Monday, January 4, 2016

Lost in the Ivy - a Dalliance with Customs

Last summer, I found a cheap and outdated version of Paint Shop Pro at a garage sale.  For a couple bucks, there was no way I could pass up normally rather expensive editing software that I would never buy for myself otherwise.  Since part of my studies in college were based in graphic design (though I'm much more fluent in Photoshop), I figured this could come in handy on a professional level....

...and I also had a passing fancy about creating my own custom baseball cards too.  Who of us card bloggers has never day dreamed about designing their own set of trading cards?  Here was my chance to finally give it a shot.

It took me a while to finally get around to playing with the software; however it did not take me long to come up with the concept for my fake set:  obscure Cubs players who had never been featured on a baseball card.

If you know anything about my blog, this should not have come as a surprise.

With my creative juice freely flowing, after a few days of screwing around, I came up with this:

As you can see, I was trying to recreate the ivy-laced, brick walls of Wrigley Field; I used yellow text to emulate the style in which the dimensions are actually written on the facade.

I think I'm going to call this set (if I keep going) "Lost in the Ivy." the inspiration for which was derived from this gem of a commercial from a few years ago:

Obviously, the Hawk is quite a significant person in the history of the sport; thus I find it much more plausible that a Wayne Tyrone-type player would actually be found trapped in the ivy for years on end.  We'd notice if Andre Dawson was missing, after all.

The brother of Jim Tyrone, himself a former Cub, had only a brief cuppacoffee in the Majors.  In 30 total games during the 1976 season, the OF/utilityman hit .228 with just two extra-base hits in 62 PA's.  See - no one would pay attention if that kind of "production" disappeared.

All jesting aside, Tyrone played Major League Baseball and he deserves some respect, in the form of a baseball card, for that achievement.  To this point, I am aware of exactly zero cards of the man.

With such a short career in the pre-digital age, the image selection is pretty limited for Wayne.  Thus, I chose the above action shot from the Getty Image archives, showing him on the basepaths against the Phillies on September 18, 1976.

Dear Getty Images, I promise I am not monetizing this in any way - this card is for amusement only!

Overall, I'm pretty happy with how this design has turned out so far.  Maybe I'd make the oval containing the player's picture a little bit wider; I'm sure there's more to fix up if I stared at it for a little bit longer.  For good measure, here's a second custom that I whipped up pretty quickly after having developed a template:

Andy Varga was a pitcher in the Cubs system at the mid-point of the previous century.  All told, the Chicago-born lefty got into three total MLB games from 1950-51, allowing two hits and six walks in four innings pitched out of the bullpen.  With that being the extent of his Big League career, his stint was quickly lost to history.

Even more so than with Tyrone, images of this obscure short-timer were tough to dig up.  The best, by far, was this colorized print found on Baseball Birthdays:

Again, I'm not making any money off of these; in fact, at this point, I'm not even printing them out.

Maybe at some point in the future I'll consider doing so.  If and when I decide to do that, I'll be sure to seek the permission of this pictures' expert editor.  I'll never sell though.

I've been toying with this concept to fill in gaps from my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection since cards of these kinds of players are literally non-existent and my binder will forever have gaps otherwise.  In the meantime, this is purely to satisfy my creative urges.

Additionally, I have yet to design a back or even look into proper printing techniques; therefore, these customs will be staying digital for the foreseeable future.

All that being said, that does not mean I wouldn't like/enjoy/appreciate a little feedback.  Please - I encourage you to tell me your unfiltered thoughts in the comment section, that is what it's for anyway,

Just don't be TOO mean!


  1. Panini should use your Wayne Tyrone card. It gets around the licensing beautifully!

  2. If the opinion of someone with absolutely no talent for such things means anything to you, I would say they look amazing! The ivy design is quite fetching. I especially like the Andy Varga. I will look forward to seeing your future creations.

  3. I recall Jim Tyrone but definitely not his brother. I love your concept. The ivy design is great and as a lifelong Cubs fan I immediately got the yellow lettering. Personally, I'm a full bleed guy so if I were going to tweek your design I'd lean toward a bigger picture and a little less border.

    1. Agree with the less border more picture, though that's not to say they don't look really cool as is.

      I'd suggest the Wrigley scoreboard altered with bio/stats for the back.

  4. Awesome customs like these remind me of how inept I am when it comes to visual art, graphic designs, etc. Great work, my friend!

  5. LOVE the yellow lettering. Nice work!

  6. They came out great, would love to see more!