A Sportscaster Card Is The Latest Addition To My Curling Collection

The Winter Olympics are just a few weeks away so this seems like as good a time as any to show off the 13th item in my Curling collection;   it’s this card from the “Sportscasters Cards” set of the late 1970s.

Sportscasters cards were sold as an open-ended subscription and covered a wide variety of sports. You could also get a box to hold the cards in… They seemed to be very similar in concept to recipe card subscriptions which were also fairly popular at the time (and also had available boxes to keep the cards in).

Here’s the front of the oversized card:

I’m not sure what all of the little pictograms on the top mean. From looking at other cards online I think the little black ones on the right mean that the sport can be played outdoor or indoor (a sun and some other weird symbol) and that it’s a team sport (two little people). Since the white and red pictogram on the left features an eye within a diamond – and from comparing this card to other similar cards online – I’m going to guess it means this is an overview of the sport being featured.

The card doesn’t feature anybody in particular, but it is interesting that if you look closely you can see that several of the people have the old-school corn brooms:

But there’s this one guy who seems to have something more akin to what is in use today.

My interest in Curling goes back only to the 2010 Winter Games, so corn brooms seem alien to me.

Here’s the back of the card:

…And here is a comparison with a standard-sized card to give you an idea of how big these are:

Since I haven’t shared my modest collection in a while, here are the other 12 cards I already had (in chronological order):

1932-33 Sanella Margarine “Handbuch des Sports”
FYI, this is oversized and is printed on paper rather than card stock

2014 Topps Olympic and Paralympic – Erika Brown

2014 Topps Olympic and Paralympic – Pete Fenson

2014 Topps Olympic and Paralympic – Jessica Schultz

2014 Topps Olympic and Paralympic “Games of the Olympics” – Pete Fenson

2014 Topps Olympic and Paralympic “Games of the Olympics” – Erika Brown

2014 Topps Olympic and Paralympic “Venues” – Ice Cube Curling Center

2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions – Kevin Martin

2014 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions – Rachel Homan

2014 Upper Deck 25th Anniversary – Rachel Homan

2015 Leaf Sport Kings – Kevin Martin

2018 Topps Olympic & Paralympic “Did You Know” – Team Shuster

A Week Of Customs: Closer Than A Sister To Her Baby Brother

“…Closer than a secret agent working under cover
It’s too close for a lover
It’s too close for a lover
We are each other…”

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

Last weekend I had this idea… Since I made well over 200 baseball customs over the course of this past season and featured anyone who would’ve won an award or lead the league, I wanted to go back and recognize the award winners… but I didn’t really want to just re-post the customs I’d already featured. Since I’m currently involved in a project involving collecting cards on the 1975 Topps “MVP / 25 Years Of Topps Baseball” subset, I hit on the idea of inserting my customs into that design… and as fate would have it, 2021 has been the 10th year of my publicly sharing custom cards.

And so…

I started with the two Rookies of the Year, Randy Arozarena and Jonathan India…

…Continued with Cy Young winners Robbie Ray and Corbin Burnes…

…And concluded – for now – with the two MVPs, Shohei Ohtani and Bryce Harper.

Now I expect all of you to fully appreciate the fact that I used three different color combinations and didn’t just do the same thing three times. :-)

Although I haven’t made any more in this series, I am planning at the very least on featuring the 2021 Comeback players of the year and may do some others. I also had in mind to feature some past designs that way, but that’s a bit problematic because in the past I focused on Mets, Orioles and favorite players… so, for example, I don’t have customs of either of the two MVP’s from 2012 (Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey). I’m likely to figure out something, though.

This past week I thought about some of the odder Thanksgiving traditions of my youth… One of which was a New York TV station which has shown the Laurel And Hardy movie “March Of The Wooden Soldiers” on Thanksgiving Day every year since 1963. Since I was looking for something to Tweet on Thanksgiving Day, I figured I could do worse than Stannie Dum and Ollie Dee (FREE!  On specially-marked boxes of Shlabotnik’s Snack Cakes)

I didn’t realize this for years, but the movie was originally released as “Babes In Toyland”, and later abridged and released as “March of the Wooden Soldiers”. I’m fairly curious about what got cut out, but I fear that it would just be more musical numbers featuring Tom-Tom and Bo Peep… As a youth, and still today, I have little patience for people suddenly breaking out in song.

