ‘Adjust the size of that’.  There are still moments when I want to change things, but I’m basically committed at this point.

I admit that the result is very derivative, but it’s *intentionally* derivative.  As always, I like to create something new that looks like it could’ve existed back in the day, and to do that you have to borrow from what came before.

One other thing… because I’m obsessive I also did a ‘test run’ of every team to make sure that there wouldn’t be any unforseen problems, and also to establish color combinations which would be largely unique to each team and would be appealing.

None of this is meant to be a guide to how one should come up with a custom card design… This is just about how I came up with this particular design.  There are always different ways of approaching things, and how you get there often depends on where you’re coming from.

A Week Of Customs: I Got A Funny New Place Where The Kids Are Hip

Another week’s worth of customs which were originally out on Twitter (#DailyTSRcustom)

We may have seen the last of Major League pitchers coming to bat (outside of Ohtani, of course). Zach Greinke’s pinch hit remains one of my favorite moments of the 2021 World Series.

The Padres surprised everyone (except, I suppose, the A’s) by hiring Bob Melvin as their new manager.  I used this occasion to introduce my 2022 TSR Hot Stove design

I wasn’t trying to make his cap & hoodie look airbrushed, but it certainly turned out that way and I couldn’t be more pleased

After the Atlanta Braves won the World Series I used it as an excuse to trot out my 2021 TSR Daily design and make another one of the “Managers and Coaches” inserts.

Swedish goalie Jacob Markstrom was named the NHL’s 1st Star for the week of Oct 25-31. In 3 games Markstrom allowed just 1 goal against 94 shots and helped the Flames move into 1st place in the Pacific.

My inner teenager from 1980 is miffed that the Calgary Flames are still using that uninspired Flaming C logo that pales so much in comparison to the awesomeness that was the Atlanta Flames logo. I guess I should be satisfied that they went back to the original color scheme.

Earlier this week injured center Jack Eichel was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights for forwards Alex Tuch, Peyton Krebs and two draft picks. I was impressed by Eichel when I saw him on TV playing for Boston University, and I’ve kept half an eye on him ever since… I hope Eichel’s neck surgery goes well and he’ll continue onwards and upwards.

I intentionally kept the photo looking like a color-modified Sabres uniform, in keeping with what might’ve been airbrushed back in the day.  I’m still getting a kick out of making customs for teams which didn’t exist in 1974/75.  I almost didn’t go with this color combination because the gold at the bottom doesn’t really contrast enough with the color of the hockey stick, but it just worked so well otherwise in representing the Knights.

The VGK logo is kind of dark in comparison to the bright 1970s design, it’s making me wish I’d put some time into making “1970s printing technology” versions of the team logos, but this was originally meant to be a low-effort project.  For an idea of what I’m talking about, check out the Diamondbacks logo in this 2013-14 TSR Hot Stove custom I’d made in the style of 1959 Bazooka:

…Moving on…

The Reds traded catcher Tucker Barnhart to Detroit early in November… Maybe not the biggest trade of the offseason, but I wanted some ‘photoshopping’ practice and catcher’s gear is pretty easy to modify.  I cheated by leaving the Reds’ sleeve striping in place and only changing the color.

After the surprise dismissal of manager Mike Schildt, the Cardinals handed the reins to Oliver Marmol, Schildt’s bench coach. I was hoping for Stubby Clapp, but you can’t always get what you want.

By the way, this Hot Stove design is very derivative of 1970s Topps and heavily borrows from designs for several sports. Due to some interest in it, I’m planning a future post on how I came up with the design.

Wrapping up with another Seattle Kraken card… This one is not a ‘base card’ but instead a “Highlights” card for the first goal scored by the Kraken. 1974/75 Topps/OPC didn’t have a Highlights subset, so I adapted the design used for the postseason subset.  Remember what I said about “low effort”?  Ha.

I could get crazy with other firsts in Kraken history… first power play goal, first hat trick… but I think I’m going to stick with just “first goal” and hope that there will be other uses for this template, Kraken or otherwise.


The title of this post was inspired by finding the Beach Boys performing “I Get Around” on the Ed Sullivan Show.  For years I though the first verse was “I get a bug drivin’ up and down the same old strip, I got a funny new place where the kids are hip”.  I would later find out that it’s “I’m getting bugged…” and “I gotta find a new place…”.

A Week Of Customs: More, More, More! How Do You Like It?

Another week’s worth of customs which were originally out on Twitter (#DailyTSRcustom)

Drew Carey threw out the first pitch at an Indians game in September, and I like Drew enough to make a Shlabotnik’s Picks custom to commemorate it.

I was never hugely into The Drew Carey Show, but I enjoyed him on Whose Line Is It Anyway and the follow-up cable show Drew Carey’s Improv-A-Ganza. In fact, I think I’m going to sing a “Hoedown” in Drew Carey’s honor, with the help of Laura Hall on the piano! (Dee dee dee, dee dee deedee deedee dee!)

This past Monday Kyle Connor was named the NHL 1st Star of the prior week, having scored 5 goals with 3 assists. This is all part of my attempts to re-learn the players in the league after ghosting the NHL for 18-or-so years.

I saw a headline which referred to the duo of Steve Martin and Martin Short as “Martin, Short” and that made me think of a particular card from 1982 Fleer, so I figured I’d pay it homage.

For those who might not be familiar with the original “Steve & Carlton” card, here you go.

Even though it’s not a true “tradition” in the trading card industry, I continue to wish that a card company would issue a set featuring current automotive models… So I’m making an attempt to do my own in the somewhat larger “tallboy” size. Lucid Motors, an electric car startup, was scheduled to deliver their first cars this weekend.

I’m also continuing to make full front-and-back customs of the expansion Seattle Kraken. Vince Dunn, who turned 25 this past Friday, was drafted from the St. Louis Blues and scored the first Kraken goal at their brand new Climate Pledge Arena home.

For the cartoon on the back, I adapted a photo of Brad Park where he had his right arm sticking out, but I didn’t make it look enough like an arm, so instead it looks like he chewed a piece of Willy Wonka gum and suffered the same fate as Violet Beauregarde.

“Oompa loompa doompetee doo, I’ve got another puzzle for you…”

Free on specially-marked boxes of Shlabotnik’s Halloween Snack Cakes: Get your very own trading card of David S. Pumpkins!

Any questions???

Have a happy Halloween, everybody!