Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thank You For the Extra Eyeballs

One of the top benefits of writing this blog is all of the extra eyeballs it gives me.

I live in a town of 10,000 people and there aren't too many baseball card collectors among the 10,000.  The nearest card shop is at least an hour away.  I have very few opportunities to talk cards with anyone around here.  But this blog gives me the chance to not only talk cards, but to get advice and direction from fellow collectors.

Case in point:  Last week I had a post about my autographed card collection.  My rule is to have at least one certified autograph for each Cub that had a certified autograph issued during a season in which they were active with the Cubs.  I thought that my Nomar Garciaparra auto was my last, but I also asked for help--was I missing anyone.

I was.  In fact, it looks like I was missing six different players.  Your extra eyeballs were a great help...and an excuse to go shopping!

First, I had to clean up my list a little.  I had Bill Madlock included, though his card was from well past his years with the Cubs.  He came off.  Same thing for DJ LeMahieu--his only active season with the Cubs was 2011 and the autograph cards for him are from his minor league days.

Of the additional six, five were easy to find...three on ebay and two from Checkoutmycards.  The hard one is of Kosuke Fukudome.  He's got an autograph from Upper Deck Timelines 2008, but I've never seen one....let the quest begin

Here are the five easy cards.... Hall of Famer...

....and four guys who won't even get a sniff of Cooperstown

My new updated list is below.  All right you extra eyeballs, am I finished now??

Cubs players with a certified autograph issued during a season they played with the Cubs

Terry AdamsLeo GomezBilly Petrick
Moises AlouTom GorzelannyFelix Pie
Darwin BarneyKevin GreggLou Piniella
Francis BeltranAngel GuzmanMark Prior
Milton BradleyBrnedan HarrisAramis Ramirez
Roosevelt BrownKevin HartAnthony Rizzo
Scott BullettJose HernandezHenry Rodriguez
Freddie BynumRich HillJeff Samardzija
Marlon ByrdMicah HoffpauirRey Sanchez
Andrew CashnerReed JohnsonRyne Sandberg
Larry CassianMatt KarchnerScott Servais
Frank CastilloBrooks Kieschnick        Alfonso Soriano
Starlin CastroBryan LaHairSammy Sosa
Ronny CedenoDerrek LeeGeovany Soto
Buck CoatsGreg MadduxRyan Theriot
Tyler ColvinDave MagadanOzzie Timmons
Juan CruzSean MarshallSteve Trachsel
Blake DeWittScott MooreJermaine Van Buren
Rafael DolisMatt MurtonTodd Walker
Scott DownsRod MyersTodd Wellemeyer
Kyle FarnsworthWill OhmanRandy Wells
Mike FontenotKevin OrieTurk Wendell
Kevin FosterAngel PaganKerry Wood
Kosuke FukudomeBob PattersonTravis Wood
Sam FuldCorey PattersonCarlos Zambrano
Sean GallagherDavid PattonJulio Zuleta
Nomar Garciaparra       Carlos Pena

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

1980 Laughlin Ernie Banks

In 1980 Laughlin released a 30 card set known today as the 300/400/500 set.  The players included either won 300 games, hit .400, or had 500 homers.  Ernie Banks' 512 career homers earned him a place in the set.

The cards are square, 3 1/4" x 3 1/4" and include a Laughlin first, a photograph.  Well, not a complete photograph, but a head shot around which the usual Laughlin cartoon was drawn.

I believe the reason the cards are square is because Laughlin was going with a baseball diamond theme.  You can see the three bases and the card number is on home plate.  This design gets lost when the cards are stored in binders, since you can't see the diamond shape.

I re-scanned the card, this time to give a baseball diamond perspective to the card...

....probably the best way to view it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Tile Tuesday: Star Sandberg

With my quest to finish the Star Cubs finally completed, I thought I'd use some of the cards for a tile.  After looking through the binder (the completed binder...yes!!), I decided to make up a tile with all of the Ryne Sandberg cards.

The folks at Star really liked Ryno because they included him in 19 different sets.  Two of the sets were the 11-card variety, and I've got them on the top of the tile, eleven cards per row.  The other 17 sets had nine cards, so I adjusted the tile to show nine per row.

There are a total of 175 cards and there are maybe ten cards that used a repeated picture.  For that, Star should get some credit.

Take a look and enjoy Ryne Sandberg x 175

In case you're wondering, from top to bottom the Star sets are...
1990 Star
1992 Star
1989 Star Nova
1990 Star Gold
1990 Star Nova
1990 Star Platinum
1991 Star All Star
1991 Star Gold
1991 Star Home Run
1991 Star Millennium
1991 Star Nova
1991 Star Silver
1991 Star Stellar
1992 Star Gold
1992 Star Millennium
1992 Star Nova
1992 Star Platinum
1992 Star Silver
1992 Star Stellar

Monday, January 28, 2013

Topps Tribute 2005 Andre Dawson

I picked this up from the same seller that sold me the Ernie Banks Diamond Jubilee card.  I figured I might as well spread the shipping cost around a bit. My Andre Dawson player collection is fairly light, so when I saw he had this, I went ahead and grabbed it.

2002 Topps Tribute was a fairly pricey set.  Most common singles today go for at least $1.50 - $2.00.  I was able to get this for 99¢

You'll notice a big 500 on the bottom of the card.  In baseball, the number 500 is most closely identified with 500 career homers.  But Dawson didn't come close to 500 homers.  For him, the 500 stands for 500 career doubles.  He finished his career with 503 two-baggers, good for 55th on the all-time list.  That doesn't sound all that impressive.  When the card came out in 2002, he was in the Top 40--still not too impressive, but better that 55th.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 11,147 Cubs cards from 77 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1950s / 1960s: 1959 Topps #414 Dale Long  Long is posing in front of the screen at San Francisco's Seal Stadium.  He was a part-time first baseman for the Cubs and at 33, his skills were starting to decline.  His batting average dropped 35 points over the previous season and his homers and RBIs fell too.

1970s: 1976 Topps #126 Tom Dettore  You'd have to be a pretty hard-core Cubs fan to recognize the name Tom Dettore.  The Cubs picked him up in April, 1974, from the Pirates.  He  spent the next two seasons bouncing between AAA and Chicago.  He was a spot starter/reliever and his numbers were unspectacular.  In 1975 he pitched in 36 games and put up an ERA of 5.38.  He made the '76 Cubs out of spring training but was had an ERA of over 10 in four April games and was released on April 22.  He was picked up by the Padres and spent the rest of 1976 in AAA.

1980s: 1980 TCMA All Time Cubs #9 Billy Herman This is one of those confusion cards....released in 1980, but of a player that played in the 30's and 40's.  The card comes from  TCMA's All Time Cubs set issued in 1980.  This was the third year in a row that TCMA put out an All Time Cubs set, and each of the years the sets included the same players.  The 1980 set is probably the best looking of the three.  Herman's cards from the '78 and '79 sets look.... this.

1990s: 1997 Score #259 Tyler Houston  The 1997 season was Houston's first full season with the Cubs, having come over in a trade from the Braves in June, 1996.  He had a pretty nondescript year, hitting .260 with 2 homers and 28 RBIs in 72 games.

2000s: 2007 Heritage #184 Rich Hill  This card comes from Hill's career-peak season,  He started 32 games for the Cubs and was 11-8 with a 3.92 ERA.  He also struck out 183 hitters in 195 innings, a pretty decent ratio.  He lost his control the next year and spent most of 2008 in the minors trying to right the ship.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Nearly Three Years Later...Complete!!

In March, 2010, I started putting together a Cubs run from all the different sets from Star.  According to my count there were 31 different sets.  By September I had 21 of the sets---the easy ones.  Getting the last ten has been a slow, waiting game.  One by one the missing sets (all of Ryne Sandberg) showed up.  It was just about a year ago that I picked up the ninth.

But number ten, 1992 Star Millennium, has been invisible.  I don't think I ever saw it once.  I have a saved ebay search for "1992 Sandberg Star" and "1992 Millennium" but it never delivered me a thing.

About ten days ago I got an email from Ryne Sandberg supercollector Tai tipping me off to a Sandberg 1992 Millennium set that was just listed.  Chances are I would have gotten an email from my saved search the next morning, but I was happy to have the advanced notice.  Even better, the listing was a BIN at a reasonable price.  I hit the BIN immediately!  After waiting nearly three years, I wasn't going to take any chances.

The cards came last week, and after they were scanned, I put them into my completed Star binder!  Ahh!  The joy of a task completed!

As for the cards themselves, they are the usual Star 9-card set.  The Millennium set has a similar design to other 1992 Star sets like Gold, Silver, or Platinum.  There were 750 Millennium sets made, and now, finally, I've got one of them!





Friday, January 25, 2013

Flick Friday: The Rookie

After a real stinker last week, I felt the need to make up for it with a really good movie today--The Rookie.

