Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ten from the Team in 2001

This is the cover of the Cub's 2001 media guide. I've had it for about three years now, and I always thought it was nice that they had some baseball cards on the cover. But until recently, I didn't understand the significance of the cards they choose for the cover.

The Cubs gave away team sets of baseball cards at Wrigley Field starting in 1982. The run lasted until 1997, though the '94 set got wiped out by the players strike. In 1999 they passed out a 21 card set of the Cubs All Century Team.

After another season off, they issued cards again in 2001, with a different format. Instead of giving away a team set at one game, they were giving away ten single cards at ten different games. And the ten cards they were giving away; well check the front of the media guide! (I know, there are only nine on the cover; they left one off.)

The cards they gave away were reprints of Topps cards. Topps was celebrating their 50th anniversary...

...and the Cubs and Topps worked out a deal for Topps to put out these ten cards.

The cards were given out in protective sleeves, printed with the name of the two sponsors.

And as a bonus, the backs of the cards were numbered to /30,000. You can see the special gold band on the bottom of the card that has the numbering.

The Cubs did a nice job of picking their players for the cards. I think they got all of the big stars of the Cubs from the Topps era.

Here are the cards. The date in parentheses is the date the card was given away. Up first is the one card missing from the media guide,

....1952 Andy Pafko (August 21), A quick look at the card tells you why the Cubs left him off the cover...he's a Dodger! But Pafko was a popular Cub during the 1940s and still lives in suburban Chicago.

1958 Ernie Banks (May 16). This season was Ernie's first of two consecutive MVP years.

1972 Billy Williams (May 19) Billy led the NL in hitting in 1972 and was second to Johnny Bench in MVP balloting.

1984 Ryne Sandberg (June 23) This card was given away the same date as the famous "Ryne Sandberg Game," when in 1984 he hit two game tying homers off of Bruce Sutter.

1961 Ron Santo (June 27) This is Santo's first card; he was an up and coming star in 1961.

1985 Rick Sutcliffe (July 16) Topps really should have shown his 1984 card, but I guess they didn't want to use anything from the Traded set. So instead we get Sutcliffe's first base Cubs card. The Sutcliffe card is the first of three Cy Young Winners in a row

1971 Fergie Jenkins (July 25) Fergie won the Cy Young Award in 1971, going 24-13 with an amazing 30 complete games.

1979 Bruce Sutter (August 12) The Shark won the Cy Young in 1979, saving a league-leading 37 games.

1988 Andre Dawson (August 28) Like Suttcliffe, the Cubs didn't use a traded card, so we get a card from the season after the great season. Dawson was the NL MVP in 1987, the first time a player won the award while playing for a last place team.

1998 Sammy Sosa (September 29) Sammy was the only active player in the set. This was just three years after the big Sosa/McGwire battle for the HR record.

In 2002 the Cubs gave away 10 more cards and in 2003 there were six given out. I'm on the hunt for them, and when I've got them, you'll see them.

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