Saturday, October 31, 2015

Trick or Treat Story & Halloween Customs

Halloween is not our favorite holiday.  It does boast my son's favorite color though:  Orange.  I kept wondering how cool it would have been if the card companies from the 80's and 90's made halloween colored variations of cards.  Perhaps they wouldn't have been all that boring.  I decided to cook up a few myself.

Like this 1988 Donruss Halloween version:


Oh yeah, that is just 1988 Donruss Baseball's Best.  :/

Well, what about if we made 1990 Score look more Halloweeny?


BAH!  They already did that with 1990 Score Rookie & Traded.  (Which, by the way is one of my favorite looking cards from the junk wax era!)

Okay, so how about we come up with our own concoctions?  In honor of my son's favorite color orange, here we go:

First, for a more subtle 1988 Fleer - I changed the red/blue stripes to orange/black on my man Canseco


That is kinda *yawn* so I decided to do a few more ...

BTW ... just throwing this out there (in case anyone forgot!)


1987 Donruss


1987 Fleer which I did on the big screen downstairs (biggest baseball card EVA!)



Followed by the famous 1991 Fleer Halloween Special "BOO" JACKSON


What about a nice 1992 Donruss Jeter?


I could have sunk hours into these, as I LOVE doing color variations of cards from my childhood, and I'm sure more will come later, but for now, this is all.  Heck, I didn't even start writing this story for these cards.  I did it to talk about what happened last night.  Please keep reading ...

Every Halloween, my family has a ritual of ordering a pizza and watching a movie together.  We don't typically partake in the whole trick or treat thing, but this year was different.  For the past week, our neighborhood had advertised that all of the kiddos should trick or treat the night of October 30th for some reason.  I thought this was kind of strange, but I sure am glad based upon what ensued.

Last night, we were supposed to go to a party.  I had a difficult time figuring out who to dress up as.  The front runners were:  The Burger King King, (or should I just say the Burger King?), The Monopoly Guy or Rollie Fingers.  The Monopoly guy won it, but my wife got sick, so she suggested our son and I go trick or treating instead.  My son just turned 13, so I thought he was borderline too old, but figured what the heck - we never do this, so let's go for it!

As it got dark and the kids started coming down the streets, my son and I got ready.  We walked up and down a few streets, and picked up a good amount of loot.  When we got home, he filtered out all of the War Heads because he can't stand them.  He ended up giving them all to our neighbor who was dressed up like a giant monkey (which oddly enough, looked incredibly realistic!).

It is about this time that things started to get bizarre.

Right when we were about to call it a night, I heard a woman screaming unintelligibly.  Her screams got the attention of all the trick or treaters on the block.  I decided to break out into a brisk pace to see if she needed anything, and as I got closer, I noticed something drop from her daughter's bag who was crying uncontrollably.  A colorful snake about 9 or so inches long had just fallen out somehow from the bag.  These were no garter snakes - they looked more exotic.

I yelled out to all the other parents on the block to check their bags, and about 6 other children had snakes in their bags as well.  Thankfully we didn't have one in ours.  I had my suspicions as to which house it was hiding the snakes.  He was giving out oversized boxes of Jr. Mints, and would carefully place the box in the trick or treater's bags so it would go undetected.  I was right.

I called the police, but before they could get there, two mothers were beating down the door of the perpetrator.  One was in regular street clothes, while the other was dressed like an angel.  It was truly a sight to see.  As the bad guy opened the door thinking it was more trick or treaters, the two women rushed the small man and pulled him outside. They jumped on him and made him collapse on the lawn while relentlessly wailing on him until he was in near tears.

Thankfully, the police got there in record time to pull the women off, and haul this bozo off to jail.  The spectators applauded the two women and police, as did my son and I.  After all of this madness, I wanted to go home, but my son begged and pleaded to go to just one more house.  I said okay, and I am very glad we did!

We knocked on the door and an older man approximately 70 years of age in a plaid shirt, bright red suspenders and a very respectable moustache opened the door.

"Trick or treat" my son said.  (I got a kick out of this all night, as my son's voice has changed recently and he sounds more like a man than a boy.)

