Wednesday, April 8, 2020

1967 Alt-Topps Requests

I promised to have these done "before spring training ends".  But it ended rather abruptly.  I did at least manage to get these out before the regular season starts, if there is a season at all.  

This time around, there weren't as many requests as I usually get.  It's as though you might have had more important things to tend to.  In all seriousness, I hope that everyone is staying healthy and following the CDC guidelines.  Here's something to kill a few minutes of your self quarantine. 

I got a couple requests for more All Star cards, particularly Harmon Killebrew.  The Killer wasn't actually a starting All Star in 1966.  He was on the All Star roster, though.  Topps played pretty fast and loose with their All Star cards in the '60s. Often they referred to them as "Sporting News All Stars". Despite the title, sometimes the players on their cards weren't named to the Sporting News All Star team, either. So I have no qualms about including Killebrew in this Alt-Topps subset.  The Ron Santo card is one that I had made earlier, then decided to make a McCovey card instead.  After all McCovey's name was on the original mock-up, even though his image wasn't.  

I also got a request for a Phillies and an Orioles card.  The reason: both had yellow as their base colors in the real 1967 Topps set.  "Bob" thought yellow wouldn't work well in this design. He may have a point.  I found a decent head shot of Uecker wearing a Phillies uniform.  His real 1967 card was of the hatless variety.  For the Orioles, I dragged out one of my favorite players, Luis Aparicio.

As I said before, the request were few, so I had a couple that I wanted for myself.  I always like to add a card of "the Mick" whenever I can.  In 1967 he moved from the outfield and played first base exclusively.  His real 1967 card still listed him as an outfielder.  I also needed to add possibly the biggest trade of 1967, Maury Wills.  He not only moved from LA to Pittsburgh but also from shortstop to third base.  The Pirates already had a Gold Glove shortstop in Gene Alley

A request came in for the multi player cards that were a Topps staple in the '60s.  In this instance, the request was for the White Sox pitching rotation that included Tommy John, Joel Horlen and Gary Peters.  Although the Sporting News had all three on their cover in July of 1967, I could not find a similar color photo. But heck, two out of three ain't bad. I also made a card of the Alou brothers.  I used the term Family Affair. That TV show debuted in September of 1966. The Sly and Family Stone hit single of the same name wouldn't come out until 1971.

The same person wanted a rookie card that featured Fred Lasher and Cisco Carlos.  Both were late call ups that pitched for 2 of the 4 late-season AL contenders. (As late as September 6th, the Twins, Tigers, Red Sox and White Sox were all tied for 1st place). Lasher was a closer with 9 saves in 17 appearances in '67.  He also had 28 strikeouts in just 30 innings pitched.  Cisco Carlos was 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA and a strikeout to walk ratio of 3 to 1. He was good enough to be included with Johnny Bench on the cover of the 1968 MLB rookie edition of Sports Illustrated.  However in 1968 he went 4-14 for the Sox.

"Deogolf" wanted more World Series cards and I wanted to provide some equal time for the Dodgers.  But the reality is LA was pretty much absent from the 1966 Fall Classic.  Even the real 1967 Topps set had only Orioles on their World Series cards.  One of the better performances by the Dodgers was Claude Osteen's pitching in game 3.  He only gave up 3 hits in 7 innings. But one of those hits was a solo homer by Paul Blair.  The Dodgers gave him zero runs in support.  

Monday, March 9, 2020

Even More 1967 Alt-Topps

Traded, All-Stars, Leaders and World Series Cards

This set started with an Eddie Mathews prototype card.  It only seems right to include a card with him traded to the Astros.  Jim O'Toole was an elite pitcher in the early '60s. He was the NL starting pitcher in the 1963 All-Star game. By 1967, arm trouble left him a shadow of his former self.  He finished his MLB career playing for his hometown White Sox.  He made an attempted come back in 1969 with the expansion Seattle Pilots, but was cut before the start of the season.

For the All-Star cards, I decided to take another rejected Topps card.  This one may have been meant for a booklet cover or something similar.  Although it says Willie McCovey, he is obviously absent from either photo.

The black and white action shot could be either Bernie Allen or Graig Nettles.  Any other guesses?

 The inset photo is definitely Ollie Brown.  That photo originally appeared on his 1967 card with the Giants. An airbrushed version similar to the one used on this mock-up appeared on his 1969 Padres card. 

Here is the actual Willy McCovey.  Coinsidentaly, he was the starting first baseman for the NL in the 1966 All-Star Game.  For his AL counterpart, I made a card of the Halos 2nd bagger Bobby Knoop.

I went back to following Topps script with the design of the leaders card.  I also followed their lead by using "Bob" and "Richie" instead of their preferred names: Roberto Clemente and Dick Allen. Leading the NL in RBIs in 1966 was the "Hammer", Hank Aaron.
For the AL, I simply had to include the "Judge".  1966 was his Triple Crown year.  Here we have all 3 batting average leaders, Robinson, Oliva and Kaline.  Not a bad leaders selection. It contains both 1964 Rookies of the Year and 4 Hall of Famers.

Finally, for the World Series card, I used another Topps reject. The mock-up says Tom Siever (another inside joke?). I can't make out any of the black and white players on this card but that sure looks like Drysdale on the inset.  On my version, I kept the rounded corners with the little flourish and added a border for continuity.  I also added the 1966 World Series logo to the card. 

 Instead of a black and white inset with a blue background, I used a color head-shot. It seems as though the Dodgers offense took the Series off. They managed only 2 runs in the first game then went scoreless in the next three.  The O's outscored them 13-2 in a four game sweep.


As usual, I will make a "requests" post before Spring Training ends.  Please post your requests in the comment section and I will try to accommodate as many as I can. Thanks.

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

More 1967 Alt-Topps

Managers, Team Cards and Rookie Cards

Nothing out of the ordinary here.  I kept pretty close to the Topps script in the design of the manager, rookie stars and team cards. 

For the Managers, these are simply base cards with managers on them.  Joe Adcock managed only one season, 1967 for the Indians.  They finished in 8th place with a 75-87 record.  In the NL the Wes Westrum led Mets would come in last place.  He would yield the reigns to Salty Parker for the final eleven games of the 1967 season.

The AL Rookie of the Year was future Hall of Famer, Rod Carew.  I teamed him up with another Twin who made his MLB debut in 1967, Graig Nettles.
Tom Terrific was the NL ROY and another future Hall of Famer.  Amos Otis was a five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove for the Royals.  He was September call-up for the Mets in 1967 
After winning the AL pennant 5 straight years from 1960-1964, the Yankees fell to 6th place in 1965 and in 1966 the were dead last. 1967 wouldn't be much kinder. They finished in 9th with 90 losses.
The Reds were 8 games under .500 in 1966 for a 6th place finish. In 1967 they were 12 games above .500 and finished in 4th place in the NL. Although not the Big Red Machine yet, they were assembling the cast of characters.

Friday, February 28, 2020

1967 Alt-Topps

Here is another Topps mock-up.  Although the name says Ben Solomon, it's obviously Eddie Mathews.  Ben Solomon was an art director for Topps.  His name on the card must be an inside joke.  The Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966. Mathews is sporting a Milwaukee Braves cap. That is because the photo was lifted from his 1964 Topps card.

Mathews last season for the Braves was their first season in Atlanta.  That made him the only Braves player to play for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta. Despite the Milwaukee cap and the fact that Mathews was traded to Houston before the season, I placed this set in 1967, AKA "the Summer of Love".  These cards give off that vibe. This is in contrast to the classic, clean, no-nonsense design Topps actually used in 1967.

Here is my version.  I used a more straight forward, less cartoony font for the team name. But I preserved the other design elements.

As usual, I made base cards of the respective MVPs and Cy Young Award winners.  I also followed Topps' color scheme from the actual 1967 set (as best I could).

The 1967 AL MVP was Triple Crown winner, Carl Yastrzemski. In the NL the MVP was Orlando Cepeda.  He had been the 1958 Rookie of the Year for the Giants. Primarily a first baseman, there was just no room on the Giants behind "Stretch".  He was traded to the Cards in May of 1966.

1967 was the first year the MLB awarded Cy Youngs to each league.  In the AL, Jim Lonborg of the Red Sox was having a career year.  He had 22 wins and 246 strikeouts, both league-leaders and career highs.  In the NL, Giants pitcher Mike McCormick also had a career high and league-leading 22 victories.

To be continued...


Just as I've done in previous Alt-Topps posts, this post contains the base cards, I'll make a couple more posts with various subsets. And, of course, I'll make as many request as I can an hopefully post them in a few weeks. Just post your requests (or even ideas for other subsets, etc) in the comment section.  Thanks.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Cards That Never Were - 47th & 48th Series Checklists

Just these last two, then we're all caught up on the checklists (for now).

The 47th series consisted of six NFL Rookie of the Year cards, eight post season 1984 Topps Statue cards and eleven cards from the 1975 Alt-Topps set.  The checklist is also based on the 1975 Alt-Topps design. I used a photo of Don Newcombe in an LA Dodgers cap. After Cy Young pased away in 1955, Major League Baseball named an award after him.  Newcombe was first ever winner of the Cy Young Award in 1956.  He also won the NL MVP that year.  In 1958, (the year the Dodgers moved out of Brooklyn) Newcombe was 0-6 in 8 starts for LA when he was dealt to the Reds.  He pitched in Cincinnati and Cleveland until 1960. In 1961 he was back in the minors. In 1962 he went to Japan and played for the Chunichi Dragons.  He was primarily an outfielder and first baseman.  He passed away in February of 2019.

Series 48 is nothing but 1975 Alt-Topps cards.  I included a photo of Ed Sprague Sr. on the checklist. He passed away earlier this year.  He is, of course, the father of  Ed Sprague who played 3rd base for the Blue Jays during their World Series years of 1992 & 1993. Ed Sr, was mostly a relief pitcher. He played 8 seasons in the Majors for the A's, Reds, Cardinals and Brewers. In 1975 he was the number 5 starter in the Brewers rotation.

As usual, you can click here to see all the cards included in these series.  You can also click on any of the checklists in the margin.  This is great for looking at all my cards without all those annoying words slowing you down.