Thursday, February 23, 2017

A Few More Team Photos

I've got three more Cubs team cards with the players identified.

The 1966 team card broke a string of three straight cards using the 1960 team picture.  But Topps wasn't ready to get completely up-to-date.

The card used the 1964 team photo.  I guess two years behind is better than using a five year old photo like the did in 1965.  Doc Shueneman, the team trainer, missed the photo shoot and got a floating head insert, but Topps skipped Doc on the team card.

In 1967 Topps did what it was supposed to used the most up to date team photo.

Again it looks like Topps colorized the photo for the card.  Either that or it was quiet a coincidence that the jacket of the traveling secretary and the pants of equipment manager Yosh Kiwano are the exact same shade of blue.

Taking a break from two years of floating heads, Topps used the 1972 team photo from the Sporting News Baseball guide for the 1973 team card.  I wonder what Bill North in the second row was looking at?

This wraps up all of the easy to ID pictures.

Tomorrow I'll have the toughies.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Who Is In the Team Photo?

I've spent alot of time recently identifying all of the players in the Cubs floating heads team cards.  Could I do the same with the standard team cards?


Topps made it pretty easy the first few years.  When team cards showed up for the first time in 1956, everyone in the photo was identified right on the front of the card.

In 1957, you had to...

...turn the card over, but the names were all still there.

  In 1958 Topps made things easy again - names on the front.

Names disappeared for good starting with the 1959 card.  So how do I go about trying to figure out who all the player were?

A simple Google image search for "1958 Cubs Team Photo" brings up this.

The is the black and white team photo sold at Wrigley Field, complete with everyone's name.

Would it always be this easy?


The 1960 card used  the 1959 picture, again, complete with names.

And here are a few more easy ones...

The cards from 1963, 1964, and 1965 all used the 1959 Cubs team picture.  By the time the 1965 card came out, only Ernie Banks and George Altman were still playing with the Cubs. How crazy is that...How Topps is that!

Other years were just as easy while some are complete stumpers.  I have more in future posts.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Some Work on the World Headquarters

What a glorious streak of good weather we've been having.  The temperature has been in the 50s and 60s the past several days.  That is totally unheard of for Michigan in February.

Add the nice weather to a long President's Day weekend, and it means that I've had some time to work on a project.

If you remember from this post in November, Mrs. WW and I decided to do a little work to the outside of our house.  The nice half-brick front wall was going to get a little taste of Wrigley.

Mrs. WW planted the ivy.

My job was to make and install the house numbers.  I made the numbers in early December, but didn't think I'd be able to paint or install them until the spring.  But the warm spell we've been having gave me an early start.

Voila!  Yellow numbers have been added to the front of the house.  The numbers on the Wrigley Field walls are painted directly to the wall.  I didn't want to do something that permanent.  Instead, I made mine out of plywood and screwed them into the brick.  I used actual pictures of the numbers, blew them up, made patterns, and cut out the pieces.  Mine are three fourths the size of the actual numbers.

Now we just need the ivy to grow.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Helmet Number Abnormalities

Longtime reader Hackenbush left a comment on Friday, asking if there were cards that show a Cub player wearing the wrong helmet.  It would be simple to tell, because the number painted onto the helmet wouldn't match the player's actual number

What a great question!

I had a day off on Friday, so I spent some time looking over my Topps cards from the '60s through the early '80s.  I also went through the Post, Kelloggs, and Hostess sets, plus some oddballs from the same era.

I did find some abnormalities.

Though he was #9 during his time with the Cubs, Tim Blackwell's 1980 card shows him wearing helmet #52.  No Cub player wore #52 between 1966 and 1982.  I'm guessing the picture was taken at spring training, where there are all sorts of crazy numbers being used and he just grabbed any helmet for the picture

This 1989 Swell card shows Ron Santo with helmet number 18 instead of Santo's #10.  The helmet actually belongs to Santo's roommate Glenn Beckert.  He must have just grabbed his roomies helmet when the photographer showed up to take a picture.

I found a few more abnormalities, though not the wrong number.

