Monday, April 30, 2018

Who's Butt Is It?

The card below was one of the five random on Sunday and I asked "Who's butt is it?"

A couple comments left some guesses.   Tom thought it might be Jeff Blausser while Len was pretty confident it was Mark Lemke.  I felt the need to do some further digging.

In 1993 the Cubs played in Atlanta six times.  (I loved that old schedule from the days of two division, six teams in each -- play division opponents 9 home and 9 away, the other division six home and six away). But only one of the six Cubs games in Atlanta was a day game.  So I took a look at the game log for that game.

On Sunday, August 29, the Cubs and Braves squared off in the rubber game of a three game series.  A crowd of over 47,000 was on had to take in the action.

In the top of the third of a scoreless game, Vizcaino led off with a single.  Ryne Sandberg was up next, but the future Hall of Famer hit into a 6-4-3 double play, rubbing out Vizcaino at second.  Turning the double play was Braves second baseman Mark Lemke.

So Les was correct, that is Mark Lemke, with his short stirrups and Pony spikes (as pointed out by Len) and confirmation from the box score.

And if you need a little more confirmation, here is Lemke's....

1993 Topps card, with the same stirrups and spikes.

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 15,783 Cubs cards from 133 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1947 Tip Top Bread #160 Henry Wyse  This card is a reprint from the 1947 Tip Top Bread set.  The set is one of the toughest post-WWII sets out there, hence reprints for me.  Wyse was a 22-game winner for the NL champ Cubs in 1945 and won just six games in 1947.

1980s: 1985 Topps #98 Steve Lake  Lake batted just .151 in 119 at bats as Jody Davis' backup.  Maybe he would have hit better if he'd take the donut off the bat!

1990s: 1994 Upper Deck #122 Jose Vizcaino  Can anyone identify which Braves butt is prominently featured on this card?

2000s: 2001 Fleer Ultra #54 Jon Lieber  The 2001 season was the best of his career by far.  Lieber posted a record of 20-6 and made his only appearance on the All Star team.  

2010s: 2015 Spring Fever #38 Jon Lester It's been two years since Topps quit their Spring Fever promotion.  Anyone know why they stopped?

Saturday, April 28, 2018

1997 Sports Illustrated Cubs

For three years in the late 1990s, Fleer teamed up with Sports Illustrated to put out a set of baseball cards.  SI provided the pictures and Fleer produced the cards.  SI is known for its great sports photography, so it seemed like a wise move for Fleer to team up with them.

The first set came out in 1997 and included a total of 180 cards. The Cubs were minimally represented, with three base cards and one rookie card.


Grace, Sosa, and Sandberg with no-brainer selections.  The pictures don't seem like anything special.  The SI photographers didn't do anything that the Topps guys didn't already do.

The rookie subset is known as "Fresh Faces" and Kevin Orie was the lone Cub.  Fleer could have called the subset "Sepia Faces" instead of "Fresh Faces."  I don't find this one attractive at all.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Caratini's Rule Following Relic

I've finally learned to look over the checklists of any new Panini product.  It's not that I'm all that interested in their products.  I find the logoless stuff very uninspiring.

I look because Panini has become the go-to place for relics and autos of the unknowns.  A month ago I picked up an autograph of Victor Caratini, as he was included in the Donruss set.

Diamond Kings came out a week ago and Caratini has both autographs and relic cards.  Since he's played for the Cubs this year and the card shows him as a Cub, the relic meets my rule.

This is  a dual relic, numbered to just 49.  I picked it up for $5.50, including shipping.  The low price shows how little collectors think of both Panini and Victor.  I'm happy to pick up a bargain for the relic collection.

