Monday, August 31, 2015

Arrieta was Awesome!

Jake Arrieta was absolutely awesome last night as he no-hit the Dodgers, the 14th no-hitter in Cubs history.

He picked up his MLB-leading 17th win.

He struck out 12 including the last three hitters.

Just two Dodgers reached base.  One reached via an error by Stalin Castro (which could have been called a hit but wasn't by the Dodger's official scorekeeper) and the other was walked.

His August record: 6-0 with an ERA of 0.43



Sunday, August 30, 2015

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 13,787 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: 1976 Topps #251 Rick Monday  This is one of my all-time favorite cards.  I just love the look of the blue on the border, the blue sky, and the blue on the uniform.  Monday looks so cool, too, with the bat on his shoulder.  Just a great looking card.

1980s: 1986 Topps Traded #120 Manny Trillo The Cubs reacquired Trillo in December 1985 in a trade with the Giants.  He was a young up and coming player during his first go-around with the Cubs.  This time he was a grizzled veteran and a utility player.  He got in half of the Cubs games in 1986 and hit a very decent .296. 

1990s: 1994 Sportflics Traded #83 Steve Trachsel  Cool 3-D Sportflic cards with a boring 2-D picture in the corner.  The 1994 season was Trachsel's rookie campaign, which is why he was in the traded set.  He posted a 9-7 record, leading the team in wins.

2000s: 2008 Upper Deck #78 Ryan Theriot  Do you know about TOOTBLAN?  It was inspired by Ryan more about it here.  

2010s: 2014 Heritage Baseball Flashbacks #EB Ernie Banks  On May 9, 1965, Mr. Cub hit two homers in game two of a doubleheader against the Astros, giving the Cubs a split for the day.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

I Got What I Said I Wouldn't Part 3

...more Barney as a Dodger stuff.

OYO has put out the 4th generation of their baseball players.  Barney was in the first three sets as a Cub.  When I saw he made the fourth as a Dodger, I went back and forth about getting the LA version.

On one hand, he wasn't a Cub.  But on the other, it was Darwin.

I went ahead and picked it up.

And here is my shelf with the complete collection.

Friday, August 28, 2015

I Got What I Said I Wouldn't Part 2

I just can't make up my mind.

I said I wouldn't collect any more new Darwin Barney items, since they wouldn't show him as a Cub.


I bought this.

The card is from Platinum Series Baseball, a new product this year.  The cards are used in a baseball board game.  Over 600 players are on the checklist and Darwin was one of them.  This could the the last card that shows him as a major league player, so I figured it was worth a buck to grab.

You can tell from the card the the set doesn't have an MLB license.  I wonder if the picture was of him from his Cubs or Dodger days?  Both team wear gray road uniforms, so it could be from either.

I've heard next to nothing about these cards.  I've found just one seller on Ebay that has them.  Anyone else hear of them or buy them?

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The Wrigley Field W Flag

A recent post at Uniwatch showed this picture on the history of the flags that fly at Wrigley Field.

This comes from my 1947 Cubs program.  You'll notice something that is different with the W flag.  The colors are reversed from what is done today.  Originally the Cubs used a blue flag with a  white W.  Somewhere along the way, it was reversed to the white flag with a blue W that we are familiar with today.

The question---when was it switched.

Wikipedia has a detailed article on the W flag.  But all it says it that the color reversal was done some time in the early 80's.  I thought I would try to nail it down to an exact year.

I started looking through my Cubs media guides.  Below is page 5 from the 1989 guide.

You can see that it mentions the blue flag with white W.  That means the switch hadn't taken place yet.

On to the 1990 guide, this time page 6:

So the switch has been made, according to the media guide, some time between 1989 and 1990.  But, was it made during the 1989 season of for the 1990 season?  More detective work ensued.

I found this picture in the Cubs 1990 yearbook.  

It shows the final home game of the 1989 season.  The fans called the team out for a curtain call.  That is Jerome Walton acknowledging the cheers.  If you look at the very top of the picture you can see the white W flag on the mast.

So, using the media guide and this picture, the Cubs reversed the W  flag colors in 1989.

Case closed.

Case re-opened.

I found this picture in the 1985 yearbook.  That is clearly a white W flag flying.

The color swap was done much earlier.  Apparently no one in the Cubs media department read the Wrigley Field article that was run in the media guides.  For years they had the wrong information.

So when was the switch actually made?

I have no idea.  I'm back to square one....some time in the early 1980s.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Three More Unlicensed Billy Williams Cards...

...because Topps is ignoring him.

I've added a few more Billy Williams cards, all from Panini.

A couple are parallels to cards I already have:

This is the silver version of the Cooperstown Crown Royale die cut.  It is /75.  I already have the green /5 version.

This is the cracked ice version of the card that was given out at the National.  These are /25.