Here’s the latest in my series of Hot Stove customs, featuring former 19-game winner Eduardo Rodríguez. I was pretty happy with how this one turned out – although I should’ve cropped the image tighter – but I made the mistake of Tweeting it on Black Friday and got crickets in response.

Here’s something fun about Rodríguez… In 2014 he was an Orioles prospect who was sent to Boston at the trading deadline as a “rental” for pending free agent reliever Andrew Miller. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s true: There was a time not all that long ago when the Orioles traded prospects for veterans at the deadline, finished in first place and won playoff series.

For this week’s Seattle Kraken custom I decided to feature RW Nathan Bastian, who had been drafted from the New Jersey Devils and played in 12 games for Seattle before being placed on waivers and claimed by his original team.

I normally make a “card back” for these Kraken customs, but it’s a lot of effort for a guy who’s already gone, so I gave myself permission to skip it for Bastian.

I’ve been meaning to make more of my 2022 TSR “Wheels” customs, as I think I would enjoy a similar set being sold in retail stores (and completely missing from the shelves because of people hoping to score a SSP refractor of the Aston Martin Valkyrie).

I’m not a “truck guy” but I know I’m not alone in preferring smaller vehicles… and because of that, I’m glad that the car companies are bringing back entry-level trucks like the Ford Maverick

I think I’ve only featured one or two of these customs so far, so I’ll point out that they’re in “tall boy” dimensions.

The Beautiful South put out one of my favorite albums issued in 1992, “0898 Beautiful South” (although I didn’t completely “discover” it until a couple of years later). The album’s biggest – relatively speaking – song in the US was “We Are Each Other”, which got a fair amount of play on Alternative radio stations. I heard this song again the other day and decided to feature it here.  Funny thing is that I’ve spent over 25 years singing “It’s too close for a lover, it’s too close for another” only to realize that it’s “a lover” both times.

A Four-Card Panel Of 1975 Topps Baseball

Before I get into the featured item of today’s post, I’d like to point out that today is the 10th Anniversary of The Shlabotnik Report!  I want to take this opportunity to thank ALL OF YOU for reading and commenting and making this blog fun to keep up on… Because if it weren’t fun, I wouldn’t have made it to the first anniversary.

I tried to think of a fun way to commemorate the occasion, but all I could come up with were gimmick-y ideas that I wouldn’t be able to pull off, so I instead switched to what my favorite purchase of 2021 has been.

There have been a number of things I bought this year, but none bring me quite the level of joy of this… a panel of 1975 Topps Baseball cards!

1974 was the year I started collecting, but 1975 was the year I went absolutely NUTS with collecting, and 1975 Topps falls into the category of “the house is on fire so grab this binder on your way out”… Plus, because of the colors and the way that the color on the bottom of one card is the color on the top of another just makes the whole ‘uncut sample’ idea that much better.  As Paul Simon once sang, “One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor”

I would’ve been excited about this regardless, but the featured players add on to my joy.  My love for Tug McGraw goes beyond my being a Mets fan, and Frank Tepedino was the source of excitement as a kid because if you look at the back of his card… (and here’s where I’ll show you the back of the panel)….

Frank Tepedino’s card said that he lived in Hauppauge, NY, and that is right around the corner from where I grew up (although Topps misspelled it as ‘Happauge’, if you can imagine that).  As a ten-year-old, this was BEYOND EXCITING and I imagined finding his house, knocking on the door and being regaled with tales of the Major Leagues.  No, I never did find out where in Hauppauge he lived… or maybe lives, because Frank is still with us, and I do know of people from my old neighborhood who have been in their houses for 50+ years.

I stumbled across this panel on COMC, and because I only had a couple of bucks of credit at the time, I fell over myself in adding credit to my account before someone else got it from me.

