Sunday, September 30, 2012

2012 Heritage Minor League Cubs

I have seen very little written about the 2012 release of Heritage Minor League. There haven't been many listings on Ebay, either. I wonder why Topps even bothers? Is this a set that they are contractually obligated to put out?

There are 225 cards in the set, including 25 of the dreaded shortprints. Dividing 225 cards among 30 teams equally would mean seven or eight cards per team. The Cubs netted four players. That doesn't say much about what the Cubs have in the pipeline. What really stunk was that two of the four Cubs were among the 25 SPs. Thanks alot short the Cubs on the checklist but load them in the SPs.

The cards follow the basic '63 design, with one exception. The small circle contains a team logo instead of another picture of the player. I have no idea why they did that; it makes no sense. Plus, the team logos are too small for the circle. There's too much white showing.

The card on the left is the Topps design; on the right I've enlarged the logo. Better?
Here are the other three future Cubs in the set.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

Oddball Darwin Barney

Here's the latest addition to my Darwin Barney collection...

....a Cubs season ticket.  Tickets to the 81 home games feature a different Topps Cubs card.  The weird thing about the Barney ticket is that it's from Saturday, September 15.....the game I was at!!  My tickets were bought off StubHub and downloaded from the site.  I never saw an actual ticket.  If I knew that Barney was on the ticket, I would have asked a few of the people sitting around me it I could have theirs.

The card the Cubs used was the only Topps card of Barney's available at the time, from last season.

The cards on the tickets was a great idea.  Anyone know if other teams have done this in the past or did the Cubs actually come up with an original idea?

Each of the four other players I collect (Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams) were also on tickets during the year.  I found a seller that had all four, and I hope to have those tickets in a couple more days.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Randy Hundley and Lynyrd Skynyrd

Rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd has been in the news recently regarding their use of the Confederate flag. Good ole' boys from the South, the rebel flag has been a part of the Skynyrd stage for years. Last week the group told CNN they would not use the flag any more because “it became such an issue about race.”

Just a few days later, due to fan backlash, they flip flopped and have embraced the flag again. Guitarist Gary Rossington wrote, We still utilize the Confederate (Rebel) flag on stage every night in our shows, we are and always will be a Southern American Rock band, first and foremost. We also utilize the state flag of Alabama and the American flag, ‘cause at the end of the day, we are all Americans. I only stated my opinion that the confederate flag, at times, was unfairly being used as a symbol by various hate groups, which is something that we don’t support the flag being used for. The Confederate flag means something more to us, Heritage not Hate…

All this flag talk, plus Tuesday's post with a Todd Hundley card, got me thinking about Todd's dad Randy. A native of Martinsville, Virginia, Hundley's nickname was "Rebel." And in honor of his nickname, when he would hit a homer at Wrigley, the Bleacher Bums would wave the stars and bars.

This picture was snagged from an ebay auction. It was taken by a Chicago Sun-Times photographer in July, 1969. The bleachers are packed and the rebel flag is flying. You can also see several hardhats in the picture; that was the official headgear of the Bleacher Bums. Also check out the two Andy Frain ushers standing in the doorway to the Cubs clubhouse.

I saw that flag wave in the bleachers many times on TV over several years and never thought anything other than "Randy Hundley from Virginia."  Of course I was a sheltered suburban kid, so what did I know.

This article, from the August 21, 1969 issue of Jet Magazine has a differing opinion.  Fast forward to 2012 and the debate continues.  Heritage??  Hate??  Home Runs??

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Recent Major League Performance

Most bloggers, myself included, make great use of  Its a tremendous resource, available for free at a moments notice.  It's hard to image how we got along before it became available.

I can imagine.  In the dark days before the internet, my #1 baseball resource was the back of baseball cards.  Before I started buying complete sets, I kept my all of my cards in alphabetical order.  When I was watching a game on TV and a question about a player came to me, I'd grab my shoeboxes and see if I had a card of the player.  Hopefully I did, and the back would usually answer the question.

Maybe that is why I never really liked what Donruss put out for baseball.  As far as I was concerned, they got off to a really bad start in 1981 with this...

....and only one year's worth of stats.  I need to see a player's entire career, not just one season.  The next year, things improved a bit, as Donruss started using the line "Recent Major League Performance."  Instead of one year, we get five years' worth.  But that's still not enough for me.  For Donruss, it was enough as they went with the same basic style on the back of the cards for the next ten years.  Boring!!

Change finally came in 1992 when Donruss switched to the glossy white cardstock like Upper Deck.  Unfortunately,  though a new design was used, the dreaded "Recent Major League Performance" tag was still there.

