PHIL! A! DELPHIA! FOOTBALL! I Lo-ho-ho-o-o-o-ove You!

Yes, I do!

So there’s this local card show I bend over backwards to support. This is because, for over a decade, we in Shlabotsylvania didn’t have a show within a 90 minute drive… So now that we’ve got a show that actually *comes back* on a regular basis, I get a little free with my spending…  Relatively speaking, of course, I’m still a cheapskate. I’ve been thinking of somewhat changing my cheapskate tendencies but that’s a topic for an upcoming post.

So anyway, while going through a box at this show I ran across a team bag of eight well-loved cards from 1964 Philadelphia Gum Football. The 1960’s Philadelphia sets have become a recent source of fascination for me, both for their simple but colorful designs and for the non-Topps-ness of the cards. Even though I have no illusions of collecting the sets, I couldn’t resist dropping a couple of bucks on this group.

Of the cards I was looking for from this set, one target had nothing to do with whose card it was, but rather whether there was a Cadillac in the background…

Most of the Cleveland Browns photos in this set have this Cadillac in the background, and the common wisdom is that it’s HOF running back Jim Brown’s Caddy. This background is so much a part of this set’s character that I felt like I had to have one represented in my Football binder.

1964 Philadelphia cards are like 1965 Topps baseball cards in that they the card backs are blue with a prominently-featured cartoon which makes up a visual clue for a trivia question.

Since I don’t want you to strain yourselves in trying to read the upside-down answer, here, as a public service, is the answer to the question “What is John Morrow’s hobby?”

John Morrow was a 2-time Pro Bowler and won a championship with those 1964 Cleveland Browns.

My second-favorite card from the pack is this card of L.A. Rams tackle Frank Varrichione.  These Rams cards are visually appealing with the abundance of primary colors

But I also like the cartoon:

So why was Frank Varrichione called “Faintin’ Frank” at college?

…Is this implying that Frank faked an injury to get a timeout?  Seems like an odd thing to promote on a card.

Frank Varrichione played for the Rams and Steelers, went to Notre Dame, and played in five Pro Bowls.

Final card, this one isn’t visually stimulating on the front…

…But I liked the cartoon…

Gosh, I can’t even guess at the answer to the question of the other sport Lonnie Sanders played in college… if only I had some sort of hint…

Oh, Basketball!!!!  Gosh, I should’ve known that.

The card lists Sanders as a halfback, but Pro Football Reference has him as a cornerback.  In 1965 he had four interceptions which he re turned for a combined 121 yards… but none for a touchdown.

One more thing about the cartoons… I find it interesting that the cartoon version of most players features their actual uniform number, and that the Lonnie Sanders cartoon character has dark skin.  Of course, it helps that the cartoons are large enough that the cartoonist could work in some shading.

When this set came out in the United States, a 17-year-old English musician called Reg Dwight was playing in a band called Bluesology.  Ten years later he would go on to have a bit of success, and would write a song about Billie Jean King’s team in the fledgling World Team Tennis league, the Philadelphia Freedoms.  According to Wikipedia, the song didn’t get released until 1975, after the WTT franchise had moved to Boston.

A Few Customs, All Over The Place

On this particular Sunday morning I have to start with one particular Post(ess)Season custom of one particular player…

As they used to say in Marvel Comics, ‘Nuff Said.

Here’s a little bit of equal time for the upcoming World Series.

I collect Ryan Zimmerman and, to a lesser extent, Sean Doolittle… but sorry guys, I’m pulling for Houston.

The Steelers have a bye week, but I’ll push forward with a Football custom.

I confess… With everything going on this week, I paid very little attention to hockey. However, I did see that Billie Jean King was at a Blackhawks game and scored a goal from mid-ice during a between-periods promotion. The crowd, as they say, went wild…

…and I felt the need to make a custom.

I’m still catching up on my “Scoops” customs, and there damn well better be at least one Mets-related award once the World Series is over.

2019 Post(ess)Season Customs Plus Football And Hockey

So here’s how it happened…

I had this idea of the direction I could take my customs in 2020, and part of it involved a slightly smaller “card size”… Something more like Hostess than a standard-sized card. After a quick review of the five years of Hostess cards, I decided that 1979 Hostess was closest to what I’d had in mind, so I whipped up a template and made up about 8 customs, just to see if it would work the way I thought it might.

I was happy with the way things turned out, so I posted four of them out on Twitter and they were – by my Twitter account’s standards – fairly popular. I guess there’s a pent-up demand for Hostess customs, even ones where the font isn’t quite right.

