Random Bag of Customs

These 5 custom designs have been gathering dust in my “cards to psot” folder for quite a while. I’m not really thrilled about any of them, but I don’t hate any of them, either. They’re all just kinda…decent, in my opinion.

I think my favorites are the Bench and the VanMeter with the “2020” flag, but I feel like both designs are still missing something.

Billy Hatcher & Some Other Guy

Made a couple of cards with the Topps 1986 template.

The first card is for Billy Hatcher, who had a 12-year career in the majors. He’s probably best remembered for his role on the 1990 Reds team that won the World series.

The other guy, Michael Jordan, never quite made it to the majors. He played for the Birmingham Barons and Scottsdale Scorpions in the minors. He retired with a lifetime .202 BA with 3 homers.


The Reds just bagged a Moose. The team signed Mike “Moose” Moustakas to a 4-year, $64 million contract. Moose usually plays third but will move to second since the Reds have Eugenio Suarez at the hot corner. This will also allow Nick Senzel to return to center when he’s healthy.

Moustakas hit .254 with 35 homers and 87 RBIs last season for the Brewers, earning his third All-Star selection. After starting the season at second base, he moved to third when Travis Shaw slumped.

Moose has 182 homers, a .252 average and 561 RBIs in eight major league seasons.

1975 Topps Customs

The 1975 Topps set went kinda crazy with the color combinations. I made my own template for this set, and it was fun playing with the different color/photo combinations.

All of these cards use the color combinations Topps actually used in ’75. I’m working on another post that will feature some of these cards with color combinations I created myself.

’73 Topps Template

I’ve always loved the basic, classic look of the 1973 Topps cards. I never had many of these back in the days when I collected cards, but the ones I did have were some of my favorites – especially the Roberto Clemente one (that card was another tragic flooding victim).

So last night I spent some time creating my own 1973 Topps Template. This Photoshop template is pretty detailed – it has all of the player position icons and the different color circles Topps used that year. I also had to make horizontal and vertical layout versions for this template, so that was a bit more work.

As I was testing the layout I used the two pics of Johnny Bench you see below. I also wanted to use this great pic of Hal McRae and Andy Etchebarren meeting at home plate. Sadly, Mr. Etchebarren passed away a few weeks ago. I remember having a lot of his cards when I was growing up.

Note: I should point out that none of these pics are actually from 1973. The vertical Bench pic is probably from 1970, before the Reds started playing their games at Riverfront Stadium. The horizontal pic is from the 1975 World Series, and the McRae/Etchebarren collision occurred during the 1970 World Series. If any of you were aware of this fact before reading this note, then…you are way more detail-oriented about this stuff than I am.

Anyway…here’s a card that does have a pic from 1973: first baseman Dan Driessen making sure the Mets’ Dave Schneck doesn’t steal second.

The Great American Ballpark Customs

My latest set of custom Reds cards uses the shape of the Reds’ stadium as the cutout area for the player’s image. I’ve played around with this design a lot over the past few days, but I’m pretty happy with it for now.

This set also includes the two newest Reds – Justin Shafer and Nick Martini were claimed by the Reds earlier this week. Martini joins Travis Jankowski as the second former Padres outfielder to join the Reds this off-season.

Here’s an earlier version of the cards that I was considering. This one shows the basepaths and foul lines. I like that this version makes it more obvious that the shape is a field, but it’s also a bit more cluttered. I would love to hear your feedback on which version you prefer.

The More You Know…

I loved the design of the 2008 Topps Football cards. They were simple, clean, and a little retro. They reminded me of the cards I collected as a kid.

So I decided to take them into Photoshop to create baseball versions of this design to see how they would look. Here are the results:

I liked ’em, so I shared them to the Custom Baseball Cards group. Seconds later, I was informed that Topps had actually used the exact same design for their 2008 football and baseball card designs.

Yep…I spent my time creating a design that had already been used.

As someone who hasn’t purchased a card of any kind since roughly 1990, I’m really not up-to-speed on anything that’s happened in the baseball card world since then. This has never been so glaringly obvious as it was this morning. I got a good laugh out of it, at least.

Text Warp

I almost titled this post “Let’s Do the Text Warp Again,” but I resisted the urge.

This design has a weird history. You see, I download a lot of other cards & images for inspiration. I just stick them all in this big folder on my hard drive. A few days ago, while looking through that folder, I stumbled across a design I didn’t remember seeing before. I had no idea where I found it, but I liked it.

So I decided to try my own version of that design, mainly because it was a good way to practice using Photoshop’s Warp tool. Here’s the version I ended up with:

I still wanted to know where that design came from, so I did some digging. Turns out it was a custom card created by the Rockies organization. It was one of several custom cards they posted on Twitter earlier this year.

UPDATE: A member of Facebook’s Custom Baseball Cards group pointed out that the design is fairly close to the 1976-77 Topps Hockey design:

6 New Custom Designs

I work on a lot of custom designs, just to try out different techniques and experiment. Here are six recent designs I made that haven’t been posted yet.

I like a couple of these more than the others, and I’m still thinking about making larger sets with some of these designs.

I’d love to hear your feedback on which of these designs you like or dislike.

1979 Topps

Here are a couple of alternate versions of 1979 Topps cards for Reds Ray Knight and Doug Bair. This is my second card for Knight, but the first one that shows him in a Reds uniform (the other Knight card was part of the 1986 Game Six set I made for the Mets).

I also made a retro card for A’s draft pick Kyler Murray, who is now the quarterback for the Arizona Cardinals. Murray passed on a promising baseball career to pursue a promising football career. I’ll always wonder how good Kyler would have been as a pro infielder.

Would you rather get beaned by a Gerrit Cole fastball, or get sacked by J.J. Watt?

Removing Backgrounds

One of the main reasons I started this blog was to document my progress with different Photoshop techniques. One of the skills I’ve been trying to improve lately is the ability to remove the backgrounds from photos.

There are free services that will do this for you, like Remove.bg, but those sites reduce the image size. I try to work with only high-res images, so this is a problem. The images I post here are scaled down to roughly 1/4 of their original size. I would post the full versions, but I’ve been warned that shady characters out there are likely to try to sell them on eBay.

Lately I’ve been working on removing backgrounds with Photoshop’s “Quick Selection Tool.” It takes more time than the free services, but maintains the full image resolution.

The Spirit of ’76

The 1976 Topps set was one of the first that I collected as a kid, so I’ve always had a soft spot for that design. Ever since I started this blog, I’ve wanted to be able to recreate that design. The problem was those little position icons on the lower left. I couldn’t find clean versions of those icons to work with, and without those, the whole card just looked bad.

Fortunately, Bob Jonas from the Custom Baseball Cards group was kind enough to share a set of icons that he had cleaned up. I worked in Photoshop to try to nail every little detail of the 1976 design – from the fonts down to the exact borders around those icons.

Here are the results – 6 alternate cards for the 2020 Reds. I even made one for the newest Red, Travis Jankowski. Janky plays every OF position, so he’ll probably get a chance to play a lot in early 2020, especially if Senzel isn’t ready for the start of the season.

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