Sunday, February 10, 2019

Catching for the Improv Team

A few weeks ago, while researching the 1956 Topps Baseball set for a separate blog post, I came across this card:

1956 Topps #159, Clint Courtney

Immediately I thought he bore resemblance to another man who put on the baseball uniform, albeit on the TV screen. Any guesses?

Here are a few hints:

Like Mr. Courtney, he was also a catcher (but for the Improv team).

He was heckled by an opposing team's celebrity catcher. (Get your shrimp here! Big-mouth shrimp on special today!)

For a time he held a front office position with the New York Yankees: Assistant to the Traveling Secretary.

He knows where to find a good calzone.

Give up? 

Here's the answer:


To tweak the card, I created new red and yellow text boxes, found a similar font for the player name, position, and team, and replaced the Washington "W" on the cap with a Yankees logo from the cap of another player in the set. Additionally, I brushed out Clint Courtney's signature that appeared at the bottom of the card.

Here's a picture of George in his Improv uniform, from "The Understudy" episode of Seinfeld. See the resemblance? Uncanny. (I flipped the image so George is facing the same way as Clint.)



And once I found that image, I figured it was too perfect to leave the card as it was. Next, I had to try to make a complete Costanza custom, with George's face on the left side instead of Clint's, and a small image of the CostanzaMidler collision added on the right.


It took a lot of tinkering to try and mimic the 1956 Topps design (the card you see above is my eighth attempt). I'm just not skilled enough to match the originals, which were painted by artists who used photographs as reference. Regardless, the card gives me a chuckle. I hope it does the same for you.

12 comments:

  1. I was never a fan of Seinfeld, and haven't seen the episode in question, but regardless, your card is still really neat, and your card creating skills are quite impressive as well!

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    1. Thanks very much, Jon! I'd say that particular episode of Seinfeld is worth 30 minutes of your time.

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  2. Love the show (probably my favorite of all-time still), love that episode in particular, and LOVE the job you did with this custom! Would be awesome to find some way to print one on over-sized card stock like the original '56s. Nice work!

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    1. Thanks very much! (And don't spread it around just yet, but I might be one step ahead of you regarding the printing thing)

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  3. the finish at the plate on this card is superb! Seinfeld never gets old!

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  4. Awesome! George is one of my all-time favorite television show characters.

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    1. Does everyone have to like George? Yes! Everyone has to like him.

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  5. He's entertaining, but I don't like him, sorry. Nice job on the custom, though.

    I'll put you on my blogroll too. Us blogger Gregs have to stick together. :)

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  6. Well played! Great looking card of George as the loud mouthed shrimp..including the controversial collison with Midler is fantastic!

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    1. Thank you, Bossman! The similarities still astound me. Not only do the two players look alike (right down to the eyeglasses), but they were both catchers and both cards show an action-packed play at the plate.

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