Part of the experiment was to see how quickly I could turn these things out when the urge strikes. While I’m aesthetically happy with my 2019 TSR custom design, each one takes a while to make and that resulted in my not going as far as I originally intended.

Anyway, I went ahead and continued to make a few to highlight players in the postseason. I’ve got the “original” four from Twitter at the bottom of this post, but here are some new ones using this template:

Because I seem to feel the need to spend too much time on my hobbies, I also created a couple of more football customs to represent today’s Steelers/Chargers game.

Minkah Fitzpatrick was picked up early in the seasons for draft picks… I suspect part of it was to attempt to salvage the season, but the team is currently sitting at 1-4.

I didn’t feel like putting a lot of thought into picking a Charger, so I found an online article about the 100 best players in the NFL and chose the top-rated Charger. Unsurprisingly, it’s Philip Rivers.

I really don’t intend to feature as many quarterbacks as I have so far, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes.

Moving on to hockey, because, as I’ve said, I apparently can’t rein myself in on these things…

Mika Zibanejad recently scored a hat trick for the Rangers, and I saw an article on – I think – the Hockey News that referred to him as being on the verge of stardom. Interesting. He was also the first “Star Of The Week” of the NHL season and the second player in Rangers history to get 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) over the first two games of the season.

Mika was born in Sweden to a Finnish mother and Iranian father, is an EDM DJ and speaks Swedish, Farsi, English and Finnish.

The other featured hockey player is the Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw. Shaw was obtained from the Canadiens during the offseason and was selected somewhat arbitrarily for this custom (I picked one of the Blackhawks’ +/- leaders).

To wrap things up, here are the four images I’d shared on Twitter this past week.

Custom Sunday, 9/29/2019

Three customs today, plus a small request to help me with my plans for the upcoming NHL season… more on this at the end.

The Steelers are playing the Bengals on Monday night, so for one of my 1973 Topps-inspired football customs, I’m featuring wide receiver A.J. Green, the current AFC Offensive Player of the Week. Green had a career-high 227 receiving yards and two touchdowns; both came in the 4th quarter and helped the Bengals beat the Ravens.

If I’m ever looking for ideas of who to make a football custom for, I might just go with “Who helped their team to beat the Ravens?”

JuJu Smith-Schuster was one of the better Steelers in the loss to the 49ers, mainly for his 76-yard TD reception to put the Steelers ahead in the 3rd quarter.

I’m still catching up on my Baseball Scoops customs; here’s one from July, when the Orioles’ bench player Stevie Wilkerson pitched a 1-2-3 16th inning to get the save against the Angels. The Save has been an official stat since 1969, and this was the first time a position played had gotten one.

It pains me slightly that I neglected to include a hyphen between “First” and “Ever”.

At the rate I’m going, you’ll still be seeing these Scoops customs well after the World Series is over.

OK, now on to my NHL request. Back in 2004 when the league lost an entire season to a labor dispute, I walked away from the league and I’m only now considering giving it another shot… The thing is, I no longer have a team because my “ex”, the Washington Capitals, left me. I’m speaking figuratively, of course; I didn’t like the direction they moved in during the 1990’s, and I’m not a fan of where they are now.

If I’m going to give the NHL another shot, it would help to have a team and I’m too indecisive to pick one myself. What I did instead was make a list of 16 teams and started a tournament on Twitter.

We’re in the Elite Eight right now; the Final Four begins Monday morning and the final vote starts Tuesday morning.

If you’re on Twitter and would like to join in on the voting, you can check it out here or you can search on #ShlabotnikNHL2020.

As of right now, I’m thinking that there will be customs involved. :-)


Drowning My Sorrows In 1960’s Post

So, it turns out there’s a significant difference between “I don’t think the Mets really have a chance” and “The Mets have been mathematically eliminated from the postseason”.

Wednesday was a very “sigh” day to begin with, and Major League Baseball saw to it that things didn’t get any better for me.

I had several posts in mind that I’d intended to be writing, but instead I decided to go with what just felt like fun… and today that’s a sampling of some Post cereal cards that I picked up at recent shows.  Post cards are a relatively recent thing for me… They kinda flew under my radar for years, and I recently discovered “Hey, these things are FUN!”

…Especially if, like me, you’re not particularly concerned with condition.  If badly-cut edges and handwriting samples are not an issue for you, then HOFers can be affordable.

I see these cards as having character.  Unlike a mint Topps card which might have been sitting in an unopened pack for 50 years, there’s no questioning that these cards were part of some kid’s collection.

I couldn’t pass this next card by… Aside from the fact that it features Ed “The Glider” Charles from his days with the KC Athletics, some kid (for reasons unknown) wrote “TOPPS” on it.

