Tuesday, May 15, 2012

If Bill Mazeroski had a 1956 Topps card . . .

...it might have been something like this.

This is my latest custom baseball card. 

As I've said before, 1956 Topps was one of my childhood favorite sets, and remains so today.

Making "new" 1956 Topps-style cards is, however, among the more challenging of the formats in which I create custom cards. It requires both a portrait and an action picture, and three cartoons for the back. 

To maintain the feel of the originals, I like to use cartoons from original '56 Topps cards, but that's not always possible. The 1988 Topps "Big" cards, which copied the 1956 design, offers a wider range of cartoon choices, but even then it's not always possible to find good matches for the career highlights that need to be illustrated.

For my '56 Mazeroski card, I chose to repurpose two of the cartoons I'd used on earlier '56 customs. The cartoon on the left comes from my Charlie Grimm card' the center cartoon was first used on my Frank Robinson card. I picked the cartoon on the right off of Maz's 1959 Topps card.

To create my card front, I used the background from an original 1956 Topps card of Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop-outfielder Eddie O'Brien (#116). The portrait photo came from a 2005 Upper Deck SP Legendary Cuts card; I flopped the orientation and colorized it.

I had to do a bit of mental gymnastics to figure how to handle the stats on the back of the card. 

In 1955, Mazeroski played most of the season for Williamsport in the Class A Eastern League, along with a month at Hollywood in the Pacific Coast League. Because the Eastern League did not promulgate fielding stats for that season, it was impossible to use complete fielding stats in either the "Year" or "Life" lines. I did the best with what I had. 

Check in again tomorrow to see another Bill Mazeroski custom card. It is a fantasy piece based on a dream I had.

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