Like many of you, I was surprised and saddened when the news broke last month that Hall of Famer Gary Carter was diagnosed with inoperable brain tumors.
From the mid-1970s through the early 1990s, Carter was one of baseball's stars who, unless my memory fails me, was never connected with any sort of negativity on or off the field. In short, he was one of the game's good guys.
If I had any "problem" with Carter, it was that in his final years as a catcher with the Expos in the early 1980s, he was the roadblock that was keeping one of my all-time favorite players, Razor Shines, from advancing to the majors.
When I found a photo of Carter attributed to 1974 on the internet, I decided to put a custom card for Gary Carter at the top of my to-do list.
I considered doing a 1975-style since Topps had relegated Carter to one of its four-player rookie cards that year. In the end, I decided to go with a 1974-style "pre-rookie" card.
Sure, a 1974 card of Carter as an Expo is technically an anachronism, since he didn't play his first game in the majors until Sept. 16 that year. However, the world didn't end when I did a similar 1974-style card for Robin Yount, so I opted for the '74 format.
Particularly observant collectors might also realize that in 1974 Topps didn't use an All-Star Rookie trophy on any of its cards. But I like the way it looks on my 1974 Yount and George Brett cards, so I put on on my Carter.
My last big decision was whether to go with a Topps or an O-Pee-Chee card. Identical on their fronts, 1974 OPC cards differed from Topps in their use of yellow, rather than green, on the backs. Too, the Canadian version is by and large bilingual.
As with the 1972-style OPC football card I did of actor Carl Weathers some months back, I solicited some help from our northern neighbors in getting the Canadian French portion of my Carter card "right." Translating English to French via the usual internet sites isn't really a great choice, since the French spoken in Canada has distinct differences from the continental version.
I prevailed on one of the pre-eminent authorities on OPC hockey cards, Bobby Burrell, to hook me up with a French Canadian speaker, and got a quick response that is manifested on the OPC version of my card. back.
I'm going to be temporarily (two weeks or so) relocating to my Pennsylvania locale about the time you read this. While I intend to spend some time working on my custom cards, I won't be posting the results until I'm back in Wisconsin and settled in.
I have been a baseball card (and other bubblegum cards) collector since the age of three. I am the former editor and publisher of the sportscards and memorabilia periodicals and books at Krause Publications (SCD, et al). I am the former editor of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards.