Thursday, July 30, 2015

Variations Galore

As I was putting the Bryant and Soler rookie variations into my binder, I realized that I have a crazy number of variations from this year's base set.

There are 17 Cubs players with cards in Series 1 and 2.  Between the sparkles and rookies, seven of the 17 have a second card.  Yikes.

Take a look...take a look!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hyped Rookies... Good For the Team, Tough on the Wallet

The prospects we've been hearing about for the past couple years have arrived.  The team is doing much better.

And Topps is making me pay.

This year's retail version of the factory complete set includes five bonus cards. They are variations of five rookies regular card.

Remember the past few years when I complained about the number of Cubs being short in various sets.  

Not any more.

Of the five bonus rookies, two of the five are Cubs.

Jorge Soler is the first.  His card set me back a couple bucks.  No big deal.

Player #2 is a big deal.

Kris Bryant's card set me back more than a couple bucks.  Waay more than a couple bucks.

So my choices are lousy teams and cheap cards or good teams with more expensive cards.

I'll pay the extra!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Giveaway Billy Statue

The weekend was a bust for the hit by Hamels, swept by the Phillies.  But it wasn't a total bust.  On Friday the Cubs gave away 10,000 miniature versions of the Billy Williams statue.

I didn't go to the game but I was able to pick up a statue.  The Ebay seller was extremely efficient and I got mine yesterday...Game Friday, shipped Saturday, arrived Monday.

The statue comes in a nice box, protected in a layer of styrofoam,

And here's the statue.  Its made of some metallic type material and colored to look like the original.

A pretty decent representation during a pretty lousy weekend.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 13,741 Cubs cards from 105 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades. 

Before I begin, two things.  First, this post was scheduled for yesterday but got bumped by the end of The Streak.  Second, the number of Cubs cards is the same as it was with last week's Five Random Cubs Cards post.  I went an entire week without getting any new Cubs cards.  That is very unusual.  It will also end because lots of Ginter is coming this week!

Now on to the cards!

1900s - 1970s: 1976 SSPC #322 Ron Dunn  You've got to be a hardcore fan to recognize the name of Ron Dunn.   After hitting a very promising .294 in 23 games in 1974, Dunn dashed that promise in 1975.  He hit just .159 in 32 games.  Somehow SSPC felt that was good enough to include him in their 1976 set.  He spent the entire 1976 season in AAA and after that his career was......done.

1980s: 1989 Fleer #426 Mark Grace Fleer gives us a nice shot of the young Mark Grace in front of the Cubs dugout.

1990s: 1993 Topps Rockies #688 Dwight Smith This card comes from a parallel set Topps issued in 1993 for the first year Rockies (the Marlins got one too).  The cards are identical to the base set except for the gold logo in the bottom right corner,

2000s: 2002 Topps #28 Eric Young  EY was a very happy dude!

2010s: 2011 Topps Topps 60 #92 Alfonso Soriano  This comes from an insert set in Topps' 60th anniversary release.  Between Series 1, 2, and the Update set, Topps 60 featured the top 60 players.  Well, no.  Actually there were 150 cards in the set.  That's why it was called Topps 60.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Streak Is Over

From September 9, 1965

until July 25, 2015

7,920 consecutive games of at least one Cub hit.

It is a major league record.

It's over.

I'm bummed.

I'll gladly trade the stupid record for a Worlds Series title.

That is all.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

1970 Cubs Phillies Connections

As I was reading my new 1970 Phillies scorecard, it surprised me how many of the players on the Phillies had or would have Cubs connections.

There are 25 Phillies players that have bios in the scorecard.  Six of them ended up with the Cubs one time or another.

Bowa looks so young in that Phillies picture and so battle worn in the Cubs card.


Browne got a Topps Rookie trophy on his '67 card but could never duplicate the success he had in 1966.

Fryman spent just half a season with the '78 Cubs but would spend five more decent years working in relief for the Expos.

Oscar Gamble was young and fro-less in 1970.  The Cubs card is a homemade job since he never had a Topps card that showed him with the Cubs.

Look at how the Phillies bio mentions Selma's role as the cheerleader for the Bleacher Bums!  He too never had a Cubs card, so again, I made one.

Weird--the Phillies guide lists his first name as Antonia but his signature on the Cubs card is Antonio.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The 1970 Phillies Souvenir Program - Ernie Style!

Back in March I bought a Phillies scorecard from 1970 because Billy Williams was on the cover.

Turns out there is a Mr. Cub version too!

The cover is identical to the Billy version except for the picture, obviously.

Turns out this one was scored, too (though rather crudely).

The game was on August 7, 1970. The Phillies beat the Cubs 4-1 as Fergie Jenkins gave up three runs in the eight inning and took the loss.  Today if a pitcher even made it to the eight inning, as soon as a runner reached base he'd be yanked.  But in 1970, it was Fergies game to win or lose.

As I was reading the box score, I noticed something unusual about the Cubs lineup that night.  Take a look:

Someone is missing.

Actually, two someones are missing.  Ernie was old and often injured.  His absence isn't unusual.

But Billy.  Where is he?

Remember, in 1970 Billy had a National League record of consecutive games played still going.

I read the Tribune article on the game and got an explanation.  Turns out Billy desperately wanted the streak to end.  He wanted a day off.  He wanted to stay fresh for the team as they tried to win the division.

So Leo gave him the night off.  Jim Hickman started in left field.

But Billy didn't get the night off completely.  In the ninth inning, as the Cubs now trailed by three, they started a rally.  Billy was brought in as a pinch hitter for Jack Hiatt, though my scorekeeper didn't make note of that on the card.

With the bases loaded, he struck out looking.  However his plate appearance kept the streak going; this was game #1,093.

He kept the streak going another 24 games before finally taking the day off on September 3.  His streak ended at 1,117 games.