Sunday, October 18, 2009

Five Random Cubs Cards

I have 5,693 Cubs cards from 20 different brands. A random number generator picked five of them. Here they are in the order selected.

Donruss 1990 #18 Shawn Boskie This card is from the Rookies set, which explains the green border. The regular Donruss 1990 set had a red border. The picture looks like it was taken in the spring of 1990, Boskie's first year in the majors. He was one of many Cubs pitchers that showed some promise, just enough to get us thinking that he might turn out ok. But, as with most of these guys, it was not to be. He finished his rookie season 5-6 with a 3.69 ERA in 15 starts.

Topps 1975 #104 Bill Madlock
This is one of my all-time favorite Cubs cards! I first got this when I was in 8th grade and it has been one of my favorites ever since. It is one of the first action cards with a Cubs player at Wrigley Field, wearing the home uniform. Most Topps cards up to this point showed the Cubs in their away uniform or in the home uni at spring training. But this was home! We've also got the Topps rookie trophy, another cool feature.

Madlock had come to the Cubs in 1974 in the Fergie Jenkins trade and he took over at third base for Ron Santo. Talk about pressure! But he was a hitting machine, hitting .313 as a rookie. He was even better in 1975, winning the first of two consecutive NL batting titles, as he hit a robust .354. He made the All Star team and was Co-MVP (with the Mets' Jon Matlack--Madlock and Matlack!) as he drove in the winning run for the NL. I really thought the Cubs would be set at third base for years to come, but unfortunately, after the 1976 season he was sent to the Giants because he wanted more money than Wrigley was willing to pay. The Cubs got Bobby Murcer from the Giants and paid him more than Madlock was asking. This brought talk of Wrigley and racism and it was not a good time for the Cubs.

Topps 1977 #639 Jerry Morales
This shot of Morales at Shea gives a good look at the team's 100th anniversary patch worn in 1976. The Cubs are the only original NL franchise in its original city. We also get to see the way that Morales held the bat up pretty high in his stance. That was the feature we used when we immitated him. (Didn't you all copy the different stances of your favorites, too??!!) In 1977, Julio (that's what we called him, because that was his real name) hit a career high .290 and made the All Star team for the only time in his 15 season career.

Fleer 2002 #231 Juan Cruz
In 2001 Cruz made the jump from AA to the majors and went 3-1 with 39 strikeouts in 44 innings. We really thought we had something here. But he had spent the rest of his career with the Cubs and several other teams still trying to live up to that promise.

Topps 1953 #29 Hal Jeffcoat
This would be among the oldest cards in my collection. Jeffcoat was a player I wasn't familiar with, so I'm glad to have the opportunity to learn a little about him. He's got an interesting story.

Hal came from a baseball family, as his card says he has three brothers who were pitchers in the major leagues. But according to, only one brother, George, was in the majors. Hal was an outfielder for the Cubs with no power and a mediocre average. 1953 would be his last as a regular outfielder, and he hit only .235 in 106 games. His average was like that of a pitcher, and in 1954 that's what he became. He made a mid-career switch to the mound which extended his career until 1959. In six seasons as a pitcher, he went 39-37.

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