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.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sportflics Cubs Are Starting to Arrive....The 1986 Set

A little more than a week ago I placed an order on Sportlots for 61 Cubs cards over the eight year span of Sportflics cards.  All but one package has arrived and I can start showing the cards.  I'll start with the 1986 set.

The Sportflics sets were initially issued by a company called Optigraphics.  Their first set was issued in 1986 and Sportflics became the fourth licensed set of baseball cards, join Topps, Fleer, and Donruss.  A few years later Optigraphics put out a standard set, Score, and changed the company name to Score, also.

The hook for these is their patented Triple Action Magic Motion effect.  The cards have three different pictures on the front, one portrait and two action shots.  Depending on how you hold the card, you'll see one of the three.  Move the card just right and you can see all three appear to move.

The 1986 set has 200 cards.  They also have a Series #1 designation, but no other series were made.  Speculation is that the first series didn't sell as well as hoped and the second series was shelved.

The Cubs managed to snag seven of the 200 cards.  They're all familiar faces from the Eighties, but with Sportflics,  the faces might not be as recognizable.  I tinkered for a little while with the scanner to try and get just one of the three photos, but nothing seemed to work.  So I've settled for taking just what the scanner gave me.


The cards are pretty plain looking, reminiscent of 1953 player or team names on the front, just three pictures.

In case you can't tell who they are, I've got Shawon Dunston, Leon Durham, Davey Lopes, Keith Moreland, Ryne Sandberg, Lee Smith, and Rick Sutcliffe.

Friday, October 17, 2014

2014 Topps Cubs Poster

Topps recently released a set of oversized retro cards based on the 1969 team posters set.  The 2014 version came in sets of 15 National or American league cards.  The limited set was /99.

Here is my pickup, which is..


It's interesting to me that Topps included Jorge Soler and Javier Baez. That tells me these must have been produced late in the season.

The 2014 cards are based on the design of this 1969 poster.  The '69 poster obviously featured more players.  It was also printed on flimsy paper while the 2014 version is on card stock.  The '69s were much bigger too.  They measure about 12" x 20" while the 2014 cards are only 5" x 7".

The 1969 poster I've shown isn't mine. The image is borrowed from Ebay.  I am on the prowl for a copy of the '69, but I'm also waiting for a bargain to come along.

It hasn't...........yet.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The 2014 Version of the Billy Williams Flag

Yesterday I showed this,

the lapel version of the Billy Williams flag that flies over Wrigley Field.

Fast forward fourteen years and the Cubs had another Billy Williams flag giveaway. This time, however, they did a much better job.

This time it was a full sized flag!  This thing measures just short of 3' x 5'.

The Cubs gave these away on July 12.  The odd thing is that the giveaway wasn't on the Cubs promotional schedule in the media guide or on the official schedule.  An Ernie Banks flag was also given away about a month earlier and it too wasn't on the giveaway schedule.  Looks like the Cubs decided to give out some extra goodies.

You can see that the flag has the Wrigley 100 logo and the sponsor logo (5gum).

They are obviously not on the actual flag that flies in right field.  But otherwise, it looks like the real thing.

The flag is made of pretty lightweight material.  I don't think it would last very long if it were hung outside.  Mine will be an inside flag.