Did someone think that they were going to fool some potential trading buddy that this was a Topps card of Ed Charles?  The world may never know.

The original Washington Senators packed up their bats and gloves and moved to the Twin Cities for the 1961 season, it wasn’t a given that they would call themselves “Minnesota”… I read somewhere that the original intent was to call them the “Twin Cities Twins”, which is why the hats have the “TC” logo on them.

…But there was a certain amount of uncertainty about the team’s name after the move, and the cards of the 1961 Post Twins have two versions;  the rarer has the correct “Minnesota” listed as the team’s home, but the more common versions say “Minneapolis”.

I actually didn’t think about any of this until after I had the card.. I bought the card because of a small desire to start a Reno Bertoia collection, for reasons I don’t want to get into now (It’s more about happenstance than any real connection I have with Bertoia).

Here’s a lovely 1961 Post card of Marv Throneberry.

I probably should have included this card when I featured Marvelous Marv in my first “1961 Mets” post, but I frankly had forgotten that I’d acquired this card… I bought just enough of these to have lost track of which particular cards I’d bought.

Without meaning to, I managed to get a complete run of Post cards for slugger Jim Gentile who’s a member of the Orioles Hall Of Fame. Gentile was an All-Star in each of his first three seasons (1960 – 1962).

In 1961 his 46 homers got him a 3rd place tie in the Majors; he was tied with Orlando Cepeda and Harmon Killebrew, and finished behind Mickey Mantle (54) and Roger Maris (61, of course). Gentile finished 2nd in the Majors in RBI’s as well; he and Maris had 141, and Cepeda had 142.

Here’s a fun thing I’d not been aware of: all three of the players who got 1960 A.L. Rookie of the Year votes were Orioles: Winner Ron Hansen got 22 votes, while Gentile and pitcher Chuck Estrada both got 1 vote. I wonder who the sportswriter from Baltimore voted for. Gentile’s batting stats are largely better than Hansen’s, which leads me to believe that Hansen got the votes because he was a shortstop and must’ve been smooth with a glove.

I’m going to wrap up with my first Post *Football* card. Punter/Halfback Bobby Joe Green played for the Steelers in 1960 and 1961, was traded to the Bears and made the Pro Bowl after the 1970 season. Since Green rushed for all of 7 yards in 1970, I’m guessing he made the Pro Bowl as a punter.

This card seems to be considered to be a “pre-rookie” card, I’m guessing because it preceeded Green’s first card which came in packs (1965 Philadelphia).

And that’s all the Post cards I have for now (but not all of the ones I recently bought). Gotta admit, I feel a little better now.

Custom Sunday: More Scoops, More Football

Just a few scattershot customs today…

First off, I’m continuing to catch up on the “Scoops” for this season. I’d like to do this again in 2020, but I need to find a way to streamline my processes so I can do a better job of keeping up.

Since they got a good response and I enjoy doing them, I’m also going to try to keep up on these Football customs (based on 1973 Topps Football). Last week I featured Ben Roethlisberger and I admitted that I was tired of him, but now he’s out for the season after elbow surgery, so the Steelers’ starting quarterback from here on out is 2nd year pro Mason Rudolph. Rudolph looked pretty good from what I saw of last week’s game, so we’ll see how he does today against the 49ers.

I don’t want to make this custom set be all about my Steelers, so I’m thinking up ways of featuring players from other teams. This time around I’m featuring the Steelers opponents from San Francisco. George Kittle set a record last season for receiving yards by a tight end.

I might come up with other ways to pick players to feature… Each conference names an offensive, defensive and special teams player of the week, so if nothing else I’ve got six topical names to pick from.

I’ll also take requests… but with all of these, a lot depends on whether I can find decent images to work with.

One last custom, this time I’m reviving my original “Fauxback” template to feature a WNBA player who caught my eye when I happened to see a few minutes of a WNBA game a few weeks ago.

Diamond DeShields is a guard with the Chicago Sky, and if you’re asking “Is she?”, the answer is “Yes, she is”.

DeShields and the Sky got into the second round of the WNBA playoffs before losing to the Las Vegas Aces. He father is former Major Leaguer Delino DeShields and her brother is, of course, Texas Ranger outfielder Delino DeShields Jr.

So that’s it for this week’s customs. As a sort of bad tease, I’ll just mention that at this point I have little idea of what customs will be featured next week.

