Monday, December 21, 2020

Barrier Breakers: 1947 Larry Doby - Cleveland Indians

We all know Larry's story. Second to Jackie Robinson in the MLB and the second MLB manager behind Frank Robinson.  He also played in Japan in the early sixties. He has been one of my favorite subjects in this blog. I've made a few cards of him already. Here is a '55 Bowman, a 1963 Menko, an Alt-Topps MLB Dream Bracket card and a 1978 Topps manager card.  These all made appearances on my blog going back as many as 9 years.

I had floated the idea of the 1947 Bond Bread card on Twitter. Most liked it and thought it captured the era accurately.  The only complaint was the photo I had originally used.  Someone pointed out that it was already used on a  1979 TCMA card.  It actually was used by TCMA  again in 1984 and 1986.  In all, I found over a dozen cards that used that same photo, including several from Fleer and Topps. This version uses a magazine phot from that era.  I can't tell if it was colorized or just the print quality of the magazine.  At least I haven't found it on any other cards. Yet.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Barrier Breakers: Hank Thompson - New York Giants

 Yesterday, the commissioner of Major League Baseball announced that seven of the Negro Leagues that operated between 1920 and 1948 will be considered Major League team and (I assume) their stats will be also included.  I have been making cards of Barrier Breakers as part of my latest project.  This is my latest, a 1949 Leaf card of Hank Thompson.


Hank Thompson was the only player who integrated two different teams.  In 1947 he was the fist Black player on the St. Louis Browns. On the Browns, he was joined on the field two days later by Hall of Famer, Willard Brown. He made his Giants debut on July 8, 1949.  He started the game at second base and was the leadoff hitter.  Monte Irvin made his Giants debut that same day.  Because he came in as a pinch-hitter in the 8th inning, Thompson technically broke the color barrier by 7 innings.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Barrier Breakers: Jackie Robinson - Brooklyn Dodgers


This is the ultimate "Barrier Breaker".  Jackie Robinson's integration into the league is well documented.  Instead of going into all of that, I want to address the hobby aspect.  I chose to make my own design of the Bond Bread card because Jackie Robinson did have several card in 1947. Those were issued by Bond Bread.

He had his own 13 card set.  The cards were distributed as a promotion with a couple slices of bread and a coupon.  There is some dispute whether this set was actually from 1947.  Some point out that the photos used were not from 1947.  It is possible that they were distributed over a few years, starting in 1947.  The cards were nearly the size of standard cards today. Instead of 2.5" X 3.5" it was 2.25" X 3.5". They were plain black and white photos and there were 3 different backs. 

I took some of the design elements found in other Bond Bread promotional art.  I wanted to capture the style of the era but wanted to incorporate color/colorized photos and a standard 2.5" x 3.5" format.  This is what I came up with.  I have already posted a Hank Thompson card in this 1947 format, and (spoiler alert) plan to use this format for the 1947 card of Larry Doby.

For more information on the REAL 1947 Bond Bread set click here.  It is very interesting with some good photos too.

Monday, December 7, 2020

Dick Allen


It is with great sadness that I learned earlier today of Dick Allen's passing.

This one really stings.  I grew up a Sox fan in the '70s.  Dick Allen was a hero to me.  I had a homemade baseball bat that was just ridiculously way too big.  We called it the "Dick Allen" bat.  I could only use it playing sandlot ball because it was obviously not legal for little league play.  If you follow this blog, you know that I have used Allen as the subject of many posts. The 72 "In Action" was one of my first fake cards. Here are as many others that I can remember making:

Friday, December 4, 2020

1975 NFL Rookies of the Year

 In 1975 there were still 5 different organizations who awarded Rookie of the Year titles to NFL players. AP, UPI, NEA, Pro Football Weekly and The Sporting News.  That year there were 11 different awards split among 3 recipients.

The player all five organizations agreed upon was Oilers linebacker Robert Brazile. Houston drafted him with the 6th pick of the first round, just two picks behind his Jackson State teammate, Walter Payton.  Like sweetness, he would be enshrined in Canton, OH.  He played all 10 of his NFL Seasons with the Oilers and was selected to 7 Pro Bowls.  He is also on the Titans/Oilers "Ring of Honor".

Mike Thomas was named NFC Rookie of the Year by UPI.  He was Offensive ROY according to AP and shared the Pro Football Weekly Offensive ROY award with Steve Bartkowski.  Thomas was the lowest draft selection among the three ROYs.  He was picked in the 5th round by Washington from UNLV.  He ran for 919 yards in his rookie campaign. In 1976 he rushed for 1101 and was selected for the Pro Bowl. In his 6 year NFL career he had 6207 total yards from scrimmage for the Redskins and the Chargers.

The first pick of the 1975 NFL draft was Steve Bartkowski from the University of California, Berkley.  He was All American for the Cal Bears and led the nation in 1974 with 2580 passing yards. In addition to sharing the PFW Offensive ROY award with Mike Thomas, he earned NFC ROY honors from the NEA and The Sporting News.  In all he played 11 seasons with the Falcons and one with the Rams. He was a Pro Bowl selection twice.

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

Barrier Breakers: Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs

January 31, 1865 the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery passed in Congress. Coincidentally, January 31st is the birthday shared by Ernie Banks and Jackie Robinson. Mr. Cub broke the color barrier for the Chicago Cubs more than 6 years after Jackie Robinson did the same for all of Major League Baseball.  The Cubs were the third NL team to integrate, and Banks was the third Negro League turned MLB player enshrined in Cooperstown behind Robinson and Monte Irvin. When he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama, he presented the first Black President with a bat used by Jackie Robinson. 

On and off the field, Banks was known for his friendly, joyous demeanor.  "Mr. Sunshine" was his nickname even before he became "Mr. Cub".  After his passing in 2015, Jesse Jackson described his cheerfulness as a thermostat that helped control the temperature of his times. He was beloved by fans and teammates alike. His enthusiasm was infectious. 

I also have to mention Gene Baker who was acquired by the Cubs prior to Ernie Banks but made his MLB debut 3 days later.  The two were the first black double play combo in the Majors.