Today I've got some really obscure players from an obscure set; that would make it Obscure Squared. The set was put out by baseball card dealer Larry Fritsch in 1977 and it was called One-Year Winners. The concept was to make cards for players that had only one year in the bigs and didn't get cards issued during their playing days. The fronts are pretty basic while the backs mimic the Bowman '53 set.
The top card is a Fritsch back, the bottom is from '53 Bowman.
There were four Cubs in the 18 card set. I've got them for you in alphabetical order:
Leon Brinkopf played in 9 games for the 1952 Cubs as a shortstop. He made the team coming out of spring training, but after hitting only .182 he was sent back to the minors, never to return to the bigs. His last minor league season was 1955.
Chuck Connors would be the most famous of the four, though not for his time with the Cubs. Connors played one game for the Dodgers in 1949 and 66 games for the Cubs in 1951. He had a career average of only .239. In addition to his MLB time, Connors also played for the Boston Celtics in 1946-47 and 1947-48. But after the Cubs sent him back to their minor league team in Los Angeles, Connors decided to give up baseball for another LA activity, acting. His most famous role would be TV's The Rifleman
Paul Schramka played in two games in April, 1953. He never had an at bat. But he did become the answer to a Cubs trivia question. If you look on his back, you can make out most of his uniform number, which was 14. Later in 1953, another rookie would get #14, some kid named Banks. Paul Schramka was the last Cub to wear #14 before it was given to Ernie Banks.
Bob Thorpe pitched in two games for the Cubs in 1955 while only 20 years old. He allowed on earned run in three innings, but didn't get any decisions. He too wore a number that would eventually be retired, Billy Williams' #26, though there were others who wore it between him and Billy. Thorpe hung around in the minors until 1959. After baseball he took a job as a lineman for a utility company. In 1960 he was killed in an accident on the job. He was only 25.
Fritsch would add a second series (1979) and a third series (1983) to the One-Year Winners set. I'll have those sometime in the future.