2017 TSR Custom Fun Pack #2: Continuing To Follow My Muse

As I mentioned in my last custom card post, I’ve been having a time trying to keep to my original intentions regarding the customs I’m making, so for now I’m just going to go with whatever inspires me, and put the assorted customs into an old-school repack format.

This post is more of a compilation of smaller posts than anything else. Almost like a “clip show” on TV, except these clips haven’t appeared before.

I read a couple of articles the other day about how the Dodgers are playing with the idea of turning Ike Davis into a pitcher. In defense of this idea, it was pointed out that Davis is athletic and was a two-way player at Arizona State.
This custom is in the style of the 1976 Wonder Bread football set.

Not once did I see another factor mentioned… the fact that pitching is in his bloodlines. Ike’s father is Ron Davis, who pitched in 481 Major League games, had 14 wins and 9 saves as a rookie, was an All-Star in 1981 and had 30 saves in 1983.

You know, THAT Ron Davis.


Former Oriole Nolan Reimold was a personal favorite of mine and had been named to the 2009 Topps All-Star Rookie team. A number of injuries, most significantly a neck injury he suffered while diving into the stands in 2012, took the momentum out of his career, and going into this season he’d signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League.
This custom is my 2017 TSR design.

His time with the Ducks lasted just 19 games before Reimold retired from baseball. I wish Nolan success in his post-baseball endeavors.


Last week I featured a custom of goalie Marc-Andre Fleury of the newly-minted Vegas Golden Knights. While researching the 1970/71 Topps Hockey set (to see if the original cards said “GOALIE” or “GOALTENDER” or “G” or whatever), I stumbled across an insert from that very same set, referred to as “Sticker Stamps”, whatever that might imply. At any rate, I loved the design enough to make another Fleury custom.

This should be it for Golden Knight customs for the time being.


Last week the Mariners and Astros wore uniforms which threw back to 1977. You know me… if there are 1970’s throwback unis, I will be making customs of them! Since the uniforms were from 1977, it seems like the customs should be as well.

…or maybe 1978 Topps… I’ve got more images from this game I can use, maybe those will become 1978 customs.


From throwback to Fauxback… specifically my 2017 TSR Fauxback design (which I still suspect may be unintentional plagiarism). Back in the mid-1990’s my friends and I went to a local theater to see a collection of animated short films. My favorite of those films was “The Wrong Trousers” which I later found out was the second in a series of “Wallace And Gromit” films made by British animator Nick Park. I used to have a “Have you seen this chicken?” T-shirt and I still laugh every time I see the climactic chase scene.

Peter Sallis, who voiced Wallace, passed away in early June at the age of 96. Rest in peace, Peter Sallis.

BTW, this is my second “Fauxback” custom to honor a recently-passed figure from pop culture… this is not the “mission statement” of this custom design, just the way it’s worked out so far.

Trying To Break A Custom Funk With A “Super Value Fun Pack”!

You may have noticed that I’ve been kind of quiet with the customs lately.  It’s mainly from lack of time, but underlying that was a simple case of “writer’s block”.  I didn’t really have anything I wanted to “say”, so nothing came out.

I started to come out of the funk a little bit when I poked a bit of fun at the Topps online exclusive Throwback Thursday sets (#TSR_TBT), but then I also decided to stop focusing on my 2017 TSR set and let my muse take me wherever I might go.

I ultimately ended up with an odd assortment of customs and I was trying to think of how to present them… And that’s when I remembered a predecesor of the 21st century repack.  Back in the day, companies used to take whatever they had left over – cards, comic books, etc. – package them together at a low price and tried to make them sound appealing by throwing about words like “Value” and “Fun”.

So I came up with the idea of a “Super Value Fun Pack” and went about creating a “wrapper”:

Now that I’m done with the explanations, let’s see what’s in the Super Value Fun Pack, shall we?


Leading up to the recent NHL Expansion Draft to stock the roster of the Vegas Golden Knights, I made a decision that if any players showed up in person and put on a VGK jersey (Sorry, Canadians, I just can’t call it a “sweater”), I would make a custom out of it.

Well, a number of players did make an appearance, and I decided to use the 1970-71 Topps Hockey design because a)  It allowed me to remove the uninteresting background and b) I’d already come up with a template to use.

