First, here's the original card:
|1959 Topps #427, Charlie Neal
And here are some hints for the look-alike:
He was a cast member of a well-loved sketch comedy series on Nickelodeon back in the 1990s.
The characters he portrayed were usually a little wacky in one way or another.
He and another character from that show would spin off a show of their own. Plus a movie.
And this next hint is going to give it away for some of you, but...
WELCOME TO GOOD BURGER, HOME OF THE GOOD BURGER, CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER?
Okay, here's the custom:
I deliberated for a while on how to style the text on this custom. Should I go with the actor's full name on the top, Kel Mitchell, or his character's name from Good Burger, "Ed"? And if I went with Ed, would adding Mitchell's facsimile signature be inaccurate? Would it be better to leave it without a signature? (On that note, I wonder what Ed's signature would look like.)
Well, I tried placing the name "ed" at the top of the card, but it was just a little too odd-looking all by itself. And I figured adding the facsimile signature would be a respectful nod to the original card. So I went with Kel Mitchell as the player name and signature, with the team name as "Good Burger" and the position name to match the character he's portraying in the photo: "Ed the cashier".
Now let's talk about the ballplayer who inspired the custom card.
In eight total MLB seasons Charlie Neal collected 858 hits, including 113 doubles, 38 triples, and 87 home runs. He tallied 391 RBI and posted a .259 lifetime batting average.
His best season came in 1959, when he put up a .287 batting average on 177 hits, including 11 triples, tying for most in the majors with Dodger teammate Wally Moon. He also led the majors in sacrifice bunts with a whopping 21. Best of all, though, he earned a World Series ring. And he really did earn it, going 10-for-27 (.370 avg) with 2 doubles, 2 home runs, and 6 RBI in 6 games played.
And what a season, as he'd also be named an All-Star and take home the Gold Glove Award for N.L. second basemen.
Interesting note from later in his career: After the 1961 season he was traded to the New York Mets, and he'd appear in the starting lineup for their first-ever game. He went 3-for-4, driving home the first run in team history.
And what about Kel Mitchell?
That sketch comedy show mentioned at the top was, of course, All That. It featured Kel Mitchell, Kenan Thompson, and a bunch of other wacky kids who'd go on to have successful acting careers. Then came Kenan & Kel and the Good Burger movie. On top of that, Kel's had a long, successful, and varied acting career, even playing the voice of a canine character named T-Bone on the animated show Clifford the Big Red Dog.
As for Kenan Thompson, you might know him best from Saturday Night Live, but he's had an equally varied and busy acting career. And to tie it back to sports, in the second and third Mighty Ducks films, a young Kenan played the character Russ Tyler (you'll know him best as the creator of the "knuckle puck").
Since Kenan also played a big role in Good Burger along with Kel, and because the two are still good friends to this day, I thought about doing a custom Good Burger card for Kenan as well. But I think I might wait to see if I can find a ballplayer look-alike for him.
Besides, I thought of something even better.
The 1959 Topps set contains some of the greatest multi-player cards ever made. "Hitting Kings" Ashburn and Mays, "Fence Busters" Aaron and Mathews, "Keystone Combo" Fox and Aparicio. And since Kel Mitchell's custom card is already based on the 1959 set, what better opportunity to get the two dudes on a card together?
Here's the second custom:
I used the Fox-Aparico "Keystone Combo" card as a base, and found a similar font for the text. I really like the way this one turned out—maybe even more than the Ed custom above.
Finally, here's a compilation of skits from All That. The "Okrah" bit that starts at the 1:38 mark shows Keenan and Kel at their goofy best.
Any fans of All That out there? Do you have a favorite character or skit? Share in the comment section. And thanks for reading, as always.