This 1976 card shows Champ Summers with black numbers instead of white.

Yosh wrote in Jose Cardenal's initials instead of his number.  Of the 22 card that I have of Jose, this is the only one that shows him wearing a helmet.  I wonder if he always had initials?

Nope, this picture from 1977 has a 1 on the helmet.

And then there is this one of Joe Wallis, from the 1978 SSPC set

Was Yosh playing some sort of a joke here?????????????????????

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,631 Cubs cards from 120 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1969 Milton Bradley Ernie Banks The picture that MB used is Ernie's official team photo.  It dates back to at least 1964 and was used by the Cubs in their roster book through the 1971 season.

1980s: 1984 Topps #787 Bill Campbell Soup didn't pitch for the Cubs in 1984.  He was traded to the Phillies late in spring training in the deal that brought Gary Matthews and Bob Dernier to the Cubs.  It was a steal for the Cubs.

1990s: 1998 Topps Chrome #437 Rod Beck The 1998 season was Beck's first with the Cubs.  He led the league in appearances and games finished and recorded 51 saves.

2000s: 2003 Upper Deck #535 Sammy Sosa  Sammy is part of a victory celebration at Wrigley in 2002.  They won just 36 home games that season.

2010s: 2014 Topps Stickers #216 Starlin Castro  I've liked the recent designs used on the sticker sets more than the base card sets of recent years.  The stickers seem to have a simpler, baseball-card type design.  There's nothing flashy, no cloudy smoke in the corners.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Albert Almora World Series Relic

I've got another rule-following relic:

This bat card for Albert Almora is from Topps 2017 World Series Champion Relic set.   The irony is that in small print the card says that the game-used memorabilia is not from the World Series.

I thought briefly about going after all of the cards from this set.  But since I have relic cards from all the other players in the set, I decided to pass.  Adding the Almora was all I needed to do.

Almora is slotted to platoon in center field this year.  It will be interesting to see how he does and how much Dexter Fowler will be missed.

WIth this, I now have 81 relic cards that show a player as a Cub during a season they played for the Cubs. Of them, 13 are on the Cubs roster right now.  That is probably the most I've had of current players at any one time.  And if you add Chapman, Fowler, Hammel, and Soler, that would make 17 players from the World Series team.

Arismendy Alcantara   Nomar Garciaparra   Jose Nieves
Albert AlmoraMatt GarzaMike Olt
Moises AlouMark GraceCorey Patterson
Jake ArrietaMark GrudzielanekCarlos Pena
Javier BaezJason HammelFelix 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

Friday, February 17, 2017

The First Cub Card That....

This is the first Topps Cubs card that...what?

Shows a player with the first name "Cuno"?  Nope, because Cuno had a card in the 1962 set.

This is the first Topps Cubs card that shows a player wearing a batting helmet.

With all of the pictures on Topps cards being posed, all the ones showing a player as a hitter were taken with the player wearing his regular hat  No one bothered to grab a helmet to look more like a real hitter.

But sharp Cuno stuck his helmet on before the picture was snapped and in 1963 we finally get to see a Cubs batting helmet.

Notice that even back then, they used a raised felt C instead of a decal.  They still do the same today, one of the few teams not using a decal.

Also if you look very carefully you can see the #9 painted in white inside the C.  The Cubs helmets had that feature for years.  Players didn't have to look on the back of a helmet for a number, it was right in front.

That tradition ended years ago and now they have numbers on the back like everyone else.


It looks like the little white numbers disappeared in 1981.  The 1981 Steve Dillard card shows a number (picture taken in '80) while Jody Davis' 1982 card is numberless.

I'd love to see that unique feature come back.

Then we'd have a Topps wrapper that looks like this...

Thursday, February 16, 2017

All The Barney Autographs

Yesterdays post got me thinking about my Barney collection.  Specifically, I was wondering how many of his autographs are in the collection.

A quick search was made and I came up with a number...34.

