Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Worst Cubs Rookie Card

Here is the flipside to yesterday's post.

Coming up with the Cubs worst rookie card is a little harder because the Cubs have had more than their share of flops.  The holy grail would be a card with all of the players never making it to the majors.  Somehow, the Cubs avoided that.  Here are the three with the fewest total number of major league games played.

55 Games total - Ott, 32 and Warner, 33 

This card has special meaning to about it here

22 games total - Bobb, 10 and Cosman, 12

And the worst Cubs rookie cards is...

8 games total - Dunegan, 7, and Skidmore, 1. However, I must point out that Roe Skidmore got a hit in his one and  only MLB at bat and ends up with a career batting average of 1.000.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The Best Rookie Card

I spent some time looking over the multi-player rookie cards in my Cubs Topps collection.  The main run was from 1964 through 1982.  Each year had at least one card, some had several.

My goal was to come up with the best card.  By best, I mean the card with the players that had the best careers.  Often the multi-player cards had one good guy along with one or two busts.  The best card would have nothing but good guys.

It was easier than I thought to come up with the best card.  There was one that clearly had two good guys, and the good part of their careers was with the Cubs.

But first, the second and first runner-ups;

Third place goes to John Boccabella and Billy Cowan.  Both had significant major league careers, though neither did much for the Cubs.

Second place goes to Joe Niekro and Paul Popovich.  Niekro's career went for 22 years, but just the first two were with the Cubs.  Popovich spent several years as the Cubs main utility infielder.  His Cubs contributions are what earned this card second place.

And the big winner?  As I said earlier, it was pretty easy to pick out:

Hands and Hundley were major players for the '69 Cubs.  A twenty game winner and an All Star on the same card.  The only downside with the card is that they are both in Giant uniforms.  What a steal of a deal that was!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Five Ransom Cubs Cards

No, the title is not a typo.

But it came about because of a typo.  As I was doing a recent Five Random Cubs Cards post I inadvertently typed Ransom instead of Random.  I corrected the mistake but also realized that I do actually have five Ransom cards.

This is Ransom, or Randy Jackson, or Handsome Ransom.  He played third base for the Cubs from 1950 - 1955.  He was an all star twice, in 1954 and 1955.  After the '55 season, the Cubs sold high and traded him to the Dodgers.  He never repeated the success he had with the Cubs and was out of baseball by the end of the 1959 season.

Bowman included Jackson in three sets but Topps only had him once.  This was the era of contracts with one company or the other and it looks like Jackson was a Bowman man.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

All I've Got of Him: Dave Martinez

Here's a look at all I've got of the Cubs' bench coach.

Dave Martinez spent parts of four different seasons with the Cubs.  He was a third round pick of the Cubs in the 1983 draft.  Three years later he made his MLB debut with the Cubs.  He was with them until being traded to the Expos during the 1988 season.  He later returned to the north side for part of the 2000 season.

After his playing days were done he was a coach in the Rays system and eventually landed the bench coach position for Joe Maddon.  When Maddon came to the Cubs, Martinez followed with him.

I really thought that I had more cards of him than I do.  My total is just eleven.  He spans most of the brands of the day, Donruss, Fleer, Score, and Topps, along with a Starting Lineup and Cubs team issued card.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Happ-y To Add a Relic

I was happy to add another relic to my collection...

...this Diamond King dual jersey relic card of Ian Happ.  The card meets my relic collection rules of showing a player as a Cub during a season he played for the Cubs.

I know its a logo-free card, but at this point there aren't any Topps cards of Happ that meet the rules.  I suppose someday down the line I may upgrade to a card with a logo.  For now, this is fine.  His career is off to nice start, so it is more than likely that he'll end up with a Topps card in the future.

My rule-following collection now numbers 82 different players.

Arismendy Alcantara  Matt GarzaJose Nieves
Albert AlmoraMark GraceMike Olt
Moises AlouMark Grudzielanek  Corey Patterson
Jake ArrietaJason HammelCarlos Pena
Javier BaezIan HappFelix Pie
Darwin BarneyRich HardenJuan Pierre
Francis BeltranBrendan HarrisMark Prior
Kris BryantKevin HartAramis Ramirez
Damon BufordJason HeywardAnthony Rizzo
Marlon ByrdBobby HillAddison Russell
Andrew CashnerRich HillJeff Samardzija
Welington CastilloTodd HundleyKyle Schwarber
Starlin CastroBrett JacksonJorge Soler
Aroldis ChapmanJacque JonesAlfonso Soriano
Hee Seop ChoiEric KarrosSammy Sosa
Tyler ColvinDavid KeltonGeovany Soto
Willson ContrerasBryan LaHairMatt Szczur
Juan CruzJunior LakeRyan Theriot
Ryan DempsterDerrek LeeDarryle Ward
Blake DeWittJon LesterTodd Wellemeyer
Jason DuboisTed LillyRandy Wells
Jim EdmondsKenny LoftonRondell White
Carl EdwardsGreg MadduxJerome Williams
Mike FontenotCarlos MarmolKerry Wood
Dexter FowlerGary Matthews, Jr.Carlos Zambrano
Kyuji FujikawaFred McGriffBen Zobrist
Kosuke FukudomeBill MuellerJulio Zuleta
Nomar Garciaparra

Monday, May 22, 2017

Vertical Is Better Than Horizontal

I don't know if I'm in the minority or not, but I cannot stand horizontal cards.  Baseball cards need to, no, must be vertically aligned.