Victor become's the 86th Cub to have a relic card that shows him as a Cub in a season he played for the Cubs.  Here's the complete list:

Arismendy Alcantara   Kosuke FukudomeJose Nieves
Albert AlmoraNomar Garciaparra   Mike Olt
Moises AlouMatt GarzaCorey Patterson
Jake ArrietaMark GraceFelix Pie
Javier BaezMark GrudzielanekJuan Pierre
Darwin BarneyJason HammelMark Prior
Francis BeltranIan HappAramis Ramirez
Kris BryantRich HardenAnthony Rizzo
Damon BufordBrendan HarrisAddison Russell
Marlon ByrdKevin HartJeff Samardzija
Jeimer CandelarioJason HeywardKyle Schwarber
Victor CaratiniBobby HillJorge Soler
Andrew CashnerRich HillAlfonso Soriano
Welington CastilloTodd HundleySammy Sosa
Starlin CastroBrett JacksonGeovany Soto
Aroldis ChapmanJacque JonesMatt Szczur
Hee Seop ChoiEric KarrosRyan Theriot
Tyler ColvinDavid KeltonJosh Vitters
Willson ContrerasBryan LaHairDarryle Ward
Juan CruzJunior LakeTodd Wellemeyer
Wade DavisDerrek LeeRandy Wells
Ryan DempsterJon LesterRondell White
Blake DeWittTed LillyJerome Williams
Jason DuboisKenny LoftonKerry Wood
Jim EdmondsGreg MadduxCarlos Zambrano
Carl EdwardsCarlos MarmolBen Zobrist
Mike FontenotGary Matthews, Jr.Julio Zuleta
Dexter FowlerFred McGriff
Kyuji FujikawaBill Mueller

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Blog Bat Around: My All-Autograph Team

Torren' Up Cards has come up with the latest Blog Bat Around, to cfreate your All Autograph Team.  I'm ready to take a swing!

First, as you'd probably expect, this team is pure Cubs.  I've got no interest in chasing autographs of players from any other team.  For the most part I picked my team based on talent.  There are seven Hall of Famers on the team and I couldn't really leave them off.  I did make a couple picked based more on my heart instead of head.  Since it's my team, I'm allowed to do that!

Here we go, starting with THE OUTFIELD

Left Field - Billy Williams

Center Field - Jose Cardenal

Right Field - Andre Dawson

Left and right were HOFers.  Center field was not easy as the Cubs have rarely had a decent center fielder.  I went with Jose as more of a heart pick.
Honorable Mention - Dave Kingman, Dexter Fowler, Kyle Schwarber, Gary Matthew, Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano

Next it's on to THE INFIELD

Third Base - Ron Santo
Honorable Mention - Bill Madlock, Aramis Ramirez, Kris Bryant

Shortstop - Ernie Banks
Honorable Mention - Don Kessinger, Shawon Dunston, Starlin Castro, Addison Russell

Second Base - Ryne Sandberg
Honorable Mention - Glenn Beckert, Manny Trillo, Javier Baez, and Darwin Barney

First Base - Bill Buckner
Honorable Mention - Phil Cavaretta, Mark Grace. Derrek Lee, Leon Durham, Anthony Rizzo
Three of the four infielders are HOFers, so they were pretty automatic.  Buckner is a heart choice.  I could have put Banks at first, or DLee, or Rizzo, but Billy Buck won out

Catcher - Jody Davis
Honorable Mention - Randy Hundley, Michael Barrett, Geovany Soto, Willson Contreras
Catching has been pretty thin over the years.  Jody probably had the longest run of good play behind the plate, giving him the nod.

Pinch Hitter - Kris Bryant
The best of the position player honorable mentions was going to go here and giving Bryant the job.

The final category would be THE PITCHERS

Starting Pitcher - Fergie Jenkins
Honorable Mention - Jake Arrieta, RIck Reuschel, Ken Holtzman, Rick Sutcliffe, Greg Maddux, Kerry Wood
I had to pick from two HOFer who both wore #31.  Fergie got the start because his best years were with the Cubs


Relief Pitchers - Lee Smith, Phil Regan
Closer - Bruce Sutter
Honorable mention - Aroldis Chapman, CJ Edwards, WIllie Hernandez, Randy Myers

Though all three are closers, I put Sutter in that role since he is in Cooperstown.

There you have the Wrigley Wax All Autograph team.  What do you think??

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Three Recent New Cubs

The season is now four weeks old and in that time the Cubs have seen three more players added to the roster.  I've made Topps 2018 cards for each of them

Efren Navarro came up when Anthony Rizzo was out with a bad back.  He played in four games and went back to Iowa as soon as Rizzo was ready

David Bote was brought up to replace an injured Ben Zobrist.  A Colorado native, he made his debut over the weekend as the Cubs took on the Rockies.  Nice to start your career in familiar surroundings.  He doubled in his very first at bat, and the picture on the card is the moment right after he made contact.

Luke Farrell is replacing Eddie Butler in the bullpen.  He looked good in his first Cubs outing on Saturday.  Yesterday he gave up an unearned run in a mop-up role.

The 28 Cubs of 2016 fit nicely into a 4 x 7 tile:

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Now vs. Documentary

Topps Now isn't the first set to try and capture the season on cards.  Upper Deck tried it in 2008 and it was not pretty.

While Topps captures just the significant moments from each day, Upper Deck's Documentary created a card for each Cubs game of 2008.  It sounds like a good idea, but boy did Upper Deck screw up the implementation.

If a Topps Now card deals with a significant event or player of the day, it included a picture of that event / player.  It makes obvious sense.

Jake Arrieta throws a no-hitter?  The card shows Jake Arrieta celebrating his no-hitter.

Upper Deck did not do the obvious.  The did they insane.  Though they created cards for each game, the pictures on the cards were not from that game.  In fact, they just kept reusing the same pictures over and over again.

How nuts was that?  The first 100 cards in the set had just ten different pictures.  The next 33 cards rotated a mere three pictures.  The last 30 cards had three more pictures.  So in a set with 163 cards, Upper Deck used just 16 unique pictures!  

Though there are many collectors that lament the Topps monopoly right now, I am glad that Upper Deck is no longer in the baseball card business.

Monday, April 23, 2018

They Took My Advice!

The Cubs took my advice!

Ok, maybe they have never even heard of me, but they did make a change that I suggested a year ago.

In this post, I pointed out that the Cubs have a team flag.  There are red stars on it for each NL pennant and blue ones for each World Series championship.  The above is what the flag had looked like since 1945.

With the 2016 title, I said that the Cubs needed to update the flag, with another red star and a third blue star. 

Well, guess what is flying at Wrigley now....

.... an updated flag!!

The third blue star is exactly where I said it should go.  The extra red star was added to the left side, like on mine, but in a different pattern.

I'm hoping that come November, I'll have to figure out where the fourth blue star will go!!

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 15,753 Cubs cards from 136 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1969 Topps Stamps Bill Hands  The RNG pulled a card from the same set and year two weeks in a row.  I wonder what the odds of that are?  Hand had the best year of his career in 1969, with the most wins (20), lowest ERA (2.19) and most Ks (181).

1980s: 1980 TCMA Baseball Immortals #40 Frank Chance  Chance is a member of a very small club - Cubs managers with a World Series title.  It's just Frank and Joe Maddon.

1990s: 1999 Topps #23 Mickey Morandini  Ryne Sandberg wore #23.  Topps gave card #23 to the guy who replaced Ryno after he retired the second time.  Coincidence or just a sick joke??

2000s: 2009 Bowman #131 Carlos Zambrano Zambrano was paid $18 million in 2009 and won just nine games.  Paying $2 million per win is overpaying.

2010s: 2013 Topps Chrome Autographs #130 Kyuji Fujikawa  Kyuji needs to practice his penmanship.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

2016 Cubs Topps Now Tile

As Jack Brickhouse would say, "Here are the happy totals for today's ballgame" (though he said that less than half of the Cubs games he broadcast).

Matt gifted me a total of 190 Topps Now cards...

  • 140 from the base set
  • 18 from the Postseason Team set
  • 15 from the Cubs World Series Team set
  • 11 from the Offseason set
  • 6 from Throwback Thursday
Here's a look at all 140.....

Friday, April 20, 2018

2016 Topps Now Cubs November!!

We've moved from the good stuff to the great stuff!  The Cubs played just two games in November, but that resulted in 14 Now cards.  Of course, since they were games six and seven of the World Series, I guess that makes sense.

There are five cards from game six, as the Cubs jumped on the Indians early and coasted to an easy win.....

The final nine cards are from the greatest night in Cubs history, November 2.  I've got the cards in the order in which they happened, starting with Dexter Fowler's lead off home run and finishing up with Ben Zobrist celebrating his MVP selection. And no, I do not have the Rajai Davis home run card.



And my favorite of these is...

a Bryzzo celebration!

The Zobrist MVP card is the last one in the 2016 Topps Now set, as the 2016 season had come to an end..... a very happy end!