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!

Your Weekly Pack Of “2021 TSR Daily”

By now, many of you are familiar with my set of custom cards I call 2021 TSR Daily (because I Tweet out a custom each day #2021TSRDaily ), I decided to compile the “checklist” as if I were creating a real set which would represent the best eight-or-so players from each team.

I’ll admit, I’m rushing through this post a bit because I don’t have a lot of time to to do it…

Mark Canha lead the 2020 Athletics in Runs (32), Hits (47), Doubles (12), Triples (2), Walks (37) and Average (.246).

During his monster 2017 Rookie-of-the-Year season Aaron Judge lead the league in home runs, RBI, runs, walks… and strikeouts.

By the way, it’s a darn shame that (as of the morning of April 19th) the Yankees have the worst record in the American League. Yep, a real shame.

(I’m a fan of the Mets and Orioles, I have to get my jollies where I can… no matter how short-lived it might be)

Ke’Bryan Hayes, one of the top prospects in baseball, finished 6th in last year’s ROY voting and is still eligible this year.

Oh, look, it’s an insert! This is from the “Shlabotnik’s Picks” insert set. Since the “base set” is being done as if this were a real, commercial set which fairly represents each of the 30 teams, I wanted to have another set where I could feature whomever I wanted to feature. For this one, I’m giving a custom to Jay Bruce, who announced his retirement over the weekend. Even though I still think of him as a Red, I gained an appreciation for him during his time with the Mets, and I wish him well in the next phase of his career.

Former 1st round pick, Rookie of the Year and MVP Buster Posey is back behind the plate after sitting out the 2020 season.

Another insert… if you want to call it that… or a variation… or a subset… or whatever.  There will be probably end up being a number of customs of this mysterious player named Joe Shlabotnik, who seems to be with a different team every time we see him.

Last year Trea Turner lead the Majors with 78 hits and lead the NL with 4 triples. He also got some MVP votes, finishing 7th.

Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart won a Gold Glove in 2020 (At the time I Tweeted this, he lead Cincinnati in slugging percentage, but that’s no longer the case… as if any of that matters in mid-April)

Former 1st round draft pick Evan White won a Gold Glove in 2020

And I’ll wrap up with on more insert. Infielder Sean Kazmar (who often got confused for pitcher Scott Kazmir) made his Major League debut with the Padres in August of 2008. After spending the rest of that season with the Padres, he spent 11 seasons in Triple-A, including 7 seasons with the Braves Triple-A team in Gwinnett, GA, before making it back to the Majors and pinch-hitting this past Saturday. I love to see that kind of perseverance get rewarded.

And that’s the pack for this week.  I hope some of you are having better luck than I’ve had in finding reasonably-priced wax packs.

Cards From My “I Just Like It” Binder

I’ve been pulling out some of my binders to see whether or not the cards in it “spark any joy”… if they’re worth keeping in binders or keeping at all.  Well, today’s cards most definitely spark joy in me.  All of today’s cards are ones which fall into a binder that doesn’t really have a name, but you could call it my “I just like it” binder or probably more accurately, my “I love this card but I don’t know what else to do with it so I’ll just stick it in this binder” binder.

This first card comes from a 1992 Score insert set called “The Franchise”.  The inserts featured Stan Musial, Carl Yastrzemski and Mickey Mantle.  Now I have been completely over the Mickey Mantle hype for many a year, but I’ve always liked this card.

I think what I like about it is that it’s a nice picture, but it’s also a picture of a ballplayer who happens to be Mickey Mantle.  There’s not the usual sun-shining-out-of-his-you-know glorification of Mickey Mantle… Just a nice-looking card of a player who’s just hit the ball.

This next card is interesting especially given that Topps and Sports Illustrated have gotten together to make an on-demand card set featuring SI covers.  This particular card is also of interest to me because I had – or possibly still have? – this 1974 issue of SI… which was fairly unusual for me because I’ve never been a huge SI guy.

