2021 TSR Daily: A Sketch Card Not Of My Own Doing

When I started out doing my 2021 TSR Daily customs (called “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.

Ever since I decided on that format, I’ve been looking for another way to include the players *I* want to make customs for… and I think I’ve got a new “insert set” which covers that.

…But before we get to that, I want to lead off with a different sort of insert. One thing I’ve been pondering for a year or two is creating some sketch cards which would make use of my modest drawing abilities.

Well, after Joe Musgrove pitched the first no-hitter in San Diego Padres history, I was beaten to the punch.  Phungo Tweeted out a sketch card using my 2021 TSR Daily design as the “canvas”.

This brought a big smile to my face, both because I liked the sketch card in and of itself, and also in a Sally Field “You like it!  You really like it!” kind of way.  Thank you, Phungo!  I truly appreciate the homage!  (I’ll also throw out a link to his blog).

OK, on to the “base cards”…

Christian Walker lead the 2020 D-Backs in doubles was among the team leaders in runs, hits, homers, RBI and Slugging %.  There’s a part of me who’s a bit irritated that the Orioles lost Walker on waivers 4 years ago, but I’ll also admit that the one thing the O’s don’t really need is another first baseman.

Adam Wainwright has pitched in 16 seasons for the Cardinals, so I’d forgotten that he was originally a 2000 1st round pick of the Braves. I love Wainwright’s socks, so I made sure that they were included when I cropped the image

Last week, Brandon Woodruff no-hit the Cubs into the 7th inning but ended up with a no-decision when the Brew Crew won in extra innings.  Woodruff was much sharper in that start than in his first start of the year when he gave up 3 runs in 4 innings.

Last year Bryce Harper lead the league in Walks and his 8 stolen bases was tied for 10th with four other players.  What’s funny about this custom is that I was intending to not spend much time on it because “Eh, it’s just Bryce Harper”, but then I ran across this image and said “Oh, well *that’s* a nice shot…”

John Means was the Opening Day starter for the O’s and lead the team in K’s in 2020.  Even within the Orioles organization he seemed to come out of nowhere to become the staff ace.  I don’t believe anybody had him pegged as a significant prospect.

Anthony Rizzo has won three straight Gold Gloves and has been top 5 in HBP every year since since 2014… I discovered this fact yesterday while poking around his Baseball Reference page trying to find something interesting to say about him… and Boy Howdy, that’s pretty interesting

Former 1st round pick Ian Anderson (3rd overall in 2016) pitched as a rookie in the 2020 postseason and came out with a 2-0 record and a 0.96 ERA over 4 starts.  I started semi-collecting him 3 years ago after I stumbled across his Pro Debut card and said “Hey, his name is the same as the frontman from Jethro Tull!”

OK, as for that insert set I mentioned at the beginning… I knew what I wanted to do in terms of creating another custom set which would highlight the players I would want to feature in custom cards — I even had a name for it:  “Shlabotnik’s Picks” — but I wasn’t sure how I wanted to go about “invoking” it.

I played around with some already-existing custom templates I had sitting around but hadn’t used much.  One that stuck out to me was for a personal favorite which has its 25th anniversary this year:  1996 Upper Deck Collector’s Choice.  That set’s simple but elegant design is one of my favorites of the 1990s and I put a fair amount of effort into chasing the set back then.

I played around with what I had, but I wasn’t happy with it… and then I hit on the idea of dropping the standard base card version and making a custom using the full-bleed version of the design used for several subsets, and things fell into place.

Voila…!

I still need to play with the fonts a bit, but I like the way this is panning out.  It’s hard to tell from the image, but I replaced the “Collector’s Choice” badge with “Shlabotnik’s Picks”, and also swapped out my cartoon face for the UD logo.

I also tried to ‘photoshop’ a ballpark background to replace the studio backdrop, but Doolittle’s beard with it’s undefined edges made it more effort than I wanted to get into.  I’m not unhappy with the results, though.