NOTE:  On 11/10/21 I added additional information at the bottom of this post regarding a possible origin of this panel

I’m still trying to figure out how best to store this;  it’s currently in an oversized toploader, but I would like to put it in the binder with my 1975 set… but I’m also somewhat afraid that it will get creased, which is kind of silly because I’ve got other similar-sized panels in binders and none of them have been mangled.  I think it’s just that this is now my “baby” and I’m being overprotective.

…and before I go, I had a bunch of ideas when I was brainstorming for this 10th anniversary post, and one was worth hanging on to… It’s a small playlist of songs with “Ten” or “Tenth” in the title:

I-10 West – Cowboy Mouth
10,000 Angels – Godley & Creme
4 x 10 – Loudon Wainwright III
10,000 MIles – Mary Chapin Carpenter
Ten Years Gone – Led Zeppelin
Ten Thousand Words – Avett Brothers
Ten Fingers – The Pursuit Of Happiness
Big Ten Inch Record – Aerosmith
Slaughter On Tenth Avenue – The Ventures
Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out – Bruce Springsteen

…Plus anything by 10cc or 10,000 Maniacs

Update, 11/10/21

@TeddyBallpark on Twitter (see below) suggested that this panel may have originally been part of an insert into a 1975 issue of Dynamite Magazine (which was issued by Scholastic Books) and I think he may be right.  My panel is a little bit shorter than the 7″ tall you’d expect it to be if it contained the full cards, plus when I run a finger along the top I can feel that the cut was a bit unevenly… This makes me think that the top edge cut wasn’t done in the factory but was done to trim the damage the panel got from being stapled into a magazine.

A Week Of Customs: I Need A Name/Theme For These Posts

As I mentioned last week, although I finished off my 240 custom “TSR Daily” set, I still intend to keep generating customs, although this time in a more impulsive and less structured way.

We’ll start off with the first of two Seattle Kraken customs…. This one features left wing Jaden Schwartz, who left the Blues to sign a five-year contract with the Kraken

This is going to be a bit awkward going forward… but I’m intending to feature one of the NHL’s Stars of the Week, who are named on Mondays… and I share my customs in this blog on the weekends, so by the time the Stars of the Week show up here, it’s already at the end of the next week… but anyway, the NHL named the LA Kings’ Anze Kopitar as it’s 1st Star of the Week on October 18th after he scored 6 goals and 7 points

Anthony Santander is a fan-favorite both in Baltimore and in the UK, spurred by a group of 4,000 UK Boy and Girl Scouts who bonded with him at a 2019 O’s game.  I know I said I was done with 2021 TSR Daily, but I still have Orioles and Mets team sets to complete.

Yoshi Tsutsugo was an All-Star in Japan and a standout at the 2017 World Baseball Classic, but he’d largely struggled with the Rays & Dodgers. Things seemed to click for him with the Bucs, I’m hoping he can continue to turn it around.

For anyone who missed these before, this is my “Shlabotnik’s Picks” series which is based on 1996 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice (one of my favorite sets of the 1990s, which makes it, in itselfm a Shlabotnik Pick)

In 2021 Charlie Culberson played at 1st, 2nd, 3rd, short, LF, RF, DH, pitched two shutout innings, pinch-hit and pinch-ran. His grandfather, Leon Culberson, played for the Red Sox and Senators in the 1940s.

I was very excited when knuckleballer Mickey Jannis made his Major League debut at the age of 33. I’d seen him pitch in the minors, plus the world needs more knuckleballers. He unfortunately pitched in just the one game.

Alex Barre-Boulet won the Stanley Cup with the Lightning earlier this year, was claimed on waivers by the Kraken on 10/11, played two games for Seattle, was put on waivers and was claimed back by Tampa Bay. I couldn’t resist giving his custom a bit of O-Pee-Chee parody

Free on boxes of Shlabotnik’s Snack Cakes: TSR Random, a custom set with a haphazard assortment of all your… well… *my* favorite celebrities and subjects!
A non-sport set is something I regularly toy with, and I’m hoping I can maintain some traction with it this time. The first card is for “Weird Al” Yankovic, who celebrated a birthday yesterday.  I don’t think I could do a non-sport without including Weird Al, since I’ve been a fan of his since…….. Um……… well, a long time.

