“I got more hits than Sadaharu Oh” – “Hey Ladies” by The Beastie Boys
Japanese baseball legend Sadaharu Oh ended his career with 868 homers and 2,786 hits. Sadly, the Beastie Boys never had 2,786 hits.
While researching Japanese baseball card design last night (I’m a nerd…I know), I decided to make these two cards. One is for Oh, of course, and features a shot of him as he broke the all-time home run record.
The second card is for Kosuke Tanaka of the Hiroshima Carp. The Carp share the same “C” logo and colors as the Cincinnati Reds, so it fits with this blog’s “alternate Reds” theme.
When the comedy duo Key & Peele saw a football game featuring New York Jets offensive lineman D’Brickashaw Ferguson, the duo was inspired.
“D’Brickashaw Ferguson! What? That was it for us,” Keegan Michael Key said.
Several years and millions of YouTube views later, I decided to create a few cards for some of the players from this legendary skit. I’ll get to some of my favorites, like Jackmerious Tacktheritrix and Hingle McCringleberry, as soon as I can.
I wanted to create a card design that would show a little more of each player’s personality, so I’m working on a design that will show one of the player’s recent tweets. I’m still playing with this idea, but here are a couple of early test cards:
UPDATE: After playing with the design a bit more, I ended up here:
Here are a couple of new takes on the 1980 Topps template.
I love both of these pics for different reasons. The Concepcion card shows how he used to make the tough plays at shortstop look so effortless. And the Warhol card just makes me laugh. Why is he wearing a Reds cap and holding a pug? Who knows. And who cares? I mean, it’s Warhol.
Here’s another set of football “remixes.” This time, I took the 1973 Topps football design and converted it into baseball cards. I changed the colors to reflect the Reds’ color scheme (the original cards seemed to ignore team colors altogether).
I added the current Topps “rookie card” logo to the O’Grady card, since he made his major league debut this year. I still prefer the old All-Star trophy logos, but this one is growing on me.
One of the members of Facebook’s Custom Baseball Cards group posted a really nice basketball card design that used a neon look for the team and player names.
I decided to take a shot at my own neon design, and came up with this after a few failed attempts. This is more of a rough idea than a finished, polished, pixel-perfect design…but I’m liking it so far.
After I finish reading Joe Posnanski’s “The Machine” (about the 1975 Reds), I’m planning to dive into Jeff Pearlman’s “The Bad Guys Won” (about the 1986 Mets).
I was rooting hard for the Mets that year, and the end of game 6 was one of the most incredible, ridiculous, amazing endings to a baseball game that I’ve ever seen .
I’ve been trying to make a design that incorporates a scorecard somehow, but none of them have worked out. I got the idea for this card last night, though, and worked on the design as I watched the Nationals win the second game of the Series.
Here’s a mix of some more football card designs turned into baseball card designs. The ’77 and ’78 sets were two of the ones I collected as a kid. Sadly, most of them were destroyed when our basement flooded.
The ’77 design is a classic, but the ’78 design is pretty bland, in my opinion. On the other hand, the ’77 design was a pain to recreate, but the ’78 design only took a few minutes.
I love the 2019 MLB post-season logo, so I used it as the starting point for this design.
I created several different versions of this design before landing on this one. The placement of the name was the part that took the longest – I tried it at the top, on the left side, and then at the bottom. I chose the version with the red bar at the bottom, since it brings together the red from the home plate element.
I wanted to try this design with another team, just to see how the design holds up for other colors. So…here are the first non-Reds custom cards I’ve ever created.
Here are the 3 of the Astros:
I also created a couple of cards for the A’s:
And finally, I made a horizontal version of the card:
NOTE: Big thanks to Frank Jewett from Facebook’s Custom Baseball Cards group. Frank suggested a couple of small revisions that really improved the overall look of this design.
Photographer: “OK, guys…just stand there with your hands on your knees!” Frank: “Um…why?” Photographer: “‘Cause that’s what you ballplayers do.” Pete: “Well, actually…the proper stance is to…” Photographer: “I SAID HANDS ON KNEES!!!” Frank & Pete: “Yeah, OK. Whatever.”
“11 seconds…you’ve got 10 seconds…the countdown going on right now…Morrow, up to Silk…Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles? YES!“ – Al Michaels
I’m taking a break from the Reds today. In fact, I’m taking a break from the entire sport of baseball today.
I’ve been working on this hockey set for a while now. It’s a tribute to the members of the 1980 U.S. Men’s Hockey Team. This is the team that won the famous “Miracle on Ice” game – a game that was voted as Sports Illustrated‘s top sports moment of the 20th century.
It’s my favorite single sporting event of all time. The design is based on the 1980 Topps hockey set, and includes a picture of Jim Craig’s actual gold medal.
This is the largest set I’ve ever done. There are 35 cards in all because I just couldn’t limit myself to one card for some of these players. There’s at least one card for every member of the team, plus one card for coach Brooks and one for Al Michaels’ legendary call of the game’s final seconds.
I created this card design yesterday, and it was one of those times when all the pieces just kind of clicked right away. I usually keep tweaking and editing my designs until all the elements feel right, but this one seemed to work on the first try.
I know I’ve made a lot of cards for Senzel and VanMeter, but I’ve got a lot of hope for what these guys will do for the Reds. VanMeter should be an everyday player in 2020, and I’m hoping we see more of the “early 2019 Senzel” next year.
UPDATE: I got some valuable feedback on the original card designs from JT over at The Writer’s Journey and Frank Jewett from the Custom Baseball Cards Facebook group. Big thanks to both of these guys for helping me make improvements to this design.
I liked the look of those 1984 Topps football cards remade as baseball cards, so here are a couple more. This time, I used the 1985 Topps football design to make cards for a couple of 2019 Reds rookies – Aquino & Senzel.
Here are a couple of alternate designs for the 1969 and 1970 Topps Bobby Tolan cards.
Tolan came to Cincy in 1969 as part of the Vada Pinson trade with the Cards. He was there during the formative years of the Big Red Machine, often hitting right behind Pete Rose. He lead the league in steals in 1970, and was the only other player to do that during Lou Brock’s reign from 1966 to 1974. In 1971, he tore his ACL playing basketball (which was a violation of his contract).
Tolan grew a beard in ’73 and was suspended by the team. That off-season, the Reds traded him to the Padres for Clay Kirby.
I added a re-design of the 1970 Tolan card. I changed the gray border to red and switched the font & font color on the team name.
When I found the Luis Catillo picture, I knew I had to do something with it. So I immediately started working on a design that, I hoped, would bring more focus on the photo than the other design elements.
Then I found the Votto pic yesterday, and it seemed like a natural fit for the same design. I’d love to add more cards to this series, but I don’t think it will be easy to find more photos with this same style.
The Reds’ 2019 season didn’t end the way I wanted it to, of course, but it wasn’t without its share of highlights. I created these 3 cards, based on Topps’ 1975 Highlights series, to honor my three favorite things about this season.
Aquino’s 2019 is one of my all-time favorite seasons by any player, ever. They way he burst into the majors was an amazing thing to witness.
And when Garrett charged at the Pirates’ dugout, he gave us a bit of hope that there was still some life in this team.
And Geno’s record-breaking home run pace down the stretch kept things interesting even when the playoffs were well out of reach. He set new records for the number of home runs in a season by National League third basemen, and also broke the record for most homers in a season by a Venezuelan.
I posted two of these on Facebook’s Custom Baseball Cards group the other day, so I thought I’d throw ’em all up here.
These cards use the same colors as the 1975 Highlights cards for Bob Gibson, Al Kaline & others. How in the world did Topps come up with this color scheme in 1975?
Whatever Lefty Williams had been told by the mysterious “Harry” made its impression. In the first inning, throwing nothing but mediocre fastballs, Williams gave up four straight one-out hits. He allowed three runs before Kid Gleason relieved him with “Big” Bill James, who allowed one more of Williams’ baserunners to score. It was 4-0 after the 1st inning.
“Shoeless” Joe Jackson hit the only homer of the Series in the third inning, but it came after the Reds had built a 5–0 lead. Jackson led all players with his .375 average, but most of his offensive potency came in games that weren’t fixed, or when the game seemed out of reach. Jackson had 12 hits overall, which was a World Series record at that time.
Although the Sox rallied in the 8th inning, the Reds came away with a 10–5 victory for a 5-games-to-3 Series win.
The Cincinnati Reds had won their first World Championship in their very first Fall Classic appearance.
Immediately after the Series ended, rumors were rife from coast to coast that the games had been thrown.
Journalist Hugh Fullerton of the Chicago Herald and Examiner, disgusted by the display of ineptitude with which the White Sox had “thrown” the series, wrote that no World Series should ever be played again.
An investigation into the Series resulted in several of the “Black Sox” publicly admitting their roles in fixing the games.
The public’s trust in the game was eroding, and the owners knew they had to take a decisive action. They soon hired respected federal judge Kenesaw Mountain Landis to become the first commissioner of baseball.
Although a jury acquitted the players of any wrongdoing (mostly because of evidence that mysteriously disappeared), Commissioner Landis issued the following statement:
“Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player that throws a ball game; no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ball game; no player that sits in a conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing ball games are planned and discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball.”
– Kenesaw Mountain Landis
The infamous “Eight Men Out” – Eddie Cicotte, Chick Gandil, “Shoeless” Joe Jackson, Buck Weaver, Lefty Williams, Hap Felsch, Swede Risberg, and Fred McMullin – would never play in the major leagues again.
In 1920, Cincinnati finished the season with a record of 82-71, finishing in third place in the National League. They wouldn’t win another World Series until 1940.
I’d like to thank everyone who’s been reading along with these day-by-day reports on the 100th anniversary of this scandalous World Series. I’d especially like to thank the members of Facebook’s Custom Baseball Cards Group. They provided valuable feedback on the original card designs and encouraged me to dive deeper into this Reds team. I thoroughly enjoyed digging up more info on the 1919 Series and the players involved, and I hope you enjoyed it, too.