OK, that’s it for this week’s pack.  Have fun, stay healthy and be excellent to each other!

 

2021 TSR Daily: A Quick Pack

It’s time for another virtual pack of my 2021 TSR Daily custom card set… if you’re wondering why it’s called “Daily”, that’s because I Tweet out a custom each day (#2021TSRDaily) and then share them here each week, sort of like opening a pack.

This past week has been a busy one for me, so this is going to be a quick post with no inserts… but it does include a “promo card” for another project I’m working on.

Andrés Giménez, one of the key pieces obtained by the Indians in the trade which sent Francisco Lindor and Carlos Carrasco to the Mets, is the starting shortstop in Cleveland.

I saw both Lindor and Giménez when they played in the minors and both made an impression on me at the time, so for me this trade was also a “trade” between my collections… Lindor goes from Player Collection to Mets Collection and vice versa for Giménez.

There was a bit of a hoo-hah this past week after Topps announced that the Cavan Biggio card on the Heritage base card checklist (#216) doesn’t actually show up in packs of Heritage (but a French Language parallel and a mini *can* be pulled from packs).  I wanted to make sure I didn’t also “forget” to include Biggio, so here is his custom. 

Here’s your fun Biggio fact: After 161 Major League games, the only positions he hasn’t played is pitcher, catcher and shortstop. …And, oh, yeah… he’s the son of HOFer Craig Biggio, in case you didn’t know.

It appears that Heritage inserts are printed in advance of the base set, so the Biggio “variations but not base” situation isn’t that strange. I know that in 2014 Heritage, the base Curtis Granderson card has him photoshopped into a Mets jersey, but the black-bordered parallel shows him with the Yankees (his team in 2013). I’m pretty sure there are other examples, but this is the one I’m familiar with (and I thought I had a scan of these cards, but apparently not… and sorry, I’m doing this post on the fly so I don’t have time to scan it now).

Dylan Bundy lead the Angels in Wins and K’s last year and was the Angels’ Opening Day starter. For what it’s worth, he was also one of two former Orioles (along with Kevin Gausman) who started on Opening Day. Neither pitched as well as John Means, who started for the O’s and beat the Red Sox.

In 2019 Sandy Alcantara was the Marlins All-Star representative and lead the league with 2 shutouts. He was the Marlins’ Opening Day starter and got a no-decision.

Two-time All-Star Alex Bregman currently leads the league in home runs, as if that means anything at this point. I chose this image because I liked Bregman’s hop, but I think I cropped it a bit too tightly for the hopping to be clear. Maybe I’ll change that for the Factory Set (Yes, this *is* a joke)

On a personal note, I’ve finally gotten past the point where I had wanted to spell his name as “Bergman”.

José Berríos, a 2-time All-Star, pitched 6 no-hit innings before being pulled by manager Rocco Baldelli. The Twins took a combined no-hitter into the 8th and ended up with a one-hitter.

Last year Brandon Lowe lead the Rays in runs, hits, homers and RBI.

I tweeted this next one on April Fool’s Day, as it seemed kind of fitting. 

For a number of years now, whenever I run across an image that seems ridiculous or somewhat embarrassing for the subject, I’ll make a custom out of it and list the player as “Joe Shlabotnik”. I guess you’d call it a tradition after all this time.

Promo card time: I’ve been slowly working on a custom set for Curling, the Olympic sport which is far more popular in Canada than here in the US. Right now the Men’s World Championships are underway and the skip for Team Canada is Brendan Bottcher (who was, at the time I made this custom, representing the province of Alberta in the Canadian championships).

Incidentally, the design comes from the 1965 Topps Canadian Football League set which, of course, was only issued in Canada… but I really like the design, it’s got a cool old-school design which lends itself to doing modern stuff. I’d used this design a few years ago as part of a “Hot Stove” set between baseball seasons.

