Monday, February 29, 2016

Pirate Autograph Project #10: Dave Wayne Johnson

I've never had to suffer the fate of having a common last name.  But I'm sure the struggle is real.  I don't need to add a bunch of numbers to the end of my email address to find one that isn't already taken.  There's no fear of one of those "mistaken identify" stories.

But imagine having a name so common that once you've reached the pinnacle of your profession - a place only a few thousand have reached - that you can't even claim your name.


There have been three Dave Johnson's in major league history.

This Dave Johnson was drafted out of college and pitched well in the minors, rising slowly through the ranks.  He finally got the call to the majors at age 27, and made it into 5 not so memorable games before heading back to the minors.

He ended up having a couple solid seasons for the Orioles as a started through 1989-90 before imploding in 1991.  But you may remember another Dave(y) Johnson that played for the Orioles who made a slightly more memorable impact on the franchise.

I couldn't find any photos of his brief tenure with the Bucs, so a card from his AAA days with the Bucs will have to do.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Oh, This Thing

Everybody handles stress differently.  Some rise to the occasion.  Others wilt under the pressure.  Me?  I'm a procrastinator.  And while I consider myself pretty good at coming through in the clutch, when there are also less urgent things doing on I tend to...well, ignore them.

And blogging sort of fell into that category for the last week.  Things have been crazy around here lately.  While I absolutely love my job, one of the drawbacks to working in the education field is that schools don't exactly work on a flexible calendar.

If it's not in the budget in February, you're persona non grata come September.  So you basically get to wait another full year before you try again.  So the last couple weeks were a whirlwind of driving around, meeting with school districts and trying to hammer out who was interested in working with us for next school year.  Add in the fact that PA has yet to pass the 2015 state budget (yes, you read that right), and that school districts may be shutting down since they can't make payroll and it's a heck of an adventure.

 Throw some house hunting into the mix in the free hours that remain, and yeah...I've pretty much started ignoring everything else.
 So when I had some free time this weekend while Kate was at a wedding shower, I made the most of it.  And by that, I mean I camped out in front of the computer and made baseball cards.
 Customs have increasingly become a larger part of my collecting identify.  But they've served another purpose lately.  I've tried to completely cut out any unnecessary (aka fun) purchases for the next few months until we find a house we love.  We're looking for something that has some older charm.  But that also means older...everything.  So I'm expecting that the extra funds will be needed for the less necessary but very desired renovations on this future house.  And even though I'm a low end collector, $3, $5, and $10 here and there adds up pretty easily.
 But I can't shake the collecting bug.  So I've resorted to making my own know, even more than I already did.  And while the photo paper and ink isn't free either, it's been a heck of a lot more cost effective.
 So I sat down and turned out a whopping 6 new designs today - 1964, 1988, 1992, 2006, 2007, 2008 Topps.  As frustrating as matching fonts and trying to get the look of foil just right can be, it's a bit of a stress reliever for me.

I'll be plugging away at more of my Topps Update Update sets and my quest to make my own Jack Wilson Archives set.  But in the mean time, I do have some actual baseball cards that have crept into my mailbox thanks to some great collecting friends.  Now I just need to clear my mad scientist card creating supplies off of the printer so I can actually scan them.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

It's the Big One, Elizabeth

I'm not someone who considers myself to have much of a want list.  When it comes to my team collections, it's more about finding a card I don't have at a price I like.  There just aren't many cards out there that I'm actively prowling for that very card specifically.

So the few true "wants" I have?  They're kind of a big deal to me.

In the days before half the products being high end releases, it was touch to find higher end Pirate cards even worth chasing.  Multi-player autos of multiple Pirates players were exceptionally rare.  So when I first spotted this quad auto in 2006, I just about lost it.

And then I realized that Perez and Casey were both listed playing for other teams.  Both players had been dumped mid-season (Casey on his own bobblehead day), but Upper Deck was notorious for being slow to update player movement.

Just not when it benefitted the Bucs collectors.  Somehow the team at UD managed to change the design and photos to accommodate the move to larger market clubs.  Meanwhile, they would still be releasing Adam LaRoche Braves cards two years into his Pirate tenure.  But I digress...

For years, this was a card I desperately wanted, but refused to add to my collection due to the team switcharoo.  But time and general disinterest in current products heals all wounds.  And this card shot back near the top of my want list over the last couple years.

