Let’s Talk About These Awful Sketch Cards

Almost immediately after coming back into the hobby, I become fascinated by the products coming out of Leaf Trading Cards. It’s clear that Topps Company needs some real competition. Despite what some collectors will preach, to be a legit baseball card manufacturer in this hobby, you need MLB logos. To me, the only company that I believe can truly challenge the King of Baseball Cards, is Leaf. Upper Deck’s a shell of its former self and from rumblings among collectors, is on its final legs. Panini America AKA Donruss still has a long way to go, in my humble opinion.

That being said, Brian Grey really needs to step up the sketch card market game by 100% judging from all these God-awful cards I keep running into on eBay. Some of these cards look so bsd that I would be embarrassed to have my name next to it. On Twitter, Brian has already stated he is keeping an eye on these problem cards to keep from being accepted by Leaf so it’s time to call out the artists in questions. I am going to start with the three worst ones I have seen and will end it with one, great card I found this morning.

The Bad – 2014 Leaf Masterworks
Artist – Rich Molinelli

This 1/1 sketch card comes from a product that still sells for over $150 a box. In case you’re wondering, a box contains just three cards. The terrible card you see below, which was created by Rich Molinelli, was one of those three cards. It’s currently on eBay with a starting bid of $60.00, a price I seriously doubt the seller will get. Yes, it does feature an autograph but thanks to Topps, Donruss, and Leaf … Jose’s autographs have reached an all-time low worth. That’s great for me, bad for this guy who thinks someone will pay $60 for this monstrosity.


The Bad – 2014 Leaf Masterworks
Artist – Rich Molinelli

Here we go again. Someone please take away Rich’s pencils or at the very least Brian should demand his money back because unless Jose is some kind of Frankenstein monster, this does not capture his likeness in any way. Hey, it could be worse. MUCH, MUCH, WORSE. I will now forever associate awful sketch cards with Leaf products and so will many other collectors. In this day and age of Twitter, Facebook, message boards, and blogs … that’s not the kind of reputation you want following you around.


The Bad – 2014 Leaf Pop Century
Artist – Eban Morales

God almighty, this card is truly terrifying. It comes from a very fun product but this is just … scary. What happened to Jose’s face? Was he the victim of an acid-attack? Why is his left eyebrow so dark but his right not visible? Why was he given Dolly Parton’s lips? This is disturbing on so many levels. I’m not sure if I’m looking at a baseball card or a Garbage Pail Kid. The artist who created this is Eban Morales. Please, don’t ever do it again. This card had a $114 Buy It Now price but sold for an unknown Best Offer.


There you have three of the many awful sketch cards I have run into on eBay this month alone and only because I’m searching out the player I collect. In reality, there are hundreds of these bad sketch cards all over eBay and sadly most coming from Leaf. Don’t get me wrong, I have seen some really, really nice pieces here and there but there’s too much bad to remember the good. As for the best Jose Canseco sketch I have seen so far, it comes from Leaf and an artist named Jay Pangen. As you can see, good artwork helps sell cards.

Categories: eBay Treasures, Leaf Trading Cards | Tags: , , , , | 8 Comments

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8 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About These Awful Sketch Cards

  1. Why are we even seeing sketch cards in sports products? Card companies can’t pay sketch card artists enough to make creating photo-realistic art in the quantities required, and that’s what we’re conditioned to expect.

  2. Lol… neither of these artists were very kind to Jose.

  3. I have seen Rich Molinelli’s stuff, he does have some decent sketch cards but they are mostly comic cards so his artistic licensing with those is a bit loose and open to interruption but his life-like sketches are off. If you notice both the cards here have a cartoonish look to them.

    Eban Morales on the other hand needs a lot of practice, I looked at some of his other cards and they are all pretty bad. Though it looks like he used an old man as the model, Jose looks like he is 80 years old with a skin condition.

  4. Jason

    Jay did a sketch of my son at the National a few years back. Very nice and talented guy.

  5. LOL I think my favorite is http://www.ebay.com/itm/2012-LEAF-BEST-OF-BASEBALL-JOSE-CANSECO-1-1-SKETCH-CARD-SKETCHED-BY-KEVIN-JOHN-/201289909312?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2eddd04440&rmvSB=true&afsrc=1&nma=true&si=OxFac89SLheLxvtpgzJMTp49pVY%253D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557 – once I saw your blog posting, I immediately thought of it, as I had cast my eyes upon it for the first time last night. It gives me hope that I, too, can be a sketch artist! Kudos to Leaf for trying different things – that is what it is all about, but I would not be a big fan of the sketch cards I have seen so far.

  6. Eban Morales

    I found these critisms very interesting. The artist doing these cards get paid $8 a card to do an original rendering , fill color,on a small scale and within a short period of time.
    This was my first time ever doing cards and I pumper out over 200 of them. Not meant to be fine art but not deserving of such harshness but I guess a subject to write about us a subject to write about

  7. Pingback: Flashback: The Stan Musial Sticker Dump of 2015 and Leaf’s Official Response – The Baseball Card Blog

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