Finally this is a blue version of the 2015 Cooperstown autograph card.  The blues are /25.

Collectors still don't seem to be too interested in Panini products because I was able to pick up all three for less than fifteen bucks.

Three low number cards of a Hall of Famer, including an autographed card for five bucks each.  I'll take 'em.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 Topps Chrome Cubs

It's out a bit later than usual, but Topps Chrome has arrived.  This is the 20th edition of Chrome, having first been issued in 1996.  For the past several years it has been a 200 card set.  This year the set got a last-minute five card bump.  Five more rookies were added, though their cards were the dreaded SPs.

Thankfully, no Cubs were among the five added rookies.  Kris Bryant and Addison Russell were already in the set and their cards were going for high prices.   Bryant's base cards was going for $20 and it was taking $4-5 to get Russell's.

I was able to get a complete Cubs set from Brentandbecca for a more reasonable price, though it was higher that what I was used to.  I told Brent it was a good thing that Kyle Schwarber wasn't included in the set or I would have had to take out a loan.  The price for the Cubs success is higher prices...I'm OK with that!

After having just three cards in the past three Chrome sets, the Cubs this year had eight players.

Two of the eight made no sense...


...Javier Baez and Tommy La Stella.  Baez has been in AAA all year.  La Stella has been hurt, playing in just two games.

The other six are all contributors to the Cubs success this year.


Monday, August 24, 2015

I Got What I Said I Wouldn't

So Matt sends me a Cubs 2014 scorecard.  I now have two.  I get the idea of buying all ten from the season.  I discover that there were 25 cards, not 10. In deference to my wallet I decide to pass.

I was wrong, twice.

First, it turns out that there were not 25 scorecards, there were 26.

Second, I bought all of them.

I was going to pass because 25 (or 26) scorecards times $8-10 each was more than I wanted to spend.

And then... a seller has all 26 of the cards in one lot.  Hmmm.  And his BIN/BO price was fairly reasonable.  Hmmmmm.  I made a BO of a tad more than $3 per card...and it was accepted.

So here you go, the entire collection of 2014 Cubs scorecards.

I'm going to keep these in their own separate binder.

This is the cover I made.

I got what I said I wouldn't, and I'm glad I did.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 13,786 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: 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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

2010s: 2011 Topps 60 Years of Topps Bruce Sutter This is the Bruce Sutter I knew, the one with a Fu Manchu, not the Grizzly Adams version that pitched for the Cardinals.  This is a reprint of his 1977 card.  That was his break-out season.  The Cubs were rolling along leading the division into mid-July when Sutter got hurt.  The Cubs had a five game lead on July 10.  When he came off the disabled list on August 23, they were in third place, nine games out.  Season over.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

All the Circa Cubs

It's Circa recap day today.

  • Just three years of existance, 1996-1998
  • Different sized set each year, 200 cards, then 400 and 300
  • Very splashy designs.  These were not your father's cards!
  • Quote on/about the player on the front the first two years, moved to the back for the final set
  • Cubs representations was decent: 6, then 13, then 12 for a total of 31 cards
  • Four Cubs were in each of the sets, Brant Brown, Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa, and Steve Trachsel

Friday, August 21, 2015

Once A Cub Took a ROADTRIP

If you haven't been reading Matt from Once A Cub, you are really missing something.  He took a roadtrip that is certainly the envy of this Cub fan.  I sure fans of any team would love to do what he and his two boys did.

By the time his trip was over, he traveled over 3,000 miles and saw the following Cubs teams:

Low A South Bend Cubs
High A Myrtle Beach Pelicans
AA Tennessee Smokies
AAA Iowa Cubs
NL Chicago Cubs (one road and one home game)

The only affiliate he missed was the Rookie League Eugene, Oregon Emeralds, which was just a bit too far out of the way to fit in the trip.

Pretty cool trip, huh!

I mentioned to Mrs. WW that we should take a trip like this some time.  She wasn't too excited about it.  Rats.

So far, Matt has written about a Cubs game in Pittsburgh, the South Bend Cubs game, and a game at Wrigley.  Make sure you read those and continue to follow his further adventures.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Circa Thunder 1998

All sorts of changes for the third and final issue of Circa.

First of all, there is a name change.  It is now Circa Thunder.  I'm not sure what Thunder has to do with baseball, but that's what Fleer went with.  In fact, isn't thunder a bad thing for baseball?

The set size dropped, too.  It was 100 cards smaller than the 1997 set, now down to 300 cards.  Finally, the quote by/about the player that was on the front the first two years has been moved to the back.

The card design featured some pretty trippy backgrounds.

Maybe the card artists used lots of Thunderbird while designing Thunder.

Though the set lost 100 cards from 1996, the Cubs lost only one, down to a dozen cards.