Saturday, March 31, 2012

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 10,336 Cubs cards from 66 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1950s / 1960s Topps Giant 1964 #58 Ron Santo I've got a complete post about the 1964 Giant set here. By 1964 Santo had established himself as one of the top 3rd baseman in baseball. He had a great season, hitting .313 with 30 homers and 119 RBIs. He played in his second All Star game and won his first gold glove. His most impressive stat of the season was his league leading 13 triples. Santo was not known for his speed, so that makes it even more amazing to me.

1970s SSPC 1976 #312 Jerry Morales
Julio (that's his real name; that's what we called him) is a pretty hairy dude. He hit a career high 16 homers in 1976 despite an injury that limited him to 140 games.

1980s Upper Deck 1989 #6 Rolando Roomes
That is not a very flattering swing. I can hear Harry now, "He pooooopppppped it up!" Roomes was signed by the Cubs out of high school in 1980 and finally made it to the majors in September, 1988. He hit .188 in 17 games and was traded to the Reds in December. He spent the 1989 season in Cincinnati and hit .263 in 107 games.

1990s Team Stadium Club 1994 #347 Sammy Sosa It looks like ivy on the border of this Team Stadium Club card.
Sammy had a good year for the Cubs, leading the team in average (.300), home runs (25), RBIs (70), and steals (22) in the strike-shortened 1994 season.

2000s Throwback Threads 2004 #208 Ernie Banks
This one is part of my Ernie Banks player collection. I got this one a while back on a shopping spree at Checkoutmycards. I just did a search for Ernie Banks and started clicking on a bunch of these cards I'd never seen before. It was a easy and fairly cheap way to build the Ernie stack. I like that the card used a picture of Ernie that's not seen very often.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Enough of Heritage 2012...

....let's start thinking about Heritage 2013!

I'll bring Heritage week to a close today by taking a sneak peak at next year's product.

For those of you who thought that the 1963 design was boring, well, you're really going to be bored with next years design. I would have to say that the 1964 design is about as unintersting as it gets.

Here is Mr. Cub from 1964. The card design has nothing at all to it. Team name in black, colored band on the bottom, and a picture. The only interesting feature is that most pictures are head shots, and the top of the hat is cropped into the white border at the top. Otherwise, nothing.

Here is my mockup of Starlin Castro's card. With such a bland design, these are very easy to make.

The most unique feature of the 1964 cards is on the back.

Most cards have a trivia question on the bottom, and to see the answer, you have to scratch a coin on the card to reveal it.

It will be very interesting to see it Topps goes all out and reproduces this feature, which is the more expensive way to go, or if they take the cheap way out and just print the answer. As soon as I wrote "take the cheap way out" I think I answered my own question. But I hope I'm wrong.

The 1964 set also included a set of coins as inserts.

Last year's Baseball Bucks and this years stickers are fairly cheap and easy to produce. The coins will be trickier and costlier to make. Think we will see them?

If so, here's one I hope to get.

Finally, there is one card from 1964 which I hope Topps doesn't have to make.

I can handle the Barney / Hubbs symmetry with the no position error card in this year's Heritage. I'd rather not see an "In Memoriam" card for Darwin Barney next year. I hope Barney doesn't have plans to get a pilots license.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Heritage 2012...A Look at the Back

Yesterday I compared the front of the Heritage cards with the '63s. Today we'll flip the cards over and look at the back.

Here is an original back. You can see the "error" on Ernie Banks card that Topps mimicked with the short print Carlos Pena card. I still contend that it really wasn't an error; the heading is accurate since that is a listing of Ernie's major and minor league career. It's just that he didn't play any minor league games, as Topps points out with the cartoon.

One thing to keep in mind is that card backs from the vintage era were a valuable source of information. They were the best place to get stats from a player's career. We didn't have to get our information, we had the back of a baseball card. As a kid, I didn't keep my collection arranged by years or teams. Instead, mine were in alphabetical order. That way, if I wanted to look up a players stats, I would go to my shoe boxes.

Heritage did a nice job of copying the backs of the '63s. I especially like what they did with the cartoons. For me, nothing beats a cheesy cartoon on the back of a card. I picked out a few of my favorites from the Cubs set.

Ryan Dempster is #2; #1 is another Cub, Fergie Jenkins

My guy Darwin Barney, the multi-hit machine.

Starlin Castro had a nice hot streak.

Blake DeWitt is the new Pat Tabler.

The strikeouts are nice, but what percentage of his innings included a walk, too? Way too many!

Ten homers in April and only 17 in the other five months of the season.

Kerry's career peaked a bit earlier than we would have liked.

Finally, there was an error on one of the card backs and I haven't seen any discussion on it anywhere. Read the paragraph and spot the mistake....

....Topps changed the team name on the top, but oops, forgot to edit the paragraph. Will they correct the error with a super short print worth hundreds of dollars?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Heritage 2012 and Topps 1963 Side By Side

Each year I like to put the Heritage cards along side the Topps originals to see what kind of a job Topps did. For the most part, Topps matched players by position. There was only one major variation of that.

#15, second basemen Barney and Hubbs.

#380, first baseman Pena and Banks...though Topps has a shortstop insert picture of Banks.

#193, shortstops Castro and Rodgers.

#212, pitchers Marmol and Hobbie. Notice how the '63s list "Pitcher" while the Heritage card just says, "P."

#175, pitchers Garza and Buhl

#81, catchers Soto and Schaffer.

#309, pitchers Dempster and Brewer

#472, outfielders Soriano and Brock.

Billy Williams and Marlon Byrd. My favorite Cub didn't get matched up with respect for the Hall of Famer...but I still wanted to show his card. It makes sense to pair him up with Marlon Byrd.

#113. Wood and Landrum. Here is the card Heritage used for the wrong picture error card. I don't know why they used Kerry Wood, since the original, Don Landrum (with the Santo picture) is an outfielder.

You can see that Topps did a fairly decent job of matching things up. My biggest disappointment is the card that Heritage didn't make...

....the team card. I wonder why they decided to skip them?

Tomorrow I'll take a look at the back of the cards.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2012 Heritage Extras

Last year the Cubs were shut out of the Clubhouse Collection. This year, Topps has put 2½ Cubs on the checklist. I'll start with the ½ Cub.

Aramis Ramierz only counts as half a Cub. He's a Cubs in the Clubhouse Collection but...

...a Brewer on the base card. My guess is that Topps didn't have enough time to change the relic cards. They probably have a longer lead time. Plus, there aren't any game used Ramirez Brewer jerseys yet.

Stalin Castro has both a bat and jersey card. And the jersey has game used dirt, too!

Matt Garza has the third relic.

One Cub was on the gimmick list...

Starlin Casto got the image flip. As I said in a earlier post, I think the big black and white picture makes the card look nasty.

Casto was also included in the sticker checklist. Right now, he seems to be the only Cub that Topps is interested in.

Here is the Ernie Banks Flashback card. In this post here, I pointed out the stupidity of putting a picture from 1969 taken at a ballpark that didn't exist in 1963, the year that is the basis for this year's Heritage. The card talks about the three homers Banks hit off the Dodgers, including one off of Sandy Koufax. It doesn't say anything about how the homers didn't matter since the Cubs lost the game 11-8.

Tomorrow I'll put the Heritage cards along side the original '63 cards.