Saturday, April 30, 2011


I've added another autograph to my collection, Steve "Rainbow" Trout.

This is the second Cubs player from Fleer's Nickname Greats set that I've picked up, and I really like these.

Steve Trout came to the Cubs in a trade with the White Sox on January 25, 1983. It was a six player swap, with four going to the Sox and two coming north. You don't see many big trades like that anymore.

His best season with the Cubs was 1984, when he went 13-7. He also won game two of the 1984 NLCS, pitching a complete game as the Cubs beat the Padres 4-2.

Trout got off to a great start in 1985, winning six of his first seven decisions. But a nerve problem in his arm landed him on the DL in July. At one point during the 1985 season, Trout and the entire starting rotation ended up on the DL together. That was a nightmare of a season! He finished the year 9-7, not bad, but definitely a drop-off from a 6-1 start.

His next season saw the woes continue, as he went 5-7 and ended up spending some time in the bullpen.

He got off to a strong start in 1987, going 6-3 and the Cubs decided to sell high, trading him to the Yankees. It was a smart move, as Trout went 0-4 with a 6.60 ERA in New York. Two more mediocre seasons in Seattle followed, and by age 31, Trout was cooked.

Friday, April 29, 2011

2005 Turkey Red Complete...For the Most Part

One of the 2011 goals I set for myself was to finish my 2005 Turkey Red complete set. I started the set about two years ago and got most of it. Unfortunately, I took care of the easy part. What I had left were a bunch of the SPs.

I didn't do anything at all with the set in 2010 and that kind of gnawed at me. I wasn't going to let the set go unfinished in 2011. So I went to work. In January I used a combination of Ebay, Becketts, COMC, and Sportlots to knock almost all of the cards off of my needs list and it only took a couple weeks.

There were four SP cards left, and I was stuck. The odd thing is that none of the players I still needed were big names. Still missing were #28
Rich Harden, #78 Troy Glaus, #59 Wily Mo Pena, and #223 Brandon Backe. That's not exactly a Cooperstown type list of players. I wondered why I couldn't find their cards at any of my four usual sources. Actually, the Glaus card was at Beckett, but it was priced higher than what I wanted to pay. I just figured that I would have to wait a little while and they would all pop up somewhere at a reasonable price.

That was three months ago, and not a single one of the four has shown up anywhere! I just don't get it! What makes those four so hard to find?? Well, I finally gave up.

There were plenty of white and red variations of each of the cards on Sportlots. I decided that a colored variation in the binder looks better than an empty pocket. So I spent the 75¢ each for the cards and filled my binder.

Here are my colored versions. If anyone has any of the real things and wants to make a deal, let me know.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

2011 Cubs Media Guide

There weren't too many of these popping up on Ebay, but one finally showed up with a nice, low BIN. I grabbed it right away! So now my media guide/roster book collection runs from 1958 - 2011.

It's no surprise to see a tribute to Ron Santo on the cover. Most of the pictures of him from his playing days are pictures that I have never seen before. I would assume they are from the Cubs photo archives. It sure would be nice if the card companies would get access to those pictures. Then we wouldn't have to see the same pictures used over and over on cards of players like Santo, Ernie Banks, and Billy Williams.

In addition to the cover, there is more Santo stuff on the inside.

This big picture is on page one....

....and this is page two.

In addition to Ron Santo, another Cubs legend, Phil Cavarretta, passed away during the off-season, and he too is remembered on page three....

....and page four.

Otherwise, there isn't too much new material in the book. A lot of the facts are used year after year. I did find a couple of items that are post-worthy, and you'll probably see those show up in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Taking Another Look at Jim Hickman '72

Two months ago I took a look at the lesser known Cubs variation in the 1972 set, Jim Hickman's card

The card to the left is what it should look like, the one on the right is that variation. You can see that the variation is missing all of the green on the top, in both the lettering and inside the stars. I was told that this was a printing variation, not a true error like the four Cubs cards in the first series. And then I kind of forgot about it....until a couple days ago.

I was paging through this book, which Topps put out in 1985 as they celebrated their 35th anniversary. The book has pictures of every card Topps issued from 1951 - 1985. It's a great resource; I would love to see them put out an updated book that covers their first 60 years, or at least a book that runs from 1986 - 2011.

Anyway, as I was paging through, I came to 1972. And look what I found on Hickman's page...

....the page was bigger than my scanner, so the scan is only part of the page....

....this is a close up of Hickman's card in the book.

