Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Transforming Woodie Fryman Cub, to Woodie Fryman of the 1977 Reds

This probably interests just me and some other hobbiests, but I figured someone out there might want to see how I transform a player from one team to another.  The process of transformation happens when a player spent a short time with a team and there just weren't any viable photos out there to use.  My first line of defense is to try to find a photo of him on a team with a similar cap color.  If I can't find that then I will look for a photo w/out a cap and then paste one on.  If that doesn't work out I will try to airbrush the color of the cap in a way that is hopefully better than what Topps did.

In December of 1976 Fryman and Dale Murray were traded to the Reds for Will McEnany and Tony Perez.  Topps had a good 3 month window to make sure each of the 4 wound up on their new team.  Topps could have gone BHNH photo or even with the airbrush if they were too lazy to get a spring training shot.  Instead they didn't do anything.  Fryman had a miserable season in Cincy and was dealt to the Cubs on October 31st.  Obviously in the world of Topps 1 month makes a HUGE difference, because the 1978 Topps set has Fryman's Cincy cap/uni airbrushed out to make him look like a Cub (pictured on the left).

This put me in a bad spot when creating the missing 1977 Reds cards.  There were no photos of Fryman as a Red.  At first I thought about airbrushing his early 70's Phillies cards, but by the late 70's Fryman had aged fast and grew his gray hair out.  No way an early 70's short doo with skinny sideburns would cut it for the Disco era of layered hair and mutton chops.

To transform Fryman's card I decided it would not be easy to airbrush the cap that was already airbrushed.  Instead I would have to find a new cap.  I looked through a lot of Reds cards and decided on using a batting helmet look from Caesar Geronimo's 1981 card.  Now you're thinking, "Fryman's a pitcher, so why the batting helmet?"  Good question.  Answer:  Pitcher's love to hit and I had just seen a picture of Luis Tiant wearing a Pirate batting helmet, so I figured what the heck, plus Woodie hit .318 in 1977, so he definitely was a hitter that season.  After downloading the card I then traced an outline of the helmet and pasted it into PSP and then cropped all the area around it out.  If you look closely at Geronimo's card you'll see the dotted lines of how I traced it.  The cropping process takes about 5 or 6 minutes to do depending on how much clutter there is to remove.

Next up I have to start building extra sky behind Fryman to cover his airbrushed cap, so when I eventually paste Geronimo's helmet on top of his head I won't have any of the original hat hanging out of the sides or sticking out on top.  This happens a lot when subbing batting helmets for soft caps, because the soft caps are structured and they are higher up than the rounded batting helmet.  Looking at this picture Fryman looks like some sort of mutant, who has had parts of his head eaten away.  It's a pretty tedious process copying parts of the sky and pasting it piece by piece in order to cover just enough area.  I figure out just how much area by test pasting the new cap/helmet first and seeing just what needs to be done.

Now comes the finishing touches once the sky has fallen.  I colorize the jersey trim red, so it looks more in line with what Cincy wore.  It won't be a perfect match with what Geronimo has, but it will be good enough. Remember, I'm not looking for perfection.  I am trying to recreate a Topps card from an era where crayons, Flair pens, a cutting board and some stick glue were the tools of the trade.  Above is the finished product.  Woodie has a smile on his face !  Sadly, Mr. Fryman passed away recently.  He had a long and distinguished career that spanned parts of 3 decades.  I hope this posting helps to keep his memory alive and I apologize if I bored everyone silly.

Tomorrow I will post the 17 custom 1977 Topps cards that I created for the Reds, including Woodie's card.


  1. Hello, I need this Woodie card. My next door neighbor goes to school with his great-nephews and they don't have a card with him in a Reds uniform. Any help you can give me would be great.
    Contact me at acobb001@cinci.rr.com

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  3. Search for the 1977 Topps OPC Woodie Fryman card (sold in Canada) as it shows him in an equally poor airbrushed Reds uniform. The only official Woodie card as a Red.