Thursday, November 30, 2017

2002 Gold Label Cubs

Gold Label was on life support in 2002 and Topps made some big changes to save it, apparently.  First, the set was increased to 200 cards, which was double most of the previous releases.  The second big change is that there was just one card for each player, not three.  Topps still had classes, but they were just parallels of the base set, not different cards.  I'm guessing that the changes didn't help sales, because this was the last release of Gold Label for twelve years.

With 200 cards in the set, the number of Cubs increased, too and we end up with seven Cubs cards.

The Cubs acquired Alou before the 2002 season.  The set came out in May, so Topps did a lazy photo-shop job.  They changed the helmet, but did nothing to the uniform.  The other six Cubs are actually wearing a Cubs uniform.




Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Cards That Accurately Portray the Player: Andre Dawson

I've got 289 card of Andre Dawson, but it took no time at all to find the one card for him that, at least in my mind, accurately portrays him.  The card shows the one overriding memory I have of Dawson's time with the Cubs.

Its actually a little surprising that it was used on a card because the picture is a bit gruesome.

The cards is from 1987 Classic and it shows Dawson getting beaned.  It happened on July 7, 1987 as the Cubs were taking on the Padres.  Eric Show was the Padre pitcher and after Dawson was hit, the benches emptied as Dawson laid on the ground.  When he got up, though bloodied, Dawson went after Show.  It's ironic that the card is from Classic, because the July 7 incident is classic Andre Dawson.

Here's a clip with that shows the beaning and has Dawson's description of the event.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

2001 Gold Label Cubs

The 2001 Gold Label was an enigma.  It returned to its roots, after one year of equally distributed classes, by having the second and third class of cards harder to find than set one.  But a completely new twist was added, with the addition of 15 cards to each class.  The additional 15 were mostly rookies and prospects, but they were also short-printed and numbered.

Steve Smyth was the Cubs representative among the additional 15.  The insanity is that of all of the Gold Label cards from all the years, this was the most expensive.  I had to pay more for a guy with an MLB career ERA of 9.35  than I paid for any other player.


Sammy and EY were the other Cubs in the set.  The early aughts were lean times for the Cubs.

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Gallery of Gallery

It's been twelve years since the previous release of Topps, so I thought I'd put together a tile that gives a look at all the past releases of the brand.

Notice that while the Gallery logo has not changed over the years. And while the Gallery logo has been on the cards every year, team logos have never appeared.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 15,220 Cubs cards from 127 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1979 Topps #398 Ivan DeJesus  DeJesus was the Cubs starting shortstop for the third consecutive year in 1979.  Extremely durable, he played in 160 games, which led the team.  He also hit a career high .283.

1980s: 1986 Leaf #94 Keith Moreland He's squatting like a catcher, but has a fielder's mitt.  Always versatile, in 1986 he played right field, third base, first base, and catcher.

1990s: 1995 Collectors Choice #204 Shawon Dunston  After missing most of the past three seasons due to injuries, Dunston came back in 1995 and had a nice season.  He played in 127 games and hit .296.....and the Cubs let him go as a free agent after the season.

2000s: 2001 Heritage Classic Renditions #4 Sammy Sosa  Yes, this is classic Sammy, as opposed to whatever he is now.

2010s: 2017 Topps Salute #120 Kris Bryant Spring Training  I'm not sure why we need to salute spring training, but Topps must have their reasons.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

2017 Gallery Cubs

Last seen in 2005, Topps brought back the Gallery brand with a 200 card set.  Of course, they had to ruin a good thing by making the last 50 cards short-prints.  The Cubs had four players in the common numbers and four more in the SPs.  Having eleven out of 200 is about double the expected.


These two were among the short-prints.  We also get a good look at two different versions of the shoulder Cubbie patch.  Man, I do wish they'd go back to one that Ernie wears.


Lester and Contreras were the other short-prints.  The Contreras card looks like something that Panini makes, with no visible team logos.


 The seven in the common set are the usual suspects, with the exception of Ian Happ.  I guess there always has to be a rookie in the mix.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Turkey Red for Turkey Day

The original Turkey Red set came out in 1911.  Topps released their own versions in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014.  There are 56 Cubs cards in those eight sets.  Take a look at them and then go back to your own turkey!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

2000 Gold Label Cubs

The 2000 edition of Gold Label repeated the previous formula....100 players, three different classes of cards for each player.  The difference in 2000 is that none of the classes were less common than the others.  They were all made in equal numbers.  Despite that, I just picked up class one.

Five Cubs made the checklist.



Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Zobrist Autograph*

I've been a bit surprised that there hasn't been a Ben Zobrist autograph card that meets my rules.  I can find plenty from his days in Tampa, but anything signed from his Cub days has been far and few between.  I think the only one I saw was with Topps Now, a really expensive and limited card.

I was excited when I saw his name on the checklist for Triple Threads.  When I saw the card on Ebay, I was a little less excited.

It is the dreaded redemption card.  I went back and forth about getting one, but eventually I bit the bullet and made an offer on a BIN card on Ebay.  The seller took my offer and I've got a redemption.

I've already redeemed the card at Topps and now I just have to wait for Ben to sign and Topps to ship.  I hope he takes care of this over the winter and the card comes before the start of the season.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Always Learning

Years ago I completed the Donruss Champions Cubs sets.  it was pretty easy as there were just two years to chase, 2003 and 2005.

I put this one to bed a while ago.... I thought.

I'm always learning. For the second time in just the past couple of weeks I was made aware of a set that I didn't know existed.

This time it was Donruss Champions from 1984.  The 60 card set featured current players, Champions, and Hall of Famers, Grand Champions.  The cards were also oversized, measuring 3½" x 5".  Two Cubs made the checklist


Oddly, neither of these champions were with the Cubs by the end of the 1984 season.  Fergie was released during spring training and Buckner was traded mid-season to the Red Sox.

But now I can at least say the my Champions collection is complete.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 15,209 Cubs cards from 127 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1963 Exhibits Billy Williams Such a young looking Billy Williams!   This card is using the Cubs press shot of Billy from 1962.

1980s: 1983 Fleer Stickers #131 Leon Durham Fleer has the bull flexing his muscles while taking BP.

1990s: 1997 Collectors Choice #286 Brooks Kieschnick  I'm assuming that Kieschnick just hit an infield pop-up.  He hit just .200 in 1997.

2000s: 2003 Gallery #100 Sammy Sosa  I just read this week that Topps is bringing back the Gallery brand, which was last released in 2005.  In fact, the last time that Gallery came out Sammy Sosa was still a black man.

I'm not sure what is going on with him now.

2010s: 2013 Bowman #67 Alfonso Soriano Hometown  This came out before the Cubs sent Soriano to the Yankees.  In return the Cubs got Corey Black, who is currently out of organized ball.  His minor league record?  11-28.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

2015 and 2016 Chrome Update Cubs

Once I realized that there were Chrome updates from the past few years, I had to go back and get the Cubs.  Luckily we weren't talking about fistfulls of cards.  In fact, it was just seven cards and they were all available for reasonable prices on Sportlots

These four are from 2015.  Just like Ian Happ this year, in 2015 Chrome Update included two cards for Addison Russell.

The 2016 version of Chrome Update included just three Cubs.

One thing you may have noticed from both years is the extra sparkle look on the cards.  It seems odd to me to change the look of Chrome cards for Update, but whatever.  Cardboard Connection refers to the look as a Bubble/Pulsar Refractor finish.