Postcard Show!!! Part 1: In Which The Author Gets Unusually Dodgery

Some of you may remember that last fall I went to a postcard show for the first time. Well, my experience at that annual event was good enough that when I received notification of this year’s show – via postcard, naturally – I blocked the date off on my calendar. Once again, it was well worth the hour-long drive (nothing comes easy for collectors here in Shlabotsylvania).

I’m going to assume that the majority of you haven’t been to a postcard show, so I’ll give you an overview in case you get the opportunity. Like a sports collectibles show, you’ve got dealers with numerous boxes set up on folding tables. These boxes are generally divided up into two major categories. The first is a location, so if you’re looking for postcards of landmarks in Cincinnati, you’ll go look for the divider which reads “CINCINNATI”… or maybe “OHIO – CINCINNATI”. How each dealer organizes his/her inventory is fairly subjective.

The other major category is “Topic”, and that’s done by what is featured on the postcard. It’s astounding how many different types of topic can be featured on a postcard… There are postcards of chickens and churches and chimpanzees, lighthouses and outhouses,  hospitals and schools, presidents and “nudes”…  The list goes on and on.

The thing is, every dealer has their own method of organizing their inventory, so if you’re not finding something it’s always best to talk to the dealer because there might be a different line of thinking involved.  For instances, one of my quests was to find postcards related to Curling (as in the Olympic sport).  Curling could be under “Winter Sports” or “Sports – Miscellaneous” or “Olympics” or some other category. I did find one old German postcard which featured Curling, but if I bought that it would’ve used up a good chunk of the money I brought with me, so I decided to pass.

Coming into the show I had a number of different ideas of what I was going to look for;  In this post and one next week I’ll cover the sports-related postcards, and then I’ll wrap up with a non-sport subject that I had a lot of fun chasing.

There were a pretty good number of baseball postcards. Most of the ones I saw appeared to be either team-issued or related to members of the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

As it so happened, I bought three Dodgers postcards which seem like they could be from the same set – all featured photos from Dodger Stadium and featured a white facsimile autograph – but none of the three players I picked up had played for the Dodgers at the same time, so these weren’t all from the same set.  Maybe Night Owl or some other Dodger collector is familiar with these.

Jim “The Toy Cannon” Wynn played for the Dodgers in 1974 and 1975.

Although Wynn was the first Major Leaguer I’d ever seen up close and in person, it somehow never occurred to me until recently that I should collect the guy.  This is my first acquisition after officially declaring Jim Wynn to be A PLAYER I COLLECT.

Dick Allen played just one season (1971) with the Dodgers, so I couldn’t resist a “Short Term Stop” postcard.

The main reason I got this Jeff Torborg postcard was just that I liked the photo, but I could rationalize it by saying I got it because Torborg managed the Mets in 1992 and part of 1993 before being replaced by Dallas Green (Joe turns and spits on the ground at the mere mention of Dallas Green).

Torborg played for the Dodgers from 1964 to 1970 and he looks pretty young in this photo… but even if this came late in his Dodger career, he still didn’t overlap with Allen or Wynn.

One last Dodger, this one features Jerry Reuss from 1986…

I like Jerry Reuss in general, but he and I also have an extremely tenuous personal connection… A few years ago my wife was selling off some of our no-longer-wanted CD’s on eBay and one day I was taking several packages to the post offices and noticed that one of them was addressed to “Jerry Reuss”. After some internet searches I found references to Jerry collecting CD’s and living in the same city that was on the mailing label, so I feel confident that a CD that I originally bought is in Jerry Reuss’ collection.

Hey, I’ve had far worse reasons for collecting a player.

Here’s the back of that postcard with a boilerplate greeting; these were clearly provided to the players for responding to fan mail and the like:

I’m going to wrap this post up with a hockey postcard which was very much an impulse buy…  This postcard of the Buffalo Sabres’ Ric Seiling is nice enough, but not something I would normally bother with. Seiling played for the Sabres in the 1970’s and 1980’s and was a regular in the hockey sets I collected as a kid.

