Sunday, February 1, 2015

Ernie's Funeral

The funeral service for Ernie Banks was held yesterday, which also would have been his 84th birthday.  Four former players were among those who spoke, including three teammates.

Joe Torre spoke on behalf of major league baseball.  He talked about one season when Ernie got knocked down by four pitchers and then hit a home run on the next pitch.  He also mentioned the post-season drought they both had as players, but that you can still be a champion without getting a ring.

Billy Williams spoke from the heart.  He didn't have a prepared speech.  He talked about Ernie welcoming him to the team and his time as Ernie's roommate on the road.  Billy said he needed to change roomies because they stayed up too late every night.  He also talked about the rides he and Ernie shared from their homes on the south side to Wrigley Field.  Billy closed with an Ernie-type slogan for the year, "The Cubs will win as a team in 2015."

Fergie Jenkins also talked about his time as Ernie's roommate.  They were together at the end of Banks' career.  He too had trouble getting to bed at a decent hour.  Fergie also read Psalm 23.

Lou Brock too spoke fondly of his time as Ernie's roommate.  He said that unlike Billy, he didn't get to ask for another roommate; he got traded to another club instead.  Brock finished by reading the Beatitudes from Matthew 5.

Other speakers include team owner Tom Ricketts, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Illinois' new governor Bruce Rauner, Ernie's friend John Rogers, and his twin sons Joey and Jerry.  I really enjoyed the words from his two boys.

The service was broadcast on CSN Chicago and WGN, but it was just the local WGN, not the cable version.  That was disappointing to me since I only get the cable version.  I'd have to say that by ignoring Ernie's funeral, WGNAmerica has completely severed itself from any remaining Chicago connections.  MLBTV and ESPN3 streamed the service, so I was able to watch it on TV via my Apple TV.

After the service, the funeral procession headed downtown past his statue, temporarily on display at the Daley Center. From there is was on to Clark and Addison, and...

...a final trip to Wrigley Field.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

2008 Topps Finest Cubs

My trek through Finest has been dormant for a while as I've been sidetracked by all sorts of other projects.  Most of those have wrapped, and 2015 series one is still a few days out, so let's get back to Finest.

The set consists of 150 base cards and 18 autographed rookie cards.  The Cubs come up one short in the base, with only four cards, but did nab a rookie spot.

Sam Fuld gets the rookie autograph. As a September call-up, he made a great catch in 2007 during the Cubs division drive.  But otherwise, his time with the Cubs was pretty unspectacular.

The four in the base set are the four biggest names from that era...Lee, Ramirez, Soriano, and Zambrano.  No surprises here at all.



Friday, January 30, 2015

Added A Previously Unknown (to me) 2014 Topps Barney Parallel

I thought I was down to chasing just one more Barney 2014 parallel, the clear acetate /10.

But during one of my daily Ebay Barney searches, I saw a parallel I'd never seen before.

According to the seller, the card is from the First Edition set.  Ten of these factory sets were made and given away as prizes for Topps 2014 Power Players Spring Training Access Sweepstakes. The seller must have won a set because he was a boatload of these (and he's making a killing on them too.  If he can sell 600 cards for just $5 each, that's a $3,000 prize he won.  Many of the cards are going for much more that $5).

According to the contest rules, those who got an access pass in series one hobby boxes had until December 31, 2014 to redeem them.  In January, Topps chose the winners from among those who redeemed passes.  I suppose that's why I hadn't seen the card's been out for just a little while.

Since only ten of the sets were made, that makes this card as rare as the clear acetate card I'm still hunting.  The 1st Edition cards was a BIN and I snapped it up almost immediately.  I didn't want to see it pass by.

Actually, I'm going to go out on a limb and say the 1st Edition cards will be harder to find than the clear ones.  The reason...they come as part of a factory set.  I'll bet some of the winners won't want to break up the set, which will cut down on the supply.

My 2014 parallel collection is now up to 23 cards...with one more to go.  Before I get to the tile, I was playing with a GIF maker and here are all 23 in GIF form

...and the tile...

Thursday, January 29, 2015

All the Cubs Inserts From the 2010s

We've reached this decade!  And the number of different inserts sets has exploded.

Part of the reason for more inserts was the Topps 60th anniversary.  The "Cards Your Mom Threw Out" set was popular, and it had both insert  back and original back cards.  Of course, Topps had to repeat the set the following year.  Attax and Toppstown also added several cards.

So far, from 2010 - 2014, I've got 128 Cubs inserts.  That's over 30 more than any previous decade, and there are still five more years to go!  I'm going to guess I'll end up with over 200 by the end of 2019.

Here's a look at the 128 cards...

