Sunday, May 19, 2019

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 16,809 Cubs cards from 198 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1973 Jewel Ron Santo The 1973 season was Santo's last with the Cubs.

1980s: 1987 Classic Yellow #124 Andre Dawson  Who thought that this picture would be appropriate for a baseball card?  Yikes

1990s: 1997 Pacific #250 Mark Grace  Just a hint of stirrup left as the pant kept getting longer throughout the '90s.

2000s: 2006 Topps #450 Derrek Lee  Lee was coming off of the best year of his career and Topps rewarded him with a x50 card number.

2010s: 2011 Topps Traded #205 D.J. LeMahieu  LeMahium is turning a 5-4-3 double play against the White Sox on June 20, 2011.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Second Best Game Ever

I should have posted this yesterday, but forgot.

Below is a post from ten years and a day ago.  It's my account of the Cubs 23-22 loss to the Phillies on May 17, 1979.  When I wrote the post I used the title "The Best Game Ever."  And it was the best game I'd ever been to.  I now rank it #2, behind the Cubs win in game 1 of the NLCS.  

Enjoy my take on the second best game I've ever attended:

Thirty years ago I was lucky enough to be at Wrigley Field for one of the best Cubs games, ever. On May 17, 1979, the Cubs lost to the Phillies in ten innings by the score of 23-22. Yep, you read that right, 23-22. It was an amazing game.

Photo of the scoreboard from the New York Times website

My story...

I was a senior in high school in 1979 and we picked May 17 as our senior ditch day. Several of us planned an outing to the bleachers at Wrigley Field. Getting tickets to a game was so much easier back then. This was before Wrigley had lights, so tickets to weekday games in April and May were a snap to get. The bleacher tickets were $1.50 and sold only on the day of the game (today they are $60 and sell out the first day they are available in February). We arrived at the park around 11:30 and got right in. We settled in the right field bleachers in about the fifth row.

I don't remember it being that windy, but the wind definitely was blowing out. The game saw a total of eleven home runs, which tied the record for most home runs in a game. Mike Schmidt hit two and Dave Kingman hit three!

Mike Schmidt, two dingers, Dave Kingman, three

The first inning set the stage for the entire day. Cubs starter Dennis Lamp lasted only 1/3 of an inning was was tagged for six runs. His relief Donnie Moore gave up a home run to Phillies starter Randy Lerch and before the Cubs even came to the plate they were down 7-0.

Lerch's home run was the highlight of his day, because he too lasted only 1/3 of an inning. Kingman hit his first homer of the day in the first as the Cubs scored 6 runs and trailed 7-6.

The two starting pitchers, each lasting on 1/3 of an inning.

The second inning was a rarity, one in which both teams failed to score. But the Phillies put an 8 spot on the Cubs in the top of the third and just like that the Cubs were behind by nine runs! The Cubs did not answer the Phillies like they did in the first, going scoreless in the third.

The Phillies kept their run parade going in the fourth as they added two more runs, but the Cubs answered with three in the bottom of the inning as Kingman and Steve Ontiveros hit back to back homers. But the score was 17-9 and Cubs were still down by 8.

The top of the fifth saw four more Phillies cross the plate and when the Cubs came up in the bottom of the fifth, they trailed 21-9. Usually when your team scores nine runs in the first four innings you feel pretty good. We didn't feel good. We were trying to decide how much longer to stick around at the park.

Well, the bottom of the fifth helped us decide to stay awhile longer. The Cubs put a seven spot on the board and narrowed the gap to five, 21-16 The highlights of the inning were a two run shot by Kingman (his second of the day) and a grand slam by Bill Buckner. Buckner's shot landed close to where we were sitting. I've watched replays of the game, looking for myself, but there was never a good enough shot to see me.

And when the Cubs scored three more in the bottom of the sixth as Kingman hit his third home run, they were within two runs. Wrigley Field went crazy. The Phillies added one in the top of the seventh and when the Cubs came up in the bottom of the eighth, they trailed 22-19. Five singles later, the game was tied! The Cubs had come back from a 12 run deficit to tie the game. It was absolutely the craziest thing I have ever seen.