Because I didn’t immediately recognize Seiling from the front of the postcard, I flipped the card over to see what the back of the card said, and that’s when I found out that…

…This postcard had been autographed! Even though the postcard is creased (although not as obvious in person as it is in the scan) and doesn’t really fit in my collection, I just couldn’t walk away from this.  It’s just a shame my name isn’t Daniel.


In my next post in this series I’ll feature several postcards from another Major League team (and, again, one I don’t normally collect), plus my favorite single acquisition from the show, one featuring a famous baseball stadium… but not one you would normally think of.

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Silly Rabbit… Nick Sent Me “Kids”!

Hopefully this isn’t a pop culture reference that goes over too many people’s heads. I know that Trix is still available in stores but is “Trix are for kids” still a thing? I’ve gotten burned too many times by making pop culture references to people without taking the age difference (or nationality) into account.

Which is neither here nor there…

I recently received a padded envelope from Sir Nick of the Dime Boxes. The cards sent displayed the usual Nick magic touch, as he sent me some cards I didn’t know existed and others I didn’t know I’d like.

First and foremost in the “didn’t know I’d like” was this Dwight Gooden card from 1992 Topps Kids.

While reading the next paragraph, please remember that I am saying that I like this card, OK? Thanks.

I wasn’t a fan of “Topps Kids” when it came out, I bought one pack and I was done.  My take on that pack was that the cards were a little too much “Oooh, widdle kiddy want a baseball card?  Yes, he does!  Yes, he does!”

To be fair, in 1992 I was in my late 20’s, so I was a bit removed from the target demographic…  Plus the pack I bought contained several cards featuring real heads on cartoon bodies, something I’ve always thought to be kind of disturbing.

Here’s the back of the Gooden… I like the backs of these cards…

The big cartoons help a lot. Baseball cards should be like a mullet; business up front but a party in the back.

This Cal Ripken card is a little bit goofy, but hey, it’s Cal and it’s a card I don’t have, so it goes into the 1992 page of the Cal Binder.

I feel guilty using Nick’s cards as an excuse to say “Topps Kids?  BAH!”, but it’s something I’d wanted to get off my chest.  I am completely sincere in saying that if the entire set were like the Gooden card, I would have a less Grumpy Old Man opinion of the set.

The package also included 2018 Topps Big League, which to me is more along the lines of what an entry level set should look like.  I feel a little guilty that this set didn’t get a lot of my retail dollar support, but by the time the set came out I was already “all in” on several other sets.  This Cal is a gold parallel… I think.  It’s some kind of parallel in a color I perceive as “gold”.

I’ve been in this hobby for 40+ years; believe it or not, these are my first two sheets of 1984 Topps Rub-Downs… One featuring Darryl Strawberry for my Mets collection…

one for my Cal Ripken/Orioles collection…

I’m not sure I saw packs of this back in the day… not that someone of legal drinking age was going to be drawn to temporary tattoos..

I admit that baseball card snobbery comes naturally for me.  I started collecting cards in 1974, became thoroughly obsessed in 1975 and…  I will admit it now… at the time I looked down my nose at Hostess and Kellogg’s cards.

GASP!

Yup… to Young Joe Shlabotnik, if it didn’t come in a pack, it wasn’t really a baseball card.  “Anybody can just print pictures on the outside of a Twinkies box,” said Young Joe, “that doesn’t make them baseball cards!”  Of course, I was looking down my nose at other kid’s Hostess and Kellogg’s cards.  My mom didn’t buy those brands, so I didn’t get the cards first-hand.

Fortunately for me, I’ve come completely around on these cards and it’s kind of worked out well for me because now I have a new-to-me way to collect all of the best players from my youth.

…Players like Mick the Quick, airbrushed into a Yankees uniform.

It hadn’t really occurred to me before, but I should make 1975 and 1976 Hostess Yankees more of a priority, because I still liked the Yankees then (never as much as he Mets, though)

Kellogg’s are another oddball I’m making up for lost time with; This Greg Luzinski is from 1983.

The Bull looks odd in a White Sox uniform, I tend to think of him with the Phillies

The Bobby Murcer Story!!!!

I love these booklets, and I will post images from this once I manage to figure out how to hold the booklet open so I can photograph the comic panels inside. I haven’t read it yet, wonder if they refer to Murcer as “The Next Mickey Mantle”?

