Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Nice Billy Autographed Card

I've been adding autographed items to my Billy Williams collection and over the next three days I'll show what I picked up.

Up today is the one regular card.

It's from Upper Deck's 2005 Hall of Fame Baseball Class of Cooperstown.  The card has a sticker autograph--boo.  There is also a small piece of a bat with the Hall of Fame logo and 1987 (Billy's year of induction) burned into it.  The card is also numbered....5/15

Despite the sticker auto, I really like the card.

We've got a nice picture of Billy from 1968.  It's a picture that is not on any of my other autographed Billy cards either.

The blue background and blue of his hat and sleeves compliment each other nicely.  Even the signature is in blue.

Upper Deck did a nice job here!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Jo-Dee! Jo-Dee!

Catcher Jody Davis was a real fan favorite in the early and mid-eighties.   The chant of Jo-Dee, Jo-Dee would echo throughout Wrigley Field when he was at the plate in a critical time. And more often than not, Jody delivered.

This is a clip from a special that Channel 9 did on the Cubs in 1984.

I picked up an autographed card of Jody a couple years ago when I was building my autograph collection.  But as you can see, its not a certified auto. The signature looks authentic, and I don't think that there are a lot of Jody Davis autograph forgers out there, but I would still have preferred a certified version.

Now I do.  From Panini's 2013 Hometown set, this certified signature set me back all of six bucks delivered.  And Jody even added a 7 to the signature.

Of course the card does lack logos, and that is a definite minus.  Last years Topps Archives had a certified auto of Jody, but they are going for double the price I paid for mine.  If I want a logo, I'm going to have to pay for it.  Or I'll have to wait for a better price.

I'm waiting.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Wrigley Wax on WGN

As part of the celebration of Wrigley Field's 100th birthday, WGN put together a two hour special titled Wrigley 100 - A Century Celebration.  It aired last week on WGN Chicago, but I didn't get to see it since here in SW Michigan we get WGN America on cable.  I was bummed.

But on Saturday, the special ran on WGN America and I made sure to watch.

Here's the first minute and a half of the show.

It was a really well done special and the two hours went by very quickly.  They highlighted pretty much anything that you can think of regarding Wrigley...the ballpark's construction and changes over the years. the great players, great non-baseball events, and great games.  I'm not sure if WGN is planning on running it again.  Hopefully they will because if you missed it, you should see it.

I'd also like to have it run again so that I can record the show.  I'd like to keep a copy of it because Wrigley Wax made a brief appearance in the show.  It was, however, done without the express written consent of Wrigley Wax, which means it should have been prohibited.

Let me explain the appearance...The special was talking about the wind at Wrigley and how if might affect the Cubs' opponents.  They were interviewing Tony LaRussa and mentioned that he also played for the Cubs.  Then they showed this...

....this Topps 1973 card of Tony LaRussa as a Cub.

Except that is not a real Topps card.  It is a creation of mine.  I made it back in 2009 and wrote about it here.  It's been borrowed by a couple websites since then.  In fact, if you do a Google image search for Tony LaRussa Cubs the card shows up a few time, and oddly, not one is my site.

Somehow the producers of the special found the card and used it.  It was on the screen for only a second or two, but it was on.  The corporate law staff of Wrigley Wax has already initiated legal proceedings against WGN and I'm planning to retire when the residual checks start rolling into the WW World Headquarters.

I should also point out that two of the games mentioned in the special for great moments or games at Wrigley are games that I attended.  There was a brief shot of Pete Rose's 4190th hit and you can read more about my day at the game here.  The 1979 23-22 slugfest was also talked about for a couple minutes, and I wrote about that day here.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 12,322 Cubs cards from 88 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1963 Topps #175 Bob Buhl  The righty went 11-14 for the '63 Cubs.  The best thing the roster book says about his season is that he was second in the NL among pitchers for fielding.  You didn't have the greatest season as a pitcher when the highlight is your fielding.

1980s: 1989 Bowman #298 Andre Dawson   This card is from the first year of modern Bowman and is the larger sized card that Topps used the first two years.  The 1989 season saw Dawson help lead the Cubs to a division crown.  Knee troubles limited him to 118 games, but he hit 21 HRs and knocked in 77 runs.

