Wednesday, November 26, 2014

1976 More No Action Cubs

After finding action-less Cubs in 1977, I thought I'd see if the same thing happened the previous year, 1976.

And sure enough, it did.  There was no Cubs action in both the '76 and '77 sets.  

The 1975 and 1976 Cubs ended up with identical records, 75-87.  

And for two years in a row, Topps didn't consider what they did on the field good enough to show up on a card.

What about the rest of the National League.  If you remember from yesterday's post, all the other NL teams had action cards in '77.  


This time it isn't just the Cubs getting shut out.  The Braves and Astros were also MIA...actually not MIA but MA...missing action.

Most, if not all the action shots from 1976 and 1977 were taken at two ballparks, Shea Stadium and Candlestick Park.  That's one from each division, so between the two, every NL team played 15 games at each of those venues.  It's odd that Topps didn't send a photographer to any of the 60 games the Cubs played in the two parks over the two years.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The 1977 No Action Cubs

Topps started using game action pictures on cards in 1971. By 1977 they had become pretty common.

Except for one team.

Take a look a tile of the 1977 Cubs set and count the action pictures.

None.  Zero.  Zip.  Nada.

The 1976 Cubs were not the greatest team ever, but in 162 games, with 75 wins, surely Topps could have found some game action worthy of including in the set.

When I noticed that there were no action shots, I went back through the entire set to see if any other NL team got the same treatment.

Nope.  Here's an action card for at least one player from each of the other eleven NL: teams.

So it's just my boys in blue that got the action shaft.

Monday, November 24, 2014

2014 Heritage High Numbers Cubs

The 100-card Heritage High Number sets were issued last week.  As usual, Brentandbecca snapped up cases of this and I was able to get the three card Cubs team set.


Two of these three have promising futures with the Cubs while the other is a third base version of Adam Dunn.

The High Number set if the final Heritage product of the year.
The Cubs totals...
15 base players
1 player in a league leader card
2 Cubs on rookie cards
1 Flashback
1 Relic
1 Logo variation
1 red border
1 mini
12 Cub minor league cards
3 minor league flashbacks
38 card total

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 12,997 Cubs cards from 98 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1971 Topps #502 Cubs Team Floating Heads! This team card is a bit of an oddity because there is no team name at the top of the card like there is on every other Topps 1971 card.  I guess it may have been a little redundant since there is a giant Cubs logo in the center of the card.  I went ahead and made a version with the name on the top

I think I like my version better than the original.  And you?

1980s: 1982 Donruss #151 Leon Durham  Year #2 of Donruss shows the Bull in the box at Wrigley.  His career was on the upswing as he led the 1982 Cubs in home runs (22) and batting (.312- good for third in the NL), slugging, and walks.  He was also a 20/20 man with 22 stolen bases.  He was the first Cub in 72 years to make the 20/20 Club!

1990s: 1993 Upper Deck #612 Rey Sanchez The '92 season was Sanchez's second big league season.  He was hitting .324 through the first half of the season, but then injuries limited his time in the second half.  His low point of the season--lining into a triple play on August 23.

2000s: 2003 MVP #40 Moises Alou  This card is from one of the new sets added to my collection-Upper Deck MVP.  Anything that combines 2003 and Moises Alou brings immediate flashbacks to his hissy fit after missing the foul ball in game six.  It will always be my contention that his actions (not Bartman's) made the whole situation what it was.

2010s: 2010 Topps MHR400 Rogers Hornsby USA Hat Logo  This has to be one of the dumbest manufactured cards.  All MLB teams wore a similar logo on the 4th of July in 2009.  What on earth is the connection between that and Rogers Hornsby??

Saturday, November 22, 2014

1961 Topps Stamps Cubs

A package of free goodies a few weeks back from reader Chad included some 1962 Topps stamps.  That sent me on a bit of a stamp frenzy, as I decided to add both the 1961 and 1962 stamp sets to my Cubs collection.  I'm still waiting for one more of the '62s to arrive, but all of the '61s are now in hand.

The 1961 stamps were an insert to the regular wax packs.  I can't say with 100% certainty, but I'm pretty sure that they were the first inserts into Topps packs.  They were issued in two-stamp panels, 208 different stamps thought 207 players; Al Kaline has two different stamps.

