Monday, February 29, 2016

1977 Jewel Cubs Week 3

The third wave of pictures was issued by Jewel on Thursday, August 4.

The Cubs had the day off.

It would be their last day in sole possession of first place.

Their ½ game lead on Thursday night turned into a ½ deficit on Friday as the Phillies won and the Cubs lost.  They never got a whiff of first place the rest of the season.

Bruce Sutter was, by far, the biggest name of the four this week.  The 1977 season was his break-out year.  He won 7 games and saved 31 despite missing nearly six weeks with injuries.  He got hurt at a time the Cubs needed him most.  Losing him was a big blow.   He struck out 129 in 107 innings and had just 16 unintentional walks.  

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,040 Cubs cards from 107 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1961 Topps #35 Ron Santo  The RNG gives me the Hall of Famer's Rookie Card just a few days after what would have been his 76th birthday.

1980s: 1985 Fleer #58 Leon Durham  Looks like Fleer grabbed a shot of the Bull in Mesa, 1984.  

1990s: 1993 Fleer Ultra #24 Sammy Sosa  Sammy at Wrigley, the skinny pre-juice Sammy.  In 1993 he became the first Cub to join the 30 HR/ 30 SB club.

2000s: 2001 Bowman #321 Ben Christensen  Who??  He was the Cubs #1 draft choice in the 1999 draft but never rose above AA ball.  He is more infamously known for an incident while he was in college...beaning an opposing player while the player was in the on-deck circle.  The player lost sight in one eye while Christensen was suspended for the rest of the season.  Yet the Cubs made him their #1 draft choice.  Odd times.

2010s: 2015 Allen & Ginter #133 Addison Russell Topps was on the ball, getting Russell into the 2015 A&G set.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

1977 Jewel Cubs Week 2

The week two pictures came out on July 28, 1977.

July 28 was also one of the most memorable games of the season as the Cubs took on the Reds at Wrigley Field.  I wasn't at the game.  I was at the Indiana Dunes with my parents and brothers, spending the day along Lake Michigan.  I did bring my radio to listen to the game.

What a game it was.

The Cubs won 16-15 in a 13 inning thriller.  The Reds scored 6 runs in the top of the first and the Cubs answered with four of their own,  By the bottom of the eighth the Cubs trailed 14-10.  But they scored 3 runs in the 8th and staged a two out rally in the 9th that tied the game.

By the 13th inning the bullpen had been depleted and Rick Reuschel, who shut out the Reds two days earlier, came into the game.  He shut the Reds down and then in the bottom of the 13 he singled with two outs.  Consecutive hits by Steve Ontiveros and Dave Rosello brought Big Daddy home and the Cubs won the game.  Reuschel picked up the win, his second over the Reds in three days.

It was a very exciting finish, but I had to temper my celebration.  By the time the 13th inning rolled around, we had finished at the beach and were at a restaurant having supper  (the Strongbow Turkey Inn in Valparaiso, Indiana).  I listened to the game quietly at the table.

Despite the inspiring win, the Cubs were still in trouble.  They're division lead was down to just two games.

Notice how the ad shrunk and just four of the eight players' pictures are shown.  The four featured Cubs all played in the 16-15 game.  How did they do??

Bill Buckner was 2-8 but his two hits were both home runs.  He knocked in five runs on the day.

Willie Hernandez pitched an inning and a third in the seventh and eighth innings. He gave up one run.

Third baseman Steve Ontiveros played the entire game and was 3-6, including a two-out single in the 13th that moved Reuschel over to third.

Manny Trillo  was 1 for 3 but was lifted in the seventh inning as part of a double switch.  Eventually the Cubs ran out of infielders.  Jose Cardenal and Bobby Murcer each logged some time alternating with Dave Rosello between shortstop and second base, depending on whether the batter was a lefty or righty.  It was a wild game!

The Tribune had a front page article on the game.

Friday, February 26, 2016

1977 Jewel Cubs Week 1

I found an auction that had a lot of 25 different 1977 Jewel Cubs pictures and the lot included all three of my missing players.  My sniper came through like a champ and the lot was mine.  I completed the 16-player set.