My guess is most (if not all of you) have seen the movie.  And if you didn't see the movie, you are at least familiar with the story of Jim Morris, former #1 draft choice that hurt his arm, quit baseball and became a teacher, and then came back at age 35 to play in the major leagues.

It's a great story and it made a nice movie.  The film is a Disney production, so it is a bit sugar-coated, but I'm fine with that.  Why add some downers to an uplifting story?

Dennis Quaid plays Jim Morris and does an acceptable job as a ballplayer, though he looks nothing at all like Jim Morris.  Actually, Jim Morris was in the movie, playing an umpire.  Look at the two and you don't see much of a resemblance.


But that's ok, since most movie goers probably don't know what Jim Morris looks like, anyway.

There is a very thin Cubs connection......when Morris enters the Devil Rays' clubhouse for the first time the camera pans the lockers and we catch a glimpse of

Fred McGriff's jersey.  McGriff would be traded from the Rays.... the Cubs during the 2001 season.

I didn't need to make any fake ones, since there are a few cards of the real Jim Morris out there....

2000 Bowman

2000 Fleer Impact

Finally, I found a few articles written during the 1999 season.  This one is from August, when he was still in AAA.  This article was written the day after his MLB debut.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


No, not this...

....I don't have any of the seven Cubs from 2009 Upper Deck Icons.

No, today I'm talking about computer icons.   Desktop icons.

I shared a while ago that I've got all of my Cubs cards scanned.  It was a nice winter project a couple years back.  And I've been able to keep up with the new cards I've bought since then, scanning as they arrive.

The scans are kept in folders on my computer and backed up onto the family computer.  This is what the Cubs team set folder looked like back in 2010, when I first finished all the scans...

...your basic Windows file folders.  Practical, but kinda boring looking.

I wanted something with a bit more pizzazz, but also something that would make it easier to identify the folders.  I wanted folder icons for each of the brands.

I nosed around the web a bit to learn more about icons, and I found that they're just a special picture file---.ico   With that, I next looked for a program to make icon files and found a simple and free program--Toycon.

I already had jpegs for most of the brands (I needed them for my year cards), so it was just a matter of using Toycon to convert the jpegs to icos.  I put all the new icons into a folder, and then  changed the Cubs card folders.

With that, voila!

The team sets are in folders with brand logo icons!

OK, maybe its a little over-the-top, but it's real easy for me to find a brand.

And if you want to make your own icons, the Toycon program is here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Trade With Underdog

I recently completed a trade with Zach at The Underdog Card Collector.  His is a fairly new blog.  If you aren't acquainted with him yet, you should check it out.  He's a Padre fan/collector, but I was able to overlook that fact (I'm still not over the 1984 NLCS!) and we swapped some cards.

I sent all of my Padre seconds from 1972, 1973 and 1974 his way, and a nice Cubbie stack came to me, including....

...a couple nice Upper Deck Signature Stars cards from 2009

...a bunch of 2002 Topps

.....Shammy Sosa United We Stand from 2002

...and a couple from the first year I really collected, 1969.

The cards that I've already got will be going into the baseball card box in my classroom.  My students get to pick cards from the box if they do well on various assignments.  The rest get added to my collection and spreadsheet.

Thanks Zach!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Traded...Sort Of

In last week's post on the Starting Lineup set, I pointed out that the Cubs set had two players in it that were traded for one another....


Calvin Schiradi for Lee Smith, yet both were in the Cubs team set.  One was changed, the other wasn't.  It seemed odd.

It also seemed familiar.  I knew that there was a set that had done the same thing several times.  Problem was, I couldn't remember which set it was.

I was pretty sure it wasn't Topps, so I started flipping through my binders.  I didn't have to go too far, just up to the letter D....Donruss 1981.

This was Donruss' first set, and they didn't have a ton of time to prepare it.  But for some reason, they have several cards in the last 100 of the set that have a player on new team, while the player they were traded for was left on his old team.

Oddly, in every single case, the trade is mentioned on the backs of both players' cards.  So they write about the trade on both cards, but only bother to change one of the two fronts.  Very odd.

I found four different instances of this, and two of the four involved the Cubs.


Jerry Martin was sent to the Giants on December 12, the Cubs got Joe Strain


Bruce Sutter moved to the Cardinals, Leon Durham came to the Cubs


The Pirates sent Bert Blyleven to the Indians in exchange for Bob Owchinko


It was a multi-player swap, but two of the bigger names saw Butch Hobson go from the Red Sox to the Angels for Carney Lansford.

Weird, huh?