In 1994 the tag disappeared!!  But....Donruss didn't include complete year by year stats.  Instead, taking a giant step backwards, they went with just the '93 season

In 1995, Recent Major League Performance returned.

Finally, in 1996, after 15 years worth of inadequate stats, Donruss finally went to complete, season by season listings.  The complete stats remained through Donruss' final cards in 2005.  Of course, but the time they added the stats in 1996, the internet was growing and the need for the information wasn't as important as it was previously.   

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

My Last Cub Relic??

One of the goals I set for myself back in January was to add more relics to my collection.  I'd like at least one for as many different Cubs as possible.  But that has lead to a couple problems.

First, that means I'm getting cards, like this one, of some Cubs I'd rather forget.   When the Cubs signed Todd Hundley in 2001 it seemed like a smart move.  The Cubs were weak at catcher, he had been putting up good numbers, and he was Randy Hundley's son.  It was win, win, win.  No it wasn't!  Hundley hit an anemic .187 in 2001 and followed that up with a .211 average the next season.  He was a real bust and somehow Jim Hendry managed to get the Dodgers to take him away.

Back to the relic cards....The second problem would have to be their questionable authenticity.  The recent news that an Upper Deck buyer wasn't too concerned about the authenticity of game-worn Derek Jeter jerseys cast doubt on relics in general.

The Hundley card's got an assurance on the back from UD CEO Richard McWilliams that it's authentic.  That would be the same McWilliams that backdoored cards, didn't pay players, and has been implicated or sued for other shaddy dealings.

At this point, I've got relics from the following 41 Cubs.  I'm not sure how many more names will be added to the list:
Moises Alou
Erinie Banks
Darwin Barney
Bill Buckner
Marlon Byrd
Starlin Castro
Tyler Colvin
Andre Dawson
Ryan Dempster
Blake DeWitt
Mike Fontenot
Kosuke Fukudome
Matt Garza
Mark Grace
Rich Harden
Todd Hundley
Fergie Jenkins
Dave Kingman
Derrek Lee
Ted Lilly
Greg Maddux
Gary Matthews
Carlos Marmol
Fred McGriff
Rick Monday
Corey Patterson
Carlos Pena
Mark Prior
Aramis Ramirez
Jeff Samardzija
Ryne Sandberg
Ron Santo
Hank Sauer
Alfonso Soriano
Sammy Sosa
Geovany Soto
Bruce Sutter
Ryan Theriot
Randy Wells
Billy Williams
Kerry Wood
Carlos Zambrano

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tile Tuesday: Scorecards

Last week on Monday I showed the Cubs scorecard from this season.  I also lamented the fact that the cover was plain and boring.  With today's tile you'll be able to see exactly what I was talking about.

I've got a collection of Cubs scorecards from 1958 to 2012.  The format of the card is exactly the same throughout the entire run.  The card is always four pages.  Page one is the cover, page two has the score sheet, page three has ballpark or player information, and page four is an ad.  The size and the cardstock also seems the same today as it was 44 years ago.

You will also be able to tell when the team was sold by the Wrigley family to the Tribune...that would be the first time you see an ad on the cover.  In fact, the first 13 cover under Tribune ownership were similar in design and pretty boring.  It took until the 1995 season that the Trib started varying the cover from year to year.  They started getting creative, but nothing that matched the style of the Otis Shepard and Shepard-inspired designs that occupy the top four rows of the tile.  Those are unique works of art.

Anyone else have a scorecard collection to go with their baseball cards?

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Wrigley Field Top Ten Moments

On Saturday I had a post on the cards the Cubs issued in 1999 for the Top Ten Moments at Wrigley Field.

My original guess list had two errors.  The two games the Cubs put on the list that I didn't were the 1984 Sandberg game and Sammy's #61 and 62 in 1998.  The Sandberg game I could agree with.  It was a huge performance broadcast to a national audience.  Two homers off of Bruce Sutter, both tying the game...that's big.  Sammy's homers, though, I wouldn't put as a top moment.  Neither homer gave the Cubs the lead and he still was behind McGwire for the league lead.  But since the cards came out just one season later, Sammy-mania was still rampant.

I made cards for the two events that I picked instead of the two above.

....June 29, 1969.  This was Billy Williams Day.  On this day the Cubs played the Cardinals in a double-header.  With game one, Billy tied the NL mark for consecutive games played and he set the record in game two.  For the day, he went 5 for 9 with three RBIs as the Cubs swept the Redbirds.  I also included this card because I felt the 1969 season needed some sort of representation.

