Thursday, December 14, 2017

More Cards Than Games

The Brooks Kieschnick post got me thinking.  I have 42 of his cards and he played in just 64 games for the Cubs.  Is there a player who played in at least 50 games, where I've got more cards than games he played for the Cubs?

I may have more than one, but I found a player that was in over 100 games and I've got way more cards than games played.

Mark Prior.

It was a perfect storm.  He's a starting pitcher, which keeps the number of games per year to the low 30s.  He was a stud rookie and a blossoming star, which meant he was in just about every set.  And the worst thing, he was often injured, which kept his game total even lower.

By the time his arm fell off in 2006, he had pitched in 106 games over five seasons.  I've got 144 Mark Prior cards in my collection.  That's 1.4 cards for every appearance.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

All I've Got of Him: Brooks Kieschnick

It was big news last week when the Angels signed Japanese star Shohei Ohtani.  A power hitter with a 100 mph fastball, the guy seems pretty impressive.

The chatter on a two-way player brought the name Brooks Kieschnick to mind among Cub fans.  He also ended up a two-way player, though he wasn't especially good at either.

In the mid-Nineties, Kieschnick was the crown jewel of the Cubs system.  He was a power-hitting outfielder and was going to be a star at Wrigley for years to come.  He hit .345 over 25 games late in the 1996 season.  There were cards galore of him.

Unfortunately, the crown jewel was zirconium.  In 1997 he hit just .200.  He was left unprotected in the upcoming expansion draft and was selected by the Devil Rays.  He bounced around a few other organizations and then hooked up with the Brewers.

It was there that he reinvented himself as a reliever and pinch hitter.  He spent two seasons in Milwaukee doing double duty.

My collection includes 42 cards of his including a rule-following autograph.  That is an awful lot of cards for a guy that played in just 64 games for the Cubs.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Wrigley Field Says "Thank You!!"

The winter meetings in Florida opened yesterday. White Sox announcer Ken Harrelson was there (did someone forget to tell him that he isn't the GM any longer?). He said it this past August and repeated it again yesterday,

"I will never set foot in Wrigley Field as long as I live."

Wrigley Field says

Thank You!!

Monday, December 11, 2017

All I've Got of Him: Wade Davis

It was just about a year ago that the Cubs acquired closer Wade Davis from the Royals in exchange for Jorge Soler.  It turned out to be a pretty lopsided trade in the Cubs favor.

Davis was not very good in spring training, but once the season started he was lights out.  It seemed sometimes that he got it done with smoke and mirrors, but he almost always got the save.  A free agent, the Cubs made him a qualifying offer, which he declined.  Yesterday the Cubs signed Brandon Morrow to a 2-year deal, so it looks like they won't be re-signing Wade Davis.

I've got just ten cards of him from his one-year stint with the Cubs.  He did, however, have both a relic and autograph cards that meet my rules, so I've got those two.

Here is the short and sweet Wade Davis collection:

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 15,228 Cubs cards from 127 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1950 Bowman #61 Bob Rush Bowman was the only kid on the block in 1950 so they weren't really pushed to come up with creative designs for their cards.  The artist took liberties with the house to Rush's left.  That is the house that had the full dormer painted with ads.  On the card the dormer chopped up.

1980s: 1984 Donruss All Star #43 Ryne Sandberg The good news is that Donruss included Ryno in the All Star set. The bad news is that they messed up his position and listed him as a third baseman, though he hadn't played at third since 1982.

1990s: 1990 Topps TV #57 Dave Pavlas The Topps TV Cubs set has 66 cards, so guys like Dave Pavlas were included.  He made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 1990 as a 28-year-old.  He pitched 21 innings over 13 games and had an ERA of 2.11

2000s: 2002 Topps Total #193 Corey Patterson The 2002 season was Patterson's first full year in the majors.  He put up acceptable numbers, hitting .235 with 15 HRs and 54 RBIs.  

2010s: 2013 Team Issued #4 Don Kessinger This card was on tickets for the game on April 11, which is the Kessinger connection... #11 of the 11th.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Topps Bunt?

Just a quick, random thought today.

This is what a Topps Bunt card looks like...

But shouldn't it look like this...

Friday, December 8, 2017

1984-1986 Super Cubs

Topps brought Super back in 1984 and this time the cards were really Super.  They come in at 5" x 7", which is four tines the area of regular cards.

The cards are also duplicates of the original, with the fronts and backs being identical, just increased in size.

