1974 Customs By Request, Plus Two Bonus ’74’s

Change your clocks!  It’s Daylight Savings Time!  (There’s your Public Service Announcement for today.  The Shlabotnik Report cares.)

…Unless you’re reading this outside of the United States, in which case leave your clocks the way they were… unless you want to change them anyway.

OK, this is off on a sleep-deprived tangent.  What I really wanted to talk about was some customs I made…  Fatcat47, Cardinals fan and Shlabotnik Report reader, asked if I could do some Cardinals up in the 1974 style.  It took me a while because I went off on various impulsive custom-making missions, but after that itch was scratched… and BTW, if I ever make “1981 Topps Scratch-Off” customs, you’ll know I went off the deep end…  But after that itch was scratched I fired up the 1974 template and went to work.

FYI, most of these are Cardinals, but I’ve got two young guys at the end who caught my attention this spring, for two different reasons.

On with the show…

I picked out this Yadier Molina image because I thought it had potential to be a 1974-esque action shot, but it turned out better than I’d expected (meaning not particularly 1970’s-Topps-action-shot-y)… and for that I apologize.
2016 TSRchives 74T-2 Yadier Molina
Yadi is working his way back from offseason thumb surgery, but he is shooting for being active when the season starts.

Sam Tuivailala has one of my favorite names in MLB.
2016 TSRchives 74T-3 Sam Tuivailala
Right now he’s got more AAA saves (17) than MLB innings (15.2), but I’m keeping fingers crossed that he gets significant time in the St. Louis bullpen in 2016.

This custom worked out a little better as a 1970’s action shot.
2016 TSRchives 74T-4 Stephen Piscotty
Stephen Piscotty is one of the reasons the Cardinals let Jason Heyward leave after the season. He put on a show in last year’s NLDS, batting .375 with 3 homers, 5 runs and 6 RBI.

Kolten Wong recently signed a 5-year extension with the Cards, so we’ll be seeing him at second base for a while.
2016 TSRchives 74T-5 Kolten Wong
It seems like there are more Hawaiian players now than there have been in quite a while… Wong, Shane Victorino, Kurt Suzuki, among others. Sorry, I’m drawing a blank on things to say about Kolten Wong.

‘Wainwright’ has two W’s
They get that one wrong and I get the blues
That old grammar school try’s
Just not good enough, guys
‘Wainwright’ has two W’s…
2016 TSRchives 74T-6 Adam Wainwright
While creating this Adam Wainwright custom, I thought of the Loudon Wainwright III song “T.S.M.N.W.A.” (which stands for “They spelled my name wrong again”). As someone whose name is often misspelled, I completely appreciate this song. I try not to embed videos in my posts because of technical issues, but it’s easy enough to find on your own, if you’re curious.

Adam Wainwright missed most of last year to injury, but is working to re-establish himself as the Cardinals’ #1 pitcher.

Moving on to non-Cardinals, we have Joey Rickard of the Orioles. Joey is a Rule V guy who was selected out of the Rays organization after a big year in AAA. Rickard has gotten some notice in Spring Training, and manager Buck Showalter likes him, so I don’t know if Tampa Bay fans should leave a light on for Rickard.
2016 TSRchives 74T-8 Joey Rickard
…and I still don’t know if his name is pronounced RICK-ard or rick-ARD.

Over in Arizona, outfielder Boog Powell is getting attention, if only because his name is Boog Powell. No, he’s not related to THE Boog Powell, but as long as he doesn’t try to sell barbeque in Baltimore, I think he’ll be OK.
2016 TSRchives 74T-9 Boog Powell


1976 SSPC #274: Ted Simmons (Cardinals)

1976 SSPC #274 Ted Simmons
Ted Simmons… was among the top catchers of the 1970’s and early 1980’s, but often got overshadowed by guys like Bench, Carter, Fisk and Munson.  Simmons played for 20 seasons with the Cardinals, Brewers and Braves, and caught at least 75 games in 14 of those seasons.  He’s among the top-10 all-time Cardinals in homers, RBI and walks. He was an eight-time All-Star, hit 100 RBI three times and hit over .300 seven times.  He may not have been the finest defensive catcher of the day, but his offensive stats compare favorably to pretty much any HOF catcher and by several accounts he was excellent at calling games.

In 1976, Ted… was the Cardinals’ starting catcher, but saw time at first and other positions.  He batted .291, had 75 RBI and lead the league with 19 Intentional walks.

Shea-o-meter: Many of the photos in 1976 SSPC were taken in Shea Stadium; Every team came through Shea because the Yankees were temporarily playing in Shea while Yankee Stadium was being renovated. “Can two Major League teams share a ballpark without driving each other crazy?”

The background is too blurry to identify, this goes down as “Can’t tell”.
Shea: 51
Pretty sure it’s Shea: 8
Can’t tell: 13
Not Shea: 7

1970’s Census
We’re going to keep track of all the instances of 1970’s facial hair and other 1970’s trends… Sideburns, afros, mustaches, Aviator glasses…

Ted’s got long hair and sideburns.
Total Cards: 79
1970’s Sideburns: 40
Fu Manchu: 4
Mustache other than Fu Manchu: 25
Afro: 1
Perm: 2
Aviators: 6
Long Hair: 18
1976 SSPC #274 Ted Simmons back

Doppelganger! 1994 Topps and Collector’s Choice Gerónimo Peña

Nick over at Dime Boxes recently featured a 1994 Collector’s Choice Gerónimo Peña card in his “Frankenset” voting.  Peña’s card lost to the 1991 Topps Walt Weiss (a most excellent card), but the Peña has something that the Weiss and other cards don’t have.

A Doppelganger!!!!!
1994 Topps - Collector's Choice Geronimo Pena

These were among the first – and maybe THE first – Doppelgangers in my collection.  A number of these doppelgangers occurred in 1994, and I’m pretty sure that’s when I started keeping them in a separate place in my binders.  (For those new to the blog, I keep a mini collection of cards which feature different photos of the same play, preferably from different manufacturers and different angles.)

I tried to pinpoint the play, but failed.  It wouldn’t surprise me if someone’s attempted this before, maybe they had more success.  The guy underneath Peña is Brett Butler.  Using the pretty safe assumptions that the picture was taken in Dodger Stadium in 1993, the best I could do was to narrow it down to the series:  April 13 – 15, 1993.  Both players were in all three games, but Brett Butler got on base far too often for me to figure out which particular play we’re looking at.

Doppelganger! 1994 Topps & Collector’s Choice Mark Whiten

While re-organizing my 1994 cards as part of my latest project, I realized that there was a previously unknown pair of cards to add to my sub-collection of what I call “Doppelgangers”.

My definition of a Doppelganger is a pair of cards from different sets that feature two distinct photos of the same play…  Preferably they would be at more or less the same moment, and the two cards would be different manufacturers.

Both of the “preferable” qualifiers apply to this pair of 1994 cards for Mr. Mark Whiten:

1994 Topps and Collectors Choice Mark Whiten Doppelganger

Both photos are from a Cardinals game at Shea Stadium, most likely from 1993… I didn’t think there would be enough information to figure out the play, but from the way Whiten is about to chuck his helmet, I guessed that he got thrown out at second.  Since there are no Mets around him, I’m also guessing that it was the last out of the inning and all of the Mets had already trotted off the field.

I decided to research it based on my assumptions, and once you factor in “Whiten out at 2nd at Shea in 1993”, it does seem to come down to this play…  June 26th, 1993:  Top of the 6th, Whiten gets on by fielder’s choice, scoring Ozzie Smith.  Whiten then gets caught stealing 2-6 (Todd Hundley to Tim Bogar), and that ends the inning.

Going through my 1994 cards made me realize there were some other Doppelgangers from the early 1990’s which I haven’t gotten around to sharing… I’ll make sure to bump those up in the schedule.

Since I started featuring these during the summer and some of you may have missed them, here are the other two pair of doppelgangers that I’d shared, along with links to the original posts:

1994 Score & Collector’s Choice Greg Meyers
1994 Greg Myers Score and Collectors Choice

1993 Topps & Upper Deck Rick Wilkins
1993 Topps - Upper Deck Rick Wilkins

1978 Burger King Yankees Rawly Eastwick

During a recent panic attack over whether my 1970’s sets were as complete as I’d always believed them to be, I was going through my 1978 binder and ran across this lovely example of cardboardness… Almost forgot I had it.

1978 Burger King Yankees Rawley Eastwick

This is a 1978 Burger King Yankee card, #11 in the set. Although I’m generally indifferent to the concept of regional issues which are made by Topps and nearly identical to the regular card, I am a huge sucker for cards from 1970’s regional issues which are made by Topps and which are NOT identical to the regular card… as is the case here.

