Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015 Clubhouse Collection Cub CardThe

The Clubhouse Collection has been a staple of Heritage since the first release in 2001.  The first set has just twelve cards, none of Cubs.  The first Cubs relics showed up the next year, as the checklist expanded.

This year there are 41 cards on the checklist, but only one Cub, Ernie Banks.  All the checklists I've seen mention that there is both a regular card and a /99 gold parallel.  But for some of the players, including Ernie, no regular cards have surfaced.  It's just the gold card.

Is the gold card a parallel if there is no base card to parallel?

The base card would have obviously been more plentiful and therefor less expensive.  Chasing a /99 was going to be a more expensive proposition.  Boo!

It took a little more time and a little more money, but I was finally able to get one.

The card lists him as a shortstop, but in 1966, the year this year's Heritage mimics, he was a first baseman.  They should have listed him for that.

Despite the inflated /99 price, I really felt I had to have the card.  My Heritage Cubs collection has all the Cubs base inserts and all of the Clubhouse Collection cards.  It would have bugged me to have a hole, so I bit the bullet and bought the card.

In all, this makes 28 Clubhouse Collection Cubs.  Four times the Cubs have been shut out (2001, 2007, 2011, and 2014), but the rest of the years have seen at least one Cub in the set.  The high point was 2009 with five.

Here is the Complete Collection of Cubs Clubhouse Collection..


Monday, March 30, 2015

2015 Topps Tribute Ernie Banks

These are the final Tribute cards I cherry-picked.


I grabbed both the base cards and a /99 Emerald parallel.  What I find most interesting is that the card lists him with two positions, 1B/SS.  Usually sets like this just list him as a shortstop.  The best years of his career were at short, but he actually played more games at first base.  Listing him as both makes sense.

Based on my incredible knowledge of all the major league ballparks, I can tell you that this picture of Mr. Cub was most certainly taken at Shea Stadium in 1969.  The date is easy because of the centennial patch on his right sleeve.  But the location, that was tougher, with the background being blurred.

But our good friends at Topps made it easy for me because they like to repeat things.

But our good friends at Topps made it easy for me because they like to repeat things.

But our good friends at Topps made it easy for me because they like to repeat things.

The picture has been used before-- that's Shea.

In fact, the shot has been used...

...several times!  The top four cards are all from 2001 sets.  The bottom four are from 2012-2014.

Mr. Cub is also a staple on the Tribute checklist.  Of the eleven times the set has been released, Ernie had been included nine times.

And each time a different picture has been used.

So far.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 13,467 Cubs cards from 104 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades. 

1900s - 1970s: 1971 Dells Today's Cubs Billy Williams  The picture on this card looks for be from spring training, 1970.  Billy is wearing a 1969 road uniform, but back then teams typically wore the previous season's uniform in spring training and didn't break out the new duds until opening day.

1980s: 1984 Donruss #289 Lee Smith  Donruss gives us a nice portrait shot of the Cubs closer.  Smith finished second in the league in saves with 33.  But he lost game four of the NLCS by giving up a walk-off homer to Steve Garvey, so consider the season a bust!

1990s: 1995 Upper Deck Traded #459 Jamie Navarro  The righty had probably the best year of his career in 1995. The Cubs picked him up as a free agent before the season and were hoping for a mid-rotation innings eater.  They ended up with an ace-for-the-season.  He went 14-6 with an ERA of 3.28.

2000s: 2007 Opening Day #179 Scott Moore  Moore was less.  He spent the first half of the season in AAA, played in a few July games for the Cubs, and then was traded to the Orioles in late August.

2010s: 2011 Topps Traded #115 Kerry Wood The prodigal returns!  Kerry Wood came back to the Cubs as a free agent for the 2011 season.  The deal got its start as Wood and GM Jim Hendry spoke at Ron Santo's funeral in December.  I never noticed this on the card before, but if you look down the line at the other player's hats, one of them is wearing a Ron Santo 10 hat.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2015 Opening Day Cubs

So that only took three days longer than expected.

I also get a kick out of the post office's ability to change the facts.  Notice that the expected delivery date is now Friday, March 27 and that the package is on time.

Sure makes it pretty easy to hit your target date when you can keep pushing the target back.

I guess I should stop whining and just be glad that the cards arrived safe and sound.

Often you can count on Opening Day to give you a preview of some of the cards coming up in Series Two.  But not with this year's Cubs.  There are five Cubs cards and all five players were in Series One.

Sometimes the picture on the cards in Opening Day are different that what was used in Series One.  But not with this year's Cubs.  The exact same pictures are in both sets.