....September 8, 1985.  I debated about this one since it features the accomplishment of a Cubs opponent.  But I went ahead with it since the cards were to show the top ten Wrigley Field moments, not the top ten Cubs moments at Wrigley Field.  I also have a soft spot for this game since I was at Wrigley Field that day.  Seems to me that tying one of baseball's most important records should be a top ten moment.  Plus, it turns out that the Cubs did include an opponent's moment in the set: Babe Ruth's called shot.  And Rose's hit did actually happen, I saw it with my own two eyes; the Babe's calling a homer...debatable.

So here are the Wrigley Wax Wrigley Field Top Ten Moments





Sunday, September 23, 2012

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 10,726 Cubs cards from 71 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades. 

Pre 1970s: 1915 Cracker Jack #176 James "Hippo" Vaughn...this is a reprint...the originals are waaayy too pricey for me!  Vaughn is knows mostly as the guy who lost the only double no-hitter in MLB history.  But he was a pretty decent pitcher for several seasons.  From 1914 - 1920, he won 21, 20, 17, 23, 22, 21, and 19 games.

1970s: 1971 Fleer World Series #5 1907  It was just a few weeks ago that I had a couple posts on this set, and now the Random Number Generator pull the 1907 Cubs.  After being heavily favored but losing the 1906 World Series, the Cubs were not going to flop again.  As you see on the card, they ran wild on the Tigers, swiping 18 bases on their way to a four game sweep of the Tigers.

1980s: 1984 Donruss #198 Steve Lake  Steve Lake was the backup to starter Jody Davis, but his 1984 season was not very good.  He contracted hepatitis in early May and didn't return to play until early August.  For the season he hit ,222 in just 25 games. 

1990s: 1993 Studio #8 Steve Buechele  The 1993 season was probably Buechele's best.  He his a career highs in average (.272) and doubles (27).  He led NL third basemen in fielding (.975) and committed only eight errors

2000s: 2001 Upper Deck Decades 1970 Bellbottomed Bashers #8 Dave Kingman  This card is from an insert set from UD's Decades 1970s set.  Kingman was the only Cub among the ten bashers in the set.  He hit 252 homers during the '70s (good for sixth place) but only 76 of those were with the Cubs.  I saw six of the 252 in person at Wrigley on August 8, 1974 (while he was with the Giants), one on April 5, 1979,  one on April 17, 1979, and three on May 17, 1979.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Wrigley Field Top Ten Moments

I picked up....

....this card over the summer and wrote a post about the entire Wrigley Field Top Ten Moments set.  I hadn't seen the set before and it wasn't listed in the Standard Catalog.  Without a checklist, I came up with my best guess for the Top Ten Wrigley Moments

....May 2, 1917...double no-hit game
....Game 3 of the 1932 World Series...Babe Ruth's "Called Shot"
....September 28, 1938...Gabby Hartnett's "Homer in the Gloamin"
....May 15, 1960...Don Cardwell becomes the first pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in his first game for a team
....June 29, 1969...Billy Williams Day...he sets the NL record for consecutive games played and goes 5-9 in a doubleheader
....September 2, 1972...Milt Pappas' near-perfect game
....September 8, 1985...Pete Rose ties Ty Cobb with hit #4191
....8/8/88...the first night game
....May 6, 1998...Kerry Wood's 20 strikeout game

Ryne Sandberg Supercollector Tai let me know that he had the set somewhere and he came up with the list of the ten moments.  Even better, he said I could have the set (minus the Sandberg card, of course!).

Earlier this week the cards arrived and we can see how I did with my guesses.  Here's my list again, but this time, the bold items are ones that were included in the set.

....May 2, 1917...double no-hit game
....Game 3 of the 1932 World Series...Babe Ruth's "Called Shot"
....September 28, 1938...Gabby Hartnett's "Homer in the Gloamin"
....May 15, 1960...Don Cardwell becomes the first pitcher in MLB history to throw a no-hitter in his first game for a team
....June 29, 1969...Billy Williams Day...he sets the NL record for consecutive games played and goes 5-9 in a doubleheader
....September 2, 1972...Milt Pappas' near-perfect game
....September 8, 1985...Pete Rose ties Ty Cobb with hit #4191
....8/8/88...the first night game
....May 6, 1998...Kerry Wood's 20 strikeout game

I got seven out of the nine correct (I didn't have to guess the tenth--it was the Ernie Banks card)...yea me!

Here are the two I missed....

...Sammy's 60th and 61st homers in 1998

....the Ryne Sandberg game in 1984

And here are the other seven in chronological order, starting with the oldest moment.




Thanks again, Tai, for your generosity!