In honor of this 1985 Donruss Highlights card of Keith Hernandez, I loaded checklists of all three Donruss Highlights box sets into my personal database.

I didn’t get these cards back in the 1980’s because I was mainly focused on the flagship Topps and Fleer sets, so I forgot that 1985 Donruss Highlights was truly about 1985 highlights, and not a 1985 set listing highlights from the previous season. Keith Hernandez was the NL Player of the Month for July 1985; he batted .392 with 4 homers and 29 RBI.

2014 Panini Golden Age is one of those sets where I like the inserts far better than the base set.

I had no idea that there was a Beatles insert, so this card makes a welcome addition to my Beatles collection

I’d never seen cards like this before, so I had to look it up…

It’s a 1995 Upper Deck Sonic/Coca-Cola set… interesting that this is an unlicensed food issue put out by what had at the time been a licensed card manufacturer.

I’m late to the party with these 2004 Upper Deck Legends – Timeless Teams cards. I don’t really remember these from 2004, but I really like them now.

Nit pick: This version of the Mets uniform dates the photo as being from the late 1970’s, not 1969.  All is forgiven when Ed Kranepool is involved.

The following year Upper Deck did the All-Star Classics sets… Another set I’m scrambling to catch up on.

I find it kind of an odd choice by UD to make the player’s name so tiny, especially in contrast to the position and uniform number.  Maybe they thought it was like the covers of the later Beatles albums;  if you needed someone to tell you that these four guys are The Beatles, then you really wouldn’t want to buy the album anyway.

Walmart stores and their parking lots seem designed to raise my blood pressure a few points just by being there, so I never get Walmart-exclusive Platinum cards until I find them at a show or someone sends me some.

I guess somewhere down the road we’ll get to the point where we say “Hey, remember when Jacob deGrom had long hair?”

My first Mets card from National Baseball Card day 2018.

Like with the Donruss Highlights cards, I made sure that these NBCD cards are also in my database… and I got annoyed when I found out that the Mets Stadium Giveaway set is only 5 cards while most teams are 10. I really hope this isn’t a result of the Mets being cheap, but I suspect that it is.

Lately I’ve been working harder at bringing the size of my collection under control, I’ve been giving questioning the need for some of the parallels in my collection, and Topps Chrome cards are often shiny parallels of the regular Topps cards.  No such worries with this Noah Syndergaard card.   No shiny parallel here, this card has a different photo than the regular Thor card!

For some reason, maybe just semi-coincidence, I’m finding that Noah Syndergaard is often the “different photo” guy rather than just the “shiny parallel” guy. I’ll have more examples of this in an upcoming post.

Many thanks, once again, to Nick…  I always enjoy getting mail from Nick because I know the packages are going to be as diverse as it is fun!

…And for anyone who’s not familiar with my title’s pop culture reference… or even if you are…

My Tribute To 1964 Topps “Giants”, November 25th Edition

As with the other posts in this series, I’m simulating the checklist from the 1964 Topps Giant-Sized All-Stars set (commonly known as “1964 Giants”) by selecting three representative players from each team.

Today I’m going to do one “team set” of three customs, but for the rest of the teams I’ll list the three cards on the checklist but share just one.  I’ve got too many projects going on right now to fill out a set of 90 custom cards.

GIANTS

I wasn’t going to do a full set of Giants until someone – I can’t find the comment/tweet –  requested Madison Bumgarner… and then if I’m doing two, I might as well do three.

Buster Posey – Face of the franchise,

Madison Bumgarner – had this truly be a Topps set, he wouldn’t be a consideration because he’s apparently not under contract with Topps

Brandon Crawford

Others considered: Brandon Belt, Andrew McCutchen, Evan Longoria


PIRATES

Starling Marte

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Gregory Polanco – lead the team in RBI, Home Runs and Slugging.
  • Jameson Taillon – He and Trevor Williams had very similar stats, but I didn’t feel that both of them should be selected.

Others considered:  Trevor Williams (see above), Felipe Vazquez (All-Star closer with 37 saves), Austin Meadows (traded to the Rays), Corey Dickerson (lead team in doubles, triples and batting average), Francisco Cervelli, Josh Harrison (an All-Star last year).