OK, that’s the pack for this week.  I hope that you’re having better luck than I am at getting real packs to rip.

2021 TSR Daily: More From Series 2

Welcome to another virtual pack of my 2021 TSR Daily custom card set… if you’re wondering why it’s called “Daily”, that’s because I Tweet out a custom each day (#2021TSRDaily) and then share them here each week, sort of like opening a pack.

This is the fourth post in this series, and I don’t think I have anything in particular to say about my custom set this time around…

Oh, I’ll mention that it’s “Series 2” because I did one custom from each team and now I’m working through the batting order for the 2nd time… so it’s Series 2.

Salvador Perez plays in KC and missed 2019 after ‘Tommy John’ surgery, so so people might have forgotten that he’s a 6-time All-Star who’s won 5 Gold Gloves and 3 Silver Sluggers and was the 2015 World Series MVP. He recently got a 4-year, $82M extension, which is a big outlay for the Royals.

New Dodger Trevor Bauer was the NL Cy Young winner with the Reds last year and lead the league with a 1.73 ERA.  I wasn’t sure I wanted him to sign with the Mets, but since he blew the Mets off and signed with the Dodgers, I’m frankly hoping he flops and flops hard.

I’ve been brainstorming some “Blog Exclusive” inserts to include in these virtual packs.  I’ve got a few in the works, but the only one where I’ve gotten far enough to publish something is this set of “stamps” which is loosely based on my TSR Daily design.  This time around I’m featuring players who, like Bauer, have changed teams in the offseason:  George Springer, Andrew Benintendi, Nolan Arenado and Francisco Lindor.

For anyone who is interested in the “behind the scenes” stuff, these were all “Photo day” shots in front of a solid background, and I removed that background and substituted some Spring Training ballpark backgrounds that I’ve accumulated over the years.

Tarik Skubal, the Tigers’ #2 prospect according to Baseball America, was recently told he’d start the season in the rotation. He’s got an interesting name and, as you can see, he’s got a high leg kick. What’s not to like?

Two-time All-Star Xander Bogaerts lead the 2020 Red Sox with 36 runs and a .502 Slugging Percentage. It’s something of a badge of honor for me that I no longer have to look up how to properly spell “Xander Bogaerts”

Shortstop Tim Anderson lead the Majors with a .335 average in 2019 and last year he won a Silver Slugger.  I need to get back into Fantasy Baseball this year… without that constant exposure to stats, I will admit I didn’t realize how accomplished Tim Anderson is.

2019 NL ROY Pete Alonso got off to a slow start in 2020 but still lead the Mets with 16 homers.

Yu Darvish finished 2nd in Cy Young voting and lead the NL with 8 wins… So of course the Cubs traded him to the Padres. I suspect that the NL Central is going to be a “Doesn’t anybody want to win the division?” situation like the NFC East was this past football season.

OK, that’s it for this pack. Hopefully you’re not like me and have been able to open some real packs lately. I’ve nearly exhausted my supply and the only unopened pack I have left is from a 1990s “Mr. Bean” set.

2021 TSR Daily: About The “Checklist”

Welcome to another virtual pack of my 2021 TSR Daily custom card set… if you’re wondering why it’s called “Daily”, that’s because I Tweet out a custom each day (#2021TSRDaily) and then share them here each week, sort of like opening a pack.

This is the third post in this series, and this time I’m going to talk a little bit about how I’m going about selecting the players to be featured in this set.

One of my minor peeves about the checklists of 21st Century sets is that they lean too much on star players, rookie cards, Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs and Red Sox, all to varying degrees.

For my set, I wanted to be fair about which teams were represented and maybe not spend so much ‘real estate’ on rookies who could end up being the next Henry Owens or Zach Lee (ask your friends who were collecting five or six years ago).

In thinking about giving more cards to the less successful teams (who do, after all, have fans) and cutting back on the ‘usual’ teams, it reminded me of a project I did three years ago when I did a current-day version of the 1964 Topps “Giants” set and made sure I did three customs for each team, just like the original.