The book used the no-green variation. That just struck me as very odd. Why didn't they use the real card? I wonder where Topps got the cards for the book? Did they not have the true card in their files?

I went to the Topps website to see what variation of the Hickman card they used for the Million and Diamond giveaways. Here is the site.

And this is what their card looks like. They are using the true card.

The other thing that the book got me thinking about is whether the card is a true variation or, as was explained to me, a printing error. When you look at the entire fifth series that the Hickman card was in, you don't see any other card with the missing green. If the Hickman card is a printing error, why was it the only card with the problem? Shouldn't every card in the series with green have the same variation, since the cards were all printed on a single sheet?

The more I think it through, the more I'm inclined to think the card is a variation like the first series cards rather than a printing error.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

One More From 2010

I guess I missed a Cubs card from last year!

It was pretty easy to do. The missing card is one of those manufactured hat logo cards. And the player was Rogers Hornsby. So why did I overlook it? Because I, like any knowledgeable fan, think "Cardinals" when the name "Hornsby" shows up on a checklist. After all, the guy played 70% of his career games with the Cardinals and only 14% with the Cubs. Yet for some reason, Topps keeps including his as a Cub. This is the sixth card from 2009 and 2010 that feature Hornsby as a Cub.

Anyway, this is what the card looks like.

And its got a mistake, a big-time mistake. And you would think Topps would know better, but then again, maybe not. The mistake is the patch. The big wishbone C patch. The big white wishbone C patch. The Cubs have never worn a white wishbone C, ever. Just look at the hat in the picture; red C. Click here and you can see what their uniforms looked like during the four seasons Hornsby was with the Cubs. No white wishbone. There was an alternate hat with a white C, but not a wishbone C.

So Topps, please, hire me! I will be your Cubs proofreader and keep you from making more of these ridiculous mistakes.

Together, we can be accurate, and do this instead:

Monday, April 25, 2011

I've Been Discovered

I had an interesting conversation yesterday at our family Easter gathering. My blog has been discovered by my brothers.

I've got three brothers, all White Sox fans. Older brother was saying he needed my phone number earlier in the week and googled me to get it. In addition to my phone number, he found a hit for Wrigley Wax. He sent an email to my two younger brothers, telling them to take a look. Youngest brother writes,"I wonder if Paul ever replies at that site?" And then, after checking the site a little more writes again, Holy Crap, that is Paul!"

I guess I never mentioned to them that I have a Cubs card blog. I wasn't trying to hide it, but I figured there wouldn't be too much here to interest Sox fans that don't collect.

But now I have three new readers....and I have to watch what I say, too!

I needed a card to go with this post, so I dug through the old family photo album and put this card together.

The picture is from 1971. It's fuzzy because mom took the picture and that was not one of her specialties. I'm on the left and younger bro #1 is on the right. I'm 9 years old and he was 8. We were both on the Rockets in the Oak Lawn Baseball for Boys minor league. My dad was the team's manager, hence the MGR on his hat. We played our games at Gasteyer Park; Steve over at White Sox Cards should know exactly where that is.

Here is a bit of irony....older brother is in the middle. He was 12 and in Little League, and his team was....The Cubs!

And younger bro #2, sorry, but he was too young to play ball, so he misses out.

Hope you enjoy the blog, boys! Got any comments to add??

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Cubs Are REALLY Honoring Ron Santo

Wow. I know that Ron Santo was an iconic member of the Cubs family. And he is certainly missed. The Cubs are wearing a patch in his honor on their jersey and a statue of Ron will be placed outside Wrigley later this summer.

But, the players have come up with another way to remember #10...with their record.

At the start of today, the Cubs have played 20 games. Their record?

10 WINS and


How bizarre is that?? Actually, the Cubs have been at .500 all year long. So far they have had records of

They are the first team in MLB history to ever do that at the start of the season.

Now, if the team would like to honor the memory of another player, how about Todd Hundley? He spent most of his time in Chicago playing as if he was dead.

Why honor Todd? Because he was...

....#99. Of course, I would prefer 99 wins, not losses. That should be more than enough to get the Cubs into the post-season.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A Reply From Topps

A few weeks ago I wrote about Starlin Castro's black leather card, which had his name spelled wrong.

I also sent an email to Topps to see if the error would be corrected. Within minutes of sending the email, I got an autoreply that stated I should received a response from Topps within two business days. Of course, I never heard back.

The autoreply had a spot to go if the issue remained unresolved. I consider getting no response "unresolved." So I clicked and sent the following:

I sent the following email on April 5. The same day I received an autoreply stating that I should get a response in 2 business days. Twelve days later I'm still awaiting a response. PLEASE RESPOND!!