Deciding which player to feature wasn’t hard, because the one and only drafted player I’d even heard of before the draft was one of the guys who showed up.

While researching this card, I stumbled across a hockey oddball from the same year, and the custom which resulted will be in the next Super Value Fun Pack (ideally next week).


The one bit of momentum I’ve been able to maintain with my 2017 TSR custom set is making customs of Mets and Orioles for players who haven’t appeared on a real card in 2017. For this week’s Orioles entry in the “Dude Needs A Card” theme, we have a pitcher who appeared in 3 games before being Designated For Assignment, and who is already gone from the O’s organization. I’m talking about journeyman pitcher Edwin Jackson!

The Orioles were the 12th team Jackson has pitched for. When the O’s DFA’ed him, he declared free agency and signed a minor league contract with the Nationals… But if he makes it back to the Majors with the Nats, it won’t up his totals, because he pitched for the Nationals in 2012.

For the record his 12 teams (in order): Dodgers, Devil Rays/Rays (they transitioned while he was on the roster), Tigers, Diamondbacks, White Sox, Cardinals, Nationals, Cubs, Braves, Marlins, Padres, Orioles


Fernando Salas has already appeared in 36 games for the Mets and yet remains cardboard-free. I’m sure that’s nothing to do with his 6.00 ERA or 1.697 WHIP.

I would’ve created a custom for my TSR set, but I already had one made for my TSRchives set.


The final custom comes from a desire to have a design I could use for just about any purpose. I ultimately decided to revive my short-lived “TSR Fauxback” set from 2015. The design I came up with for 2017 is similar to my 2015 design in that it’s intentionally derivative as hell, but I can’t help shaking the feeling that I’ve subconsciously stolen it from somewhere.

Call it derivative, call it homage, call it plagiarism… Call it whatever, this is the 2017 TSR Fauxback design:

Rest in peace, Adam West.

Why Am I Intrigued By The Expansion Of A League I Don’t Follow?

Chalk it up to my being a “franchise nerd”.

I used to be a big hockey fan, specifically the Washington Capitals. I collected hockey cards, bought yearbooks and apparel and followed my team and the league as best I could given that my team was close to 300 miles away. My enthusiasm started to take a nosedive in the 1990’s for a variety of reasons, and when the league shut down for an entire season, that was it for the NHL. I still enjoy hockey, but I’d just as soon watch NCAA hockey as much as the pro ranks.

So with that in mind, why am I so caught up in the NHL expansion draft to stock the roster of the Vegas Golden Knights?

It’s not because I have any ties to Las Vegas or love their logo… although it is a pretty good logo.

Part of it is the relatively small number of players who will be protected from the draft. Chances are it will still result in only one player I’ve heard of being selected in the draft:  Marc-Andre Fleury (And I wouldn’t even count on him being a Knight come the opening puck drop).

So why do I care? I’ve asked myself that question several times.

Part of it is probably that I was caught up in this type of thing from an early age. My first three years of being a baseball fan was with 24 teams divided into four divisions, and when you’re a kid, three years is a long time. Just after I turned 11, there was this expansion draft to create the Blue Jays and Mariners, two brand new teams created seemingly from nothing. This blew my 11-year-old mind. New cities, new team names, new logos and colors, new uniforms… I even had to rearrange the stacks of cards in my dresser drawer to make room for two new team stacks!

And now, it’s been quite a while since any of the four major sports has expanded…. I believe the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats in 2004 was the last of the top 4 sports. Before that it was the NFL’s Houston Texans in 2002 and before that it was the NHL’s addition of the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild in 2000. For MLB, it was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998.

When the NHL announced that they would be expanding, that the new team would cost a half-billion dollars and, in compensation, would be better stocked than prior teams, it caught my attention… even though I’d be hard-pressed to name two dozen current players in the NHL.

Unfortunately the Capitals protected the biggest obstacle to my becoming a Caps fan again – Alex Ovechkin, who got into the “Shlabotnik Hall Of Disdain” on the first ballot.  I knew the Caps wouldn’t allow Ovechkin to get selected for no compensation, but a guy can dream, can’t he?