REDS

Eugenio Suarez – All-Star, lead team in homers, RBI and Slugging %.

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Joey Votto – All-Star, plus he lead the NL with a .417 On-Base Percentage.
  • Scooter Gennett – All-Star; NL Player of the month for May, 2018; Lead the team in Runs, batting average

Others considered:  Adam Duvall (since traded to Braves), Jose Peraza (lead the team in Hits, Doubles), Billy Hamilton, Raisel Iglesias (closer), Matt Harvey


MARINERS

Edwin Diaz – MLB Saves leader with 57;  also an All-Star

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Nelson Cruz – All-Star, team leader in Slugging %, HR & RBI
  • Mitch Haniger – All-Star, lead team in Hits,

Others considered – Jean Segura (All-Star, lead team in Runs and Batting Avg), James Paxton, Dee Gordon, Alex Colome, Felix Hernandez

Bumped from consideration after his PED suspension:  Robinson Cano


ANGELS

Shohei Ohtani – Because you can’t NOT include him.

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Mike Trout – Considered by many to be the best player in baseball.
  • Andrelton Simmons – four-time Gold Glove winner who lead the team in hits, doubles and triples.

Others considered:  Martin Maldonado, Justin Upton (team RBI leader), Zack Cozart, Albert Pujols


Next week is the last post in this series, so if you would like to see customs of cards I’d listed but didn’t make, or a “bonus card” of someone who didn’t get rank higher than “also considered”, just ask me nicely in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

Nightmares About 2024 Topps Heritage

It started a few months ago with a joke on Twitter about Night Owl, a well-known lover of 1975 Topps, becoming insolvent trying to collect the different variations of 2024 Topps Heritage (which will be based on 75T).

I did the proverbial LOL…

“Ha ha”, I laughed.

“Ha ha ha ha!”

…But that night, I had a dream that’s been waking me up in a cold sweat ever since.

In my dream it’s 2024 and I’m busting a wax box of that year’s Heritage; What fun! Wheeeeee!!!

Like Night Owl, I also love 1975 Topps… 1975 was my second year of collecting and the year that card collecting became an obsession for me.

Out of the first pack of 2024 Heritage I pulled a card of Francisco Lindor, who is a player I like and semi-collect. Yay!

Out of the second pack I pulled another Lindor, this time in a different color combination. Cool beans, a parallel!

Third pack, another Lindor another color combination…

None of this was surprising, there are 18 different color combinations in 1975 Topps. With the exceptions of All-Stars and certain subsets, the colors were assigned seemingly arbitrarily, a situation which lends itself to multiple levels of parallels.

By the end of the box I had 18 different Lindor cards…

Wow, they really went the distance with that, didn’t they?

That’s when I flipped the cards over to look at the “Product Code” so I could figure out which of the eighteen cards was the base card…

AND THERE WAS NO PRODUCT CODE ON THE BACK!

I started thumbing through my other cards… Fourteen different Travis Shaw cards… Eleven different Brandon Crawford cards… Nine different Pat Nesheks…. and no way to determine which was the base and which were the parallel.

That’s when I found out that each of the eighteen color combos were printed in equal amounts, so that EVERY CARD WAS A BASE CARD…. or NONE of them was a base card, depending on how you looked at it.

…and I did the math… 18 versions of 660 cards… A master set of 11,880 cards… and if you count the mini versions of each of the possible cards, that makes the master set total 23,760 cards…

That’s where I always wake up screaming.

After which I get out of bed, start falling, and run through the rest of the opening credits for “Eek The Cat”.

2018 Topps Gallery: Man Faints In Walmart After Finding Blaster

Either Topps upped the print runs this year or people where I live like Aaron Judge a whole lot more than Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna. Either way, I was surprised to find blasters and packs of 2018 Topps Gallery in the first Walmart I went to. Last year I made multiple visits to four different Wally Worlds, but thanks to the mania surrounding Aaron Judge, all I found was one empty display.

I didn’t even hold a 2017 Gallery card in my hand until Dime Boxes Nick sent me four of them this past Summer.

