#15. Nick Markakis, 1981. Always a fan of the 81 design, and of Markakis. Besides, the guy just cranks out excellent fielding shots. This card was a match made in heaven.
#14. Ryan Braun, 1973. This was one of the first customs of the season, which means the season began with a bang. No one knew the season Braun would have, or the changes that would befall him by year's end. Still, the card symbolizes the year- beautiful, and a tad over the rest.
#13. Hunter Pence, 1975. I made a Pence custom after he was traded, but the photos were rather scarce from his first game. So once he got settled in Phillies garb, I made another one, focusing more on detail than color. And it worked.
#12. Dee Gordon, 1980. This card captures the quick on his feet shortstop in all his glory. Of course, according to some bloggers, his regular Topps card is muuuuuch better.
#11. CJ Wilson, 1982. The pitcher's pose is nothing new, but I made the card rely on mostly the red and white of the uniform. And it worked. The card still flows, despite the fact that Wilson will be donning another shade of red next year.
#10. Cliff Lee. I love how everything in the background fades to one color, like it's not as important. The image of Cliff in mid-pitch waiting for the ball to hit is another amusing one. On top of that, it's a beautiful card of the city's 2nd huge ace.
#9. Justin Verlander, 1968. Well, even the Cy Young winner has to have a good custom. Denny McLain comparisons aside, it's a simple, unique card, that captures the season Verlander had.
#8. Billy Butler. Another one of the first few I made. I actually made this one with a few relatives of mine in the room, to show them the process. They were amazed with the final result. I personally love the detail on Billy, and the foreground, and the simplicity of the background.
#7. Carlos Beltran, 1971. Within a day of posting this one, I was told by my dad that this is one of my best.I couldn't agree more. The way it captures the back of the uniform is pretty awesome.
#6. Chase Utley, 1978. Whenever I post new customs, I always assume that the new ones are the ones that stand out to me the most. This thought backfires on me, since this card always stands out, and pops to me. And Utley almost has an outline against the StateFarm logo behind him.
#5. Jose Reyes, 1975. I felt like I was blessed with this shot, and figured there was only one design it could fit with. I got a comment after posting it that asked if my influence was 2009 OPC. It never really crossed my mind, but looking back on it now it could have fit in with that set easily. I didn't need to do much filtering for this one.
#4. Brent Lillibridge, 1972. This card is on the list not only because it's an awesome card, but because of how the man on it responded. The Fan, who I have mentioned before, knows Brent, and showed this to him after I made it. The card has been Brent's Twitter photo since August. Glad you liked the card, Brent.
#3. Andrew McCutchen, 1993. It's a shame that there are so few sideways Topps designs, so I will eventually run out of ways to capture the moving awesomeness of Andrew McCutchen. Last year's was just as awesome as this year's. I figured I had to top it somehow, and I did. Look for an even better one next year, if I can.
#2. Brian Wilson. This may be #30 for a certain Dodger blogger, but even though he may strike fear into the hearts of Dodger fans and barbers everywhere, there's no doubt that underneath all 2 tons of facial hair, there's a good guy. The way I washed out this one, it's almost like there's a bit of grey in the beard.
#1. Ryan Howard, 1966. Of course, the number one spot was not going to cuteness. It was going to a card that contained all of the badassness of the man pictured. I made the background desaturated, and heavily saturated the red of Ryan's Phils uniform. Also, I picked a photo that could easily scare some children. He looks so big, and it looks like the bat is coming toward the camera...which would explain what happened to the photographer. Still, with the elegance and awesomeness of the shot, combined with the contrast of colors, this is easily the best custom of the year.
Unfortunately, you won't be seeing another custom until mid-February, which means it will be a rather quiet blog for a little while. But who cares. There's still the thought of more customs coming to keep the anticipation going.