Hot Stove: Breakfast With The Captain

It was just one of those cravings that came out of nowhere… I was at work and really wanted some Cap’n Crunch.  By the time lunch rolled around I ran out to the store to get a box and some milk… but in the process I must have unknowingly stumbled through a wormhole and ended up in “Yankees Universe” because all they had in the store was this:
Cap'n Clutch Cereal Box
OK, so it wasn’t really what I was looking for, but it comes with baseball cards… Funny how the box says “free baseball card”, but the boxes seem to always have two cards.  Poor quality control, that’s what it is.  …Not that we’re complaining…

Let’s see what we’ve got… Hey, it’s the guy whose reign as the player with the highest average salary lasted for just a few days, David Price!
2015-16 TSR Hot Stove #5 - David Price
No sooner had every publication and website in existence written headlines that played off of “The Price Is Right”, when his most bodacious salary was surpassed by Zack Greinke’s contract with the Diamondbacks.  I’m not sure that either team will get their $30+M worth per year, but I’m also notoriously wrong about these things, so I’ll just go ahead and congratulate the 2016 league champion Red Sox and Diamondbacks.

This cereal box was clearly an AL East “hot box”, because the last card was of the Orioles’ new Korean import, Hyun-Soo Kim.
2015-16 TSR Hot Stove CFL-3 Hyun-Soo Kim
I wish I knew what to expect from Hyun-Soo Kim… Hell, I wish I knew what to expect from the Orioles in 2016.

For anyone who missed the prior two cards with this design, this one is based on the 1965 Topps Canadian Football League set… and I’ll try to get my hands on a real card from this set before the Hot Stove season is over.

…And just to reiterate the reason for the  two designs… The “1976 Kellogg’s” design features images I’d digitally manipulated, while the “1965 CFL” design uses un-photoshopped images.

2014 TSR: Previewing Series 5 With Some “Trade Deadline Guys”

I don’t know how many of you realize that my custom card set comes out in six series of 132 cards each… as if such a thing mattered tremendously.  What the heck, it adds a tiny little element of fun for me, and possibly for some of you.

Series 5 went “live” on July 15th, which means that the first series to reflect the trade deadline deals ends up being Series 6, which gets released on September 1st.

The below customs are not meant to highlight every player moved or even the most important ones… In this case, it reflects the subset of players who moved and for whom I’ve created a custom which meets the exacting standards of The Shlabotnik Report, not to mention the Bavarian purity laws set out in the Reinheitsgebot.

For those of you who enjoy the concept of honoring players by giving them round card #’s, this Yoenis Cespedes card is #550.
2014 TSR #550 Yoenis Cespedes

…and David Price is #625. For these recently traded guys, I went with more pre-game cameo shots than I normally would… but I just liked the photos.
2014 TSR #625 David Price

Austin Jackson has been traded twice in his career, and both times it was a blockbuster-esque 3-team deal.
2014 TSR #540 Austin Jackson
Back in late 2009, he went from the Yankees to the Tigers in a trade that saw Max Scherzer, Curtis Granderson, Ian Kennedy, Edwin Jackson, Phil Coke and Daniel Schlereth change teams.

The Orioles took advantage of the Red Sox “We suck with you, we can suck without you” sale, and got an Andrew Miller rental for prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. I hope this doesn’t come back to bite the Birds in the butt. (Sorry, I know I shouldn’t let my Mets pessimism leak over to my Orioles fandom).
2014 TSR #559 Andrew Miller
Miller’s no stranger to being traded; he was part of the package of prospects that the Tigers sent to Florida for Miguel Cabrera. The Marlins also got Cameron Maybin, Burke Badenhop and a couple of other guys. I’d think you’d have to give the Tigers a teeny tiny little edge on that one.

Allen Craig wasn’t one of the players I had in mind when I started making these customs, but I just liked the way this one turned out.
2014 TSR #533 Allen Craig
I’ll freely admit that I make a bunch of customs and then throw them at the wall to see which ones stick.

To wrap things up for now, here are two of the pitchers that the Red Sox unloaded in their “looking towards 2015” deals.
2014 TSR #620 John Lackey

2014 TSR #598 Jake Peavy

Aw, Man! I Want A Fairfield Repack, Too!!!

I’ve been seeing a bunch of posts lately for repacks, and it lit a fire within me.


I had to go to Target anyway, so I went through the repacks they had on hand… Unfortunately, the ones they had made no promises of vintage, just 5 rookie cards. Whoop-dee-doop-dee-doo.

