2021 TSR Daily: Wrapping Things Up

This morning I Tweeted the last of my 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (called “Daily” because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ).

I started Tweeting these on February 23rd and sharing them here on March 1st.  Back in 2020 with everything shut down, I created a couple of hundred customs as a way to keep me occupied and relaxed.  For 2021 I decided that if I was going to crank out that many I might as well make a small cohesive set and try to represent all of the teams.  I’m going to share the last batch of customs and then I’ll discuss how well I met my goals and what is coming next for me.

Alek Manoah was named the September/October AL Rookie of the Month, and for the season he was 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA, a 1.048 WHIP and 10.2 strikeouts per inning

One of the things I tried to do late in the game was make sure that I made a custom for anyone who might win an award or be a league leader in some major category (i.e. I didn’t sweat the Hit By Pitch leaders). I don’t think Manoah is going to be the AL Rookie of the Year, but I expect he’ll get some consideration.

Lucas Giolito has gotten Cy Young votes in the past and threw a no-hitter last year. This year he has 11 wins and 201 strikeouts.

During the month of August Shane McClanahan won each of his five starts. One other thing I found out, and I don’t know why this surprised me as much as it did, but he’s just the second McClanahan to appear in the Majors… the first was Pete McClanahan who played in 7 games for the 1931 Pirates.

Quick side note about Pete McClanahan: He’s a “reverse Moonlight Graham” in that he played in 7 games without ever taking the field. He pinch hit 6 times and pinch ran once. For his abbreviated career he went 2-for-4 with 2 walks and 2 runs scored. The 1931 Pirates were a mediocre team, it makes me wonder why a guy with a .667 on-base % didn’t get more of a shot… but there’s very little information about Pete out there.

Getting back on track…

Rookie starter Luis Garcia is one of four Astros starters with double-digit wins, and he averaged 9.7 Ks per 9 innings pitched.

The Braves’ Will Smith lead the NL with 60 games finished and he’s 3rd in the league with 37 saves.

Garrett Whitlock was selected from the Yankees farm system in last winter’s Rule V draft… and then he helped end the Yankees’ season by pitching the 9th inning of the Wild Card game. He lead Boston pitchers with a 1.96 ERA and a 1.105 WHIP.

Kenley Jansen’s 38 saves was second-best in the National League.


As I mentioned, my original objective is to have each of the 30 teams represented by 8 different players.  I had pretty decent success with that as 22 teams had at least 8 customs.  Eight teams had only 7 customs, but in some cases there wasn’t much I could do about it.  For example, after the Nationals traded off many of their players I tried going forward with a prospect they’d obtained in one of the deals, but ultimately decided that I wouldn’t feel good about anyone I’d select as the 8th Nat.

Early in the process I made sure I included anyone who won an award in 2020, assuming that they were still active and not out for the season.  Later on, I did the opposite, trying to make sure that I didn’t miss anybody who would go on to win an award this year, or lead the league in some category.

I had a lot of fun doing this, I learned a lot about different players along the way, and I plan to do something similar in 2022… but I don’t know that I would do this same exact thing.  It was fun, but it was also a lot of work.

In the meantime I have plans to do some other custom projects coming along.  You’ve seen my hockey customs.  I recently came up with a new design to use for a “Hot Stove” set that will probably kick off whenever the Cardinals, Padres or Mets hire a new manager… and I’ve got some other things in the works.


And here, for those who are curious, are the team checklists for my finished set. Feel free to give me grief about leaving any players out; I’m genuinely interested in your takes on that, but will also invite you to make your own equally-representative checklist and see how much of a challenge it is.

NL EAST

NL CENTRAL

NL WEST

AL EAST

AL CENTRAL

AL WEST

2021 TSR Daily: Coming Down The Home Stretch

Once again we rip into another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (called “Daily” because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ).  Going by my “240 custom set” plans, the last custom will be Tweeted (and posted here) next Sunday… after which I’ve got plans to do other custom things at a similar frequency.

Aaron Loup was the Mets’ secret weapon out of the bullpen this past season. Over 65 appearances he had a 6-0 record, a 0.95 ERA, a 0.935 WHIP and struck out 57 batters over 56.2 innings.

Two-time Gold Glove winner Matt Chapman holds a dubious team record after striking out 202 times this season… That’s right, he had more strikeouts for the Athletics than Jose Canseco, Reggie Jackson, Dave Kingman, Khris Davis and Jack Cust.

