Sunday, January 12, 2014

Stan Musial added to my '53 customs

Because Stan Musial declined to appear on most of the principal national bubblegum card sets of the 1950s, when he was at the peak of his popularity, if not performance, custom card makers have been attempting to fill those gaps (1954-55 Bowman, 1951-58 Topps) for more than a decade.

Being a Milwaukee Braves backer in that era, I was never The Man's biggest fan, though I respected his skills on the field and his persona outside the white lines. That admiration only increased from the 1980s until the time of his death a year ago, as he exemplified the image of one of the all-time greatest growing old with dignity. 

Musial has been among the cards most frequently requested by collectors who follow my custom card creations. For a number of years I've been setting aside photos that suggest to me they might be used to create Topps and Bowman format cards from the "missing" years.

A recent very cold, very snowy Wisconsin winter weekend seemed like the right time to create my first Musial custom. The result is the 1953 Topps-style card presented here.

Do you recognize the components used for the card front? The portrait is that used on the 1954 Red Heart dog food Musial card. It offers the suitable artwork look of the original '53T. The background of my card is from the 1953 Topps Cloyd Boyer card, flipped horizontally for a more pleasing composition.

My Musial card bears one of the "missing" numbers from the original Topps set.

I don't envision creating a full run of the Musial cards that Topps and Bowman omitted from their sets in the Fifties. Some of the other custom card guys have their own versions of many of the Musials "that never were, and Topps has gone retro to create some of them; they had a 1954 style card in their 2007 set issued for the National Convention, and in their 2011 set of "missing" cards they had 1953, 1955 and 1956 versions.

More Musials will be forthcoming as time permits and the mood strikes. I'm nearly finished with a 1956 and you can definitely count on a 1958; a 1957 is probable, as is a 1955 Bowman.

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