Wednesday, November 30, 2016

All I've Got of Him: The Other Banks

I have all of my Cubs cards scanned.  The file names include the year, brand, and last name of the player.  Using this system gets me into a little trouble each time I search for Ernie Banks cards.  Searching for the last name Banks brings up more than just Ernie.  It also brings up the other Banks, Willie.

I've inadvertently included Willie cards in an Ernie tile because I forget to get Willie out.  Yesterday I did the opposite. I made a tile of just the Willie cards.  I hope I didn't skip over any of his cards.

I've come up with 24 different Willie Banks cards in my collection.  For a guy that was with the Cubs for just parts of two seasons, that is alot of cards.  Willie's time at Wrigley was 1994 and 1995, the tail end of the junk wax era.  That is the reason for so many cards.... too many cards of a guy that was 8-13 with an ERA north of 6.  

Ernie was Mr. Cub.  Willie was Mr. Flub.

Monday, November 28, 2016

All The Fan Favorite Autographs

Yesterday  I mentioned that I've got all the Cubs Fan Favorite Autographs since Archives was brought back in 2012.  There are nine different cards and of the nine, only the Kyle Schwarber auto is of a current player.

All the others were blasts from the past.  Most were favorite blasts, too.  Thanks to this brand, I've got certified autographs of Bill Buckner, Rick Reuschel, Jody Davis, Leon Durham, Shawon Dunston, Mark Grace, Lee Smith, and Mark Prior.

Filled A Forgotten Hole

I'm a completist collector...I've got to have them all.  I try my best to get things at once.  But every now and then, I've left a hole for one reason or another....and then I forget about the hole.

That's what I did with this year's Archives.  I got all the base cards no problem.  But I've also collected all the Fan Favorite Autographs.  This year there was just one Cub to get, Kyle Schwarber.  Unfortunately, it was a redemption auto, and that's why I think I forgot about it.  I figured I'd wait until the cards were signed and started showing up on Ebay.

I totally forgot about the card until a couple weeks ago.  I'm not sure what  I was searching for, but I came upon the Schwarber card--and had one of those "oh, yeah" moments.

Waiting until the Cubs won the World Series and Schwarber was a prominent figure in the series was not good for my wallet.   The card was not as cheap as most of the Fan Favorites from previous year.  But if I'm going to be a completist, then I have to pay the price.

I'm happy with the silver pen and the on-card signature.

Money well spent..and a forgotten hole, win.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,494 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: 1963 Topps #81 Jimmie Schaffer  Jimmie is not a happy looking man.  He came to the Cubs in the winter of 1962 in a trade with the Cardinals.  He was a backup catcher for the Cardinals and had the same role with the Cubs.

1980s: 1981 Topps Traded #783 Ken Kravec This card comes from the initial Topps Traded set.  The early sets continued the numbering from the base set, which is why he has card #783.

1990s: 1999 Team Issued All Century Team Old Style Mordecai Brown  You can't argue against Brown making the Cubs All Century team.  From 1906 - 1911 he averaged 24 wins per season as the Cubs won four pennants.

2000s: 2006 Topps '52 #BC Buck Coats Autograph  Sometimes following the rule means you end up with the autograph of a career .193 hitter.

2010s: 2015 Gypsy Queen #97 Anthony Rizzo Though a 2015 card, the picture is from 2013....when Rizzo was growing his hair out longer.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Chris Coghlan²

I've understood and agreed with the concept of Topps Update since it first showed up as Topps Traded back in 1981.

Topps has an early deadline to make cards for the next season.  Players get traded after the cards go to press and are therefore shown with the old team instead of the new one.  Fans want to see the players with the new team.  Topps makes Traded / Update and everyone is happy.

But Topps, make sure you look over the cards in the first two series before you make the update set.

Topps issued this card of Chris Coglhan in series one.  But during spring training, Coghlan is traded to the A's.  The good folks at Topps tuck that factoid to make an update card of Coghlan as a member of the A's.

However, Coghlan doesn't hit his weight with the A's and the Cubs re-acquire him in early June.  Topps can scratch the Oakland card and will show him with his new, team...

...which was also his old team!  They wasted a slot in update to show the former Cub as a new Cub.  Same team, almost the exact same pose, just different locations.

Didn't anyone on the Topps update team realize that there already was a 2016 card of Coghlan as a Cub?  Is he really worthy of having two cards in one season?

In fact, I wonder how many players have ever had a basic card in both the regular set and the update set that shows them with the same team?

