Sunday, July 31, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,346 Cubs cards from 108 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1954 Bowman #29 Johnny Klippstein  Johnny did not have a very good year at all.  He was 4-11 with an ERA of 5.29.  His appearance were split pretty evenly between the rotation and the bullpen and he was lousy at both.  But he's got a very nice looking autograph, so kudos to him for that.

1980s: 1986 Fleer #382 Chris Speier  For a while during the 1985 season the Cubs had old '70s shortstops market cornered with both Speier and Larry Bowa.  Speier stuck around through the 1986 season, but was replaced by Shawon Dunston.

1990s: 1990 Fleer Traded #10 Hector Villanueva  Hector put up decent numbers in his rookie season of 1990, hitting .272.  That didn't really matter, though.  What any Cub fan remembers about him was they way that Harry Caray would try to pronounce his name.

2000s: 2006 Upper Deck #87 Aramis Ramirez  Doesn't he look like Turk from Scrubs?

2010s:  2015 Finest #37 Jorge Soler  It will be interesting to see what the Cubs do with him when he comes off the DL.  The outfield is getting pretty crowded.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

60 Wins... Caution

Yesterday I had some recent history of the Cubs quest for 60 wins.

Today, I have a cautionary tale.

Prior to this season, the last time the Cubs got to 60 wins in 100 games was 1977.

They picked up their 60th win in game 99 in dramatic fashion on July 28, 1977.  I wrote more about that game here.  

But the rest of the season didn't go so well.  In their final 63 games, the Cubs were 21-42. They finished in 4th place, 20 games off the pace of the Phillies.

The 2016 team has way more talent than the '77 squad.  I don't expect the '16 Cubs to tank like the '77 team.

But history has taught me to be cautious.

Friday, July 29, 2016

60 Wins

On Tuesday the Cubs picked up their 60th win of the season.  It took them 100 games to do that.

A tweet yesterday by @Wrigleyblog gave the Cubs record when they picked up win #60 over the past five seasons.  It's been an amazing climb.

2012: 60-100...160 games to reach 60 wins

2013: 60-80....140 games to reach 60 wins, a 20 game improvement

2014: 60-74, 134 games to reach 60 wins, a 6 game improvement

2015: 60-48, 108 games to reach 60 wins, a 26 game improvement

2016: 60-40, 100 games to reach 60 wins, an 8 game improvement

The improvement from year to year is 20, 6, 28, and 8 games.  There is a big gain, then a smaller one the following year.  This year was a small gain, so if the pattern holds, next year they should have a gain of about 20 games, winning #60 after 80 games.

60-20 in 2017?  Sure....get to work on that now Theo!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Stadium Club Over the Years

Last week I put my 2016 Stadium Club Cubs into their binder and I took some time to page through the entire book.  It now contains 17 years worth of Stadium Club.

What struck me is that when the cards are full bleed, the design options become more limited.  For most years, the only design question is how to show the player's name. For the first ten years, that all that was on the front of the and a Stadium Club logo.  Team names didn't arrive until the 2001 edition.  But even with the arrival of the team name, a team logo was used only twice.  The design mantra seems to be to keep it very simple.

In 2015 the mantra had an addition...keep it simple and add smoke to the bottom of the card.

Below is a time with the 17-year run.  From each year I picked the first card alphabetically that had a vertical design.  That's why use see lots of Assenmacher, Banks, Adams, and Alcantara.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

All I've Got of Him: Mark Grace

It's been widely discussed how recent HOF inductee Mike Piazza was drafted by the Dodgers in the 60th round of the 1988 draft, the 1390th player selected.

Today's featured Cub player has a similar story.  Mark Grace was selected by the Cubs in the 24th round of the 1985 draft.  There were 621 other players taken ahead of him.  Grace won't make it to Cooperstown, but he would qualify for the Hall of Pretty Good.  A lifetime average of .303 with 2445 hits is not too shabby.

Grace's Cubs career ran from 1988 - 2000, which lines him up smack dab in the middle of the junk wax era.  And being a star player, he ended up in just about every junk set.  My Grace total is 361 cards.  Subtract 17 cards that came after he retired, and you average about 26 cards per year.  That's a lot of cards, and a lot of junk!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Ginter Binders

I'm ready with my binder as soon as the cards arrive.

