Sunday, May 1, 2011

Ill-fated Gastall featured on custom card

While I was in a 1956 Topps-style groove with my custom card creations, I thought I'd finish up a project I had been contemplating for several years.

Tom Gastall was a $40,000 bonus baby catcher signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1955. He died tragically in a small-plane accident on Sept. 26, 1956, without ever making it onto a baseball card.

There's no sense in me trying to recount Gastall's story when other have done a great job of doing so. Here's a link to a great look at his life and death.

Other than the fact that he's had a less than stellar rookie season in 1955, there's no reason Topps could not have included a card of him in its 1956 set. My custom fills that void.

Whoever it was that created in Zipz Cards set of 1954-55 Baltimore Orioles cards -- and I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that these crude little cards are at all contemporary with their subject matter -- included Gastall in the set, and he was part of the 501-card all-time Orioles set issued in 1991 by Crown gas stations and Coca-Cola, but as far as I know he didn't have any career-contemporary issues.

I was surprised to find that pictures of Gastall in an O's uniform were not that had to find. It was even more surprising that there exists on the internet at least two examples of his autograph.

For a retired guy, I've been very busy lately, so I'm not sure when my next custom card project will be started, much less completed. I'm not even sure who I'll be working on or in what classic format. Watch this space for developments.

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