Friday, August 31, 2018

The Archives Autographs

Archives has been around since 2012 and each year there has been an insert called Fan Favorites Autographs.  I've been able to get the cards for each of the retired Cubs on the checklist.  I've passed on the current players due to the expense and repetition.  I can't afford to pay for several Kris Bryant cards.

I've counted a total of nine retired Cubs over the years....

2012 - Bill Buckner and Shawon Dunston
2013 - Jody Davis, Leon Durham, Rick Reuschel, and Lee Smith
2014 -  no retired Cubs
2015 -  Mark Grace and Mark Prior
2016 -  no retired Cubs
2017 -  no retired Cubs
2018 -  Don Kessinger

An earlier incarnation of Archives called Fan Favorites was issued from 2003 - 2005.  It too has a bunch of autographs.  I haven't chased them since this was out when I was away from collecting.  It would be a nearly impossible and overly expensive hunt now.

Cubs in those sets include...
2003 - Ernie Banks, Bill Buckner, Andre Dawson, Leon Durham, Fergie Jenkins, Bill Madlock, Ron Santo, Lee Smith, Bruce Sutter, and Ron Santo

2004 - Fergie Jenkins, Don Kessinger, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, Rick Sutcliffe

2005 - Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Shawon Dunston, Ron Santo, Jerome Walton

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Fan Favorite Autograph Don Kessinger

Topps really went outside their normal stock of retired Cubs in the 2018 Fan Favorites Autograph insert set.  No Banks, Sandberg, Dawson, Jenkins, or Williams.

Not even a Hall of Famer.

They went with a less-acclaimed '69 Cub, shortstop Don Kessinger.

And doesn't he have a nice looking signature -- you can read it!

My only quibble with the card is that while the design is from 1971, the picture is from, at the latest, 1967.  Then again, it wasn't unusual for Topps to use 3-4 year old pictures on cards back then, so that must be what they were going for.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Evolution of '77 In Archives

The 1977 design was used for the third time in Archives 2018.  Each of the three years Topps used a different variation, and they have yet to duplicate the actual 1977 look.

This cloth sticker from 2012 was the first to try and copy 1977.  It was a fail as the Cubs name isn't even close to the real 1977 deal.

1977 returned in 2013 and they were better with the Cubs name, but still not quite there.

Here's the Archives and actual 1977 Reuschel card side by side.

And then there is this year's disaster with the white font on yellow flag.  Yikes!

Maybe if we see a 1977 card in next year's Archives they'll get it right.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Living Set Anthony Rizzo

After being shut out of the Living Set for a long time, a Cub made the set two weeks in a row.  The latest Cub is Anthony Rizzo.

I'm glad he's in the set, but that picture doesn't work for me.  Maybe I'm not artsy enough to appreciate the painting.  To my uneducated eye, that doesn't look like enough like Rizzo.

Maybe his face doesn't translate well in drawings because...


....he's had some other odd-looking drawn cards

Monday, August 27, 2018

Cub #45

Cub #45 recently was added to the roster and it was a good move!  This wasn't a Jorge de la Rosa or Brad Kintzler.  This is Cub-killer Daniel Murphy.

The Cubs picked him up for next to nothing in a waiver deal with the Nationals.   JD has said this several times on recent broadcasts and I'm echoing his thought - how could every team below the Cubs pass on the guy?

He's been a hitting machine since joining the Cubs and it sure is nice to have his hits go your way instead of against you.  When Kris Bryant returns (hopefully within a week) the Cubs are going to have a really strong lineup and bench.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 15,970 Cubs cards from 134 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1960 Topps #476 Lou Johnson  Johnson spent most of the 1960 season in AAA and played just 34 games for the Cubs.  He has an interesting way of wearing hit hat, over his ear.

1980s: 1982 Fleer #590 Bill Caudill  After three very mediocre years with the Cubs, on April 1, 1982 he was dealt to the Yankees, who then flipped him to the Mariners.  He turned in to a stud closer for the Mariners.

1990s: 1997 Finest #20 Sammy Sosa By 1997 Sammy was starting to really bulk up.  The unanswered question is was it by hard work or was it chemically induced?

2000s: 2001 Ovation #36 Sammy Sosa  The RNG likes Sammy today.  You don't see batting practice pictures on cards too often.  I'm guessing that Sammy always put on a good batting practice show.  After all, that is why he claimed he had a corked bat - for BP.