Bullpen ace Bruce Sutter came in to pitch the ninth and got the Phillies out pretty easily. It was on to the bottom of the ninth, and as announcer Jack Brickhouse would say, "Any old kind of a run wins." Unfortunately. the Cubs went 1-2-3. It was on to extra innings. This was the first time since the second inning that an inning was scoreless.

Sutter again was on the hill in the tenth and got three easy outs. But squeezed between the outs was a monster home run by Mike Schmidt to give the Phillies the lead. Now when the Cubs batted in the bottom of the tenth, it was score or go home. And Dave Kingman was going to be up second in the inning. We were sure good things would happen. We were wrong! Kingman struck out as the Cubs again went down 1-2-3. The game was over and the Phillies won, 23-22.

Rawly Eastwick picked up the win, Sutter took the loss

Wow! What a game, what a day. Even though the Cubs lost, it felt like they won. How can you not feel good about a game in which you wipe out a 12 run deficit. The game tied the record for most home runs in a game and the 97 total bases set a record.

My very messy scorecard ended up looking like this:

The attendance for the game was 14,952. I've got the ticket stub, the scorecard, and the memories and I proudly say that I was one of the 14,952 to witness history!

Friday, May 17, 2019

I Saw the Cubs* Last Night and They Won!

Last night I was given tickets to the Cubs* game. Mrs. WW and I went and had a nice time.  To top it off, the Cubs won!

You might be confused, since last night the Cubs were in Cincinnati and lost 4-2.  The explanation is simple.

I went to the South Bend Cubs game.  And they topped the Dayton Dragons 7-2.

South Bend is just a 50 minute drive from the WW World Headquarters.  I've been to several games there over the years but this is the first time I've gone since the Cubs became affiliated with the South Bend franchise.

The team is in the Midwest League, which is low-A.  There are four teams (South Bend, West Michigan, Lansing, and Fort Wayne) within a 90 minute drive and I've been to all four parks.  It's always been a good experience and last night was no different.

We had seats in the fourth row behind home plate.  This was the first time that I've ever sat in seats behind the screen at any professional game.  It was a great view!

We also walked around the park and here's a look from center field.  Though is was a pleasant 70° at game time, the crowd was pretty sparse.  It seemed like there were more employees at the park than fans, which made for very short lines at the concession stands.  Plus, it was Thirsty Thursday and beers were just $2 each.

Beer was just two bucks and even better,

the program was free.

All in all in was a great nights --- free tickets, great seats, cheap beer, and a Cubs win!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Big League Chew Cubs

BIg League Chew gum put out a couple sets that featured retired players.

The first set came out in 1986 and was comprised of 12 players that surpassed the 500 home run mark.  That means Mr. Cub was included.

The flag with 1970 represents the year that Ernie hit his 500th home run.

Ten years later came Big League Chew's second set.  This time it was a mail-in set, but all of the cards were autographed.  There were just three players in the set, Juan Marichal, Brooks Robinson, and Billy Williams.

Here's the Billy card.  And if you doubted the authenticity of the signature...

...Big League Chew has you covered.

Though featuring baseball players on their packages, Big League chew has never returned to baseball cards.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

The Scans Folder Has Grown

Six years ago I wrote a post about the folder that all of my Cubs cards scans are kept in.

The scans are put in folders by brands, and then within that folder, by year.  I also have an icon for each folder, usually using the brand's logo.

This is what the folder looked like in January, 2013.  There were folders for 91 different brands.  Since then I've added a slew of brands.  Many of my posts over the last few months have been showing the additions.

As the number of brands grows, so does the number of folders.  My Cubs scans folder is now stuffed with over 200 different brand folders.  Here's the May, 2019 version

Like I said, the scan folder has grown!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

1998 Pacific Online Cubs

In 1998 I upgraded my modem from 28kb to 56kb.  We were flying when we logged in to AOL.  Man was the internet great!

Pacific jump into the internet craze in 1998 with an 800 card set called Pacific Online.

Not only were there pictures of players on the cards, but a website was listed too!  If you go to the URL listed on Terry Adam's card today, this is what you get:

 I'm assuming that the site is long gone.

Among the 800 cards in the set are 25 Cubs players and Kerry Wood on a checklist.