Friday, September 30, 2016

Another Autograph...Albert Almora

Lots of A's....I've got another autograph, this one of Albert Almora.

His mid-season stint with the Cubs earned him a spot in the Heritage High Number set and a certified autograph to boot.

It's nice that the autograph is on the card instead of a sticker.  The big card gave Albert more room to sign...he really has a high and wide signature.

This is #120 in my certified collection.  I've also got #121 on the way.  I'll share it when the mailman does his thing.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

2016 Heritage High Number Cubs Inserts

In addition to the nine base cards in 2916 Heritage high numbers, the Cubs landed seven cards among the inserts....


Here's three from Award Winners.  Next year will they have several more?  Bryant MVP...good chance.......Hendricks or Lester Cy Young....good numbers from each, maybe......Maddon a repeat for manager of the year?


These cards list an event from 2016 and something from the same date in 1967.    Arrieta' no-no was on April 21 and on that date in 1967 the Dodgers were rained out at home for the first time in 737 home dates.  Contreras hit a home run on the first pitch he saw in the majors, on June 19.  49 years earlier, the Indians swept the A's in a double header, scoring the winning runs in the eighth and ninth inning.

This is an odd combo....shouldn't it be Jon Lester and David Ross???

The back of the card compares Schwarber with a 25-year-old Boog Powell.  He is built a bit like Boog.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

No Tickets

On Monday I (along with a million other Cubs fans) got the following email:

No NLDS for me.  

The good news is that I will be in the drawing for tickets to the NLCS.  And if I don't get picked, I would be still alive for World Series tickets.  Honestly, I'd rather go to the World Series over the NLDS.

So here's hoping that the Cubs make it to the Series and that I get picked in the ticket lottery.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

2016 Heritage High Numbers Cubs

Last week Topps released an additional 225 Heritage cards in the high number series.

Ten of the cards featured Cubs and Brentandbecca delivered as usual.  In a shocking upset, Card Edwards was not included in the high numbers.  Topps includes him in all the sets that came out early in the season when Edwards was in AAA.  Now that he has been pitching for the Cubs (and quite well, too), Topps leaves him out. One of the other Cubs cards mentions an event that happened on July 3.  Edwards was called up in late June.  So he was finally with the big league team before the cards were printed.  Yet he was not in the set.

Jeimer Candelario was with the Cubs for just a week or so in July and he gets a card.  The new Carl Edwards??





It's nice to see Topps give Grandpa Rossy a card in the set.  With Contreras also included, all three of the Cubs catchers ended up with a Heritage card.  I'm also happy to see Matt Szczur included.  He's been pretty good this year, when healthy.

If you look at the positions of these nine, you'll notice that every one is a position player. Not a single pitcher was included.  Pedro Strop and Justin Grimm could have had cards made.  Seems like the bullpen guys are usually the first ones skipped.  No respect for the pen.

Monday, September 26, 2016

All I've Got of Him: Jose Cardenal

Let's go back in time to the mid-Seventies, a time when fros were flowin'.  Oscar Gamble probably has the most famous fro, but Jose Cardenal also ranks up there.  His Cubs career went from 1972 - 1977 and they were the best six years of his 18-year career.

My Jose collection contains 22 cards.  I usually arrange the tile alphabetically by brand name.  With Jose I decided to go chronologically, which give us a chance to see the growth of his super-fro over the years.

The first four cards have pictures taken from the same photo shoot at spring training in 1972.  All of the pictures in the second row were probably taken in 1973 and you can see things have gotten puffier.  As you work down the rows, the fro continues to grow.  On some of the cards it looks like his hat is barely on his head.

The MSA disk picture is interesting because he's wearing a batting helmet, meaning his from was half smashed.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,423 Cubs cards from 109 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1909 T206 Jake Pfiester Throwing This is one of two cards of Pfiester in the set. The other shows him seated.  Pfiester was #3 in the rotation for the Cubs dynasty of the early 1900s.  The lefty had a career ERA of 2.02 over eight seasons.

1980s: 1985 Topps #693 Tim Stoddard  The best thing about this card is the look at the Starter Jacket that Stoddard is wearing.  I had one of those shiny coats in the early '80s.

1990s: 1994 Finest #175 Jose Bautista  What an odd angle for the picture...his face is mostly obscured by his arm and we really have no idea what he actually looks like.

2000s: 2004 Topps Total #6 Mark Prior Checklist The front of this card is identical to Prior's regular card, #250.  The checklist is on the back.

2010s: 2010 Allen & GInter #AGR-CM Carlos Marmol relic Marmol has this relic card but no regular card in the set.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

A Dozen

I did it again.

One popped up on Ebay with a BIN/BO.  I made a best offer of three bucks and it was accepted.

I now have one dozen Venezuelans.

I've now picked up eleven of the fourteen that have been listed on Ebay (and I also nabbed one from COMC).  The average price of my dozen is $3.27 each.

Rare card + bargain prices = happy collector.

Friday, September 23, 2016

97 and Counting

Last year the Cubs won 97 games.  It was quite a shock since they had just 73 victories the year before.  But it was also a  very pleasant shock.

At the start of this season I was hoping that they would match their 2015 total, but was firguring that they'd actuallly come in around 94 or 95.

Boy was I wrong.

On Wednesday they won their 97th game, equallying last year.  But there are still ten more games to go.  Even a 5-5 record would give them 102 wins for the year.

