Thursday, April 23, 2015
I've said this time and time again, but it really can't be emphasized enough.
I have a ton of respect for people who make customs.
Maybe it's just me, but there seems to have been a bit of a custom revival around the blogosphere lately. I don't remember many such blogs being around a couple years ago.
Some people have even gone the extra mile and printed their customs onto actual card stock. And some have graciously gone the extra extra mile by sending their hand-made creations to me.
One such generous soul is reader Ryan, who emailed me a while back. Between a post on this blog and comments I left on a few others, he'd noticed how much I enjoyed the custom 2008 A&G minis that had been floating around the blogosphere. Chances are you've seen a few by now.
As it turns out, Ryan is actually the guy who makes them.
Ryan offered to send me a fresh new batch of his customs, free of charge.
What I do to deserve such generosity, I'll never know.
One thing I like about these customs is that they provide a nice mix of baseball and non-baseball subjects. I mean...Santa? J. K. Rowling? Sailor Jack? That's an awesomely eclectic grouping.
And, although I don't usually like to admit this, I'll 'fess up to the fact that I was one of those kids who waited in line (at midnight, way past my bedtime) for the new Harry Potter books.
Of course, Ryan's custom set really hits its stride with the ballplayers.
Like the non-baseball subjects, the mix in here was fantastic. You've got veteran stars like Kemp and Hunter next to bright-eyed youngsters like Springer and Machado. And, between the throwback and the bat barrel shot, you'll even find a few customary mini-collection hits in this batch.
It really covered all the bases.
If I didn't know any better, I'd get these confused with standard A&G minis.
They're that well-designed. Better yet, Ryan even used the template from 2008, my absolute favorite year of A&G.
And, while I've said this before, I should note that, yes, these customs do go into my binders next to all my other "mainstream" cards.
They deserve a nine-pocket home just as much as anything else around these days.
I think my personal favorites of the lot were the legends.
Clemente, Aaron, Berra, Musial...you won't find much more star power in a single scan.
Ryan actually included two Clementes in this package. At first, I thought it was some sort of mistake. A custom dupe? That didn't seem possible.
Only much later did it dawn on me to check the backs.
Like the standard A&G minis, Ryan's custom set apparently includes Bazooka parallels, numbered to just 25 copies a piece. I don't know if Ryan knew it or not, but Clemente is my all-time favorite player, so specifically scoring his parallel was a joy.
Custom guys like Ryan keep this hobby fresh. If I had any artistic ability whatsoever, I'd probably be trying my hand at it. Creations like these are pure works of art.
As long as people keep cranking out customs, I'll keep salivating over them.