Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cubs 2014 Media Guide

A new season means a new media guide to add to my collection.  The guides start showing up on Ebay around mid-March, but most are at inflated prices.  Even once the season got under way, the books listed were higher than I was willing to pay. I was watching a couple auctions, but when the price hit the mid-twenties, I knew I would have to keep waiting.  Then one popped up with a BIN that was just a dollar over the price you'd pay at the ballpark, and that is also well below where the auctions were heading.

I hit the BIN ASAP.

And here's what I got.

The layout and format of the book is that same one that Cubs have been using since 2000.  There is a lot of information in there that's been repeated.  But with Wrigley Field's 100th birthday this year, they've added some interesting facts and pictures.

This is a picture I've never seen before. It's the fans on the field after Gabby Hartnett's famous Homer in the Gloamin' on September 28, 1938.  It doesn't look that dark at all.

This picture is the one I've usually seen associated with that day and it sure seems a lot darker than in the other picture.

This picture is from the 1929 World Series. The current bleachers were still eight years away and left field in 1929 was a long distance away.  Adding a few rows of fans held back by a rope was a fairly common thing back then.

This picture came to the Cubs from the Hall of Fame.  Its wrong.  That is not Ernie in 1953...the white piping on his hat dates the picture as 1957.  The Cubs and the Hall should know better.  Who do they think they are, Topps?

My Roster Book/Media Guide collection now stretches from 1958 (the year of the first roster book) to 2014.

This is my run, all neatly in order on my desk at the WW World Headquarters.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Wrigley Field!

Today is the 100th anniversary of the first baseball game at Wrigley Field.

In 1914 on the former grounds of a Lutheran Seminary (holy ground??!!), Weeghman Park, home of the Federal League Chicago Chi-Feds hosted its first ball game.  Today the Cubs and Diamondbacks are wearing the uniforms of the two teams.  Hastily constructed in just a couple months, the single-decked ballpark seated about 18,000 fans.

When the Federal League folded after the 1915 season, the Cubs were bought by the Chi-Feds owner and he moved his new team into his two-year old park.  A few years later William Wrigley gained control of the team and renamed the park Cubs Park.  Prior to the 1923 season the grandstands were cut into three pieces and two of the pieces were moved back.  New seats filled in the gaps and the ballpark now seated nearly 31,000.

In the late twenties over the course of two winters the upper deck was added, again increasing capacity.  The parks name changed again at this time too, becoming Wrigley Field.

The final major renovation took place in 1937 as the brick was added along the walls of the grandstand and the bleachers were built.  The scoreboard and ivy were added at the same time.

Lights were added in 1988, the luxury suites in 1989, a few extra rows were built in the front of the grandstands, and the bleachers were expanded in 2006,  but otherwise the ballpark has remained pretty much the same since 1937.

I attended my first game at Wrigley in 1970, sitting in the general admission grandstands on the first base side.  If I were to sit in the same seat today, the view I'd have would be almost the same as the one from then.  I think that is pretty cool.

The ballpark might have some crumbling concrete, the concourses are tight, the bathrooms have troughs, and there isn't a video board (yet). But when you sit in a seat, you're sitting in history, rich baseball history that has vanished from almost every other big league venue.

You all need to attend at least one game at Wrigley Field.

I searched through my cards for any that were specifically Wrigley Field cards.  I thought I had more, but I found only eight.

Fleer 2002

Score 1989 Season Highlights

Factory Team set 2009

Factory Team set 2011

Factory Team set 2012

Factory Team set 2013

Triple Play 1992

Upper Deck 2010

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Junk Mail

I'm a Cub fan.

I live in Southwest Michigan.

I recently got some bizarre junk mail.

And I mean, junk!

Mastercard wants me to have a Cleveland Indians card.

Again, I'm a Cub fan in Southwest Michigan.

I'm puzzled as to the Indians connection.

The only thing I could come up with was that I bought Indians tickets via the MLB website six years ago.  Mrs. WW and I were on our 25th anniversary trip.  The last day of the vacation was spent in Cleveland.  We did the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then saw an Indians game that night.

But I've also bought tickets to Cubs games, Tigers games, Brewers games, Reds games and Pirates games from the MLB website.  Why did Mastercard see me as an Indians fan?

