Friday, November 30, 2018

A Plea for Next Year's Gallery

I'm finishing up with Gallery posts today and I have one request of Topps.

The set typically includes some retired players along with current ones. Last year there were two retired Cubs,

Ernie and Ryno.

This year there were two retired Cubs, Ernie and Ryno.

Got a guess where this is going??

A simple request... in 2019 Gallery please use some new retired players.  Billy, Fergie, Ron, Andre, Greg.... any of these would be fine choices!

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Is Anthony Rizzo the Love Child of Ron Darling?

The title of the post asks an odd question, is Anthony Rizzo the Love Child of Ron Darling?

Where on earth does that question come from??


It didn't come from me.  It came from the brush of artist Kevin Graham.  He made Rizzo look more like Ron Darling that Anthony Rizzo.

This is the second year in a row that Rizzo's artwork didn't do much for him.

Last year he was wearing lipstick.  This year he is Ron Darling.  Hopefully, next year he will be Anthony Rizzo.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

The Gallery Gallery

The 2018 edition of Gallery is the 11th release.  Sets came out from 1996 - 2003, 2005, and 2017-2018.  Sammy Sosa was included in each of the earlier years, and there were several players in the two recent sets.

Here's a look at the eleven year run of Gallery.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

2018 Gallery Cubs

The 2018 version of Gallery was released a couple days ago.  The set has a checklist of 150 base cards and another 50 short prints. As it was last year, the only place you can buy it is at Walmart. 

I had an even dozen Cubs cards to chase.  I did seriously think about buy a couple boxes at Walmart.  But I did a little Ebay hunting and found a cheap Cubs base set.  That took care of eight of the twelve cards.  The four short prints came via Ebay and Sportlots.  In the end, by skipping the Walmart purchase  I saved money, avoided the frustration of not getting all the Cubs, and wasn't left with a stack of cards I didn't want or need.

Gallery's gimmick it cards that feature original paintings of the players.  There were four different artists responsible for Cubs cards, show I show the cards one artist at a time.

FIrst up is artist Carlos Cabaleiro, who had just this one card of Ernie Banks.


Dan Bergren created the artwork for five of the Cubs.


These three are the handiwork of Kris Penix.


Kevin Graham is the artist for the final three Cubs.

Do you have a favorite artist among the four?  Here is one from each of the four, from left to right, Cabaleiro, Bergren, Penix, and Graham.

I'm voting for Dan Bergren, the Baez card.  His work seems to be the most realistic looking, which is the style I prefer.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Living Set Javier Baez

Cub card #6 in the Living Set has arrived.

Baez was added a couple weeks ago.  The print run for his card is 4,499.  That put the run in the bottom third.  When the Living Set came out, print runs were in the 6000 - 8000 range.  In the last month, most cards haven't cracked the 5,000 mark.

Are the lower print runs due to the baseball season being over or are collectors losing interest in the Living Set.

Will the Living Set keep living or will Topps kill it?

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 16,120 Cubs cards from 135 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1979 TCMA The 50's #47 Dee Fondy  The ball in the glove looks nice, but his foot seems to have missed the bag!

1980s: 1985 Team Issued #15 Davey Lopes  Lopes had a fairly productive year as a 40-year-old in 1985.  He hit .284 and hit 11 homers in 99 games.  His most amazing stat, though, is the 47 bases he stole.  That's five more than Rickey Henderson stole when he was 40.  

1990s: 1994 Finest #286 Willie Banks When you combine the words Cubs, Finest, and Banks, it is not Willie that comes to mind!

2000s: 2002 Donruss #109 Corey Patterson Corey was showing some promise as a 22-year-old in 2002.  It was his first full big league season and he hit .253 with 14 homers.  

2010s: 2017 Heritage #60 Carl Edwards  Edwards has a very interesting look on his face.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Friday, November 23, 2018

Really, The Last Topps Cub of 2018

Now I am really, truely, actually done.  I have in hand my final Topps 2018 Cub.  It is the Ernie Banks variation from Series Two.  It is card #384, making it the same number as Addison Russell's card.  Nice match by Topps with two Cubs shortstops.

While the number was a nice match, the color, once again, is not.  Remember how Topps messed up colorizing the blue circle on Ernie's Update variation.  Well that was nothing compared to what they did with the Series Two cards.

Yes, for some insane reason, Ernie is wearing a red jacket.  Red, the color of the Cardinals, on Mr. Cub.  Are the people at Topps so ignorant that no one thought to question the overwhelming red on a Cubs card?

Here is the original black and white picture.  It was taken at spring training.  The jacket would have to be blue, as it is on....

.... this Topps card...

...or this one...

or this one. 

Seriously, who thought that the jacket should be red??

Thursday, November 22, 2018

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 21, 2018

Billy Williams PSA Master List Collection

It's been nearly a year since I've added anything to my Billy Williams PSA master list set.  While I use the PSA list as a guide, I don't get graded cards.  My collection is made up of raw cards.

I've been sitting at a completion rate of 77% for a while.  The cards that I have left are the rare and expensive oddballs.  Most don't show up on Ebay and when they do  they are out of my budget range.

