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SSTN Interviews Jason Woodburn of Custom Cards OTD

Today we are here with Jason Woodburn of “Custom Cards OTD.”

Jason, it is great to have this discussion with you. Thanks for coming to Start Spreading the News.

I am happy to take part in anything baseball. Start Spreading the News has a nice design and I like the content. At one time, I considered making a blog for my work at Custom Cards OTD; my primary audience is Twitter and 240 characters just isn’t enough to describe an event – so I still might.

Please begin by telling us about “Custom Cards OTD in Baseball.”

@custom_baseball is simply a twitter account devoted to an event in baseball history on the date it occurs. The twist is that it is represented by a visual, a mock baseball card specific to the event. I typically use classic Topps styles (because of the date range), but am open to any maker. I try and be true to the original intent of the era. That said, I make originals too.

I enjoy scanning through and looking at the imaginary baseball cards that you have created and post on Pinterest and Twitter. You do amazing work. Please tell us about your background in graphic design.

Thank you for the compliment. I have a degree in Journalism, but my stronger skills were in layout and editing. I have always had a love of advertising graphics and typography. When I wondered to myself one day if I could make my own cards, I tried it out and liked what I could do. I soon found this was already a thing and many people like doing custom cards.

Where did this great idea come from? What has been the reaction to your work? Can people purchase these items as actual cards?

Ideas spark from the history, but they often come from the situation in which I come across a story/anecdote. For instance, author Jason Turbow kindly gave me some autographed plates for my copies of his books. The note that accompanied the plates expressed how he’d love to see a particular clubhouse brawl between A’s Reggie Jackson and Mike Epstein. Challenge accepted! I turned the incident into a card that looked like a boxing poster, adding an Ali-esque title “The Throwdown in Oaktown”.

I have never attempted to physically print any of my work. I am open to it but need to educate myself (both in copyright and cost).

As for reactions, I just want to make people enjoy a moment. I have gotten ‘likes’ from Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, (should-be Hall of Famer) Bill Madlock, WNBA, Hall of Famer Teresa Wetherspoon, and authors Dan Epstein and Joe Cox.

You made one card that I had hoped, way back at the time, that Topps had created… a replica 1980 “In Memoriam” card for the late Thurman Munson. Please tell us about that.

I first made a card in the 1979 style and realized there is no traded or update to the 1979 set. The logical place to make a memoriam card was the following season. I typically adhere to this year-after pattern as it is what Topps would’ve done unless the event COULD’VE been printed before the season began.

Munson meant a lot to New York fans, but all fans admired him. His tragedy deserved recognition. I have since made memoriam cards for many players who died unnaturally (such as Lymon Bostock and Ken Hubbs).

Do you collect cards yourself? How long have you been collecting? What do you focus on with your personal collections?

I do collect. My first cards were from 1985, but seriously began in 1986. My dad joined me soon after (when he learned of their value). It became our greatest bonding hobby. My personal collection is mostly of my favorite team, the Cincinnati Reds. I also collect local players from where I grew up/lived (Indiana). Gil Hodges and Don Mattingly are particular favorites.

What are some of your favorite baseball card sets and designs?

There are so many! I love Topps 1954, 1962, 1972, 1985, and 2011. Kudos to 1984 Donruss. Upper Deck almost always delivered.

Who are some of your favorite players to create cards of?

I am an equal opportunity creator. Stars are fun, but an odd story is best. Like in 1977 when Dave Kingman played for four teams in a season (one of which was the Yankees). I started with the 1978 design for rookies and placed a picture of each of Kingman’s teams in the quadrants (plus ’78’s team names). Lee Mazzilli did a similar thing in 1982.

In looking at the history of the Yankees, or baseball in general, what person or event would you like to see a book written about?

Regarding the Yankees, the period of 1965-1975 would interest me most. There was so much talent, yet nothing could get them back into the playoffs. The end of Ford and Mantle’s careers, Munson and Nettles, the rise Steinbrenner, Dick Williams almost coming on board, Billy Martin (part 1)…a book about HOW a team rebuilds is sometimes more important than basking in all the light those 27 trophies make 🙂

In the book and the movie The Natural, the main character wants nothing more than to walk down the street and have people say, “There goes Roy Hobbs, the best there ever was.” Who was the best baseball player you ever saw?

In person, seeing Sammy Sosa (1993,1996) was impressive, but he wasn’t the best. On TV, I would never miss a chance to see Tony Gwynn. He could hit it anywhere he wanted – amazing.

Our final question is really just a collection of short answers…

What was your favorite baseball team growing up?

Cincinnati Reds

Who was your favorite player?

Pete Rose. Despite his many flaws, he was amazing ON the field.

What is your most prized collectible?

I should say three Pete Rose autographs I acquired at a show in 1988. But the same day, my sister stalked Tony Perez to the bathroom. When he came out, he was amused by her actions and signed a piece of paper for free.

Who is your favorite musical group or artist?

The Beatles. This is probably a boring answer for some, but they are the greatest. Followed by Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, James Taylor, and Bruce Springsteen.

What is your favorite food (if it is pizza, what is your favorite pizza restaurant)?

Salsa (and chips loaded with salsa). Greek gyros are second.

Please share anything else you’d like with our audience –

Custom Cards OTD in Baseball is a just-for-fun account meant to highlight a historic event in baseball through uniquely designed cards. Sometimes people ask for specific creations, and I am always open to attempting a request.


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Start Spreading the News is the place for some of the very best analysis and insight focusing primarily on the New York Yankees.

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