Another Kraken… Jared McCann leads the team with 5 points and has scored goals in three games.

Radical take: I think I like the Kraken road sweater better than the home sweater.

Team mascots should have a greater presence in baseball cards sets… Maybe we can get them in the MLBPA somehow…

Once More Unto The Breach: More From The Early 1990s Topps Gold Checklist Replacements

So I started out with “Hey, check out this 1992 Topps Gold card of Terry McDaniel which replaced the checklist in 1992 Topps!”

Then I did a follow-up post of the various cards from 1992 – 1994 Topps Gold Baseball which replaced the checklists.

Then reader Zac Neubauer asked if Topps did the same thing in the 1992 Topps Gold basketball, football and hockey sets… And I said “Well, back to the three-dimensional blackboard!”  (And you’re welcome, anyone old enough to get a Phineas J. Whoopee reference)

I did some more research and now present you with the checklist replacement cards from Topps Gold basketball, football and hockey:

1992-93 Topps Gold Basketball
197 – Jeff Sanders – Hawks
198 – Elliot Perry – Hornets
395 – David Wingate – Hornets
396 – Carl Herrera – Rockets

1993-94 Topps Gold Basketball
197 – David Wingate – Hornets
198 – Frank Johnson – Suns
395 – Will Perdue – Bulls
396 – Mark West – Suns

1992 Topps Gold Football
109 – Freeman McNeil – Jets
218 – David Daniels – Seahawks
316 – Chris Hakel – Redskins
341 – Ottis Anderson – Giants
452 – Shawn Moore – Broncos
563 – Mike Mooney – Oilers
759 – Curtis Whitley – Chargers

1993 Topps Gold Football
329 – Terance Mathis – Jets
330 – John Wojciechowski – Bears
659 – Pat Chaffey – Jets
660 – Milton Mack – Buccaneers

1992-93 Topps Gold Hockey
525 – Alan Conroy – Flyers
526 – Jeff Norton – Islanders
527 – Rob Robinson – Lightning
528 – Adam Foote – Nordiques

Sadly for me, the research I did on this didn’t add anything to my wantlists… but hopefully some of you will find this helpful

2021 TSR Daily: Nobody’s Angel

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

When I tweeted out this custom, I didn’t know what to say about Tony Kemp other than he’s one of the better players on the Athletics. I still can’t add anything to that.

Brendan Rodgers’ .321 batting average since the All-Star break is the best on the Rockies

All-Star Josh Hader has 23 saves, a 1.74 ERA and a 0.798 WHIP

I’d forgotten that Gleyber Torres came from the Cubs organization in a 2016 deal which sent Aroldis Chapman to Chicago (where he would finish he season and go back to the Yankees as a free agent).

Gleyber also inspired this “Joe Shlabotnik” custom I made a couple of months ago

Since the All-Star break, Cardinals rookie Dylan Carlson is among the team leaders with 15 runs, 15 RBI, 8 doubles and a .510 slugging percentage

Jeff McNeil’s batting average and on-base percentage had lead the Mets a few days ago, but fortunately Brandon Nimmo and Micheal Conforto have upped their numbers and passed him. The Mets need whatever offense they can get

Josiah Gray, a top prospect obtained in the Scherzer/Turner deal, has shown promise in his starts with the Nationals

Raisel Iglesias leads the league with 26 saves and has a 7-4 record on top of this. Keep in mind that his Angels are a game below .500

A couple of inserts…

Trea Turner got traded to the Dodgers… I can’t think of much to add to that. Sorry, I guess I’m not chatty this morning.

