Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Golden Barney!

When your team loses 101 games, you don't have very much to cheer for. Darwin Barney's defensive play was one of the few bright spots. He tied the major league record for consecutive errorless games at second base in a single season. Last night he was named the Gold Glove winner for the National League second baseman. Yeah, Darwin!

He's the first Cub to win the award since Derrek Lee in 2007 and the first Cub second baseman since Ryne Sandberg.  Ryno won it nine years in a row, from 1983 - 1991.  Once a guy starts winning a few in a row, it seems that reputation alone is enough to keep winning.  Brandon Phillips has won three of the previous four Gold Gloves at second.  The thought was that he may win it again this year, partly because of his previous wins.  But my boy Barney prevailed.

Here's a gold card to celebrate the gold glove.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tile Tuesday: Allen & Ginter

Last week's Conlon tile was pretty plain looking.  Most of the cards has the exact same black design.  This week its another plain looking tile, but with white instead of black...Allen & Ginter.

Plain cards doesn't mean unpopular, though. Topps brought back the Allen and Ginter name in 2006 and it was immediate hit.  It has been one of their most popular brands ever since.  Count me among the likers.  I've got complete sets of each of year of Ginter.

My only complaint with Ginter is the ever growing number of relic cards.  The tile will give you a good look at the recent explosion of relics.  Here is how the number of Cubs relics has grown over the years...1..2..3..2..5..12..10.  That's 22 from the past two years, 13 from the first five.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Back to Three Bucks

For every big bucks Buck O'Neil, I've picked up a fistful of three buck autographs of guys like these...

....Sam Fuld.  Sam made a great catch for the Cubs late in 2007 season and became a cult hero among Cub fans.  He never did much more for the Cubs and ended up in Tampa in 2011 via the Matt Garza trade.  

...Kevin Orie was one of the many busts the Cubs tried out at third base.  His career didn't amount to much, but he has a nice signature, so he's got that going for him.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

More Than Three Bucks for Buck

The autographs from yesterday were only a few bucks each.  Today's was more than that, but worth every buck I spent...

...for Buck O'Neil.  What a great looking picture of Buck against the brick wall of Wrigley Field.  The signature is shaky but readable.  The fact that O'Neil was 88 year sold when the card was signed might have something to do with the shakiness.

Buck was the first black coach in MLB history, serving as one of the many rotating coaches during the College of Coaches era.  Before coming to the Cubs he was a player and later manager in the Negro Leagues.  He was Ernie Banks' manager when Ernie was with the Kansas City Monarchs.  My guess is that was a factor when the Cubs hired him, first as a scout, and later as coach.

His appearance in Ken Burns' Baseball documentary brought him to national prominence.  For the rest of his life O'Neil was the unofficial spokesman for the Negro Leagues.

He died at the age of 94 in 2006.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Three Bucks Autographs

I've been on a bit of an autograph kick lately.  My goal is to have one autographed card for each Cub that had a certified autograph card sometime during his playing time with the Cubs.  I've already got most of the big names.  What I'm chasing now are the lesser guys from several years back.  Many of those cards can be had for only a few bucks.  When you see the players, you'll know why...

....Sean Gallagher.  He was one of two young pitching Seans the Cubs had (Marshall was the other).  The Cubs traded Gallagher to the A's in the Rich Harden trade.  It always makes me nervous to trade a young pitcher.  He went seven innings in his first start for the A's and gave up only two runs.  I thought, uh-oh.  But he then lost his next next six starts (though he only took the loss twice) and I was feeling better.

Kevin Hart's card has both an autograph and a jersey piece.  What a deal!  The Cubs sold high when they traded Hart to the Pirates just before the deadline in 2009.  At the time of the trade, he had won three starts in a row while lowering his ERA to 2.60.  Once he got to Pittsburgh, the bottom fell out.  He was 1-8 for the Bucs with an ERA of 6.92.

The Cubs picked Matt Karchner up from the White Sox for the 1998 stretch.  He cost the Cubs a class A prospect named Jon Garland.  This was not a good deal for the Cubs. Karchner spent the next two seasons between AAA and Chicago. Garland helped pitch the Sox to the 2005 World Championship.  Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

Friday, October 26, 2012

1989 Fun Fact Sticker Book

A couple oddballs for the Ernie and Billy collections...

These come from this 1989 book,

the Hall of Fame Fun and Fact Sticker book.

The stickers are smaller than baseball cards, measuring 2 1/8" by 1 5/8".  As you can see from the book cover, there were 100 of these.  There are a couple other Cubs in the book (Cap Anson and Mordecai Brown) but I didn't bother with them.

I was able to get both stickers together in a lot for a whole dollar.  I figured what the heck.

The book isn't listed in the Standard Catalog, so I've got the entire checklist below, in case you're looking for a player or team that you collect.