At 25 copies, it's not the easiest to find.  But I was thrilled to find one on ebay from a Canadian seller (Bay is Canadian, and had a pretty strong collector base up north at the peak of his career), and won the auction for about $7.  Even though I'm sill a little salty over the non-Pirates, I'm thrilled to add this one to my collection.

And if snagging one card off my want list wasn't good enough, how's two?  While this looks like just an ordinary Jack Wilson card that doesn't scan particularly well, it's long eluded me.  This is supposedly the common, unnumbered version of this auto that also has a blue parallel /15 and a gold parallel /10.  But as was common with Donruss' autograph inserts, the number of cards for each player was often pretty irregular, depending on how many stickers they had available.

In the decade plus of looking for this card, I had only seen one copy.  And that one was in the collection of a fellow Jack collector.  It's "common" status was pretty misleading.

I already have the blue parallel, and still need the gold to complete the run.  But I was thrilled to land this one for just $5.  It's been slow goings adding to the Jack Wilson collection in recent years, but that just makes each new find that much more enjoyable.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Weekend Customs

I had been in a bit of a lull when it came to putting together new custom designs.  Not that I don't already have plenty as it is.  But it's always a bit of fun for me to deconstruct some of my favorite designs from years past.  And these certainly presented a fun and exciting challenge.

I have fond memories of busting a few packs of 1999 Donruss football with my dad chasing Ricky Williams rookies.  I don't think I landed anything of note out of the 3 or 4 packs.  But I do recall another ripper in the shop pulling a Terry Bradshaw Gridiron Kings card, which seemed like a huuuuuuuuge pull at the time.

I snagged a copy of the card for myself a couple years ago on COMC.  I think I paid less than $1.

This design was fun to play around with, though it took a little work to get the layering down just right.

 And of course nothing beats a classic.  The '87 Topps design is still hands down one of my favorite designs of all time.  And I have one more step towards having a Jack Wilson card in every Topps design.  Who needs Archives?  Better yet, I managed to find a picture of Jack wearing the famed McDonalds vests that the club would rather you forget about.  Interestingly, there are no cards featuring the Bucs wearing these jerseys despite wearing them for two seasons.
And another headache of lines galore, the Woner Years inserts were among my favorite as a kid.  I may play around with some more trippy color combinations.  The "watermelon" look of the base inserts never really did it for me.

Pirate Autograph Project: #9

Keith Osik isn't your typical backup catcher.  Over his seven seasons with the Bucs, Osik appeared at third base, second base, left field, right field,  first base, and even a game at both pitcher and DH.  For those keeping score at home that means he popped up everywhere but shortstop and center field.  

He was a solid backup player for the most part, offering some pretty solid offensive skills for the position.  Of course his entire tenure overlapped with Jason Kendall's time behind the dish.  But the revolving door of catchers that would cycle through Pittsburgh over the decade after he left made Pirate fans appreciate the stability behind the plate during the Kendall/Osik seasons.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Pirates Autograph Project: #8

Freddy Garcia.  The other one.

Apparently bring first isn't always best.  With the announcement that Freddy Garcia has retired last week, I can't help but think about the other Freddy.  The other Freddy came to the Bucs in the 1995 Rule V draft, and looked like a steal.

At 24, he hit 291/342/582 in AA in 1997, and followed that up in 1998 with a 270/327/571 line in AAA.  He even slugged a very solid 256/332/488 in almost 200 major league at bats in 1998.

But for whatever reason, the Pirates dumped him to the Braves for a minor leaguer in 1999.  Remember, these are the same brilliant baseball minds who yo-yoed Jose Guillen and Aramis Ramirez between the majors and AAA like they were riding the tram around Disney World.

Garcia slugged well in 2000 for the Red Sox, before heading to Japan for the 2001 season.  A rough season there would end his career at just age 28.  But boy...I can't imagine that power wouldn't have played at least a little better on some power starved Pirates clubs.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Pirate Autograph Project: #7

While guys like Manny Sanguillen and Steve Blass are probably the long tenured faces of the franchises' yesteryears for most current fans, one player who had perhaps the most interesting tenure with the Bucs was Bill Virdon.

Virdon played for the team for 11 seasons, including coming back in 1968 as a player/coach who appeared in 6 games.  He would take over managerial duties for the Bucs in 1972, and though his tenure with the Bucs wouldn't last as long as it should or could have, he managed major league clubs for 13 seasons.

He would come back to the Bucs as a coach in the late 80's, coaching through 1995 with the Pirates.  He came back for the 2001 and 2002 seasons as the team's bench coach, 30 years after managing the club himself.

