Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bob Lemke's Cool Custom Cards: January 2010

The 1955 Topps All-America Football Billy Clyde Puckett

By Bob Lemke

This is another in a semi-regular series of blog postings about my custom card creations. For more than six years now, I have been creating "cards that never were" in the formats of some of favorites from the 1950s as well as some of the card hobby's most popular designs of the last century. I have now completed something like 125 different cards in a dozen or more designs, but the format that started it all was the 1955 Topps All-American Football set, a childhood favorite.

As much as possible when creating fantasy cards, I stick to the real world of actual ballplayers and classic designs. Early on, though, in my "update" to the All-American set, I stepped outside the box to create a football card for Billy Clyde Puckett.

Billy Clyde is a fictional football hero who starred for the TCU Horned Frogs and the New York Giants in several novels by Dan Jenkins: Semi-Tough, Life Its Ownself, Rude Behavior and You Gotta Play Hurt. He also pops up in cameos in some of Jenkins' other works.

If you've ever read Dan Jenkins, you understand why I made a Puckett card. If you haven't, you really should start. Jenkins' books are simply among the funniest I have ever encountered. I began reading him in college and have never stopped. I've read of them two or three times. They are laugh-out-loud funny, decidedly politically incorrect and whether he's writing about football, golf (e.g., Dead Solid Perfect), or the worlds of big "bidness" or magazine journalism, his characters, insights into human foibles and, especially to me, his turns of phrase, made him one of my all-time favorite authors. I see that he has also authored, co-authored or edited quite a number of non-fiction books as well, including biographies of several football stars.

Anyway, back to my Billy Clyde card. Recognize him? That's actually Burt Reynolds in a photo from his football days at Florida State. Since Burt played Billy Clyde in the movie version of Semi-Tough, he seemed like the natural choice to embody Puckett on my card. Reynolds is also included among my '55-style cards on an FSU card of his own. You can see that, and many of my other creations, in my Photobucket albums at


Bob Lemke is a collector of bubblegum cards in the 1950s-1960s, Bob Lemke's hobby today is creating cards of current and former “players” in those "golden age" styles. He currently edits the vintage sections of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards and maintains a hobby blog at

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