The sets were not very big.  There were just 30 cards in the 1984 version, and Billy Buck was the only Cub.  

The set doubled in size in 1985, with 60 cards, and three of them were Cubs.  You'll have to take my word that these are Super cards, since they are identical to the regular ones.

The 1986 set also featured 60 cards, but the Cubs lost one, down to just two.

The brand disappeared after 1986 and has not returned.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

1970 & 1971 Topps Super Cubs

Here's another one of those small sets that I've been picking up.

This one is small in checklist size, but not in card size.

Topps Super was a super-sized card.  Instead of the usual 2½" x 3½" dimensions, these came in at 3 1/8″ x 5 1/4″.  The  packs contained two cards each, plus gum, and cost 10¢.  The set came out in both 1970 and 1971 and was made up of 42  cards each year.

(As an aside, there was also a test release of Super in 1969, limited to the New York City area.  The cards were thicker than regular cards, but the dimensions were smaller.  Leave it to Topps to call smaller cards Super!)

The front of the card features a borderless picture, and the picture is different than the one on the regular card. The back mimicked the regular cards.  That means you can't tell which year a card is from based on the front, but the back is a dead giveaway

Here's a look at a Super and regular side by side.

The Cubs netted a total of five cards over the two year run, with two in 1970 and three in 1971.


The 1970 Cubs were Ron Santo and Billy Williams.  The Williams picture looks to be from the mid-Sixties.


In 1971, the three Cubs were Glenn Beckert, Fergie Jenkins, and Ron Santo.

After two years Topps discontinued the set.  It returned for a three-year run in 1984 and I'll have those cards tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

All The Cubs Diamond Kings

I should have done this when Donruss came out, but I forgot.

Anthony Rizzo was selected by Panini to be the 2017 Cubs Donruss Diamond King.  This is is third appearance as a Diamond King.  That ties him with Ryne Sandberg for second place on the Cubs Diamond King list.  Sammy Sosa tops the list as a five time king.

SInce first arriving on the scene with the 1982 set, there have now been 26 Diamond King Cubs cards.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

The Original Heritage

Topps has been putting out Heritage since 2001.  Its a great set and something I look forward to every year.

But the Topps version of Heritage wasn't the first.

There was Heritage back in 1992, and it was great!

The original Heritage was put out by Studio.  The concept was different than the Topps version.  With Topps, the heritage refers to the card design.  With Studio, it is the uniform.

The 1992 Heritage was a 14-card insert set for the Studio set.  Two Cubs were among the 14


How cool are those!  Dawson is wearing a 1948 jersey while Ryno returns to 1908.  Sandberg even has an old-fashioned mitt.

The ultimate Heritage would it be if Topps combined the Studio Heritage concept with their own.  For the 2018 version of Heritage that means posing the players in 1969 jerseys.  

Retro card designs with players wearing retro uniforms...that would be awesome!

Monday, December 4, 2017


When I was a kid, Ron Santo was the Cubs team captain.  Though he and manager Leo Durocher didn't seem to get along too well, that didn't stop Leo from giving the captaincy to Santo.  Maybe he was a little of himself in the Cubs third baseman.

When Santo was traded to the White Sox after the 1973 season. skipper Whitey Lockman didn't fill the position.  It wasn't until Don Baylor became the manger in 2000 that the Cubs had another captain.

Baylor went all in on the captain thing, naming four players to the post.  And like in hockey, the Cubs captains were given a C to wear, which was placed on their shoulder. 

Yesterday's post showed Mark Grace with the C.  Did the other captains have a C showing on any of their cards?

Pretty easy to see on this card of Sammy.

It's not as easy with the other two, who were right handed pitchers.

Look next to his glove and you'll see Kevin Tapani's C.

I think thought the C just barely visible on Aguilera's right shoulder.  

But after blowing up the picture, I think that is the National League logo and Aguilera isn't wearing a C.

The C is somewhat visible on this picture.

In 2001, Grace and Aguilera were gone and Baylor replaced them with...

Joe Girardi and Eric Young. 

Tapani and Young were done with the Cubs after the 2001 season and no new captains were named. Baylor was gone after the 2002 season, and so were, for all intents and purposes, the Cubs captains.

Sammy kept the C and the title, but I doubt anyone in the clubhouse saw him as their captain.  I think that Dusty felt it was easier to just let Sammy be the captain rather than have the drama of removing him.

