If you’ve ever looked at an old baseball card set and thought “it would be a lot more fun if they had a card of….”, John Hogan feels your pain. The only difference is he’s done something about it. Hogan’s blog (http://http://cardsthatneverwere.blogspot.com/) is an ongoing creative effort to create “The Cards That Never Were”.
For the past two years, he’s used a graphics program that utilizes standard designs from years past to create cards that were never produced.
Despite having no professional graphic design expertise, Hogan’s creations have now spread to the online photo sharing social network Pinterest where he’s posted some of the virtual cards to a potentially new audience. There’s no financial incentive and no marketing involved. He knows it’s not possible under licensing rights. The blog is just an expression of his own creativity and a love for baseball history.
Hogan isn’t the first to create virtual cards. Bob Lemke and others have been doing it for awhile too, but Hogan is cranks his creations out on a remarkably regular basis to keep his blog fresh. It’s now full of dozens of eye-catching little slices of baseball fun. It also complements his pursuit of the real thing.
“I collect my favorite Chicago players plus Hall of Famers,” he explained. “I also collect Rookie of the Year, MVPs, Cy Young, World Series & All Star MVP players from their winning seasons. You can see a lot of that on the blog.”
There’s a 1971 Topps showing Pete Rose barreling into Ray Fosse at the 1970 All-Star Game.
One of his best is a horizontal shot of Tony Perez at first base on the 1967 Topps.
He’s created a slew of Mickey Mantle cards, putting images onto the design of those from long after The Mick’s playing days had ended.
His favorites, though, are the ones that place a Topps subset into an issue that never featured it or giving those subsets a new twist.
“I had fun re-doing the 1972 Topps award cards that showed the trophies but not the players. I like the 1975 Rookie of the Year cards on the MVP format. I’m making All Star cards now for the years Topps didn’t have them. I’ve done 1963 and ’64. I’m planning 66,67,71,72 and 73 already.”
He’s done enough Santo cards to give them their own section on Pinterest. The Windy City teams are his rooting interest and that shows up in his work but he’s primarily a baseball fan first.
He says he encourages suggestions from readers and tries to create what they’re asking.
The ever-growing stable of cards sometimes attracts comments from those who have found his work. The daughter of former major league executive Bill Bartholomay applauded his work on a 1968 Topps Satchel Paige. It was that year in which Bartholomay as owner of the Atlanta Braves signed the long-time Negro Leagues pitcher to a short-term contract as a pitching coach/pitcher, so that Paige could earn enough service time to be awarded a major league pension.
Giving Satch his last baseball card as an ‘active player’ is just one example of Hogan’s appreciation for long ago moments that make the game so great.
“It’s mostly for my own amusement,” Hogan said of The Cards That Never Were. “I’ll keep at it as long as I enjoy it and have the time.”