The stamps were shaded in brown or green, divided equally with 104 of each color.  The stamps weren't numbered, so most catalogs list them in alphabetical order.  A 10¢ album was also sold and the stamps were to be placed in the albums.

The Cubs managed to land twelve players on the checklist.  With 18 MLB teams that season, twelve is spot on to evenly spread the teams.  The twelve Cubs are also split evenly between brown and green.

The 1961 Cubs were not very good: a 60-94 record was good for a seventh out of eight teams finish.  They did have four future hall of famers, and each had a stamp.



When you look over the rest of the stamps, you'll understand why the team wasn't very good.



I'll wrap up with a tile of all twelve, looking kinda like a sheet of stamps you'd buy at the post office.  In 1961 that sheet of twelve stamps would have cost you 48¢.  Today you're paying $5.88.

Friday, November 21, 2014


A recent birthday, an Amazon gift card, and a few clicks of the computer brought me this book...

...Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream.

The book is a biography of graphic designer Otis Shepard and his wife Dorothy, who was also a very talented designer.  You may remember Otis' name from posts I've done on the Cubs scorecards from the past... Otis was the artist who created these.

His main job was head of the art department of the Wrigley Company.  But his work spilled over into other Wrigley interests like Catalina Island and the Cubs.

The most amazing thing that I came away with from reading the book:  Otis left school at age 12 with a fourth grade education.  He had no formal art training, but instead learned by doing.

It's not really a baseball book, but then again, he did so much Cubs work that you can't tell the story of Otis Shepard without including baseball.

Not only was he involved in the designs on the scorecards, but pretty much anything of the Cubs involving graphics involved Otis.

My all-time favorite Shepard-designed Cub item is this...

...the Cubbie bear shoulder patch worn in the '60s and '70s.  Until  I got the book I never realized that Otis designed it.  But looking at it now, I can definitely see his style.

He also had some fun with the team.  Both of these show Shepard and Manager Charlie Grimm.

But as I said earlier, the books goes into so much more than just the Cubs.  And the story of his artistic wife Dorothy is a great read, too.  If you enjoy art, biographies, the Cubs, or just looking at pretty pictures, you'll want to read Dorothy and Otis.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kinda the Opposite of CheckoutmyCommonsLot Marketplace

About a week ago I laid out what my dream card site would be, CheckoutmyCommonslots Marketplace  In my fantasy the site would combine the best features from Checkoutmycards, Just Commons, Sportlots, and the Beckett Marketplace.  It would make me millions (in my fantasy, too!).

A couple days ago the mailman brought me the anti-CheckoutmyCommonsLots Marketplace.  I got this...

...the most recent catalog from Larry Fritsch Cards.  It you want to buy cards at highly inflated prices and do it by mailing in an order form and check (and wait 15 days while the check clears), then this is the place for you!

It ain't for me.

At one time it would have been.  The back of the Sporting News and Baseball Digest had ads from several mail-order card companies. Fritsch was among them and is about the only one still in business.

How that happened is beyond me.  The prices charged are crazy high.  There are plenty of items available, but I'm sure you can find just about anything in the catalog on Ebay and at a price significantly lower.

But somehow they keep churning out the catalogs and ringing up the sales.  And I suppose that if people are willing to pay the high Fritsch prices, then Fritsch has every right to charge whatever they want.

This is page 22 from the catalog and it has the prices of Topps baseball sets available for the years 1973 through 2014.  Those year match pretty closely to the years that I check set prices on Ebay for each month.  So I though it would be interesting to compare the Fritsch price with the my most recent Ebay 12 month average price.

    Ebay 12 Mo. Avg.
    Fritsch Price

So there you have it.  If you want to pay nearly triple the price, skip Ebay and go to Fritsch.

I'm not trying to be a jerk with this.  Again, a company has the right to sell whatever they want at any price they choose.  And apparently with the prices they set, the company still makes sales.

I suppose the this is more an indictment of the knucklehead shoppers out there.  I'm too cheap to blindly buy from one store.  I look around for deals.  I looked at the Fritsch catalog and decided that I could find a better price elsewhere (actually--anywhere!).  

Do Fritsch customers not look elsewhere?