Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Billy Buck Was A Hairy Dude

I remember that Bill Buckner had a unibrow and a bushy mustache.

But check out this Donruss card from 1981.

Billy Buck has some major neck hair, too.

He also found an easy way to hide that pesky problem.

Neck hair.....what neck hair?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Cards That Accurately Portray the Player: Dave Kingman

A big cut and probably a miss.  When he connected, the ball went far; very far.  But he missed a whole lot more often that he connected.  And he surly and not very likeable.

This card captures most of that.

Monday, September 18, 2017

What a Difference a Week Makes

A week ago Sunday the Brewers finished off a three game sweep of the Cubs.  Both Milwaukee and St. Louis moved to within two games of the first place Cubs.  I wasn't in full blown panic mode, but it would be safe to say that I was very concerned.

A week later the Cubs have rattled off six straight wins.  They swept the Cardinals over the weekend, moving the Redbirds into near Deadbird status, six games out.  The Brewers have also dropped back two games further, four out.

The Cubs chance of reaching the playoffs is now at 97.7%.  I'll relax when it gets to 100%, but I'm feeling much better now than I was last Sunday.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 15,071 Cubs cards from 122 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1971 Topps #280 Fergie Jenkins  Always finding something new... I never noticed that Fergie is wearing a second shirt under his uniform.  The long-sleeved blue shirt is obvious.  But the second, short-sleeved rubber shirt escaped me.

1980s: 1989 Score #604 Gary Varsho  Did he check his swing or did he go around?  Varsho led the Cubs with 36 pinch hit appearances but had just five hits. That comes to an average of .139. I wonder why Zim kept sending him up there?

1990s: 1992 Score #98 Dave Smith  The 1992 season was Smith's final in the majors and it was a short one.  He pitched in just 11 games, the last one being June 8.  Injuries ended the season for him, and his career/

2000s: 2007 USA Baseball #8 Darwin Barney  He was a member of Team USA in 2006, a team that won the World University Baseball Championship.  One of his teammates was a pitcher from TCU named...

...Jake Arrieta.

2010s: 2017 Topps #270 Jake Arrieta League Leader  I swear that I did not fix this... the RNG really did select this card!  It does give us a chance to see how the form of college Jake is different from what he uses today.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

And I Thought I Was Finished

A few days ago I thought I was finished.  I thought that I had made a card of the last man on the Cubs 2017 roster.  But they surprised me and a lot of other people when they brought up Jen-Ho Tseng and had him start the game on Thursday.

Tseng was in town to receive the team's minor league pitcher of the year award.  The winner usually gets a plaque.  Tseng got a start.

It didn't go very well as he gave up five runs in three innings.  The boys in blue were hitting, though, and won the game, keeping Tseng from getting the loss.

Here's the card...

...and the 47-man roster.

Friday, September 15, 2017

I Got Billy'd!

An unexpected package from Hackenbush arrived a couple days ago.

I got Billy'd!

I have one of these in my Billy Williams player collection and another with the Cubs team sets.  This is the Glossy All Star insert set from 1988.  Billy was the NL All Star team captain the year he was elected into the Hall of Fame.  Two of these cards is nice.

Now I've got another 56!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fleer Home and On the Road

The initial release of Fleer in 1981 wasn't a very good set and the cards were full of errors, but to this Cub fan it had one huge positive - Wrigley Field.  There are 25 Cubs in the set and 22 of them are Wrigley Field shots.

Look at all of the pinstripes, bricks and ivy!

A year later I anxiously awaited the arrival of the next Fleer set and more pictures from the friendly confines of beautiful Wrigley Field.

Talk about a huge disappointment.  The 1982 set was 0 for 27!  There wasn't a single shot from Wrigley.  Making matters worse, even the spring training shots showed the away uniforms.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Darwin Has Regressed

When Darwin Barney was with the Cubs his slides were graceful, things of beauty.

He's been out of the blue pinstripes for a few years now and has had a bit of slide regression...

What I like best is that he can laugh about it.  That was one thing I always liked about him - he really seems to enjoy being a major league baseball player.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Cub #46

The Cubs added their 46th player to the roster, and unless there are any more injuries, this should be it.

