Thursday, March 31, 2011

Your 2011 Chicago Cubs

Opening Day is tomorrow, the team is set; so let's take a look at the players who will break our hearts this season. I find it interesting that I have a card of almost every player in a Cubs uniform and had to use only a few from previous seasons. The off-season moves they made were done early enough for Topps to get cards out for almost everyone.


Alfonso Soriano....don't know what to expect here, but he sure seems to have his best years behind him.

Kosuke Fukudome....I now know how to say "Over-hyped" in Japanese....Fukudome

Tyler Colvin....he did some nice things last season; now let's not be a one season wonder!

Marlon Byrd....our lone All Star from last season tore up the Cactus League this spring.

Reed Johnson....returning to the Cubs as a back-up outfielder....I love this card from 2009....and I love any player that wears stirrups!


Aramis Ramirez...he will definitely need to rebound from a sub-par 2011

Starlin Castro....keep hitting and improve in the field please....but remember, he just turned 21 a couple weeks ago.

Darwin Barney...the surprise of the spring is that Barney will get most of the playing time at second base. The Cubs are going to be very inexperienced in the middle infield....hope that doesn't come back to bite them

Carlos we replaced Derrek Lee with a guy who hit below the Mendoza line.

Blake DeWitt....who lost the second base job to Darwin Barney, but has at autograph card.

Jeff Baker....your utility man


Geovany Soto....who was much better last season than in '09....we need more of that!

Koyie Hill...who still finds a way to make the roster despite a wet noodle for a bat


Ryan Dempster, the new #1 man, although he has been the #1 guy for the past three seasons

Carlos Zambrano....a new, happier least for a couple weeks

Matt Garza....we shall see

Randy Wells....needs to forget about 2010 and pitch like he did this spring

Andrew Cashner....did a nice job out of the pen last year and hopes to repeat that success as a starter. The big question is does he have the stamina to start?


Carlos Marmol....fewer walks this year, please!

Kerry Wood....welcome home!

Sean Marshall....our LOOGY, was really good last year, but hasn't had a Topps card yet this year.

Jeff Samardzija....this may be Spellcheck's last chance to prove he is a major league pitcher

John Grabow...the #2 lefty in the pen

James Russell...another lefty....don't expect too much, hope to be pleasantly surprised.

Marcos Mateo....the last man on the staff....last year had a 5.82 ERA in 21 appearances....will need to improve on that....the only player without any Topps card, so I made a couple cards for him. There is a Topps 2011 base card and a Heritage card complete with crappy fake background.

I have no idea what to expect from this group. As usual for a Cubs fan, I will hope for the best but expect the worst!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why Topps Left Mike Quade Out Of Heritage

I did a quick count of managers in the 2011 Heritage set and came up with 15. Among the missing was Cubs manager Mike Quade. So why did Topps leave him out?

I believe it is because Topps is such a stickler for details and accuracy. They would never do anything incorrectly, right?

You see, in the original 1962 set, there was no card for the Cubs manager. The Cubs were in year two of the College of Coaches, so they had no permanent manager. Hence, Topps did not issue a manager card for the Cubs.

Being the sticklers that they are for accuracy, Topps could not in good conscience put out a Heritage card for the current skipper Mike Quade.

But I felt bad for Mike, being a victim to Topps' obsessive devotion to doing things right.... here is his card.

And in my devotion to accuracy, trying to be just like Topps, I reused a photo from an earlier card.

Now that we have all of this Topps accuracy stuff out of the way, can someone tell me why there is no Cubs team card in Heritage...they did have a regular non-floating heads card in mean Topps isn't 100% accurate??

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

1962 White Stars

When showing my 2011 Heritage Cubs, I pointed out the white rookie star on Casey Coleman's card. It mimmics the white star on Ken Hubbs card in the 1962 set.

That got me wondering if there were any other white stars in the '62 set. There were 53 cards with rookie stars on them, and it turns out that three other players had white instead of yellow stars on their cards.

