Friday, July 31, 2015

Finished the Barney USA Autographs

I've been one card short of completely my Barney 2007 USA Baseball autograph set.  I was missing the blue ink/jersey card.  It is a /150, but has been pretty scarce.  Last week one finally popped on Ebay.  The starting price was a little higher than I hoped, but I was the only bidder.  The card was mine.

Here's the complete set:

There are black, blue and red autograph and autograph/jersey cards.  A /2 green version of each exists, but I've never seen one and don't have any plans to add them.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Variations Galore

As I was putting the Bryant and Soler rookie variations into my binder, I realized that I have a crazy number of variations from this year's base set.

There are 17 Cubs players with cards in Series 1 and 2.  Between the sparkles and rookies, seven of the 17 have a second card.  Yikes.

Take a look...take a look!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hyped Rookies... Good For the Team, Tough on the Wallet

The prospects we've been hearing about for the past couple years have arrived.  The team is doing much better.

And Topps is making me pay.

This year's retail version of the factory complete set includes five bonus cards. They are variations of five rookies regular card.

Remember the past few years when I complained about the number of Cubs being short in various sets.  

Not any more.

Of the five bonus rookies, two of the five are Cubs.

Jorge Soler is the first.  His card set me back a couple bucks.  No big deal.

Player #2 is a big deal.

Kris Bryant's card set me back more than a couple bucks.  Waay more than a couple bucks.

So my choices are lousy teams and cheap cards or good teams with more expensive cards.

I'll pay the extra!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Giveaway Billy Statue

The weekend was a bust for the hit by Hamels, swept by the Phillies.  But it wasn't a total bust.  On Friday the Cubs gave away 10,000 miniature versions of the Billy Williams statue.

I didn't go to the game but I was able to pick up a statue.  The Ebay seller was extremely efficient and I got mine yesterday...Game Friday, shipped Saturday, arrived Monday.

The statue comes in a nice box, protected in a layer of styrofoam,

And here's the statue.  Its made of some metallic type material and colored to look like the original.

A pretty decent representation during a pretty lousy weekend.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 13,741 Cubs cards from 105 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades. 

Before I begin, two things.  First, this post was scheduled for yesterday but got bumped by the end of The Streak.  Second, the number of Cubs cards is the same as it was with last week's Five Random Cubs Cards post.  I went an entire week without getting any new Cubs cards.  That is very unusual.  It will also end because lots of Ginter is coming this week!

Now on to the cards!

1900s - 1970s: 1976 SSPC #322 Ron Dunn  You've got to be a hardcore fan to recognize the name of Ron Dunn.   After hitting a very promising .294 in 23 games in 1974, Dunn dashed that promise in 1975.  He hit just .159 in 32 games.  Somehow SSPC felt that was good enough to include him in their 1976 set.  He spent the entire 1976 season in AAA and after that his career was......done.

1980s: 1989 Fleer #426 Mark Grace Fleer gives us a nice shot of the young Mark Grace in front of the Cubs dugout.

1990s: 1993 Topps Rockies #688 Dwight Smith This card comes from a parallel set Topps issued in 1993 for the first year Rockies (the Marlins got one too).  The cards are identical to the base set except for the gold logo in the bottom right corner,

2000s: 2002 Topps #28 Eric Young  EY was a very happy dude!

2010s: 2011 Topps Topps 60 #92 Alfonso Soriano  This comes from an insert set in Topps' 60th anniversary release.  Between Series 1, 2, and the Update set, Topps 60 featured the top 60 players.  Well, no.  Actually there were 150 cards in the set.  That's why it was called Topps 60.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Streak Is Over

From September 9, 1965

until July 25, 2015

7,920 consecutive games of at least one Cub hit.

It is a major league record.

It's over.

I'm bummed.

I'll gladly trade the stupid record for a Worlds Series title.

That is all.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

1970 Cubs Phillies Connections

As I was reading my new 1970 Phillies scorecard, it surprised me how many of the players on the Phillies had or would have Cubs connections.

There are 25 Phillies players that have bios in the scorecard.  Six of them ended up with the Cubs one time or another.

