Sunday, June 20, 2021

Catchers, Custom Cards, and Carolina

Here's Andy Etchebarren, happily exhibiting his throwing pose for a Topps photographer.

1967 Topps #457, Andy Etchebarren

Something about that face reminds me of a Spanish actor who rose to fame in the 1990s, and continues to ply his trade today. If the name isn't coming to you, here are some hints:

If you'd like to picture this actor in his heartthrob heyday, just add some long, flowing, dark hair.

You can also insert a guitar case next to him that may (or may not) contain a guitar.

While Etchebarren donned a catcher's mask, this look-alike actor donned the mask of Zorro in two separate films.

Enough hints?

Here's the custom card.

Through his career, Antonio Banderas has played a few mysterious characters who harbored vendettas, such as the aforementioned Zorro as well as the mariachi character in Desperado and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. And those characters certainly wouldn't be smiling like Banderas is here. But playing baseball is much more fun than brooding and seeking vengeance (unless maybe you're Al Hrabosky). And besides, it's a sunny day at the ballpark. You can even see palm trees and a Yoo-hoo advertisement in the background. Why wouldn't Banderas be smiling?

As for the rest of the card, I left the player position as catcher, because the catcher's mitt is evident at the bottom right and the fictitious Banderas is clearly ready to throw out an equally fictitious baserunner. The only other change was to remove Etchebarren's facsimile autograph and replace it with Banderas's.

Let's get to the man on the original card now. Andy Etchebarren had a solid 15-year career, highlighted by two World Series championships with the Baltimore Orioles (1966 and 1970).

His first two full seasons, 1966 and 1967, were quite fruitful. In fact, he was named an all-star both times. In 1966 he put up 91 hits, 14 doubles, 6 triples, 11 home runs, 50 RBI, and 49 runs scored. Not bad for a 23-year-old getting his first shot at consistent major league at-bats. 

Interestingly, however, those would all end up being single-season highs. Why?

Well, starting in 1968 Etchebarren (right-handed batter) would split the workload with fellow Orioles catcher Elrod Hendricks (left-handed batter). Despite the reduction in playing time, it was a pretty successful platoon for a few years, and together the two catchers helped Baltimore capture that 1970 World Series title.

But combine that platooning situation with some injury troubles over the years, and Etchebarren only averaged about 63 games per season. His career numbers: 948 GP, 615 H, 101 2B, 17 3B, 49 HR, 309 RBI, .235 avg
On the defensive side, Etchebarren was known as a pretty reliable guy who knew how to handle his pitchers. (The Orioles had some studs at the time like Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, and Mike Cuellar.) He threw base-stealers out at a career rate of 39%. That puts him right next to guys like Lance Parrish, Manny Sanguillen, and teammate Elrod Hendricks. Overall, Etchebarren nailed a total of 244 would-be swipers. That puts him around names like Buster Posey, Mickey Tettleton, and Kurt Suzuki.


Of all the characters Mr. Banderas has played, I thought the mysterious mariachi would make for the best-looking card—especially if it depicted him toting that guitar case.

For the team name, I figured I'd go with Desperados. The playing position is listed as guitarist and vocals. (It reads much better in Spanish next to the player name of "El Mariachi", don't you think?)


I couldn't create a custom card featuring El Mariachi without creating one for the film's leading lady and Mariachi's love interest, Carolina. (She of such beauty that she caused a fender bender just by walking across an intersection.)

In the film, Carolina owned and operated a book shop. La librera translates to "the book seller".

There were many stunning images of Carolina (Salma Hayek) to choose from online, but this one was top of the list for me. I suppose I could create even more cards using some of the other photos. I mean, remember those Donruss sets of the 1970s and 1980s that featured individual TV shows or films? If they'd created a set for Desperado, there would have easily have been 7 or 8 cards of Carolina in the set to collect. Maybe a sticker, too.

Project for another day. 

For now, I hope you've enjoyed these three custom cards. Thanks for reading, as always. 

If the information and custom cards in this post have piqued your interest in Desperado, please note that there are a number of rather graphic scenes in the film that involve guns and violence. I'm not a fan of that kind of thing, and if you're not either, consider this a warning/disclaimer.


  1. A. Great job on the customs and making the Etchebarren/Banderas connection.

    B. Desperado is a great movie.

    C. Hola Salma.

    1. A. Thanks very much, Fuji!

      B. Pretty good soundtrack, too.

      C. Your "Hola Salma" reminds me of the Animaniacs, when Yakko and Wakko would see the nurse walk by and say "hellllooooo nurse!"

  2. Etchebarren is also one of the hallowed members of the Baseball Unibrow Club.

    1. A prestigious club, so I hear. Very difficult to gain admittance...

  3. Very nice custom work here. I saw Desperado back in the day but it's been a while. The quotes/memes have stuck with me though. Such a cool movie.

    1. Thanks very much, Chris! Quite a star-studded cast in that film as well.

  4. I have not seen Desperado, but now you have peaked my interest!

    1. Salma Hayek says thank you. (Not really, but I'd imagine she would say that if she did read your comment.)

      If you do watch Desperado, just keep in mind what I mentioned at the end of the post about some graphic scenes.

  5. You could probably make a mint selling a custom Salma Hayek set!