Saturday, October 28, 2023

Cards That Never Were: Bubba Smith Topps 1968, '69, '74 and '77

Cards That Never Were is a recurring series in which I create virtual trading cards for players missed in various sets. It is a concept I have borrowed from far too many to list, but I appreciate all of their efforts. More of my creations and many great creations of others can be found in the Custom Baseball Cards Facebook group (and not just baseball cards).
After a successful career at Michigan State, Charles "Bubba" Smith was selected #1 overall by the Baltimore Colts in the 1967 NFL draft. Smith played five seasons with the Colts, missing the 1972 season with an injury. He returned to play two seasons with the Oakland Raiders, followed by two seasons with the Houston Oilers. In his career, he played in 111 games, making two Pro Bowls.
For his efforts, Topps gave Smith cards in 1970-'73 and '75-'76. That left 1968-'69, '74 and '77 missing. The first three were relatively easy to create. There are very few pictures of Bubba with the Oilers. In fact, one picture has Tody listed as Bubba. I used that as a CTNW for Tody and kept searching to complete Bubba's set.
I finally found a black and white shot that I somewhat colorized. It's not the best, but okay being that Topps used the same picture on four different years of cards for Smith (1970, '71, '75 and '76). That's about as bad as it gets for trading cards. My 1977 Bubba Smith card might not be the est, but at least it is original.

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