Thursday, June 30, 2016

Topps 2016 Series Two Cubs

Brentandbecca has again delivered, flawlessly.

The second series base from Topps 2016 adds eleven more cards to the Cubs collection.

Some of these we've already seen in the factory team set:



The Lackey and Zobrist cards were photoshop jobs.  I understand why it was done for the factory set, but Topps had time to use real pictures in series two.  Seems lazy that they didn't.

Jason Heyward got a real picture this time.  His card in the factory set used a picture from his signing press conference.  If there was time to switch Heyward's picture, why not do the same for Lackey and Zobrist?

The team card is in series two...

The picture is from when the Cubs won the NLDS over the Cardinals on October 13.

Grandpa Ross was included in series two.  Since he is retiring after the season, this is his last Topps card.

Bryzzo got a checklist card.

And, no 2016 Topps set is complete without a card for...

...Carl Edwards!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Louisville Slugger

Mrs. WW and I took a mini vacation last weekend.  One of our destinations was Louisville and if you're going to Louisville, you've got to stop at the Louisville Slugger factory.

We did!

We started in the lobby.  The walls are filled with all the personalized bats that they've made for big leaguers over the years.

Here's a  couple that were of interest to me:

The hallway leading to the museum had banners of all the big league teams...

They have a nice museum with all sorts of memorabilia to look at and baseball history to learn.  We spent time browsing before and after the factory tour.

Cameras aren't allowed in the factory, so I've got no pics to show.  They have a demonstration of the old way of making bats, by hand on a lathe.  Then we got to see the modern computerized machines that shape a bat in 30 seconds.

We also saw them making major league bats.  Joey Votto's order was being done while we walked by.  

After the tour, everyone is given a mini bat, a nice souvenir from a nice morning in Louisville.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Rolled the Dice and Won!

Back in April I bought this card...

... in anticipation that Edwards would some time pitch for the Cubs this season.  My $3 gamble paid off when he was called up last week and pitched over the weekend.

I now officially have 118 different Cubs with certified autographs from a year they played for the Cubs, showing them as a Cub.

Terry AdamsLeo GomezCorey Patterson
Arismendy Alcantara  Tom GorzelannyDavid Patton
Moises AlouKevin GreggCarlos Pena
Jake ArrietaAngel GuzmanBilly Petrick
Javier BaezJason HammelFelix Pie
Darwin BarneyTodd HaneyLou Piniella
Francis BeltranBrendan HarrisMark Prior
Milton BradleyKevin HartAramis Ramirez
Roosevelt BrownJose HernandezAnthony Rizzo
Kris BryantBobby HillHenry Rodriguez
Scott BullettRich HillHenry Rodriguez
Freddie BynumMicah HoffpauirChris Rusin
Marlon ByrdCesar IzturisAddison Russell
Andrew CashnerBrett JacksonJeff Samardzija
Larry CassianReed JohnsonRey Sanchez
Frank CastilloJacque JonesRyne Sandberg
Welington CastilloMatt KarchnerKyle Schwarber
Starlin CastroDavid KeltonScott Servais
Ronny CedenoBrooks Kieschnick       Jorge Soler
Rocky CherryBryan LaHairAlfonso Soriano
Matt ClementJunior LakeSammy Sosa
Steve ClevengerDerrek LeeGeovany Soto
Buck CoatsJon LesterSteve Smyth
Tyler ColvinCole LiniakMatt Szczur
Juan CruzGreg MadduxRyan Theriot
Blake DeWittDave MagadanOzzie Timmons
Rafael DolisCarlos MarmolSteve Trachsel
Scott DownsSean MarshallJermaine Van Buren
Jason DubuoisScott MooreTodd Walker
Carl EdwardsMatt MurtonTodd Wellemeyer
Kyle FarnsworthRod MyersRandy Wells
Mike FontenotRoberto NovoaTurk Wendell
Kevin FosterWill OhmanJerome Williams
Dexter FowlerAugie OjedaKerry Wood
Kyuji FujikawaMike OltTravis Wood
Kosuke FukudomeRyan O'MalleyMichael Wuertz
Sam FuldKevin OrieCarlos Zambrano
Sean GallagherAngel PaganJulio Zuleta
Nomar Garciaparra Bob Patterson
Matt GarzaEric Patterson

Monday, June 27, 2016

All I've Got of Him: Jim Hickman

Another of the 1969 Cubs has passed away.  Outfielder / First Baseman Jim Hickman died on Saturday at the age of 79.