1990s: 1995 Conlon #1340 Larry French  A 1995 card with a 1938 confusing.  The card is part of a subset called "Baseball Goes to War."  French's war story...he joined the Navy after the 1942 season and was commissioned as a Lieutenant in Naval Supply.  He participated in D-Day and then was assigned to the Pacific where he was a part of the landing on Okinawa.  He was released from active duty in December 1945 but remained with the Naval Reserve.  He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and stayed in the Navy until he retired in 1969.

2000s: 2009 OPC #3 Alfonso Soriano  It looks like Soriano went deep against the Dodgers.  And look at how packed the bleachers were.  There is even a crowd of people by the gate looking in on the game.  The good old days of 2008, when the Cubs had the best record in the National League.

2010s: 2012 Tier One On the Rise #AR Anthony Rizzo This is my one and only autograph card of Anthony Rizzo...or as he signed it Ath Rz.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Shame On Me....Look What I Bought

I wouldn't have done it if Billy Williams was included in more 2014 products.

I wouldn't have done it if the price wasn't right.

But I only have three cards of his from 2014, the Museum base and a couple parallels.

And the price was a third to a fourth of what the card was going for in other auctions and BINS.

I went ahead and I bought it...

...the aforementioned Billy Williams Gypsy Queen jumbo relic.

That's the biggest hunk of a "game worn patch" that I own.  Its the biggest bat piece, too.

And the cards is 17/25.  

So for only $7.50, how could I resist.

Please don't think any less of me!

Friday, April 25, 2014

Post 2000

All right class, time for a little math.

Check the Blog Archive in the right hand column.

Look at the number of post for each year and do a little addition


Add up those numbers and you get the nice round number of 2000.

Welcome to my 2000th post!

I never ever dreamed that I would come up 2000 different ideas to write about.  My biggest fear when starting the blog was having enough to write about.  2000 posts later I keep coming up with something.  It may not be Pulitzer Prize winning material, but it's something.

Check the yearly numbers again and you'll see that I'm pretty consistent.  Early on I had days with more than one post, but generally I just keep plodding along at one a day.

So how do I celebrate 2000 posts?

With 2000 Cubs  cards, naturally.  Nothing special here, just a random bunch of cards.

Thanks for reading. Hope you'll stick around for the next 2000 posts.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Cubs 2014 Media Guide

A new season means a new media guide to add to my collection.  The guides start showing up on Ebay around mid-March, but most are at inflated prices.  Even once the season got under way, the books listed were higher than I was willing to pay. I was watching a couple auctions, but when the price hit the mid-twenties, I knew I would have to keep waiting.  Then one popped up with a BIN that was just a dollar over the price you'd pay at the ballpark, and that is also well below where the auctions were heading.

I hit the BIN ASAP.

And here's what I got.

The layout and format of the book is that same one that Cubs have been using since 2000.  There is a lot of information in there that's been repeated.  But with Wrigley Field's 100th birthday this year, they've added some interesting facts and pictures.

This is a picture I've never seen before. It's the fans on the field after Gabby Hartnett's famous Homer in the Gloamin' on September 28, 1938.  It doesn't look that dark at all.

This picture is the one I've usually seen associated with that day and it sure seems a lot darker than in the other picture.

This picture is from the 1929 World Series. The current bleachers were still eight years away and left field in 1929 was a long distance away.  Adding a few rows of fans held back by a rope was a fairly common thing back then.

This picture came to the Cubs from the Hall of Fame.  Its wrong.  That is not Ernie in 1953...the white piping on his hat dates the picture as 1957.  The Cubs and the Hall should know better.  Who do they think they are, Topps?

My Roster Book/Media Guide collection now stretches from 1958 (the year of the first roster book) to 2014.

This is my run, all neatly in order on my desk at the WW World Headquarters.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Happy Birthday Wrigley Field!

Today is the 100th anniversary of the first baseball game at Wrigley Field.

In 1914 on the former grounds of a Lutheran Seminary (holy ground??!!), Weeghman Park, home of the Federal League Chicago Chi-Feds hosted its first ball game.  Today the Cubs and Diamondbacks are wearing the uniforms of the two teams.  Hastily constructed in just a couple months, the single-decked ballpark seated about 18,000 fans.