Them Photobombin’ Capitals: Dennis Maruk

One of the fun things about being a Capitals fan in the 1970’s and 1980’s was that many of the hockey cards featured photos taken at the their home ice (the Cap Center), so when I opened a pack of cards, there was a good chance of pulling a Capital… even if none of the cards featured any Capitals.

A little while ago I went through my hockey collection and scanned all of the cards I had with cameo appearances by Capitals players, or as I like to call them, Photobombin’ Capitals.  Today, I’m going to feature all the ones which feature one of my favorite Capitals and one of the great mustaches of the 1970’s, #21, Dennis Maruk!

And as it turns out, there are some other guys on the cards with him.

For instance, here’s Dennnis Maruk with North Stars’ center Glen Sharpley

For some reason, this Dennis Maruk “Super Action” card has a Bruins logo on it, and also includes Ray Borque.

This is a 1982-83 Topps Album Sticker which features Dennis Maruk as well as another Bruin, Tom Fergus.

The photographer screwed up on this one, as Dennis Maruk was facing away from the camera and he ended up with Tony McKegney instead.

Dennis Maruk is sometimes seen in the company of HOFers like Brad Park.

Here Dennis Maruk is chatting with Gilles Meloche… The two of them were teammates with the California Golden Seals, Cleveland Barons and Minnesota North Stars.

For those who don’t know, the California Golden Seals moved to Cleveland to become the Barons, and then the Barons and North Stars merged.

Dollar Tree Very Pretty And The Dollar Flower Is Sweet…

…But the cards from the poor Dollar stink like Roger Clemens’ feet!

OK, that’s admittedly a little harsh.  While I was somewhat disappointed in the cards I got in a recent Dollar Tree excursion, it was largely my own fault.  Caveat Emptor and all that.

So here’s the deal.  There was recently a post over at The Five Tool Collector detailing the somewhat surprising success he had with cards from Dollar Tree.  I was inspired to check out the Dollar Tree near where I work, but they have no cards at all.  A few days later I was driving in another direction during my lunchbreak and I passed a Dollar Tree that I’d forgotten about because it’s only been open for a year or so.  Because I had other errands to run, I rushed through the purchase and neglected make sure that the repacks I wanted were from a company called Presstine.  The two repacks I bought were from another company and featured the kind of crap we all fear in a repack.

It wasn’t a complete waste, because I did get a couple of junk-waxy needs,  a couple of filler cards for some outgoing packages, plus a Tim Wallach card that goes in the “Someday I’ll send a PWE to the Tim Wallach guy” stack.

I also bought some unopened packs which were a lot more fun.

Before I get into the cards I got, I’m curious about something…  Is there anybody younger than I am – I’ll be 52 in the fall – who gets the reference made in the subject line?

I’ll start with the repacks.  I was relatively excited to pull a 1984 Donruss Oriole.  It’s funny, 1984 was all about Fleer for me, and I was largely “meh” about 84D, but now it’s like “The champagne of junk wax”.

Sadly, I already had this card.  Quelle dommage.

Speaking of Orioles, one of my favorite all-time O’s is Jeff Conine.  This card features him with the Marlins (pauses to spit on the ground), but it’s still a cool card of “Niner”.

A nice action shot of Mike Cameron, who was always fun to watch in the outfield.

This card is from the 1998 Score Rookie And Traded set… despite the fact that Cameron had not changed teams and this is not remotely close to being Cameron’s rookie card – he’d actually been in the 1997 and 1998 Score flagship sets.  Maybe the set should’ve been called “Rookie And Traded And Other Photos We Want To Get In A Set”.

This next card falls into the “audience participation” category.  From the back of the card, I could tell this wasn’t your run-of-the-mill 1989 Donruss card.

I went to COMC to see which 1989 Donruss set it’s from, and discovered it’s from the “Baseball’s Best” set.  I also discovered that the sole copy of it on COMC is from a seller who is notorious for selling commons for outrageous prices (although this one was priced at a low-for-him $1).  My question to you, my readers, is this:  Should I send this card in to COMC solely for the purpose of undercutting this disreputable seller?  It’s certainly not a high-demand card and I would price it solely to get my processing fee back, but I’ll admit I would take a not-insignificant amount of satisfaction if I were to stick it to this guy even just a little bit.  Whaddaya think?