Didn’t matter, I needed a fix. Into the cart it went, and into my blog it goes…

The particular repack I bought was one I picked out because of this Jason Bay card I didn’t recognize… and it turned out to be a 2007 Topps Wal-Mart insert. Despite his less-than-stellar time with the Mets, I like Jason Bay and hope he turns it around with the Mariners.
2007 Topps Wal-Mart Jason Bay

Just like most Fairfield repacks, I got some 1980’s Topps glossies… Usually my favorite part. Unfortunately, this time around the only one I needed was this Clemens…
1987 Topps Glossy All Star Roger Clemens
…and naturally, I ended up with two of these. Sigh.

I like the late-1980’s parking lot in the background.  I believe that’s a big ol’ Cadillac just over Clemens’ shoulder.  It’s too bad it’s not a pink Cadillac, crushed velvet seats, ridin’ in the back, oozin’ down the street, wavin’ to the girls, feelin’ outta sight, spendin’ all my money on a Saturday night, honey I just wonder what it feels like in the back of your pink Cadillac… pink Cadillac…

Huh?  Whuh?  Oh, sorry, drifted away for a minute…

Woo-hoo! I got Bipped! I think that’s almost becoming a point of honor…
1992 Upper Deck Bip Roberts

Huh. I didn’t know Star did a Keith Hernandez set… I’ve got a couple of other player-specific Star sets, but I don’t recall running across Keith before.
1987 Star Keith Hernandez Post Season Stats
The problem with doing these player-specific sets in the colors of the player’s current team is that you get bad combos like a Cardinals uniform framed with Mets orange. This would’ve been a nicer card with different colors… but it’s Star, it’s only going to get but so nice… I’ll just distract myself by admiring Keith’s stirrups.

I got a number of 2010 cards, including this Aaron Laffey. Laffey was on the Mets earlier this month, and I didn’t have a single card of his. Last week the Mets put him on waivers and he was claimed by the Blue Jays… and NOW I have a card of Aaron Laffey. Ain’t that just…
2010 Topps Aaron Laffey
In case you hadn’t noticed, the Blue Jays will put a waiver claim on ANYBODY. Don’t believe me? Keep an eye on the transactions column… seems like half the guys who go through waivers get claimed by the Jays, even if the Jays then turn around and DFA the guy.

No, I don’t understand it.

…and for what it’s worth, the Jays did turn around and DFA Aaron Laffey.

Among the promised rookies I got were a 2005 Bazooka Melky Cabrera (which seems to actually have some value), a couple of uninteresting 2010 rookies and this 2007 TriStar David Price, which is at least shiny even if it is kinda ugly.
2007 TriStar Prospects Plus David Price

Not one of the better repacks I’ve gotten, but still $4 worth of entertainment.

…And for the record, 36 cards went straight from the repack into the recycling bin… Just doing my part to keep America safe from Junk Wax.

Series 1 Of My 2013 TSR Custom Set is LIVE!

2013 TSR #45 - Josh BeckettAs the new season begins, it’s also time to unveil my custom 2013 TSR card design.

This will be my 5th season of custom cards, my 3rd original design, and my second set shared through this blog; You can view the cards from last year’s set in the “2012 TSR CUSTOM GALLERY” tab above.

If this were a real set, it would be issued in 6 series of 132 cards each, for a total of 792 cards. Cards would be printed on grey cardboard without gloss, foil, holograms, shortprints, parallels, relics or many other “innovations” of the past 25 years. Wax packs would be 15 cards for $1, come wrapped in wax paper and include a small pink strip designed to lovingly transfer a “bubblegum” smell on to the cards. This strip could also, in a pinch, be chewed as gum.

Also, if this were a real set, I’d be filing Chapter 11 somewhere around September… if all went well.

2013 TSR #100 - Josh HamiltonThis design evolved through my staring at cards and thinking things like “I really like how 1988 Topps has the team name floating in the air behind the player’s head”… but instead of making a custom 1988 card, I’d adapt that particular idea into my own design; think of another design element that I liked and incorporate that into my design; lather, rinse, repeat until I have something that I like which is more-or-less original.

For those who might actually be interested in the thought process that went into these, here is a list of my basic criteria when designing a set:

  • The template I create needs to be easy to work with and flexible enough to adapt to Highlights, All-Stars, managers and so on.
  • While I prefer vertical sets, I like designs which also work horizontally (think of Topps in 1971, 1973, 1974 and 2007-2013).
  • Colors are limited to those which occur in the Topps palette of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
  • Each team has an assigned color scheme, one which is not necessarily that team’s colors. Ideally I’d have a different color scheme for every team, but I don’t know if it’s possible to do that for 30 teams without getting into some fugly color combinations.

2013 TSR #90 - James ShieldsI always try to come up with something which will look good in a 9-pocket sheet, as that was the original intent behind my custom cards. That intent went out the window when my color printer crapped out, but I still try to keep that in mind, just in case I find a way of printing my lovelies without shelling out $$$ for another color printer (…any suggestions?)

…So there you go. I hope you like the design, because you’ll be seeing these for the next 6 months.