Thursday, September 29, 2016

1958 Customs (Phantoms?) from Bob Lemke

Bob Lemke writes one of my favorite blogs. He has some great stories from bygone days thru his access to old copies of The Sporting News. Plus he was a mover and shaker in the memorabilia news industry for many years. 

He also produces some terrific customs, both sports and non-sports. After a brief hiatus he is currently selling them again and I for one am glad. They are not cheap but if you buy a few at a time they cost about the same as a Topps Now card and are far more interesting than a card of the latest walkoff passed ball incident. 

When I decided to go after the 1958 set I knew I'd be checking out what Bob had available. I did the same for my 1959 and 1960 projects. Both of those binders have a page in the back that contains a few Lemke creations. 

For 1958 Bob now has seven customs (plus a variation). I recently picked up three of them. Roy Campanella never got to play with the 'Los Angeles' Dodgers as his sparkling career ended with his auto accident late in  January of 1958.  Bob's custom is a spot-on take on what a '58 Topps Campy might have looked like. 

Next is Bob's version of the '58 multi-player specials. He found a nice shot of Don Newcombe and Johnny Antonelli and used it in a way I'm surprised Topps didn't think of. 

When I looked at the checklist for the '58 set I saw that there was no card #145 and then remembered that it had originally been the spot where Ed Bouchee would have appeared. He was dropped from the set when his legal issues arose and he was suspended. Lemke fills the slot with a nice version of what the Bouchee card might have looked like. He has available both a yellow and black background. I picked the black since there are not as many black cards in the set as there are yellow. Bob was kind enough to also sent the yellow version as well. I have the yellow version at the bottom of this post.

Unlike the other Lemke customs I have or will pick up the Bouchee card will reside within the main binder pages as if it was an actual Topps card. I don't like having an empty slot on a page in a completed set. But to just 'skip' the spot would have thrown off my numbering and made my card-related OCD kick in to high gear. 

BTW...Bouchee was reinstated to MLB in the summer of 1958 and had cards in Topps sets again from 1959 through the end of his career in 1962 with the Mets.

The reverse of Bob's custom is a few shades 'brighter' than the original Topps cards but it's a great replication in all other ways so I'm happy to use it in that #145 slot. If it wasn't available I would have had to make my own lousy custom which in no way would have looked right.

There are four other Lemke '58s listed on his site. I'll snatch those up at some point along with the '59s and '60s that I missed the first time.

I'm still weighing my options as far as a '58 Topps blog goes. I'll figure something out.

Oh, and here is an image of Bob's yellow Ed Bouchee #145. 


  1. These customs are truly some of the best ever created - I've long been tempted to purchase one myself. After reading your testimonial, I might just have to finally pull the trigger.

  2. I agree. I've picked up a few of Bobs Customs.