Jeopardy! champion James Holzhauer threw out a first pitch for the Mariners in July. Now I just need Austin Rogers, Julia Collins and Brad Rutter to throw out some pitches so I can fill out this insert set (Ken Jennings was featured in an earlier custom)

I was surprised at how sad I was to hear of the passing of Nanci Griffith… I’m not any kind of fan, it’s just from experimentation that I own the one album of hers that I do.  But I do respect her talents and her songwriting, and it just hit me more than I thought it would.  Maybe it’s just the general sadness of the times that found a toehold in this bit of news.

The “title track” of this blog post is a song that always stood out for me from “The Dust Bowl Symphony”, the album I own which is one where she redid a number of her songs with an orchestral backing.

Potential Projects From The Water Buffalo Lodge Show

As I’d mentioned in my previous post, I recently went to a local card show and I’ve chosen to refer to it as the Water Buffalo Lodge Show, since that has more meaning for most people than the actual location… assuming that “most people” have watched The Flintstones and knows what I’m talking about, anyway.

I didn’t go into the show looking for new projects, I’ve got plenty as it is, thank you very much.  However, because I was open-minded and relatively reckless (by my standards) with my money, I may have gotten a start on some new projects… or maybe I didn’t.

The first possible project is 1976 Topps Football.

Although I started collecting baseball cards in 1974, 1975 was my “breakout year” for card collecting.  When there was nothing else to collect for 1974 and 1975 Topps baseball (because I finished both), I turned to another sport and went nuts over 1975 Topps Football. I busted a lot of packs that fall (and finished the set in 2013) but never really got into football the same way after that. I bought a fair amount of 1976 Football, but it wasn’t the same for me and I would never again get into football the same way as I did in 1975.

So why would I think about working on the 1976 football set when it was a bit of a letdown after my favorite football set of all time? Well, I do have about 120 cards still kicking around from my childhood, but one of the key reasons I would consider completing the set is because…


[Looks around, leans in and whispers conspiratorially]

…One of those 100+ cards I’ve had since I was a kid is the Walter Payton rookie card.

Having a key card that is so very much “key”, I almost feel obligated to work on the set.

…But I don’t know.  I do have a head start, but it’s only about 23% of the 528-card set and I’m a little afraid it won’t be as much fun as completing 1975 was for me.

LIKELINESS OF THIS BECOMING A PROJECT:  Not a great chance in the next few years, but never say never.

One type of card I never bought as a kid was basketball cards.  Almost nobody I knew followed basketball, and when I did try to follow it – because it was a team sport and I was eager to get into any team sport – it didn’t go anywhere.  The only basketball cards I had as a kid were ones which came to me largely by accident.

But still, when you’re talking about the 1970s I won’t rule anything out completely.

I don’t really have a favorite team or player that would normally be the center of a collecting project, but I’ve come to realize that there is one aspect of 1970s basketball that doesn’t fail to make me nostalgic:

That red, white and blue ABA basketball.

The basketball didn’t survive the NBA-ABA merger, but it lives forever in our hearts… or at least *my* heart.

I ran across these two cards at the show, and couldn’t help but pick them up… they both have a nice shot of the ball and they’re just generally fun cards (especially since the Memphis Sounds was a one-season rebranding of the Memphis Pros/Tams and would fold before the next season began).

The thing with this project is that I want to figure out some ground rules which are more specific than “collect cards with the ABA ball”.  One thing I’ve decided is that I want only those cards where you can see all three colors of the ball.  I also would probably limit things to standard-sized cards, which would eliminate the tall-boy-sized 1976-77 Topps.  Beyond that I don’t know what form it would take.  I’m thinking of trying to get as many teams included as possible represented, but I feel like I need more ground rules than I already have.  Suggestions are welcome.

LIKELINESS OF THIS BECOMING A PROJECT:  This will happen once I’ve figured out how I want to approach this.

1977 Topps Hockey is the first hockey set I chased as a kid, and it was a set I did have plans to complete a few years ago, but it kinda got sidetracked by my Dead Parrot project, plus here in Shlabotsylvania you just don’t run across vintage hockey very often. When I ran across this nice-looking card in a dollar bin…

…I jumped at it.  Even if I don’t move forward with 1977 Topps Hockey, this is a card worth having as part of a general hockey collection.

