Friday, August 31, 2012

2012 Chrome Cubs

This will be a small post, since Topps Chrome didn't include too many Cubs.

In fact, the checklist includes a grand total of three whole Cubs, two vets and one rookie. By comparison, in 2010 there were 11 Cubs and last year nine made the list.  How the mighty have fallen....well, maybe not "mighty" but I'm still used to more than three cards.

Here are the three.....

Starter Matt Garza, perennial trade bait now shut down for the season

Starlin Castro, the $60 million man, who seems to be the one Cub that shows up on every Topps checklist

Rookie Adrian Cardenas.   Who?? you might be saying.  Until this season, Cardenas was a minor league lifer, spending the previous six seasons in the minors.  The Cubs picked him up off of waivers in February and he made him major league debut on May 7.  He's got a .234 average in 32 games.  I don't expect to see him with the Cubs next year.

And that's it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Darwin Barney....National League Record Holder

There hasn't been too much to get excited about on the north side this year; this may be one of the highlights of the season.
Last night Darwin Barney set the National League record for consecutive errorless games in a season at second base......barely.  In the seventh inning he was charged with an error on a throw to third baseman Luis Valbuena.  It was a perfect throw, right on target, and should have been caught.  After looking at some replays, the official scorer changed his call and charged Valbuena with the error.  

It's especially nice for me, since last year I decided to start a Darwin Barney player collection.  He's the type of player I really enjoy:  plays the game the right way, consistent, not flashy, a team player.

Up next for Barney is the major league record, 141 games, set by Placido Polanco of the Tigers in 2007.  Without any rainouts or days off, Barney would tie the record on September 27 and break it the following day.  The overall record is 186 games, which would take up to game 40 next season...if he gets that far.

I've got 75 different Barney cards.  In honor of his accomplishment, I've created another, based on the Record Breaker cards in the 1979 set...

Congrats, Darwin!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Bad to Worse

This season for the Cubs has gone from bad to worse....or maybe from really bad to horribly worse.

It never good when you have to make a card that shows a position player on the mound.  But on Monday night, after the Cubs gave up nine runs to the Brewers in the ninth inning, outfielder Joe Mather came in to get the final out.  His career ERA is 0.00.  Way to go Joe!

Recently acquired pitcher Alex Hinshaw started the ninth inning and gave up five runs without recording an out.  His ERA with the Cubs is now 135.00.  It will remain there as the Cubs designated him assignment yesterday.  Lendy Castillo took over for Hinshaw and was able to get two outs, but he also gave up four runs.  The rookie's ERA is now 10.64.

But thanks to Joe Mather, the final out was recorded and the final score was 15-4.

The last Cub position player to take the mound prior to Mather was Gary Gaetti in 1999.  He gave up two runs in an inning of work, but did record a strikeout too.

Before Gaetti.....

Doug Dascenzo pitched four times over a two year span and was even shown on a card pitching.  That's the real deal, not one of my homemade jobs.

Being a Cub fan leads to some interesting dichotomies....There are six months during which you can hardly wait for the season to begin...and a few months into the season you can hardly wait for it to end!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tile Tuesday: Stadium Club Cubs

Stadium Club was first released in 1991.  It was Topps' premium brand, designed to compete with the upstart Upper Deck.  The full color photos on glossy stock was quite a departure for Topps and it was quite a hit, too.  The first few years featured full sets of at least 660 cards.  After the strike of 1994, the set size was continually reduced to only 125 cards in the final year, 2003.  Topps brought the brand back in 2008 with a 184 card set.  It didn't do well and the brand has not been seen since.

Below are the 219 Stadium Club Cubs in all of their full color glory.

Click of the Stadium Club logo to go to my photobucket
for larger pictures of each of the cards

Monday, August 27, 2012

Sometimes, Reprints Are Just Fine

Earlier in the month I showed a recent Ernie Banks pickup...

....this Ernie Banks Home Run Derby card.  My new card isn't an original, its a reprint.  It set me back a few bucks.

A few days ago, an original showed up on Ebay.  Its a graded card, but only a PSA 3. It's listed as a Buy It Now.  I guess the owner didn't want to take his chances with an auction.  And how much is a card in Very Good condition listed for?

Just a mere $679.  That's 679 dollars, not six dollars and 79 cents.  That's more that what you'll pay for a PSA6 of his 1954 rookie card.

And that's why I am happy to stick with a reprint!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 10,684 Cubs cards from 71 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.  Fleer was the big winner today with three of the five cards.

1950s / 1960s Fleer 1961 #50 Ralph Kiner  An odd choice to show Kiner as a Cub, since he played  a majority of his career with the Pirates.  He spent a year and a half with the Cubs ('53-54) and hit 50 HRs in 264 games

1970s Topps 1975 Mini #436 Ken Frailing Frailing was one of four players the Cubs got from the Sox in the Ron Santo trade.  He spent the entire '75 season working out of the bullpen. In 41 appearances, he was 2-5 with a 5.43 ERA.  

1980s Fleer 1986 #370 George Frazier  Looks like Fleer snapped a picture of Frazier at The Vet in Philadelphia.  Frazier worked 35 games out of the pen for the Cubs in 1986 and he wasn't very good. His ERA was 5.40 and he was 2-4.  On August 13 he was traded to the Twins.

