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Fun Cards: Topps Now TBTC for April 18

Highlights for the day include one-and-done Rufus Meadows, a grand slam from a very young Vada Pinson, a career milestone for Tom Seaver, and a uniform controversy for Rob Dibble.

Meadows

Pinson

Seaver

Dibble

Jack McKeon didn’t like that Dibble cut his uniform sleeve and complained to the umpires. The umps agreed, and Dibble changed into Stan Williams‘ #35 for the rest of the game, shutting out McKeon’s Padres for 2 1/3 innings. I couldn’t find a picture of Dibs wearing #35, but this photo does show how he altered his uniform.

Fun Cards: Topps Now TBTC for April 10

I had my doubts about Topps Now “Turn Back the Clock” cards when they were first announced. But honestly, I loved them as soon as I saw the first one. Not enough to buy them (unless there is a really cool Reds card), but the basic concept and design are better than I expected. Hopefully, Topps will go deeper than your standard Hall of Famers (such as Tom Seaver and Randy Johnson) and super popular players (like Dwight Gooden and Bryce Harper). But if they don’t, there are always custom card makers.

I created SIX different Topps Now TBTC cards for today…all Reds, of course. It was difficult to find era-accurate photos for some, but I did change up the team logo on each card to represent the proper era.

Post Dodger Stadium home run

Did you know that Wally Post hit the first-ever home run in the first-ever game at Dodger Stadium? It happened April 10, 1962, in the seventh inning; the Reds won the game 6-3.

Pinson home run

Would this have been a Topps Now card, if Topps Now cards existed in 1967? Probably not, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a “fun card” of the underrated Vada Pinson.

Gullett debut

Another one that probably would not have been on the Topps Now radar at the time, but in hindsight, it was an easy decision to include Don Gullett‘s debut in this virtual run-down of important events in Reds history.

Perez

Another Opening Day home run? Of course! This one comes from Tony Perez in 1968. Tommy Helms also homered that day.

Esasky

Now we’re talking. When is the last time you saw a new Nick Esasky card in a Topps product? A grand slam and a triple in 1984 may have made the cut for a Topps Now card.

Griffey 400 home runs

If I were a betting man (which I’m not), I’d say this would be Topps’ choice for a TBTC card today. I don’t know for sure, especially since Ken Griffey Jr. already has a card in the series, but this seems like a safe bet.

I don’t know if I will create cards for each day of the year. I’ve got a lot of stuff going on right now, and this is just a hobby. But I had fun coming up with these six cards for April 10!

Stay safe out there, and don’t forget to wash your hands!

1960 Stars of Baseball

I love making custom cards (or “fun cards,” as I usually call them). Cards that should have been, cards that never were, original designs, slightly modified designs…you name it. It’s a fun way to pass the time. But I have never actually produced these cards. They reside on the internet only, with no physical copies (unless someone printed them off at home).

Some card creators take it a step further, producing highly collectible items. Take, for instance, the When Topps Had (Base)Balls blog. Gio has now produced five series of cards from different eras of America’s greatest game. His most recent offering, “1960 Stars of Baseball,” is a 40-card, 10-sticker set featuring the best players from the 1960 season. There are two Reds cards (Frank Robinson and Vada Pinson) and one sticker (Robinson).

Robinson

The cards, if left uncut, are quite large. They are reminiscent of the old Post cards from the 1960s, though these are glossy. But if you take scissors to them*…

Pinson

They are horizontal 3.5 x 2.5 cards…perfect for your standard 9-pocket binder page.

The stickers are also quite nice…

Robinson sticker

I didn’t measure it, but if I guessed I would say they are probably 1.5 x 1.5 or 1 x 1.

Unfortunately for team collectors, Gio doesn’t sell single cards. So if you want your team’s cards, you have to buy the entire set. I’m glad I did, because I enjoyed seeing cards of a couple guys from 1960 who should be in the Hall of Fame, Ken Boyer and Minnie Minoso.

Boyer

Minoso

And there were plenty of other Hall of Famers like Warren Spahn in the lot as well, both in card form and sticker form.

Spahn

Only 20 sets of “1960 Stars of Baseball” were produced, and the stock is completely sold out. I’m trying to decide whether I should keep the set intact, or sell off most of the non-Reds to team collectors who didn’t have a chance to purchase it. Right this minute, I’m leaning toward keeping it, but I might change my mind tomorrow. I’m willing to listen to any serious offers, though, if you think you can change my mind.

* – I did not actually cut these cards. I may look stupid, and may act stupid, and may be stupid. But I ain’t that stupid.

Gypsy Queen – Vada Pinson

My first exposure to Vada Pinson was on a 1982 Donruss card, depicting him as a coach for the Chicago White Sox. Pinson had a very solid career starting with the Reds in 1958. By the time he put the bat down, he had collected 2757 hits, an amazing feat. Not amazing enough to put him in Cooperstown, evidently. He spent fifteen years on the ballot, but the most support he ever received was 15.7% in 1988.

Trading with Chewing Liquorice

I recently completed a trade with Chewing Liquorice. For a stack of Expos, he sent back a treasure trove of Reds cards, many of which I had never seen, including a ton of Conlon cards from 1992-1994. This one commemorates one of Johnny Vander Meer‘s no-hitters…

These cards are fantastic as they help to keep the old stories alive, allowing us to learn about players that we never had the privilege to see.

There were a lot of other historical cards in the bunch, too. There were some 1991 Topps Archives, which were reprints of the 1953 Topps set. And some reprints of the 1954 Topps set, which I assume were released in 1992. They are not on my master checklist, so I will have to research them a little bit more to find out for sure, but they are exactly like the 1991 reprint set with glossy cardstock. Here’s the Ed Bailey card from that set:

All of the old players weren’t on newer or reprinted cards, though. Geoffrey threw in some fantastic vintage cards of Reds Hall of Famers and Baseball Hall of Famers, such as Wally Post, Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, and an O-Pee-Chee Joe Morgan:

So many cool cards were in this package, I can’t even begin to show them all. Buddy Bell, Ted Kluszewski, Reggie Sanders

I don’t remember the Action Packed baseball cards at all!

And a whole slew of George Foster awesomeness…

That last item is particularly cool. The Ted Williams Company made pogs that you could punch out and included them in their baseball card packs. This is something I have never seen before…but that just goes along with the rest of the package!

There was a lot of other great stuff in the package, from Johnny Bench to Joe Nuxhall to Ernie Lombardi to Barry Larkin…love it, love it, love it!

If you have some Expos to get rid off, you need to contact Chewing Liquorice and work out a deal. He’s a great trader!

2009 Topps Vada Pinson

Vada Pinson was a very good player overshadowed by one of the greatest of his generation, Frank Robinson. In his first full season in the majors, Pinson led the NL in doubles and runs scored and made the All-Star team. He followed that with another All-Star appearance in 1960, leading the NL once again in doubles. Twice Pinson led the NL in triples and twice in hits, and finished third in MVP voting in 1961. Pinson had more than 2700 hits in 18 seasons, over 1800 of those coming in 11 seasons in Cincinnati. He also played with the Cardinals, Indians, Angels and Royals. He died of a stroke in 1995.

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