Monday, July 8, 2013

My Luis Marquez custom card, the denouement

Yesterday I presented the reasons why I've chosen to create a custom card of Luis Marquez. Today I'll give you the nuts and bolts of the card's creation.

I had the choice of working in the 1952 Bowman or the 1952 Topps format; I chose the latter.

Die-hard '52T fans might recognize the background as coming from the Al Widmar card, #133,  in the original set. That photo, by the way, was actually at least four years old when Topps used it, and it originally pictured Widmar in a St. Louis Browns uniform.

I encountered a bit of a bother in trying to find an autograph to use on the card front. After initially having no luck in an internet search, I contacted John Rumierz, a fellow creator of custom cards who specializes in players that Topps passed over in 1952. He emailed a scan of the autograph he'd used on his own '52T-style Marquez card.

As I was making final preparations to print my Marquez custom, however, I did another eBay sweep and found a Marquez signature on an index card, dated 1976. The autograph did not appear to have been in the same hand as the earlier acquired piece, even allowing for the evolution of Marquez's autograph over 25+ years.

After consultation with Rumierz, I decided to go with the 1976 version, since the seller had a quantity of similar index cards with vintage player signatures.

I also had to rethink my back copy. I had originally written the biographical sketch with specific mention of Marquez's Puerto Rican League and Negro National League stats. In the back of my mind, however, those details didn't jibe with my recollection of what Topps' original writers had done with the card backs in 1952.

So I did a search of the backs of black and Latino ballplayers cards in 1952 Topps and confirmed that winter league experience was totally ignored and the Negro Leagues were relegated to "semi-pro" status, if mentioned at all.

I rewrote the back of my card to more closely conform to the 1952 Topps style. 

In my research I also noticed for the first time that Topps' copywriters often used numerals -- 2, 3, 5, etc., -- instead of spelling out small numbers. I had not conformed to that convention in my earlier 1952 Topps-style customs, but did so for this one. Topps writers also overused capitalization of nouns on many card backs in 1952, but I won't be adhering to that style.

You might be surprised to learn that this is actually my second custom card of Luis Marquez.

Back around 1982 I used my collection of Braves photos to create a 1953 Boston/Milwaukee Braves collectors' card set, my first venture into custom cards. I sold a hundred or more of the sets in Sports Collectors DigestBaseball Cards magazine, etc., then sold the printing materials to Larry Fritsch, who reissued the set in 1983, on the 30th anniversary of the Braves move to Milwaukee.

Earlier, Marquez had been in the 1972 Puerto Rican League stickers set as a coach with Mayaguez.

I don't have the checklist at hand, but I believe Marquez was also included in Ed Broder's 1970s "popcorn" set of P.C.L. players of the 1950s-1960s.

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