Sunday, September 4, 2022

Gary, Keith, and Ron on a Custom Card

Here are two true yet opposite statements:
Baseball games are incredibly entertaining.

Baseball games are excruciatingly boring.
Which of those statements you apply at any given time is a result of what happens on the field, of course, especially if you're one of the fortunate forty of fifty thousand people who happen to be in the stadium on game day.

But what about the millions of others watching on television?

Well, much of the entertainment—or boredom—is a direct result of how the broadcast team calls the game. And if you're a baseball fan, you're probably thinking of some examples on both ends of the spectrum right now. I know there are some broadcasters I sorely miss, while there are others whose play-by-play style makes me wonder how they've held their position for so long.

One current broadcast team on the positive end of the spectrum is based in Queens, New York, calling games for the New York Mets: Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling. (Also known as GKR.)
If you aren't familiar with the trio and their brand of commentary and humor, here's a video that you might enjoy:

Keith: Well I either gotta have the almond milk or the coconut milk, because it's non-dairy.
Gary: You have a lactose issue?
Keith: No, I do not. I just don't do dairy anymore unless it's a half-pint of ice cream...
Although I am a native New Yorker, I don't claim allegiance to the Mets or Yankees. But I will say that I enjoy the way Gary, Keith, and Ron call games. And recently a Mets fan named Josh (imccards on instagram) contacted me with a request to design a custom card featuring the trio. I told him I'd be up for it, and over the next few weeks we emailed back and forth, discussing and collaborating as I worked on the design. Here's the result:


I think the marquee style of the 1972 Topps design works very well for a TV broadcaster card. Additionally, one of the color combinations in the 1972 set was that same blue and orange, which works perfectly for the Mets.
The card back features a brief informational section for each member of the broadcast team, also done in similar style to the original 1972s. But note the "1a" designation at the end of the card number.

It's there because Josh had an idea to do a few short-printed parallels using some of the other color combinations from the 1972 Topps set. He asked if I could design a different card back for each short print, as well. Here's what I came up with:

First we've got the orange SP, hand-numbered /30. The card back features some information about the three stadiums the Mets have called home since their beginnings in 1962. I reversed the colors on the card back to help set the short prints apart from the base card. (Also, check out the center field depth at the Polo Grounds. Wow.)

Next on the scarcity scale is the green SP, hand-numbered /20. Fan favorite Mr. Met appears on the back. This one is my favorite of all the card backs.

And finally we've got the mint SP, scarcest of all, hand-numbered /10. The card back is done in the style of a vintage Mets advertisement sponsored by Rheingold Beer, which for quite a while was the official beer of the New York Mets.

The most exciting news, as you can see by the photos, is that these cards are not just digital. I've already had them printed out, and they're listed in my eBay store.

I wasn't sure how the short prints would do, but so far Mets fans and card collectors have responded favorably. Here's the rundown at the time of this writing:

Orange SP: 4 sold, 26 remaining
Green SP: 6 sold, 14 remaining
Mint SP: 3 sold, 7 remaining

Hopefully they continue to do well. Thus far, two collectors have even purchased the whole rainbow in one shot!

So here's to Gary, Keith, and Ron. May they continue to entertain Mets fans for years to come.

Now here are two questions for you:
(1) How do you feel about your favorite baseball team's current group of broadcasters? Thumbs up or thumbs down?
(2) If I were to create an all-time broadcaster version of this card, who would be on it? My first idea for the trio is Vin Scully, Mel Allen, and Harry Caray. But there are quite a few legends to choose from. Bob Uecker, Joe Garagiola, Phil Rizzuto, and Jack Buck are just some examples.

Share your answers in the comment section, and thanks as always for reading!


  1. I am a Twins/Mets fan. The Twins announcers are good, (Dick Bremer, Justin Morneau, and an assortment of other people,) but I'd have to say the Mets are better. The best moment I can think of is the PB&J issue. Just out of curiosity, how much would all 3 be combined?

    1. Oh, I'm not familiar with the PB&J issue. Going to have to search for that one, hahah.

      All four cards combined (base card plus the 3 short prints) comes to a total of $40.

  2. That card is fantastic. I'm headed right over to buy one. ... The Mets broadcast team is the best in baseball and has been for awhile, as a lot of team consciously employ broadcasting homers or former baseball players who have no idea how to make games interesting. (Or in the Yankees' case, both).

    My teams' broadcasting team includes Joe Davis, so it's pretty good. I like it best when Orel Hershiser joins him. ... My 3-person broadcaster card would be guys from childhood, so probably Joe Garagiola, Tony Kubek and Phil Rizzuto.

    1. Thanks very much, Night Owl! I agree with you on the broadcasters who have no idea how to make games interesting. Great choices on the all-time broadcasters, too. Garagiola and Kubek were great on the NBC Game of the Week. I occasionally watch those broadcasts on YouTube. Plenty of full games available.

  3. I grew up in Cherry Hill, NJ, and my house was about 7 miles from Philadelphia, so naturally, I am a Phillies fan. I listened to Harry Kalas (also known for his work with south Jersey's NFL Films) and Richie Ashburn in the broadcast booth and they were absolutely terrific together. That said, Gary, Keith, & Ron are simply the best in the business.

    1. Excellent choices there, Dan! Received your email on TCDB, and sent you a reply.

  4. I'm a Mets fan, so obviously I love my broadcasters! Everything about the SNY production is top-notch.

    Scully and Allen are great choices for the all-time broadcasters, and Buck is worth considering, but as far as I'm concerned Harry Carey was a joke, getting drunk in the booth and rooting rather than reporting. Other guys worth considering are Ernie Harwell, Red Barber, and Bob Costas.

    1. There's definitely a polarizing effect with Caray. Some people enjoyed his style, and others disliked him for the same reasons. You've added some good choices there, too. Costas deserves consideration for broadcasting in general -- he's done everything from baseball to basketball to football to the Olympics!

  5. I can definitely see why these would be selling so quickly. Another great looking set of customs!

    1. Thanks very much, Jon! This was a fun project, for sure.

  6. I think, especially with the Rheingold back, you could do the Mets' classic combo of Kiner, Murphy and Nelson. You could do a Ballantine version for the Yankees - Rizzuto, White and Messer, though you'd also have to find a way to get Mel "That's a Ballantine Blast!" Allen onto a card. Could do Allen, Rizzuto and Red Barber (Barber did Yankee games for a while in the mid-to-late '60s, got fired after pointing out how empty the Stadium was).

    Probably my Yankee fandom showing, but I can't stand Hernandez or Darling. I hate it when Darling does Yankee playoff games. The Yankee TV announcers are mostly pretty bad, but I like Sterling and Waldman on the radio. The new guy they've got for Sterling on road games is pretty decent too.

    1. Heheh. My uncle is a big Yankees fan, and he feels the same way about Hernandez. Good suggestions on the Mets radio team and all the great Yankees announcers. It's difficult to choose just three. Bill White, Bobby Murcer, Tony Kubek, and Tom Seaver were all good on Yankees broadcasts as well.

  7. Fantastic job on this custom. Broadcasters need love too. I honestly don't watch too much A's baseball on the tube since it's not available to me. I've only watched a few baseball games this year and they've all been on Apple TV+. Can't even remember who the announcers were. On a side note... I don't watch a lot of their games, but I do think Kruk (Mike Krukow) & Kuip (Duane Kuiper) do a fantastic job for the SF Giants... along with Jon Miller.

    1. Thanks very much, Fuji! Haven't heard Jon Miller call games since he and Joe Morgan were a team at ESPN back in the 1990s, but I remember enjoying their style.