Even since "retiring," Virdon has been a mainstay in Bradenton for Pirates spring training.

Pirate Autograph Project: An Origin Story

"It's not the destination so much as the journey."
There may be no phrase that more accurately captures card collecting (well, other than "you're going to lose money busting wax).  So much of collecting is the thrill of the hunt.  Whether it was ripping packs as a kid hoping to hist your favorite player, or endlessly scouring ebay hoping to see that elusive card, we're hunters.  And when we finally track down that elusive card, it's on to the next chase.

But the why always lingers.  Each collector has their own story, whether it's trying to recapture that childhood hobby, or the first time you peeled back the wax seal on a pack.

Kate and I went to see Deadpool over the weekend (which was awesome, by the way).  I was reading an interview with Ryan Reynolds where he said that if the film wasn't going to be an origin story, he wasn't interested.  And I think that's a really interesting perspective - grounding the how with the why.  And as the second Spider Man origin story, or the maddeningly long Captain America origin film teach us, if the journey isn't interesting, it makes the destination a lot less fun.

So this is my origin story.  Or at least the story of why I got the crazy idea of tracking down an autograph of every single guy to step onto a baseball field wearing a stylized P on their cap.

In the spring of 2004, or thereabouts, I joined the Beckett forums.  I was in 10th grade, loved baseball, liked collecting cards, and that was about as developed as my collecting identity went.  In an era when pulling an autograph out of a box was a possibility rather than a guarantee, my autographed collection was maybe a dozen cards between certified autos and cards I had gotten signed at local shows, etc.

As spring training approached, I saw a thread on TTM autographs.  I read through pages long threads dating back as far as I could find them.  I could write a letter, and end up with an autograph?  It seemed like the greatest thing on the planet.

I asked my parents for a book of stamps and some envelopes, and began carefully crafting my first requests.  Every day after school was filled with excitement, going to the mail box and hoping for a return.  And I certainly got off to a good start.  When that first white envelope came back in the mail, inside was my 2003 Donruss Team Heroes card signed by Duke Snider.

I was hooked.

In those days, the extent of resources and ttm collectors that are out there today were far more limited.  You either had to buy an autograph list containing home addresses of players, or scour the internet for addresses.  And as a high school kid, scour it was.

Somewhere around 2005, I stumbled across a site dedicated to Pittsburgh autographs.  I had been adding Pirate autos as often as possible, but my TTM options were limited to whose cards I already owned or could find in the dime box at the LCS.  Suddenly I saw dozens and dozens of signed vintage cards.  Players I had never heard of, but whose signature I suddenly wanted.

It was a pretty basic looking Angelfire page, but the Steeler Chief's website was, to my 15 year old brain, the holy grail of card collecting.

As I was starting to think and post about my autograph project over the past week, I wondered if the Steeler Chief site was still up.  After all, chunks of the internet get phased out all the time.  Like my old Myspace page.  But there it was, not much different from when I first discovered it.  It looks like the site has been inactive since 2007.

But suddenly I had a whole new hit list of players whose autograph I wanted to track down.  I started buying vintage cards on ebay and sending them out to the reliable signers.  And a few unreliable ones, which never came back home.

As I reached college, I was in accumulating mode.  I had hundreds of Pirate autographs, and jumped at the chance to add new players when I could.  But there was no real rhyme or reason.

Somewhere around 2008 or 2009, I found that one of my fellow team collecting buddies was working on acquiring autographs from every Astros player who had suited up for the club.  Tough, but as an expansion franchise it wasn't totally unreasonable.

I decided to see if I could compile an all time roster for the Bucs as well.  And just out of curiosity, see how many signatures from that bunch I already had.  I think you know how this one goes...

Some OCD set in, and I was shocked to discover I already had a few hundred different signatures.  And if you already have that many, why not try for them all!

It's been a journey from there.  The low hanging fruit - players with certified autos or who are reliable TTM signers knocked out somewhere around 20-25% of the players who have played in the modern era.  And from there, scouring ebay, card shows, and flea markets has helped fill in some gaps.

At north of 50%, I still have a long way to go.   And I don't know that I'll ever truly complete the project.  But it's been one hell of a journey so far, almost a full decade into collecting Pirate autographs.  And I can only hope the rest of the chase is as fun.

Monday, February 15, 2016

2000 Topps Chrome Refractors

Player: Darren Dreifort
Card Number: 249
Set: Base

Set Progress: 11/478 (2%)

Maybe I'll just never understand the economics of baseball.  Or maybe I'll just never understand numbers that have 6 zeroes after them.  But I'll definitely never understand the LA Dodgers.