What I hadn’t noticed at the show was that the card wasn’t quite the deal I thought it was… Some kid decided to use the back to solve a math problem.

I honestly don’t care. The front of the card is nice, you can still read the back, there’s no paper loss, it’s all good.

LIKELINESS OF THIS BECOMING A PROJECT:  Pretty good, but I’d rather finish off some of my other projects first, plus I’d prefer attacking this project with a local source of vintage hockey – I don’t enjoy the chase as much when it’s done entirely online.

I loved Fleer in the 1980s and I’ve grown to love 1963 Fleer baseball as an attractive oddball set.

There’s a part of me that always says “Go after the whole set, it’s only 66 cards!” Of course, my brain leaves out the fact that those 66 cards include Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, Warren Spahn, Carl Yastrzemski, the Maury Wills RC and the short-printed Joe Adcock, some fairly high-priced cards that would not fit into my budget all that well… unless it were THE top priority, which it isn’t.

LIKELINESS OF THIS BECOMING A PROJECT:  Probably not, but if nothing else I’ll finish off the Orioles and probably go after the Colt .45’s and Senators (I’ve already got the Mets team set)

In the greater scheme of things, the Water Buffalo Lodge show did not change the trajectory of my collecting life, but I had fun and got cards I’m happy to add to my collection.  In an upcoming post I’ll feature a card I got that’s a well-loved white whale, plus some other highlights of my show haul.

2021 TSR Daily: Clichés Are A Dime A Dozen

I couldn’t think of a subject line…

Time for another virtual pack of 2021 TSR Daily custom cards (I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ).

Austin Meadows had lead the league with 48 RBI, but he’s since fallen off to 4th place.  He’s top 2 on the Rays in runs, hits, doubles, triples, homers, walks and slugging

I can’t come up with a lot to say about Carlos Correa other than he *is* one of the best players on the Astros, so here is his custom.

Francisco Lindor got off to a slow start with the Mets, but he’s turned it on in June.  In 11 games this month he’s batting .310 with 11 runs, 4 RBI and 2 homers.

Ryan McMahon, who splits his time equally between 2nd and 3rd, leads the Rockies in Homers, Runs, RBI and Slugging %

2020 Gold Glove outfielder Tyler O’Neill leads the Cards in homers, average and Slugging %

Catcher Omar Narváez leads the Brewers in Batting Average, On-Base % and Slugging %.

Over the weekend, Kevin Gausman got his first loss of the season (against 7 wins), but he leads the league with a 1.43 ERA

I found out the other day that Bartolo Colon is pitching in Mexico for the Acereros de Monclava (Monclova Steelers).  I was able to find a current image of Big Sexy, so I made him the latest of my 2021 Shlabotnik’s Picks customs.

Phungo (Tweety Phungo and Bloggy Phungo) has been at it again. This sketch card of his commemorates the Phillies Luke Williams getting a walk-off two-run homer to finish off his first Major League start. Williams started off in center field, doubled in the 4th, moved to 3rd in the 7th as part of a double (triple?) switch, and hit the game winning shot with Andrew McCutchen on first.

2021 TSR Daily: What Have I Done?

I’m starting to fully realize how much I’d committed to when I decided to do a custom card each day (as part of my set called TSR Daily because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ), and while I’m fully prepared to soldier on, I’m finding that I don’t have a lot of extra time to create the “inserts” I have in mind, as well as other hobby things I’d planned.

However, I do have a blog-exclusive insert card this time around, and I think it’s a fun one… but I guess we’ll see if you think it’s fun as well.

On April 26 Fernando Tatis was just named co-winner of the NL Player of the Week, sharing the honor with Madison Bumgarner (who already has a custom in this set).  For the week in question, Tatis batted .385 with nine runs scored, 10 hits, a double, five home runs, seven RBI, four walks and four stolen bases. He also became the first player in history to homer multiple times in consecutive games against former Cy Young Award winners (Clayton Kershaw and Trevor Bauer).

I’m one of the many people who didn’t expect the Royals to have the best record in the Majors in early May. Carlos Santana, who looks odd in KC blue, leads the team in batting, on-base % and slugging %.

