Monday, October 31, 2011

1974 Cubs Coaches in Living Color

The manager cards in both the 1973 and 1974 sets included floating head shots of the coaches. While the manager was in color, the coaches were in boring black and white. After looking closely at the 1974 card of Cubs manager Whitey Lockman and his staff, I saw that I could do something about the lack of coach color.

First, here is the original card

And here is my colorized version. Well, its 3/4ths colored. I think it looks so much better in color. My guess as to why Topps went black and white: they didn't have their own pictures of the coaches, and instead relied on pictures from the teams. Usually the team publicity shots were in black and white.

Now, are you amazed at my photoshop and colorizing abilities? Don't be! Because I didn't colorize the pictures.....Topps did.

How, you say?

Because Topps didn't use team photos for the three colored coaches (wow, does that sound like something out Alabama in the 1950s!). Instead, they recycled pictures from the coach's playing days.

The J.C. Martin picture comes from his

1971 cards. For Al Spangler, Topps went back to

his 1970 card. And for Jim Marshall, Topps went all the way back

to his 1960 card! I wonder if that sets a record for oldest picture used to pass off as current on a card? Topps used a 1961 picture of Ron Santo in the 1969 deckle set (an eight year difference), but a 14 year gap; that's crazy!

I looked through the other 23 manager/coaches cards in my 1974 set, but didn't see any other coach that looked like he was only 28 years old (Marshall's age in 1960). Most of the other coaches looked like old guys.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ryan Dempster Found 14 Million Reasons to Stay With The Cubs

Ryan Dempster was entering the fourth year of a $56 million contract he signed with the Cubs. The fourth year, 2012, gave him the option of returning to the Cubs for $14 million or become a free agent. In 2011 Dempster was 10-14 with a 4.80 ERA.

Do you think the free agent market will pay a 10-14 pitcher over $14 million? I don't think so. Dempster didn't either, and he exercised his option to remain with the Cubs.

I like Ryan Dempster. He seems like a really good guy. He's also invested himself in the community, living in Chicago year-round. He is also an innings eater, going over 200 innings each of the past four seasons.

But he's also on the downward side of his career, and is not worth $14 million. His contract is one of the lasting legacies left behind by Jim Hendry.

Since he is worth so much, I feel obligated to show all his cards from 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Two More Versions of the Barney Base Card

These are the latest additions to my Darwin Barney player collection.

Up first is the red bordered version from Topps' factory sets. The reds are numbered to 245. If you do the math, 660 cards in the set times 245 = 161,700. So can I assume that there are 161,700 factory sets? Last year the red cards were numbered to 299, for a total of 197,340 sets. That means Topps cut back production in 2011 by 35,640 sets. Any conclusions that we can make about the state of the hobby?

Back to Barney....

Next is the Hope Diamond version, which like the black borders, are numbered to 60. Mine is #29. I like the look of these better than the Cognac cards. The blue looks more "diamondy" than the brown.

These the 9th and 10th variations of the card I've got, and other than any 1/1s (which I won't be getting!) I think I've got them all. Any others I'm missing??

Base card, Black border (45/60), Red Border (045/245), Gold Border (1611/2011), Hope Diamond (29/60), Platinum Diamond, Cognac Diamond, Walmart Black, Target Throwback, and Diamond Anniversary Factory set.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Big Daddy Autograph

Here is my newest autograph,

Cubs pitcher Rick Reuschel. The card is from Topps Archives 2001 and has a nice on-card autograph.

This is the original 1973 card that the 2001 is based on. The 2001 card is cropped a little tighter. The guy standing next to the tarp on the '73 is gone on the '2001. The font for the last name is different, too. Its shorter and fatter (which may be appropriate on a Rick Reuschel card!).

As with all of these modern versions of older cards, the question is always, "Why the change?" No one is going to confuse the 2001 card, with a Topps Archives logo on it, for an original 1973 card.

My guess....though Topps saved the negatives for the pictures, the printing plates for these are long gone. So Topps has to recreate the cards like the rest of us do for our custom cards, on Photoshop....and they aren't as good at it as were are!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Purple Barney...And Lots of Other Colors Too, not the dinosaur.

This guy, the Cubs second baseman Darwin Barney. I decided a while back to work on a player collection of Darwin Barney. It's been fairly easy since he hasn't been in too many sets yet. But as the season went on he started showing up in more. So far in 2011 he's been in Heritage, Series Two, Chrome, and recently, Finest and Bowman Chrome.

The Chrome set was the first time he has been in a set with multiple parallels. I decided that I would try to complete a Barney rainbow. This was my first real attempt at a player rainbow, and I thought I would got slow and try to be patient. The problem is that many of the parallels are numbered, and some to only 25 or 50. If I waited too long, the market would dry up and there wouldn't be cards to buy. So I plunged in head first!

Well, the last card of my rainbow arrived last week and now I've got it scanned and ready to show. I'll start with the cards with the highest run, and work my way down to the scarcer cards.

Chrome Base

Refractor, unnumbered

Orange, unnumbered

XFractor, unnumbered

Purple, 499, mine is 186/499

Atomic, 225, mine is 133/225

Blue, 99, mine is 61/99

Sepia, 99, mine is 47/99

Gold, 50, mine is 42/50

Red, 25, mine is 15/25

and I grabbed a Refractor autograph card to boot.

If his career ends up like Ryne Sandberg, then I'm sitting on a gold mine. And if he ends up like Bobby Hill, then I've got some kindling for the fireplace. I'd be happy if it were somewhere in-between.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sparkly Update Cubs

I've liked these since the first ones came out in Series one. I picked up the 23 Cubs from the first two series and saw no reason to not snag the Update series. So I did! I can't think of much more to add, so enjoy!