Hickman came to the majors as a 25-year-old rookie for the brand new 1962 Mets.  You wonder if he ever would have made the big leagues if not for expansion.  He spent five years with the Mets before being traded to the Dodgers. Things didn't go well in LA and in 1968, at old baseball age of 31, he was back in the minors.

The Cubs picked him up from the Dodgers in a midseason trade and he spent a short time in AAA before being recalled by the Cubs.  The old man finally figured things out and had the best years of his career with the Cubs.  His best season was 1970, when he smashed 32 HR and drove in 115 runs to go along with an average of .315.  He made the All Star team that year and had game winning RBI for the NL, though Pete Rose barreling over Ray Fosse also helped.

His power and average dipped consistently each of the following years and he was traded to the Cardinals when the Cubs were backing up the truck in 1974.

Some of my scattered thoughts on Jim Hickman:

  • A native of Henning, Tennessee, the Cubs organist played "The Tennessee Waltz" when he came to the plate.  Roots author Alex Haley is also from Henning.
  • Hickman hit one of his 32 homers in 1970 with me in attendance.  It was on July 22, 1970, my first visit to Wrigley Field.
  • The 1970 Cubs had three first baseman in 1970...Ernie Banks, Jim Hickman, and Joe Pepitone.  Talk about three completely different personalities!
  • HIckman was #28 he is the player I associate the number with.
  • He wasn't a major star, so he had limited appearances in non-Topps sets
  • I have just two cards of him that were made after he retired, both from the Legendary Teams set. One is the base card, the other is an autographed card.
  • His 1973 Jewel Foods picture is one of two I'm still missing from that set.  I have yet to see one appear on Ebay, Beckett, or COMC.
  • RIP Jim Hickman

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,272 Cubs cards from 108 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades. 

 1950s / 1960s: 1961 Topps #427 Dick Ellsworth  Topps has a shot of the Cubs lefty at Rendezvous Park in Mesa.  The 1961 season was Ellsworth's first full season in the majors.  Used mainly as a starter, he was 10-11 with a 3.85 ERA. 

1970s: 1971 Dell Today's Cubs Danny Breeden  Yes, this really is a Cubs card.  It comes from the Dell Today's 1971 Chicago Cubs sticker book.  Six of the 24 Cubs in the book are shown in the uniform of a different team.  But what's even better about the Breeden card is the car in the background.  It looks like they took the picture in the parking lot.  Breeden played in 25 games during the 1971 season and hit only .154.  His brother Hal was also on the '71 Cubs, marking one of the few times in team history that brothers were on the roster at the same time.

1980s: 1988 Fleer Glossy #431 Ryne Sandberg  I like the design of the '88 Fleer set.  The blue and red stripes match nicely with the blue and red in the Cubs home uniform.  The highlight of the '88 season for Ryno was probably winning his sixth straight Gold Glove.  He became the first second baseman to do that.  He also made the All Star team for the fifth consecutive year.

1990s: 1992 Studio Heritage #1 Ryne Sandberg I've got more cards of Ryne Sandberg than of any other player in my Cubs collection, so mathematically, it's not unusual that the RNG picked a second card of his.  And boy did it pick a beauty!  The card is from Studio's Heritage insert set.  The players were all photographed in vintage uniform.  Ryno's wearing a 1908 uniform, plus he's got a mitt from that era.  Very nice looking!

2000s: 2011 Allen and Ginter #207 Kosuke Fukudome  Coming off a beauty of a card with the Studio Sandberg, the final card is a real dog.  First, A&G cards should never be horizontal....vertical only please.  And second, Fukudome was a very expensive bust, and I'd rather forget his tiime with the Cubs.  The 2011 season was his last in blue, and it only lasted half a season.  The Indians picked him up near the trade deadline.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

One and Done: Charley Smith

This veteran was bought by the Cubs at the end of spring training in 1969.  Topps thought he would be with the team for a while and included him in the set.