The franchise has cracked the century mark just five times and the most recent was 1935.  You could say that they are due.  

This is just another of the many "first time in xxxy years" event.  The big question --- will they do something that hasn't been done since 1908??


No Cub has ever worn #97, so I've got a 9 and a 7

Thursday, September 22, 2016


Len and JD got on an odd tangent during the game yesterday, trying to name players with the initials S S.  They came up with a decent list.

I too came up with a list.  I went to my spreadsheet that has all my Cubs cards and found any and all players with those initials.  I came up with seven players...

It's an interesting collection of players, from well-known players like Sammy Sosa and Steve Stone, to the unknown Sterling Slaughter and Steve Smyth.

And I have no idea what it means, but except for Sammy Sosa, the SS Cubs were either pitchers or catchers.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Ben Zobrist is Awesome!

Ben Zobrist was living the dream.

Everyone from my generation rode their bike to their little league games.  When I was 8 and 9 the parks were right down the block (easy ride) or about 1½ miles away (little tougher ride).  Later parks were some where in-between.  But we put on the uniform (dreaming that we were big leaguers), put the mitt on the handle bars, dangled the spikes there too, and rode to the game.

On Saturday, Ben Zobrist did the same thing.

He lives just a mile from the ballpark, and along with his son, he put on his uniform, hopped on his bike, and peddled to Wrigley.  It's awesome that he's got the mitt on the handle bar.  And while he didn't put his spikes over the bars, too, he is wearing PF Flyers, ala The Sandlot.

I love that this Cubs team is full of players that "Get it".

And look, Topps gets it too!!  I'm sure that there aren't many of the Topps Now cards that deal with off-the-field events, but this was clearly a have to for the set, and Topps did.  Kuddos!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Bowman Review Ten Years Later

Bowman touts itself as the set of the prospects.  Today I thought I'd take a look at the Bowman Cubs prospects from ten years ago.  Did any of them make the major leagues?  Are any of them still playing?

There are several Bowman sets and inserts to look at from 2006.  Let's start with the Prospects cards from the base set.

Raul Valdez...Make it to the majors?  Yes, with the Mets in 2010....also pitched for the Cardinals, Phillies, Yankees, and Astros.   Still Active?  No longer in the majors, currently in the Japanese league

Mark Reed  Make it to the majors?  No, peaked with in AAA in 2012  Still Active?  No, career ended in 2012.

From the Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects set...

Angel Guzman Make it to the majors?   Yes, 86 games with the Cubs between 2006 and 2009  Still Active? No, last pitched in the Dodger chain in 2012.

Sean Marshall  Make it to the majors? Yes, in fact he was already a major leaguer when the card was issued, and that back of the card makes mention of that.    Still Active?  Hasn't really recovered from shoulder surgery in 2014.  Was a free agent after the 2015 season and didn't hook up with any team.  Looks like the end of the line.

Tyler Colvin  Make it to the majors?  Yes, and had a nice rookie season with the Cubs in 2010.  Then the bottom fell out.  Also played for the Rockies and Giants.  Still Active? he spent the 2016 season playing independent ball in Long Island

Eric Patterson  Make it to the majors?  Yes, 226 games with the Cubs, A's Red Sox, and Padres.   Still Active?  Nope, didn't play this year after being in independent ball the previous two years.

Monday, September 19, 2016

All I've Got of Him: David Ross

He's been with the Cubs for just two seasons.

He's a backup catcher.

Those two factors aren't very favorable for a player to have many cards.

He doesn't.

My David Ross total is three cards.

When the Cubs signed him I thought it was a bad thing.  I figured that they had to promise Lester they would get his catcher in order to sign Lester.

But I was wrong.  His signing was a great thing.  Ross is more than Lester's personal catcher.  He is a veteran leader on a team of young players.  And the team really has responded to him.  Ross isn't the "Stay off the lawn you punks" sort of grandpa.  He's the "Lets have some fun but don't tell your mom and dad" grandpa.  The young guys love Grandpa Rossy.

I think the team will really miss him in the clubhouse next year.  I hope the Cubs keep him as a coach.  I think Ross would end up making a fine manager some day.  Maybe he could replace Maddon after Joe retires following the Cubs third straight World Series title in 2018.

Enough crazy dreaming..... here are my three David Ross cards:


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,423 Cubs cards from 109 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1961 Topps Stamps Ernie Banks  Mr. Cub was one of the game's superstars when this stamp was issued, coming off of consecutive MVP seasons.

1980s: 1982 Topps #51 Cubs Future Stars  Howell was the only one of the three that had a real major league career, though little of it was with the Cubs.  Lezcano and Waller combined for 112 MLB games.

1990s: 1990 Star Gold #48 Ryne Sandberg  Most cards from Star had a vertical alignment. They obviously didn't know how to deal with horizontal cards.  This is just bizarre looking.

Why not just make the card like this...looks perfectly fine.

2000s: 2008 Allen and Ginter #226 Rich Hill  Hard to believe that he was able to reinvent himself after all the control problems he had with the Cubs.  In 2008 he had 18 walks with the Cubs in 19 innings and then they gave up on him.

2010s: 2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects #4 Gioskar Amaya  Doesn't look like he will pan out.  Its three years after the card came out and he split the season between high A and AA.  He hit a combined .215 between them.  That's not a number that earns quick promotions through the system.