Those that still remember Darren Dreifort probably remember the contract more than the pitcher.  And rightfully so.  Somehow the Dodgers spent $55M in the winter of 2000 on the promise that maybe this pitcher with a history of arm trouble who had never delivered on his potential would bloom into one of the best arms in the game.

He didn't.  His arm imploded.  Sound like today's pitching market?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Pirate Autograph Project: #6

One of the hidden benefits to this project has been exploring the long history of the Pirates franchise.  I was still in high school when I started this, and it was really interesting to backtrack the history of the franchise and learn about some players I never realized had played in Pittsburgh.

Joe Orsulak best stuck in my brain as a guy who appeared on a lot of overproduction era wax as an Oriole.  That was it.  And in the days when my Pirate collection pre-1990 or so was woefully non-existent, I had much to learn.

Orsulak spent the first couple years of his major league career with the Pirates, and made a fair number of cardboard appearances as I would later learn.

2000 Topps Chrome Refractors: Making a Dent

My collecting has been all over the place this year.  I haven't been to a card show since mid-spring of LAST year.  There have been more than a few stages where I didn't go a week between card shows, and now it's been nearly a year since I've been to a show.

My card budget probably appreciates it, but it's had a major impact on my overall influx of cards.  But of course the internet is always there to help scratch that itch.  But even then, finding cards I want has been a challenge.  I've picked off almost all the low hanging fruit on COMC, and new cards being listed are usually higher than what they're worth in my eyes and the cards still on the site never seem to budge from their inflated prices.

So with the Pirates pickups slowed, I'm working on catching up on some other cardboard related projects.

And right at the top of that list is my 2000 Topps Chrome Refractor set.  Every time I ask myself why I decided to even attempt this set, I look at the cards and remember.  It's just a beautiful set, and whether it's reality or perception, the older refractors just seem to have so much more "shine" than the stock used on refractors since the early 2010's.

 While I didn't pick off any of the biggest names in the set with these pickups, I was happy to add some very respectable semi-stars to my set.
 I can't understate how amazing these cards look in person.  It's going to be a long haul to actually finish off this set, but if I ever get there it will absolutely be worth it.
 These pickups put me over the 10% mark on the set.  There's still a long way to go, but I'm happy to have stuck with it this far.

To update my long neglected updating of this set on the blog, this bumps us up to 10/478 cards in the set, a whopping 2%.  I'm hoping to post some of the other 2000 refractors I've added over the past year to get my progress up to date.  In the mean time, enjoy the shiny!

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Pirate Autograph Project: #5

This is the first certified auto I've shown off during the Pirate autograph project posts.  Francisco Cordova came and went before most baseball fans had the time to notice.  Signed out of Mexico in 1996, and went straight to the majors.  He had very solid seasons in 1997 and 1998, posting ERA's in the 3's and pitching a combined no hitter.

But the injury bug bit in 2000.  He pitched a few minor league games in 2001, but that would end his stateside career at age 28.  Cordova did continue pitching in Mexico until 2011, but he was nowhere near the form he had shown earlier in his career.

Yet another flash of hope for Pirates fans that was extinguished in the most unanticipated of ways.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Pirates Autograph Project: #4

Baseball wouldn't be as interesting without a guy like Lou Marone.  First off...the name.

Secondly, he pitched 29 games of 2.55 ERA ball out of the Pirates bullpen in 1969.  At age 23.  Not bad, right?

But in the pre-expansion era days, there were only so many slots to go around.  He appeared in one game in 1970, and was out of baseball by 1972 at age 26.

Man, am I feeling old.

Then again, maybe Marone was a flash in the pan.  He made the majors on the strength of 17 appearances in AA that year with a sub 1 ERA and 11 k's/9.  Add in the major league numbers, and it's a pretty nice year for a 23 year old.

But 1969 was also the only time, at any level, that he would post a sub 3.50 ERA.  But hey, if you're gonna peak, might as well do it in the bigs.

Marone died this past November at age 70.  The card, his only major league release, is a high number in the 1970 set.

Taking a Crack at 2016 Topps

When the design mockups for 2016 Topps came out, I was a little crushed.  I wasn't a fan of 2015 Flagship, with its busy design and photoshopped photos.  And then 2016 moved the needle a little further.  Rather than looking like a baseball card, it felt like a graphic you might see on ESPN.  And I don't mean that in a complimentary way.  The hazy smoke.  Touched up photos.  And...what is up with all the bars and gradients?