44 Hank Aaron
72 Grover Alexander
5 Cap Anson
18 Luis Aparicio
20 Dave Bancroft
6 Ernie Banks
94 Ed Barrow
55 Roger Bresnahan
7 Dan Brouthers
60 Mordecai Brown
33 Jesse Burkett
54 Roy Campanella
38 Max Carey
90 Alexander Cartwright
97 Happy Chandler
46 Roberto Clemente
37 Ty Cobb
56 Mickey Cochrane
23 Jimmy Collins
98 Jocko Conlan
9 Roger Connor
50 Sam Crawford
19 Joe Cronin
64 Candy Cummings
26 Ray Dandridge
31 Ed Delahanty
63 Martin Dihigo
39 Joe DiMaggio
11 Bobby Doerr
100 Billy Evans
57 Buck Ewing
61 Red Faber
62 Bob Feller
53 Elmer Flick
70 Whitey Ford
13 Frankie Frisch
80 Pud Galvin
1 Lou Gehrig
92 Warren Giles
76 Lefty Gomez
74 Lefty Grove
34 Chick Hafey
43 Billy Hamilton
52 Harry Hooper
71 Waite Hoyt
99 Cal Hubbard
75 Carl Hubbell
82 Catfish Hunter
32 Monte Irvin
16 Hughie Jennings
96 Ban Johnson
51 Willie Keeler
24 George Kell
35 Joe Kelley
8 George Kelly
48 Chuck Klein
79 Sandy Koufax
10 Nap Lajoie
95 Kenesaw Landis
68 Bob Lemon
58 Ernie Lombardi
85 Connie Mack
40 Mickey Mantle
36 Heinie Manush
17 Rabbit Maranville
66 Rube Marquard
25 Eddie Mathews
65 Christy Mathewson
87 Joe McCarthy
4 Willie McCovey
89 John McGraw
88 Bill McKechnie
3 Johnny Mize
30 Stan Musial
49 Mel Ott
67 Herb Pennock
78 Eddie Plank
91 Branch Rickey
69 Eppa Rixey
12 Jackie Robinson
86 Wilbert Robinson
83 Red Ruffing
47 Babe Ruth
22 Joe Sewell
84 Warren Spahn
41 Tris Speaker
27 Willie Stargell
2 Bill Terry
73 Dazzy Vance
21 Arky Vaughan
14 Honus Wagner
77 Ed Walsh
42 Lloyd Waner
45 Paul Waner
81 Hoyt Wilhelm
28 Ted Williams
29 Billy Williams
15 George Wright
93 Tom Yawkey
59 Cy Young

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Des Plaines Illinois

I bought this Post 1962 card of Ed Bouchee because of this part of the card...

Home: Des Plaines, Illinois.  Like Ed, I lived in Des Plaines, too.  I spent 12 years in Des Plaines and my two older sons probably consider it their hometown.

I actually knew Ed a little, and wrote about it here.

I've always wondered how he ended up in Des Plaines.  As far as I can tell, the only connection he had to the Chicago area was from his time with the Cubs.   Bouchee grew up in Washington and then played for the Phillies before coming to the Cubs.

He had some legal trouble in Washington, so he may not have felt welcomed back home.  Once traded from the Phillies to the Cubs during the 1960 season, he may not have wanted to stay in Philly anymore, either.

The Cubs spring 1961 roster book already lists Des Plaines as his hometown, so it looks like he moved his family to the area pretty quickly after the trade.  You can see on the card that the Mets took him in the 1962 expansion draft, but he kept his home in Des Plaines.  By 1963 his career was over.

After baseball, he worked as a warehouse supervisor and also took up officiating.  After retiring, he eventually left Des Plaines and moved to the warmer climate of Gilbert, Arizona.  I left Des Plaines for the not so warm climate of Michigan.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Missing Something on the Final Moyer

He had a nice run, but Jamie Moyer's career is finally over.  Topps was nice enough to include a card of him in the Update set.

Unfortunately, something is missing from the back, though.  Take a look.

I don't think I've seen this before on a Topps card....incomplete career stats.  Instead of going back to his debut with the Cubs in 1986, Topps starts with his 1995 stats.  Last year they were able to squeeze in his entire career.

But I guess they didn't want to go with a small font on the 2012 card.  What a shame.  The guy has a career that lasted 26 years, but Topps couldn't deviate from its template and put in his entire career.  Boo!

This is Moyer's first card as a major leaguer, issued by the Cubs in 1986.  Who would have thought that his career wouldn't end until 2012.  I sure didn't.

To give you a little perspective on just how long Moyer was in the majors, I've got the Mindset List from Beloit College.  Each year they put together a list of things that reflects the world view of the incoming freshman.  This is the 2008 list, for students born the year Moyer made his MLB debut, 1986.  Read it and feel old!

