Major Leaguers On Minor League Cards: Just Like They Was Before They Was

Over the weekend I was looking for cards to scan for yesterday’s post about minor league hockey and baseball, and that got me diving into my monster box that’s partially filled with older minor league sets. I had remembered that I recently saw an image of a 15-year-old R.A. Dickey card, and wanted to dig into the archives to see if I had it or not.

I was pretty sure I owned a copy, and was not wrong…
2000 Just The Preview RA Dickey
…This card no longer has to suffer in crowded conditions in the monster box;  it now luxuriates in the binder reserved for my player collections.

I also found several interesting cards from the same set, so I figured I’d share them with you…

This is the card that surprised me the most.
2000 Just The Preview Josh Hamilton
I could see that the card was of a player named Josh Hamilton, but I couldn’t believe it was THAT Josh Hamilton. Wouldn’t I have noticed long ago that I had a card of a noted slugger? And apparently I would not, because it is that Josh Hamilton, 18-years old and in his first season of pro ball after being selected with the first overall draft pick.

As long as I’m featuring Mr. Hamilton, I’ll just mention that the recent unpleasantness involving him and the Los Angeles Angels has caused me to lose quite a bit of respect for the ownership and front office of that team. I didn’t think much of them after the whole “Technically, ‘Anaheim’ doesn’t have to be in front of ‘Angels’! HA! Gotcha!” situation, and this did nothing to improve my opinion. Yes, Josh Hamilton fell off the wagon, but he also did not try to get away with it.  We shouldn’t even know about any of this, but someone leaked out the information and then the Angels organization got all bent out of shape when their own player did not get suspended.  “We are only looking out for what’s best for our $80 Million —- I’m sorry, I meant to say what’s best for Josh.”  I’m sure that every player in the Angels organization sleeps well at night knowing that ownership has their backs.

Cesar Izturis is no longer an active Major Leaguer, but he has been around enough that most of you should know who he is. (Been around, eh, been around? Nudge nudge, wink wink, say no MORE!)
2000 Just The Preview Cesar Izturis
He looks a lot more mature than the 20-years-old he was at the time, doesn’t he?

Finally, here’s a particularly awful card of a current Met. It’s very hard to read the text or see the face, but trust me, it’s Michael Cuddyer. Whenever I’m going through these cards, I look at the backs rather than trying to read the gold print on a transparent colored background.
2000 Just The Preview Michael Cuddyer
My suspicions for this set was that it looked fine while being designed on their computers, but then when it came back from the printer everybody said “Oh… That doesn’t look as good as I though it would”.

…Or maybe I’m just being generous.

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.

Seventy-Faux: Josh Hamilton double-throwback (Updated 2 hours later)

Update:  Oh, hell.  I meant to “save draft” and instead I published… and I hadn’t discovered what I’d done until 2 hours later.  At least I didn’t use my usual method of creating placeholder text, which is to type “blah blah blah”.

Well, I guess I might as well tell you what I was going to say… This photo is from one of the Rangers’ throwback nights celebrating their 40th anniversary, and I did a bunch of these customs featuring throwback uniforms on throwback cards.  This is one I’m particularly pleased with.

For what it’s worth, for these “Seventy-Faux” customs I re-created the whole card… Nothing on here is directly scanned from a 1974 card, save for the black “framework” of the borders & pennants, which was scanned, darkened, isolated, color-erasered, monochromed and all that other fun stuff.  The text is all Arial font and even the team names are re-created.  The colors are authentic Topps colors, but filled in using the HTML color code thingie. (i.e. Blue = #5094c7, red = #ed4139).

You’ll be seeing more of these, that is a threat.  Or a promise.  Depending on how you look at it.