But give it a chance, I said.  I'm not a glass half full kind of guy.  But I try to be one from time to time.  Lots of Topps designs don't look great as photoshop mockups, but once you add in the foil and accents, the real thing doesn't look as bad.

As bad.

We were at Target over the weekend, and I just couldn't resist.  I had to grab a hanger pack and see what they looked like for myself.  And then I was crushed.  Really crushed.  Gone is the customary foil, which I thought might be able to save the design-crazy logo and name areas.  Sure, there's a little speck that makes up the Topps logo at the top.  But for all intents and purposes, these are Opening Day cards.  And where there's smoke, there's fire.

While I used to love reprint sets 15 years ago, they just feel tired and overdone.  Like so many of the tricks in Topps wheelhouse.  Thanks for reminding me how much cleaner cards looked in 1963.  Maybe I should just spend my money on vintage sets.  Good idea, Topps.

Overall, the inserts were underwhelming.  Which was disappointing, since in past years I have really enjoyed most of the Flagship inserts.  Again, a little too much going on here, and while I loooooove flashback cards the focus on the young stars of the game just seems so misplaced here.  Like the 1st HR cards last year, a debut card is cool.  Except when that debut came just a couple years ago.  A 2002 debut?  Cool beans.  2012?  Call me again in 2023.

The rainbow foil cards are back this year, and hopefully not as impossible to find as last year.  But I'm so over the Topps parallel palooza they've paraded out in recent years.  I loved the sparkles, and cognacs, and even the emeralds.  I started slipping with the red foil.  And rainbow?  Couldn't care less.  Though with this design I do think they could give some of those Yu Gi Oh monsters a run for their money.

 Oh hey, a rookie!  Wait...a rookie who also made your All-Rookie team for last year?  Oh...nevermind.

I just can't muster the energy to care.  Maybe Stadium Club can save the cardboard season for the third year in a row.  Until then, wake me up when Topps goes back to making baseball cards that look like baseball cards.

Monday, February 8, 2016

An Impluse Buy

There's nothing wrong with the occasional impulse purchase, right?


I sure hope not, because when it comes to cards I'm a sucker.  I can resist eating out for weeks at a time.  Squeeze that last drop out of the toothpaste tube.  Make a meal from those random food items that always get pushed to the back of the pantry like I'm a contestant on Chopped.

But all that self restraint and thriftiness goes out the window when I see a shiny baseball card.

I'm a sucker for the 1998 Donruss Signature set.  It is, in my eyes, the greatest looking autographed set ever made.  And the crown jewel is the Century parallel /100.  The dark royal blue just makes the cards pop in a way I love.  Except that they're an autographed 90's insert /100.

The opposite of thriftiness.  I have a couple Pirates, and a couple more unnumbered replacement cards that came onto the market in the Donruss bankruptcy sale.  But when a few true, numbered, copies were listed last week I knew I had to at least take a crack.

Most I ended up handily outbid on.  But I was able to snag one.  For the tune of about $2.  Wilson even has a vague Pirates connection, spending some unmemorable time with the Bucs, which was a far fall from the Indians powerhouse teams he had been on previously.

Did I mention I landed an autographed rare 90's insert for $2?  Yep, no complaints over my impulse buys here.

Pirate Autograph Project: #3

I've been working on acquiring an autograph of every players since the end of WWII to appear in an MLB game for the Pirates.  I'll be (hopefully) posting one autograph each day.

I'm front loading the early portions of my PAP postings, but can you blame me?  This card is one of my favorites in my collection.  Not only is it a beautiful signature on a design that makes great use of white space, but it's also a pretty tough signature to nail down.

Benito Santiago's career travelled the spectrum from ROY, perennial All-Star and Gold Glover to...Pittsburgh.  In the mid 00's, Pittsburgh was the last stop on the bus for quite a few former all-star caliber players who had little to nothing left in the tank.

While Benito was in his age 40 season when he hit Pittsburgh, it was cool to see a bigger name player take over behind the plate after trading away Jason Kendall.

Santiago had come off of a decent but injury-shortened season with the Royals in 2004.  But his stop in Pittsburgh never really got a chance to get going.

And it's interesting how we remember things.  I thought Santiago fell into the old Davy Jones Locker outside PNC Park, performing at Derek Bell levels of woefulness.  In reality, the Bucs gave him a whopping 6 games and 23 at bats, during which he was playing about at his career averages.  Not bad for a 40 year old catcher.

