Monday, April 30, 2012

Classic Cubs 1987

A trade with Tribe fan Tim brought me my first look at the trivia cards released by Classic from 1987 - 1992. The cards piqued my interest and I hunted down all 62 Classic Cubs. Today I've got the cards from the first year of release, 1987.

There were 100 cards in the initial set, which retailed for $19.95. That seems pretty pricey for only 100 cards, but then, trivia sets were all the rage at that time and they were all fairly expensive. The original Trivial Pursuit was selling for $29.99 back in 1983, two or three times more than most games went for back then.

Only one Cubs made the original checklist, but it was a good one....

....Ryne Sandberg. It's a nice tight shot of Sandberg. The back of the card has season stats from 1986 and overall career stats. They don't have year by year stats, since room was needed for the trivia questions. In my earlier post I said that the questions were fairly easy. Here are two of the easier questions from Sandberg's card:
True or False...The Baltimore Orioles play their home games in Fenway Park.
How many outs are in a full inning?
I told you they were easy!

Later in the year, a 50 card "Travel Edition" update set was released. These cards have a yellow border instead of the green one on the initial set. Again, only one Cub made the checklist and again, it was a good one...

...Andre Dawson. And what an odd choice for a card; Dawson getting nailed in the face by the Padres Eric Show. That's the same picture that Sports Illustrated used from its cover

on July 20, 1987. I don't know if I've seen another baseball card that shows a player getting smacked in the face.

The questions on the Dawson cards weren't as easy as Rynos. Here's the easiest:
What is a "Gopher Ball'?
Here's the toughest...
Between 1950 and 1959, what pitcher had the most wins in a season?

I only knew the answer because it was written on the card. Do you know who it is? Hint: He would later play for the Cubs, though you may not have known was for the final 11 games of his career. Think it over and then scroll down for the answer.












It was Robin Roberts, who won 28 games for the Phillies in 1952.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 10,412 Cubs cards from 66 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1950s / 1960s: Topps 1969 #483 Ted Abernathy The submarining reliever was reacquired by the Cubs in January of 1969, previously spending the '65 and part of '66 season in Chicago. He and Phil Regan were the only relievers that Durocher went to consistently during the '69 season. He made 56 appearances, going 4-3 and adding three saves.

1970s: Topps 1975 #176 Burt Hooton This is Hooton's final Topps card with the Cubs. He got off to a horrid start in 1975, going 0-2 in three starts with a monster 8.18 ERA. The Cubs gave up on him and sent him to the Dodgers for Buddy Solomon and Geoff Zahn. It was a big mistake....Hooton went 18-7 with the Dodgers.

1980s: Score 1988 #602 Les Lancaster The 1988 season was Lancaster's first full season in the majors. By the All Star break he was a respectable 4-4 with 4 saves. His season fell apart after the break; he first missed time due to appendicitis, and then broke a bone in his foot.

1990s: Bowman 1993 #496 Rey Sanchez Looks like Sanchez is turning a double play against the A's in Mesa. Sanchez started 82 games at short for the '93 Cubs, making the Opening Day roster for the first time in his career. Injuries to his hip and hamstring limited his time in the second half of the season.

2000s: Topps Factory Team Set 2008 #CHC8 Ted Lilly It was a career year for Lilly in 2008, setting highs for wins (17) and stikeouts (184) while tying his high for starts (34). His 17 wins were the most by a Cub lefty since Ken Holtzman won 17 in 1970.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

I Haven't Seen This For A Long Time

Here's a screenshot of my Ebay watch list. Check out the part circled in red

I can't remember the last time that there wasn't at least one card I was watching. And it's not like I'm not looking. Every day I do a search of "Cubs Team Sets," and after that I search for "Cubs" in the cards category. I just haven't found anything that interests me.

I've also hit a lull with my saved searches. I've got several items that haven't shown up in months.

My mailman appreciates the break.
My wallet appreciates the break.

I'm getting bored with the break. When does series two come out??

Friday, April 27, 2012

Topps Stickers 1982

In 1982 Topps released their second sticker set. The size of the stickers was the same as in 1981, 1 15/16" x 2 9/16" The design was very basic, with National League players getting a blue border while the AL teams had a red border. The only marking on the front was a small sticker number in the bottom left corner.The set size shrunk by two, from 262 to 260. The number of Cubs shrunk by two also, from ten to eight. Of the eight, only three were in the '81 set (Buckner, DeJesus, and Reitz). The 1982 season was the first under the Dallas Green regime, and the team was in a rebuilding mode.

Fast forward 30 years to 2012 and the Cubs are in their first season under a new regime, in a rebuilding mode. The '82 Cubs finished in fifth place with a record of 73-89. I'm not sure the 2012 team can do much better than that.

When you look at the players on these stickers, you can understand why the '82 team won only 73 games.

Catcher Tim Blackwell, spent the '82 season with the Expos and hit only .190

Billy Buck was a stud in '82, hitting .306 with 15 HRs and 106 RBIs

Ivan DeJesus was traded to the Phillies for Bowa and Sandberg, thank you very much!

Leon Durham led the team in hitting with a .312 average

Steve Henderson hit only .233 in 94 games

Mike Krukow was involved in another trade with the Phillies, that brought Keith Moreland to the Cubs

Ken Reitz didn't make the team and was released by the Cubs at the end of spring training.

Dick Tidrow was 8-3 in 65 games, used mainly as the setup man for Lee Smith.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

2012 Gypsy Queen Minis

I apologize for all the extra spaces between the paragraphs and between the pictures. I don't like the look of it at all, but don't know how to get rid of them. There are no extra spaces in the blogger editor....too bad the editor can't be WYSIWYG...what you see is what you get. I would have thought that by now all writing/editing software was WYSIWYG.

I've got ten different Cub minis to show today. I'll begin with the two that weren't among the base set

Ernie Banks got a second card. This one looks to be Shea in 1967 or 1968. It's was nice of Topps to give him a second card, but again I ask, why no Ron Santo?

Starlin Castro gets a SP variation card. He's a lot dirtier in this picture than one the regular card. Another blogger (sorry...I read too many to remember who  it was Night Owl!) pointed out that this year's set really has a thing for dirtying up the uniforms.

The other eight cards are basically the same as the base set. I'll put them side by side with the base so you can see how the minis had to be cropped differently to accommodate for the different proportion of the mini cards.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Gypsy Queen 2012 Cubs

Have you heard that 2012 Gypsy Queen is out?

I thought so.

While the rest of you were posting the results of your box and pack rips, I was just sitting here waiting for the mailman to do this thing.  He did it yesterday.

Today I've got all seven of the Cubs base cards plus one insert.  There are two more inserts I'm waiting on; I'll save them for another day.  First, a few thoughts on Gypsy Queen.

Last year I wasn't too excited about it, but it eventually grew on me; so much so that I ended up buying a complete set.  While I wasn't anxiously counting the days for its release, I was looking forward to it.  

I definately prefer this year's design over the dark green from last year.  The pictures are fine, too. My only gripe: not enough Cubs.  A 300 card set should have ten Cubs, not seven.
Of the seven Cubs, three are Hall of Famers and four are active Cubs. There aren't any surprises among the seven.  I do wish that Ron Santo, now that he is in the Hall, would have been included.  I'm surprised that he hasn't shown up in any Topps product yet this year.  

Here's the three HOFers...

....Topps usuals Banks, Dawson, and Sandberg.

All four of the current Cubs in the set were also in the set last year....



....Castro, Dempster, Garza, and Soto.

Starlin Castro was also in the Sliding Stars insert set.

There was also a Cub in both the Hallmark Heroes and Future Stars sets.  I'll get those up when I get them.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Enjoying and Frustrated with Blogger

I spent some time this weekend playing around with Blogger.  They finally forced the new dashboard on me, so I figured I'd see what's different.

I've wanted to change the layout a bit for a while now, and then I saw the new Blogger design templates, and they were very easy to work with.  First, I changed the ivy picture that wraps the blog.  The photo I used had the "355" marker on it (the left field wall distance) and I tried to get that to show up on the left sidebar and then I added a "353" (right field distance) for the right hand side.  But I could never get them to line up properly, so I cropped them out.  All that's left is the ivy.