Here is the checklist that I used:

20101951 Blue Backs: NO CUBS
1951 Red Backs: NO CUBS
Attax: Derrek Lee, Starlin Castro, Alfonso Soriano
Cards Your Mother Threw Out: 3 Ernie Banks, 63 Ernie Banks, 130 Ernie Banks, 127 Lou Brock, 32 Ryne Sandberg, 91 Ryne Sandberg
Cards Your Mother Threw Out Original Backs: 3 Ernie Banks, 63 Ernie Banks, 130 Ernie Banks, 127 Lou Brock, 32 Ryne Sandberg, 91 Ryne Sandberg
History of the Game: 25 First MLB Game In Japan
History of the World Series: NO CUBS
Legendary Lineage; 70 Starlin Castro, 60 Ryne Sandberg, 36 Alfonso Soriano
Mickey Mouse All-Stars: 7 Chicago Cubs
Million Card Giveaway: NO CUBS
More Tales of the Game; 9 The Last Shall Be First, 3 Seven Touchdowns
Peak Performance: 116 Starlin Castro, 120 Tyler Colvin, 67 Derrek Lee, 40 Alfonso Soriano
Red Hot Rookies: 5 Starlin Castro
Tales of the Game: 6 Lets Play Two
Ticket to Toppstown: NO CUBS
Topps 2020: NO CUBS
Turkey Red: 17 Derrek Lee, 25 Ernie Banks, 45 Ryne Sandberg, 80 Kosuke Fukudome, 107 Aramis Ramirez, 136 Rogers Hornsby, 150 Starlin Castro
Vintage Legends Collection: 46 Rogers Hornsby
When They Were Young: NO CUBS
20111952 Black Diamond, 59 Starlin Castro
60 Years of Reprints: 4 Ernie Banks, 76 Ernie Banks, 36 Dennis Eckersley, 37 Greg Maddux, 26 Bruce Sutter
60 Years of Reprints Original Backs: 4 Ernie Banks, 76 Ernie Banks, 36 Dennis Eckersley, 37 Greg Maddux, 26 Bruce Sutter
60 Years of Topps Lost Cards: NO CUBS
60 Years of Topps Lost Cards Original Backs: NO CUBS
Before There Was Topps: NO CUBS
Blue Diamond: NO CUBS
CMG Reprints: NO CUBS
Diamond Die Cut: 54 Ernie Banks, 94 Marlon Byrd, 92 Starlin Castro, 137 Tyler Colvin, 22 Carlos Marmol, 134 Aramis Ramirez, 153 Ryne Sandberg
Diamond Duos: 7 Starlin Castro Darwin Barney, MH Greg Maddux
Diamond Stars: NO CUBS
History of Topps: NO CUBS
Kimball Champions: 72 Ernie Banks, 11 Starlin Castro, 141 Andre Dawson, 138 Rogers Hornsby, 84 Ryne Sandberg
Prime 9: NO CUBS
Purple Diamond: 9 Starlin Castro
Red Diamond: NO CUBS
Ruby Red: NO CUBS
Sapphire Blue: NO CUBS
Ticket to Toppstown: 21 Starlin Castro, TTU-14 Matt Garza, TT2-28 Aramis Ramirez, TTU-28 Alfonso Soriano
Topps 60: 98 Marlon Byrd, 84 Starlin Castro, 123 Andre Dawson, 105 Rogers Hornsby, 92 Alfonso Soriano
20121987 Minis: 47 Starlin Castro, 138 Ryan Dempster, 134 Bryan LaHair
A Cut Above: NO CUBS
Blockbusters: 19 Ryne Sandberg
Career Day: NO CUBS
Classic Walk-Offs: NO CUBS
Gold Future: 7 Starlin Castro
Gold Rush: 44 Starlin Castro, 72 Matt Garza, 42 Ryne Sandberg
Gold Standard: 8 Ernie Banks, 32 Ernie Banks
Golden Greats: 81 Ernie Banks, 76 Andre Dawson
Golden Moments: U21 Ernie Banks, 35 Starlin Castro, U15 Starlin Castro, 8 Andre Dawson, 20 Ryne Sandberg, 48 Ryne Sandberg
Golden Moments Die Cut: 78 Starlin Castro, 56 Ryne Sandberg
Mound Dominance: NO CUBS
Prime 9: NO CUBS
Timeless Talents: 20 Ernie Banks, 22 Starlin Castro, 16 Andre Dawson, 10 Ryne Sandberg
20131971 Topps Minis: NO CUBS
1972 Minis: 98 Ernie Banks, 13 Starlin Castro, 12 Anthony Rizzo
Chasing History: 36 Kerry Wood, 54 Anthony Rizzo, 103 Anthony Rizzo
Chasing the Dream: 6 Anthony Rizzo
Cut to the Chase: 34 Ernie Banks
The Greats: 4 Ernie Banks
Calling Cards: NO CUBS
Proven Mettle: NO CUBS
Spring Fever: 15 Andre Dawson, 14 Anthony Rizzo, 13 Josh Vitters
Elite: 10 Ernie Banks
Chase It Down: NO CUBS
WBC Stars: 2 Anthony Rizzo
Making Their Mark: 17 Anthony Rizzo
Franchise Forerunners: NO CUBS
Postseason Heroes: NO CUBS
20141989 Mini Die Cuts: 35 Ernie Banks, 70 Starlin Castro, 15 Andre Dawson, 98 Ryne Sandberg
50 Years of the Draft: NO CUBS
All Rookie Cup Team: NO CUBS
All-Star Access: ARI Anthony Rizzo, JS Jeff Samardzija
Before They Were Great: 12 Greg Maddux
Breakout Moments: NO CUBS
Fond Farewell: NO CUBS
Future Stars That Never Were: 18 Greg Maddux
Power Player: 96 Darwin Barney: 156 Starlin Castro, 146 Kyuji Fujikawa, 44 Junior Lake, 93 Jeff Samardzija: 47 Carlos Villanueva
Power Players: AR Anthony Rizzo
Saber Stars: NO CUBS
Spring Fever: NO CUBS
Super Veterans: NO CUBS
The Future is Now: NO CUBS
Upper Class: 50 Ernie Banks, 39 Greg Maddux, 45 Ryne Sandberg
World Series Heroes: NO CUBS

