Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2014 Triple Threads Ernie Banks

I've picked up my one and only 2014 Triple Threads base card...

...featuring Mr. Cub.

Triple Threads has a base set of 100 cards and each had seven parallels and four printing plates.  A dedicated player collector would try to track down as many of the parallels as possible.

Shame on me.  I'm not that dedicated.  Or maybe, I'm not that crazy.  Or that rich.

I'm content with the one card, showing Ernie taking a cut at Wrigley.

Besides, I've got a couple other parallels of the card

Monday, September 29, 2014

2002 Finest Cubs

The Finest set size shrunk even further in 2002, down to only 110 cards.  There was a new wrinkled added, though.  The final ten cards of the set are rookies and they are also autographed.  I don't think that there are very many sets that include autographed cards as part of the base set.

The Cubs had four players among the 100 veteran cards and one of the autographed rookies.


The rookie is as guy that didn't exactly become a household name.

Anyone remember Nic Jackson?

Didn't think so.

He made it to AAA in 2003 and 2004, but never got to the show.  He's still active, playing the past six seasons with Fargo-Moorehead of the independent American Association.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 12,726 Cubs cards from 96 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1976 Topps #640 Bill Madlock  This is one of my favorite cards from the '70s.  The '76 set was one of the first that showed the Cubs in their home uniforms.  I love the look of the pinstripes and the bear on the shoulder.  Plus, Madlock had just won the NL batting title.  His young career was off to a great start.

1980s: 1982 Topps #508 Jody Davis  Jo-Dee...Jo-Dee!!  Davis became the Cubs starting catcher in 1982.  He hit a respectable .261 with 12 HRs and 52 RBIs.  He was also second in the league in assists by catchers

1990s: 1997 Flair #15 Kevin Orie  For a couple years now we have been hearing about all the great prospects the Cubs are developing in their farm system.  I am guardedly optimistic, but memories of Kevin Orie (and a host of other failed prospects) keep me from getting over-excited.  Orie was going to be the third baseman for years to come.  He hit .275 in 1997, but the next season was down almost 100 points and never recovered.  He was traded away in July 1998.

2000s: 2002 Topps Total #127 Alan Benes  Benes pitched in 10 games for the Cubs over the 2002 and 2003 seasons.  With limited appearances, the only set that included him both seasons was total.  However, even Total wasn't totally impressed....

they used the same picture, though cropped differently, both years

2010s: 2013 Sega Card Gen #226 Nate Schierholtz  Here's one from last year's Card Gen set.  The cards were produced by Topps, but obviously there was no photoshopping going on.  

There was with his 2013 Topps card.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Let Flash Back All the Way to 2013

Flashback cards in Heritage are nice....learn something about events that happened 49 years ago.

Flashback cards in Heritage Minor League are lame....learn something about events that happened a year ago. A year ago?  

This is the first time that Topps has made Flashback cards for the Minor League set.  Three Cubs players have cards.  Actually four do, but the Flashback for Addison Russell shows him as an A's prospect, so I didn't include it in my Cubs set.

All of the events on the Cubs cards that are flashed back happened in May and June of 2013.  

Do you remember the good old days of 2013?  Thank you Topps for taking us on a nostalgic trip back to a much simpler time.

Friday, September 26, 2014

2014 Heritage Minor League Cubs

After all the moaning I've been doing about the Cubs getting shorted in several recent sets, the tables have finally been turned.

Unfortunately, it's from a set that doesn't feature any major league players, Heritage Minor League.  I guess I should take solace in the fact that Topps thinks the Cubs have some decent prospects.

This is the fourth go-around for Heritage Minor League.  Each year has seen more and more Cubs prospects. The first set, 2011, had only four Cubs, and 2012 saw the same number.  Last year there were eight players that belonged to the Cubs.  And this year the Cubs come in with an even dozen.  Twelve cards in a set with 225 is above the average of 7½ players.

The "fab five" were all included, Almora, Baez, Bryant, Russell, and Soler.  Actually, all the big name prospects are here.  Hopefully they will all be contributing to the Cubs in the next couple years.

Then the Cubs may get an above average number of cards in a real set.

Here are the twelve, arranged by teams.


...from the AAA Iowa Cubs.  It's kinda rediculous that they included Manny Ramirez in the set.  I pity the poor Ramirez collectors out there that have to get this and all the assorted parallels.



....from the AA Tennessee Smokies


....from the High A Daytona Cubs

Thursday, September 25, 2014

2001 Finest Cubs

The 2001 Finest set marks the transition to the small set that is Finest today. With just 140 cards, the 2001 set has 148 fewer cards than the 2000 set. That’s a reduction of a little more than 50%.

A shrinking base set also means a shrinking number of Cubs. The 2000 set had eight Cubs. In 2001 the number was reduced to only three.  And if being reduced to only three cards wasn't bad enough, two of the three were of rookie prospects...and prospects that never really made it.  And if THAT  wasn't bad enough, the rookie cards were numbered short prints.  I had to spend way more than 18¢ for cards of Luis Montanez and Steve Smyth.


Both of the cards are /999 and it took a little bit of shopping to find them at a reasonable price.  

The only active Cub card in the set was this one of Sammy,  It was part of a numbered (/399) subset called Standout Veteran.  That means that all three Cubs cards from Finest 2001 were numbered and too expensive for what they are.

2001 Finest was not one of Topps' finest moments for this Cubs fan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

2014 Triple Threads Junior Lake Jersey

I've picked up my one and only Junior Lake relic card, and I can cross him off my list.

Lake has had several autograph cards this year, but I think this is his first relic.  He had a hot start to his career when he was called up last season.  The league caught up with him and this year he has been mediocre at best.  He was so mediocre that he spent part of the season in AAA.  He came back in September, but has seen little action.  

For the season he's at .218 with 9 HRs, 25 RBIs, and 108 strike outs.  We already have Javier Baez as our strike out guy; we don't need another.

The card is nice though.  I think this is my first jersey card with two stripes.  Triple Threads came out a couple weeks ago, but it's not a set I bother with.  I may pick up an Ernie Banks card when they start showing up on Sportlots, but otherwise I'm done with it.

Lake makes player #66 that meets my rule (a relic card from a year they played with the Cubs and the card shows them as a Cub).  He's the fifth I've added with cards from 2014, joining Arismendy Alcantara, Mike Olt, Javier Baez, and Jorge Soler.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

1999 Old Style Cubs All-Century Team

As the 20th century came to an end, the Cubs decided to name an All-Century team.  The 2000 media guide says that the fans selected the team.  I don't know if if was done by fans at the ballpark or on-line.

I do know that the voting had to be done early in the season.  The Cubs scheduled three giveaways of a seven card package of members of the All-Century team.  The first set was handed out on May 15.  That meant about a month to select the team and then print up the 20,000 sets.

The selections were fairly predictable...


...You got Tinker, and Chance, but no Evers.  Teammate Three-Fingers Brown was also selected.

...Grover Cleveland Alexander was selected, though his best years were with the Phillies.




...From the pennant-winning teams of the last '20s and '30s you get Phil Cavarretta, Charlie Grimm, Stan Hack, Gabby Hartnett, Billy Herman, and Hack Wilson.

...Andy Pafko made the team, but I wouldn't consider him one of the best five outfielders of the Cubs during the 20th century.  If a player from Pafko's era was needed, it should have been Hank Sauer.



...The '69 Cubs had Banks, Jenkins, Santo, and Williams

...Bruce Sutter was the lone representative from the late '70s.


...From the '80s came Ryno, Lee Smith, and Andre Dawson.


...The most recent players to make the team were both active with the Cubs in 1999, Mark Grace and Sammy Sosa.

Here's a look at all 21 cards in a 3x7 tile