Monday, January 24, 2011

The Cubs and Shea in 1969

There were not a lot of good things that happened to the Cubs at Shea Stadium in 1969.

There was the black cat....

...a missed call at home plate (he sure looks out to me, Bob Davidson!!)

...and a near-perfect game by Tom Seaver.

The season did not leave Cubs fans with any good feelings about Shea (or the Mets, for that matter!). So what did Topps do? They rubbed it! There were 24 Cubs in the 1970 set and of those, a whopping 20 have pictures taken at Shea, with 16 of them taken in 1969.

These four cards had older pictures.

The photographer who took the 1969 pictures at Shea was pretty predicable.

This first pose is of position players that he told to swing and hold the follow through.

With a few others, he had them do the traditional batting stance pose.

He had these guys do the warm-up thing.

This is the only unique one, with Nate Oliver bunting.

Catcher Bill Heath is the only position player shown without a bat.

With the pitchers it was the same predicable boringness.

We have the follow through pose.

These guys are in the stretch

And only one unique pose, the hands on the knees shot.

That was 20 cards, all shot at Shea, rubbing salt into an 8-year-olds wounds....and 41 years later it still stings!


  1. Can you believe the change from the 1970 Topps set with the most plain, if not boring, grey border and generic block letters for the team names to the 1972 Topps Peter Max color explosion set? What an evolution.

    And once more Kessinger is staring off into the sky!

  2. Since Bill Heath was up for a couple months with the team, I looked it up. He didn't actually play in any games at Shea in going to the team schedule, that photo was taken on either July 8,9 or 10 that year.

  3. However! I submit that the Nate Oliver card was NOT taken at Shea, but in 1970 Spring Training somewhere. Baseball Reference has his uniform number with the Cubs in 1969 as 15, and on this card its 43 (or 42).

  4. I'm going to have to stick with the Oliver card at Shea. The blue tarp shows up in several of the other Shea cards. Also, the light towers over his shoulder seem to be Shea. Here is a possible explanation for the different number: the Cubs got Oliver from the Yankees while they were on a road trip, which included a stop in NY. They may not have had extra jerseys on the road, so he just wore 42/3 until they got home.