This cover is from the 1974 World Series, which pitted the A’s and the Dodgers and was the first time that two California teams faced each other in the Fall Classic.

I was going to say that I’d expect Topps to feature this cover, but I don’t know if they’d want to pay royalties to the 5 players depicted… or 6, if you need to pay to show that one player’s butt.

This 1991 Stadium Club card of Shane Mack is just a beautiful card.  That’s all I have to say about this one.

Kids, back in the early 1990’s when you bought a box of Ultra-Pro 9-pocket sheets, you got a promo card!  This one features Reds’ 1st baseman Hal Morris ready for a game of tennis!

The back of the card proclaims that this card is part of a limited edition of 250,000.  Yep, those were the days.

ProCards minor league cards were on think stock and often cheesy, but you had to love it when they had unusual shots like this one of Joel McKeon with a TV camera

When people discuss baseball cards featuring players holding baseball cards, you don’t often see this 1999 Upper Deck card of Brewers pitcher Scott Karl about to sign his 1998 UD Collector’s Choice card.

OK, I need to move on with my day. I’ll be back with more cards from this binder at some point.

Getting It Together: Cards from Dimebox Nick

I’m reaching the point where I have so many sins against me that I can only go so far in blaming them all on 2020.  Yes, my tendency to compartmentalize things has helped this year when taking it one day at a time is a positive trait, but in my case that’s also morphed into a bad case of “out of sight, out of mind”.

While organizing some scans in an attempt to get my ducks in a row,  I ran across a number of scans I’d meant to write about months ago, including a bunch of cards that were sent to me by Nick of the legendary Dime Boxes blog.

I don’t want to spend too much time on my mea culpa, so I’ll get right into the cards.

I thought that Nick sent me two of the same card by mistake, but instead it’s a Gypsy Queen card of Chance Sisco and its parallel.  I don’t pretend to understand Gypsy Queen.

Even though I got this card in 2020, this Jonathan Villar card was my first glimpse at 2019 Topps Gallery.  I enjoy getting Gallery cards, but I rarely see them anywhere but in trade packages.  I didn’t even bother looking at the shelves of the nearby Walmart this year… in fact, I’m not sure I’ve even seen an image of 2020 Gallery at this point… but anyway…

The art on this particular card is by Dan Bergren, BTW

Sega Card-Gen cards are near the pinnacle of 21st Century Oddballs for me.  This Josh Thole card is just the second one in my collection, and I’m a little insulted that Thole got just one star… not that I know what the star ratings really mean.

For those unfamiliar with these cards, they’re actually Japanese cards made from 2009 to 2013 and I believe they are meant to be used with an arcade game.

I go to far more minor league games than Major League games, and I’ve got a long track record of doing a poor job of scouting players I’ve seen.  Among those I had tabbed for greatness is Tommy Joseph, a one-time Giants catching prospect who was one of the players sent to the Phillies when the Giants acquired Hunter Pence.

Tommy has not played in the Majors since 2017 and is now a minor league free agent first baseman, but I still collect him and still hope he gets back to The Show.

Back in 2008 there was an Indian reality show called “Million Dollar Arm” based on an attempt to find Indian athletes (many of whom grew up playing Cricket) who could be taught to play baseball.  Afterwards, two of these athletes got a professional contract with the Pirates and also ended up on 2009 TriStar Prospect cards.

Dinesh Patel pitched 13.2 innings over two seasons in the Gulf Coast League, but Rinku Singh was able to stick around a while, playing 5 seasons and getting as high as A ball.  More interesting than that, Rinku Singh is currently a wrestler in WWE NXT.

There was a 2014 movie starring John Hamm, also called “Million Dollar Arm”, which is about these efforts to find Indians who can play baseball.

This card of Mike Boddicker is from the 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set…  I’ve got a post or two in the works about some of the cards I have from these Fan Favorites sets, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Years ago when I bought a box of SSPC cards from a dealer at a show, I hadn’t realized that most of the Yankees, Phillies and Orioles had been picked out… so this 1976 SSPC Don Baylor card was welcomed as one I hadn’t picked up yet.  Here’s your bit of useless trivia for the day:  Don is not short for Donald, his legal name is “Don”.

This last card I’m featuring today came with a note from Nick… I can’t find it right now because there have been 5-6 months of disorganization in between, but it said something along the lines of “I thought you might appreciate this card”.  Indeed, it was one of the highlights of the package.

This is a 1969-70 Footballers card put out by a company called A&BC which operated in England under a license from Topps (which is why the design is very similar to 1968 Topps Football). Although I wouldn’t exactly claim to collect British soccer cards, I always enjoy picking up new ones… This one is my 2nd card from this particular set, my 42nd English or Scottish soccer card and the 101st card in my overall soccer collection.

Here’s the back of the card… David Sadler played 11 years for Manchester United, made 4 international appearances for England and made one appearance with the Miami Toros of the old North American Soccer League.

Thank you, once again, Nick! I apologize that it took so long to thank you for these particular cards, but just because I’m late in publicly acknowledging these cards doesn’t mean that they haven’t been enjoyed in the meantime.


There Is A Mountain

(I can’t put emojis in a blog, but just imagine that I’m putting a little “musical notes” emoji here… or, if you’re vinyl-y inclined, imagine the sound of the needle being placed on the record)

First there is a mountain…

Then there is no mountain…

Then there is.

So I’m not going to get into details about this because I don’t know what to say other than this:  For thirty years the Angels trained in Palm Springs, California.  Palm Springs is east of Los Angeles, located in the Coachella Valley.  To the west of the Coachella Valley there are mountains.  These mountains make a lovely background for photographs.

Mountains come out of the sky and they stand there!

So I’m packin’ my bags for the Misty Mountains where the spirits go, now… over the hills where the spirits fly…

Ain’t no mountain high enough, ain’t no valley low enough…

And it wasn’t just Angels who got the mountainous treatment.  (Update:  These cards feature the butte in Tempe, AZ… not Palm Springs, not a mountain.)


An Attempt At An Overview Of “Sports Illustrated for Kids” Cards

Over the weekend I decided to bring some order to the Sports Illustrated For Kids cards sitting in my “inbox”.  I’ve been on a general drive to organize my horrendous mess of a collection, plus a potential custom card project had me looking at SI Kids cards as a sort of “visual research”, and that made me want to focus on those sets in particular.

I tried Googling for some sort of overview of these cards… what designs went with what years, how the numbering worked, the meaning of the “SERIES” listed on the back of some of the cards.  I came up empty, so I started compiling data in Trading Card Database in order to upload it into my personal database… and after putting a number of hours into this and discovering patterns and finding stumbling blocks, I decided to share what I have.

Now I’ll point out that I am really not the person to be writing a post like this.  I was several years out of college when SI4K (as I’m going to abbreviate it) debuted, so I was never a kid – chronologically, anyway – during the magazine’s 32-years-and-counting run.  I have never bought nor read an issue, at best I’ve flipped through a magazine in a store before putting it back on the shelf… that’s when I could remember whether the store I’m in files this magazine under “Sports Magazines” or “Children’s Magazines”.

Fortunately I got some help on this from @ElCaminoBilly of the Cardboard History blog.  Billy told me he’s been intending to write an overview on these cards but has never had time… but he was gracious enough to share some information.  Thank you, Billy!

So one thing I discovered is that nothing is clear-cut with this long-running line of cards.  Over the 32 years there are a number of designs and borders, a number of “Series”, a number of times that the card numbering started over at 1… but if you break down the nearly 3300 cards by year and those three categories, you’ll get four different breakdowns.

