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.

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Cards That Never Were - 45th & 46th Series Checklists

More Checklists!!!  How exciting!!

The 45th Series began with some 1968 Alt Topps Football cards just to mix things up. The bulk of the series was from the 1965 Alt-Topps set.  This was one of my favorites because it focused more on the photos with a small(ish) design.  I tried to stay true to the design with the checklists.  I used full-sized photos.  I tried to fade them out into the background and put the actual checklist right on top.

This design didn't work as well as I had hoped.  Although it is hard to make out the players' identities, they are both pitchers that passed away in 2019.  Bob Friend was a work-horse for the Pirates in the '50s and '60s.  By 1965 he was running out of gas. After the season he was dealt to the Yankees. In June of 1966 he was sold to the Mets.  That made him the first player to play for both the Yankees and Mets in the same season. (Granted the Mets were only 4 years old in 1966).

The 46th series had several more  1965 Alt-Topps cards.  I also had the All-Star Honorary Captains from 1987-89 and tribute cards to Jim Bouton and Tyler Skaggs.  

The card itself is a tribute to Ernie Broglio who passed away in July of 2019.  In 1965 he was pitching for the Cubs.  He will always be remembered as the wrong side of one of the most lopsided trades in MLB history.

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.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Cards That Never Were - 43rd & 44th Series Checklists

Still playing catch-up with the checklists.  The 43rd series contained mostly 1979 Alt-Topps cards. I included a shot of Rusty Staub AKA "le Grande Orange". He actually passed away in 2018, but a card commemorating his passing was requested in the comments.  In 1979 he began the season with Detroit.  In July of 1979 he was sent North of the border for cash considerations and a player to be named later (Randall Schafer). He played until 1985 with the Expos, Rangers and Mets.

The baseball community lost Mel Stottlemyre in January 2019. He is included on this 1971 Alt-Topps checklist. He played 11 years in the Majors, all with the Yankees. He was a five-time all-star.  The 44th series consisted of 24 cards from the 1971 Alt-Topps set and one Alt-Topps football card. It was a 1968 Alt-Topps design of Bart Starr.

 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.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Cards That Never Were - 41st & 42nd Series Checklists

It's been almost exactly one year since I last posted checklists.  Even though I haven't had many posts, they are usually packed full of cards. These really add up. So for the next few days, I'll be trying to catch up.

I've adapted my Alt-Topps designs to create the checklists.  I tried to match them up with the bulk of the cards included in the respective series. For the 41st series I used the 1968 Alt-Topps design.

For the 42nd Series, I used the 1979 Alt-Topps design.  On this one, I incorporated a photo into the checklist like Topps did in the late '60s. In the past, I used photos of players we lost recently.  Ron Fairly passed away last October. His final year in baseball was 1978 but Topps did include him in the real 1979 set. In his final year he was the backup first baseman for the Angels.

 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.

Friday, January 24, 2020

1975 Alt-Topps Requests

I am sorry for this delay in requests. These past few months have been crazy both personally and professionally.  I know that when a blogger of vintage cards disappears for extended periods of time people sometimes make the logical conclusion that the old goat is either sick or dead. I can assure you that I am neither.  Unfortunately, for the next several months, at least, I don't see much time in my schedule for blogging.  I do have some half-baked ideas still in the works and will try to get them out when I can.


Here are 18 more cards from the Alt-Topps 1975 set based off that black and white mockup.  First off is Walt "No-Neck" Williams who also appeared in my other blog, Rating the Rookies, here.  When he passed away in 2016, I created a card for him on this blog, here.  I also used his image on a checklist for this blog, here.

Another request, is Deron Johnson. Topps began making designated rookie cards in 1959. Johnson was one of those rookies. He also had rookie cards in 1960 and 1961. I featured his 1960 rookie card in Rating the Rookies, here.  This was the only color photo I could find of Johnson in a White Sox uniform, so I had to re-use it for the Alt-Topps version.

For both of these cards, I felt that the black lettering for the team name didn't quite fit. So for the Yankees and White Sox I used white for the team name.

The next two are a couple of players acquired by the Indians in 1974.  Robinson was picked up in September.  Robinson had been a manager in the Puerto Rican winter league since 1968 and had openly campaigning for a manager's job in Anaheim before being dealt to the Indians. After the season ended, he was named player-manager.

Jim Perry came to the Indians in the deal that send "No-Neck" Williams to the Yankees in March of 1974. Both Jim and his brother, Gaylord, were on the Indians to start the 1975 season.  Both also publicly questioned Robinson's managerial credentials. In May, Jim was dealt to the A's for Blue Moon Odom. In June, Gaylord was sent to the Rangers for Jim Bibby, pitcher Jackie Brown, minor league pitcher Rick Waits and cash. Bottom line: Don't question the Judge's bona fides.

 Sonny Siebert began his minor league career in the outfield in 1958-59. In 1960 he moved to pitcher. He ended up pitching in 12 Major League seasons. He had 2 All-Star appearances and pitched a no-hitter in 1966 for the Indians. In November of 1974, he was traded by the Cardinals to the Padres in a 5 player deal. He pitched 17 games for San Diego before being traded to Oakland for Ted Kubiak. He was released by the A's after the 1975 season.
Occasionally, I'll handcuff myself by creating a "rule" for myself.  Earlier, I had used shots from the actual 1974 ASG for the All-Star cards.  So when requests came for additional cards, the photos were not ideal.  For Garvey, I slightly modified it to acknowledge his MVP selection.  The Brooks card with Johnny Bench photo-bombing is just not very good.  So I created a base card of Robinson , too.

The base card shows his trademark short-billed batting helmet.  When the earflaps were added to helmets in the early '70s Brooks felt that the bill was longer and impeded his vision. So he took a hacksaw and cut about an inch and a half off the bill and also part of the earflap.  To my knowledge, he is the only player with this modification.  If someone can find another similar helmet leave a comment.
A few requests were for players on the move. After the 1974 season Bonds went to the Yankees in exchange for Bobby Murcer.  Northrup was actually picked up by the Orioles in the final weeks of the 1974 season from the Expos.  He was an Expo for just over a month after spending the bulk of his career in Detroit. His 1975 season in Baltimore would be his final.

After 8 years as a Met, Boswell was dealt to the Astros.  This photo must have been from spring training because he is wearing the old uniform.  In 1975 the 'Stros adopted the "Tequila Sunrise" uniforms.  Also moving to Texas was Willie Davis. His stay wouldn't be long. By June he was dealt again to the Cardinals.

By 1975 multi-player rookie cards were the norm. But in 1961 and the first few series of the 1962 set, Topps simply put a star with the year and "rookie" designation.  Nobody actually requested this card but with Lynn being the rookie of  year and MVP in 1975, he deserved an individual rookie card. I kinda melded the early sixties "Rookie Star" into this Alt-Topps design.

The request also came for post season cards. Of course I couldn't make them all.  Instead, I made one more from the ALCS and another World Series card.  

In game 4, Mike Cuellar and Ross Grimsley held the A's to just one hit, a double by Reggie.  But they gave up 11 bases on balls, including 3 to Jackson. Meanwhile Hunter and Fingers kept the O's offense in check.
In Game 2 of the World Series, Don Sutton threw 9 strikeouts and shut the A's out through 8 innings. But in the 9th he hit Sal Bando then gave up a double to Jackson.  Mike Marshall came in and gave up a single to Joe Rudi that scored Bando and Jackson. "Designated Runner" Herb Washington came in to run for Rudi. Marshall Struck out Tenace, picked off Washington, then struck out pinch hitter, Angel Mangual to even the series.
These last two are "kind of" a request from Buzz.  He wanted a Graig Nettles card in the glove design. I got me to thinking that maybe I could put together some "Gold Glove" cards similar to the leader cards. So I tried to create a gold-foil-type look that was similar to the leaders cards I made earlier.

It is a fairly recent practice of breaking down the outfielders by specific position (2011).  In 1974 of the 6 gold glove winners for outfield 4 were centerfielders. The exceptions were Joe Rudi, LF Oakland and Bobby Bonds, RF San Francisco. Cesar Cedeno, HOU, Cesar Geronimo, CIN, Paul Blair, BAL and Amos Otis, KC were all centerfielders.
Jim Kaat was a perennial Gold Glove winner. He was honored 16 consecutive years from 1962-1977.  In the NL, Andy Messersmith won his first of two Gold Gloves despite committing a career high nine errors.  

 Unfortunately, Graig Nettles first Gold Glove wouldn't come until 1977. ( A little competition from the "Human Vacuum" at the hot corner). Here is the card that Buzz actually wanted.  This was the best shot I could find to fit the format of this set.  Since this design doesn't translate well to a horizontal adaptation, most action shots of Nettles had him diving right off the card.