The new layout I chose gave me the chance to widen the text area.  I never liked that my old layout wouldn't allow me to show two medium sized cards side by side.

Now I can!

I kept the text background the same light yellow used with the old layout.  I looked hard and long at a plain white background, but in the end it seemed too bright.  I'm not sure about the yellow, but it does make the text easier to read than the white.

I also went back to the original banner image, with the marquee shown as it is instead of against a brick wall.  By default, Blogger left justifies a header image.  It didn't look good that way, so I hunted around the net for a bit and found a way to center the image.

I may continue to tinker with things a bit.  Let me know what you think, what you like, what you don't, etc.

As far as writing with the new Blogger, I'm still getting used to it.

Things I like...

  • Scheduling a post is easier to do; I like seeing the calendar to set the date...and hopefully they'll get the scheduling bug fixed.  As of today its still not fixed and I had to manually post this.
  • Keyboard shortcuts for bold, Italics, and underline just like in Word
  • The writing area is wider now.  I never understood why the old dashboard had such a small writing space
  • Being able to add multiple images from a file at once, and more than five images at a time.  That could become a huge time saver
  • The preview feature that shows you exactly what the post will look like
Things I Don't Like...
  • Images!  With the old dashboard and only in Firefox I could change the size of an image by dragging the corner.  I can't do that anymore
  • Images!  I'm having a hard time figuring out how to get them to the left side.  Right now, they come in centered.  I then right click on the picture and change it to left, but then the text wraps around the picture.  So then I have to cut the text and paste it under the picture.  I'm sure I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong, but for now its wasting my time with these extra steps.
  • Title names don't autotype any more.  I often use the same title or a variation of an old one, and it was nice to have the old titles show up when I started typing.
  • I'm getting some extra space in between paragraphs.  You can see it in yesterday's post. The odd thing is that the extra space was not there when I wrote the post.  I have no idea where it came from.
How are the rest of you faring with the new Blogger?  Any other likes / dislikes / tips??

Monday, April 23, 2012

This Will Be One Very Ugly Season

All Cub fans knew going into the 2012 season that is was not going to be a very good year.  In the back of our minds, though, was the thought that maybe Theo could pull off some sort of a miracle. After 16 games, which admittedly is just 10% of the season, I think its safe to say that there aren't any miracles coming our way.  Take the Cubs record and multiple it by ten and you get 40-120....that's '62 Met territory.

This team is bad, very bad; maybe historically bad.

Allow me to recap the badness...

Maron Byrd, an all star just two years ago, and the Opening Day centerfielder a couple weeks ago is now with the Red Sox.  His average with the Cubs was .070.  Yes, that's .070; he was   3 for 47.  I don't think anyone expected this.  

Catcher Geovany Soto, the 2008 rookie of the year, is hitting .150 and has thrown out only 2 of 15  runners attempting a steal.  Stick a fork in him; he's done.

Our $18 million man, Alfonso Soriano, is hitting .229 and has NO extra base hits.  All eleven of his hits are singles.  Last year he hit 10 home runs before May 1; this year it would be a miracle if he had 2.  

Kerry Wood and his 11.57 ERA are on the disabled list....what a shock!  I really do like Kerry Wood, but at this point, he's got nothing left.

Closer Carlos Marmol has one save, one loss, and a 5.06 ERA.

The #4 and #5 starters, Chris Volstad and Paul Maholm, are 1-4 with ERAs of 6.19 and 8.36.

Pretty nasty stuff, huh?

In the modern era, two teams from the 1960s tied for the fewest number of wins in team history with 59 (to go along with 103 losses).

The 1962 Cubs won 59 games in year two of the college of coaches.

Leo Durocher took over the Cubs for the 1966 season and proclaimed that "this was no eighth place ballclub (their 1965 finish).  He was right, as they finished in tenth place.  But Leo was changing the culture of the team and there were four eventual hall of famers on the roster.  In 1967 they jumped to third place.  

The 2012 team doesn't have any future hall of famers on it.