In fact, the only noticeable difference between the two sets is that the Topps logo in Series One is foil while it is just printed in Opening Day.  And of course the Opening Day logo is on the Opening Day cards.  I wonder how much longer Opening Day will exist?



Here are the five Cubs cards.  I'm kinda surprised that there is not a card of Jon Lester.  Heritage showed Lester as a Cub and Opening Day and Heritage came out on the same day. 

Of the five shown, Rizzo, at age 25, is the oldest in the bunch.  The rebuilding process is just about finished.  Time for some results.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Another Tribute Card

My Opening Day team set finally made it out of Florida and I should be getting the cards in the mail this afternoon.  In the meantime, I've got another 2015 Tribute card.

This time it's Andre Dawson.  This is the black parallel relic card and it is /50.  So far just two of the 50 have been listed on Ebay.  I'm thinking that these might become pretty scarce.

Though the box price for Tribute is waaaay out of my price range, picking up cards like this one and yesterday's Sandberg card is much lighter on the wallet.  This /50 cost me just $8.  Seems to me that a jersey /50 card of a Hall of Fame player should go for more than just eight bucks, but I won't complain.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Getting Into the Tribute Fiasco

My Opening Day cards were supposed to be here on Tuesday.  This is what the post office says as of Wednesday night...

....arriving on Tuesday still.  I hope the USPS has a time machine.  I hope my cards make it out of Florida!

In the meantime I've got a 2015 Topps Tribute card to show.

I'm assuming that most of you know about the Tribute fiasco.  The high-end $280 per box of six packs set had quality control issues and many of the autographs on the cards ended up smeared.  Topps decided to recall the product, an unprecedented move  by them.

Though many dealers and collectors were sending their cards back, others continued to sell.  I figured I'd try to snag a few for my player collections, not knowing what would happen.

This Ryne Sandberg relic green is 035/150.  With boxes of the product going back to Topps, maybe a 2015 Tribute /150 card will be more scarce than other /150s.  Three of these (including mine) have been sold and three more are currently listed.   Only six out of 150 seem like a pretty small number.

Anyone else getting Tribute?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The 1970 Phillies Souvenir Program

The post office lied and my Opening Day base set wasn't delivered yesterday.  It's on to plan B.

I have a Cubs scorecard collection that goes back to 1947.  That's a run of 68 years.

My Phillies scorecard collection goes back to 1970.  It is a run of one year.

Why, you may be asking, did I feel the need to buy a Phillies scorecard?  That's a good question.

I have a good answer... just take a look at the cover.

There's my favorite Cub featured prominently on the front of the Phillies 1970 program.  The auction for the program showed up in my daily Ebay search of Billy Williams.  The opening bid was only 99¢, so I thought I'd watch the auction and see how it went.

It went great for me, since I was the only bidder.  Not a bad deal to get a 45-year-old program that's in nice shape for only 99¢.

I think it is very odd that the Phillies put opposing players on the cover of the scorecard.  I think you'd rather downplay the opposition.  I doubt there were many fans that saw Billy Williams on the cover and said, "Hey, I need to buy that."

The program makes no mention at all of Billy.  There's no article on him, no bio... no nothing.  Instead, its full of standard program player bios and team information.

There is a scorecard on card stock that is stapled in the center of the book.

The card is pretty small and not very practical for scoring a game.

Based on the players on the Cubs roster, I can say that this was sold at Connie Mack Stadium from September 25-27.  Pitcher Bob Miller was acquired on September 1 and he's listed.  Oddly, the program still lists #42 Jim Qualls, though the Cubs traded him away on April 22.

These games were the final weekend games played at the old ballpark.  The Expos followed the Cubs into Philadelphia for Mack's last three games.

Some of the information in the program was never updated during the season.

These two pages tout the Phillies new ballpark and mention that the team will be moving into the park sometime during the summer.  But construction delays kept the Phillies out of Veterans Stadium until the start of the 1971 season.  The article was never changed to reflect that.

I've also seen a 1970 program with Ernie Banks on the cover.  Ebay has one for $40.  I'm going to wait for the 99¢ sale.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The 2015 Opening Day Cubs Inserts

It doesn't happen very often for me, but I've got the Opening Day Cubs inserts in hand before the base set has arrived.

It sort of happened last year too, but that was because the Cubs were shut out of all the insert sets.  Not so this year.  I've got five inserts from four different sets.  Things are looking up for the Cubs!

Jorge Soler was in the Team Spirit set.  I didn't know that high-fiving a teammate was considered team spirit, but whatever.

The Franchise Flashback set is made up of players wearing throwback uniforms.  Since the Cubs wore throwbacks eleven different times last season, it was a good bet they would get a player or two in the set.