This time I actually got a response from Topps; specifically from "Amanda." However the response I got seemed like a form answer:

Thank you for taking the time to write with your question, and please accept our apologies for any confusion.

We appreciate all feedback from our customers and will use this information to help us improve our Products and our service. Unfortunately the card mentioned will be considered error cards and Topps will not issue replacements or refunds of any sort for this product. (the bold is mine...WW)

We hope this information is helpful to you. As always, please do not hesitate to contact our Customer Service team (By phone: 1-800-489-9149, or by if you ever have any other questions, comments or suggestions. A customer service representative will be available to answer your questions between the hours of 8:30am - 4:30pm (EST), Monday through Friday.

Thank you once again for taking the time to write. We appreciate your interest in Topps products and hope you continue to enjoy our site.


Customer Service team

I got the answer I expected....Topps will do nothing. No refund, no replacement. In my optimistic, Cubbie dream world, Topps would have apologized for making such a blunder and made up 99 replacements. Of course, in that same dream world, the 1969 Cubs would have blazed through September and October, Leon Durham would have fielded the grounder in game 5 in 1984, Steve Bartman would have pulled his hands back, and Lou Piniella would have led the Cubs to back to back World Series titles.

But reality says that the Cubs blew it again and again and Topps doesn't have customer service, they have customer lip-service. I hate reality!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Let's Make Two Big Mistakes

I've got more from my Ernie Banks collection. Today, let's see two big mistakes. Again, I would like to offer my services to any and all card companies to serve as your official Cubs proofreader. I know the card companies are regular and faithful readers of Wrigley Wax and all of the baseball card blogs because they want to keep their fingers on the pulse of the hobby . So please contact me and I can save you the future embarrassment of posts like what follows.

Up first is this card from Uppers Deck's 2004 Legends Timeline Team set. the mistake!

The card tells the story of the Cubs disastrous 1969 season. You see in big numbers at the bottom "1969." And then you see a picture of Ernie Banks. A really young Ernie Bank. A pre-1957 Ernie Banks. Look at his's got a wishbone C, which was last worn by the Cubs in 1956! So let's commemorate the 1969 season on a card by using a picture from 1953-1956....what idiots!

But that's isn't as bad as the screw up on this Upper Deck 2001 National Pastime set. Look carefully and find the mistake....

....did you find it? We've got a nice picture of Mr. Cub, good 'ol number 19......wait a minute....
.....wasn't Ernie good old #14?

Yup! So here is an Ernie Banks card that doesn't even have a picture of Ernie Banks!!

So who is on the card? Detective Wrigley Wax went to work for you. First, let's figure out the ballpark. There is a chain link fence along the box seats and chains dividing the boxes up. That means the ballpark is....

....the Polo Grounds in New York. By looking at the uniform, I know that the picture was taken after 1958. So this has to be a picture from the Mets years in the Polo Grounds in 1962 and 1963.

What players wore #19 during those years? There were three:

Daryl Robertson

Elder White

and Jim Stewart

Boy, these guys sure are dead ringers for Ernie Banks. I sure can see how Upper Deck made this mistake! Three white guys and Ernie Banks; wow!

Next, its off to to see if any of these guys played against the Mets in New York. Only one did, Daryl Robertson. That also matched with the picture on Roberson's card, which was taken at the Polo Grounds.

So, the good people at Upper Deck put a picture of a white guy who played in a total of nine major league games in place of the face of the franchise.

Really, guys, send me an email or give me a call. I want to help!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Let's Play Two...Let's Make Two

I recently decided that I wanted more cards of a few Cubs greats. A package from Nearlymint brought me a boatload of Sandbergs and Dawsons. Inspired, I thought I would go for more of Ernie Banks and Billy Williams, too.

My plan was to head to Sportlots and grab as many cheapy commons of Ernie from as few sellers as possible. I found nearly 50 cards that could be had from only two sellers. I snagged them!

My Ernie Banks collection is now over 150. The more I've gotten, the more I noticed a problem with collecting an older player. Photos, especially color photos, were limited. That means you see plenty of repeated photos on different cards.

So in honor of Ernie's famous, "Let's Play Two" line, lets see two of the same Ernie Bank photo!

We'll start with Topps. which really had no excuse. Ernie was an active, star player. They certainly should have been able to come up with different pictures.

The rest of these are from various releases. starting in the mid-'80s. In some cases, the photos are doctored a little. But you can see among the cards that the same photo was used.