Byron Buxton has been on a tear this season; he leads the league with an .842 slugging %, plus he’s batting .408 so far.

D-Backs catcher Carson Kelly is another player who’s off to a hot start; through 20 games he has 13 runs, 17 RBI and leads the league with a .487 on-base %

Cedric Mullins is among the league leaders in hits and lead the Orioles in runs, hits, doubles, batting, on-base % and slugging.

José Ramírez, a 2020 Silver Slugger winner, is leading the Indians in runs, hits, homers and on-base %

Nick Solak was a 2nd round pick of the Yankees and spent some time in the Rays system before coming to Texas in a 2019 trade.  He was a utility man last year, but this year he’s the starting 2nd baseman and leads the Rangers in runs, homers and batting average

Insert time!

Masahiro Tanaka won double-digit games in 6 straight seasons with the Yankees, was a two-time All-Star and finished his MLB career with a .629 winning percentage… so there are probably a number of Yankees fans ready to induct him into the Baseball Hall of Fame.  For the 2021 season he’s returned to the Rakuten Golden Eagles team in Japan’s Pacific League, where he currently has a 3-1 record with a 2.12 ERA.  I’ve long been intrigued by Japanese baseball, so Tanaka is the lastest to get a “Shlabotnik’s Picks” custom.

I would love to do more customs involving former Major Leaguers in Japan and Korea, but as always the issue is in finding images I can use.


2021 TSR Daily: A Pack From The Dollar Store

I apologize… Last week was a little crazy, and today I’m feeling under the weather, so my virtual pack of custom cards (called TSR Daily because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ) is base cards only, like a pack you would get from a Dollar store… if they even do that anymore.  It’s been quite a while since I’ve been in a Dollar store.

Oh, just remembered that there *is* one insert, but it’s not one I made. You’ll see that at the end, but first let’s roll through the base cards for the week.

In 2020, Germán Márquez lead the league in starts and Innings Pitched, and lead the Rockies with 73 strikeouts

When I Tweeted this I neglected to mention that this custom marks the end of “Series 2”. I don’t know how long I can stick to this, but my “mission statement” for this custom set is that I’m going to make an equal number of customs for each team, and for now I’m doing this by doing one for each team and then going back and doing each team again. With Márquez, I’ve finished my second “lap” around the Majors.

J.D. Martinez was an early winner of the AL Player Of the Week and currently leads the league in hits, home runs and RBI (although he’s tied with others on a couple of these.

Current card sets don’t have enough portraits, IMHO.

The danger of pasting my original Tweets into this post… At the time I tweeted this custom of Ronald Acuña Jr. I’d mentioned that he was leading the Majors in a number of categories. A little less than a week later, he doesn’t lead the Majors as much, but he does lead the NL in runs and slugging %.  Oh, he was also named the NL Player of the Week last Monday.

Since his debut in 2017, Walker Buehler has a .735 winning % (25-9) and a .750 postseason winning % (3-1)

Two-time MVP Miguel Cabrera is 12 short of 500 home runs and 131 short of 3000 hits.  If he more or less duplicates his 2019 season, he has a shot at achieving both milestones this year…. or maybe not.

Steven Matz, who is currently tied for the Major League lead with 4 wins and a 1.000 winning percentage, was obtained from the Mets in January for Sean Reid-Foley, Yennsy Díaz and a minor leaguer.  I was sorry to see him go, but I’m happy that this fellow Long Islander is doing well with the Jays

Jazz Chisholm has been a Top 100 prospect for a couple of years and earlier this month he hit his first Major League home run off of Jacob deGrom. I’ve been told that Chisholm is fun to watch, I’ll be keeping an eye out for him.

Here’s the “insert” I almost forgot about, this one is created by Phungo (Tweety Phungo and Bloggy Phungo). The card commemorates one of the best moments of the past week, when Kole Calhoun was “robbed” of a catch by a fan in the stands.

If you didn’t see the moment, here it is.

And that’s the end of the pack.  Have a good week, everybody!