Friday, February 7, 2014
My custom adds Logan to '55 Topps
In recent weeks I've been in contact with Mike Rodell, a mainstay with the Milwaukee card club that has been putting on shows in a church basement there since the 1970s.
Mike is a dedicated collector of both Braves and Brewers cards, and in recent years has been active with the Braves alumni association.
While we were discussing my recent creations of 1954 and 1955 Topps-style Bobby Thomson cards, he mentioned that Johnny Logan had, for unknown reasons, not been included in the 1955 Topps set.
No doubt the omission was occasioned by the bubblegum card wars between Topps and Bowman.
Logan had made his baseball card debut with Topps in 1953 (along with Johnston Cookies and Spic & Span). He was with both Topps and Bowman in 1954 and was exclusive with Bowman for 1955. He was in every Topps set from 1956-63, his last year in the majors.
As is often the case, as soon as I considered the possibilities for a 1955 Topps-style Johnny Logan, an image popped into my mind of what it would look like.
I knew I'd be going with the red background; Topps used all of its background colors (red, yellow, green, blue) on Braves cards in 1955, so I had my choice.
Finding the right portrait photo took a bit of time. I usually try to use a picture that wasn't seen on career-contemporary cards, but colorizing a couple of the pictures I found didn't go well. I then tried the portrait from the 1953 Johnston cookies card, but ultimately I decided to go with the portrait from Logan's 1956 Topps card. Actually, I used a mirror image of the portrait to facilitate its use on the left end of the card.
The action picture was originally used on the 1955 Johnston's cookie card.
One of the things I enjoy most about my custom card creative process is that I learn a lot about ballplayers and ball cards as I research the biography and stats that will appear on the back.
In a couple of phone conversations with Mike I learned a lot about Logan's life in Milwaukee after baseball. I learned a lot more from an article by Bob Buege in the SABR BioProject at: Johnny Logan bio .
I also discovered that Bowman erred in creating the stats box on the back of Logan's 1955 Bowman. The gum company credited Logan with 209 hits in 1954. He actually had 154 hits.
That mistake was carried forward to the lifetime stats column which reads 542 on the card, but was in reality 487.
Figuring his batting average on the basis of 542 hits, Bowman gave him a lifetime mark of .302, when it should have been .271. Surprisingly, the batting average cited for 1954 is correct at .275.
I couldn't find a reasonable explanation for Bowman giving Logan 209 hits for 1954. Nobody in the majors had 209 hits in 1954. Logan was tied with Joe Adcock at 154 for second place on the Braves; Billy Bruton led with 161.