The 1977 Cubs were a surprise hit for the first half of the season.  They had a new manager, Herman Franks, and several new players, Bill Buckner, Bobby Murcer, Ivan DeJesus, and Steve Ontiveros.

They sprinted out of the gate and by June 29 had built an 8½ game lead and topped the .500 mark by 24 games Then the bottom fell out.  Bruce Sutter got hurt, the hitting stopped, and by the All Star break in mid July the lead was down to just two games.

By the time the season was over, they were exactly at .500, 81-81.

Jewel hopped on the bandwagon in the middle of July by again having player pictures available.  Starting the week of July 21, and for four weeks, four different Cub players were available weekly.  The Sox were doing well also, so they too were a part of the promo.

Here is the kick off display ad:

To get a free picture you had to spend $5.  You could get a maximum of four pictures if you spent $20 or more.  Also notice the disclaimer that you had to take whatever pictures were on the top of the stack.  You couldn't request a certain player.  I wonder if they had two stacks to pick from, a Cub pile and Sox pile?  I would hope that they would have done that so you could get players from the team you supported.

The Holy Cow on the ad is from Harry Caray's days as a Sox broadcaster. The Cubs are represented by Jack Brickhouse's Hey Hey.

Finally the ad states that there are 600,000 pictures to give away.  If you divide 600,000 by 32 players (16 from each team), that give a print run of about 18,750 for each player.

One new addition to the pictures was the MLB Players Association logo.  Otherwise, the pictures were in the same 6" x 9" format as in previous editions of the Jewel sets.

The four Cubs from the week were Larry Biittner, Ivan DeJesus, Ray Burris, and Rick Reuschel.

I'll wrap things up with the colorized ad.  It looks a little different from the original because the print ad didn't included the players association logo in the pictures.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Upgrading My Maddux Relic

I recently took the opportunity to upgrade the Greg Maddux relic in my collection.  Here's what I originally had:

The card doesn't quite meet my rule.  It shows Greg Maddux as a Cub, and the jersey piece is from a Cub jersey.  But the card is from 2008 and though showing him as a Cub, the team listing on the card is the Padres.

It has to go.

It took me just four bucks, delivered, to upgrade the Hall of Famer's card.

I found this from 2004 Bowman Sterling.  The '04 season was his return to Wrigley year.  The card is all chromey and the jersey piece has a pinstripe.

A nice little purchase and a definite upgrade.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Two More Rookie Cup Cubs

Series One included two Cubs with Rookie Cups.


Bryant and Schwarber were named to the Topps 2015 Rookie All Star team during the off-season and the cup showed up on their card.  A third Cub was named to the team, Addison Russell.  We'll have to wait until the second series to see his card.

There have now been a total of fifteen Cubs that have had the rookie trophy / cup on their card since Topps began showcasing the rookie stars in 1960.

Take a look at all fifteen:

1961 Ron Santo
1962 Jack Curtis
1962 Billy Williams
1967 Bryan Browne
1967 Randy Hundley
1975 Bill Madlock
1989 Damon Berryhill
1989 Mark Grace
1990 Jerome Walton
1999 Kerry Wood
2009 Geovany Soto
2011 Starlin Castro
2013 Anthony Rizzo
2016 Kris Bryant
2016 Kyle Schwarber

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

My Thoughts on the Complete Set of Topps 2016 Series One

I've wrapped things up with the Cubs from series one, so it is time to move on to the complete set.

This makes my 48th consecutive year of Topps sets, as I've got each set from 1969 moving forward.  Here's a look at my collection.

I keep the oldest and most valuable sets  (1969 - 1979) on the top of the shelves, stored lying flat.  This is to prevent the pages from folding over and bending the cards. The rest are on shelves of the unit on the left, vertically, with a shelf per decade....80's, 90's, 2000s, and the 2010s are on the bottom shelf.  The unit on the right has my other brand complete sets.

Each binder has a label that I've made. Some labels are based on the wax packs while others borrow their design from the complete set box.  The past few years I've made my own using images from the sell sheets.