But since Christmas is coming and you are all soon to be filled with extreme fits of generosity, allow me to offer you a couple chances to scratch that giving itch.

Yesterday, two of the rare Billy items showed up in my saved searches.  You can send my way...

...this 1971 Baseball's Greatest moments card.  It is just a mere $225, though the seller is also accepting best offers.

If that doesn't do it for you, how about this...

.... 1968 Kahns.  It's going for just $200 and again, the seller will listed to offers.

I suspect I will still be at 77% in January!

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Hall of Fame Cubs in the x00 Slots

I did some digging around after writing yesterday's post.  I looked to see how many times Cubs Hall of Famers from the Topps era were given a x00 slot on a flagship checklist.

I kinda bemoaned the fact that this 1994 card was Sandberg's only x00 card.  I was hoping that the others fared better.

They didn't.

I count seven players who had significant time with the Cubs during the Topps era and ended up in Cooperstown - Ernie Banks, Andre Dawson, Fergie Jenkins, Greg Maddux, Ryne Sandberg, Ron Santo, and Billy Williams.

Care to guess how many other cards there are besides the '94 Sandberg?


One... just two stinking cards.  Billy was bestowed #200 in 1973 and Dawson got #500 in 1988, following his 1987 MVP.

The others never made it.

Ernie Banks won the MVP in 1958, but in the '59 set Bob Cerv was #100 and NL President Warren Giles got #300.

In 1959 Ernie won the NL MVP for the second time, but that didn't get him a hundred number in 1960.  However, Rocky Colavito (#400) and Johnny Temple (#400) did.

Monday, November 19, 2018

2018 Topps Cubs #132

I mentioned last week that I have three more 2018 Cubs and showed the first of the three.  Over the weekend the second arrived in the mail.

This is the photo variation card of Ryne Sandberg from Series Two.  The card is #500, which is Kris Bryant's card.

The picture shows Ryno taking BP at Wrigley sometime in 1994-1996.  I can say that because of the bear on his shoulder.  Those were the only years that version was used.  I looked through all of my Sandberg cards and didn't find this picture on any others.  Kudos to Topps for not recycling.

As I said earlier, this is card #500 in the set.  Those x00s are typically reserved to the big guns.  Bryant qualifies and it's nice to see Ryno with one too. But how many times during his playing days did he get a X00 card?

Not as often as you would think.  They guy was the best second baseman for years, but Topps didn't give him much respect.

This 1994 card (#300) is Sandberg's only X00 in the flagship set.  I'll have to check the other Cubs Hall of Famers from the Topps era to see how often they got the X00 treatment.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 16,117 Cubs cards from 135 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: Topps 1960 #305 Richie Ashburn  It's pretty obvious that he is wearing a Phillies uniform at Connie Mack Stadium.  But taking those hatless pictures paid off for Topps this time.

1980s: 1986 Team Issued #4 Gene Michael  I didn't like it when Dallas Green fired Jim Frey during the 1986 season and liked it even less when Michael was hired as his replacement.  The team was no better with him than they were with Frey... they were 10 games under .500 with each as manager

1990s: 1991 Star Platinum #7 Mark Grace The card is for the 1989 season and most likely, the picture is from 1989, too.  That was the last year that the Cubs wore pullover tops.

2000s: 2002 Topps Total #933 Jon Lieber  The best thing about Total?  Lieber is card #933  and there were still another 57 cards on the checklist.

2010s: 2013 Gypsy Queen #285 Matt Garza  The Cubs sold high on Garza during the 2013 season.  He was traded to the Rangers after going 6-1 for the Cubs. Two members of the 2016 WS Cubs team came in exchange - Carl Edwards and Justin Grimm.  Garza is 14 games under .500 since the trade.... and earned about $68 million.  

Saturday, November 17, 2018


My go-to source for most of current Cubs sets is Brent Williams, aka Brentandbecca.  I've been buying from him for years.  I started with a few Ebay purchases and then started buying directly from him.

Each year he opens an insane number of  cases of cards.  He then has to sort the cards,  package them up, and send them out.  It has become his full-time job.

This week an article on Brent was posted on the GTS website.  It's a very interesting read and worth your time.  Take a look.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Topps Colorization Screw-up

As I mentioned yesterday, this card of Ernie features a colorized card. That is something that I thought Topps should have been doing for a long time.  There are so many black and white pictures of older players that could be used by colorizing, instead of using the limited number of color pictures over and over.

But then again, Topps has a way of taking a good idea and messing it up.

This is the original picture.  On May 30, 1970, the Cubs honored Ernie by presenting him with this trophy.  He had hit his 500th home run 18 days earlier.  

You can see how Topps really cropped the picture to include just Ernie. They also removed the man presenting the trophy and the Andy Frain usher behind the trophy. 

Then they colorized it.

And screwed it up.

Did you find the mistake?  To any eagle-eyed Cub fan, it is a glaring mistake.

The circle around the Cubs logo is red.

It is supposed to be blue.

It has been blue during the entire Topps era.  Yet the Topps artist makes it red.  And not one person at Topps notices the error.

What horrible quality control!

It took me three clicks to correct the card.