The man looked truly surprised that someone was knocking on his door, as if no one had come to him all night, even though there was a steady stream of children walking past his house.

"Oh!  I'm so sorry young man, I don't have any candy to give out.  I thought Halloween was tomorrow night."  He paused for a while, looking around.  "Say, do you like baseball cards?"

My son doesn't collect baseball cards, but as someone who does, I may have fibbed a bit.

"Yes, he does!  He loves baseball cards."  I interjected.  This confused my son as to why I would lie, but he went along with it.  The man invited us in, and in his front room, he had lunch bags each filled with a stack of baseball cards taped up like you would see as you would see grab bags at baseball card shows.  Some of the cards were not taped up yet, and while there were some 1988 Topps cards showing, there were a few piles of newer cards as well.  One thing that caught my eye was a card that looked like a 1957 Topps baseball card sticking out under the '88 Topps.

"I have been wrapping up all of my baseball cards to give out to the kids tomorrow night, but unfortunately, I have to leave in the morning to visit my sister who is not in very good health.  Would you like all of them?"

I bit my lip and didn't want to say anything, as the man was intentionally looking at my son for an answer.  My son's eyes lit up and said "Wow, that would be great!  Thank you sir!"  In Ken "Hawk" Harrelson style, I said "You can put it on the boarrrrrd....YES!  YES!"  I regret that decision now, as it just made things awkward but we ended up getting everything.

I don't remember the walk home.  For all I know, a dragon could have breathed fire on all the houses while a wizard was riding a unicorn down the street.  All I know is that I had to see what was in the newly acquired cards.

We walked in, I checked on my wife to make sure she was doing okay, and then my son and I started ripping open the cards.  It was absolutely amazing.  Out of the 4,000 or so total cards, about HALF of them were from the 50's and 60's.  They were not in bad shape either!  Strangely enough, the 80's and 90's cards seemed more rough than the vintage stuff.  While most of them were commons, there were a lot of high number cards in great condition.

The stars of the show were a 1967 Topps Roberto Clemente, THREE 1969 Topps Reggie Jackson and .... wait for it ... FIVE 1957 Topps Mickey Mantle cards!  There were a few other Mantles from the 60's as well.   At first glance, I thought that they were going to be the throwback reprints from newer Topps sets, but they are all legit!  Man, wouldn't that have been cool if that all really did happen!

Happy Halloween :)

Thursday, October 29, 2015

1991 Topps: The $100 Card, Glowing Backs & More

For many of us, our collecting careers were born in the junk wax era - that sweet spot of 1988 to 1992.  It is from this time period which all other collecting periods are measured, and unfairly so.  "The hobby isn't like what it was." everyone cries out, remembering when card shops were found at every corner, and packs of cards could be purchased from doctor's offices to petting zoos.

Why do so many people say these cards are better used as firewood than anything else?  The answer is simple:  the card companies simply kept the presses running ... FOREVER.

In this article, we'll take a look at 1991 Topps.  Hopefully you will learn some interesting facts about this mass produced set.  By the end of this article, you may find yourself running to the garage to do some searching yourself!

When they came out, everyone was excited about the promotion they were running.  Topps randomly inserted one of each card from the past 40 years of sets in the packs.  A winner would be chosen through some sort of sweepstakes to win one of every set of Topps from 1952 to 1991.  A very cool idea!  The problem is, there was so much printed, I don't think I've heard of more than one person ever finding one of these randomly inserted vintage cards in a pack!  I guess that is what happens when you print the heck out of a set.

First off, let's look at production numbers.  It is estimated that 4,000,000 1991 Topps cards were printed.


Not total ... each one apparently has 4 MILLION copies.  What exactly does that look like?  Well, take this picture ...

and multiply it by greater than 5.  For  each and every card in 1991 Topps.  You can't even see the mammoth amount of cards in that pic, but it is one massive solid cube of cardboard!

Because I love numbers, I wondered how long it would take to go through 4,000,000 cards.  If you are shuffling at 4 cards per second (I'd say this is average; I'm VERY quick, clocking in at an all-time high of 16 CPS after having a monster energy drink) it would take you approximately 2,778 hours or well over a year's worth of 40 hour work weeks to get through ... just sifting through one card ... of 1991 Topps.

