As I was just getting into creating custom cards a few weeks back, I thought I should probably venture outside of the realm of Canseco-dom, and try other players.  One player that came to mind was (of course) his former brother of bash – Mark McGwire.

I love cards of his when he was playing for team USA, but the problem was that I simply could not find many (or any!) suitable pics for my project.  I remembered seeing some 2011 Topps chrome blue refractors of players on Team USA, and absolutely loved the design.  I thought to myself, how cool would it be to marry the two together?

I hopped on some forums to ask for some help to track down a suitable picture.  One person reported that when Panini put out their USA card of McGwire, they couldn’t find anything either, so they had to resort to using a black and white picture of him.

If Panini couldn’t find a pic, how the heck am I supposed to?  URGH!!!!

I didn’t want to use a black and white photo!  I thought about busting out my photoshop skills, and draining a considerable amount of hours to make my own picture of him in the Olympics, but thankfully, I had someone contact me with a few to choose from!  I was very happy to see what was available to make something for my personal collection.

As I awaited his response, I cracked out photoshop and started working on the design.  Finally, the next day, I got the picture I had requested, and after way too much time working on designing, cutting, lining up, trimming, bonding, (and LOTS of trial and error) here are the results!

I’m very happy with how it came out – it is very close to how I had envisioned.  A 2011 Topps Blue Chrome Refractor of Mark McGwire on team USA!

 As always, I didn’t want to just stop there!  I did a red version too, which came out beautifully!  I wanted to stick with red and blue because of the Olympics colors.   

But again, I did want to try a few other things as well.  This was a bit of a test, but I went all the way with it, so heck … why not post it?  It is a red border with a gold refractor base to it…autographed!  Well, autographed by my printer, anyway 🙂 

Here is the final chrome red refractor autograph.  I think it turned out fantastically.  The autograph, believe it or not, is actually passable!  Just in case this ended up into someone elses hands down the road though, I decided to label it “Certified Autograph Prototype”.

What the heck … why not do a blue version too?  Blue ink to match the blue refractor.  Did he sign this, or did my printer?  🙂  This just might be my favorite out of the bunch…

So, while I was mega happy with these, the materials are pricey, so I went ahead and did a few orange refractors of Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr.  One old school pic …

…and one a bit newer….

As you can see, I’m having a little too much fun doing this stuff.  My personal collection is growing by leaps and bounds, but is getting very expensive … in terms of time, anyway.  I am thankful I’m able to rely upon some qualified programmers and designers to work for me on projects in my business.  That way I can focus on creating some cool cards for my personal collection, while re-watching some Wings episodes on Netflix.