Football And Fortnite: Retail Blood Pressure Therapy

So there was this political conversation going on at work that I couldn’t help but overhear. I generally don’t get into politics at work (or here, for that matter), but the conversation was along the lines of “WE are unfailingly right about everything and THEY are unquestionably wrong about everything”. I consider myself to be somewhere in between “us” and “them”, but I’ve known the main person in the conversation for years and he would probably categorize anybody who’s not fully “us” as being “them”.  I don’t like to be painted with that broad of a brush… I don’t like ANY groups of people to be painted with that broad of a brush.

Anyway, I could feel my blood pressure going up, but it was fortunately close enough to lunchtime that I was able to flee the discussion and my office.  I went to a big box retailer hoping to find some Heritage High Numbers, but I was out of luck. Since I was looking for a significant distraction, I decided to treat the card aisle as a buffet and sampled a pack each of several sets which were new to me.

First I grabbed a pack of 2019 Donruss Football.  i’d expected the design to be basically the same as 2019 Donruss Baseball, only Football is fully licensed and can go wild with things like team colors and logos.  Oooooooh.

2019 Donruss Football, as is often the case, does look better than 2019 Donruss Baseball. FWIW, the name and position are in silver foil.

I’ve noticed on football cards from the past few years that the players tend to get lost in the crowd background.  I wonder if there’s some differing techniques that the photographer and/or Panini are using (or are not using) that makes the difference, or if crowds just dress more colorfully than they used to.

I also pulled a card of Joe Willie Namath.  As they say in the land of my upbringing, that and $2.75 will getcha on the subway.

Nothing much else to say about Donruss Football, so I’ll move on to the second pack, 2019 Score Football.  The Panini-era Score football cards that I’ve seen have been largely-forgettable 21st century designs, which is why I was surprised that these cards were a 30th anniversary homage to 1989 Score Football.

Like with Donruss “Retro”, these cards are more homage than an attempt to duplicate the originals.  For starters, the originals had a colored border which matched the box at the bottom of the card… Well, here, check out my 1989 Score Flutie:

1989 Score is not a great design to start with, so I’m not going to fault Panini for making changes.  It falls into the category of “It’s fine” and we all move on.

Because it’s slightly more interesting than your typical Panini card back, here’s the 2019 Score back:

These are closer to the originals than the front, with the main difference being that the originals featured a *different* photo on the back… but for $1.99 a pack I guess I won’t kick about that.

The rookies in Score are more along the lines of what I’d expect from 21st Century Score… and there’s no mention of which NFL team owns the rights to said rookies.

Trayveon Williams is with the Cincinnati Bengals, in case you were wondering. I understand that this is probably done so they can get the cards to market sooner, but it’s a pain for team collectors who can’t easily tell which rookie is *their* rookie.

Wrapping up the Score pack with the one keeper for this Steelers fan:

An “All-Hands Team” insert of Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva… The card is shiny and not bad looking, but to me “All-Hands” conjures up images of… um… something else.

I also dropped another $0.99 on a pack of Panini Football stickers.  Nothing much to say about the stickers, the stickers are stickers.

…But there was a surprise: along with all of the stickers, there was a card!

It’s on thin cardstock and just your run of the mill throwaway Panini design, but it just caught me off guard because I’d never seen anything other than stickers in a Panini sticker pack.

I should mention that the card is standard-sized, and the stickers are your typical sticker size.

One more impulse buy was involved, and despite it being something I would normally have zero interest in, it ended up being my favorite (relatively speaking) pack of the bunch.

I’m talking about a pack of Panini Fortnite Series 1 cards. Full disclosure: I’m not a gamer and have not so much as seen Fortnite being played.  Some of the preview images I’d seen spoke to me on some level, so I figured I’d spring for a pack. It’s not that different than my buying NBA Hoops cards at the dollar store; I have about as much interest in basketball as I do in video games (not much), I’m just curious about them as cards.

Even though the characters mean nothing to me, I have to say I kinda like these cards…  Well, some of the cards.  I can do without the cards that – I imagine – show gameplay “action”.

Here’s a more interesting card, front and back:

I dunno, there’s something appealing about these cards. Colorful, simple, appealing.. Although I’ll admit that I don’t know how much of the colorful, simple, appealing design is Panini and how much of that is Fortnite.

…and look at the size of that card number! No squinting at these babies!

Here’s another one I kinda liked.

The highlight – kind of – of the pack was this foil parallel of… a lamp.

The back of the card lists it under the category of “Harvesting Tool”, so it clearly has some significance within the game… but this card amuses the heck out of me because a shiny parallel of a floor lamp is something which just out-Ginters Ginter. Take that, Egg!

So, to wrap up all of this… I don’t see myself buying a second pack of any of these, but if I ran across a dime box which had Fortnite cards, I’d poke through them to see what they had.

Does anybody else have any experience with these cards?  I’m curious to hear your take!