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

I Got Me A Venezuelan Problem

Since the 2013 version of Heritage came out, I've had a bit of a problem with the black back Venezuelan version.

When it comes to the Darwin Barney card, I can't stop buying 'em.

And I've done it again.

And again.

The Venezuelan versions are short-printed.  That we know.  Unknown is just how rare they are, since they are not numbered.  I've been tracking the card since release, and only eleven have been sold on Ebay.  By contrast, the much more hyped and expensive Barney no-position card from 2012 (which I've also been tracking) has been sold 34 times.

I've been preaching for the past couple years that the Venezuelan cards are more scarce, and the prices should be much higher.  But they aren't.

A few days ago I showed some Ernie and Billy cards from a recent COMC purchase.  At the same time I browsed through the Barney cards and found a Venezuelan.

It cost me $1.47.  I added it to my cart.

While waiting for the order to arrive, guess what pops up on Ebay for the first time in nearly a year?

Yup, a Barney Venezuelan.  The auction started at 99¢.  It ended at 99¢.

For less that three bucks I added two more to my stash...

...which now stands at ten cards.

I know, I've got a problem!

My problem---I can't pass up a bargain.

The average price of the 11 Ebay Barneys and my COMC is $3.27.

The average price of the 34 Ebay 2012 No-position Barneys is $88.46.

I just can't pass up rare cards at bargain prices.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Those Little Inconsistencies Bug Me!

If you've been reading the blog for any length of time, you know that I'm an organized person.  Maybe even over-organized.

I like things nice and tidy.  I like them in neat rows.  I like them looking organized and consistent.

My team sets and complete sets reflect that organization and consistency.

So why, dear Topps, must you torment me with inconsistencies??

This is Don Zimmer's card from 1991.  The 1991 Cubs got off to a mediocre 18-19 start and Zimmer was fired.  Jim Essian, who was managing the Cubs AAA team, was hired to take over the big league club.

When 1991 Topps traded was released, Topps made a card for the new skipper.

But something in the design of the card is a little different that what was used with the base set.

Look at the two manager cards side by side and it should be pretty easy to spot the change.


They went  from using a special MGR logo to just plain lettering.

You know that those inconsistencies kill me!  Of course I had to do something about it immediately!

Ahhhh!  Much better.

But a quick look through the complete traded set gave me these...

....more inconsistent manager cards.

You know I had to do it!

Monday, January 26, 2015

More Goodies From Tim

Reader Tim has been re-prioritizing and thinning his collection.  He's been extremely generous by sending cards he no longer wanted my way.

A boatload of Billys was included.  I've got many of these already, so the doubles will go into the birthday packs for the kids at school.

In addition to the cards, a box was included...

...this box, a Ryne Sandberg Baseball Card Kit.  Line Drive was the maker of the kit back in 1991.

And what makes up a baseball card kit?

First, you get an album, this one personalized for Ryne Sandberg.  Inside are ten four-pocket pages for cards.

The kit also included this six page booklet on Ryno.

But you can't call something a baseball card kit without baseball cards.  So Line Drive included a set of 20 Ryne Sandberg cards.

I'd never seen the kit or cards before, so I am thrilled to add them to the Ryno collection.

Thank you Tim!

And if you see and 2014 Topps Tribute Billy Williams cards, let Tim know.... he's on the hunt for ALL of them!