I put the word “Series” in quotes when talking about these cards, because that will get confusing for reasons you’ll see. Instead I’m going to refer to the different designs and to the different “runs” of card numbers (from #1 to… whatever).

When the magazine debuted in January, 1989 it started out with what I think of as “The Very Nineties Design” even though it technically preceded the decade.

They seemed to have this green border for all of 1989 and most of 1990.

Late in 1990 they switched to this red and blue border  and used it for most of the rest of the first run of 324 cards (ending in 1991).

The second run of card numbers started in 1992 with the same basic design but with a different border design.

These are labeled as “SERIES 2” on the back, which make sense because they restarted the numbering without significantly changing the design.

For 1993 the kept the basic design and switched to a pink and blue “lava lamp” border.

Although the borders and some of the “flair” changed over the run of the sets, and there were some special “subsets”, the basic design stayed the same for over 4 years.

Starting with the second issue of 1994 the cards shifted to a brand new design, but the numbering didn’t change and it’s still “SERIES 2”.

Any reason why the design changed at this point is not clear to me, maybe it has something to do with a redesign of the magazine itself… That’s just a guess, though.

In 1995, the design shifted to a gold and silver themed design which was very similar to the previous year’s cards but is a little cleaner, and sort of evoked Olympic medals with the silver and gold fake metallic borders.

Unlike the previous designs, these alternated between silver and gold within the same sheet.

With the shift to a new design, the numbering remained the same but the Series on the back changed to Series 3… for one issue.  They switched back to Series 2 (by mistake?) for another issue, and then shifted permanently to Series 3.

Here’s a image to show that there are many different designs and borders used for cards labeled as “SERIES 2”.

At the beginning of 1998 the card numbering which began in 1992 continued but the design changed and the notation on the back changed to “SERIES 4”.

FYI, this card is part of an April Fools theme for one issue, that’s why Mike Piazza has goaltending equipment.

This design ran through then end of 2000 and finished up this second run of card #’s at 963.

The third run of card numbers started at the beginning of 2001.  The cards also have a new design and a new SI4K logo… I would guess that this is all related.

Starting with these cards, they also seemed to drop any mention of “Series” from the back of the cards, as well as the month and date (i.e. 9/98) of the issue the cards came from.  This makes things a bit of a pain when trying to figure out what year a card is from.

In the middle of 2004 the card numbering continued but the design changed to this:

This design lasted for a year and a half and closed out the 2001 – 2005 run of card numbers (with #540 being the final in this run).

With the last issue of 2005, the fourth run of numbering started and a new card design came in.  Note that the SI4K logo remains the same… for now.

This design lasted just 6 issues which makes it the shortest-lived design of the whole bunch, even when you factor in that the original design changed the border design each year.

In the middle of 2006 this similar white-bordered design started.  Note that the “transparent” SI4K logo is now missing from the front of the card.

You can see in the lower right-hand corner of the back that the magazine’s logo has changed with this design… At this point it appears that the magazine name dropped the word “for” and is just “Sports Illustrated Kids” from this point forward.

With some color variations for the themes of particular issues, this design remained until the end of 2010.  I believe it’s the second most used design

With the start of 2011 came the start of the 5th (and current) run of card numbers, as well as a new design.

Near the end of 2014 they introduced another design without changing the card numbering.  When I started working on this post, I thought this was still the current design:

This design picks up with – I think – Card # 388 and runs through # 898.  This design had the longest run out of any of them, but I can’t say for sure that there are more cards in this design than any others because SI4K has been known to change the design for special issues (i.e. Olympics, Super Bowl) without changing the numbering.

In the final twist of researching this set I was reminded of something I’d discovered a few months ago and had forgotten about:  A new design was introduced early this year… but not with the first issue of this year.  This is another case where they redesigned the magazine logo (and probably the magazine’s layout) and changed the card design as well.  It looks like the magazine also shifted from monthly to bi-monthly (which means fewer cards per year… bummer).

This design looks like something I would make as a custom, and that is, of course, very much a compliment.


  • There are eleven different primary designs at play, some didn’t last a full year, others ran through a number of years.
  • There are five different runs of card numbers:  1989 – 1991 (324 cards and one design), 1992 – 2000 (963 cards and four designs), 2001 – 2005 (540 cards and two designs), 2006 – 2010 (531 cards and two similar designs) and 2011 – present (currently at 934 cards and three designs).
  • From the perspective of someone currently collecting these cards, the “Series” printed on the back seems to matter only when it comes to distinguishing the first 225 cards of the first numerical run from the first 225 cards of the second numerical run (those cards are largely done with “The Very Nineties design”).  Of course, you can also differentiate them based on the border design.

Looking back on my research, it’s no wonder I couldn’t find an overview of these cards… I spent a number of hours on this researching and refining my post, and I feel like I’m still missing significant parts of the set’s history.

But anyway, there you are.  I hope someone finds this useful.

...AND PLEASE… if you find any mistakes or omissions in this post, let me know.  I will gladly correct any flubs I’ve made.

Gloriously Inept: The 1986 ProCards Tidewater Tides Set

[Behind the scenes during the creation of a 1986 Minor League set]

So, Kyle… What minor league team set are we working on next?

Oh, hey, Greg.  We’re working on… [shuffles papers] Tidewater.  Looks like they’re a Mets farm team.

OK, let’s get the template ready… Where’s the team logo?  I had it here just a minute ago, where did I put that damn thing?  Mets farm team, you said?  Ah, here we are.

Is that Tidewater?

Sure.  It says “Mets”, right?

Yeah, but I thought they were the Tidewater Tides.  Are those palm trees at the bottom?

Ummm…. I guess so.  Well they *are* in Tidewater, so there’s gonna be palm trees.

Where is Tidewater?

Florida, isn’t it?  Maybe near Clearwater?


OK, so who’s the first guy?  Um…. Ronald Gardenhire.

Gardenhire?  That name sounds familiar.  I think I saw a guy named Ron Gardenhire play in the Majors a year or two ago.  I wonder if he’s related to Ronald.

Whatever.  Next guy is David Madigan… no, wait, Magadan.

Man, they like that outfield wall.  Don’t they have anything more interesting than that in their ballpark?

Never mind that.  Who’s next?

Doug Sisk.  Hey, don’t you think we should crop these photos?

This is what the team sent us.  Maybe they wanted it that way.  If they wanted to have a closeup, the photographer would’ve stood closer.  Who’s next?

Terry Blocker.

Now, ya see?  He’s making like he’s catching a ball at the wall.  They *do* want it this way.

I guess…

OK, next up is Sam Perlozzo.

Geez, Greg… I think we should rotate…

KYLE?  What have I told you about thinking?

“We don’t get paid to think”.

THAT’S RIGHT.  OK, what’s this next guy’s name?  Terry Leash?

“Leash”?  I thought it was Leech, like the thing you can get on your legs when you wade into the river.

Naaaaaaah, pretty sure the guy said “Leash” on the phone.

OK, if that’s what he told you, then we’ll go with Terry Leash.

Where’s his info for the back of the card?

I thought you had it.

Aw, crap… Didn’t they send that.  Screw it, just leave the back blank.

OK, c’mon, c’mon, we’re almost done.  Next card is John Gibbons.  See, they moved closer to show the guy crouching

Is that the last card?

Nope, one more… Barry Lyons.

Hey, they do have a ballpark… but why doesn’t the outfield wall here match the other photos?

Let it go, Kyle… let it go.  It’s lunchtime…. You wanna do Mexican?

Yeah, OK.

This minor league set reminded me of the care and effort that went into making the film “Attack of the Eye Creatures” (as riffed on by Mystery Science Theater 3000). I put it to you, dear readers, that when it comes to the creators of this minor league team set: