Summer of ’65

Last night I created my own template for the 1965 Topps cards. I absolutely love the Reds’ yellow-and-blue design from ’65, so I made a few classic and modern cards with the template.

UPDATE: One of the members of Facebook’s “Custom Baseball Cards” group asked me to create a card for his “2nd favorite Red,” Eric Davis. I love Eric the Red, too, so here’s that card:

Takin’ out the trash

Not every design works. Sometimes, a design will just come together in a few minutes. And then there are times when I slave over a design for hours, and still never get something I feel is good enough to post (and sometimes I look back on designs I’ve posted and wonder, “What was I thinking?”). Here are a few cards that have never been posted before. They’ve been in my folder for a long time, but I’m not a big fan of ’em, for whatever reason.

If you see any of these that you like, please let me know. I’m always interested in what people think of my designs.

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 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.

1971 Topps Football Remixes

The 1971 Topps football design was kind of quirky. The lower left corner featured a cartoon drawing of each player position. That made it a bit more difficult to remix the card for a baseball design.

Fortunately, I was able to find the two cartoon characters you see in the design below. I also helped that the characters were already wearing uniforms like the Reds.

It also took me a little while to find the font used for the team names. I’m using Rama Slab here, which isn’t a perfect match, but it’s pretty darn close.

As a side note…I would pay a lot of money to see the Reds use these uniforms in every game next season.

Reds Organization All-Stars

A recent article on milb.com named the top prospects in the Reds’ system at every position.

So I decided to make a card for each of these twelve “Organization All-Stars.” A couple of the players – Aquino & O’Brady – have already made it to the major league level.

This design started off as an attempt to recreate a football card design, but then I kind of veered off in a different direction.

New Custom Cards

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.

2019 “Highlights”

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?

White Out

The Reds wore all-white uniforms for “Players’ Weekend” 2019. These uniforms were pretty much hated by everyone. One MLB manager even said he wouldn’t go to the mound to make a pitching change because he was too embarrassed to be seen in the all-white uniforms.

But these are the first alternate uniforms the Reds have worn during my time blogging alternate cards, so I kind felt obligated to make a card for them.

I keep telling myself to quit posting Aquino cards, but the guy is just too good right now. Also, he hit a homer in the all-white uniform and pumped his signature “Punisher” pose while rounding the bases, so…

Votto-matic

I’m a few days into this card blogging thing, and just realized that I haven’t posted any cards of the legend himself, Joey Votto. So let’s fix that.

Here are two new custom Votto cards based on the 1977 Topps design. Votto is a great player on the field and an even better guy off the field. He’s everything you want your star player to be.

Also…to honor the fact that Aristides Aquino hit ANOTHER record-breaking homer last night (his 13th in only 100 at bats) I’ve thrown in another Aquino design for the Topps ’77 set. Once I saw this pic of him in that classic throwback uniform, I knew I had to put it on a card. To be honest, this might be my favorite card design so far.

’87 Topps Alternates

These were actually the first 2 alternate cards I created, but I’m only getting around to posting them now. JT already posted them on his fantastic blog The Writer’s Journey, so I was holding onto them until I had run out of other cards to post.

I’ve got a lot of ideas for custom cards that I want to create, but it’s a really busy week at work, so…those will have to wait.

’89 Upper Deck Reds

The Upper Deck 1989 set will always be known as the Ken Griffey Jr. rookie set. When I first bought some of those cards, they blew me away with the quality of the photos and the overall quality of the cards.

Here are a couple of Reds rookie cards I’ve created with the Upper Deck ’89 template. My favorite part of this baseball season has been watching Aquino shatter all of the rookie homerun records. He’s also got one of the best arms of any outfielder in the game today. As a Reds fan, I’m really looking forward to watching this guy’s career progress.

I’d also like to send a big “thank you” out to the amazing “bobw” and his Cards That Never Were blog. His site is full of amazing content, and he also shared some sage advice with this card designing newbie.

First set of custom cards

Lately I’ve been working on my own custom designs instead of using old templates from real cards.

I’m not totally thrilled with any of these designs, but it’s been good practice. I’ve got a lot of ideas that I want to try, so I’m sure I’ll be posting more custom cards in the future.

If you have any feedback on these designs – positive or negative – I’d love to hear it. You could even go down in history as the very first person to leave a comment on this new blog. (Note to self: gotta work on site promotion sometime.)

The future of the Reds

While the Reds’ 2019 season has been a bit of a disappointment, the team’s outlook for 2020 is really shaping up. Trevor Bauer adds another top-tier arm to an already strong pitching lineup, and Freddy Galvis has been a solid infielder so far.

But the main reason for my 2020 optimism is the 5 guys shown below. Aristides Aquino has gone on a home run spree like the majors have never seen before, Senzel is a star in the making, VanMeter should be an everyday player, Ervin has been reliable since getting called up, and O’Grady is our future at first base.

Also…how awesome is that Topps rookie trophy? Always loved seeing that on a card.

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