  1. Desi Arnaz, Orson Welles, Roy Orbison, Ted Bundy, Ayatollah Khomeini and Cary Grant have always been dead.
  2. Here's Johnny! is a scary greeting from Jack Nicholson, not a warm welcome from Ed McMahon.
  3. The Energizer bunny has always been going, and going, and going.
  4. Large fine-print ads for prescription drugs have always appeared in magazines.
  5. Photographs have always been processed in an hour or less.
  6. They never got a chance to drink 7-Up Gold, Crystal Pepsi, or Apple Slice.
  7. Baby Jessica could be a classmate.
  8. Parents may have been reading The Bourne Supremacy or It as they rocked them in their cradles.
  9. Alan Greenspan has always been setting the nation's financial direction.
  10. The U.S. has always been a Prozac nation.
  11. They have always enjoyed the comfort of pleather.
  12. Harry has always known Sally.
  13. They never saw Roseanne Rosannadanna live on Saturday Night Live.
  14. There has always been a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
  15. They never ate a McSub at McD's.
  16. There has always been a Comedy Channel.
  17. Bill and Ted have always been on an excellent adventure.
  18. They were never tempted by smokeless cigarettes.
  19. Robert Downey, Jr. has always been in trouble.
  20. Martha Stewart has always been cooking up something with someone.
  21. They have always been comfortable with gay characters on television.
  22. Mike Tyson has always been a contender.
  23. The government has always been proposing we go to Mars, and it has always been deemed too expensive.
  24. There have never been any Playboy Clubs.
  25. There have always been night games at Wrigley Field.
  26. Rogaine has always been available for the follicularly challenged.
  27. They never saw USA Today or the Christian Science Monitor as a TV news program.
  28. Computers have always suffered from viruses.
  29. We have always been mapping the human genome.
  30. Politicians have always used rock music for theme songs.
  31. Network television has always struggled to keep up with cable.
  32. O'Hare has always been the most delay-plagued airport in the U.S.
  33. Ivan Boesky has never sold stock.
  34. Toll-free 800 phone numbers have always spelled out catchy phrases.
  35. Bethlehem has never been a place of peace at Christmas.
  36. Episcopal women bishops have always threatened the foundation of the Anglican Church.
  37. Svelte Oprah has always dominated afternoon television; who was Phil Donahue anyway?
  38. They never flew on People Express.
  39. AZT has always been used to treat AIDS.
  40. The international community has always been installing or removing the leader of Haiti.
  41. Oliver North has always been a talk show host and news commentator.
  42. They have suffered through airport security systems since they were in strollers.
  43. They have done most of their search for the right college online.
  44. Aspirin has always been used to reduce the risk of a heart attack.
  45. They were spared the TV ads for Zamfir and his panpipes.
  46. Castro has always been an aging politician in a suit.
  47. There have always been non-stop flights around the world without refueling.
  48. Cher hasn't aged a day.
  49. M.A.S.H. was a game: Mansion, Apartment, Shelter, House.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tile Tuesday: The Conlon Collection

From 1991 through 1995, the Sporting News and Megacards put out the Conlon Collection.  The cards featured the works of sports photographer Charles Conlon.  A total of 1430 cards were issued.  For the first four years, the cards featured an identical design and were in sets of 330 cards.  They were numbered consecutively, from 1 - 1320.

In 1995 a change was made to both the design (the cards were green instead of black, and glossy) and in number.  The set was going to be released in two series of 110 cards.  The second series never saw the light of day, and so the set ended with 1430 cards.

I like the cards enough that I've purchased the entire run.  The first three years are easy and inexpensive.  The 2004 set is tougher and the 2005 is a real pain.  I think I waited almost a year for a set of the 2005s to show up at an affordable price, and I was able to get the entire set in an unopened package.

There are 88 different cards that featured Cubs players.  We get cards of Hall of Fame guys like Gabby Hartnett, Dizzy Dean, and Mordicai Brown and cards of anonymous players like Art Nehf and Curt Davis.  It's a very eclectic set.

If you want to get a better look at the cards, click on the Conlon logo below the tile and it will take you to my Photobucket page.

Monday, October 22, 2012

More OPC Billy Williams

My next two Billy Williams OPC cards have arrived, from 1970 and 1971.

The 1970 front is identical to the Topps card...

 but the back isn't.

You can see how OPC used the blue box only for the player's personal information.  The write up was with a white background.  My guess is that was done due to the smaller font necessary to get both the English and French text included.  I do like that the cartoon has the words written by the cartoonist.  They did drop the little speech bubble; not enough room for dual language, I suppose.

The 1971 card again has an identical front.

The back, though, has more differences than any other OPC set.

