Saturday, October 25, 2014

Some Bonus Sportflics Cards From 1986

In addition to their base set, in 1986 Sportflics put out another set called Decade Greats.  Three Cubs made it onto the 75 card checklist.

Ernie Banks was the shortstop of the 1950s.

The other two cards are interesting....take a look


You may be asking yourself "I didn't know that Mickey Cochrane and Tony Olivia played for the Cubs!"
Well, they didn't.

Which leads to the next question...Why did WW include them in the Cubs team set?

The answer is simple.

These are Sportflics cards; three pictures in one.  But on these cards, instead of three different pictures of the same player, they have pictures of three different players.

The Mickey Cochrane card is for the best catchers of the 1930's.  Also included are Bill Dickey and...

...Cubs Hall of Famer Gabby Hartnett.  I couldn't get a decent scan of the card that showed Hartnett, so I had to hold it at just the right angle and then take a picture.

The Olivia card is for outfielders of the 1960s and also includes Al Kaline and....

...Billy Williams.   Though the card is for outfielders of the 1960s, the picture is probably from the mid-seventies, when Billy let his hair grow a little longer and grew the mustache.

Friday, October 24, 2014

All The 2014 Cubs Inserts

As usual, Update is loaded with inserts.  And has been usual lately, there aren't many Cubs.

The non-relic insert sets include The Future is Now, Power Players, Fond Farewells, 1989 Mini Die-Cuts, World Series Heroes, All-Star Access, Derek Jeter Framed Reprints, and 2000 Topps Gold Label Framed.

Here's the Cubs cards:


It's Anthony Rizzo or Bust!  The All-Star Access card is has Rizzo's name on it but Castro is featured just as prominently as Rizzo.  I wonder it that's why Topps didn't bother with an Access card for Castro?

Thursday, October 23, 2014

2014 Topps Update Cubs

One week and one day ago Brentandbecca took delivery on 60 cases of Topps Update.  Yesterday my 330 card set and Cubs team set arrived.  It's amazing to me that he can bust so much so quickly.  And then he sorts the cards.  I can't imagine the number of hours he must put in to get the cards shipped so quickly.  Again, amazing.

The Cubs netted 10 spots in the set, which is just about where it should be.  The past few years, the Cubs haven't been cheated in the Update set.

That's not a good means lots of changes.  Hopefully next year will see fewer Cubs in Update...


...unless they land a bunch of players on the All Star team.   The Cubs had 2½ All Stars this year: Rizzo, Castro, and Samardzija-the half since he was traded just before the break but earned a spot on the NL team.  Spellcheck made the All Star team but not the Update set as an All Star.

Here are the rest of the Update Cubs, in alphabetical order:



My guess is that the checklist was finalized by the end of July, since Javier Baez and Jorge Soler were left out.  The notable omission for me is starter Kyle Hendricks.  He made only three starts in July, which wasn't enough for Topps to think him worthy of the checklist.  He finished the season 7-2 with an ERA of 2.46.  I wonder if that's good enough to make the 2015 set.

Tomorrow I'll have all the Cubs insert cards. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

2014 Mike Olt Update Sabermetrics

My update set from Brentandbecca should arrive this afternoon.  In the meantime, this is my only update card...

...of Mike Olt.  He stuck with the Cubs for most of the season until management finally got tired of all of his strike outs.  For the year, the guy had 258 at bats, struck out 100 times, and hit a paltry .160.  Sure, he had 12 home runs.  But otherwise...a bust.

So why do I have this card?

Because its "special."  This is the sabermetrics version, with all those new-fangled stats on the back.

Here's a closeup of the stats.

I must admit I'm not all that versed on them.  All I know is that there isn't a way to pretty up his 2014 numbers.  A pig with lipstick is the best way I can come up with to describe them. Ugly is still ugly.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

S̶p̶o̶r̶t̶f̶l̶i̶c̶s̶ Sport Flix1996 Cubs

On Saturday I took a look at the first release of Sportflics.  Today I've got their swan song.

The final set came out in 1996, ten years after the first.  There were. however, a few years during that span (1991 -1993) in which no set was produced.  So that makes this final set their eight release.

The sports card industry saw quite a bit of change during those ten years.  Sportflics came out just as the industry was about to explode.  By the  time of it demise, the industry bubble had burst and Sportflics was one of many casualties.

The company that produced the cards saw plenty of change too.  It's name went from Optigraphics to Score to Pinnacle to belly-up in 1998.

Even the brand name changed, becoming Sport Flix in 1995.  As the company and brand struggled, the set size shrunk.  The 1996 version has only 144 cards.  Among the 144 cards were 24 special UC3 cards.  These have a 3D look to them.  The previous year, Pinnacle had an entire 147-card UC3 set.  Cutting back to only 24 was quite a downgrade.

The Cubs were slotted into just three spots on the checklist.


Grace and Sosa got regular cards...

....and Sammy has one of the 24 UC3 cards.  Pinnacle must have been caught off-guard with Ryne Sandberg's return from retirement because the 1996 set is the only one that didn't have a card of Ryno from a season in which he was active.

I've got Sportflics/Sportflix bookends now posted.  In the next couple weeks I'll fill in the rest of the sets.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Tracking the Cubs Collection Over the Years

One unintended benefit of the Five Random Cubs Cards posts is that is has given me a record of the size of my collection since 2009.  Each post will typically include the nubmer of Cubs cards and brands at the time of the post.  Over the weekend I went through the posts and made a spreadsheet that showed the number of cards and brands in my Cubs collection.  Instead of using all 147 posts, I took the information from posts near the end of March, June, September, and December.

Here's what I came up with:


And because I'm a visual guy, here's the same information in a couple of line graphs:

Back in 2009 my collection was mainly the big four: Topps, Donruss, Fleer, and Upper Deck.  There several smaller sets too, but the bulk of the 5,274 cards came from the four biggies.  

Since then, the growth of the collection and number of brands had been pretty steady.  There aren't any crazy spikes along the lines.  The number of cards grew at a steeper pace though 2011 and has leveled a bit since then.

Looking ahead, I'm anticipating the same slow and steady growth.  It's not like I've got all the Cubs cards so there are always more to be added.  

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 12,793 Cubs cards from 97 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1971 Topps #98 Joe Decker  Righty Joe Decker was one of several young pitchers that were supposed to bolster the Cubs rotation in the early '70s.  He pitched nine games in AAA, but spent the majority of the 1971 season with the Cubs.  He was used as a reliever and spot starter.  

1980s: 1989 Bowman #284 Greg Maddux  This guy didn't bolster the starting rotation, he anchored it!  The Cubs won the division in 1989 and Maddux was a big help towards that, posting a record of 19-12 with an ERA of 2.95.  He finished third in the Cy Young voting.

1990s: 1992 Star #3 Ryne Sandberg This card is one of a slew of Sandberg Star cards from the late '80s and early '90s.  The Star '92 set has nine Ryno cards; this is #3.  Looks like they snapped a picture in Mesa.

2000s: 2004 Bazooka #243 Felix Pie  Cards of players like Felix Pie remind me to be cautious when hearing hype about superstar prospects on the way.  Pie's name was talked about for a couple years before he finally came to the Cubs....and went bust.

2010: 2010 Allen & Ginter #88 Kosuke Fukudome  Cards of players like Felix Pie Kosuke Fukudome remind me to be cautious when hearing hype about superstar prospects foreign hotshots on the way.  Pie's Fukudome's name was talked about for a couple years before he finally came to the Cubs....and went bust.