Friday, August 31, 2012

Cecil Cooper, St. Louis Cardinals?

For a guy who barely made my Top 5 list of favorite Milwaukee Brewers from the Bambi's Bombers and Harvey's Wallbangers teams of the 1970s-1980s, I've made a lot of custom cards of Cecil Cooper.

Heck, I've only done two cards of my all-time favorite Brewer, Gorman Thomas. And just one of Robin Yount. And I haven't done any customs of Paul Molitor yet (I'm still waiting to find some good early Molly pictures).

Previously I created a 1977 Topps-style card of Coop as a brand-new Brewer that was designed to update his "real" 1977 Topps card picturing him with the Red Sox, and be more appealing than the airbrushed O-Pee-Chee card. Then I put together a "pre-rookie" 1971-style card of Cooper as a young Red Sox player.

Now comes a third Cooper custom -- also a 1971-style -- picturing Cooper with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Oh yes he was!

After hitting .338 at Class A in the Red Sox' organization, the St. Louis Cardinals selected Cooper in the Rule 5 minor league draft on Nov. 30, 1970. Apparently with Joe Torre's imminent move to third base, the Cards were looking for backup to light hitting Joe Hague who was to take over at first base.

Cooper went to spring training in 1971 with the Cardinals, but on April 5, the day the season opened, he was returned to the Red Sox, spending most of the year at AAA Pawtucket before making his major league debut on Sept. 8.

I had discovered all this while working on my 1971-style Cooper card. I presented that card on my blog on March 10, 2011 (feel free to pause here and look it up in the "older posts" section). 

In an addendum to that post, I added a photo that had been taken by Topps at spring training in 1971. I indicated it wasn't a good enough photo to inspire me to make a Coop-as-Cardinal custom card.

In recent correspondence with veteran collector and long-time hobby researcher/writer Keith Olbermann, he volunteered that he had a better image of Cooper with the Cardinals. Some years back, Olbermann had been privileged to comb through the Topps image archives and had acquired a number of great player photos from 1956-1980 or so.

He sent me a scan and I found that it was sufficient impetus for me to make a Cardinals version of a 1971 Cecil Cooper card. 

Having completed the Red Sox version, the Cardinals card required relatively little new work to complete the project as you see it here, thanks to Keith's willingness to share this resource with the hobby. 

You'll be seeing more collaboration in the future.

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