Pretty much the entire design was changed.  That was quite a bit of work for OPC to make all those changes.  Probably more than they wanted, since no back was ever so different again.

These cards bring my Billy OPC total to four, with three more left to go.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 10,879 Cubs cards from 71 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades. 

1950s/1960s: 1954 Topps #60 Frank Baumholtz  Like so many players from his generation, Baumholtz came to the major leagues at an older age due to military service in World War II.  He was a 28 year old rookie for the Reds in 1947.  The Cubs picked him up a couple years later, and by 1954 he was an aging part time outfielder.  He played in 90 games and hit .297

1970s: 1979 Topps #716 Scot Thompson  Do you suppose Thompson is so sad looking because he knew the picture was going to end up on an ugly, black and white rookie card?  He was the Cubs first round draft pick in the 1974 draft and he made it to the majors at the end of the '78 season.  He hit .417 in 19 games, so there was lots of optimism about him when the 1979 season opened.  He had a decent rookie season, hitting .289 in 128 games.  He didn't hit for any power, though, with only two homers.

1980s: 1988 Fleer Glossy #414 Jody Davis  This is a nice action shot of Davis tagging out some Cardinal.  I can't tell exactly who the Cardinal is, but he is wearing one of those big arm bands with the picture patch.  The 1988 season was Jody's last with the Cubs.  The wear and tear of being an everyday catcher had caught up with him and his numbers were dropping.  He played in only 88 games for the Cubs before he was traded to the Braves at the tail end of the season.

1990s: 1990 Big #109 Mitch Williams   I liked these Big cards!  Wild Thing was riding high into the 1990 season, having helped pitch the Cubs to the division crown in 1989.  But a knee injury limited him to 59 games.  He was 1-8 and saved only 16 games.

2000s: 2005 Donruss Elite Turn Of the Century #157 Ernie Banks  This card is from my player collection.  There's an overused picture of Ernie from 1969, but at least Donruss got the Cubs logo correct, using the one with the small blue circle that was the Cubs primary logo in the late '60s and most of the '70s.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Excited About Rafael Dolis' Autograph

Why on earth am I excited about getting this update card, with Rafael Dolis' autograph?

It certainly isn't his 2012 record of 2-4, or his ERA of 6.39 that's got me excited.

Actually, it isn't Rafael at all.  It's the seller that I bought the card from that made my day.  First, the card was listed as a BIN for only $1.99.  On card autographs for a couple bucks, what a deal.  But even better than the price was the shipping.  Look at how the card arrived...

....Blue tape sealing up the toploader!!  I've been on the blue tape kick for a couple years, now.  Why?  Because it peals off so easily and leaves no residue behind. The toploader can be reused without a sticky mess left on it.

Go green...recycle...use the blue.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Barney Rainbow Grows

Topps decided to include Gold bordered cards of all 660 from the base plus the 330 update cards in the update set. They are all numbered /2012. In the past the gold borders were included in series one and two. I'm not sure why the waited until the update set this year.

I'm not bothering with the golds for the entire Cubs team. All I need is the Darwin Barney card to add to the rainbow. That makes a total of ten different versions of the Fabulous Flying Barney.

Here's all ten together


Thursday, October 18, 2012

2012 Update Extras

In addition to the 16 Cubs base cards from yesterday, there were another seven Cubs in the insert sets.

Golden Moments

Two Cubs made the list, Ernie Banks (his 500th Home Run) and Starlin Castro (two hits on June 14, 2012 to help the Cubs beat the Brewers in extra innings).

Golden Greats


Mr. Cub and the Hawk (fresh from being pulled out of the ivy) were included.


Ryne Sandberg is in this subset, but I wouldn't exactly call Larry Bowa and Ryne Sandberg for Ivan DeJesus a blockbuster trade.  It was Dallas Green looking for a field leader (Bowa) and getting a prospect, too (Sandberg) while the Phillies got a younger shortstop with better range.



Ryan Dempster is in the base update set as a Ranger, but the minis must be printed much earlier, so he's still with the Cubs.   Bryan LaHair got the mini set as a consolation prize instead of an All Star card.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

2012 Update Cubs

My update cards have arrived!

There were 24 different cards in my Cubs update package, and I'll have them all over the next couple days.

Today, its the base cards and the gold sparkles.  There were eight different Cubs cards in the 330 card update set.

Two Cubs, Starlin Castro and Bryan LaHair, made the All Star team, but just Castro got an All Star card.


Shawn Camp and Jeff Russell did a nice job out of the bullpen this year, a bullpen that saw plenty of work.

The other five cards are of guys that probably won't be on the Cubs opening day roster in 2013.


They're either rookies that need more time in the minors....

....utility role vets....


...or roster-filling no-names.

Here are the golden sparkle versions...