Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Another 1967 multi-player baseball custom

By 1967 I was no longer buying or collecting baseball cards. I was 16 years old and my time and money were being misspent elsewhere.

Thus it's not surprising that I have done only a single 1967-style baseball card -- my Red Sox Rockers card -- in my custom creation career . . . until now.

Most of my work on custom cards in the past couple of months has been in football cards; this being football season, after all.

I decided to take a baseball break, however, when I found a really exciting photo of Sandy Koufax and Denny McLain comparing notes prior to their facing off in the 1966 All-Star Game. Just one look at the photo and I knew it could be turned into a really great multi-player feature card.
A good thing about such cards in the 1967 format is that there is plenty of room on the back to tell the story.

As I worked on this card it occurred to me that there was yet another custom card to be gleaned from the photo. I think you can guess what that was. Tune in tomorrow for the result.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A college custom of Joe "Jet" Perry

 I can't freakin' believe it! After hours of working on the "back story" for my latest 1955 All-American style custom card, the web site ate it.

I just don't have the heart to re-do it. Read what I wrote on the back of the card and google-search Joe Perry if you want to know more about this 1950s-1960s 49ers great who never seemed to take a bad football card photo.

The photo on my card, by the way, is from the 1947(?) College All-Star Game where Perry, et al, defeated the NFL Champion Chicago Bears in a mudbowl game.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Bad timing for a Paterno custom

Despite the fact that I have been a part-time resident of Alexandria,  Pa., about 45 minutes from State College, for several years, I had vowed to never be a Penn State fan as long as Joe Paterno was the head coach.

I just never liked what I saw and heard in brief TV exposures over the years.  In the last couple of seasons, however, I'd grudgingly become more tolerant of him with my gradual immersion into the community. News stories and TV appearances were more plentiful and comprehensive and I got a better feel for the guy.

With Penn State now in the same division (I can never remember which is the "Legends" and which is the "Leaders") as Wisconsin in the Big 10 conference, I'm still not able to fully commit to Penn State fandom, but most weeks I am pulling for them to win.

For the last couple of years, I had the creation of a Joe Paterno custom card on my to-do list of 1955-style All-American cards. I found a couple of decent pictures of Paterno when he was playing at Brown University in the book, The Paterno Legacy. Like most photos taken from books, the dot structure mitigates against a great result, but with a little extra work, the resulting card can be acceptable. Specifically, besides colorizing the photo, a bit of experimenting with the Gaussian blur feature of Photoshop is required to minimize the print dots without losing detail.

Unlike a lot of the subjects of my All-American "updates," Paterno actually had a career-contemporary "card." He is the among the 100 collegiate subjects Topps chose for its 1950 "felt back" set of ugly little postage-stamp size pieces. Paterno may have been included because he was a major high school football and basketball star at Brooklyn Prep, or it may have been because he was the field general in Brown's 8-1 season in 1949,

If not for recent events at Penn State, I may have held my Paterno custom in abeyance for a while yet. I was waiting for him to wind up his coaching career so that my biography could reflect whether or not he retired as the winningest Division I coach of all-time, and what his win total would be.

Now that those things are known, there seems to be no reason to hold off on making my Paterno card, so here it is.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Standard Catalog Update: 1972 San Diego Padres team issue

This is a listing that was prepared after the deadline for the 2012 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. It was intended for a future edition, in the Vintage Major League section of the book.

1972 San Diego Padres Team Issue

    It is uncertain whether this 12-player checklist represents the entirety of this set of team-issued pictures. The black-and-white portraits are presented in a 3-3/8” x 5-3/8” blank-back format.

                                         NM     EX   VG
Complete Set (12):    30.00 15.00 9.00
Common Player:          3.00   1.50   .90

(1) Steve Arlin              3.00   1.50    .90
(2) Nate Colbert           3.00   1.50    .90
(3) Pat Corrales           3.00   1.50.    90
(4) Clarence Gaston    4.50   2.25  1.35
(5) Bill Grief                  3.00   1.50    .90
(6) Enzo Hernandez     3.00   1.50   .90
(7) Clay Kirby                3.00   1.50   .90
(8) Leron Lee                3.00   1.50   .90
(9) Jerry Morales          3.00   1.50   .90
(10) Dave Roberts       3.00   1.50   .90
(11) Darrel (Derrel)
             Thomas            3.00   1.50    .90
(12) Don Zimmer          4.50   2.25 1.35

Friday, November 18, 2011

Standard Catalog Update: 1932 Boston Braves picture pack

This is a listing that was prepared after the deadline for the 2012 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. It was intended for a future edition, in the Vintage Major League section of the book.