I'm hoping that by Friday the pages will be full.

I keep my Topps sets in the big 2" blue baseball binders.  But since Ginter sets are smaller, they get generic white 1½" binders.

However, I can't keep the binders looking generic, I've designed a front cover and spine.  I use the Ginter logo for each year, so each binder has its own unique look.

Here's a peek at each of the 11 Ginter binder covers:

Monday, July 25, 2016

2012 Heritage Barney No Position Update

I'm still tracking Ebay sales of the 2012 Heritage Darwin Barney no position variation card.  One was listed in late June with a BIN of $49.99 and someone snapped it up rather quickly.

 By my unofficial tracking, this is the 38th card to be sold via Ebay since March, 2012.  The average price of the 38 is $92.66.  The high was $325 and the low was $24 (paid by me!).

Another seller has been listing and relisting the card for the past month or so.  It was first listed for $350.  There were no takers.

Since then, each time it's been relisted with a lower price.  Here is the most recent, which ended yesterday.

Still no takers at $185.  I'm expecting it will be relisted again at a lower price, several times, before it finally sell.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,345 Cubs cards from 108 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1978 Hostess #69 Manny Trillo  Topps produced the cards for Hostess and it looks like....

 ...they took the picture for the Topps set at the same time.

1980s: 1988 Donruss MVP #10 Andre Dawson  Donruss had a set called MVP but this is the only card in the 1988 set of the reigning NL MVP.  

1990s: 1996 Bazooka #90 Brian McRae  I love the could of dust after his slide.  You don't see that any more, with the modern clay infields.  Bring back dirt!

2000s: 2000 Opening Day #24 Sammy Sosa Remember when Opening Day had big giant foil logos?  The giant logo matches nicely with Sammy's giant head.

2010s: 2016 Opening Day #47 Kyle Schwarber Another Opening Day card, giving us the chance to see how boring the look of the set has become.  Opening Day = Foil-less flagship.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

There's a New Shirriff in Town

I've added #101 to the Billy Williams PSA master list.

Sharp readers may say, "Hey, we've already seen the 1962 Salada Tea coin.  What gives?"

But this isn't a Salada Tea coin.  It is it's Canadian cousin.  The up North version was given away in bags of Shirriff potato chips.

Here's a look at both the Salada and Shirriff coins:


The backs are, obviously, different as the brand name was on the back.

It didn't scan well, but in the middle is says "Packed in Shirriff potato chips."  You can make out the words "potato chips" on the coin.

I couldn't find much at all about Shirriff.  It looks like the company disappeared some time in the late '60s.  Anyone have any more information about them?

I've now reached 80% of the list, with 101/127 now in hand.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Where's Kyle?

Yesterday I read a couple of interesting things about the Cubs #5 starter, Kyle Hendricks.

  • He had the major's third lowest ERA this season, 2.27
  • Since June 19, his ERA is a major league best 0.72.  Yes, 0.72
Not bad for a #5 starter!

His three season career numbers are 24-15 with and ERA of 3.13.  Those are pretty impressive stats for a guy with a fastball that will only hit 90 on a good day.  He proves that there's more to pitching than just speed...brains, location, and changing speed are important too.

Yet this year, and for his entire career for that matter, Topps has basically ignored him.  He has had cards in Heritage and the flagship set.

That's it.

No Bowman, Ginter, Gypsy Queen, Chrome, or anything else.

I have a total of seven cards of Hendricks.  And two of them are from the factory team set, meaning they are identical to the flagship.

Hopefully, Hendricks continues to put up the same numbers  and Topps starts to include him in more products.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Waiting For Ginter...

Topps released the 2016 Allen and Ginter checklist about a week ago.  The cards are scheduled to come out tomorrow.  The wait is just about over.

After the flagship, Ginter is probably my favorite set.  It's the only other brand that I get the full set in addition to my Cubs sets.  I've already got my order placed and in a week or so I should have Ginter set #11.

To help out fellow team collectors, I've got the checklist below, sorted by team.  Dodger fans...there are two players listed for #120...not sure how that will sort out.  Also, Yankee fans, Rob Refsnyder has two cards listed.