It was a fun exercise because it made me think about which players from the World Champion team to leave out and which players from a rebuilding 100-loss team to include.

Once I started thinking along those lines, I figured that if I did a custom a day from roughly mid-February to mid-October it would give me 240 customs, which could be broken down to 8 cards for each of the 30 teams.  That’s the plan for now, but if we get to the All-Star break and one of these rebuilding team trades away anybody that has any value at all, then maybe I give some extra slots to a team that has players worthy of inclusion.  We’ll see what happens.

OK, so let’s rip into this pack.

2020 AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber lead the Majors in ERA (1.63) and strikeouts (122) and tied Yu Darvish for the most wins in the Majors (8)

DJ LeMahieu got a 2020 AL MVP first place vote and lead the league with a .364 average. His re-signing came as a tremendous relief to Yankees fans everywhere

Silver Slugger winner Juan Soto lead the Majors with a .490 On-Base % and a .695 Slugging %, plus lead the NL with a .351 Batting Average

2020 NL ROY Devin Williams also got Cy & MVP votes, gave up just 1 ER over 27 IP and struck out 17.7 per 9 IP

Insert time!  I’ll admit that I’m still working on ideas for inserts, so for now I’m going to press ahead with the “Managers and Coaches” insert set.

It wasn’t a huge surprise that someone would hire AJ Hinch after his suspension was over.  There weren’t a lot of openings for Hinch to pursue, so here we are.

Chris Bassitt got some Cy Young votes and was the AL September Pitcher of the Month after going 3-0 in four starts and giving up 1 ER over 26.2 IP

Trevor Story lead the league with 4 Triples and 15 stolen bases, and also lead the Rockies in runs, hits, doubles, homers and slugging %

Joey Gallo batted below the Mendoza Line in 2020, but he won a Gold Glove and lead the team in On-Base %. 

These powder blue Rangers unis are growing on me, but I’m still of the opinion that the Rangers have a fairly uninteresting visual history.


This pack also came with a “promo card” for a possibly upcoming non-sports set: 2021 TSR Wheels.  I’ve made a stab at a car-based custom set before, and as part of my custom-making insanity of late, I came up with a new design that I quite like.

Our packaging engineers at The Shlabotnik Report managed to fit a “Tall Boy”-sized card (4.66″ x 2.5″) in a standard-sized pack.  Kudos to them for this achievement!

The Mustang Mach-E, from what I’ve read, is not so much an electrified Mustang as it is a Mustangified electric crossover.  I read an article recently that said that people who have driven an electric car before are more likely to consider buying one, and I have to admit that driving a rental Prius for a week about 18 months ago (after my car had been in a fender bender) made me a lot more receptive to the idea of owning one.

OK, that’s more than enough for this post.  Have a good week!

2021 TSR Daily: About The Colors

Welc0ome to another virtual pack of my 2021 TSR Daily custom card set… if you’re wondering why it’s called “Daily”, that’s because I Tweet out a custom each day (#2021TSRDaily) and then share them here each week, sort of like opening a pack.

Starting with this post I’m also going to have some additional customs which don’t appear on Twitter.

I want to spend a little bit of time taking about how I decided on the colors used for this set, but before I get started here’s the first custom in the pack:

Ryan Mountcastle got called up in late August but played well enough to be named to the 2020 Topps All-Star Rookie team.

I’ve been doing these customs on a regular basis since 2012 and I get a little obsessed over the colors I use. I like to have particular colors assigned to each team and spend a probably-crazy amount of time picking those colors. I have a palette full of “authentic Topps” colors I’d set up in my copy of PaintShop Pro

For this set, I went with a late 1960’s Topps color theme and assigned many of the colors to match what was used by Topps in 1966, 1968 and 1969. For example, this Mountcastle custom has a similar ‘pea green’ to what was used for the O’s back in 1966.