When the Federal League folded after the 1915 season, the Cubs were bought by the Chi-Feds owner and he moved his new team into his two-year old park.  A few years later William Wrigley gained control of the team and renamed the park Cubs Park.  Prior to the 1923 season the grandstands were cut into three pieces and two of the pieces were moved back.  New seats filled in the gaps and the ballpark now seated nearly 31,000.

In the late twenties over the course of two winters the upper deck was added, again increasing capacity.  The parks name changed again at this time too, becoming Wrigley Field.

The final major renovation took place in 1937 as the brick was added along the walls of the grandstand and the bleachers were built.  The scoreboard and ivy were added at the same time.

Lights were added in 1988, the luxury suites in 1989, a few extra rows were built in the front of the grandstands, and the bleachers were expanded in 2006,  but otherwise the ballpark has remained pretty much the same since 1937.

I attended my first game at Wrigley in 1970, sitting in the general admission grandstands on the first base side.  If I were to sit in the same seat today, the view I'd have would be almost the same as the one from then.  I think that is pretty cool.

The ballpark might have some crumbling concrete, the concourses are tight, the bathrooms have troughs, and there isn't a video board (yet). But when you sit in a seat, you're sitting in history, rich baseball history that has vanished from almost every other big league venue.

You all need to attend at least one game at Wrigley Field.

I searched through my cards for any that were specifically Wrigley Field cards.  I thought I had more, but I found only eight.

Fleer 2002

Score 1989 Season Highlights

Factory Team set 2009

Factory Team set 2011

Factory Team set 2012

Factory Team set 2013

Triple Play 1992

Upper Deck 2010

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Junk Mail

I'm a Cub fan.

I live in Southwest Michigan.

I recently got some bizarre junk mail.

And I mean, junk!

Mastercard wants me to have a Cleveland Indians card.

Again, I'm a Cub fan in Southwest Michigan.

I'm puzzled as to the Indians connection.

The only thing I could come up with was that I bought Indians tickets via the MLB website six years ago.  Mrs. WW and I were on our 25th anniversary trip.  The last day of the vacation was spent in Cleveland.  We did the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and then saw an Indians game that night.

But I've also bought tickets to Cubs games, Tigers games, Brewers games, Reds games and Pirates games from the MLB website.  Why did Mastercard see me as an Indians fan?

Sorry, but it's going to take more than a $100 cash back offer to get me to switch.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Mini GQ Cubs

I showed the base Gypsy Queen Cubs on Saturday.  Today I've got the mini versions.

I'm not sure why I started collecting the mini cards in 2011, but since I started, I might as well keep going.  There really isn't much difference between the mini and the base other that a tighter job of cropping.  The minis are also quite easy to collect, especially for the Cubs this year since none were in the high number short prints.


 And for those of you that would like to see all four year's worth of minis, here you go!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 12,315 Cubs cards from 88 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1969 Milton Bradley Ernie Banks I've got an entire post on the 1969 Milton Bradley set here.   Most of the Cubs pictures, including this one, were team PR pictures.  The same picture of Ernie is in the 1969 Cubs Roster Book.  MB obviously didn't have an MLB license, so the Cubs logo was removed.

1980s: 1987 Fleer #559 Bob Dernier The 1987 season was Dernier's last with the Cubs.  He played in just 93 games, though his average was very good, .317.  He became a free agent after the season and went back to the Phillies for the final two years of his career.

1990s: 1991 Star Platinum #1 Mark Grace This card is the first of nine in the Grace Platinum set.  It looks like young Mark is taking BP at Wrigley Field.  In 1991, Grace saw a dip in his performance.  After being in the top ten in batting his first three years, this season saw his average drop to .273.  He did lead all NL first baseman in fielding average, putouts, assists, and fielding chances.

2000s: 2009 Upper Deck #71 Mark DeRosa  Upper Deck has an interesting action shot of DeRosa.  Howver, in 2009 DeRosa didn't have any action with the Cubs....he was traded to the Indians in December, 2008.  He did get a card with the Indians in Series Two.

2010s: 2011 Gypsy Queen #82 Starlin Castro  This was from Castro's golden boy era, when every Topps set included several cards of him.  Not only did he have a base card in Gypsy Queen, but he was also in the Future Stars and Sticky Fingers insert sets.