Rawly Eastwick was a reliever who lead the NL in saves in his rookie season, and finished a distant 3rd in NL ROY voting (behind winner John “The Count” Montefusco and some nobody named Gary Carter).

Here’s the 1978 Topps card of Eastwick…
1978 Topps Rawley Eastwick
…funny how the original card is airbrushed, but the updated BK card isn’t. Deadlines are a bitch.

The Reds had traded Eastwick to the Cardinals during the 1977 season. After the season, Rawly became a free agent and – doing what every free agent apparently dreams of doing – signed with the Yankees. $1.1 Million over 5 years is a mere pittance today, but was big money at the time and was nearly 10 times more per year than he had been making.

Thing is, the Yankees already had Goose Gossage and Sparky Lyle to close out games, so Eastwick got traded to the Phillies part way through the 1978 season.

Unfortunately, Eastwick could never duplicate the numbers he did early in his career, and after stints with the Royals and Cubs his career was over.

1976 SSPC #284 – Ted Sizemore (Cardinals)

1976 SSPC #284 Ted Sizemore
Ted Sizemore… was the 1969 NL Rookie Of The Year with the Dodgers and played 12 seasons with the Bums, Cardinals, Phillies, Cubs and Red Sox.  He was originally drafted as a catcher, and during his MLB career, Sizemore played every position but pitcher and first base.

After his playing days, he was a senior executive with Rawlings Sporting Goods, and in the early 1990’s was considered for the position of National League president.

In 1976, Ted Sizemore… was traded back to the Dodgers early in March, and got a decent amount of playing time due to a sub-par season from Davey Lopes.

So… take your time… and tell me… Is it Shea?  I think that blurry thing in the upper left corner is the scoreboard at Shea.  By the way, I’m going to change the “Is it Shea” into a running count of Shea and non-Shea cards, just as soon as I get a chance to total up the cards I’ve already posted.

Betcha didn’t know… Sizemore lead the Dodgers in games played during his rookie season.

1976 SSPC #284 Ted Sizemore back

Ted Sizemore getting a single for the Cubs in 1979:

Coming Down the Home Stretch, Custom-wise

This is going to be the next-to-last post featuring my 2013 TSR custom set, and I’m going to let the customs speak for themselves…

No, wait, there’s one card I want to say something about… I couldn’t resist the opportunity to give the photo for this custom the patented “Topps tilt”.

2013 TSR #681 - Curtis Granderson

OK, now I’m going to let the rest of these customs speak for themselves…

2013 TSR #722 - Matt Carpenter

2013 TSR #751 - Zack Cozart

2013 TSR #146 - Yunel Escobar

Pack Animal! — 2013 Topps Update

A lot of you consider Topps Update to be SSDW – “Same Stuff, Different Wrapper”.  For others it means updated base cards, different subsets and a couple of different inserts.

…And for bloggers, it means a day of not having to think about what to write… and that made the impromptu, hasty trip to Target completely worthwhile.

For those who haven’t seen these in the store yet, this is what the wrapper looks like.
2013 Topps Update Wrapper
Unfortunately, Matt Harvey here is as close as I got to getting a Met, but I did get some Orioles.

Topps likes to load the Update set with rookie cards, like promising Orioles rookie Henry Urrutia.
2013 Topps Update Henry Urrutia
I’ve seen Urrutia play in AA, I’ve seen him play in the majors, and I’m still not sure how to pronounce his last name. Oo-roo-TEE-ah? Oo-ROO-tee-ah? I certainly can’t count on the Orioles announcers, who never met a Latino whose name they didn’t mangle. I tried going to LasMayores.com, the official Spanish-language MLB site, but my meager Spanish knowledge – thanks to a former co-worker I know more “bad words” than anything  – prevented me from navigating the site to find out if there should be accent marks over any part of his last name.


Along with rookie cards, we also have rookie debut cards, which allows Topps to get more Rookie Card logos in there… even though I wouldn’t think that anybody considers these to be rookie cards.
2013 Topps Update Gerrit Cole
The “Rookie Debut” text looks black in this scan, but it’s silver foil.

A new insert also seems to focus on rookies…
2013 Topps Update Franchise Forerunners Miller Gibson

There’s also the usual cluttery subsets of All-Stars and Home Run Derby participants. This card confused me briefly because I didn’t see the All-Star logo on the card, but it gets lost in Darvish’s jersey.
2013 Topps Update Yu Darvish AS

You may have heard that the Update series is introducing 1971 Minis rather than extending the 1972 minis of the regular set.
2013 Topps Update 1971 Mini Stan Musial
I will now officially declare that minis have jumped the shark.

I generally don’t care for minis, but last year’s 1987 minis were OK. This year’s 1972 were “meh”, and when I saw this card I declared it “stupid”.

…Out loud, but it’s OK because I was sitting in my car in the Target parking lot.

Something about these minis just diminishes the 1971 design, one of my favorite designs of the 1970’s… and when 1971 Topps are diminished, aren’t we all diminished a little bit?

Yeah, I don’t like minis.

One last thing I ran across in my packs — there are also traded players!
2013 Topps Update Bud Norris
I know!!!!!

Remember when the set was called the “Traded” set?  Yeah, that was awesome…

So, yeah, that pretty much covers what I found.  I also got a couple of parallels, a “Chasing History” insert and a “Making Their Mark” insert, none of which I deemed worthy of scanning.

I’ll be buying more of this, but as is always the case with Topps Update, I’m really just looking for the base cards that do what the wrapper says they do – update the base set.  I want rookies I don’t already have, I want players in new uniforms. I can do without the clutter, except when its for a player I collect.

2001 Upper Deck Confusion

Let’s meet our two contestants!

I’m Justin Pope, I’m a “Star Rookie” and card number 25 in the 2001 Upper Deck set.

2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Justin Pope

2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Justin Pope back

I’m Damian Rolls, I’m a “Star Rookie” and card number 25 in the 2001 Upper Deck set.

2001 Upper Deck Damian Rolls

2001 Upper Deck Damian Rolls back

This situation is something I had to deal with yesterday when I was organizing/purging my 2001 Upper Deck cards.  In 2001, I probably bought more packs of Upper Deck Prospect Premieres than I bought of the regular set.  I liked Prospect Premieres because it got me cards of players I didn’t already have cards for, and I could use them in my “40-man roster” binders.

Back in 2001 it wasn’t a problem;  I knew which pack I pulled them from.  But going back to them 12 years later and trying to figure out which cards were which?  Yeah, it was a bit of a challenge.

An aside to the card companies:  Please, please, please put a line of text on the back of each and every card, telling us which set it belongs to.

After sorting things out a bit, I realized the easiest method of telling them apart is looking for the stat line.  The base set has stats, Prospect Premieres does not (because there was no Major League experience to list).

When you have the cards side-by-side and do a little “contrast and compare”, the other differences are more obvious.  The foil on those Prospect Premieres cards are more of a bronze than gold, although it’s certainly not anything that jumps out at you.

The other differences I found are that the Prospect Premiere cards don’t have a MLBPA logo on the back, and don’t include the players uni number next to their position.

With all that information at hand, you can go back and tell that Justin Pope is from Prospect Premieres, and Damian Rolls is from the flagship Upper Deck set.

Now that we’ve sorted all that out, here are some 2001 Prospect Premieres cards of guys you may recognize…

Ricky Nolasco

2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Ricky Nolasco

Ryan Howard

2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Ryan Howard

Jacob “Jake” Peavy

2001 Upper Deck Prospect Premieres Jacob Peavy

“Shoulda Been” Heritage #’s 5 & 6: A Very Belated Edward Mujica And Matt Carpenter

After my last “Shoulda Been” Heritage post, the esteemed Mr. Superduperman99 over at Fantastic Catch pointed out that the Cardinals have two All-Stars who were slighted by not being included on Heritage cards:
Edward Mujica (Tied for 4th in the Majors with 30 saves)
2013 Schmeritage Edward Mujica

…and Matt Carpenter, who’s leading the Majors with 79 runs, 2nd with 32 doubles and among the MLB leaders in hits, batting average and OBP… and all this while playing 79 games at 2B, 30 at 3B and making cameo appearances at 1B and in right field.
2013 Schmeritage Matt Carpenter

My sincere apologies go out to Mr. Ninety-Nine for the delay… Time just got away from me.  This morning, when I realized how long it had been, I believe my exact words were “GAAAAAHHHH!!!!!”

I will make it up to him by buying something out of his COMC store.