#204 Johnny Weekly, Houston Colts....played in 13 games for the 1962 Colts and he hit, well, he hit very weakly! His average was .192. He also had a cup of coffee with Houston in '63 and '64.

#224 Don Rudolph, know your career is not going too well when you are 30 years old and have a rookie star on your card. That was the case with Rudolph, who had been playing professional ball since 1950. He didn't last very long in Cleveland, as the Indians traded him to the Senators on May 3. He started 23 games for Washington and was 8-10.

#321 Lee Stange, Twins...he had the longest career of the white stars, spending a total of 10 seasons in the majors. In 1962 he made 44 appearances for the Twins and was 4-3.

What I haven't been able to find out is if there is any special reason that these four players had white stars instead of yellow. Is there a reason or was it just a production error? Anyone know??

Monday, March 28, 2011

Ernie 100

When I realized that I had purchased my 99th card of Ernie Banks, I knew that I wanted to do something special for #100. After looking over different options, I decided to go after an autographed card.

I had a few specs for the card:
...the autograph needed to be on card
...the card would be numbered or certified, or both
...the picture on the card needed to be in color

With all of this in mind, I did a daily search for Ernie Banks auto on eBay and waited to see what would be available. It only took a couple weeks for the right card at the right price to come my way.

Here it is:

The card is from Donruss' 1997 Significant Signatures set. The picture of Ernie is the Ernie Banks I knew as a kid, the aging star first-baseman. It's got the home uniform and the ivy (and Astroturf) of Wrigley Field in the background.

On the back of the card there is another color shot of Mr. Cub, taken in 1968. And you can see that my card is #298/2000.

With all of my specs met, I am very happy to add this to my collection, and look to add many more of Ernie.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Greg Maddux Jersey Card

One modern Cub that was missing from my relic collection was Greg Maddux. I needed to add the future Hall of Famer, and I found a card that I really liked and was able to pick it up for a nice price. So now I've got Maddux added to my collection.....sort of.

Here's the card I got

It a nice looking Masterpieces card from 2008. There is a picture of Greg Maddux in a Cubs uniform and the jersey piece has a blue pinstripe. It would be the perfect card except for this:

He's listed as a Padre. The Cubs traded Maddux to the Dodgers at the trading deadline in 2006. Maddux signed with the Padres after the season for 2007, which is why they've got him as a Padre.

So that leaves me conflicted. It's a Cubs picture and Cubs that good enough for this Cubs collector, or does the Padres listing spoil it?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I Caved: Two More Castro Cards

Here are the last two (I think!) insert cards that I said I wasn't going to buy but did, anyway.

This card has Starlin Castro with a throwback Cubs patch. The patch is the design that I grew up with. It was on the front of a Cubs uniform from 1957 - 1978. The difference between the patch and the current design is minimal. The blue circle is fatter today and the "UBS" is a bit thicker, too. Otherwise, its pretty much the same thing.

This is the fake leather nameplate for Starlin Castro. Topps really seems to have hitched their Cubs wagon to Castro. He is the only Cub featured in several insert sets: Kimball, Throwback Patch, Leather Nameplate, Diamond Sparkle, and Toppstown.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Walmart Black Cubs

I had no plan to get these. Really, I didn't. But....

.... there was an auction that had a lot of ten of the eleven Cubs cards, and the starting price was $0.99. I set my sniper to a maximum bid of $3.00. I wasn't going to break the bank. If I got them, fine; if not, that would have been fine, too.

I guess no one else was too interested in them because I was able to pick them up for all of $1.25. As soon as I won, I went to Sportlots to pick up the eleventh card ($0.18) and the complete set was mine. With these now in hand, I am now on the lookout for bargain sets of the Target cards. After all, isn't it the goal of every collector to have five different variations of Tom Gorzelanny?

Here are the cards: