Wednesday, October 9, 2013

'86T-style custom card created for Roberto Clemente (Jr.)

Recently on his Olbermann program (god, I wish ESPN2 would quit dicking around with its programming so that I could know when to set my DVR), Keith Olbermann interviewed Roberto Clemente, eldest son of the Pirates legend.

Clemente fils was on the show to plug the new book Clemente: The True Legacy of an Undying Hero. The book is a collaboration by Roberto Clemete's widow and three sons. I haven't read it yet, but you can find reviews all over the internet.

The interview prompted me to move a Roberto Clemente (Jr.) custom/fantasy card to the top of my to-do list.

For many years I've had in my files a black-and-white photo of the younger Clemente in a Philadelphia Phillies uniform. The picture was taken by Bob Bartosz during spring training circa 1984-85. Bob was a sports photographer for one of the Philadelphia papers and occasionally contributed photos for Sports Collectors Digest

Clemente played two undistinguished seasons in the Phils' organization and one as Padres property before a bad back forced him to give up pro ball. 

For my card I chose the format of 1986 Topps Traded. In creating the card, I took some liberties with both the concept and the execution of the card. If Topps had actually produced a Clemente card in 1986, it would have been in a Padres uniform

I colorized the player photo and dropped it into the background of Charlie Kerfeld's card in the Traded set. In working up the back, I discovered that Topps had utilized a number of type fonts that I do not have at my disposal. I settled for "close" and unless my card is compared side-by-side with a real '86TT, few are likely to notice.

not many collectors are likely to know that this is not Roberto Clemente's first baseball card. As a member of the Class A Charleston Rainbows of the South Atlantic League, he appears in a 1986 ProCards minor league team set.

Roberto's younger brother, Luis, also played a season of low-level pro ball, in 1985 with the Pirates' Gulf Coast League team. I've never seen a contemporary photo of him in uniform.

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