Ladies and Gentleman, my first very own card set.
It all started with me making a trip up to Comerica Park from Memphis for a Labor Day weekend series against the Angels in 2006. Nothing monumental happened during the trip with regards to my future as an aspiring baseball card designer. Well, nothing that I was cognizant of at the time anyway.
Upon returning home after the weekend, I was perusing the game pics on the Detroit News website when I came across this photo of Curtis Granderson. I was at the game when he made that catch and and soon as I saw the picture my first thought was, "Wouldn't that look great on a baseball card?" And so the seeds were sewn.
I have had a career in printing for the last twenty years with fifteen of those years spent in desktop publishing. I worked in layout programs such as Quark and InDesign on a daily basis, so building a baseball card was certainly no challenge from a technical standpoint. All I needed to do was collect the photographs and place them into a design of my own. Unfortunately my desktop publishing experience didn't translate into me being a top flight graphic designer/artist. But I think I was able to use that to my benefit here, as it forced me to come up with a crisp, clean, and simple design, which regular readers of this blog know generally translates into me liking a set.
I like to think this set pays a lot of homage to one of my favorite card sets of all time, 1981 Fleer. I don't think this is the best set I've ever designed in the four years I have been doing this, but as the first it will always be pretty special to me. It adds to the coolness for me that I was putting this set together during the fantastic post-season run of 2006. In fact, the little mug shots in the bottom corner were not in the original design, but before the post-season started, the Free Press made these available as downloadable masks that you could print off. So I downloaded all the faces, made a few tweaks, and voila! A set was born.
The 2006 RobbyT Detroit Tigers:
1 Jeremy Bonderman
2 Sean Casey
3 Alexis Gomez
4 Curtis Granderson
5 Jason Grilli
6 Carlos Guillen
7 Omar Infante
8 Brandon Inge
9 Todd Jones
10 Wilfredo Ledezma
11 Jim Leyland
12 Zach Miner
13 Craig Monroe
14 Magglio Ordonez
15 Neifi Perez
16 Placido Polanco
17 Nate Robertson
18 Fernando Rodney
19 Ivan Rodriguez
20 Kenny Rogers
21 Ramon Santiago
22 Marcus Thames
23 Justin Verlander
24 Jamie Walker
25 Vance Wilson
26 Joel Zumaya
27 Tigers Future Stars: Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller
28 Tigers Future Stars: Brent Clevlen and Kevin Hooper
29 Tigers First Basemen: Chris Shelton and Matt Stairs
30 Tigers Hurlers: Chad Durbin and Mike Maroth
31 Tigers Specials: Gene Lamont
32 Tigers Specials: Dave Dombrowski
33 Tigers Specials: Mike Illitch and Ivan Rodriguez
34 Tigers Specials: Jim Leyland
35 Tigers Specials: Dmitri Young
36 Tigers Specials: Ernie Harwell
The downside about using the mask photos though was that there weren't masks for everybody that I'd already made cards for. So I decided to make up my own Specials cards with a nod towards the Fleer Specials of the 80's. Some are rookies, some recap events and the season, and some feature guys like the GM and owner who normally wouldn't get their own cards.
One final thing of note. When I was a kid starting out collecting cards, I never knew they were "classified" by dates. I just knew that there were baseball cards for different seasons, but I had no idea that they were labeled by the year of issue, and not the year that they recapped. I still get confused to this day when I am thinking about Topps sets from '76-'80. When I first designed this set, I referred to it as my 2007 set, but that never set right with me. The photos are from 2006, it was designed in 2006, and technically it was issued in 2006. So I have decided to call it my 2006 set. Being the designer does have it's privileges.....