Thursday, October 31, 2013

Carlos Villanueva is Rockin' the 'Stache

Here's one of the best cards from the 2013 Update set..

...Cubs pitcher Carlos Villanueva.

It's certainly not his performance that makes the card special...he was 7-8 with a 4.06 ERA.

What I'm likin' about the card is the 'stache.

Here's a slightly better look with the original picture...

...and an even better look.

Villanueva is channeling his inner Rollie Fingers...

....or at least the look of Rollie Fingers.  Fingers is in the Hall of Fame.  Carlos Villanueva is not, nor will he ever be.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

2013 Update Cubs

My update package from Brentandbecca arrived and I've got the Cubs update set.

There were a whopping 14 Cubs in the set,  It's nice that there were so many, put kinda pathetic too.  When your team's update numbers are big, that means the team is in a state of change.  That was certainly true for the 2013 Cubs, since a team-record 56 different players this year (topping the record set last year by three).

One of the players with cards are already gone...maybe we need a Topps Update Update set!

Another never played an inning for the Cubs...

...coming from the Rangers in the Garza deal, but spending the season in AAA.

The rest of these guys are all on 40 man roster, but it will be interesting to see where they land by the end of spring training next year.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

1976 Topps Cubs...A Great Look

The 1976 set doesn't have much sentimental value to me.  I was in high school and my interest in collecting cards was waning.  I did get a few packs and they yielded a few Cubs.  I do remember thinking that the Cubs cards looked pretty nice. But I wasn't invested in the set like I was in some other sets.

Years later when I was able to put the entire team set together my initial thought was confirmed....the Cubs cards look real nice.

Take a look for yourself and see if you agree with me.

A couple things really stand out for me. A majority of the players are shown in the home whites.  The blue and white of the unis, the blue on the cards, even the blue sky in many pictures...everything combines to make really nice looking cards.

Monday, October 28, 2013

1984 Drakes Cubs

The 1984 Drakes set didn't have too many surprises...

...the cards came with Drake products or was available in a box
...the front had different colors for the two leagues...NL blue border, AL red border
...the backs of the cards were identical to the Topps base set

...Bill Buckner was in the set.  This is the fourth Drakes set and Billy Buck's fourth appearance.

It would also be his final appearance as a Cub, since he was traded to the Red Sox during the 1984 season.

BUT...Big News!!!  Drakes included a second Cub!!!

...and like Buckner, its an ex-Dodger...Ron Cey.  Drakes was finally showing the Cubs a little love.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 11,887 Cubs cards from 86 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades. 

1950s / 1960s: 1956 Topps #112 Dee Fondy  Look at that nice action as Fondy dives back to the bag.  Dee Fondy was the Cubs first baseman from 1951-1957.  By the time this card came out in 1956, he was 31 and his skills were starting to slip.

1970s: 1974 Topps Stamps Burt Hooton  Look at Happy, smirking as always.  This stamp was part of a ten stamp Cubs team set.  The 1974 season was not a good one for Hooton.  After being a starter his first two seasons with the Cubs, the '74 season saw him splitting his time between the rotation and the bullpen--a definite demotion.  His 7-11 record and 4.80 ERA would help explain the demotion.

1980s: 1982 Fleer #607 Ty Waller Waller was one of the three players the Cubs got from the Cardinals in exchange for Bruce Sutter.  He wasn't very good and spent most of the '82 season in AAA.  He started the season with the Cubs but was sent to Iowa in early May.  He returned to the Cubs in September.  For the season, he hit only .238 and was traded to the White Sox in December.

1990s: 1994 Collectors Choice #308 Randy Myers  This card is from the Performers subset and recognizes Myers ad the 1993 NL saves leader.  In fact, Myers set an NL record with 53 saves in 1993.  In the strike-shortened 1994 season, Myers recorded 21 saves.

2000s: 2011 Heritage Minor League #111 Ryan Flaherty  The Cubs first round pick in the 2008 draft spent the 2011 season in AA and AAA.  After the season he was taken by the Orioles in the Rule 5 draft and has spent most of the past two seasons as a utility player.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Bobblehead Billy

I've been keeping my eyes open for a deal on one of these and I finally picked one up...

...a Billy Williams Bobblehead.

This was given away at Wrigley Field to the first 10,000 fans on August 31, 2009.  During the season, the Cubs gave away four different bobbleheads: Ernie Banks (May 12), Ryne Sandberg (August 11), Billy Williams (August 31), and Fergie Jenkins (September 29).

The box says "Rookie of the Year 1961" but the picture on the box is from the mid-70's.

The statue is a real mishmash of eras.  The uniform is what the Cubs wore between 1958 and 1968, but the face of Billy has a mustache, something he didn't have until late in his career.  If you ask me, the face doesn't really look like Billy at all.

I will give the manufacturer a little credit for the back, as they got the Cubs unique number font correct.  They just needed to make the numbers a little bigger... this.

I don't think I'll become a bobblehead collector, but I couldn't pass up getting one of my favorite player.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Bad Airbrushing 75%

Rookie cards in the '60s and 70's had some pretty bad airbrushing.  Topps was caught in a bind because the rookie stars were often traded, leaving them with pictures of the players in the wrong hats.

While paging through my '70s Cubs binder, I found this 1977 card...

...with three of the four players airbrushed.  And surprisingly, Topps had a decent excuse for the bad airbrushing.

The White Sox switched to their collared uniforms in 1976, but wore their old unis in spring training.  Chances are Otten never wore the new unis.

Wheelock and Willis were both on new expansion teams.  All the Blue Jays and Mariners in the set were airbrushed.

The Cubs' Mike Krukow was the only shown in his real hat.  No airbrushing was necessary...though getting rid of that bad mustache wouldn't have been a bad thing.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

More 70's Action at Wrigley Field

Yesterday I looked at all the Cubs action shots on 1970s cards.  Most were game action from Wrigley Field.  And it wasn't just Cubs players featured in Wrigley action shots.  I paged through my compete sets and found several shots taken at Wrigley featuring opposing teams.

The 1973 set has three Wrigley cards.  Two of them... Padres, while one...

...shows the Twins' new ballpark with ivy-covered walls.

The 1974 set had four cards with Wrigley,


though one should get an asterisk 

since Topps didn't bother doing a bad airbrush job.

Topps took a four year break from the Wrigley action, returning in 1979 with


three more cards.  The odd thing with the Murray card is that a majority of the action shots in the '79 set were games at Shea, but a Met gets a Wrigley shot.  And if you look in the corner of the dugout on the Reitz card, you can see Cubs skipper Herman Franks.  He had an odd habit of grabbing the dugout roof.