Bowa looks so young in that Phillies picture and so battle worn in the Cubs card.


Browne got a Topps Rookie trophy on his '67 card but could never duplicate the success he had in 1966.

Fryman spent just half a season with the '78 Cubs but would spend five more decent years working in relief for the Expos.

Oscar Gamble was young and fro-less in 1970.  The Cubs card is a homemade job since he never had a Topps card that showed him with the Cubs.

Look at how the Phillies bio mentions Selma's role as the cheerleader for the Bleacher Bums!  He too never had a Cubs card, so again, I made one.

Weird--the Phillies guide lists his first name as Antonia but his signature on the Cubs card is Antonio.

Friday, July 24, 2015

The 1970 Phillies Souvenir Program - Ernie Style!

Back in March I bought a Phillies scorecard from 1970 because Billy Williams was on the cover.

Turns out there is a Mr. Cub version too!

The cover is identical to the Billy version except for the picture, obviously.

Turns out this one was scored, too (though rather crudely).

The game was on August 7, 1970. The Phillies beat the Cubs 4-1 as Fergie Jenkins gave up three runs in the eight inning and took the loss.  Today if a pitcher even made it to the eight inning, as soon as a runner reached base he'd be yanked.  But in 1970, it was Fergies game to win or lose.

As I was reading the box score, I noticed something unusual about the Cubs lineup that night.  Take a look:

Someone is missing.

Actually, two someones are missing.  Ernie was old and often injured.  His absence isn't unusual.

But Billy.  Where is he?

Remember, in 1970 Billy had a National League record of consecutive games played still going.

I read the Tribune article on the game and got an explanation.  Turns out Billy desperately wanted the streak to end.  He wanted a day off.  He wanted to stay fresh for the team as they tried to win the division.

So Leo gave him the night off.  Jim Hickman started in left field.

But Billy didn't get the night off completely.  In the ninth inning, as the Cubs now trailed by three, they started a rally.  Billy was brought in as a pinch hitter for Jack Hiatt, though my scorekeeper didn't make note of that on the card.

With the bases loaded, he struck out looking.  However his plate appearance kept the streak going; this was game #1,093.

He kept the streak going another 24 games before finally taking the day off on September 3.  His streak ended at 1,117 games.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

A Day Without Barney

I do an Ebay search for "Darwin Barney" at least once a day.  I know there isn't anything new, but there are a few of his older cards that I'm still hunting.

A sad thing happened when I was searching last week:

Look at the dates of the two items...

July 15 for the bottom one and July 17 for the one on top.

And what is the significance of these two?

Nothing at all for Barney was listed on July 16.  In the four years that I've been collecting his cards, that is the first time I can remember that an entire day was devoid of Darwin.

Listings have picked up since then, but I think there will be more days coming without anything new being posted.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

water stain - otherwise NRMINT

One of the items on the PSA Master List for Billy Williams is a 1964 Jay Publishing photo.  They don't pop up on Ebay very often.  Then...

...this one did.

I didn't  buy it.

The seller has a very interesting description of the item:

water stain - otherwise NRMINT.

That is the first time I've seen water stain and near mint in the same description.  How can something have both?

I'm pretty sure it can't.

Once it gets water-stained, the near mint ship has sailed.

So what other comparable lines can we come up with....

Richard Nixon....had the Watergate thing, otherwise near-great president

Madonna...been with a few guys over the years, otherwise near-virgin

The Cubs...had a tough time the past 100+ years, otherwise near-dynasty

Add your lines in the comments.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Complete Cubs Uniform Number Frankenset

Today is Frankenset Recap Day.

  • The set is made up of 66 cards.
  • There are seven numbers that have been worn by players that aren't in the set (60, 61, 66, 67, 71, 94, and 96).  Based on the cards that are out there, it is doubtful that I'll find something for the set with these numbers unless a new player wears the number.
  • The home uniform is shown on 23 cards, the road uniform on another 39, and the alternate used at both home and the road makes four appearances.
  • The first pitcher doesn't show up until card #30.  After #29, position players make only eight more cards while the pitchers are on the other 29.
  • All the cards are vertical except for the last one.
  • This was fun!