They got two.  Rizzo is wearing the 1941 Chi-Feds uniform on the day the Cubs celebrated Wrigley Field's 100th birthday, April 23.  Castro is in the 1964 duds the Cubs wore in Philadelphia on June 13.  I really like those late '60s road unis.

Anthony Rizzo is a superstar celebrating.  He had a walk off hit in the bottom of the 12th inning on August 10 against the Rays.  The Cubs were also wearing 1984 uniforms that day, so the card could double as a Franchise Flashback.

For the first time ever, the Cubs have a card in the mascot set.  Clark debuted last season.  The Cubs said he would never be on the field during a game and they kept to that.  He's really there to entertain the kiddies. The picture shows him doing an after-the-game kids-run-the-bases thing.

USPS tracking shows that my base set of Opening Day cards should be arriving today.  If they do, I'll get them up tomorrow.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Donruss 2015 Cubs

In a post last week I compared the Topps sticker set to Jan Brady.  It that's the case, then today I've got the cousin Oliver of the baseball card world, Donruss.

Panini continues to crank out logoless sets.  I buy only the Cubs cards because I feel the need to keep the Donruss run.  I have all the cards from the original Donruss and feel obligated to add the Panini renditions.

The Cubs set has nine cards, two retired guys and seven active players.


Retired Ryno and Ernie made the set.  I know why Panini had to remove logos, but when did they feel a need to change the color of the numbers on Sandberg's jersey from red to blue?




Most of these don't look too bad because the Cubs chest logo was covered by their arms.  I'm sure Panini tries to pick pictures that need the smallest amount of doctoring.  

The Lester card could have used more work because it shows him wearing #31, but the Chicago Baseball Club has retired that number.

Odd that Panini has to cover the MLB logos but in the Rizzo card they are more than happy to give CitiBank some free advertising.

Diamond Kings are a part of the set, which is good.  You can't have Donruss without Diamond Kings.

Nice design feature that covers the front of the hat and the logo.  There's also more free advertising, as the Nike logo shows up.

The cards have been put into the pocket pages and added to the Donruss binder.  I'm done with Donruss for the year.

Cousin Oliver was in just six episodes of the Brady Bunch before it was cancelled.  Will we have to suffer through six sets of logoless Donruss before it is cancelled?

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 13,449 Cubs cards from 104 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 Ron Santo  I've got a post on the complete set of teh 1969 MB game here.  This picture of Santo is a headshot from the Cubs PR department.  The same picture (with the logo on the hat) is in the 1969 roster book.

1980s: 1988 Fleer #430 Wade Rowdon  The Cubs brought Rowdon up in September, 1987 after he had a monster season in AAA (.337, 18 HR, 113 RBI).  He played in 11 games and that was good enough for Fleer to included him as a Cub in the 1988 set.  The Cubs weren't as impressed as Fleer and traded him to the Orioles at the end of spring trainning, 1988.  He spent the first three months of the season with Baltimore, hit an even .100, and finished the rest of the year in AAA. The Orioles released him after the season, ending his professional career.

1990s: 1992 Leaf #72 Joe Girardi  Leaf has the position letter awfully close to his last name.  It looks like his name is Joe Girardic.

That's better.

2000s: 2006 Turkey Red #458 Aramis Ramirez  His career was peaking when this card came out. In 2006 Ramirez had career highs in home runs (38) and RBIs (119).  He also hit a very productive .291.

2010s: 2014 Heritage #220 Junior Lake Lake seemed to turn up in just about every set last year.  He had a semi-decent rookie season in 2013 (though he really tailed off at the end of the season) and Topps went all-in on Junior Lake.  The Lake level dropped significantly last year and he's not a sure bet to even make the team in 2015.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Five Year Review of the Topps Stickers Sets

With five years now under their belt, let's look at what been done with the stickers during that span.

Starlin Castro is the only Cub player to have a sticker in each of the five sets, so I'll use his stickers to look at the run.

The design is color-matched to the team's colors, which explains the red and blue across the board.  The stickers are marketed towards a younger crowd, so I think that is why Topps has kept the designs fairly simple.  I've always tended to like the simpler designs, and I would have no problem seeing any of these used for the base set.

Topps has stuck the Cubs and Sox together that past three years.   If they are going to continue to do that, they need to give the Cubs top billing every other year.  Enough of this Sox on top nonsense.

Retired players started showing up in the Cubs sets in 2013.  Being the creative folks that they are, Topps has given us...

Ernie Banks³.  You can move on to another Cub hall of famer any time now.

Let's end with a view of all five year's worth of stickers.  It's a bit small, but you can see all of a season's stickers in one row.

Here's a little better look, 

with each year getting two rows instead of one.