1990s Fleer 1995 #422 Karl Rhodes  Good 'ol Tuffy, the King of Opening Day.  Tuffy's Cubs career peaked with his three homes on Opening Day, 1994 off of Doc Gooden.  In 1995 he hit .125 in 13 games before the Cubs released him on May 25. The Red Sox claimed him and he played in ten games for them, hitting an even lower .080, and from there, he was off to Japan, where he turned into a major star.

2000s Upper Deck 2009 #AS Alfonso Soriano Game Used Jersey  Its not very often that in a Five Random Cubs Cards post I show a team other than the Cubs.  But this card has Soriano wearing a Rangers uniform.  Of course he hadn't played for the Rangers since the 2005 season and this card is from 2009, but why should that matter?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Don Kessinger...From the Left or Right

When shortstop Don Kessinger came to the major leagues in 1964 he was a right-handed hitter.  More accurately, he was right-handed, but not much of a hitter.  By the end of the 1965 season, his career average was .199.  Hoping to take advantage of his speed, in 1966 new Cubs skipper Leo Durocher convinced him to become a switch hitter.  In May, 1966, Kessinger began batting left handed against rightys and saw his average climb.

The natural righty began hitting from the left side.  Judging from his baseball cards, he became very comfortable on the left side.  I went through all my Kessinger cards looking for any that had him posed as a hitter.  My question: did he pose more from his natural right side or from the left.  I found eleven cards of him batting, so there was going to be a winner.  But it wasn't even close

Right side....



Right Side...four cards

Left Side...



Left cards

I find it interesting that he posed from his "unnatural" side far more often than his right side.  As I said earlier, apparently he became quite comfortable on the left side.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Explain the Prices for Two Darwins and a Billy

One thing I've learned from tracking the Topps set prices for the past three years is that there is no rhyme or reason to the price of cards.  They can be up one month, down another, with no apparent reason for the change.

Today I've got three cards, two Darwins and a Billy, and the cost for these baffles me.

After I picked up the 2012 Leaf National Convention Billy Williams card, I saw that there was an autographed version too.  It's a sticker auto, but the cards were only numbered to five.  Two of the five were being offered by the same dealer (how does that happen??), so I set the sniper to pick up one or the other.  I don't have any 1/1s in my entire collection; a /5 would be my lowest numbered card.

This is a /5 card of a Hall of Famer.  Granted, its not from one of the big card companies, but still, I figured the price might quickly pass my max.

It didn't...not by a long shot.  I was able to pick up a /5 card with the autograph of a Hall of Fame player who happens to be my favorite player for ten bucks.  Again, thats /5 and HOF for $10.  I was excited with the bargain price, yet puzzled by the bargain price.

Here's card #2...Tier One Darwin Barney White Autograph that's /25.  Its a small print run, but not nearly as small as the Billy Williams card.  And Darwin Barney is a second year guy who's becoming a steady player, but the only way he's getting into Cooperstown is by buying a ticket.  And the price for this?  $15.  Not bad for a /25, but $5 more than Billy's.  Is Darwin Barney's autograph really more valuable than Billy Williams?  Apparently so.

Since June 21 six of the 25 Barney white autographs have been sold on Ebay.  The average price was $18.35.  For a /25 card, that seems low to me.

Card #3 is one I've been tracking for quite a while, the Darwin Barney Heritage no position variation.  The is a SSP card, but its not numbered, so we don't know exactly how many are out there.  Since Heritage was released, a total of 25 have been offered on Ebay, with 24 of them selling (the most recent listing had an opening bid of $99.99 and no bids were received).  The average price for this card was $105.57.  A card with more copies and no autograph is going for five times the price of the /25 autographed Tier One card.  And the reason for that would be????

So let's recap the prices on the three cards...
Hall of Famer /5 autograph....$10
/25 autograph of a second year guy...$15
Unnumbered (but more than 25 are out there) SSP from Heritage...$105

Explain, please.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mini Cubs...Well, Some Mini Cubs, Lots of Mini Ex-Cubs

I picked up the Cubs mini team set; though I'm not sure why.  I am officially tired of the mini cards.  Topps put out a test mini set in 1975 and then decided to stick with the 2½" by 3½" cards.  Minis showed up again in 1987 and as they did in 1975, Topps decided to ditch the idea.  So why, now, does it seem like minis show up in every set?  Once, as a homage to the '75s...fine.  But why continue to release them?  The previews of next year's set show that there will be 1972 minis.   The '72 set was funkadelicly great, but there weren't any '72 minis.

Enough with the minis!  or should I say Enough with the minis! 

Not only am I tired of the minis, but when I look through the 23 Cubs in the set, I get to see just what a disaster this season has been.  There are 23 Cubs cards (of 22 players...Castro gets two cards).  Of the 23, only nine are on the active roster right now.  Talk about turnover!

Before I get to the Cubs cards, a little comparison....

A 75 mini next to a 2012 mini....this years' card is just a bit shorter

The mini side by side with the base card

The 2012 mini next to the '87 mini in the 2012 set

OK...on to the Cubs, 




  starting with the eight players (nine cards) on the active roster...Barney, Castro, LaHair, Marmol, Rizzo, Soriano, V0-9lstad, and Samardzija


Garza and Stewart are on the DL



Campana, Dolis, Sappelt, and Wells are all in the minors



Baker (Tigers), Dempster (Rangers), Johnson (Braves), Maholm (Braves), and Soto (Rangers) were all traded away.

Kerry Wood retired

And Marlon Byrd was retired by the Red Sox after the Cubs sent him to Beantown in April.