Kole Calhoun148
Kaleb Cowart231
Andrew Heaney122
Albert Pujols211
Huston Street193
Mike Trout194

Jose Altuve295
Carlos Correa56
Matt Duffy220
Evan Gattis118
Carlos Gomez200
Dallas Keuchel89
Lance McCullers288
Collin McHugh76
George Springer197
Tyler White238

Billy Burns173
Jose Canseco250
Khris Davis215
Sean Doolittle347
Dennis Eckersley192
Rollie Fingers19
Sonny Gray267
Rickey Henderson296
Josh Reddick196
Marcus Semien137
Stephen Vogt313

Blue Jays
Jose Bautista281
Josh Donaldson285
Edwin Encarnacion80
Russell Martin307
Roberto Osuna340
Kevin Pillar77
Drew Storen204
Troy Tulowitzki272
Erick Aybar223

Orlando Cepeda284
Freddie Freeman58
Tom Glavine9
Ender Inciarte33
Hector Olivera232
Julio Teheran217
Ryan Weber316

Ryan Braun2
Jonathan Lucroy124
Paul Molitor279
Jimmy Nelson95
Robin Yount117

Bob Gibson206
Randal Grichuk328
Matt Holliday144
Carlos Martinez103
Brandon Moss239
Stephen Piscotty251
Stephen Piscotty338
Ozzie Smith253
Michael Wacha283
Kolten Wong18

Jake Arrieta142
Kris Bryant112
Andre Dawson287
Carl Edwards125
Dexter Fowler68
Jason Heyward156
John Lackey26
Anthony Rizzo260
Hector Rondon55
Addison Russell23
Ryne Sandberg180
Kyle Schwarber97
Jorge Soler1
Ben Zobrist21

Welington Castillo311
Patrick Corbin310
Brandon Drury225
Zack Godley330
Paul Goldschmidt39
Luis Gonzalez135
Zack Greinke129
Shelby Miller343
Peter O'Brien326
David Peralta38
A.J. Pollock271
Yasmany Tomas309
Brad Ziegler31

Andre Ethier329
Adrian Gonzalez143
Yasmani Grandal304
Kenley Jansen258
Scott Kazmir334
Howie Kendrick11
Clayton Kershaw299
Zach Lee163
Kenta Maeda120
Frankie Montas174
Joc Pederson133
Yasiel Puig319
Corey Seager121
Trayce Thompson16
Justin Turner108
Julio Urias120
Alex Wood181

Brandon Belt207
Trevor Brown302
Madison Bumgarner278
Santiago Casilla315
Brandon Crawford171
Matt Duffy27
Joe Panik208
Buster Posey189
Jeff Samardzija167

Roberto Alomar69
Michael Brantley149
Carlos Carrasco261
Yan Gomes332
Jason Kipnis96
Corey Kluber297
Carlos Santana205

Robinson Cano84
Steve Cishek337
Nelson Cruz165
Felix Hernandez265
Hisashi Iwakuma65
Adam Lind233
Ketel Marte49
Edgar Martinez188
Taijuan Walker331

Justin Bour214
Wei-Yin Chen303
Jose Fernandez88
Dee Gordon273
Marcell Ozuna292
Martin Prado147
A.J. Ramos51
J.T. Realmuto48
Giancarlo Stanton262

Gary Carter224
Michael Conforto98
Travis d'Arnaud349
Jacob deGrom275
Lucas Duda127
Curtis Granderson30
Matt Harvey276
Steven Matz92
Mike Piazza93
Matt Reynolds71
Neil Walker176
David Wright83

Gio Gonzalez139
Bryce Harper254
Daniel Murphy50
Jonathan Papelbon293
Anthony Rendon266
Ben Revere46
Max Scherzer170
Pedro Severino318
Stephen Strasburg282
Trea Turner300
Trea Turner342
Jayson Werth35
Ryan Zimmerman344

Kevin Gausman13
Adam Jones86
Manny Machado277
Brooks Robinson131
Jonathan Schoop175
Mark Trumbo15

Alex Dickerson105
Matt Kemp136
Wil Myers345
Colin Rea141
Tyson Ross301
James Shields73