Catcher Taylor Davis was brought up from Iowa, giving the Cubs their fifth catcher (sixth if you include Kyle Schwarber).  That's a lot of backstops!

Taylor has recently become an internet star because of his stare.

I'm hoping that's not the reason for his being brought to the majors.  But then, why would the Cubs bother to bring up one more catcher?

I felt an obligation to include the stare on his card.

I felt an obligation to show all 46 of the 2017 Cubs.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 15,071 Cubs cards from 122 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1964 Topps Standup Billy Williams This is one of the most valuable pieces in my Billy Williams collection.  Mine is not is the best shape, and the upper yellow piece is missing.  Upgrading would be nice, but not any time soon.

1980s: 1989 Baseball Talk #17 Ernie Banks  The RNG comes up with two in a row from the player collections! This card has a record on the back that you'd listen to with a special audio player.  Take a listen as Mel Allen describes the career of Mr. Cub.

1990s: 1997 Fleer Traded #568 Ramon Tatis  The player collection streak is over - I have no player collection of Ramon Tatis.  I wonder if anyone other that Ramon Tatis has a Ramon Tatis collection??  I didn't realize he got so much action during the 1997 seasons -- 56 relief appearances.  This was despite an ERA of 5.34.  He was taken by the Devil Rays in the expansion draft after the season as the Cubs, wisely, left him unprotected.

2000s: 2006 Greats of the Game #SA Ryne Sandberg This set is my favorite Fleer set and the 2006 edition is my favorite year of the set.  Win Win!  I wrote about the set back in 2011.

2010s: 2014 Topps Power Players #146 Kyuji Fujikawa  No, Topps, Fujikawa was not a power player!  He pitched in 13 innings over 15 games in 2014 and had an ERA of 4.85.  His only power was the power to give up runs.  And for that the Cubs had the honor of paying him $9.5 million over two years.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Cards That Accurately Portray the Player: Billy Williams

I came across a thread on Net54 titled "Cards That Accurately Portray the Player."  The idea is to find a card that has an action shot that makes you say, "That's how I remember this guy".  It's a nice idea.  So I'll borrow it.

To try and do this for Billy Williams isn't easy.  There aren't many cards of him with action shots.  Most of his career was duing the posed era.

This is the one I choose and despite being one of just two action cards from his playing days, I really like it.

Billy was "Sweet Swinging Billy Williams" and this card shows him finishing up that sweet swing.  That's how I remember Billy.

Friday, September 8, 2017

All I've Got of Him: Gene Michael

Gene Michael passed away yesterday, so I thought it would be appropriate to show all I've got of him.

Michael was hired by Dallas Green during the 1986 season.  Just two seasons removed from their division title of 1984, the team was beset by injuries in 1985 and still in a funk in 1986.  On June 13 Jim Frey was canned and Michael took his place.

At the time I thought it was a strange hire.  He was a Yankee guy, an American League guy.  But then so was Jim Frey.  If Green was looking for the same results, he ended up disappointed.  The team never recaptured the 1984 magic and Michael didn't make it through the entire 1987 season.

My collection consists of just four cards, two from Topps and two that are team-issued.



Thursday, September 7, 2017

1973 Cubs Cartoons

Here's a look at the Cubs cartoons from the 1973 set.  The card design was such that every player got a cartoon.

I'll divide these into a few different categorites.  First off are those that relate to the player's major league career.

Glenn Beckert, Jose Cardenal, Fergie Jenkins, Randy Hundley, Don Kessinger, and Milt Pappas all had some impressive career accomplishment noted.

Jim Hickman and Paul Popovich have non-spectacular events mentioned.

And poor J.C. Martin gets a "you suck" cartoon.  In his defense, I believe that in 1965, he was working with a White Sox staff that included a few knuckleball pitchers.

Up next are the guys with college cartoons.

 Bill Bonham and Bob Locker were students.  Burt Hooton, Dan McGinn, and Ken Rudolph were stars.

Here's some persona information on Carmen Fanzoen, Dave LaRoche, Rick Monday, Joe Pepitone, Rick Reuschel, Ron Santo, and Billy Williams.

And when you can't come up with anything else... go with nicknames.  I guess Jack Aker and Larry Gura had nothing else.