I suppose at some point between trading for him in December and early May, the Pirates apparently decided they needed to get older.  This kind of well thought out planning was pretty typical for those Pirate teams.

Some ab's would go to David Ross, who has now acquired grizzled veteran catcher status himself.  But the Pirates would cut bait too early with him as well.  Instead, the bulk of the ab's went to Humberto Cota, who put up an OPS about 60 points lower than what Santiago had done the year prior.  It shouldn't shock you that Humberto Cota never reached the majors after the Pirates finally released him.

So despite 23 ab's and 6 games, somehow Benito Santiago was included as an autographed card in Topps Update, despite never actually having a flagship Topps card as a Pirate.  And having not played for either team pictured for at least 9 months.

But I'm more than grateful this card exists.  For a while, I'm pretty sure it was the most expensive non-Jack Wilson card in my collection.  I think it cost a whopping $7.  But hey, I was in high school and funds were tight.  And ebay shipping was also $2 on the high end back then.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pirate Autograph Project: #2

Yesterday I went with a modern player.  So let's dig a little deeper.

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I absolutely adore this card.  I love the colors on the sky and pine trees, and it's a really unique look.  In retrospect, I wish I had been able to acquire a copy in better condition.  But I got this card signed in high school, and I think at the time my priority was to track down the cheapest possible copy I could find.  And in the days before COMC, that could be a tall task on ebay.

Castiglione played for the Pirates from 1947-1953, seeing regular duty for some rough teams during '49-51.  He was a pretty effective utility player, splitting most of his time between third and short, but also seeing duty in the outfield and at first on occasion.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Pirate Autograph Project: #1

For me, becoming a team collector was actually a pretty long journey.  From "everything" collector, to Jack Wilson player collector, to Pirate certified auto collector.  But the jump between having a few hundred Pirate autographs and having 16,000 Pirate cards different Pirate cards, a wall of binders, and a mess that makes Kate consider murder every so often was a big one.  And the turn that took me down that path was when I decided to start my Pirate autograph project.

Instead of just collecting a certified auto of every Pirate who had one, why not get an autograph of EVERY Pirate to every don the stylized P?  That aspect of my collection has taken a back seat in recent years, but it's still one of the most enjoyable projects I can imagine.  Because alongside autos of Stargell or McCutchen I have guys like Mario Mendoza and Don Kelly, and they're all just as important to the project.

So while I've posted additions to the Pirate autograph project here and there throughout the life of Battlin' Bucs, why not go through and show off all 586 different Pirate players whose scribble I've managed to acquire.

I've made the arbitrary start date of the project players who played post WWII, to give myself a little more manageable goals.  But at about 56% completion, there are still plenty of autographs left to track down.

And what better way to start than with my #1 guy, Jumpin' Jack Flash.  Of all the Wilson autos I have, his signature on his rookies is by far my favorite before he switches to a less intricate and more loopy signature.

Over the coming months, I hope to get around to scanning and posting all 586 (and counting) autographs, and maybe even getting back to making a little bit of a dent in the project this year.  Hope you guys enjoy following along!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Topps Update Update: An Update

Things have been hectic around here, good, bad, and otherwise.  Last week was a pretty rough week, and I needed to just kick back and do something mindless over the weekend.  

And what fits the bill better than putting together some custom cards?

I started working on my Topps Update Updated sets a few months back, filling in the gaps that Topps inevitably misses every year.  I've been skipping around, taking on years here and there as I had the templates built.  But I finally decided to take a crack at some of the 2010's sets.  These have actually been some of the easiest to do, simply because there are so many more high quality digital files available for some of the more obscure players than someone who appeared in 3 games in say 1992.

I was very surprised how many players I needed to create cards for.  But then again the Bucs cycled through quite a few players in those seasons.

If you'll allow me a brief humble brag, the above card is my favorite from the 30+ card batch, since I actually own the game used jersey that Daniel McCutchen is wearing in that photo.  Game matched?  Check.  Though I do wish it were the jersey for that other McCutchen guy...

 With more photos available, I was able to get a little more creative in finding a cool photo for some of the cards.
 When you end up with the same design for the 40-50 players that appear on a major league roster each year, there are only so many different positions you can find your average pitcher or batter in.  So it's always nice to mix it up a little bit with some unique unis or celebration shots.
I still need to get around to printing out all these cards, but that might be a project for this weekend.

With Spring Training around the bend, I'm going to be getting my custom card production ramped up.  Assuming house hunting, work, and all that other jazz doesn't get in the way too much.