Topps was wrong.

Smith played two games for the '69 Cubs in April and then played for about a month in AAA before calling it a career.

Friday, June 24, 2016

One and Done: Miguel Dilone

The Cubs had speedster Miguel Dilone for 43 games during the second half of the 1979 season.  That was enough for Topps to include him in the 1980 set.  He hit .306 and stole 15 bases in his short stint in Chicago.

He started the '80 season in AAA and then the Cubs sold him to the Indians in May.  In Cleveland he had a career year, hitting .341 and stole 61 bases.

Nice timing by the Cubs with this guy.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

One and Done: Tommy Davis

This is the opposite of "All I've Got of Him.:  The "One and Done" players are those with just one Topps card that shows them as a Cub.

Davis was one of those end of the season veteran pick ups.  The Cubs purchased him from the A's in September, 1970.  He played in 11 September games  The Cubs released him after the season.  It looks like Topps caught him at Shea during the last weekend of the season.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

All I've Got of Him: Bill Madlock

I sure wish that I had more of this guy.  Sadly, the Cubs kept him for just three seasons.

BillMadlock took over at third base for Ron Santo in 1974.  It seemed like it would be a smooth transition.  He hit over .300 his rookie season and won batting titles the following two years.  It seemed like the Cubs were set with another long-time third baseman.

It seemed.

Madlock wanted more money and Wrigley didn't want to pay him.  So he was traded to the Giants.  The Cubs got Bobby Murcer, and paid him more than what Madlock wanted.  There were ugly racial overtones to the whole messy situation.

Despite being with the Cubs for just three seasons, I've got 19 cards of Bill Madlock as a Cub.  Of those, six come from after his playing days.  You'll see that Kelloggs and Hostess featured him prominently.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Home Run in First Game

Apparently this is becoming a Cub thing!

Starlin Castro hit a home run in his first MLB at bat on May 7, 2010

Javier Baez hit a home run in his first MLB game on August 5, 2014

Jorge Soler hit a home run in his first MLB at bat on August 28, 2014

And on Sunday, in his first MLB at bat, Willson Contreras hit a home run.

Not a bad way to start a career!

Monday, June 20, 2016

All I've Got of Him: Jose Cardenal

The inspiration for this post came on Friday, when Jose Cardenal sang during the 7th inning stretch.

In an unusual pairing, Pearl Jam lead singer Eddie Vedder joined Jose.

Jose was with the Cubs from 1972 - 1977 and those were the peak years of his career.  They were also the peak years of his giant fro.  We tried to copy Jose in the field by having our hat come off our head as we chased a fly ball.  It wasn't as easy for a kid with a crew cut as it was for Jose.

He was one of the Cubs better players during his time, so he showed up in some of the non-Topps sets like Kelloggs, Hostess, and the MSA discs.

Here are my 22 cards of Jose:

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,270 Cubs cards from 108 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1960 Topps #528 Ben Johnson Topps snapped a picture of Johnson in spring training.  Those bleachers in the background look like high school football stands.  Johnson made the team out of Mesa and won his first big league game on May 2 in relief against the Phillies.  In mid-June he was sent to the minors and spent the rest of the season in AAA.

1980s: 1987 Fleer #576 Rick Sutcliffe Sutcliffe won 18 games in 1987 and came within two points of winning his second Cy Young Award.  He was the Sporting News NL Pitcher of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year.  

1990s: 1999 Topps #461 Sammy Sosa HR Parade  I've had occasional thoughts of getting all 66 of these.  I haven't yet.

2000s: 2009 X #18 Carlos Zambrano  An X card of Z.  Y?

2010s: 2013 Topps #643 Matt Garza Garza was 6-1 with the Cubs when they moved him to the Rangers. The Cubs got Justin Grimm, Carl Edwards, Mike Olt, and Neil Ramirez in return.  Olt was a bust, Grimm and Ramirez have contributed, and Edwards takes up a spot in every 2016 Topps release.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

All I've Got of Him: Don Kessinger

Here's another of the '69 Cubs.