Since I was having a rough week, I decided to buy a blaster. As soon as I grabbed one off the shelf, I noticed how light the box was. I looked at the details and found that the box consists of seven 4 card packs, plus an additional pack of 4 parallels which I don’t want and probably can’t sell on COMC because there’ll be 68 copies of each out there by the time mine get sent in and processed.

That’s 32 cards for $20.  My inner Grumpy Old Man says “When I was a kid, I could buy a rack pack of 42 cards for 49 cents!!!  BAH!!!

OK, so we’ve established that it’s pricey by my standards.  What about the cards?

The very first card I saw was this Adam Jones (with art by Kevin Graham)…

My second card was of Orioles rookie Austin Hays.  Yep, my first two cards were from the 115-loss Orioles.  Good thing I’m an Orioles fan.

Here’s the back, not that anyone really cares about the back.

Starling Marte by artist Dan Bergren.  The Topps Gallery logo in the top left, the player’s name and team are in gold foil.  The white border has a whorl texture to it which I suppose is supposed to evoke brush strokes but, to me, looks more like fingerprints.

Thoughts regarding this Jacob deGrom card:

This was also painted by Kevin Graham, who either…
a) Had a very long lead time and created this artwork a year ago
b) Was working off of pre-2018 reference images
c) Kept the long hair for artistic reasons.

This card of Ildemaro Vargaos, by artist John Giancaspro, made me say “Who?”
…That’s “Who?” about Vargas, not about Giancaspro, although I’d not heard of either.

ROOKIE CARD!  That’s all Topps wants you to think about.  Vargas has been in affiliated ball since 2010, didn’t make his debut until 2017, is 27 years old and still rookie eligible.  I don’t mean to pick on Vargas, but in a 200-card checklist, I’d like to pull someone better than a 27-year-old Diamondbacks rookie.

Babe Ruth cards in modern sets is like hearing “Hotel California” on the radio… I’d had my fill years ago.  If we’re going to get cards of players from the 1920’s or 1930’s, then give me Paul Waner.  Frankie Frisch.  Dazzy Vance.

Artwork by Kris Penix, BTW.

Evan Longoria looks like he’s doing his impression of Saturday Night Live’s Alex Moffat’s “Eric Trump” character.  (Art by Kevin Graham)

Yes, I still watch SNL… although not in real time and we fast-forward through any sketches which don’t hold our attention.

I like this card of David Ortiz (Kris Penix again), but it’s likely going out as trade bait.

Just to make sure that all of the artists are covered before I get to the hits (such as they were) from this blaster…

Alex Verdugo by Carlos Cabaleiro

Rhys Hoskins by Gerry Garcia

OK, so let’s start with the one short-printed base card I got: Dustin Fowler (art by Kevin Graham).

I guess 1 short print out of 32 cards isn’t a bad ratio, but 1 short print out of a blaster seems a lot worse.

As I mentioned, I got four “Artist Proofs” parallels. here’s one of them: Jackson Stephens (art by Dan Bergren)

The Artist Proofs cards have an extra gold foil stamping on the bottom right of the image.

Whoop-de-doop-dee-doo.

I didn’t get all of the insert sets, but I did get two.  First up is the “Heritage” insert set done in the style of 1952 Topps (art by Gerry Garcia)

The back is also done 1952-style, but it’s all glossy cardboard.

The other is from the “Masterpiece” insert set and features Roberto Clemente. The art is by Evan Shoman, who didn’t appear anywhere else in the blaster.

I dunno, I’m underwhelmed by this.  The art is fine, but I’m going to be that annoying guy who says that if I’m getting a painting it damn well better be color.

And finally…

…Sound the trumpets…

…Here’s the “HIT” of the blaster…

A sticker autograph of the Cubs’ Ian Happ!  Yaaaaaaay!

Like the Ortiz, this is going out to a trading buddy.

So… on the whole… I don’t regret this purchase, but I will flat out say that, even with the auto, it wasn’t really worth $20.  The artwork is nice, and there were a number of cards I liked which I didn’t show here, but it’s not so awesome that I want to collect the entire set (or even the entire set minus SP’s).  The base cards are a nice target for my team and player collections, plus maybe a few extras. I won’t be buying any more packs of Gallery.

Has anyone else bought Topps Gallery?  What did you think?

