2021 TSR Daily: Wrapping Things Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting back on track…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







2021 TSR Daily: Coming Down The Home Stretch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2021 TSR Daily: Still Alive

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jeimer Candelario leads the Majors with 42 doubles.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2021 TSR Daily: I Love Making Customs And I Feel Fine

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

Brandon Nimmo is a fan-favorite now, but back in 2011 he was the first-ever 1st round pick taken out of Wyoming. The Mets are now officially a disappointment now that they’ve been eliminated and have clinched a non-winning record. We’ll see how much the team gets blown up during the off-season.

While it’s fresh on my mind, I learned something about “Elimination numbers” yesterday. Going into Saturday, the Mets’ Elimination # sat at 2… however, after the Phillies beat the Pirates in the afternoon, the word got around that the Mets were eliminated. Whut?

Well, the Elimination # is based on the team in question and the first-place team, which is the Braves… And yes, if the Mets had won the rest of their games and the Braves had lost theirs, the Mets would’ve jumped over Atlanta… but in losing the remainder of their games, the Braves would lose 3 to the second-place Phillies and put Philadelphia in first. What it boiled down to was that once the Phillies won yesterday, there was no longer a path to the division title, and they were toast. As it turned out, last evening the Mets lost and the Braves won, so it’s all moot.

Frankie Montas leads the A’s with 13 wins, 181.0 IP and an even 200 strikeouts.

Avisaíl García leads the Brew Crew with 119 hits, 29 homers and 85 RBI, plus he has a .314 career batting average in the postseason.

Shohei Ohtani leads the Angels in [takes a deep breath] Runs, triples, homers, RBI, stolen bases, walks, on-base %, slugging %, wins, winning %, innings pitched and strikeouts.

Here’s a shorter list of the traditional stats where Ohtani does NOT lead the Angels…

Hits – David Fletcher – 160
Doubles – Jared Walsh – 31
Batting Average – Jared Walsh – .272

ERA – Raisel Iglesias – 2.69 (although Ohtani has the best among starting pitchers)
Complete Games – José Suarez – 1
Saves (of course) – Raisel Iglesias – 33

Reliever-turned-starter Ranger Suárez has maintained a 1.45 ERA over 38 appearances and 99.0 innings pitched. He also strikes out 0.99 batters per inning pitched.

Robbie Ray, emerging as a Cy Young candidate, leads the league with 244 strikeouts, a 2.68 ERA and 188.0 innings pitched. In the second half of the season he’s 6-2 with a 2.16 ERA and he was named the August AL Pitcher of the Month with the following stats: 41.0 IP, 52 Ks, 8 BBs, 1.76 ERA, 0.854 WHIP

If Jan Brady were a Dodgers pitcher, she’d say “Kershaw, Kershaw, Kershaw!”

…Or “Scherzer, Scherzer, Scherzer!” or “Buehler, Buehler, Buehler!”

Right now, Julio Urías is the Dodger’s overlooked Jan Brady. My point being that you’d hardly know that Julio Urías leads MLB with 18 wins and also leads with a .857 winning percentage (he’s got just 3 losses against those 18 wins)

All-Star Joey Wendle leads the Rays with a .274 average and he’s top 3 on the team in hits, doubles and triples. He was originally drafted by Cleveland and made his MLB debut with Oakland.

Over 15 postseason games Tommy Pham has a .352 batting average with 5 runs, 6 RBI and 4 stolen bases.

Jorge Polanco and his 31 homers, 91 runs scored and 90 RBI would be getting more attention if he were on a playoff-bound team and/or in a major market.

Here are the inserts for this “pack”…

The Orioles’ Cedric Mullins hit his 30th home run Friday night; he already has 30 stolen bases and he is now the first player in Orioles history to go 30/30 in a season.

Kind of hard to believe that nobody had done it before, but it’s true. Among those who have come reasonably close were Brady Anderson, Jonathan Villar, Don Baylor and – believe it or not – Reggie Jackson who hit 27 homers and stole 28 bases in 1976, his one season in Baltimore.

See the fun, useless info you learn from me?

I’m still catching up on my “transactions” cards; Joey Gallo was undoubtedly excited to go from the last-place Rangers to the contending Yankees, but who knows if he was prepared for the roller coaster that has been the Yankees this season.

And that’s the pack. If you’re disappointed that you didn’t get a 1/1 or an autograph, you clearly didn’t look at the odds stated on the wrapper.

2021 TSR Daily: Oh, Nimbus! Help Someone…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2021 TSR Daily: Just Ask Yourself… Do You Want My Styrofoam Peanuts?

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

Rhys Hoskins leads the Phillies with 29 doubles, 24 homers and 68 RBI

You could make a case that other Giants are more deserving of being in this set, but it wouldn’t be an iron-clad case and I like Brandon Belt.