Don Kessinger was the starting shortstop for eleven seasons.  He was a six-time All Star during that time, so he was pretty good.  That meant that he had cards in more than just the basic sets.  He was included in several inserts and many of the non-Topps issues during that time.  He even got included in a few sets after his playing days.

My total for Don Kessinger...37 cards

Friday, June 17, 2016

Splash Pelican

This card comes in the interest of being complete.

When I grabbed all the inserts from Pro Debut 2016, I didn't grab all the inserts.  I skipped a mascot.  Last year the Cubs switched their high-A affiliation from Daytona Beach to Myrtle Beach.  I totally forgot that when I scanned the inserts lists and overlooked the mascot card for Splash Pelican.

You know that I'm not one to leave a hole in a collection, so I picked up Splash.

Consider the hole filled in.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

PSA Billy #100

Last week I was able to add another item to my Billy Williams PSA Master collection and it makes the 100th item in the collection.  I'm now at 79%, 100 out of 127 items on the list that show him with the Cubs (I'm skipping the ones that show him with Oakland).

This is the 1965 Old London coin.  These look very much like the ones that Topps included as inserts the year before.  The Old London coins, though are much scarcer.  I very rarely see these show up on Ebay and when they do they are very expensive.  Right now there is just one listed.  Its a PSA 6 and has a BIN of $60.00.

Mine is in really nice condition, too, but I paid just $2.80 for it.  I got myself a real bargain.

Here's a look at all 100

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

All I've Got of Him: Rick Sutcliffe

Let's take a look today at one of the '84 Cubs.

Rick Sutcliffe was the Cubs first Jake Arrieta...a pitcher that so totally dominated for a good stretch of the season.  The Red Baron was 16-1 during his time with the Cubs in 1984 and won the NL Cy Young.  Like with the recent Arrieta run, you could assume that the Cubs were going to win when he took the mound.

He was with the Cubs from June, 1984 through the 1991 season.  Those years coincide with the increase in popularity of baseball cards and the early part of the junk wax era.  I've got 95 cards of Sutcliffe, and except for six from the team issued 2013 set, all are from his playing days.  He was really good but not great, so you don't see him included as a retired player in the modern sets.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Blue Billy

Billy Williams was included in the base set of 2016 Archives.  That means not only the base card, but parallels.  I'm going to add the blue and red parallels to the player collection.  The blue card came yesterday.

What a pretty looking card!  The blue border and Cubbie blue always look nice together.  The blue cards are /199 and I was able to pick this up for just a couple bucks.

Monday, June 13, 2016

All I've Got of Him: Fergie Jenkins

I have player collections for two of the '69 Cubs, Ernie Banks and Billy Williams.  From the remaining players on that team, I probably have the most cards of Fergie Jenkins.
A couple reasons:

  • Fergie had a return stint with the Cubs in the early '80s, so his total gets boosted by Donruss and Fleer.
  • Fergie is a Hall of Famer, and has been included in many of the modern sets.  Other than Santo, the rest of the '69 Cubs are rarely seen in modern sets.

My Fergie total is 102 cards.  The oldest is his first Topps Cubs card in 1967.  The most recent would be a couple from this year. Archives and the Wrigley Field insert set.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,267 Cubs cards from 108 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1966 Topps Rub Off Billy Williams This comes from the PSA Master collection.  These rub offs are a bit more scarce because when kids got these in 1966, they rubbed them off!

1980s: 1983 Fleer #483 Bill Campbell  He appeared in more games than any other National League pitcher in 1983, 82 games.  His ERA was under 3.00 at the end of July,  but then exploded over the last two months.  All the work took a toll.  He ended the year 6-8 with an ERA of 4.49.

1990s: 1991 Team Issued #47 Shawn Boskie  This set was given away by the Cubs to all fans on August 14, 1991. Greg Maddux started that day against the Expos and gave up two runs in seven innings.  Unfortunately the Cubs didn't give him any support and lost the game 2-0. 

2000s: 2004 Leaf #288 Sammy Sosa  Sammy hit 35 homers with the Cubs during the 2004 season, his last as a Cub.  

2010s: 2011 Topps Gold #309 Cubs Team This came from the days when I collected all the different parallels.  The card features Tyler Colvin, Geovany Soto, and Starlin Castro.