My Tribute To 1964 Topps “Giants”, November 18th Edition

As with the other posts in this series, I’m simulating the checklist from the 1964 Topps Giant-Sized All-Stars set (commonly known as “1964 Giants”) by selecting three representative players from each team.

Unlike the previous posts, I’m going to list 3 cards which I chose for each team’s checklist, but for three of today’s four teams I’m only including one custom per team. Time grows tight for me, and interest wanes for everybody.

DIAMONDBACKS

I’d forgotten that I’d already done a team set for the Diamondbacks. They were in first place as late as September 1st… and then the wheels came off and they went 9-18 during the month of September and finished well behind the Dodgers and Rockies.

Paul Goldschmidt – All-Star several years running, Silver Slugger, centerpiece of this team.  Don’t even argue that he shouldn’t be here.

Zack Greinke – All-Star four of the past five years, Gold Glove five years straight, 15-11, 3.21, 1.071 WHIP.

Patrick Corbin All-Star Reserve, likely to be traded this winter, All-Star, Cy Young votes, 11-7, 3.15

Also considered:  AJ Pollock (April 2018 Player of the month), Ketel Marte (lead the Majors with 12 Triples), Jake Lamb, Robbie Ray, Archie Bradley


MARLINS
J.T. Realmuto – clearly the best player on this team, which is why there’s all kinds of rumors of his being traded.  I’m thinking this will be the last custom I’ll make featuring the Loria Era uniforms.  They grew on me a little bit over the years, but I won’t really miss them.

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Brian Anderson – Lead the team in On-base % and doubles, but as I was finalizing this post I realized that Anderson probably shouldn’t be here because of my “June checklist” rule… Maybe Starlin Catro instead?
  • Justin Bour – Reminder – I’m doing these based on the rosters as of June, when the checklist for this imaginary set was imaginarily finalized.  Sure, Bour got traded to Philly… but the flip side is that he was good enough that he got traded to Philly.

Others considered:  Starlin Castro, Jose Urena, Brad Ziegler, Kyle Barraclough, Lewis Brinson


NATIONALS

Max Scherzer – gotta have the oversized card to highlight his eyes. This Mets fan won’t begrudge anyone who argues that Scherzer should have won the Cy… I won’t agree, but I respect that argument.  Scherzer lead the Majors with 300 K’s, tied for the NL lead with 18 wins and started the All-Star game.

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Angry mobs would burn down the fictional Shlabotnik Industries, Inc. factory if Bryce Harper weren’t included, but if you catch me when I’m feeling ornery I would argue that the following two players mentioned deserve it more.  Harper also started the All-Star game, drove in 100 and lead the Majors in walks.
  • Trea Turner – Lead the league with 43 stolen bases;  scored 103 runs, drove in 73 runs.  Until I researched this post I forgot that the Padres sent him to DC in a 2015 three-team trade.

I can’t help but wonder if Trea Turner and Anthony Rendon should’ve gotten preference over His Bryceness… Or Juan Soto if this were an after-the-season checklist rather than a finalized-in-June checklist.  I’m frankly happy that, barring a team owner getting bonked on the head with a bowling ball and changing personality, neither of my two teams is going to be the one regretting a $400 million Bryce Harper contract come 2022.

Of course, I also thought Roger Clemens was washed up in the mid 1990’s (*cough* steroids *cough*).  I really need to work on that series of “Shlabotnik’s Hall Of Disdain” posts…

Also considered:  Sean Doolittle, Daniel Murphy, Ryan Zimmerman


PADRES

This was a rough bunch to pick because… well, this is not a good team.

Eric Hosmer – The biggest name on the team, lead the team in hits, doubles, runs and RBI.

The other two unmade customs on this checklist:

  • Hunter Renfroe – Lead the team in home runs and slugging %.
  • Travis Jankowski – team leader in batting average, on-base % and stolen bases.  I kinda like Jankowski so I may go back and make a custom for him.

Others considered: Brad Hand (All-Star with a 1.083 WHIP before getting traded to Cleveland), Wil Myers, Freddy Galvis, Kirby Yates, Christian Villanueva, Manuel Margot


As of right now, I’m planning on another two or three posts in this series, just to get through the remaining 11 teams in some form, plus a couple of “bonus cards” that I’ve promised. If you would like to see customs of cards I’d listed but didn’t make, or of someone who didn’t get past the “also considered” phase, just ask me nicely in the comments and I’ll see what I can do.