Wanna try that with all  3.16 BILLION cards they produced that year?  Well, if you did, and told me when you were done, I'd be waiting on you at some point in March of 3,062.

Let's not forget the different versions:


Pictures above are:  Micro, Cracker Jack mini, regular, O-Pee-Chee, Tiffany, Promo back & Desert Shield.

It is amazing to think that ONE card was printed over 16x what the ENTIRE print run of every card from 2015 Topps Tek had.  (This number is based upon the assumptions i had made in a previous article I had written.)

I know this all sounds crazy, and I'm sure you may be thinking "Okay, okay - I get it.  They made a lot, so what?"  Many people see 1991 Topps as a worthless product that only has one worthwhile card in it - the Chipper Jones rookie.

But what if I said that is wrong?

A Chipper may bring in 50 cents all day - which is BIG money, compared to the rest of the set.  Your only hope for cracking something big would be to get Chipper graded.  Or so I thought.

Take for instance good ol' Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd.


He was no slouch, but let's face it ... no one is spending a penny on this card ... right?  WRONG!

Check this out:


This is the black tip flag variation.  Even in this condition, it recently sold for $100.  While this is not the normal pricing for all variations, there are a TON of variations and errors out there.

Take for instance, the bold back:


As Canseco is on a "C" sheet as denoted at the bottom of the card, you don't see it show up as well as the bold red logo that shows up occasionally on the cards from the A & B sheets.  A C sheet bold logo back of Walt Weiss recently sold for $40.

There are TONS of different errors and variations in this set - from different border line colors to statistical information that was later corrected, this set has found new life from a select group of collectors trying to put together a master set.

Perhaps one of my favorite quirks in this set is the black light test.  I had read about it online, and decided to give it a try.  I knew my son had a black light, and I just picked up some cards from a garage sale a few weeks ago.  With that many '91 Topps cards, the collection should have at least a few, correct?

I was right.

I hastily grabbed the black light and pile of 1991 Topps cards, then placed them all on the bathroom counter.


I immediately noticed one of the cards had the bold logo back variation.  Cool!  Things got were even more different when I turned on the black light (aside from the fact that it looks like I had the word "poo" written on my arm, only visible under the light?!)


Keep in mind, these are ALL 1991 Topps regular.  None are tiffany, o-pee-chee, traded, etc.  All of them are regular.  Check out the next pic to see a better view of the different variations:


The glow backs / no-glow backs are by far my favorite variations.  Both of my Cansecos look like the Dave Rohde card above.

Perhaps the most sought after type of 1991 Topps card is the Desert Shield version.  I just recently read more about the back story on these cards.  For me, the more of an interesting story, the more the cards mean to me.

Based upon my research, it looks like these were printed in approximate quantities of 5,000-6,800 per card.  They were significantly rarer than the regular Topps cards.  To make these even more rare, a lot of them were shipped overseas.  They ended up being sent too late to be distributed, so several of them (it is unclear how many) were reportedly shipped back to the Myrtle Beach Air Force  to be distributed to the 3,300 personnel @ 30 packs per person.  Collectors would wait outside the gates trying to buy them.

To make these cards even more tough, many of these cards were thrown around while either being shipped overseas, or beat up by being carried around loosely in military personnel's duffle bags.

This isn't the only hurdle collectors have to deal with when finding a nice copy of their favorite player, though.  These cards have a number of counterfeits, as well.  Per the PSA website, the most notable three are as follows:

- The first forgery is easily noted by the tip of the shield coming to a point at the bottom.  The entire logo is larger than the original as well.

- The second forgery is noted by the coconuts in the palm tree being barely distinguishable.  The bottom palm tree front also touches the box that says "Operation Desert Shield".  The flag is also a lot larger, and has less of a wave.

- The third forgery is a lot more difficult to discern, and you will likely need a magnifying glass for this one.  The stars on the flag are indistinguishable and just look like a bunch of bumps, as opposed to uniform dots left to right of 4, 3, 4 3.

I have even seen some with a stamp "copy" on the back.

While I know that the genuine article is the best, I for one sure would like a copy of each one of the forgeries for my collection as well!  That is how sick we player collectors are, I guess.