Steve Carlton350
Maikel Franco269
Aaron Nola102

Roberto Clemente320
Gerrit Cole157
Josh Harrison162
Jung Ho Kang153
Starling Marte256
Andrew McCutchen183
Gregory Polanco130

Elvis Andrus28
Adrian Beltre169
Shin-Soo Choo333
Yu Darvish306
Delino DeShields219
Ian Desmond17
Andrew Faulkner290
Prince Fielder85
Joey Gallo3
Cole Hamels252
Luke Jackson226
Nomar Mazara222
Mitch Moreland229
Shawn Tolleson335

Chris Archer257
Brad Boxberger236
Alex Cobb123
Corey Dickerson47
Logan Forsythe53
Kevin Kiermaier291
Evan Longoria146
Luke Maile6
Brad Miller115
Jake Odorizzi43
Richie Shaffer341
Drew Smyly41
Steven Souza164

Red Sox
Mookie Betts184
Xander Bogaerts264
Nomar Garciaparra255
Brian Johnson81
Craig Kimbrel87
Ryan LaMarre322
David Ortiz151
Henry Owens134
Dustin Pedroia237
David Price270
Hanley Ramirez263
Jim Rice57
Eduardo Rodriguez109
Pablo Sandoval346
Carl Yastrzemski187

Jay Bruce29
Caleb Cotham140
Billy Hamilton59
Raisel Iglesias325
John Lamb7
Devin Mesoraco60
Joe Morgan172
Jose Peraza259
Brandon Phillips155
Joey Votto195
Kyle Waldrop5

Nolan Arenado182
Charlie Blackmon25
Miguel Castro44
Dustin Garneau79
Jon Gray190
Nick Hundley91
DJ LeMahieu242
Jake McGee72
Tom Murphy336
Gerardo Parra82
Jose Reyes116
Trevor Story12

Lorenzo Cain111
Alcides Escobar113
Alex Gordon186
Eric Hosmer150
Raul Mondesi327
Kendrys Morales14
Mike Moustakas75
Salvador Perez339
Yordano Ventura317

Miguel Cabrera61
Nick Castellanos321
Guido Knudson286
J.D. Martinez185
Victor Martinez323
Francisco Rodriguez22
Justin Verlander4
Jordan Zimmermann40

Jose Berrios78
Byron Buxton104
Brian Dozier74
Tyler Duffey305
Max Kepler24
Byung Ho Park201
Glen Perkins234
Trevor Plouffe348
Miguel Sano66
Ervin Santana154

White Sox
Jose Abreu54
Melky Cabrera67
Adam Eaton52
Carlton Fisk199
Todd Frazier94
Jose Quintana289
David Robertson178
Carlos Rodon294
Chris Sale274
Frank Thomas268

Carlos Beltran312
Dellin Betances62
Greg Bird126
Starlin Castro314
Aroldis Chapman128
Roger Clemens101
Jacoby Ellsbury298
Brett Gardner159
Chase Headley70
Don Mattingly168
Brian McCann221
Andrew Miller209
Paul O'Neill280
Andy Pettitte308
Michael Pineda20
Rob Refsnyder100
Rob Refsnyder324
Alex Rodriguez36
Gary Sanchez152
Luis Severino99
Masahiro Tanaka218
Mark Teixeira177

Monica Abbott63
Anthony Anderson191
Denise Austin8
Michael Breed210
Dwier Brown245
Timothy Busfield227
Colin Cowherd228
Cuban Embassy42
Dawn Spacecraft37
Falcon 932
Mike Francesa246
Pope Francis247
Missy Franklin202
Vinny G161
Gennady Golovkin119
Gravitational Waves244
Mike Greenberg145
Ernie Johnson203
Orlando Jones241
Steve Kerr160
Rick Klein34
Laurence Leavy45
George Lopez90
Jill Martin248
Paul McBeth249
Cord McCoy138
Joe McKeehen158
Jessica Mendoza230
Jay Oakerson243
Robert Raiola240
Steve Schirripa64
Ari Shaffir198
Maria Sharapova212
Jason Sklar10
Randy Sklar114
Morgan Spurlock166
Steve Spurrier106
Michele Steele110
Leigh Steinberg132
Matt Stonie107
Hannah Storm216
Heidi Watney213
Jen Welter179
Cheyenne Woods235

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

All I've Got of Him: Bill Buckner

I've had Bill Buckner on my mind lately, so I thought I'd take a look at all I've got of him.

