Sleepless Nights… Photo Days… Where Would I Be Without My Customs?

It started with a sleepless early morning.

My mind was far too active, and no matter how long I did my own “counting sheep” substitute, I was no closer to sleep.  I went downstairs, ate a bowl of cereal (dairy products usually do a fine job of knocking me out) and tried to catch up on my magazines… but I couldn’t focus on that, my brain was all over the place.

I ended up surfing around and eventually ran into some “Photo Day” images from Spring Training.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Photo Day, each team has a day where they get all the players into their uniforms (usually home unis) and take numerous portraits and posed shots for use throughout the year.

Photo Day images are a lot of fun to look at, because it’s often the first good look at a player in new uniforms… either because they’ve changed teams, or because their team has changed uniforms.

One of the first teams I looked at was the Padres, who were wearing their new home unis that are trimmed in yellow… and I have to say, this was a small change that resulted in a huge difference.  The Padres have had very uninteresting uniforms for the past 15 years or so, but adding a bright accent color has given them a uniform set I can get behind.

There were also some portraits and pose-y images that would look great on 1950’s customs, so my brain kicked into gear.  I started with a 1953 custom…
2016 TSRchives 53T-2 Manuel Margot
Manuel Margot was a top Red Sox prospect until he was involved in the Craig Kimbrel trade, now he’s a top Padres prospect.

I was going to leave it at one Padres custom, but Derek Norris made such a great old-school catcher pose that I had to do something.  This design is from 1959 Bazooka, which I’d used for my 2013/14 Hot Stove set.
2016 TSRchives 59BZ-2 Derek Norris
I’ve long been a proponent of Padres brown and gold, but blue and gold is a criminally underused combo that I hope the Padres hang on to for a while.

The final custom I made last night was one using a template that I whipped up just for this occasion.  Now, I’m not a fan of 1960 Topps.  There’s a lot going on, and all too often there’s too much happening and it turns into a trainwreck. However, after I ran across some horizontal portraits for the Royals, I thought that one of them would work well in a 1960 design, and since I was in full-blown “Custom Animal” mode by then, I started into the template… and I’m pretty happy with the way this turned out.
2016 TSRchives 60T-1 Cody Decker
Cody Decker is a Non-Roster Invitee to Royals camp, and I don’t know how much of a chance he has to make the team, but I liked his horizontal portrait the best of all, so I went to town.

As long as I’m sharing customs, I might as well include this one that I made a couple of weeks ago, and one that fits in with vintage-y theme of this post…
2015-16 Hot Stove 65CFL Andrew McCutchen
This is most likely the last “Hot Stove” card from this year’s set, and for those who aren’t familiar with the design, it’s based on the 1965 Topps Canadian Football League set.  Andrew McCutchen is modeling the Pirates’ new Sunday alternates, based on the late-1970’s / early 1980’s “We Are Fam-i-lee” uniforms.  They generally did a good job with these, but I don’t like the hat, it’s not as pillbox-y as it should be… and while the black pants looked OK with gold 1970’s stirrups, I’m not sure how they’ll do as full-length pants.

OK, so this wasn’t a planned post, but once I finished these customs I figured I might as well put them out there for everybody to (hopefully) enjoy.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some real baseball cards.  Promise.

2016 Archives: Topps, You Are On Notice!

Topps recently announced that the three main designs they will use for 2016 Archives are the designs from 1953, 1991 and 1979.

Just like everybody does impressions of Bill Clinton or Christopher Walken, everybody who does customs does 1979 Topps…  And I mean everybodyEVERYBODY!

Almost missed a couple:   Every – body!

I myself have gotten a fair amount of use out of my 97T template, and tweaked it a bit for this post.

2016 TSR 79T Ichiro Suzuki

When it comes to replication, designs just don’t come much easier than 1979 Topps.

2016 TSR 79T Kyle Schwarber

…which is why I make this solemn vow:  Topps, if you screw up 79T, I swear I WILL COME DOWN ON YOU LIKE A TON OF BRICKS!

…Not that anybody involved with Topps will even notice that it’s happened, but the fact remains that I WILL COME DOWN ON YOU LIKE A TON OF BRICKS!

2016 TSR 79T Odubel Herrera

And the same goes for 1953!!!

2016 TSR 53T Steven Matz

I gotta admit, I was so pleased with the way this 1953 Steven Matz came out that I’m almost a little afraid to try another 1953 custom.  I guess we’ll see.

Oh, and by the way… Being snowed in and all this weekend, I got a little carried away with the 1979 template…

2016 TSR 79T Caleb Joseph

2016 TSR 79T Justin Turner

2016 TSR 79T Max Kepler

Maybe I’m overcompensating for the fact that I couldn’t drive out to the store to buy a box of cereal with a Hot Stove card in it… Next weekend, I promise.