Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dell Today's Cubs...The Cards!

Yesterday I had the non-card pages of the Dell Today's 1971 Chicago Cubs book.  Today I get to the important part...the cards.

Each Dell book contains 24 players.  The are placed 12 to a page.  The page is perforated so you can punch out the cards but I'm leaving the book intact.  The players aren't arranged on the page in any special order.  Rather, they seemed to be placed randomly.

Here is the first page...

...and right away you'll notice a Twin, Met, Padre, and Red Sox player mixed in.  Dell didn't seem to be too concerned about the teams shown.

The back of the page has a small bio of the player.  Stats were given on a different page...I showed those pages yesterday.

On to the second page of players...

with a couple Astros and a Brave...

and the back.

The pictures are a little small, so I've got a better look at each of the 24 cards, this time in alphabetical order...


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

1971 Dell Today Cubs

One of Sunday's random Cubs cards was the 1971 Dell Today's Cubs Juan Pizarro.  I thought for sure that I had a post about the entire set, but a search of the site turned up nothing.  So today, let's take a look at an odd ball set from 42 years ago.

The cards came in a book that looks like this...

The books has the player's cards on four pages and several pages of other Cubs and baseball information.  Today I've got the non card pages.

It was quite a bargain at only 39¢.  Dell made a book for each of the 24 MLB teams and...

...they had an ad in the book for all of them.  You could buy a book for all the teams for $4.50.

My book has the envelope for placing you order still attached...

This is the inside cover, which tells the Cubs team story.

Another page tells the history of the National League.

Two pages give the stats of the players in the book....these are the players that have cards.

The inside back cover has some all-time Cubs greats.

And the back of the book has the 1971 Cubs teams schedule.  Notice that all of the home games were day games--no lights at Wrigley for another 17 years.

Tomorrow I'll get to the guts of the book...the cards.

Monday, July 29, 2013

So Long, Soriano

Last Friday the Cubs dealt Alfonso Soriano to the Yankees for a class A pitcher.

Soriano came to the Cubs during the winter of 06-07 as part of a spending spree by GM Jim Hendry.  Soriano was able to turn a 40-40 season into an eight year, $133 million contract.

Early on Soriano was good for the Cubs.  He helped to lead the team to back to back division titles in 2007 and 2008.  There were times when his bat got red hot and he could carry the team.

Then age caught up with him.  His legs were gone, but his contract wasn't.  So the Cubs had to make the best of it with him.  The last couple years he did improve his defense, and he had a career high in RBIs last season.  But he wasn't worth the $18 million per season the Cubs were paying him.

I checked back in my collection and counted 132 different cards of Soriano.  As a major star on the team, he showed up in pretty much every set released and in most of the accompanying insert sets.  That would account for so many cards of a player that I wasn't seeking out.

I decided to make a tile of my Soriano Cubs cards.  As soon as I saw that there were 132 cards, I knew exactly how I would make the tile.   A savvy collector should recognize the number 132 as the number of cards on a full sized printed sheet of baseball cards....12 rows of 11 cards each.

Here, then, is a full sheet of ex-Cub Alfonso Soriano.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 11,732 Cubs cards from 83 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades. 

Last time the RNG picked only big name Cubs stars.  This week...not so much.

1950s / 1960s: 1954 Bowman #125 Warren Hacker  My educated guess is that the picture for this card was taken at Ebbets Field.  Hacker was coming off of a league leading 19 losses in 1953, so the '54 season had to be better, right.  Well, he only lost 13 games.  Unfortunately, those losses were paired with just six wins.  A 6-13 record is a worse winning percentage than his 12-19 the year before.

1970s: 1971 Dell Today's Cubs Juan Pizzaro  Nothing says a Cubs card like a Red Sox uniform, right?  These Dell sticker books used several pictures of players in the uniform of another team.  Pizarro was a decent starter for the White Sox in the mid-Sixties.  When the Cubs picked him up in the early Seventies, he was a mostly a journeyman reliever.  He started the '71 season in AAA and was leading the PCL in strikeouts when the Cubs recalled him.  He was used mostly as a spot starter and made 14 starts.  He posted a 7-6 record.  The highlight of the year for him was a 1-0 win over Tom Seaver and the Mets on September 16.  The lone run of the game came on an eighth inning home run hit by.....Juan Pizarro!

1980s: 1982 Fleer #607 Ty Waller  Waller came to the from the Cardinals as part of the Bruce Sutter trade.  He spent most of the '82 season in the minors, playing in just 17 games for the Cubs.  After the season he was traded to the White Sox.

1990s: 1994 Score #346 Steve Buechele Buechele was the Cubs starting 3rd baseman in 1994.  His average dropped 30 points for the previous year, though, and his career was in free-fall.  The next season he hit only .177 for the Cubs and the Rangers, ending his time in the majors.

2000s: 2011 Topps Next 60 Autograph SC Starlin Castro Most of the autograph and relic cards from the 2011 set were blue-bordered.  The exception would be the Next 60 set, seen here in red.  Though not numbered, these are somewhat scarce.  There's one on Ebay right now with a BIN of $139.  Of course, another sold by auction for only $14.35, so who knows just how valuable the card is!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

1953 Cubs Scorecard

This beauty was delivered a couple days ago...

...a 1953 Cubs scorecard.

You can tell that the Cubs weren't too good during this era....the lady on the cover is a whole lot bigger than the ballplayers.  The Cubs were selling the "Beautiful Wrigley Field" experience instead of baseball.

As you might be able to read on the cover, the card is from August 16, 1953.  The Cubs were swept by the Brave in a Sunday doubleheader in front of a jam-packed Wrigley, with 39,903 in attendance.  It was their biggest crowd that season.

The card is from game one,  Braves 4-2.  The box score is here.

The original owner kept score, and if you want you can compare the scoring with the box score.  It looks like they match up fairly closely.

The card also had a little bonus, the grandstand ticket stub.  The unreserved grandstand seat cost a whole $1.25.

This makes year #60 in my collection, and that will make a nice even 6 x 10 tile.

Enjoy 60 different seasons worth of scorecards!

Friday, July 26, 2013

City and Team Name...Its A Chicago Thing

The home team will often have it's name on the front of the uniform... big deal.

And often, the road uniform has their city instead of the team name...


...again, no big deal

Occasionally, a team will have their city on the home uniforms...

...though you would think the home team knows where they are from.  Then again, when that city/county spends over half a billion dollars on your ballpark, they are entitled to have their name on the front of the home jersey!

But very rarely will you see both the team name and city of the front of a jersey.  I've found three examples, with two of the three being Chicago teams.

The first to do it was the 1957 Cubs

This was the first year for the rounded C hat and blue pinstripes at home. The hat and the home uniform have remained pretty much the same, but the road unis were a one year wonder.   The next season the front just said "Chicago."

The next team with both city and team name would be the White Sox...

...who started in 1967 and continued through 1975, though the color scheme...

...changed to red in 1971.

The last team to have both was the...

....1978 San Diego Padres.  Like the '57 Cubs, this was a one year only deal.  The Padres uni did make a comeback in an odd way...

....serving as inspiration for the Rays 1979 throwbacks, though obviously the Rays didn't exist in 1979