In conclusion, 1991 Topps is not just a boring junk wax set - it has a LOT going on with it .... quite a bit more than meets the eye, so don't try to keep your home warm by pitching them in the fireplace this winter just yet!

Monday, October 26, 2015

Is this the future of collecting?

In the late 1990's, I was at a Blockbuster music store, looking for some CD's. As I looked around at all the listening stations, I thought to myself ... "Just wait. Soon, we will be able to make our own CD's filled with only the songs we want." I never saw that prophecy fulfilled ... until about 4 weeks ago. My family and I walked into a christian book store, and believe it or not, there was a station to allow you to add the songs you wanted all onto one CD! While they just might be about 10 years too late, thanks to the quantum leap we have taken in downloading music straight to our devices, it was cool to see something I thought of 20 years ago actually put into practice. Let's hope this next idea doesn't take 20 years! I remember at some point in the early 90's a player by the name of Geronimo Berroa did something great in a playoff game. The very next day, his 1988 Donruss rookie cards were being sought after for $5 a pop. Remembering this got me to thinking. Why not make a special short print set "on demand" for special moments during the baseball history? Yeah, yeah I know - they make cards of epic world series moments in the next year's release, but who really wants these, anyway at that point? They are cool memories, but not something that people are hyper-passionate about anymore. In this day and age, last year's world series is a lifetime ago. Collector's wallets are open mere minutes after something special happens while frantically searching ebay for rookies of whomever did something amazing. Let's try an example, shall we? Let's use Jose. No, not that Jose. Jose Bautista. He had an epic home run in the playoffs a few weeks ago that was a pretty big deal. Don't believe me? Ask this guy who got a tattoo commemorating the event: Anyhow, imagine if Topps decided to take this card: [img][/img] and modify it a bit in photoshop then stuck it on ebay or their website to pre-sell the very night it happened!? [img][/img] Can you imagine how many would sell for a lot of money? It could always be "checklisted" after the post season, and they could have a set of 10 cards ... each of which just waiting to be made once the event actually happened. Let's take it a step further, though. What if the Topps made this card, punched a hole into it, went to their little cubby labeled "Joey Bats' Bat Pieces" and put one in. I mean c'mon, how epic would this be? A bat card ... of the bat flip that JUST happened? [img][/img] For those of you who don't believe they are really game used, they could also just do a little fade action at the bottom and put one of those sticker autos to the test. This is one application that I don't think anyone would have any qualms over them using sticker autos. [img][/img] Anyway, just a thought.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Epic Pete Rose Photo Bomb

An epic Pete Rose photo bomb has been the hit of the internet with all kinds of epic memes being pushed out. I thought I'd join in on the fun and let you all jump in as well.

The original (which, btw ... Petey saved CJ here from embarrassment ... dude is totally wearing lipstick and no one has caught that.)

Friday, October 23, 2015

1993 SP Vs. 2015 Tek

What a difference 22 years makes, huh?  1993 was the tail end of the junk wax era.  Card companies started slowing down the presses, and collectors started to find some premium cards were not as readily available as the typical 50 cent packs offered at grocery stores.

While some cards from the late 80's and early 90's were produced in mass quantities to the tune of millions ... PER CARD, some were not.  1993 SP, for example.  A beautiful set highly sought after - even to this day by collectors, and namely due to Derek Jeter's rookie.  The 1993 SP Foil rookie of Jeter remains among the top rookies to have for this time period, and in recent years, has even seen a price increase.  Heck, for a gem mint copy of one, you can expect to shell out several thousand dollars for one - that is, if you can find a copy this perfect.  I was lucky to find one in a display holder at a garage sale for $1 - it doesn't get much better than that!


The collecting landscape is FAR different in 2015.  The collecting community is far smaller, but on average, each collector is shelling out far more money for must haves in their collections.  Let's face it - had card manufacturers continued to only put out 50 cent packs like they were doing 25 years ago, the card companies would have collapsed long ago.

Enter:  2015 Topps Tek.  Boxes are in the $70-80 range, and each box holds ... 1 pack.  Yes, 1 pack - holding 8 cards.  They are cool, shiny and clear - but they don't pass the Back to the Future test.