Friday, November 25, 2016

Two Black Holes

I've been working on completing the Cubs set of Topps Walmart Black cards from 2009 since, well, 2009.

That was the year I started this little blog, and I was jumping head first into everything.  When series one came out, I grabbed all the Cubs.

The series two cards were much tougher to find.  Not many were showing up on Ebay and I lost interest.

About five years later I finally decided to complete the set.  I was able to round up most of the cards from series two and update.  But two cards have proved elusive.

For the past 16 months, this is what my collection has looked like:

Those two gaping holes are killing me!

For reasons I don't understand, the 2009 Walmart black cards of Lou Piniella (#410) and Mike Fontenot (#449) have vanished from all known sellers.  These black cards have vanished through a black hole.

I've been checking all my usual sources weekly and have come up empty.

Please let me know if you ever run across either!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Turkey Red for Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving!

Enjoy your turkey.

Enjoy all 55 of the Cubs Turkey Red cards

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Cards of All the Cubs

Today let's put it all together.

  • There were 45 different players that were on the field as a Cub sometime during the season.  
  • 28 players were included in the Topps flagship brand
  • One player (Munemori Kawasaki) had a card in Heritage but not the flagship
  • Joe Maddon was also in Heritage
I also made this... card since Topps doesn't make them any more.

45 players, the manager, and the team card make a total of 47 different cards...

as a tile and... a GIF

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Cardless Pitchers

There were 26 different pitchers that took the mound for the 2016 Cubs.  Almost half, 12, have Topps cards this year.  That means there were 14 cardless Cubs pitchers.

One of them already has a card as a position player...Miguel Montero pitched in a blowout game against the Mets in July.

I still made a card.  Look at the grin on his face!

Of the remaining 13, seven pitched in ten or fewer games.  You can't expect a card for them.




The two with the most appearances were either released or traded during the season.


The other four made between 10 - 20 appearances.  The most noteworthy would be Mike Montgomery, who made the final pitch of the season for the Cubs.



Monday, November 21, 2016

The Cardless Position Players

With the Cubs roster being fairly stable this year, most of the players have a card from one of the Topps products this year.  Today and tomorrow I'll be showing cards that I made for the ones who missed out.  Today I've got the position players.

There were 20 different position players that suited up for the Cubs in 2016.  Of the 20, only three didn't get a Topps card.

Tommy LaStella played in 74 games but went AWOL in late July.  If Topps had any thought of including him in the update set, his antics should have knocked him off the checklist.

The other two each played in just a handful of games and were left out for good reason

Tim Federowicz played in 17 games, most early in the season.  He was DFA'ed in June and replaced by Willson Contreras...a good move.  Federowicz spent the rest of the season in AAA and was recalled in September and made a few more appearances.

Missing all of the 2015 season due to a knee injury, Kalish played in 7 games in May, and then went back to Iowa.  He injured himself again and missed the rest of the season.  He'll likely be out next season too, and possibly never play again.

I also need to acknowledge that three pitchers played in the field during the season, Pedro Strop, Spencer Patton, and Travis Wood.  Wood actually played out there twice and made a sensational catch up against the ivy on July 31.

It was card-worthy.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,494 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: 1974 Topps #598 Jim Tyrone  Tyrone didn't have the best Cub career among the players on this card, Steve Ontiveros did...and that isn't saying much.

1980s: 1989 Score #263 Jamie Moyer  Moyer didn't spent the '89 season with the Cubs.  He had been traded to the Rangers in the Mitch Williams deal.

1990s: 1991 Star Stellar #92 Ryne Sandberg Ryno is at the plate and it looks like Mark Grace is in the on deck circle.  In 1991 those two were the top two offensive stars of the team.

2000s: 2002 Leaf #58 Chris Stynes  He was a member of the Cubs for one very mediocre season... 98 games and a .241 average, 5 homers and 26 RBIs.

2010s: 2015 Archives Fan Favorites Autograph MP Mark Prior  This is a friendly reminder of how the dynasty you thought was being built can crumble at any time.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Purple Billy

I had some birthday money to spend so I went out and picked up this,

the purple version of Billy Williams' 2016 Tribute card.  LIke with the green, the purple doesn't really compliment the colors on the Cubs uniform.  Oh, well.

There are still red (/5) and black (1/1) versions of the card out there, but I have no plans to end up with either of them.

Friday, November 18, 2016

All I've Got of Him: The 2016 NL MVP

I might as well show all I've got of Kris Bryant since last night he became the Cubs first NL MVP since Sammy Sosa in 1998.