George Springer missed a lot of the season, but he’s been making up for lost time and on August 9th he was named the AL Player of the week for the second consecutive week.  Over the two week period he batted .371 with 6 homers, 18 runs abd 18 RBI

All-Star Justin Turner doesn’t lead the Dodgers in any major statistical category, but he’s second on the team in hits, homers, RBI, batting average and on-base %

Akil Baddoo is a Rookie of the Year candidate and leads the league with 6 triples. He was selected from the Twins organization in the Rule V draft

Gold Glove-winning centerfielder Trent Grisham is a key member of the Padres, even if he gets overshadowed by players like Tatis and Machado

This custom of Lars Nootbaar doesn’t count towards my official checklist of 240 cards (8 per team, hopefully), but I just like the name ‘Lars Nootbaar’.

This also doesn’t count towards my 240 custom checklist, but I made this custom because I felt for Deven Marrero, a former Red Sox prospect who’s been called up, designated for assignment and outrighted to Triple-A FOUR TIMES this season, most recently a few days ago.

With all that coming and going, he’s appeared in just 7 games and is 3 for 9 with a solo home run.

Moving on to hockey, I’ve realized I’m falling behind in posting my Seattle Kraken customs to this blog (if you follow me on Twitter you may have already seen these)

If you’re wondering what’s up with the subject line, just ask yourself:
Do you want my styrofoam peanuts?
You can have my styrofoam peanuts.
Do you want my styrofoam peanuts?
You can have ’em all…
(Found out today that this is actually Ray Manzarek on keyboards)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First insert!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

2021 TSR Daily: With HR Derby, Draft Picks and… HOCKEY?!?

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

Freddy Peralta was named to his first All-Star team and is top 5 in the NL in strikeouts and WHIP

Charlie Blackmon could be in another uniform this time next month… and in my twisted custom logic I wanted to make sure I got him in this set as a Rockie because I’m running short on Rockies candidates for my checklist. I can always give him an “update” custom if need be.

If there are any Rockies fans out there, I’m open to nominations. Other than Blackmon I’ve already done Trevor Story, German Márquez, Jon Gray and Ryan McMahon.

Anthony DeSclafani has the league lead with 2 shutouts and has 10 wins against 3 losses. He’s one of the players who has flown under my radar because I’m not doing fantasy baseball this year… and I do kinda miss it, even if it does take a fair amount of time. I’ll have to see what I can do about 2022

I’ve watched home run derbies on TV… A couple of years ago I went to a minor league home run derby… So it’s not just a knee-jerk reaction when I say that home run derbies are dull, dull, dull, dull, dull. But I felt like I should watch this year because of Trey Mancini and Pete Alonso. It turned out that my two guys in this competition made it to the finals… and I struggled to stay awake. But I have to make a custom, right?

I made sure to get Mets bench coach Dave Jauss included in the custom, because he put on a show of a different sort by throwing pitch after pitch in the same place.

Jean Segura leads the Phillies with a .315 average, plus is among the the league leaders in a number of defensive statistics

Rookie 2nd baseman Jonathan India leads the Reds in On-Base % and stolen bases, plus he’s been hit by a pitch 14 times, tied for the most in MLB. You’d have to think he’s a ROY candidate.

Aroldis Chapman was named to the All-Star team even though his stats are not particularly impressive. I will assume I’m missing something, unless it’s mainly about his reputation and being the Yankees closer

I made up a couple of Draft Picks customs, and since I don’t want to overload on Mets customs I’ll feature the second one I made – #2 overall pick Jack Leiter, drafted out of Vanderbilt by the Texas Rangers.

One thing about Jack Leiter that I hadn’t realized until I watched the draft is that Jack looks a whole lot like Steve George.

Ha, you’re welcome 1988 Topps fans.

Jack Leiter is the son of former Major Leaguer Al Leiter, and Jack looks a lot like his old man. He also wears #22, which Al wore with the Mets and Marlins.

One more custom… this is a sort of “promo card” for a project I’ve been slowly working on for months, and which I hope that you’ll appreciate the work that went into it, even if — well, sorry, but it’s not baseball.

A little backstory… I was a big hockey fan for about 20 years and a devoted fan of the Washington Capitals, but in the late 1990’s a series of disappointing moves by the Caps and the NHL, compounded by my moving from hockey-mad Long Island to “Hockey? Whuzzat?” Shlabotsylvania made me lose interest in the league as a whole. I still enjoyed watching hockey, especially in the Olympics, but I gave up on the NHL. Over the last couple of years I’d thought about starting over with another team, since the Caps of today are still more the “ex” I grew apart from than the team I fell in love with. I made an attempt with the Rangers and Blackhawks before the pandemic, but that didn’t completely take.

I decided I’d give it one last try with the expansion Seattle Kraken, who will start play in October. They’re a bit problematic in that they are clear across the country from Shlabotsylvania, but I got a good vibe from the organization and I decided to go for it.

I haven’t paid much attention to the NHL over the past 15 or so years, so I decided I would get to know the players on my new team by making customs of them. Somewhere along the line I had the idea of making card backs as well, which is very much out of character for me.