2020 National League MVP Freddie Freeman batted .341, lead the league with 51 runs and 23 doubles, plus won a Silver Slugger.

In the late 1960s the Braves were ‘assigned’ a lavender color for their cards, and I maintained that here. By the way, the color of the ring around the border (dark blue in this case) has little to do with the 1960’s… I started with the primary 1960s color and then just played around with what worked best. No two teams in my custom set have the same color combination.

Bryan Reynolds was one of the prospects the Pirates acquired for Andrew McCutchen and was named to the 2019 Topps All-Star Rookie team.

The Pirates cards from the late 1960’s had magenta as their assigned colors, but I thought that worked better for the Rockies than for the Pirates, so I shuffled things around a bit.

Zack Greinke’s awards include a Cy Young, 2 ERA titles, 6 Gold Gloves and 2 Silver Sluggers. After a good 2020, the Astros need ‘great’ in 2021.

Like the Orioles, the Astros have a pea green color (with a dark blue ring instead of the Orioles black ring)… but this gives me an opportunity to point out one other obsessive little detail.

Ever since I chased hard after 1979-80 Topps Hockey (but sadly, didn’t chase hard enough to get the Gretzky rookie – hey I was a kid and didn’t know any better), I’ve liked the way it looks to have the full team name but with the city in one color and the team nickname in another.

This idea has been floating around my head for years, waiting for an opportunity to get used. This set was clearly a great place for that.

Now, I’ll point out a little detail that some of you may find interesting.  The O’s and Astros both have green as the base color, but the Orioles have “BALTIMORE” in black and “ORIOLES” in white, and this is reversed for the Astros.

Oh, I’ll also point out that I maintained a symmetry in the set because when the team name is black and white, the player name and position on the bottom is white and black (or whatever colors we’re talking about).  If you find a custom of mine where that’s not the case, you can file it under “uncorrected error”.

Manny Machado won his first Silver Slugger and lead the Padres with a .304 average and 47 RBIs.

I had to go with the abbreviation “ss” for shortstop on the Manny custom, because the full text wouldn’t fit.  It looks OK for something like “1b”, but looks kind of weird with “ss”.  I may tweak that as I go along.

Mike Yastrzemski lead the league with 4 triples, lead the Giants in runs and RBI and got some MVP consideration

The Giants and Senators had green and yellow as their 1960s colors.  I kept the green with Washington and assigned it to the Nationals, instead of keeping it with the Texas Rangers, the team that used to be the 1960’s Senators.

To mirror a conversation happening on Twitter as I’m finishing this post…  Other than maintaining a vintage-y feel to these cards, I like to have a relatively variety of color combinations on my customs, and to do that requires that we get some teams paired up in unusual ways.  The Giants get green and yellow, but the A’s get purple and yellow.  I like to have colors that may complement the team colors, or at least don’t clash with the team colors.  I stayed pretty traditional with the Yankees and White Sox, but honestly I could use any colors for those teams without fear of clashing with the uniforms.

J.T. Realmuto has a Gold Glove and 2 Silver Sluggers on his mantelpiece and was named by MLB.com to be one of the top 100 players in the Majors.

I suspect that several free agents – or at least the agents of those free agents – counted a little too much on new Mets owner Steve Cohen coming in and throwing contracts out like a drunken sailor. The Mets signed James McCann to be their starting catcher and Realmuto ended up back in Philly.

One last comment about the colors… The Phillies and Indians had a medium grey and dark red as their late 1960s colors, but since my design already has grey borders, that would’ve been too much grey.  I changed the primary color to black for those two teams, and also used it for the Mariners, who didn’t exist in the late 1960s


In my last post I mentioned that I would eventually have “inserts”… partially because I want to, but also because I want my blog to have some “exclusives” that don’t appear on Twitter. The first one is from a “Managers And Coaches” insert set that has the same design as the base cards.  If this were a real, commercially-available set, these would be a fairly common insert (maybe one per 2  or 3 packs) and would be numbered separately.

Tony La Russa is already in the Hall Of Fame as a manager and stepped down from his last job after winning the 2011 World Series with the Cardinals, but here he is again, managing the White Sox for the second time (and first time in a Chisox uniform since 1986).

And that wraps up this pack and also wraps up my rambling about colors.

2021 TSR Daily: About The Design

Welcome to another virtual pack of my 2021 TSR Daily custom card set… if you’re wondering why it’s called “Daily”, that’s because I Tweet out a custom each day and then share them here each week, sort of like opening a pack.

After this post’s first custom, I’m going to talk a little bit about how I came up with the design…

Teoscar Hernández won a Silver Slugger Award and lead the Jays with 16 homers and a .579 slugging percentage. The Jays acquired him and Nori Aoki from the Astros in a 2017 trade for pitcher Francisco Liriano.

OK, about the design… I’ll freely admit that it’s a mash-up of several different influences… or it’s completely derivative, depending on how you want to look at it.

Early in 2020 I was playing around with some ideas for some custom card project – I’ve since forgotten what that project was – and was originally going for a straightforward version of the 1957-58 Topps Hockey design. (I don’t yet own any of the cards, so I borrowed these images from Trading Card DB)

…But even though I did an OK job of duplicating the design, it turned out to not fit what I looking to do.  For several reasons I didn’t want to have a colored background behind the player, and I quickly discovered that the background was an integral part of the original, and without it the design was very ‘meh’.

The fact that Carlos Beltrán is listed here as the Mets manager gives you an idea of when all this was going down.

Just for grins, and out of stubbornness, I started to play around with it… making the image size larger, moving elements around and changing their sizes and colors, adding and subtracting different pieces and parts borrowed from other vintage designs and modifying what was intended to be an off-white border into flat-out grey (on the way I tried and abandoned some experimentation with textured borders).

At some point I realized that what I had was sort of like a mashup of 1957-58 Topps Hockey and 1985 Fleer baseball, so I leaned a little harder into the Fleerness.

I was still playing around with this design when everything shut down as a result of the pandemic.  By that point I liked this design enough that I didn’t want to use it when nobody knew if or when the season would start, so I shelved it and came up with a different design… one which was meant to be a quickie throw-away but which I also came to like quite a bit.

So that’s a very very quick view behind the process for this year’s design, for those who wonder how I come up with these.

OK, let’s get back to the pack.

Paul Goldschmidt was recently ranked one of the Top 100 in MLB and in 2020 lead STL in runs, AVG, doubles and walks.

Trivia in search of a cartoon: Goldschmidt has the most homers and RBI of anyone born in Delaware.

2020 AL Rookie of the Year Kyle Lewis lead the Mariners in Runs, Hits, Homers, Batting Average and Walks. He got all 30 1st place ROY votes to finish ahead of some White Sox guy named Robert.

Randy Arozarena had just 42 regular season games under his belt before his breakout postseason and ALCS MVP award. He’s got as many postseason runs as he has regular season runs (19 each), more postseason RBI (14 vs. 13 regular season), and his postseason batting average is 72 points higher than his career batting average (.358 vs. .256)

Jesse Winker lead the 2020 Reds in batting, OBP and slugging (.255 / .388 / .544) and only Trevor Bauer had a higher Wins-Above-Replacement for Cincinnati.

Not counting 2011 (when Mike Trout made his Major League debut in July and finished the season in Anaheim), 2020 was the first season where he didn’t lead the league in any of the usual statistical categories… but he did win a Silver Slugger and got some MVP consideration.

Last custom… Kyle Hendricks pitched a 9 K shutout in the Cubs’ season opener and over the season allowed just 8 walks (against 64 Ks) in 81.1 IP

And that concludes this pack.  No inserts again, but our luck will change in the future.

