Saturday, October 31, 2009

Five Random Cubs Cards

With the recent addition of the Topps Updates and Highlights cards, I now have 5704 Cubs cards from 20 different brands. A random number generator picked five of them. Here they are in the order selected.

The random number generator picked three of the Cubs superstars from the late '80's and early '90's, Andre Dawson, Mark Grace, and Ryne Sandberg.

Fleer 1989 #513 Jeff Pico This guy most definitely was not one of the superstars of the late '80's and early 90's. He did have a nice debut with the Cubs in 1988, pitching a complete game four hit shut out against the Reds. But other than that, he was a .500 spot starter and middle reliever. He finished the season 6-7 and stuck around with the Cubs for two more seasons.

Topps 1973 #309 Paul Popovich
Popo was the utility infielder for the Cubs, filling in whenever Santo, Kessinger, or Beckert were hurt or needed a day off. His glove is what kept him on the roster, not his career .234 average. This card gives us a good look at the 1972 road uniform. This was the first season the Cubs went to the pullover jersey. The road uniform had an oddity never again repeated in MLB history.... the number on the front is centered. It stayed there only one season and returned to the left side in 1973.

Donruss 1992 #422 Andre Dawson
This card was the All Star card for the Hawk. In the 1991 All Star game, he hit a home run off of Roger Clemens. 1992 saw Dawson's average and power numbers drop, hitting .277 with only 22 HRs. After the season, he became a free agent and left Chicago for the Red Sox, where he could be a DH.

Leaf 1988 #40 Mark Grace
This is Leaf's rookie card for a young, skinny Mark Grace. At this point, he had no major league experience listed on the back of his card. Grace made his MLB debut for the Cubs on May 2, 1988. He made the jump from AA to the majors, skipping AAA. He had a nice rookie season, hitting .298 and would be a fixture at first base for 13 seasons.

Donruss 1997 #72 Ryne Sandberg
This is the last Donruss card for Ryne Sandberg as he retired for good after the 1997 season. I was at his last home game in September and if I remember correctly, he got a hit in the fourth or fifth inning and then was pulled for a pinch runner, giving the crowd the chance to give him one last standing ovation as he returned to the dugout. Ryne hit .264 in his final campaign, with 12 HRs and 64 RBIs.

Friday, October 30, 2009

1910 - 1911 T3 Turkey Red

I picked this reprint set up a while ago for just a couple bucks. The originals in EX condition run from $600 to $1,500 each depending on the player. I'll have to stick with the reprints!

These cards were the inspiration for the first Topps Turkey Red release in 2005. Topps did a pretty decent job of remaining faithful to the originals.

Compare these two, #1 Mordecai Brown from the original set and Greg Maddux from 2005.

There were a total of ten Cubs in the 1910-11 set, including four future Hall of Famer: Brown, Tinkers, Evers, and Chance. This was at the tail end of the Cubs dynasty, when they won four pennants and two World Series from 1906 - 1910. Yes, the Cubs were a dynasty, and yes, we're still waiting for their next one!

Anyway, here are the other nine players:

#16 Johnny Evers

#32 Orval Overall

#33 Jack Pfeister

#35 Joe TInker

#47 Frank Chance

#98 Solly Hofman

#102 Johnny Kling

#109 Pat Moran

#117 Frank Schulte

Thursday, October 29, 2009

196(9) At A Time - Page 53

Another pretty nice looking page, with only one hatless player to mess things up.

#464 - Dave Marshall
Hitting .264 in 76 games was good enough to make the Topps All Star Rookie team. The Giants were hoping that in his first full season in the bigs, Marshall would blossom. Well, he didn't. Playing in 110 games, the most he would ever play, Marshall hit only .232 with 2 homers and 33 RBI's. He was sent to the Mets in December, 1969

#465 - Tommy John
It's a nice pose, but look in Tommy's mitt. Oops! That kinda ruins the allusion, doesn't it. Before he was know as a surgery, Tommy John was a pitcher for the White Sox, and a pretty decent one. In the year of the pitcher, John was 10-5 with a 1.98 ERA. He fell off in 1969 to 9-11, but that was for a really bad Sox team.

Something else you may notice about the card is, that while the uniform is very similar to what the Sox wear today, the logo on the hat is not. The letters are a more basic font than the Old English script on today's hat.

#466 - John Boccabella
He is most know for not his playing, but how the PA announcer at Jarry Park said his name. It was "John Bocc --a --belllllllllll-a", really letting each syllable have it. His playing style never matched the style of the PA call; he hit .105 in 1969 as a back-up catcher.

Boccabella was originally a Cub, being signed as a bonus baby. He was one of many players touted by Leo Durocher to replace an aging Ernie Banks. But a .223 average over parts of six seasons earn you the title "Mr. Dud" not "Mr. Cub." and get you exposed in the expansion draft.

#467 - Tom Reynolds
This card's picture was taken in the spring of '69, when Reynolds was reacquired by the A's from the Mets in the Rule 5 draft. In his first go-around with the KC A's he hit .219 over three seasons. He did better with his second chance in 1969, hitting .254 in 107 games.

#468 - Pirates Rookies
Both players featured on this card has decent careers. Dal Canton went 8-2 for the Bucs in 1969 and would pitch for a total of four different teams until 1977. Robertson didn't really make it to the majors until 1970 when he played in 117 games and smacked 27 home runs. He played in the bigs until 1979.

#469 - Chico Ruiz
This is another of the Reds cards shot at Wrigley Field. When I am all finished with the set, I'll have to have a post with all of the Reds at Wrigley cards shown together. Ruiz was the Red's "play anywhere but not hit much" guy. In 1969 he appeared in games at each of the four infield positions, plus a little outfield. After finishing his sixth season in Cincinnati, the Reds dealt him to the Angels.

#470 - Mel Stottlemyreb
The aces of the Yankees staff has his game face on. He won 21 games in 1968 and followed it up with another 20 in 1969. After that, he was a .500 pitcher and finished after 1974.

#471 - Ted Savage
He was a well-traveled outfielder who played for eight teams in nine seasons. If I had to guess the jersey he's got on, I'd say its the Pirates, a team he played for in 1963. The Cubs were among Ted's many stops, playing for the North Siders in parts of 1967 and 1968. When the Cubs traded him to the Dodgers in 1968, they got Jim Hickman and Phil Regan in return, a pretty lopsided deal for the Cubs. The Dodgers sent him to the Reds in spring training, so I wondering why Topps didn't change the team on the card to the Reds. After all, just a few cards ago we had some spring training shots featured.

#472 - Jim Price
He spent five seasons as a back up to the Tiger's All Star catcher Bill Freehan. In 1969 he played in 72 games and hit .234 with 9 home runs. Those are OK numbers for a back up.

Overall Set Totals (player cards only)
Hall of Famers - 30
Hatless - 107
Airbrush - 90
Cubs (includes past, present, or future) - 63

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

World Series Preview: The Ex-Cub Factor

First written about by freelance writer Ron Berler in 1981, the Ex-Cub Factor states that any team int the World Series with three or more ex-Cubs on the roster will lose the series. Tribune columnist Mike Royko picked up on this and wrote about it several times. Most recently there have been 22 instances where the factor came into play, and only twice, 1960 and 2001, has the factor not held.

Looking at the rosters of the Yankees and the Phillies, if you are from Philadelphia, you should be very nervous.

The Yankees have two ex-Cubs,

Pitcher Chad Guadin, who played for the Cubs for half a season last year.

Infielder Jerry Hairston, Jr., was with the Cubs in 2005 and part of 2006

The wild card for the Yankees would be their manager, Joe Girardi, who was a Cubs farm system product and had two different stints with the Cubs.

But if you follow the strict guidelines of the factor, and consider only active players, then the Phillies are in big trouble... because they have three ex-Cubs.

Relief pitcher Scott Eyre, whom the Phillies acquired from the Cubs in 2008

Catcher Paul Bako, who was with the Cubs in 2003 - 2004 and was also with the Cubs in spring training this season, before being released just prior to the start of the season.

Outfielder Matt Stairs, who spent 2001 in Chicago.

And if that isn't bad enough, the Phillies also have 1984 Cubs draft pick Jamie Moyer on the DL.

So to all of you Phillies fans out there, sorry, but no repeat. You dodged a bullet last year with four ex-Cubs because the Rays also had three ex-Cubs (and the factor was canceled out). But this year, the Yankees wised up and made sure to not load up on ex Cubs, all but assuring another World Championship in the Bronx.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

196(9) At A Time - Page 52

The page features a manager who is in the hall of fame and a player and future manager who will be in the hall of fame when his managing career is finished.

#455 - Sonny Siebert
The Indians had three pretty decent starters with Luis Tiant, Sam McDowell, and Sonny Siebert. He was 12-10 for the Tribe in 1968. But early in the 1969 season, the Indians wanted to add some offense and sent Siebert to the Red Sox in a trade for Ken Harrelson. Siebert went 14-10 for Boston

#456 - Bud Harrelson
- the Mets shortstop

#457 - Dalton Jones The utility infielder is the Red Sox all time pinch hit leader with 55. That would be a trivia fact that only a hard-core Red Sox fan would know. He hit .389 (7 for 18) in the 1967 World Series. 1969 was his final season in Boston, and he hit only .220. He was traded to the Tigers after the season.