Moving on to the packs.  I bought a single pack of 2015 Panini Americana just because.  I like the design of this set, but the checklist largely leaves me cold and the photos used aren’t always the greatest.  I got two cards of note, however.

I had a minor crush on Julie Gonzalo when she was on the now-forgotten TV show “Eli Stone”.  She’s better known for her roles in “Veronica Mars” and the rebooted “Dallas”.

Her Wikipedia page has a photo from the “2013 Monte Carlo Television Festival” which, judging from her outfit, was taken at the same time as this photo (and it’s a somewhat better photo).

I also got a die-cast jockey insert… three-time Kentucky Derby winner Calvin Borel (FYI, I scanned this with the scanner lid open in an attempt to bring out the die-cuttedness of it).

I saw Die-Cut Jockey when they opened for Barenaked Ladies in the mid-1990’s (Cue the Foghorn Leghorn audio clip – that’s a joke, I say, that’s a joke, son!).

The Dollar Tree also had some unopened packs which sold for a buck for each bag of two.  I bought two of these two-pack repacks.  Each bag contained a pack of 1994 Upper Deck World Cup Cards (English/Italian version), which were pretty cool.  One pack’s cards were so stuck together that I couldn’t separate them without significant card damage (and they ended up in the trash), but the other pack came out OK.  Here’s a card of Brazilian footballer Palhinha.

I didn’t know any of the players, but the photos were more interesting than in many of the more current soccer sets.

Another 2/$1 pack I got was 1992 ProSet Guinness Book Of Records, which is a neat concept but a lot of the cards didn’t translate well to 2.5″ x 3.5″.  Here’s the best of my pack.

“The world’s longest snake is the reticulated python of Southeast Asia, Indonesia and the Philppines, which regularly exceeds 20 feet, 6 inches in length”.

The last pack I got was from the 1994 Cardz “Jim Henson’s Muppets Take The Ice” mashup of everyone’s favorite Muppets and the NHL.  These are actually pretty fun cards, here’s my favorite from the pack:

The next time I pass this Dollar Tree, I’m going to see if they have any more of the Muppets and World Cup packs.  The rest I can do without (unless they get some of those Presstine repacks in).

In case you’re curious about the “Dollar Tree Very Pretty” reference, or if you just like Trini Lopez…  Full Disclosure:  Trini Lopez isn’t the original artist and may not have had the biggest hit version, but I think of Lemon Tree as being “his song”.

Weigh-In #56: It’s The Most Fattening Time Of The Year…

The same thing happens every year around this time… You’re in the store, and you see all kinds of new stuff that looks like you might enjoy it, so you try a little bit of this and a little bit of that, sampling something every time you go to the store until the next thing you know, you’ve got this extra flab that you just can’t shake and you wonder “How the heck did I get to this point?”

Oh… did you think I was talking about something other than my collection?  New product comes out, and it’s try a hanger of this, a blaster of that, a few packs here and there, and before you know it there’s a couple of tall stacks sitting on your desk that seem to have come out of nowhere.

So I’m a couple of weeks late for my quarterly weigh-in, but the general idea of it is to post my collection’s status to see if I’m making any progress in my quest to get rid of the dead weight, the stuff I look at and think “Why do I still have that?”

Before I get into that, I’m going to touch on some of the pseudo-goals I’d set for 2017, and how it’s working out for me.

Keeping a box of recent acquisitions in my car:

This was a solution to two problems. Problem #1 is that I impulse-buy too many cards. Problem #2 was that I don’t spend any “quality time” with a lot of the cards I buy, they just pile up on my desk. The solution was taking the cards in questions (nothing vintage or valuable, of course) and keep them in a box in my car so that I can thumb through them when I’m having a crappy day at work and the urge to buy cards comes at me. Having the box on hand has worked out pretty well, because there were many days when taking a “cigarette break” in my car and going through the cards would take the steam out of the pack-buying urges.

Making 1990’s Frankensets and getting rid of the resulting unwanted cards:

One of the ways I’m combating bloat in my collection is by creating Frankensets for particular years in the 1990’s, organized by team and player. By organizing my cards this way, I can find out when I’ve got more cards of a player than I really want or need, and I can feel comfortable getting rid of those extra 1992 cards of Roger Clemens because I’ll still have at least one nicer card to represent that jerk – I mean, Roger – for 1992.

I had thought I would go for the low-hanging fruit and make a 1995 Frankenset, given that I consider 1995 the worst overall year from my 40+ years in the hobby. The problem is that the fruit was hanging a little too low; Because I don’t like 1995, I didn’t have all that many 1995 cards in the first place, and there wasn’t much “body fat” to shed.

So, for 2Q 2017, I’ll be a little more scientific about it and work on the year for which I have the most cards. I ran a query on my database, which I’ll now show you in graphical form:

This is my collection in terms of cards per year, from 1968 to 2017.  Those tall red bars in the middle are 1990 and 1991, the beer belly of my collection.  Do I really need 3,800 cards just from 1990?  I think it’s time to work on my core.

BTW, the black bar is 1995, the “low-hanging fruit” I talked about.

OK, on to the “Weigh-in” part. To remind everybody of what these are about… Much like weight-loss programs will have you weigh-in on a regular basis to keep track of your progress, I find that posting updates on the organizing and streamlining of my collection helps me in a number of ways. It gives me an opportunity to look at the big picture, and helps with both motivation (if I do well) and guilt (if I don’t).

To add to the visual appeal of something which isn’t the most exciting information, I’ve included a number of cards I’ve been meaning to post.

First I’m going to document the changes since the last Weigh-in on January 2nd:

Net change in the collection: +587 (591 added, 4 purged)

Net change to the # of cards in the house: +1,117 (1,163 in, 46 out)

It’s amazing how this stuff builds up.  While I did buy a wax box of 2004 Topps Total, that was only 360 cards.  The other 757 cards came into the house in bits and pieces –  a blaster here,  a repack there… before you know it, you’ve acquired 1117 cards in just over 3 months.

Next, the totals since I started tracking this stuff on 10/16/2011.

Total # of cards purged from the collection, to date: 12,139

Net change to the collection, to date: +840

Total # of cards which have left the house, to date: 48,905

Net change to the number of cards in the house, to date: -25,646

Number of individual cards tracked in my Access database: 55,419

Number of cards that make up the sets flagged as completed in my Access database: 16,890

…which means I’ve got at least 72,309 cards in my collection

 

Cherry-Picking The 30-Day Challenge: “A Card Bought In Person And The Story Behind It”

Several weeks ago, Tony over at Off-Hiatus Baseball cards came up with a 30-day baseball card challenge, and a lot of bloggers have been joining in. I’m not going to do all 30, but I’ll definitely cherry-pick some topics… like today’s:

Day #7: A card you bought in person and the story behind it.

This story goes back to 1991 – I was 25 years old at the time – and involves this autographed hockey card.
1990-91 Topps Derek King Autographed
I was at a card show on Long Island and Derek King, who was a New York Islander at the time, was the show’s autograph guest.  More importantly for someone like me who isn’t much of an autograph collector and doesn’t like the Islanders, he was the FREE autograph guest.

I thought it would be nice to have his signature on something other than an index card, but at that point it had been 5 years or so since I’d actively collected hockey.  I looked around the show and didn’t find any cards I was willing to pay the inflated prices for, but one dealer was selling packs of that year’s Topps hockey cards.  I bought three packs and started to open the packs while chatting with the dealer about how I was hoping to pull a Derek King so I could get it signed.  Much to my delight, I pulled the card above out of the second pack, and even though it was a common, it was still one of the more exciting pulls I’d had out of a hockey pack in a long time.

With card in hand, went and got in line to get Derek King’s autograph… and the experience made me grateful that I hadn’t paid anything for the sig.  Without looking up or saying anything, he took my card, signed it, and slid it back across the table to me.  I thanked him, turned away, rolled my eyes and went back to the show.

I realize autograph guests are not obligated to interact with the collectors, but this always stuck with me because getting the item to be autographed was far more exciting than actually getting it autographed.

Has anybody else had any encounters with Derek King?  I’ve always wondered if he was having a bad day, or if he was generally unpleasant.