I am "borrowing" intellectual property from several bloggers for this piece. I first was inspired to create virtual cards after seeing the outstanding card creations from bloggers including Cards That Never Were (at White Sox Cards), Chachi Cards (at The Phillies Room), random card creations and corrections (at Wrigley Wax), Final Tribute cards (at Garvey, Cey, Russell and Lopes) and random stuff (at Punk Rock Paint).
Over the past couple of years, Matt R. has done an incredible job exploring the 1976 Topps set through his site Project Baseball 1976. Matt has already gone through the regular set and is now about midway through the "traded" set. It's not Matt's fault, but one card is missing, a card that never was. Of course, I am talking about Rick Stelmaszek's 1976 traded card.
Stelmaszek spent the 1975 season playing for Wichita, the Cubs AAA ninor league team. On January 23, 1976, 25 years ago last Sunday, Stelmaszek was traded to the New York Yankees for Jerry Pirtle (who finally made it to the majors with Montreal in 1978).
In 1976, Stelmaszek played for the Syracuse Chiefs, the Yankees AAA team. He was unable to beat out Elrod Hendricks and Fran Healy as Thurman Munson's backups and was never promoted to the major league roster. By 1977, Stelmaszek was with Tucson via an unknown transaction.
While Stelmaszek never officially played for the Yankees nor was he featured on a regular Topps 1976 card, I decided to make a traded card for him. It's my blog and my insanity. Besides, I blame Steve, Matt, Jim, Paul...