Monday, July 20, 2015

Cubs Numbers Frankenset #60 - 99

Now its gets really interesting.

First of all, 22 of these 40 numbers have never been worn by any Cub.  The unspoiled are 65, 69, 73, 75, 78, 79, 80, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90, 91, 92, 93, 95, 97, and 98.

Next, there are four numbers (70, 74, 77, and 81) that have only been used by managers or coaches.  Since they rarely if ever get cards, I'm going to limit the Frankenset to players.  I'll have to go back and take out #2 Leo Durocher.  He'll be replaced by Ryan Theriot.

Moving on, another seven numbers have been worn so infrequently that I haven't found a card for a player that shows the number. I checked ebay and COMC, looking at cards not yet in my collection but came up empty.  I suppose I could make fake cards using pictures from the internet, but that seems like cheating.  Instead, I now have a quest... find players on cards with these numbers:

60: Lou Klein (c)(hc)(1961-65), Mitch Atkins (2009-10), Chris Carpenter (2011), Manny Corpas (2012)
61: Babe Phelps(1933-34), Roy Johnson (c)(1935-36), Bob Kennedy (c)(hc)(1963-65), Jose Reyes (2006), Ryan Kalish(2014)
66: Rafael Dolis (2011)
67: Tsuyoshi Wada (2014)
71: Gonzalez Germen (2015)
94: Felix Heredia(2001)
96: Bill Voiselle (1950), Mike Brumley (C) (2014)

All I'm left with are seven numbers between 60 and 99.  And even some of the cards I'm using aren't very good.  Desperate times call for desperate measures. Some have just a part of the number showing.  Soler's #68 in on an unlicensed card.  The logos are gone but the number is visible.

For #72 I'm going with the number that is on his helmet.  I also had to borrow a picture from COMC since that cards isn't in my collection (yet!).  And the final number, 99, forced me to use the only horizontal card in the set, plus I had to use Todd Hundley!

Here's what I've got from #60 - 99

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 13,741 Cubs cards from 105 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades. 

1900s - 1970s: 1970 Kelloggs #50 Ernie Banks  This card has me so conflicted. On one hand you have a smiling Mr. Cub in the home pinstripes.  On the other hand, he is at Shea Stadium.

1980s: 1982 Topps #62 Mike Tyson Before there was the powerful and crazy boxer, there was the second baseman.  As opposed to the hard hitting boxer, the infielder was pretty light-hitting.  After hitting just .185 for the 1981 Cubs, he was released towards the end of spring training in 1982, ending his 10-year career.

1990s: 1994 Triple Play #75 Mike Morgan  The Cubs were one of eleven big-league stops for Morgan.  I didn't realize it until I started working on this, but he played more years with the Cubs than with any of the other ten teams.  The 1994 season was his worst.  A 2-10 record with an ERA of 6.69 is pretty bad.  Good thing for him the season was cut short by the strike.  He had three different stints on the DL, but obviously never got healthy.

2000s: 2008 Heritage #580 Kosuke Fukudome  Remember when he was all the rage?  He had cards and inserts in just about everything in 2008.  

2010s: 2010 Topps Update #85 Andre Dawson  This card is a short print variation.  Starlin Castro is the real #85 in the set, but the Hawk got an SP card.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Cubs Numbers Frankenset #41 - 59

...the Frankenset continues!

Now things start to get a little dicey.  The higher the number, the fewer players have worn it, and the fewer potential cards.  It took a bit more searching, but I did come up with a card for each.

  • A majority of these players are pitchers.  Two reasons: First, the Cubs generally assigned pitchers higher numbers.  Second, there's a better chance that an action shot of a picture will give you a look at his number.
  • #41--Dirt!
  • I had to go with both Reuschel brothers.
  • #54 wasn't easy and we barely get a glimpse of the 4.  Same with the 5 on Soto's #58. By the way, he wore #58 his first couple years in the majors and then switched to #18 in 2008.
  • We almost get to see Pulpo's sixth finger on the #57 card.