Wednesday, May 25, 2016


When showing the different Bowman cards over the years, I used lots of Sammy Sosa cards.  He had a long run with the Cubs and I like using as few players as possible when showing a span of cards over the years.

Something that may have stood out for you on those cards was his autograph.  

It looks like a fourth grader wrote that out.  And where is the cursive, Sammy?  A side note.....More and more schools aren't even bothering to teach cursive any more.  But I'm a traditionalist and at my school we still teach cursive.

That same printed signature also showed up on some Heritage cards.  I'm guessing that the printing job was the only Sammy signature that Topps had available.  I'm thinking that Topps got this way back in the early years of his career and just kept trotting it out.

But in 1998 Sammy became SAMMY!  He was all over the place.  Printing your name wouldn't work any more - it wasn't classy enough.

So Sammy learned cursive, as we see on this Fleer card from 2000. 

By 2005 Topps was able to ditch the printing, too.  Sammy was getting lazy, also, as the letters of his name became less legible.

He also signed a bunch of stickers for Leaf and...

...this 2004 card is in my autograph collection.  That doesn't look any of the other signatures.  I wonder if he really signed it?

Sammy wouldn't cheat, would he??

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Bowman Before the Black

Before Bowman went on a 15 year black and red run, they had some pretty simple designs.  Topps resurrected the brand in 1989 and didn't exactly dazzle anyone with the design early on.  They kept things pretty basic until 1994.  That year the cards were full bleed and had some gold lettering.  It was a very un-Bowman looking design.

The following tile takes a look at their early run, from 1989 through 1996.

And while I was at it, I made a tile to show the complete modern run of Bowman.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Bowman Black and Red

Consistency is King.

That was the Bowman motto from 1997 through 2011.

The design on Bowman cards was very consistent over that 15 year time span.  Two colors, black and red, dominated the design.  Bowman cards would typically have a black border and red trim, at least on the cards of the current major leaguers.

Take a look:

That made it pretty easy to spot a Bowman card.  Was it black and red?  If so, it was Bowman.  You'll also notice that an autograph was a design element for the first 13 years of the black and red run.

But all good things must come to an end.

The autographs disappeared first, in 2010.

Black and red went bye-bye in 2012.  Here's what we've had ever since:

The borders have been white and blue was the trim color until this year when the border completely disappeared.

The consistency king is dead.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,227 Cubs cards from 108 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1969 Topps #404 Vic LaRose Garry Ross Rookie...There was no need to back up the truck with either of these two.  LaRose spent the 1969 season in AAA and was sold to the Braves after the season. Ross was traded to the Padres early in the 1969 season in the trade that brought Dick Selma to the Cubs.

1980s: 1989 Fleer #433 Al Nipper  Nipper didn't pitch in the majors during 1989.  A bum knee kept him out of any spring training action and the Cubs released him in late March.

1990s: 1993 Bowman #440 Mark Grace  Looks like Grace is taking a swing at Shea Stadium.  I like this version of the Cubs road uniform. The Chicago is nice and big, and there is the bear logo on one sleeve and the Cubs logo on the other.

2000s: 2002 SP Legendary Cuts #68 Ron Santo The sepia tone and simple design make this a really nice looking card.

2010s: 2010 Upper Deck #124 Jake Fox  An unlicensed card with visible logos and team name...this is why Topps sued Upper Deck, won, and put Upper Deck out of the baseball card business.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Backing Up the Truck: The Prodigal Sons

When Don Kessinger was traded to the Cardinals after the 1975 season, all of the 1969 Cubs were gone.

But many didn't stay gone.  Several of the prodigals returned.

Randy Hundley...came back for parts of the 1976 and 1977 seasons.  His knees were gone and he wasn't very good.  Hundley later managed in the Cubs farm system.  I think he may have ended up managing the Cubs if Dallas Green hadn't become the GM.  Green purged the organization of most of the 1969 remnants.