I also did a quick search to see how many career home runs Darwin Barney has hit and I came up with a number....25

Kinda crazy to have more autographs than home runs, but that's what it is.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Silver and Gold

A nice little trip down memory lane... I did really like Burl Ives and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer as a kid.

But it has nothing to do with Cubs baseball cards.

Well, a little to do with Cubs baseball cards.

When I started my Darwin Barney player collection, I picked up these two autograph cards...

Both are from 2008 Just Minors  The top is a silver dual autograph with Barney and Tyler Colvin.  The card on the bottom is the gold version with signatures from Barney and Donald Veal.  The silver card is /25 while the gold has just ten copies.

I never gave them a second thought until I saw an eBay listing for a gold version of the Colvin card.  It was at a bargain price, so I pulled the trigger.  Once I got it, the OCD in me said I had to get the silver version of the Veal card to be complete.

And here's a look at all of the silver and gold.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

1975 Phantom Cub

Were you awake all night wondering about the phantom Cub?  Ok, probably not, but thanks for checking out today's post anyway.

Yesterday I theorized that the picture used on the 1975 Cubs team card was a black and white photo that was colorized by the artists at Topps.

The bright red C, the lack of pinstripes, the odd colored ivy, the blue sky above the wall...all of these are indicators of colorization.

And it is the colorization that led to the phantom Cub.  Before you scroll down any further, look carefully at the picture to see if you can spot the phantom.





If you haven't found him, let me help you out.

And now a close-up...

...of our phantom.  Spooky, isn't it!

So here's what I believe happened.

There are two players above the phantom.  I can't identify the one on the left, but on the right is Burt Hooton.  By an odd coincidence, the dark space from their arms and legs ended up making a shape similar to a baseball hat.  The Topps artist, fooled by the shape, assumed it was a player and painted a red C on the "hat," creating our phantom.

You would think the artist would go back and check his work.  He would have noticed that the players were all neatly lined up in three rows and his extra player wasn't in any row.

But I've learned long ago that checking your work is not the way Topps does things.

Monday, February 13, 2017

0 for 2 With Recent Mysteries

Another mystery with no solution...

The 1975 Cubs team card was a non-floater, with an nondescript team photo.

Or so I thought.

Lynn P. left a comment on my post on the 1974 card, with this question on the 1975 team card, "On the 1975 Team Card, They have a team picture, but one of the players in the upper right has face whited out. Do you know who that player was?"

She is referring to the player in the top row, far right.

This closeup shows the faded face.

I never noticed that before.

My curiosity was piqued.

Before I move ahead, a word about the picture Topps used.  Two things.

First, this is definitely a picture from 1974.  Bill Madlock is in the front row, fourth from the right.  The 1974 season was his first with the team, so this must be a 1974 picture.  Second thing, I believe the original picture was in black and white and the Topps artists colored it.  The grass, the ivy, the red C, the lack of any pinstripes, the blue sky above the wall instead of bleachers or the catwalk; I believe those are all signs that the picture was colored.

So how can I find out who the player is, knowing that the Cubs used a floating head picture in 1974?

A search of both eBay and Google images turned up nothing.

But it gave me a clue.  As I searched for Cubs team photos, I occasionally found traditional team pictures of Cubs team in years when there were floating heads sold at Wrigley.  A little more digging revealed that the traditional team pictures came from the Sporting News Official Baseball guides.

If I could get my hands on a 1974 guide, I might find the team picture used on the 1975 card.  Not only that, but the team guides always listed the names of the players from the photo.

I was able to get a 1974 guide for just five bucks.  I was very excited when it came.  I immediately thumbed through to find the Cubs page.  And there is was.... the traditional tam picture...

...of the 1973 Cubs.  Rats!  The 1974 guide covers the 1973 season.

If I want to find the 1974 team picture, I need to get the 1975 guide.

Five bucks and a week later I had the '75 guide in hand. Again I quickly flipped through to the Cubs page and...

...RATS!!!  The Sporting News used the floating heads!!!!

The mystery remains unsolved.

I can't identify the blurry player.  But I did find the phantom player instead.

More on that tomorrow!