Buckner was with the Cubs from 1977 - 1984 and was very productive for most of those years, despite his gimpy wheels.  He was my favorite Cub during that time.  

In addition to cards in the Topps sets, and later, Fleer and Donruss, Buckner showed up in several other sets.  He was one of the few big names on the team, leading to his inclusion in sets like Hostess, Kelloggs, and Drakes.

Buckner was an extremely intense player.  He left it all on the field.  Yet in almost every one of the posed shots, he's got a nice smile.

I've got 56 cards of Billy Buck.  Of those 46 are from his playing days and the other ten are after he retired.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thank You Tom For the New Barney Autograph

P-Town Tom from Waiting 'Til Next Year has to be one of the most generous bloggers out there.  I am constantly seeing posts from other bloggers showing the haul that Tom sent their way.

Today, I've got one of those posts.

The haul was small, but doesn't quality trump quantity?  He sent me one card, this one:

Its a dual autograph of Darwin Barney from 2008 Just Minors.  The other signature belongs to a fellow Cub farmhand, Donnie Veal.

Tom also wrote a note on the back of this calendar page...

...that features my all-time favorite player.  How's that for thoughtfulness!  In the note Tom said he hoped that I didn't have the card.  I didn't!

Just Minors put our a couple different dual auto cards and I had this one...

...with Darwin and Tyler Colvin,  Now I've got Darwin and Donnie!

Thank you Tom for being so generous!!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Topps Screwed Up the Autograph

Yesterday this was one of the Five Random Cubs Cards, from 2012 Archives:

I wrote that the autograph was not the same as on the original card of Buckner's in 1982.


I wondered, why the difference?

There is also a certified autograph version of the Archives card and I have one.

This is Buckner's modern signature.  Similar to the 1982 version, but completely different from what was on the base archives card.

There were two different comments on the topic. Jim said, tongue in cheek, "Proof positive that it's been some Topps lackey signing these cards!"

Joe had a different take : "I once read a story about how the "Walt Disney" script logo was not based on Walt Disney's signature, so after enough people got upset with Walt that he wasn't signing his name "right", he had to learn to sign his name the way it appeared in the movies and TV shows.

...Which is a long-winded way of saying that I suspect that some athletes and celebrities have a legal signature and then they have an "autograph signature". If this is true of Buckner, then I would guess that one card shows his signature and the other his autograph."

Joe makes perfect sense....if it was any other company that we'd be dealing with.  But we're not.  We're talking Topps.

Want to know where the signature on Billy Buck's 2012 Archives card comes from?


The other Bill Buckner.....Billy Buckner.

You'd think that a company that makes baseball cards would have some baseball knowledge and know that there were different players with the same name.  And knowing that, would double-check to make sure that the correct signature was used.

You'd like to think that.

But you'd be wrong.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 14,343 Cubs cards from 108 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1966 Topps #204 Cubs Team The 1966 Cubs were the first to be managed by Leo Durocher.  He said after being hired that his team wasn't an eighth place team.  He was right.  The 1966 Cubs finished tenth...last place

1980s: 1989 Score #532 Al Nipper  The Cubs gave Nipper his unconditional release at the end of spring training, 1989.  As far as I can tell he didn't play for anyone during the 1989 season, big leagues or minors.  He did return to play in 1990.

1990s: 1994 Donruss #507 Jose Guzman This would be Guzman's swan song.  He pitched in four games for the Cubs, went 2-2 with and enormous ERA of 8.15.  On April 22 he was placed on the DL with shoulder tendinitis.  He never played big league ball again.

2000s: 2003 Upper Deck #414 Alex Gonzalez Here is a card of the real goat of the 2003 playoffs.  If he didn't make an error in the 8th inning of game six against the Marlins and instead turned a double play, the Cubs could have gone to the world series and Steve Bartman would be forgotten.

2010s: 2012 Archives #205 Bill Buckner A classic look, with Billy Buck in the white pinstripes.  I never noticed this before, but Topps used a weird looking signature on this card.  It's not the one they used on his actual 1982 card.

You can read the signature on this one.