My reason is very simple.

Your hand.

Baseball cards are meant to be held, to be handled.  I love having a stack of cards in my hand and then thumbing through the stack.  And it seems that a stack of vertical cards fit perfectly in any sized hand.  They fit in my hand when I was eight years old.  They fit now.

Horizontal cards don't fit in you hand the same way. It is very awkward to thumb through a stack of horizontal cards.

In the series one Cubs cards there are three of these horizontal abominations.

They must be changed.

A quick trip to Getty Images got me the original photos use by Topps. A little more playing around and, voila!


Vertical cards!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,880 Cubs cards from 121 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1975 Topps #388 Steve Stone  This is a really weird angle for a picture.  I wonder what Stone was thinking when the photographer got down low to take the picture?

1980s: 1989 Bowman #297 Dwight Smith  Smith came out of nowhere and became an important part of the 1989 Eastern Division champs.  The number he's weaing in the picture, 45, was not what he wore when he made it to the Cubs (18).  He deserved the NL rookie of the year award more than the winner, Jerome Walton.  

1990s: 1994 Fleer #402 Willie Wilson  Willie's career came to and end with the Cubs in 1994.  He was released on May 17 and didn't hook up with another team.

2000s: 2004 Fleer Ultra #73 Randall Simon Simon came to the Cubs from the Pirates (who seemingly werer the Cubs AAAA team that season) in August and was decent through the playoffs.  The Cubs didn't try to re-sign him for 2004 since they added a new first baseman , Derrek Lee.

2010s: 2013 Pro Debut #80 Rock Shoulders  A great name, but not so great player.  Rock was in independent ball last year.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Two More 2017 Topps Cubs

The Cubs keep adding players --- I keep making cards.

It was barely a week ago that I created five cards for new players.  Since then, they brought up two more guys.  It's been quite the revolving clubhouse door.


With the addition of Eddie Butler and Ian Happ, a total of 32 players have suited up so far this year.  Here's a look at all of them, from Almora to Zobrist.

Friday, May 19, 2017

2017 Bunt Inserts

2017 Topps Bunt comes with several insert sets.  There are three sets that are /99 - Galaxy, Splatter, and Vapor.  I don't mess around with the numbered ones.  I'm strickly a regular insert guy.

Each of the three regular insert sets have some Cubs


Bryant and Rizzo are in the Infinite set.  These are interesting looking cards, with a faded player picture on top of an outside view of Wrigley Field.

Lackey and Lester have  cards in the Perspectives set.  I always find it a little odd when a player has a card in an insert set, but not the base set, which is what happened with John Lackey.  The guy doens't make the cut with a 200 card list, but is included in a set of just 20.


The Program set has both Bryant and Hendricks.  It's nice to see Kyle Hendricks included in a few inserts.  The poor program is torn in the corners.  I wouldn't include it in my collection!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

2017 Topps Bunt Cubs

For the second year in a row Topps has created a physical Bunt set.  I've never had any interest in the digital cards, so I'm happy to have physical cards that I can hold in my hand and slip into a binder.

The set consists of 200 base cards and several insert sets.  Today I'll have the base cards and tomorrow it will be the inserts.

There are 11 Cubs among the 200 players in the base set.  All eight of the regular position players plus three starters were included.  That's a pretty decent representation!

As far as the design of the cards goes, its a pretty nice looking card.    You get the name, team, position, and team logo.  The only thing I'm unsure of is the slash that runs through each of the players.  What is that supposed to be?  Ditch that and we're good.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

2017 Scorecard Cover

My scorecard collection has grown by one.

This is the scorecard from the opening series against the Dodgers.  I believe that the picture was taken either at Wrigley Field just before the players loaded up on the buses for the World Series parade or at Grant Park after the rally.  The cover is a great way to remember the championship.

As they've done for the past few years now, the cover changes with each series.  That means that there are 25+ different covers each year.  I wish they'd do away with this and just have one cover for the entire season.  I doubt that will happen.

My scorecard collection now includes 72 years worth of cards.  They fit nicely into a 9 x 8 tile.  Take a look....

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Cold (or Hot) Spring of 1971

Apparently it was cold (or hot) in Scottsdale, Arizona in the spring of 1971.  I don't have any meteorological data to back up that claim.  I have baseball cards, specifically, the 1972 Topps set, featuring pictures from spring training, 1971.

Look at all the guys wearing jackets under their uniform.


We've got pitchers...


...and catchers;



and outfielders.

Even the manager was cold!

The other possibility for all the jackets is that it was hot.  Yes hot, because back in the day these rubber jackets were worn to sweat off a few pounds.  The Cubs were aging and maybe they put on a few extra pounds over the winter and wanted to shed them. Hot day plus jacket equals weight loss.

Hot or cold, you don't see the jackets any more.

This 1974 card of Jack Aker was the last Cub shown wearing a jacket under his uniform.