Custom PWE from John and a New Mini-PC

John Racanelli (@phitter72) is a good Twitter follow and a fellow blogger over at SABR. He’s been making both a silly series of literals customs and a cool series inspired by 1949 Leaf. In the beginning of the month he sent out a request for suggestions for his Leaf set.

I suggested Hank Thompson with the Browns. Why? Because Hank Thompson is the only player who integrated two Major League baseball teams. While I have his 1950 Bowman rookie card with the Giants, there’s no card featuring him with the Browns.

John went ahead and made cards of most (if not all) the suggestions and then reached out to see if I wanted a copy of the Hank. Last week I got an envelope from John and inside found two Hank Thompson Leafish cards.

The Browns card is great. A nice photo and the whole package feels right. The Giants one suffers a little from the mixed white-point issue that frequently bedevils modern creations that are intended to look old.* But they’re both more than welcome in the binder.

*If the border is supposed to be old paper then nothing else on the card should be a brighter white than the border.

The Browns card in fact may eventually make it out of my custom card section into a mini-PC section. I mentioned this last week but a couple of us on Twitter are collecting cards of the first black players for each team. It’s a short list and most of the players aren’t too spendy.

Dodgers		April 15, 1947	Jackie Robinson
Indians		July 5, 1947	Larry Doby
Browns		July 17, 1947	Hank Thompson
Giants		July 8, 1949	Hank Thompson, Monte Irvin
Braves		April 18, 1950	Sam Jethroe
White Sox	May 1, 1951	Minnie Miñoso
Athletics	Sept 13, 1953	Bob Trice
Cubs		Sept 17, 1953	Ernie Banks 
Pirates		April 13, 1954	Curt Roberts (also Carlos Bernier)
Cardinals	April 13, 1954	Tom Alston
Reds		April 17, 1954	Nino Escalera, Chuck Harmon
Senators	Sept 6, 1954	Carlos Paula
Yankees		April 14, 1955	Elston Howard
Phillies	April 22, 1957	John Kennedy
Tigers		June 6, 1958	Ozzie Virgil
Red Sox		July 21, 1959	Pumpsie Green

We’re each putting together our own rules for what kinds of cards we want. For my part I’m looking for cards that are as close as possible to when they integrated the team without requiring myself to break the bank. And the cards should feature the player with the team they integrated (ruling out the Ozzie Virgil Giants cards I already own).

The Hank Thompson Browns custom fills a hole because it’s one of the player/team combinations which isn’t available on cards. At least he has cards though. Nino Escalera and John Kennedy don’t even appear on cardboard.

Right now I have cards of Hank Thompson (1950 Bowman), Monte Irvin (1953 Topps), Minnie Miñoso (1954 Bowman), and Elston Howard (1967 Topps). The Elston Howard is a bit too old for my preferences in this project but until my COMC pile gets here it’s fine. My COMC pile though has another nine cards for this project.

1950 Bowman	Sam Jethroe	Braves
1954 Bowman	Carlos Bernier	Pirates
1954 Topps	Bob Trice	Athletics
1954 Topps	Chuck Harmon	Reds
1954 Topps	Curt Roberts	Pirates
1955 Topps	Carlos Paula	Senators
1959 Topps	Ossie Virgil	Tigers
1959 Topps	Elston Howard	Yankees
1961 Topps	Pumpsie Green	Red Sox

Most of these are pretty close to the players’ debuts. Howard is still a bit off but 1959 is still way closer than 1967. Aside from the players who don’t have cards this leaves me with a big four left. Three of those four are Hall of Famers. I don’t expect to ever get a Jackie Robinson card. Larry Doby has an affordable 1959 card but I’d like one from his original stint with the Indians. Those aren’t too bad but are worth waiting for one at the right price. Ernie Banks is similar to Doby. And Tom Alston’s 1955 Bowman is surprisingly expensive but unfortunately it’s his only card.

When my pile gets here I’ll scan everything and put them (aside from the Giants) into eight-pocket pages. So expect a follow up post on here about how the project is coming sometime next year once COMC gets its act together.

Author: Nick Vossbrink

Blogging about Photography, Museums, Printing, and Baseball Cards from both Princeton New Jersey and the San Francisco Bay Area. On Twitter as @vossbrink, WordPress at, and the web at

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