Well, at least he got the price right!  The 3d hologram pop outs?  Not so much.

After a forum member named BBCgalaxee mentioned something from an older publication.  In 1994, a magazine named Sports Look, Upper Deck responded to rumors about there being a 6,000 case print run of 1993 SP.  A rep responded saying that was a bit low, but it was close.

So, what does that mean?  The set has 290 cards, and an insert set of about 20 cards.  For easy math, let's just say there are 300 cards in the set.  There are 12 cards per pack, 24 cards per box and 18 cards per case.  That means that there are about 5,184 cards in each case or, over 31 million 1993 SP cards out there.  That would mean that there are over 100,000 of each card that was printed.  If the foil rookies are not short printed, does that mean that the beloved 1993 SP Jeter foil has over 100,000 copies out there?

And this, my friends, is from a card that had a limited print run!

Now, let's take a look at 2015 Tek.  I heard that Topps had bumped up the case run to 2,500 cases this year.  That is about 25% of the run that 1993 SP had, right?  Sit tight a sec fefore you go running to grab every single serial numbered card you can find.

Sure, the case run may be 2,500 - however, there are not 18 boxes per case like SP.  There are 12.  And instead of 12 cards per pack, there are 8.  As mentioned above, instead of 24 packs per box ... there is one.  At 96 cards per case, we are looking at 240,000 cards made.  There are 100 cards in the set, so aside from inserts, you are probably looking at about 2,400 of each card made.  As you probably already know, Topps made things a lot more interesting by offering up multiple variations of each.  My Canseco checklist shows 23 different variations.  274 are accounted for being serial numbered over 12 of these variations, and there are varying rarities for the remaining 11, but being a numbers guy, this exercise was extremely interesting to me.  (If only my math teacher used problems involving baseball cards, I'd probably have done a lot better in school!)

So, what it looks like is this:

The print run PER CARD for 1993 SP would need OVER TWENTY of these 5,000 count monster boxes to store them all.


Imagine all these boxes being FILLED with 1993 SP Jeter Foil cards!


Whereas the print run per card of 2015 Tek would just need 3 of these 800 count boxes to store them all in:


So, each card would only need these to store the entire print run of each card (well ... that is, if they weren't so thick.)


And within each of these boxes, you could find 23 different variations of each card.

To me, the 1993 SP numbers are shocking.  With over 100,000 1993 SP Jeter cards out there, how is the price staying so high?  I guess it goes to show you how many collectors there truly are out there ... and how many cards out there that they can be mixed in with.

The 2015 Tek numbers are a little bit surprising too, though to be honest.  It looks like some of the more common variations may have 500-1,000 of each.  I expected the numbers to be lower as well on these.

I'll admit that in writing all of this, I am using hearsay, generalizations and assumptions, but it looks like these figures could be used as nice ballpark estimates.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

My $3 Tribute to Zito / Hudson / Mulder

While I was hunting Canseco cards at the Tri-Star card show over a year ago, I started shuffling through several boxes of el-cheap-o game used cards. They were sectioned off by team, so my first stop was the Athletics, of course. Sadly, they didn't have any Canseco cards at all, but they did have several recognizable names. Zito...Zito...Mulder...Zito....Hudson...Mulder...

Hmmm, wait a second. "Excuse me, sir. How much are these each?"

The dealer responded with "They are $1 a pop."

The wheels in my head started to turn. I had my hand in a bunch of cheap cards from Oakland's former Big Three pitchers! Surely, this would be a fun little project! So, I decided to grab one each of Zito, Mulder and Hudson. To make things interesting, I decided to try and grab each with a different color. I was able to pick up a green, a gray and a white.

When I got home, I put them in the "to be slaughtered" pile in the top of my hutch and forgot about them. As with many projects that I conjure up in my head, they just sat there gathering dust.

Mulder has been retired for a while, Huddy said this was his last year, and Zito just recently said he is done. In my mind, these are still 3 young stars - how on earth did it come to this? I honestly don't know, but here we are ... in a Zito-Hudson-Mulderless world (well, baseball world, that is!)