#458 - Curt Blefary
The 1965 AL rookie of the year could never repeat the success of that season. The Orioles gave up on him after 1968 and sent him to Houston for Mike Cuellar. Cuellar won the Cy Young Award for the Orioles in 1969, while Blefary hit only .255 for the Astros. That was his only season in Houston and his last as a regular.

#459 - Dave Boswell
The Twins righty is showing us his grip. He was 24 and ready for the best season of his career. He was 20-12 for the division-winning Twins. But I'm guessing he had some arm trouble because he slipped to 3-7 in 1970 was was finished after 1971.

#460 - Joe Torre
The Dodger skipper was traded by the Braves to the Cardinals for Orlando Cepeda after the 1968 season. Atlanta may have given up a little early on the five-time All Star. Though not an All Star in 1969, he finished 23rd in MVP voting. He would have the best seasons of his career in St. Louis and make the All Star team four more times.

#461 - Mike Epstein
Frank Howard and Mike Epstein gave the Senators a powerful 1-2 punch. He hit career-highs with 30 HRs and a .278 average in 1969.

#462 - Red Schoendienst
Red was elected into the Hall of Fame by the veterans committee in 1989, back in the days when the veterans committee actually let players in. His last game as a player was in 1963 and he was the Cardinal's manager only two years later. He led the Red Birds to consecutive NL crowns in 1967 - 1968, winning the World Series in 1967. The 1969 Cardinals won ten fewer games than the previous season and finished in fourth place.

#463 - Dennis Ribant
This card gives us our first look at the Royals uniform, yet Ribant never pitched an inning for the Royals. He was sold to the Cardinals at the end of spring training. He appeared in only one game for the Cardinals and was traded to the Reds in June. He then pitched in seven games for the Reds, the final games of his career.

Overall Set Totals (player cards only)
Hall of Famers - 30
Hatless - 106
Airbrush - 90
Cubs (includes past, present, or future) - 61

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Credit Card: Studio 1995

The concept for 1995 was a credit card and Studio went all out. The front looks just like a credit card, complete with the sticker and raised letters. And the back has the autograph in the spot where you'd sign a credit card, plus a fake magnetic strip.

The problem is, what does a credit card have to do with a studio pose? My answer would be "nothing at all." And the pictures on both the front and back were action shots. Studio had nothing from the studio. And the personal facts about the player were gone, too.

The 1995 set was down to only 200 cards and seven of them were Cubs.

Steve Buechele

Shawon Dunston

Mark Grace - both front and back

Brian McRae

Sammy Sosa

Steve Trachsel

Rick WIlkins

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cubs 2009: All the Pitchers, Topps Style

Yesterday I featured cards for all 21 of the position players for the 2009 Cubs. Today it is the pitchers' turn. The season saw 24 different hurlers take the mound for the Cubs. That seems like an awfully high number.

The base set included seven of the pitchers. Another five were in the update set. That left 12 for me to create. The two biggest names Topps didn't include were Ryan Dempster and Carlos Marmol. Both were All Stars in 2008. I wonder why Topps left them out in 2009?

The pitchers are arranged in order by innings pitched. The team was led by Ryan Dempster, who threw 200 innings. At the opposite end was veteran Chad Fox, who pitched only 1/3 of an inning over two games and gave up five earned runs (that's an ERA of 135.00!). The other 22 fall somewhere in between.

Ryan Dempster - 200 innings

Ted Lilly - 177 innings

Carlos Zambrano - 169 innings

Randy Wells - 165 innings

Rich Harden - 141 innings

Sean Marshall - 85 innings

Carlos Marmol - 74 innings

Aaron Heilman - 72 innings

Kevin Gregg - 68 innings

Angel Guzman - 61 innings

Tom Gorzelanny - 38 innings

Jeff Samardzija - 34 innings

David Patton - 27 innings

Kevin Hart - 27 innings

John Grabow - 25 innings

Esmailin Caridad - 19 innings

Jose Ascanio - 15 innings

Jeff Stevens - 12 innings

Justin Berg - 12 innings

Neal Cotts - 11 innings

Luis Vizcaino - 3 innings

Mitch Atkins - 2 innings

Jason Waddell - 1 2/3 innings

Chad Fox - 1/3 inning