1932 Boston Braves Photo Pack

    This set of player pictures was sold in an envelope titled “Sixteen Rotogravure Pictures of the Boston Braves,” though the known checklist for the set contains only 15 subjects, the picture of manager Bill McKechnie having been included twice. It is possible the duplicate manager’s picture was substituted for an as-yet unknown player whose photo was removed after he left the team. Gowell Studios is credited on the pictures with providing the photography for the pictures. The blank-backed, sepia-toned pictures are in a format of 9” x 12”.

                                        NM         EX        VG
Complete Set (15): 500.00   250.00 150.00
Common Player:       35.00      17.50  10.00

(1) Wally Berger       35.00     17.50    10.00
(2) Huck Betts           35.00     17.50   10.00
(3) Eddie Brandt       35.00     17.50   10.00
(4) Bobby Brown       35.00     17.50   10.00
(5) Ben Cantwell        35.00     17.50   10.00
(6) Pinky Hargrave    35.00     17.50   10.00
(7) Fritz Knothe          35.00     17.50   10.00
(8) Fred Leach           35.00     17.50   10.00
(9) Rabbit Maranville  60.00    30.00   17.50
(10) Bill McKechnie    60.00    30.00   17.50
(11) Randy Moore      35.00    17.50   10.00
(12) Art Shires            35.00     17.50   10.00
(13) Al Spohrer           35.00    17.50   10.00
(14) Bill Urbankski      35.00    17.50   10.00
(15) Red Worthington 35.00    17.50   10.00

Monday, November 14, 2011

First '55AA style Penn State customs

Penn State's football program has been much in the news lately, and not in a good way. 

Although I am a part-time resident of a small Western Pennsylvania town about 45 minutes from Beaver Stadium, I have not yet fully embraced the Nittany Lions. 

Over the past few years, my antipathy towards Penn State football had been softening. but since they now play in the Big 10's Leaders Division with Wisconsin, I don't see myself becoming a Penn State fan.

Nevertheless, there's no denying that many former Nittany Lions players went on to become NFL superstars, so over the weekend I created custom cards in the 1955 All-American format for two of their best: Jack Ham and Franco Harris. 

In that regard, I've outstripped Topps, which didn't include any Penn State players in its original 100-card All-American set of 1955.

Ham and Harris were stalwarts of the Pittsburgh Steelers dynasty of the 1970s. While I wasn't following NFL football to any great degree in that era, I have always been somewhat of a Steelers fan. This continues today, as they are my part-time home team. Since they play in the AFC, I'm free to root for them most weeks.

Off the top of my head, I can think of three reasons for liking the Steelers . . . 

1) They had that cool logo on their 1955 Bowman football cards

2) They have a former Ole Miss player (Mike Wallace) as an important part of their offense.

3) They wear the best throwback uniforms in the NFL.

I'm not quite done with Penn State customs yet. A year or two back I bought a copy of the Paterno Legacy book that includes a decent photo of Joe Paterno as the quarterback at Brown University. Someday that will appear on one of my '55 customs.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Standard Catalog Update: 1968 Topps 3-D proofs

This is a listing that was prepared after the deadline for the 2012 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. It was intended for a future edition, in the Vintage Major League section of the book.

1968 Topps 3-D Proofs

     Three blank-backed proof cards are known to be associated with the 3-D issue. In the same format as the issued cards, the proofs have no player name and are lacking the circle with the team and position.

                                                    NM           EX         VG
(1) Tommy Davis (Mets)       1,500.`  750.00  450.00

(2) Rick Monday (A’s)           1,500.  750.00   450.00

(3) John O’Donogue (Indians) 1,500.  750.00  450.00

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Gone for a while

Entries on this site will be sparse for about the next two weeks.

While I have scheduled a few pieces between now and Nov. 22, it will usually be several days between posts.

I'm going to take my new knee on a road trip, holing up at my Western Pennsylvania home. 

While there I will be looking at some more old The Sporting News microfilm, so when I get back I should have some new "finds" to share.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Custom college card of "The Fridge"

My newest 1955 All-American style custom card is of William Perry.

I'd had an action image of "The Refrigerator" in my files for a couple of years, but it was evidently scanned from a newspaper photo and had a very noticeable dot pattern throughout. If I'd had to, I could have ameliorated that distraction by applying a Gaussian blur filter to the image, but while I was surfing the 'net for information on Perry's football career, I stumbled upon the close-up portrait you see here.

It's unfortunate that Perry has his mouth guard in place in this photo, because it hides his perpetual gap-toothed grin.

In his ESPN article about Perry, Kevin Seifert referred to him as "America's mascot." Most Wisconsin fans had a love/hate relationship with the Fridge. We hated the fact that he was a Chicago Bear, but loved it when he was put in at fullback in short-yardage situations -- as long as it wasn't against the Packers.

But it WAS against the Packers in Perry's rookie season of 1985 that Bears coach Mike Ditka moved the Fridge off the defensive line and into the backfield on the Oct. 21 Monday Night Football game at Soldier Field. Lining up as a fullback inside the 5-yard line, Perry blew holes in the Green Bay goal line defense for Walter Payton to score two touchdowns. In the second quarter, with the ball on the 1-yard line, Perry took the ball from Jim McMahon and rumbled in for a score. With that play, his legend began.

Perry's offensive output is usually remembered as a bigger part of his legacy than it actually was. In regular season play over his 10-year NFL career, Perry had eight rushes for five yards, with two TDs, and had one pass reception, a 4-yard touchdown catch.

Once again, there was so much to say about Perry, but so little room on the back of my custom card. I can't recommend strongly enough that you read Seifert's article "The Fridge is broken" .

The William Perry card is the first Clemson card I've made in my updating of the 1955 All-American set; there were none in Topps original issue of 100 cards, either. Off the top of my head, I can't think of any other "Climpson" players I'll add to my set, but you never know.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

Standard Catalog Update: 1907 Frank Chance postcard

This is a listing that was prepared after the deadline for the 2012 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards. It was intended for a future edition, in the Vintage Major League section of the book.

1907 F.P. Burke Frank Chance Postcard

          This novelty postcard is one of many baseball-themed postcards issued by Chicago publisher F.P. Burke. The black-and-white card is about standard (3-1/2” x 5-1/2”) postcard size with typical postcard markings on the back.

                                   NM        EX        VG

Frank Chance      1,500. 750.00  450.00

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

1955 All-American style Aaron Rodgers

This being the Packers' bye week, I wasn't able to watch Aaron Rodgers add to his legacy, so I thought I'd add to the body of his collectible memorabilia by creating a card of him for my 1955 All-American style "Update" set.

This represents the 132nd card in my eight-year-long project . . . not counting a dozen or so "rehab" cards for which I've revised my earlier efforts.

Once again, the limited space on back allows for only a small part of Rodgers' story to be presented. In truth, I learned most of this for the first time as I did my reading in preparation for doing the writing.

I'm not a rabid Packers fan, and like much of the rest of the nation, the world of West Coast college football plays out on TV after my bedtime. So Aaron Rodgers wasn't really on my radar until the first round of the 2005 NFL dragged on and Rodgers remained unpicked until the 24th round when Green Bay made the steal of the draft.

As Rodgers rode the pine and Favre hogged the spotlight, most Packers fans began to realize what an extraordinary man the team had waiting in the wings. Favre more and more made news for off the field drama than for his game-day performance. And I doubt that I was the only one to feel that Favre maintained nothing more than a chilly civility towards his eventual successor.

Through those three seasons Rodgers kept his head down and his chin up, working the clipboard on the sidelines on Sundays and taking whatever scraps of snaps Favre left him on the practice field. On the few occasions that Rodgers got into a game, he generally looked like the physically talented rookie that he was.

Even so, when Favre and the Packers parted ways in 2008, Rodgers proved himself just as ready to face the NFL as Green Bay's fans were to embrace their next star quarterback.

No doubt, in coming years Brett Favre will be accepted back into Green Bay's good graces, but today if Favre and Rodgers had autograph booths set up in opposite end zones at Lambeau Field, and fans were released on the 50-yard line, Favre would look mighty lonely on his end of the field.

I generally avoid doing my '55-style cards of active players, but Rodgers' Super Bowl MVP gave me a natural place to end my player bio, at least for now. Perhaps some years down the line I'll have to revise that write-up. Until then, I think I'll have to print up an extra quantity of this card to share with friends, local bartenders, etc.