…Even if you ask for Bryce Harper. (Turns and spits on the floor)

Catching Up On Hot Stove Customs (And Thoughts On The Marlins New Unforms)

Over the past few weeks, the majority of the custom cards I’ve posted here have been my tributes to the 1964 Topps “Giants” set.  There are more of those coming, but I wanted to take some time and share some of the other offseason custom projects I’ve been working on.

I’ve been using a variety of oddball designs in the offseason ever since 2012/13 when this guy had just been hired to manage the Red Sox…

I used these customs to highlight new managers, player movement and other offseason developments.

Back in 2014 I started to play around with faux “3-D” customs

…and yes, the 3-D customs will be back, once some of the bigger names start moving around.

As an attempted side project which never took off as much as I’d intended, in 2015 I started creating custom non-sports cards, the TSR “Fauxback” set.

I really like this design, I wish I’d done more with it at the time…

…but anyway…

A few weeks ago I introduced the first of my TSR Hot Stove customs, based on (but not completely faithful to) the 1962 Post set.  Here’s are two more examples, one featuring new Angels manager Brad Ausmus…

…and the other featuring new Rangers manager Chris Woodward:

As 1962 Post collectors can tell, I’ve gone rogue with the colors used and made them more team-based.  I’ve also ditched the stats and will replace them with other things.

This past week I unveiled my new TSR Fauxback design to highlight new Twins manager Rocco Baldelli (The Twins tweeted out a bigger photo of Rocco than the other managers got, so I figured “why waste it?”)

This design is meant to evoke the non-sport Topps sets of the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, complete with the card number on the front (in the upper right corner) and in what I thought was a fun development for my custom cards, puzzles on the back!  YAAAAY!

I shared these images on Twitter earlier this week, and the response was “crickets”.

…BUT I REMAIN UNDAUNTED!!!

I also think that the design might appeal to people more if they see a bunch at the same time, so all y’all can get an idea of what I’m doing here.

And so…

The Miami Marlins unveiled their new uniforms yesterday, I thought the Fauxback design, combined with images published by the Marlins, would work well for expanding on the few thoughts I’d tweeted.

Starting pitcher Trevor Richards highlights the home jersey’s “Miami” script…

My initial reaction to these uniforms was that it was a lateral move from the one’s they’d had since 2012, more of an “Under New Management” sign than any huge improvement.

(here’s the puzzle back for card #6…)

…funny how the full-bleed nature of the backs make them look bigger than the front…

But now that I’ve had some time to digest them, I’m liking them more.  I still think they need a little *something* – maybe a “Miami Blue” bill on that black cap, or a non-black number on the front – but it’s not at all bad.  There’s way too much black, blue and red in Major League baseball, but at least it’s a different blue.

(Puzzle back for card #4…)

My main problem with the black alternate is that there’s way too much black.  As Nigel Tufnel said in This Is Spinal Tap, “How much more black could this be?  And the answer is ‘None… None more black’.”

When I was looking at Marlins unis reactions yesterday on my phone, i noticed that on a small screen the black jersey showed up as illegible, just a few colored marks on a black shirt.  It looks nice enough up close, but it’s going to be difficult to read the numbers from the stands.  If I were made commissioner (of any sport, I may add), one of my first moves would be to require that jersey numbers be completely legible from the upper decks.  Function over form, people…

(Puzzle back for card #5…)

I wanted to share one last custom, because this Fauxback set is intended to be an all-purpose set.  Ever since I heard about the retirement of Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer who performed as Big Bird and Oscar The Grouch, I’ve wanted to make some sort of custom to commemorate this… so this seemed as good an opportunity to make one

(Puzzle back for card #3…)

By this point I think that many of you have figured out who’s on the puzzle backs.  The first person to name the celebrity in the comments will win… a big ol’ thumbs up from me, and the admiration of your peers.  Sorry, I’m not a “prize” kind of guy.

BTW, when I’ve shared all (or at least most of) the puzzle backs, I’ll also share the full puzzle.  I’m not quite there yet.