…But to his credit (?) he didn’t lead the league. Joey Gallo has that honor with 213, which would’ve been a Rangers or Yankees team record had he not split the season between those two teams.

Former MVP Andrew McCutchen was among the Phillies leaders in runs, RBI and home runs.  Plus he’s, y’know, Andrew McCutchen.

Jacob Stallings hit a two-out walk-off grand slam to beat the Mets on July 17th, and had a pretty good season otherwise.

After the Cubs cleared house at the trading deadline it cleared the way for Frank Schwindel, who proceeded to lead the Cubs in 2nd half batting, runs, on-base % and slugging %.  Not bad for a 29-year-old rookie in his fourth organization.

2nd Gen pitcher Cal Quantrill went 7-1 with a 1.94 ERA and 78 strikeouts over the 2nd half of the 2021 season.  His dad, Paul Quantrill, pitched for 7 teams from 1992 to 2005.

For the second season in a row, Tyler Rogers had the most appearances in the NL, plus he had 7 wins, 13 saves, a 2.22 ERA and a 1.074 WHIP.

Ryan Zimmerman, who has been the face of the Nationals for pretty much their whole time in DC, played what may have been his last home game at Nationals Park.  The fans gave him a well-deserved sendoff… and I’m giving him a Shlabotnik’s Picks custom.

Hockey Custom #1: Philipp Grubauer, signed by the Kraken to a six-year contract, will also be in goal for the German team when the 2022 Winter Games roll around.

Hockey Custom #2: I recently signed up for a free NHL fantasy team, and when looking at the top-ranked players the names were at least ones I’d heard… except for Leon Draisaitl. For whatever reason, he’d completely flown under my radar during the time I was ghosting the NHL (as I’ve decided to refer to the multi-year period of shunning that league).

Draisaitl, for those who don’t know, was the winner of multiple awards for the 2019-20 season: The Hart (MVP), the Ted Lindsay (Most Outstanding Player, known to old timers like me as the Pearson) and the Art Ross (Top Point Scorer… 43 goals, a league-leading 67 assists and 110 points).  Not sure why I missed him while being at least vaguely aware of guys like Connor McDavid, Nikita Kucherov and Auston Matthews, but hey, that’s the way it goes sometimes.

Oh, and Draisaitl will be a teammate of Grubauer’s when the Olympics come.


I’ll wrap this up in the way I’ve done several times lately, by including a music video that is recommended for my on the YouTube home page.  This time it’s “Bob”, one of my favorite ‘Weird Al’ songs that’s not a direct parody.  I love it because it works on several levels.

2021 TSR Daily: Still Alive

Again, I apologize for my extended absences here. It’s been a pretty crazy couple of weeks for me.

Here’s another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (called “Daily” because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

It’s a bit much for one post, but I’m going to go ahead and catch up to where I am on Twitter.

Back in August Dansby Swanson, 1st overall pick in 2015, set a Braves record for home runs as a shortstop. He currently sits at 27 homers.

The previous record for a Braves shortstop, as mentioned in my most recent “1970s: A-Z” post, was Denis Menke, who hit 20 home runs for the Milwaukee Braves in 1964.

Kyle Tucker falls in the league’s Top 10 for batting average, extra base hits, OPS and a bunch of sabermetric stats that I don’t completely understand. I’ll be keeping an eye on him in the postseason.

Yadier Molina is having a decent season and was an All-Star, but you also can’t leave Yadi out of a Cardinals team set.

In the second half of the season, nobody on the Red Sox has more runs, homers and RBI than Hunter Renfroe.

Former first round pick Tyler Stephenson is a rookie of the year candidate… or, at the very least, a Topps All-Star Rookie Team candidate.

Jeimer Candelario leads the Majors with 42 doubles.

Jake McGee has 31 saves, a 2.72 ERA and a WHIP of 0.905… and if you’re not familiar with him you may be surprised that he’s 34, in his 12th season and has a career WHIP of 1.126.

Yasmani Grandal leads the White Sox in On-Base % (.422) and Slugging % (.523). This post seems to be heavy on catchers, especially ones whose first name starts with “Y”.

Ty France is tied for the Major League lead for being hit by a pitch (26 times). He leads the Mariners with a .293 average and a .368 on-base %

Christian Yelich played himself in a 2019 episode of Magnum P.I.

Reliever Jonathan Loáisiga is an underhyped Yankee (the best kind). He has a 9-4 record, 5 saves, 2.21 ERA, 1.024 WHIP, 8.8 K’s/9 IP and 4.25 K’s/BB. In June he became the 3rd Yankee to struck out 4 batters in 1 inning… the first Red Sox batter he faced that inning, Michael Chavis, reached first because the third strike was a wild pitch which got away from the catcher.

Interestingly enough, the other times this happened to a Yankees pitcher were within the past 11 years: A.J. Burnett in 2011 and Phil Hughes in 2012.

A couple of hockey customs to get us caught up on those…

My latest Seattle Kraken custom takes advantage of the preseason games going on right now…


(Yes, that *is* an attempt to copy Zebra from “Pearls Before Swine”)

A couple of weeks ago the Arizona Coyotes announced that their original “Kachina” coyote logo would be returning to primary logo status. I was very happy to hear that as it’s easily the team’s best logo. The recent howling coyote logo & related uniforms were kind of boring… “Salesman samples” is how I always thought of them.

When I decided to make a Coyote’s custom, Phil Kessel was the only name on the team’s roster that this lapsed hockey fan recognized.

From Joe Jackson’s 2003 album “Volume 4” — a qualified “Best Joe Jackson album since the 1980s” because I’ve not heard the most recent three — here’s “Still Alive”:

More Hockey Customs For the Three People Who Care

I’m way backed up on my customs in general, and since there’s not a huge following for my hockey customs – just wait until I start up my Olympic Curling set! – I figured I’d throw a few in a separate post so that people may more easily ignore them.

Joonas Donskoi was drafted from the Avalanche, and now that workouts are starting and pre-season games are around the corner, this might be my last faux airbrushing in this set… but I may look for excuses to do it again at some point.

For those interested in the “how”, I created a separate layer of the image with just the helmet and jersey and turned the color saturation all the way down.

As a way to learn about players on my newly-adopted team, I’m creating card backs for the Kraken.

Here’s another Kraken custom I just tweeted today.  Yanni Gourde was drafted from the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning but will miss the early part of the season due to shoulder surgery.

Like me, Yanni is 5’9″ and 175 lbs, so he gets a leg up in my “Favorite Kraken” competition.  Unlike me, Yanni has athletic ability, but that’s generally a given.

For those interested about such things, the image of Yanni came from a Kraken tweet of the first workout and was taken in front of a green screen.  The background image is from a 2021 playoff game at Nassau Coliseum.

Here’s the back:

I’m really happy with the way the cartoon came out, and I’m getting into the cartoon-creating process more than I thought I would.  At the beginning it was more along the lines of “Well, gotta put *something* in that little puck-shaped frame…”, but I’ve apparently triggered something in my long-dormant cartooning desires.

For anyone who wonders, I use Comic Sans for my lettering because I am a terrible letterer.  Besides, I’m giving Comic Sans a reason for existing, so don’t judge me.

Here are some more customs – fronts only – for teams other than the Seattle Kraken.

I haven’t really followed hockey much in the last 18 or so years, so every time I hear about a player that I remember “from the before times”, as post-apocalyptic TV shows and movies like to put it, I’m fairly well shocked.  I had no idea, for example, that Joe Thornton was still skating around.

With that beard, I imagine him in a hockey-themed lead-in to the Monty Python credits:  Fade in to a hockey fight, slightly sped-up.  From the middle of the melee crawls Joe Thornton, who unsteadily gets to his feet, skates over towards the camera and says “IT’S…”

Dougie Hamilton moving over to the New Jersey Devils was apparently one of the biggest transactions over the summer.  Me, I just had fun doing the faux airbrushing.

Vitek Vanecek was a Kraken goalie for about a week.  He was drafted from the Capitals and then, I guess, the Capitals were the only team interested enough in him to make a deal, so he was traded back to the Caps for a second round pick.  Wasted expansion draft pick?  Maybe.  At any rate, I figured I’d pay tribute to this almost-Kraken

Last up, I saw this photo of Ryan O’Reilly modeling the Blues’ Winter Classic uniform.  My knee jerk reaction was that the image would work well with the 1974-75 hockey design I’m using, so naturally…

OK, that’s enough hockey customs for now.  It won’t be long before the games start up again!

2021 TSR Daily: Yabba Dabba, Yabba Dabba Dabba Doo Now!

“Don’t know what it means, but I say it anyhow!”

Here’s another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (called “Daily” because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

Rookie reliever David Bednar has a 3-1 record, 2.18 ERA and 0.936 WHIP while playing for the 52-90 Pirates. He was part of the return the Pirates got in the three-team deal which sent Joe Musgrove to San Diego.

2nd generation Major Leaguer CJ Cron was named NL Player of the Month for August after hitting .387 with 11 HR and 34 RBI. For the season he leads the Rockies in HR and RBI

Nathaniel Lowe, who was called “Nate” before this season, is among the Rangers team leaders in a number of offensive categories

…And I’ve got to say, unless someone on the Rangers turns it up over the last weeks of the season, I’m thinking I won’t do any more Rangers customs even though I’ve done just seven of the targeted eight customs per team. It’s getting harder to justify including a slightly-better-than-average guy when there are much better players on other teams who wouldn’t otherwise make the cutoff.

Kyle Seager leads the Mariners with 34 home runs and 94 RBI.

More importantly to some, Kyle leads his brother Corey in pretty much every offensive stat except for triples (Corey 2, Kyle 1). Corey does have a better batting average, On-base percentage and slugging percentage, but Corey also doesn’t have anywhere near enough at-bats to qualify for a batting title, so I’ll disregard those. You’re welcome, Kyle.

Adalberto Mondesi has hardly played this season, but for the Royals I decided to go with “injured talent” over “slightly above average regular”. He’s listed as an infielder because I saw reference to his possibly moving to 3rd in 2022.

The Royals are another team which probably won’t appear in the 8th Series unless some divine inspiration takes hold of me.

Over the second half of the season Logan Webb is 5-0 with an 1.87 ERA, and over the season the Giants are 18-4 in games Webb started.

Name your offensive category, there’s a decent shot that Giancarlo Stanton is second to Aaron Judge among Yankees in that stat. I don’t mean that as a slight, there’s no shame in being runner-up to Judge.

Josh Bell is among the top 3 on the Nats in several offensive categories… and he *will* be the last National featured in this set, unless someone like newly-obtained prospect Keibert Ruiz just goes berzerk over the next couple of weeks. There’s frankly nobody left on the roster worth featuring.

Tommy Edman leads the NL with 37 doubles and 554 ABs, and his 24 stolen bases are third in the league.

Amed Rosario, part of the Francisco Lindor trade this past January, leads Cleveland with 143 hits, 6 triples and a .283 average.

One thing that occurred to me after making this custom is that the photo is one I would use if I wanted to create a 2022 Cleveland Guardians baseball card. The new logo and jersey script wouldn’t be hard to photoshop into an image like this.

If you haven’t heard yet, the Brewers got their second franchise no-hitter last night as Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader shut down the Cleveland Indians.

It was the 3rd time this season that the Indians have been no-hit (a MLB first) and poor Zach Plesac was the Cleveland starting pitcher in all three no-hitters.

Before we wrap up, I’ve got another Seattle Kraken custom done in the style of 1974-75 Topps Hockey. This photo of Mark Giordano came from when several members of the Kraken threw out the first pitch at a Mariners game.


When I started these customs I planned on doing my own artwork for the cartoons, but I figured that the cartoons specific to a given player would be few and far between… and yet, out of the 9 cartoons I’ve done, this is the 2nd that was based on something about the player. It may not seem like much to you, but I surprised myself with this and I’ll try to lean into it some more.


Title track for this post:  “Bedrock Anthem” by ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic

2021 TSR Daily: Oh, Nimbus! Help Someone…

Here’s another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (called “Daily” because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily )

…And I’m playing catch-up here after missing a week of blogging while not missing any time tweeting out Daily customs… Just so you know, after this post we’ll still be a few customs behind where I am on Twitter, but I didn’t want to overwhelm with too many customs in one post. They’ll all show up on the blog sooner or later.

On the Twins, Luis Arraez is second to Nelson Cruz in batting (.293) and on-base % (.362)… He was leading the team in both categories when I tweeted this, but his numbers fell off

Patrick Wisdom was named the June 6th NL Player of the week and the June Rookie of the Month. During 27 games in June he hit 8 homers, drove in 16 and had a slash line of .260/.333/.616

At the end of July Kiké was named the AL Player of the week for July 19 – 25, hitting .400 with 3 homers, 4 doubles a triple and 9 RBI

Jesus Aguilar leads the league with 93 RBI and also leads the Marlins with 117 hits (tied in with Miguel Rojas). He also leads current Marlins with a .460 slugging %… Adam Duvall is higher on the season, but he’s with Atlanta now.

Luis Robert, ROY runner-up and Gold Glove winner, has missed two-thirds of the White Sox games due to injury, but I felt like he still deserves a spot in my set

Gold Glove winner Max Fried is 2nd on the Braves with 11 wins and is the only Atlanta pitcher with a shutout this season

Since the beginning of August über-prospect Wander Franco leads the Majors with 29 runs scored, and over that same period he leads the Rays in hits (35) and doubles (10)

Wade Miley, 11-5 2.97, no-hit the Indians back in May… But that was 4 no-hitters ago!

All-Star Michael Brantley leads the AL with a .316 average

Rookie of the Year candidate Pavin Smith leads the D-Backs with 62 runs and 119 hits.

Trey Mancini missed last season after being diagnosed with colon cancer, but in 2021 he impressed in the Home Run Derby and has put up a solid 21 home runs, 68 runs and 66 RBI

Time for some “2021 Transactions” inserts, which is my version of a “Traded” set… although I look at it now and wish I’d done it a bit differently, but oh, well.

I don’t know why but Kris Bryant with the Giants kinda seems like some other guy than the one who played with the Cubs, even though he’s putting up numbers at a similar rate to the start of the season. Maybe my brain just refuses to acknowledge the change.

I don’t know if it’s his fault, the stats don’t indicate any huge dropoff on his part, but acquiring José Berríos didn’t seem to put the Blue Jays over the top, playoff-wise. I’d rather see them make it than the Yankees or Red Sox, so I’ll continue to send positive vibes towards Toronto

Oh, almost forgot to include my weekly Seattle Kraken custom… which is actually *last week’s* Kraken custom and features Haydn Fleury. The sun shining on his face is fairly unusual for hockey, but that’s because the photo is from the expansion draft festivities and features Fleury in a Kraken jersey (not that you can tell…)

Shall I include this week’s Kraken, which was tweeted last night? Ah, what the heck… I’m more concerned about falling behind in hockey than I am in baseball, because these customs will become more outdated more quickly.

This custom of Adam Larsson is the first Kraken I’ve had to “airbrush”, as the prior customs used photos from team events.


Lately I’ve been getting my subject lines for these TSR Daily posts by selecting a video from among the ones recommended for me by YouTube.  The Monkees song “You Just May Be The One” has a somewhat well-known misconception of “Oh, Nimbus!  Help someone…” instead of the actual first line “All men must have someone…”

…And it’s just fun to watch Peter Tork battle his nemesis in a number of competitions, plus see where the one scene from the opening credits came from.

Dead Parrot Frankenset For August 2021

This is the latest in a series on an ongoing project, a “Dead Parrot” Frankenset which features cards of NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch). The Frankenset consists of a binder containing 44 sheets and the goal is to have it filled with cards numbered from 1 to 396, with each slot filled with a card featuring a hockey team that has gone to meet its maker.

I think the challengers from this post all came from a card show in early 2020.


Card #24

The challenger: 1976-77 Topps Randy Manery (Atlanta Flames)

Currently in the binder: 1977-78 O-Pee-Chee WHA Ron Plumb (Cincinnati Stingers)

The Manery card is a pretty nice one, and I like the Atlanta Flames uniforms and the 1976-77 Hockey design – it was something I was largely unaware of until years later and it just speaks to me as a “lost” 1970s set.

…But it’s up against a Cincinnati Stingers card, and those are almost unassailable in this project.

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


Card #47

The challenger: 1980-81 Topps Hockey Gilles Meloche (Minnesota North Stars)

Currently in the binder: 1990-91 Topps Hockey Larry Murphy (North Stars)

I see this as largely a wash, but I’ll stick with Murphy because that card is already in the binder and I also didn’t have to go to the Trading Card database to find out who’s on that unscratched 1980 Topps card.  Have I mentioned how much I hate that set’s “Scratch Off” gimmick?  Oh, yes… Yes I have.

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


Card #83

The challenger: 1972-73 Topps Hockey Gary Croteau (California Golden Seals)

Currently in the binder: 1981-82 Topps Hockey Dave Keon (Hartford Whalers)

This card is technically “83 EAST”, as this was the year where #1-66 were issued nationally and #67-132 were either “EAST” or “WEST” cards.

Neither card is all that great.  I would generally prefer a card of the Golden Seals over the Whalers, since I have plenty of Whalers in the binder.  If I came on them in a different order the result might be different, but the Croteau card isn’t good enough to dislodge Keon from the binder.

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


Card #122

The challenger: 1980-81 Topps Hockey Rich Leduc (Quebec Nordiques)

Currently in the binder: 1975-76 O-Pee-Chee Dave Hudson (Scouts)

The Kansas City Scouts are not as untouchable as the Stingers, but they’re a challenge to dislodge… especially when there’s a “Photobombing Capital” (LW Garnet Bailey) on the card to make it extra interesting. Once again…

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


Card #237

The challenger: 1975-76 O-Pee-Chee Randy Rota (Scouts)

Currently in the binder: 1991-92 O-Pee-Chee Jon Casey (North Stars)

This was a pretty easy decision, especially since the previous challengers all went down in flames.  The Kansas City Scouts are much more in line with this project than an early 1990s North Stars card, especially when the later card features the generic “STARS” logo that would move with them to Dallas.

THE CHALLENGER IS VICTORIOUS!


Wrapping up…  We didn’t add any cards nor update any completed pages.  The current totals remain at 333 out of a possible 396 cards (84.1%) and 17 completed pages out of 44 total pages (38.6%).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First insert!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dead Parrot Frankenset: For June, A New Streamlined Format!

This is the latest in a series on an ongoing project, a “Dead Parrot” Frankenset which features cards of NHL and WHA teams which are no more, which have ceased to be (as in the line from the Monty Python “Dead Parrot” sketch). The Frankenset consists of a binder containing 44 sheets and the goal is to have it filled with cards numbered from 1 to 396, with each slot filled with a card featuring a hockey team that has gone to meet its maker.

I’m trying to be better about getting things done and getting posts out here on the blog, so I’m going to use a less-wordy format this time around.  It might stick.  It might not. Feedback is welcome.

The “challengers” in this post were all provided by Shoebox Legends, who has spent the last three months has been maintaining a presence on his YouTube Channel rather than his blog. Go check it out!


Card #20

The challenger: 1993-94 O-Pee-Chee Premier Zarley Zalapski (Hartford Whalers)

Currently in the binder: 1977/78 O-Pee-Chee WHA Marc Tardif (Los Angeles Sharks and Quebec Nordiques)

The WHA card of Marc Tardif lists him with the Nordiques, but the uniform he’s shown wearing is for the Los Angeles Sharks, an original WHA team that lasted two seasons before moving to Detroit to become the Michigan Stags, then moved to Baltimore midway through that season in Detroit, and then folded at the end of the franchise’s third season. These Sharks appeared on damn few hockey cards. I like the Zalapski card, but it will take something special to dislodge this WHA card from the binder.

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


Card #50

The challenger: 1995-96 Leaf Frantisek Kucera (Whalers)

Currently in the binder: 1968-69 Topps Wayne Connelly (Minnesota North Stars)

Once again, the challenger is a pretty nice card, but nice enough to defeat a vintage North Stars card? Nah.

THE CHALLENGER IS DEFEATED!


Card #76

The challenger: 1992-93 Upper Deck Kay Whitmore (Whalers)

This was an empty pocket in the binder, so Whitmore makes a lovely addition. This card did not complete a page, however.


Card #114

The challenger: 1988-89 O-Pee-Chee Ray Ferraro (Whalers)

This also was an empty pocket in the binder but like the previous card it does not complete a page.


Card #173

The challenger: 1995-96 Leaf Darren Turcotte (Whalers)

Currently in the binder: 1982-83 O-Pee-Chee Willi Plett (North Stars)

These 1995-96 Leaf cards are pretty nice, but more importantly, the 1982-83 Plett card is particularly uninteresting.  Very little thought went into this competition.

THE CHALLENGER IS VICTORIOUS!

…and this also updates Page 20. Here’s the before:

…and what it is now.

I’m happy with that change!


Card #198

The challenger: 1995-96 Leaf Steven Rice (Whalers)

Currently in the binder: 1980-81 Topps Rick Ley (Hartford Whalers)

I like the Leaf card with the glimpse of a Buffalo Sabres goalie in the background. I am not a fan of 1980-81 Topps Hockey with the dumbass scratch-off gimmick, regardless of whether the scratch-off coating is still there or not. Went back and forth a tiny bit on this, but decided in favor of Leaf.

THE CHALLENGER IS VICTORIOUS!


Wrapping up…  We added two cards to the binder and updated a page.  I also did some inventory and found that I somehow missed 4 cards.  The current totals are 333 out of a possible 396 cards (84.1%) and 17 completed pages out of 44 total pages (38.6%).