Ken Holtzman...came back for parts of the 1978 and 1979 seasons.  I remember when the Cubs made the trade with the Yankees to get him that it was announced over the PA during a game at Wrigley Field.  It was met with a loud cheer.  His arm was gone and he wasn't very good.

Fergie Jenkins...was signed as a free agent and pitched with the Cubs in 1982 and 1983.  He picked up is 3000th career strike out during the second go-around, but was just a shell of the first time Fergie.

Ernie Banks...was a coach for a couple years and then was a good-will ambassador for the rest of his life.

Billy Williams...had a couple tenures as a coach.

Ron Santo...was in the radio booth for 20 years, living and dying with the fortunes of the team.

Friday, May 20, 2016

What I've Got in the Billy Williams PSA Collection

Yesterday I listed the 28 cards that I'm missing.  I figured I might as well list the 99 that I do have.

Picture first...

...then the list:

1947 -1966 Exhibits Billy Williams
1961 Topps Billy Williams
1961 Topps Cubs Team
1961 Topps Stamp Panels Billy Williams Carl Willey
1961 Topps Stamp Panels Billy Williams Warren Spahn
1961 Topps Stamps Billy Williams
1962 Salada-Junket Coins Billy Williams
1962 Topps Billy Williams
1962 Topps Bucks Billy Williams
1962 Topps Cubs Team
1962 Topps Stamp Panels Gus Triandos Billy Williams
1962 Topps Stamps Billy Williams
1963 Exhibits Statistic Back Billy Williams
1963 Post Cereal Billy Williams Hand Cut
1963 Salada-Junket Coins Billy Williams
1963 Topps Billy Williams
1963 Topps Cubs Team
1964 Bazooka Billy Williams Hand Cut-Kneeling
1964 Topps Billy Williams
1964 Topps Coins Billy Williams
1964 Topps Cubs Team
1964 Topps Giants Billy Williams
1964 Topps Photo Tatoo Billy Williams
1964 Topps Stand Ups Billy Williams Sp
1965 Bazooka Billy Williams Hand Cut-Batting
1965 O-Pee-Chee Billy Williams
1965 O-Pee-Chee Cubs Team
1965 O-Pee-Chee Nl Home Run Leaders
1965 Topps Billy Williams
1965 Topps Cubs Team
1965 Topps Embossed Billy Williams
1965 Topps Mays/Williams/Cepeda Nl Home Run Leaders
1965 Topps Transfers Billy Williams
1966 H.F. Gardner Postcard Billy Williams
1966 Topps Billy Williams Sp
1966 Topps Cubs Team
1966 Topps May/Mccovey/Williams Nl Home Run Leaders
1966 Topps Rub-Offs Billy Williams
1967 Dexter Press Billy Williams Premiums
1967 Topps Billy Williams
1967 Topps Cubs Team
1968 Topps Billy Williams
1968 Venezuela Topps Billy Williams
1969 Globe Imports Playing Cards Billy Williams 7 Of Clubs
1969 Kahns Weiners Billy Williams
1969 Kelly's Potato Chips Pins Billy Williams
1969 Milton Bradley Billy Williams
1969 Mlb Photostamps Billy Williams Hand Cut
1969 Mlbpa Pins Billy Williams
1969 O-Pee-Chee Nl Rbi Leaders
1969 Sunoco Cubs Pins Billy Williams
1969 Topps Billy Williams
1969 Topps Mccovey/Santo/Williams Nl Rbi Leaders
1969 Topps Stamps Billy Williams
1969 Transogram Billy Williams Hand Cut
1970 Kelloggs Billy Williams
1970 O-Pee-Chee Billy Williams
1970 Topps Billy Williams
1970 Topps Cubs Team
1970 Topps Super Billy Williams
1971 Bazooka No Number Billy Williams Hand Cut
1971 Bazooka No Number Billy Williams/Dave Mcnally/Jim Fregosi Hand Cut-Panel
1971 Dell Today's Team Stamps Billy Williams
1971 Kelloggs Billy Williams
1971 Milk Duds Billy Williams Complete Box
1971 Milk Duds Billy Williams Hand Cut
1971 O-Pee-Chee Billy Williams
1971 O-Pee-Chee N.L. Rbi Leaders Bench/Perez/Williams
1971 O-Pee-Chee Nl Home Run Leaders Bench/Williams/Perez
1971 Topps Bench/Perez/Williams Nl Rbi Leaders
1971 Topps Bench/Williams/Perez Nl Home Run Leaders
1971 Topps Billy Williams
1971 Topps Coins Billy Williams
1971 Topps Cubs Team
1971 Topps Tattoos Billy Williams Perforated
1972 Chicago Cubs Team Issue Billy Williams
1972 Kelloggs Billy Williams Phrase Omitted
1972 Milton Bradley Billy Williams
1972 O-Pee-Chee Billy Williams
1972 O-Pee-Chee Billy Williams Ia
1972 O-Pee-Chee Cubs Team
1972 Topps Billy Williams
1972 Topps Billy Williams Ia
1972 Topps Cubs Team
1973 Kelloggs Billy Williams
1973 O-Pee-Chee Batting Leaders B.Williams/R.Carew
1973 O-Pee-Chee Billy Williams
1973 O-Pee-Chee Cubs Team
1973 Topps Billy Williams
1973 Topps Candy Lids Billy Williams
1973 Topps Cubs Team
1973 Topps Pin-Ups Billy Williams
1973 Topps Williams/Carew Batting Leaders
1974 Kelloggs Billy Williams
1974 O-Pee-Chee All Star Right Field R.Jackson,B.Williams
1974 Topps Billy Williams
1974 Topps Cubs Team
1974 Topps Jackson/Williams All-Star Right Fielders
1974 Topps Stamps Billy Williams