This is the label I made for 2016.

**As for the cards and the set, they're fine. I'm a Topps collector, so I'll buy the set no matter what.

**The borderless cards don't bother me.

**The pictures are mostly tight, game action shots.  They are also starting to get a little cliche.  You have pitchers making a pitch, batters taking a swing, and fielders letting go of the ball.  It's becoming the same old thing, like the same old poses used back in the day.  What the action shots don't do is capture the personality of the players.  Their game faces all look the same.  There is no smile, no life in the action shots.

This is what I'd like to see more of...personality.

**There don't seem to be very many cards that show players in throwback jerseys.  I don't know if it was because there weren't many worn by teams last year of if Topps didn't pick photos from those games.

**Every card got a smokey white top corner.  It moved from left to right depending on the picture.  Wouldn't it make sense to assume its purpose was to make the Topps logo more visible?


**This has to be the smallest player I've seen on a card in a while.  I'm not sure whey they went with a horizonal card.

Vertical would look fine.

It reminds me of the action shots from the mid-Seventies.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Two More That Meet the Rule

The 2016 Series One checklist gave me an autograph and a relic that meet my collection rule.

Schwarber was included in Topps Postseason relic insert set, so I picked up this card.  It is /100.  His homer in the NLDS that landed on the top of the right field video board was a post season highlight.

There is, of course, this little disclaimer.  You wouldn't expect a postseason piece in a set called Postseason, would you?  That's just crazy talk.

The relic tally is now up to 74 different Cubs with at least one certified relic card released during a year they played for the Cubs and the card shows the player as a Cub.

Here's the autograph, of Jason Hammel.  Too bad its a sticker auto.

The autograph total is now up to 116.

I would imagine that sometime this year Jason Heyward will be added to both lists.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,053 Cubs cards from 107 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1979 Topps #494 Jerry White  Hey Jerry, you're posing for your baseball card. How about taking off the jacket.

1980s: 1981 Topps Coke #6 Mike Krukow This is one of eleven players in the 1981 Coke set.  I guess that makes Krukow one of the top eleven players on the 1981 Cubs.  The team had the worst record in the National League.  Being in the top eleven was not much of an accomplishment.

1990s: 1994 Stadium Club #692 Willie Banks He was with the Cubs for just a couple years, but they were years in the height of the junk wax era.  This is one of 26 Willie Banks cards from 1994 and 1995.  Having those cards makes an image search for Ernie Banks cards a pain, since I label the JPEG by last name.  I always have to weed out Willie while searching for Ernie.

2000s: 2006 Finest #8 Kerry Wood The 2006 season was a wasted season for Wood.  He opened the season on the disabled list.  Activated in mid-May, he made four starts before being shut down for the rest of the year.  He wouldn't return until August of 2007.  He was also done as a starter, working out of the pen for the remainder of his career.

2010s: 2014 Pro Debut #2 Chadd Krist  There have been several players in the Cubs farm system that have been highly touted.  Chadd Krist was not one of them.  He was released by the Cubs about two months after this card came out.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Rest of the Inserts

I've already had my say on the Wrigley Field Celebrates 100 Years insert set.  Today I've got the others.  My definition of inserts are just regular relics, autographs, patches, medallions, laser books, etc.  Going that route brings the number of insert sets in Series One to just six.  

The Cubs were shut out of two of the six, First Pitch and Pressed into Service.  Last year there were several First Pitch Cubs cards.  This year Topps is giving other teams a chance.

There were two Cubs everyday players that were pressed into service as pitchers in 2015, David Ross and Chris Denorfia.  But Topps chose to not include them in Pressed into Service.  

Score 1991 did one better than an insert set of regular players on the mound.  Outfielder Doug Daszenco's card shows him pitching, which he did four times in his career.

It shouldn't be a surprise that this year Topps is having a Kris Bryant love fest.  He was included in all of the other three insert sets.

The guy has just one year under his belt but already has a reprint card.  This 2015 card is from the Berger's Best insert.

Back to Back features Brizzo.

Bryant was the only Cub in this 25-card insert.