I figured now would be as good a time as any to have some fun with these dusty old $1 cards. I started playing with a few ideas in Photoshop. Here are a few early renditions.


after the jump at ....

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Jumbo Cut Signature Book - A Year in the making

For every baseball fan, the ultimate best feeling you can have is when your team makes it to the World Series - and wins. For me, that point was in 1989 when the Powerhouse Oakland Athletics took their cast of super stars & veterans to beat the Giants. I remember being glued to the television and begging for my parents to put the game on the radio if we had to drive somewhere during game time. I also remember the earthquake - and feeling it, too. I remember Dave Stewart being virtually un-hittable. I remember the swagger that Canseco and Henderson had - they oozed confidence. The infectious smile of Dave Henderson. The dominant and fearless look that Dennis Eckersley had each time he took the mound. I also remember being heartbroken when one by one, my heroes were traded off and retired. The A's were no longer the same team I had rooted for. As a matter of fact, I find myself rooting for the Astros wholeheartedly this post-season - such strange territory for me. Nevertheless, the 1989 Oakland Athletics will always be my all-time favorite team. You may have read that one of my favorite pieces in my collection is my game used 1989 World Series baseball signed by the entire team. baseball While I love it, I wanted something more on the high end side that was in card form. The card companies will likely never make anything really cool that commemorates this team, so the gears in my head started turning about a year ago. So, this is where we begin our journey: In my brain. I have done a book card with Canseco and McGwire, but what should I do this time? Should I add Walt Weiss? All 3 were consecutive ROY award winners, and played in the '89 World Series. But, what about the man of steal, Rickey Henderson? Would it even make sense for those 4 to be together? Eckersley and Dave Stewart, too. What about Dave Henderson? Speaking of Daves, what about Dave Parker? I'd be a fool to forget Mike Moore & Terry Steinbach.... As you can see, this thing got hairy, quick. I have been mulling it over for a long time now. The challenges I had were: - Should this be an oversized card, or a booklet? - If it is a booklet, how many panels? - How should I design this sucker? - How will I determine who will be featured in this piece? - How the heck will I get all of the autographs I want - especially ones small enough to fit inside of the cut windows? - When will I find the time to do this, anyway? As you can see, I had a lot of things floating around in my head. I decided to start researching how to get autographs, and slowly but surely I was able to gather who I wanted. It was maddening to try to find autographs that would work though! Index card autographs were typically too large, and some players didn't even have autographs available online. Through constant searching on Ebay, I was able to pick up a handful of workable autos. I had a direct connection people who had relationships with some of the players, I picked up another from a card show and I was even able to get one through the mail for a small donation. After several months of searching, I had all the pieces that I needed. I would say among the most difficult to obtain workable autographs were Terry Steinbach and Mike Moore. Steinbach signs loooong, and Moore signs TALL. I would say several others were more difficult to get as well, as players typically seem to sign bigger than I needed. 20151013_233534   A nice smattering of blanks, in person autographs and certified pack pulled. Some on sticker and some on card ... all obtained from various different places. Clearly, a VERY diverse collection here. If you are counting, then you know this could be huge. TWELVE autographs, if I used them all. For the typical A's fan, this would be quite a cool collection to have in and of itself. Well....ahem....let's just rip this off like a band-aid, shall we? 20151014_114339 Yeah, it got bloody....errrr....cardboardy? Based upon what was available, I knew that this wasn't going to be a project made of clean, perfectly signed white/sticker autographs, all in unison on a sterile design. This was going to be an explosion of colors and styles. I was perfectly fine with this, because that describes the 1989 Oakland Athletics to a tee! For design, I didn't know which way to go. Should I use a picture of the players jumping up and down in the middle of the baseball diamond after having won it all? Nah, that's been done before. What about highlighting the earth quake? I had done that previously from another card. This was the "Battle of the Bay", or the "Bay Bridge Series" so I decided to focus on that. I found a cool pic of the bay bridge to use: Untitled-17 After a little photoshop magic, and adding in a little