Thursday, May 19, 2016

What I'm Missing From the Billy Williams PSA Collection

Adding the 1965 Bazooka Billy meant that I am up to 99 of the 127 items on the PSA master list that show Billy Williams as a Cub.

That also means that I am missing 28 items.

Getting these will not be easy by both availability and cost.  They are rare and expensive.

Below are the 28 items that I need.  You'll notice that six on the list are in red.  Those are the only items that I could find on Ebay.  The price is included too.  After looking at the price you'll know why I haven't hit the BIN on any of them.

1962 Shirriff Coins Billy Williams
1962-1965 Jay Publishing Photos-Type 2 Billy Williams Portrait Pose To Chest,Dark Background
1962-1965 Jay Publishing Photos-Type 2 Billy Williams Portrait, Pose To Waist, Arms Crossed
1962-1965 Jay Publishing Photos-Type 2 Billy Williams Portrait-Pose To Waist, Fence Background
1964 Bazooka Stamps Billy Williams
1964 Bazooka Stamps MLB Players Complete Panel
1964 Rawlings Glove Box-Hand Cut Billy Williams - $26.99
1964 Topps Rookie All-Star Banquet The 1961 Topps...
1964 Venezuela Topps Billy Williams
1965 Bazooka Panel Hand Cut Torre/Williams/Chance
1965 Old London Coins Billy Williams $60.00
1966 Bazooka Panel Hand Cut Kaline/Fisher/Williams
1966 Chicago Cubs Team Issue Billy Williams
1966 Venezuela Topps Cubs Team
1966/67 Bazooka Billy Williams Hand Cut
1967 Bazooka Panel Hand Cut Kaline/Alou/Williams - $349.00
1967 Pro's Pizza Billy Williams
1967 Topps Punch-Outs Billy Williams
1967 Venezuela Topps Billy Williams
1968 Bazooka Billy Williams Hand Cut $350.00
1968 Kahns Wieners Billy Williams $39.00
1968 Topps Action All-Star Stickers Billy Williams/Rod Carew/Tony Gonzalez
1969 Chicago Cubs Photos Billy Williams
1969 Topps Super Billy Williams
1971 Topps Greatest Moments Billy Williams $199.00
1972 Kelloggs Billy Williams Missed Only One Last Season
1973 Kelloggs Williams/Blass/ Matlack-Panel
1973 Topps Comics Billy Williams