1900s - 1970s: 1956 Topps #182 Paul Minner This was Minner's last year in the majors. He started nine games and was 2-5 with a 6.69 ERA. His last game was on June 12, but the Cubs didn't release him until after the season. I would have to guess that he was injured.
1980s: 1988 Topps Traded #131 Don Zimmer Popeye was hired by his childhood friend and new Cubs GM Jim Frey a few days after Frey was hired after the 1987 season. It was baseball's old-boys network at work. Zimmer last managed the Rangers in 1982, though he had spent sometime on Frey's staff with the Cubs. The 1988 team did improve slightly over the previous season's last place finish. They won one more game, 77 for the season, good enough for a fourth place finish.
1990s: 1997 Studio #41 Ryne Sandberg This is a nice shot of Sandberg, as his career was coming to an end. This was his final year, and his numbers were declining. He hit .264 and managed only 12 homers. I was lucky enough to be at Wrigley for Ryno's last home game. He had a single in the fifth inning, and then left the game, to a loud standing ovation. It was a goose-bump moment.
2000s: 2001 Donruss #163 Nate Frese We go from one of the most recognized Cubs player to a complete unknown. I must confess I know very little about Nate Frese. I guess that's why I've got my media guide collection! He was added to the Cubs 40-man roster in November, 2000, but spent the entire 2001 season in AA West Tennessee. He played in 72 games before a broken thumb ended his year. Hitting only .180 had the Cubs brass wondering why they put him on the 40 man roster. They took him off.