Stew .... davestewart And WHAMMO!!! front '89 World Series MVP Dave Stewart takes over the Bay Area, Godzilla style. I thought this would work nicely for the front, and I definitely wanted the "Battle of the Bay" instead of just the regular World Series logo. For the back, I thought it would be cool to do something that showed victory. back Eck in vintage form, making the last batter of the game cry. The graphic treatment on the right came out really sweet - first, it is Canseco giving Henderson and (Steinbach, I think) the bash while celebrating. You hardly see that out of him. The cool graphic part though is the ground - it seamlessly goes from the baseball field to the water. I thought that was pretty slick. So, as for size, I went back and forth. Oversized card, or booklet? Oversized card, or booklet? Wait ... WAIT. What about Oversized AND booklet?! I hadn't done something like this before, so that in and of itself was intriguing. I had seen some Allen & Ginter cabinet booklet cards, and figured why not try something bigger in booklet form? Not everthing has to be 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 to be collectible, right? So, here is the cover printed out, and ready to be cut .... 20151014_095129 The inside of the book is where the goodies are, of course. For design, I wanted to use the same bridge background, but mute it a bit, because I knew already it was going to be loud with all the colors and inks used from the autographs. Here is this inside, printed out before the windows were cut. 20151013_225955 A significant amount of time was invested in getting the "look" right for the players. Simply put, there are not many pictures out there of most of these guys that were workable. As you can see, I gave them all a "museum" kind of look to each one, and faded them from the neck/shoulders down. The graphical treatment on each portrait took forever. The top splash of white marks where the top of the cut windows will be. I love this effect, so figured I'd keep it in. 20151014_022426 While designing, I thought to myself, what if I do a bit of a silhouette kind of cut to the windows, instead of just a rectangle? Something where the side of the window with the picture has the outline of the player's face? I would like to say that Carney Lansford's bat/shoulder silhouette was on purpose to fit the "C" in his name, but truth be told, that was just a happy accident. 20151014_103007 No! Not Eckersley!!! AHHH!!! 20151014_102557 Ever wonder how that black strip for the inner binding of booklets gets there? Well, this is how I do it. Rather, this is how I did it for this book. (I've done gold strips in the past, as well as graphics, etc ... I just wanted to go black this time!) 20151014_095057 Ever wonder how the booklets are folded? My scorer is MIA (I looked for like an hour and couldn't find it!) Well, here is what the pros use ... a pizza cutter, LOL! 20151014_093955 I don't ever create bends in the books I do, but since I don't have a holder for this yet, I wanted it to bend a bit for display purposes. I went to bed at about 2 or 2:30 last night after working on this. When I woke up, I challenged my wife to find the T-Rex wearing a dunce hat in our ceiling. Can YOU spot it? It is plain as day to me. 20151014_082441 Sorry ... moving on.... Here it is, in all its glory! Folded 20151014_114621 The Front 20151014_114638 The Back 20151014_114656The entire inside (Note I placed McGwire & Canseco together, as the bash brothers should be!) 20151014_114806 Pardon me, if you don't mind me taking a few artsy pictures of the finished product sitting on top of all the hacked up cards ... 20151014_114356 20151014_114436 And last but not least, a pic of it with my autographed baseball ... 20151014_115418 After I finish some projects, I'm left with an "eh" feeling ... where others, I think WOW! I love looking at this! This is one of those WOW pieces for my collection. I really enjoy looking at it. I hope to get a holder for it soon - which, by the way, measures just over 11 inches long and is just over 3 1/2 inches wide. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Even More 2015 Baseball Customs

Due to the positive responses I have received, I figured I'd throw a few more up!  Check them out.

Monday, October 5, 2015

2015 Baseball Season Expressed in Customs

As a whole, baseball has been painful for me to watch since the 2014 all-star break. The A's traded away .... well ... everybody. I don't think I'm alone when I say it hurts to see highlight reels being filled up by Cespedes of the Red Sox ... or is it the Tigers ... or wait ... Mets? and Donaldson of the Blue Jays.

Yeah, I know there are better players out there, but why oh why couldn't they have stayed put?

Still, baseball is baseball. It has its ups and its down. You roll with the punches. First, and foremost I would like to say that I'm VERY thankful that my home team - the Astros did AMAZING! They fought their hearts out, and ....

They at gummy bears.