Sorry, but it's going to take more than a $100 cash back offer to get me to switch.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Mini GQ Cubs

I showed the base Gypsy Queen Cubs on Saturday.  Today I've got the mini versions.

I'm not sure why I started collecting the mini cards in 2011, but since I started, I might as well keep going.  There really isn't much difference between the mini and the base other that a tighter job of cropping.  The minis are also quite easy to collect, especially for the Cubs this year since none were in the high number short prints.


 And for those of you that would like to see all four year's worth of minis, here you go!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 12,315 Cubs cards from 88 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1969 Milton Bradley Ernie Banks I've got an entire post on the 1969 Milton Bradley set here.   Most of the Cubs pictures, including this one, were team PR pictures.  The same picture of Ernie is in the 1969 Cubs Roster Book.  MB obviously didn't have an MLB license, so the Cubs logo was removed.

1980s: 1987 Fleer #559 Bob Dernier The 1987 season was Dernier's last with the Cubs.  He played in just 93 games, though his average was very good, .317.  He became a free agent after the season and went back to the Phillies for the final two years of his career.

1990s: 1991 Star Platinum #1 Mark Grace This card is the first of nine in the Grace Platinum set.  It looks like young Mark is taking BP at Wrigley Field.  In 1991, Grace saw a dip in his performance.  After being in the top ten in batting his first three years, this season saw his average drop to .273.  He did lead all NL first baseman in fielding average, putouts, assists, and fielding chances.

2000s: 2009 Upper Deck #71 Mark DeRosa  Upper Deck has an interesting action shot of DeRosa.  Howver, in 2009 DeRosa didn't have any action with the Cubs....he was traded to the Indians in December, 2008.  He did get a card with the Indians in Series Two.

2010s: 2011 Gypsy Queen #82 Starlin Castro  This was from Castro's golden boy era, when every Topps set included several cards of him.  Not only did he have a base card in Gypsy Queen, but he was also in the Future Stars and Sticky Fingers insert sets.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 Gypsy Queen Cubs

Super casebreaker Brentandbecca again provided super service and the 2014 Gypsy Queen Cubs are in hand.

Eight Cubs were on the checklist and all were on the base list.  No shortprints for me!

Two of the eight were Cubs from the past...


....Mr. Cub and Fergie.  From the four years of Gypsy Queen, Ernie has been in three of the four while Fergie makes his second appearance as a Cub.  I've got no quibbles with either of these two being included, but I still wonder why Ron Santo has never been in this or pretty much any Topps product from the last four years.

Of the six active Cubs, one is a real head-scratcher...

....Kyuji Fugikawa.  He pitched in only 12 games last year before blowing out his elbow.  He has yet to return to the majors.  Yet somehow Topps saw fit to make him part of the set.  They must really have a strong customer base in Japan because I don't see too many America card buyers rushing in to swoop up his cards.

The rest of the Cubs in the set are whom you would expect...


..Starlin Castro, Junior Lake, Anthony Rizzo, Jeff Samardzija, and Travis Wood.

Four years worth of Gypsy Queen are enough for a tile, so here you go....the entire Cubs run of Gypsy Queen from 2011 - 2014

Friday, April 18, 2014

No, I Won't Be Adding This to a Rainbow

Since I started collecting Darwin Barney cards I've put several Barney rainbows together.  I'm also on the lookout for cards to add to any and/or all of the rainbows.

A card was recently listed on Ebay that would fit nicely into an older rainbow.

Barney was in the 2011 Chrome set and there were several parallels.  Here's what I ended up...

Base, Refractor, Xfractor (/225), Atomic Refractor (/225), Red (/25), Gold (/50), Sepia (/99), Blue (/99), Purple (/499), Orange, Autograph Refractor (/499).

I was pretty please with the results.  There were different versions of the autograph card, but I was content with one.

There was also one more base parallel and that's what recently was listed.

It's the 1/1 Canary refractor.

I was excited when I saw the listing title.  I was less excited when I read the listing.

Yikes!  I like Darwin Barney, and I like putting rainbows together, but I don't like spending $399.99 for one card.

There are four other 2011 Chrome Canary cards listed on Ebay right now and the price for the Barney is $100 more than any of the others.  I'm thinking that the card is going to be sitting there for a while unless the price drops significantly.

At this point, I'm going to pass and settle for a virtual rainbow, free of charge