MLB Network tried to make the presentation dramatic, but it was useless.  Bryant was a landslide winner, getting 29 of the 30 first place votes.

Bryant was very humble after he won, too.  I really like the way he conducts himself both on and off the field.  Though the last two NL MVPs are from Las Vegas, he and Bryce Harper seem to be exact opposites of one another.  I'll gladly take Bryant.

I've already got 73 of his cards and I'm sure that number will continue to skyrocket each year for the next several.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

When Grandpa Was A Kid

David Ross has been on my radar for just the past two years.  I know him as the gray-bearded Grandpa Rossy.

But Grandpa used to be a kid.

This came to me via one of the most generous bloggers out there, P-Town Tom (of the newly renamed Eamus Catuli! blog).  He emailed me a couple weeks ago and said he had an extra Ross certified auto.  He needed one and found a second at a price too good to pass up.  He knew the card didn't meet my certified rules (the card is from 2004, long before Ross became a Cub), but wondered if I'd like it anyway.

Some rules are made to be broken, and I gladly accepted Tom's generous offer.  Certified autographs of a back-up catcher are rare, if they exist at all.  There was little chance Ross would make it into my certified collection.

But I have additional Cub autographs besides the certified cards.  This will be a great addition to that group

Thank you Tom!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

A Landscaping Project at the WW HQ

This is something Mrs. WW and I have been talking about for a while.  After the events of this post-season, we finally decided to go ahead and get it done.

This is the front of the WW HQ.  Notice the half wall of brick.

You know what a brick wall means to any Cub fan... you've got to cover it with ivy.

And that is what we will be doing.  We recently bought two Boston Ivy plants.  That is the same ivy that grows on the outfield walls at Wrigley.  It will take a couple years, but eventually that half wall will be covered in beautiful green ivy.

Our street numbers are 605.

We plan to add the numbers to the wall and grow the ivy around it.

It will be our own little slice of Wrigley in SW Michigan.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I6 Cubs It is

I stopped at the secretary of state's office after school yesterday.

First, I wanted to find out why I lost my 16 Cubs plate.  It turns out that the person that had the plate renewed it on the same day I placed my order.  They got preference over me.  Bummer for me.  The clerk said that she had never seen that before...two people ordering the same plate on the same day.

This is what I ordered.  The clerk said that no one currently has the plate and that it should be all mine.  I'll believe it in 3-4 weeks when the plate arrives at the WW World Headquarters.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Stupid Secretary of State

No, this is not a post about Hillary.

This is about the Michigan Secretary of State office.

The day after the Cubs won the World Series, I went to the SOS office to renew my plates.  I have 07 Cubs and 08 Cubs.  The plan was to drop 07 Cubs and replace it with 16 Cubs.  I checked the SOS website before going to the office and the 16 Cubs plate was available.  I ordered it at the office and they said it was available.

All was good, until Saturday.  I got a letter from the SOS saying that the plate I ordered was already taken by someone else.


I'm not sure how that could have happened.  Apparently their system is not updated in real time.

So now I need to come up with another plate.

My first choice, Cubs 16 is also gone.

So I've come up with these two, which  are both available (if you can believe the website)>

I'm leaning towards the top one, since I prefer to have Cubs spelled correctly.

Any other opinions or other plate options?

And if you're reading this and live in Michgan, stay away from the SOS office until I get there this afternoon!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,493 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: 1964 Topps Stand-up Billy Williams  They've got Billy looking like a left-handed second baseman on this.

1980s: 1988 Topps #186 Rafael Palmeiro  He was an All-Star with the Cubs during the 1988 season and a Ranger after the season.  GM Jim Frey needed a closer and getting one would cost the Cubs Palmeiro or Mark Grace.  Grace stayed, Palmeiro went.

1990s: 1997 Score #460 Mel Rojas  What a bust of a free-agent signing this was.  The Cubs signed him for three years, $13.5 million.  They got half a year out of him, an 0-4 record, an ERA of 4.58, and just 13 saves in 54 games.  In August he was traded to the Mets.

2000s: 2007 Donruss Elite Green #9 Darwin Barney  This makes two straight weeks that he RNG picked a card from the Barney collection.  Darwin's card partner Mitch Canham didn't have Darwin's success.  He never made it to the majors and had just brief spells in AAA.

2010s: 2104 Donruss Breakout Hitters #18 Anthony Rizzo  I created my own version of this card when it came out in 2014.  If you're showing brick on a Cubs card... need to show ivy, too!