When Sammy left after 2004, so did the C on the shoulder.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 15,236 Cubs cards from 127 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1969 Topps #225 Don Kessinger  in 1969 the Cubs shortstop was an All Star for the second time and won his first of two gold gloves.  He was also one of the Cubs that wore out in September.  His batting average dropped ten points during that fateful month.

1980s: 1985 Donruss #266 Scott Sanderson  There was a point during the 1985 season when the entire Cubs starting rotation was on the DL.  Sanderson landed on the list in August with a partial tear of his right medial collateral ligament.  He made just 19 starts and was 5-6.

1990s: 1995 Team Issued Mike Perez  The 1995 Cubs were are mediocre team (73-71, third place) and Mike Perez was a mediocre reliever (2-6, 3.66 ERA).

2000s: 2001 Fleer Ultra #44 Mark Grace This picture has to be from the 2000 season as that was the only year Grace was a team captain and wore the C on his sleeve.  A free agent after the season, he signed with the Diamondbacks for 2001 and won a World Series with them.

2010s: 2010 Allen and Ginter Relic #AS Alfonso Soriano A nice relic from back in the days when all of the Ginter relics were framed.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

All I've Got of Him: Jake Arrieta

Yesterday, Joe Maddon was quoted saying that Jake Arrieta is "probably gone."  I guess that means that there won't be any more Jake Arrieta cards showing him as a Cub.

I'd like to seem his back with the Cubs, but I don't think he's worth the money he's asking.  He'll be 32 next season and his numbers have regressed the past two seasons.

Over his 4½ seasons with the Cubs he posted a record of 68-31 and an ERA of 2.78.  Toss in two no hitters, a 5-3 post season record, and a Cy Young Award and you've got a pretty good run.

From the various brands that I collect I've ended up with 82 different Arrieta cards.  The number of cards got a big bump the past two years, a combination of his Cy Young and the Cubs World Series title.  In fact, 70 of the 82 cards come from 2016 and 2017.  There are just two from 2014 and ten from 2015.

Friday, December 1, 2017

A New Barney Card

I can't remember the last time I added a card to the Darwin Barney collection.  It's been a long time.  I recently broke that drought.

Barney was on Team USA in 2006 and included in the 2007 Team USA set.  By my count there are 17 different cards of his in that set.  I had eleven of the 17 and was pretty sure I was done, with one exception.

The Patriotic Patches card has been sitting on Ebay for quite a long time.  Its a /20 card and it was priced higher than I was willing to go.  But I recently celebrated a birthday and I got an Ebay gift card that was for the exact price of the Barney card.  I figured, what the heck, happy birthday to me, and hit the BIN.

That is about the biggest patch of any card in my collection.

Below is a list of all the cards and in bold are the ones I've got.  The ones that are left are low numbered cards and I'm probably never going to see any of them.

USA Baseball #8
USA Baseball Foil #8
USA Baseball In His Own Words Signatures #8..../20
USA Baseball Patriotic Patches #8..../20
USA Baseball Patriotic Patches Signatures #8..../1
USA Baseball Signatures Black #8..../595
USA Baseball Signatures Blue #8..../275
USA Baseball Signatures Red #8..../100
USA Baseball Signatures Green #8..../2
USA Baseball Signatures Jersey Black #8..../295
USA Baseball Signatures Jersey Blue #8..../150
USA Baseball Signatures Jersey Red #8..../50
USA Baseball Signatures Jersey Green #8..../2
USA Baseball Today & Tomorrow Signatures Black #9 D. Barney/M. Moustakas..../295
USA Baseball Today & Tomorrow Signatures Blue #9 D. Barney/M. Moustakas..../150
USA Baseball Today & Tomorrow Signatures Red #9 D. Barney/M. Moustakas..../25
USA Baseball Today & Tomorrow Signatures Green #9 D. Barney/M. Moustakas..../2

Thursday, November 30, 2017

2002 Gold Label Cubs

Gold Label was on life support in 2002 and Topps made some big changes to save it, apparently.  First, the set was increased to 200 cards, which was double most of the previous releases.  The second big change is that there was just one card for each player, not three.  Topps still had classes, but they were just parallels of the base set, not different cards.  I'm guessing that the changes didn't help sales, because this was the last release of Gold Label for twelve years.

With 200 cards in the set, the number of Cubs increased, too and we end up with seven Cubs cards.

The Cubs acquired Alou before the 2002 season.  The set came out in May, so Topps did a lazy photo-shop job.  They changed the helmet, but did nothing to the uniform.  The other six Cubs are actually wearing a Cubs uniform.