Next time around I’m thinking I’ll talk a little bit about the colors I’m using.  There *is* a method to my madness, and quite a bit of compulsive behavior on my part.

2021 TSR Daily: An Intro To My New Custom Card “Set”

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll know that I’ve been sharing custom cards here since 2012. Each year I’ll have a ‘set’ that I use as an example of what I’d like to pick up when I’m in a certain retailer stocking up on shaving cream and cat litter.

Aside from just enjoying it in general, it’s also become a way for me to relax a bit… I suppose it’s like knitting or coloring books for adults (I don’t like the phrase ‘adult coloring books’ because that sounds like the images are… well… you know)

Last year I had two custom baseball sets and… Well, I’m not even going to count up how many customs I did because I’m not sure I want to know. We’ll just say it was over two hundred, which includes every Met and Oriole who appeared in a game, and also a handful of Curling customs (and that’s the Olympic sport of Curling, I haven’t lost my mind and made customs of Kellogg’s 3-D cards which are curling because they weren’t kept in toploaders… OK, my brain is clearly all over the place this morning).

…ANYWAY…

The direction I’m taking my customs in this year comes mainly from two places:

  • I know I’m going to make a lot of customs this year, and…
  • If I’m resigned to making a lot of customs, maybe I should make more of an effort to making a cohesive set representing all of the teams

This project is also going to span two platforms as I’ll be tweeting out a custom card each day (@Shlabotnik_Rpt, if you didn’t know), and then do a summary “pack” here on the blog each week.  I plan on having more in the blog than out on Twitter, but I’m still working out what I’m going to do.

I really want to go into great detail about all of this right now, what went into designing them, how I’m picking out the checklists, what other plans I have for 2021, but I’m going to let my rational side take over and hold stuff back for future posts.  I will tease this much:  This year’s design started out as a riff on a vintage non-baseball Topps set.

OK, well let’s open our “pack” now!

I plan on having a specific reason for including any players in this set, but I don’t think you have to rationalize including the reigning American League MVP.  Abreu also lead the Majors with 60 RBI and the American League with 76 hits.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa won a Gold Glove at 3rd base and raised his batting average from .238 to .280 in a similar number of games.

Clayton Kershaw’s career achievements speak for themselves.  As for 2020, he went 6-2 in the regular season and 2-0 in the World Series.  I love the way this custom came out;  with photographers socially distant during games and warmups, there should be more photos like this on cards (real and otherwise) in 2021.

Soak in this Madison Bumgarner custom, because it may be as close as you’ll get to a licensed MadBum card.  He must not have a contract with Topps, as he hasn’t been on a Topps card since 2017.

Alex Verdugo will always carry the Mookie Betts trade around like a monkey on his back, but in 2020 he lead Red Sox with a .308 average and finished 12th in AL MVP voting.  12th isn’t great, but it isn’t nothing.

I still like Jonathan Schoop from his time with the Orioles, which seems a long time ago now.  He’ll be back with the Tigers in 2021, the first time since 2018 that he’ll start the season with the same team for the second year in a row.

Brad Keller went 5-3, 2.47 for a losing Royals team, and is the pride of Flowery Branch, GA.  His one shutout in 2020 tied him with four others for the American League lead.

Kenta Maeda was certainly a solid pickup for the Twins, going 6-1 with a 2.70 ERA and leading the Majors with a 0.75 WHIP.  He finished 2nd to Shane Bieber in AL Cy Young Voting.

Brian Anderson lead the Marlins with 11 homers and 38 RBI.  The biggest move the Marlins made this offseason was signing Adam Duvall, but they still concern this Mets fan.

And speaking of the Mets, Jacob deGrom was Jacob deGrom in 2020, making a run at a 3rd straight Cy and leading the NL with 104 K’s.

OK, so that’s this week’s “pack” of customs.  We didn’t pull any inserts this time around, but there will be some in future packs.