To this former Capitals fan (and retroactive fan of the Kansas City Scouts), 1974/75 Topps is the set that most says “EXPANSION!” to me, and I kinda like the cheesy attempts to show players in uniforms which clearly weren’t for the expansion team in question.

Like Topps in 1974, I didn’t want to put a huge amount of effort into this custom set.

…But as I tend to do, I got carried away with things. I had a lot of fun trying to duplicate the card backs, something I’d never really tried to do before. I also wasn’t sure what to do about duplicating the cartoons, which was a whole ‘nother rabbit hole for me.

Quick apology – if I knew I’d be writing this much about my hockey customs, I would’ve made it a separate post. Too late now. :-)


We’re just days away from the expansion draft… Oh, excuse me, from the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft™ presented by Upper Deck. I just recently learned that it’s sponsored by Upper Deck, which I thought was an interesting sponsorship.


The expansion draft is this Wednesday, NHL rosters are already frozen in preparation and I’m ready to hit the ground running with these things. I’ve already tweeted out team-related customs and one of head coach Dave Hakstol, but the only Kraken player’s card I’ve created so far is this BLOG EXCLUSIVE card of Luke Henman who became the first player under contract to the Kraken after he was signed out of the Juniors.

I cheated a bit with the cartoon portrait of Gordie Howe on the back of the card… I tried doing it free hand but ended up digitally tracing a photo of him and used that as the ‘cartoon’.

OK, that’s enough babbling from me for now. Enjoy the rest of your weekend! (or “Have a good day!” if you’re reading this later)

2021 TSR Daily: Like Father, Like Son

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

Former Top 100 prospect Austin Hays is among the Orioles leaders in Wins Above Replacement.  I’m getting to the end of the 5th “series” in my custom set, and I’m telling you now that it’s getting more difficult to figure out which players on the last place teams deserve a custom.  My goal at the start was to have 8 customs for each team, but I’m not sure I can justify that going forward, especially after some teams will trade anyone who has any value.  We’ll see what happens.

Mike Zunino was name to the AL All-Star team for the first time in his career..

One sign of a return to normalcy is the increasing number of people throwing out the first pitch before Major League games. I ran across some photos of Jeopardy champion Ken Jennings as he was about to throw out the first pitch before a Mariners game, and I couldn’t resist giving him the Shlabotnik’s Picks treatment.

Emmanuel Clase leads Cleveland in Saves and ERA, and is one of the players received in exchange for Corey Kluber.

David Fletcher leads the league in singles and sacrifice hits and has scored more runs than any Angel not named Ohtani.

I’m still catching up on my season highlights, and I do intend to do one for Padres pitcher Daniel Camarena whose first Major League hit was a grand slam… But for now, let’s address the backlog of no-hitters and feature the Tigers’ Spencer Turnbull whose no-no of the Mariners is undoubtedly one of the season’s high points for Detroit.

Closer Ryan Pressly was named to his 2nd All-Star team. This year, he’s 4-1 with 16 saves, a 1.42 ERA, 0.789 WHIP, 11.4 strikeouts per 9 innings and 9.60 strikeouts per walk

The Mets signed Taijuan Walker as rotational depth, but the newly-named All-Star with a 7-3 record and a 1.033 WHIP has made that signing an act of genius, especially when the Mets are still without Noah Syndergaard and winter acquisition Carlos Carrasco.

Cardinals closer Alex Reyes has 20 saves, 5 wins, a 1.52 ERA and was named to the National League All-Star team

One more insert to close out the “pack”…

At the Orioles game this past Friday night there were a number of fans who were there to cheer on White Sox rookie Gavin Sheets, a Baltimore native who was playing his first game at Camden Yards.  I thought this was pretty cool – I remember a Mets game in the 1990s where I got caught up in joining people around me who were cheering for Cardinals pitcher and Queens native Allen Watson.

As it turns out, it got a bit cooler because Gavin Sheets is the son of former Orioles outfielder Larry Sheets.  Gavin and his fellow second-generation Major Leaguers – there seem to be a lot of them right now – inspired me to create a new custom card I’ve been meaning to do for a year or two, one based on subsets found in 1976 and 1985 Topps, but done in the style of my current TSR Daily set.

I’ve got a couple of tweaks in mind for this, but I’m largely happy with how it turned out.  For what it’s worth, I wasn’t strictly limiting myself to Topps cards of Larry Sheets, but I thought this particular card from 1985 Topps Traded was well-suited to these purposes.

I plan on doing more of these, and I’m welcome to suggestions.  I’d like to focus on some of the lesser-known ones, as everybody already knows about Vladimir Guerrero Jr. & Sr as well as Fernando Tatis Jr. & Sr.

OK, that’s it for this week.  As a coming attraction, I’m working on insert cards for some of the players who were selected in last night’s Major League Draft.  You can bet that this Mets fan will be including Kumar Rocker… I’m still surprised that he fell down to the Mets at #10.

…And that there’s *another* player named Max Muncy… but we’ll get to that.