2010s: 2011 Allen & Ginter Glossy #122 Ryan Dempster  Topps made 999 glossy sets of Ginter in 2011 and I have set #943.  I don't know why I bought the set, but there are two sitting on Ebay going for $300 and $200.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Archives Against the Real Deal

The 2018 Archives set used designs from 1959, 1977, and 1981.  Today I'm going to see how the '77 and '81s compare to the originals (I'm skipping '59 since that has already been done with Heritage).


Right off the bat you'll notice a monster mistake by Topps with the Archives version.  The position on the original is in black, while Archives used an unreadable white font.  White on yellow in never a good idea unless you're trying to hide something.

The font size for the name on the Archives card seems a bit smaller than the original.  Also the picture on the Archives card is smaller, too.  Does no one at Topps own a ruler?


There are minor size issues with the '81s, too.  The position font size on the Archives is bigger, while the team name and player name is smaller.  The Topps font is skinnier than the original and the player picture is smaller.  Again, no rulers available?

Friday, August 24, 2018

2018 Archives Cubs

The 2018 version of Topps Archives came out last week.  The Heritage-wannabe uses the designs from 1959, 1977, and 1981 in the 320 card set.  The Cubs netted ten cards.


These four have the 1959 design, which we saw with Heritage 2008.


Here's the Cubs from 1977.  Incidentally, 1977 was the first year I started buying complete sets, so I have a sentimental attachment to it.


The final four have the 1981 design.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Where Were They Taken....Topps 1972 Cubs

There was a dramatic shift in the location on most of the 1972 Cubs.  For the past few years, shots at Shea dominated.  But in 1972, Shea dropped off to just...

.... three cards.

And what site replaced Shea?

Arizona.  Spring training pictures dominated the set with 20 Cubs.  Telltale signs include the high school-type grandstands, palm trees in the background, and plastic jackets underneath the jerseys.

These two locations account for 23 of the 25 regular player cards.  There are two more cards left and they are both...


... at Candlestick Park.

And while we are on the subject of Candlestick Park...


.... all four of the Cubs In Action cards are from San Francisco.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018

40% of the Cubs Baseball Card Giveaway Set

On August 11 the Cubs gave away packs of cards celebrating National Baseball Card Day.  Each pack contained four Cubs cards.  The entire set consists of ten cards.  I missed out when complete sets were available on Ebay and now have to get packs.

It hasn't been easy because the packs listed are substantially overpriced.  Even the pack I got was more than I'd like to pay.  Truth be told, I thought I was getting the entire set and was unpleasantly surprised when I received just four cards.


The design that Topps came up with is nice enough.  I wouldn't expect anything flashy on a giveaway set, but they didn't go with something junky either.

The six players I'm missing are Baez, Bryant, Contreras, Lester, Quintana, and Russell.  I'm not sure if I'll ever end up getting them.  Only if a deal comes up.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Where Were They Taken.... Topps 1971 Cubs

This year was even easier than the 1970 cards.  Of the 27 Cubs cards...

....25 are Shea shots.  The Topps photographers didn't stray too far from home for this set!

Of the two non-Shea cards, one I can identify...

.... as Billy gets hit picture taken at Candlestick Park.  The astroturf and the orange seats are the tipoff to that.

This picture shows the Astroturf being installed at Candlestick in February, 1970, and also gives a good look at the orange seats.

That leaves just one more card...

... and Hector Torres gets added to the "I don't know" pile.  It's most likely a spring training shot, probably in Florida as Hector was with the Astros in the spring of 1970.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Where Were They Taken.... Topps 1970 Cubs

I enjoy the detective work needed to figure out where the pictures are cards were taken. Some sets are easier to figure than others.

The 1970 set was pretty easy.  There are 24 Cubs cards in the set.  Most, 20, were taken in one location, Shea Stadium.

Shea has several distinctive features... the cantilevered decks, the green outfield fence, the scoreboard, the outfield light towers.

Spring training shots are pretty easy too, since the grandstands at Arizona parks back then looked like high school stadiums.

There are two cards that don't give enough info to make a determination.

I've got no shot with just Ken Rudolph and grass....

...or John Callison and the cage.