In my pursuit to get a card of every player to have appeared in a game as a Boston Red Sox, many times it’s impossible to find. Maybe the player never appeared on a piece of cardboard. Or, they appeared on a gum card but in a different uniform.
About 10 years ago, I tried putting an all-time collection together, but too many times I ran into roadblocks. Sure, I was able to find some pictures online, but too often the images where too small or grainy from the get go. Maybe the card they appeared on was five years AFTER they played with the Sox. Today, and over the last couple of nights, I have found over three hundred and fifty images of past Red Sox players. I am still going through these images, as some do appear of sets like TCMA’s The 1930s Red Sox, or the 1972 Yawkey’s Red Sox set.
In the coming months to help me get through the New England winter, I’ll be creating many custom cards from these images. I have begun building out templates for the 1929-30 R315, 1936 Goudey, 1939 and 1940 Play Ball card sets.
1970 Topps #721 Red Sox Rookie Stars (Option A)
So one of the players on my Red Sox needs list is one Tony Muser. Yup, the ex-manager for the Kansas City Royals was once a Red Sox farmhand. Before joining the Sox as a free agent, Muser was selected by the San Francisco Giants in 1966 amateur draft. On September 14, 1969, he collected his first major league hit in the top of the ninth. It would be his one hit and RBI that year — a two-out RBI single off Jack Aker to tie the game at Yankee Stadium. The Sox would lose in the bottom frame, 3-2. He appeared in one other game that September, ending the year at 1-9, with a walk and a strikeout. Tony spent the 1970 season at Boston’s AAA club Louisville. On March 31, 1971, he was dealt to the Chicago White Sox with Vicente Romo to the Chicago White Sox for Duane Josephson and Danny Murphy.
So finding an image of Tony Muser was a tough one. I know he appears in the 1969 Red Sox yearbook, a tiny black and white image the size of a postage stamp. The image I came across recently, is one of those Topps Vault images on eBay.
The image on the left felt too bright and saturated, so I went in and brought down the overall saturation of the colors and also some of the magenta from his face. I felt it was more inline with what could be found on a Topps card during the time.
1970 Topps #721 Red Sox Rookie Stars (Option B)
Here is second option I created, swapping out the Fisk image for a different one.
My reasoning behind going a dual Rookie Stars card was it felt more believable. Back in the day, players actually appeared in the big leagues before making a cameo in bubble gum packs. So with that in mind, it crossed off doing a solo card of Muser on a 1969 Topps issue. I could have designed a solo 1970 Topps card, but with a lot of customs to do, I save some time not Photoshopping out the Topps watermark. Remember, we’re talking about a guy with only 10 ABs for the Sox, this dual card is just right.
Using Carlton Fisk also made sense as he too made his major league debut that same September. He would only play in two games going 0-5 with two strikeouts. Thankfully, the Sox didn’t trade HIM for two nobodies in 1971!
Please let me know your thoughts, and which Fisk image you prefer. For you Sox collectors, I’ll eventually print some, just need time and also figure what stock I can get through the printer without killing it. I want to find something matte, not gloss to make it feel a little more authentic. •
As a sidenote, I have been practicing graphic design for over twenty-five years. As a kid, one of my dream jobs was to work for Topps or another baseball card company designing cards. I set these files up at 100% using Adobe InDesign, with any image work done in Photoshop. I did my best to match up colors using a Pantone PMS swatch book and tried to mirror the original fonts as close as possible. They tended to use different font families and several weights that make it tricky to mimic. If by some chance someone out there has a copy of the Topps graphic standard, if they ever had one in the 1960s/70s, that would be awesome.