Sunday, March 31, 2019

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 16,728 Cubs cards from 197 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1965 Topps Embossed #67 Dick Ellsworth  The embossed cards have to be one of the more unique inserts from Topps.  They haven't tried anything similar.

1980s: 1988 Topps #615 Jody Davis  This picture must be from an early spring game because there are a lot of empty seat in the background.

1990s: 1997 Pacific #247 Scott Bullett

2000s: 2009 Topps #276 Geovany Soto Rookie of the Year This picture looks to be from the early spring too (there are some bundled up fans), but the stands are packed now.

2010s: 2015 Gypsy Queen Mini #97 Anthony Rizzo  Mini cards used to be such a big part of Gypsy Queen.  Now they're down to just a twenty player insert set.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

1961 Golden Press Cubs

Today I've got an oddball card that is as old as I am, from the 1961 Golden Press set.

I was unaware of this set until I saw a post on White Sox Cards (and it's nice to see Steve actively posting again!).  He showed the White Sox card from the set.  I found the checklist and saw that there was a Cub in it.  For a couple bucks, the 58-year-old card was mine.

The Golden Press set came in this book, which retailed for 29¢.  The cards were on punch-out pages inside the book.  Aren't those cards nice looking?  I really like the way they colorized them.

And the one Cub?

Catcher Gabby Hartnett.  Again, I love the colorized card.  And look at Wrigley Field in the background!  The bleachers have to be fairly new.  We also get a look at the house with the dormer at the corner of Kenmore and Waveland.

It's nice to see that some things from 1961 have held up over the years.... not sure that I can say the same about me!

Friday, March 29, 2019

1988 Fantastic Sams Cubs

I  haven't been to a barber in over 36 years.  Yes, you read that correctly, 36 years.

Yes, I do have hair - I'm not bald.  And no, my hair is not floor length.

So what gives?

Easy -- I sleep with my barber.  

Mrs. WW has been cutting my hair since the time we got engaged.  I was too poor in college to bother with a barber and she had cut a little hair, so in an act of total trust, I let her cut my hair.  She's did a great job, and she's been doing it ever since. I haven't changed my hair style since then, and it hasn't fallen out.  Win Win Win!

I've never darkened the door of the unisex hair-care chain Fantastic Sams.  But maybe I would have in 1988 if I knew that they were giving out baseball cards and prizes, too.  

They had a twenty-card set that was given away in a contest called Superstar Sweepstakes.  You got the card and a chance at other loot.

The grand prize was four tickets to a 1988 championship game.  The set does not have an MLB license, so I wonder if that is why they didn't say "World Series"?   Did the winner get to see Kirk Gibson's famous walk-off homer in game 1 of the '88 Series?

The set included 20 discs and one of those belonged to a Cub...

... Andre Dawson.  They did a pretty tight crop job which reduces the need to remove much of the logo.  I've got both a individual disc and a full disc with the prize card.

Andre's hair is looking a little shabby in the back.  Can Sam take care of that??

Thursday, March 28, 2019

It's Opening Day 2019!

And away we go!!! Let's get the second title in four years!

The Cubs open the season on the road again this year, for the fourth consecutive season.  My guess is that with all the off-season Wrigley renovations, the Cubs asked to have their home opener a little later to give the construction work a little more time.  This year's work is supposed to wrap things up, so maybe their 2020 opener will be at home.

To celebrate the Cubs opening day, I've got their all time opening day lineup. The lineup features a majority of the players from the '60's and later. That seems odd to me, considering the long history of the Cubs. In fact, of the entire lineup, I have seen all but three (Hartnett, Grimm and Pafko) of them play (and I'm not that old).

Pitcher: Fergie Jenkins, 7 Opening Day starts.
Jon Lester is making his fourth start today.

Catcher: Gabby Hartnett, 12 starts
Willson Contreras is making his third Opening Day start


First Base (since 1900): Charlie Grimm and Mark Grace, 12 starts
Anthony Rizzo makes his seventh opening day start.

Second Base: Ryne Sandberg, 13 starts
David Bote is making his first opening day start.

Shortstop: Shawon Dunston, 11 starts
Javier Baez makes his second opening day start, his first at shortstop

Third Base: Ron Santo, 13 starts
Kris Bryant makes his fourth opening day start

Left Field: Billy Williams, 10 starts
Mark Zagunis is making his first opening day start.

Center Field (since 1900): Andy Pafko, 7 starts
Albert Almora is making his opening day debut in center field

Right Field: Sammy Sosa, 12 starts
Jason Heyward makes his third opening day start in right field.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

David Bote Follows the Rules

I've added another rule-following relic to my collection

This would be David Bote's Donruss Majestic Materials jersey card.  It shows him as a Cub (well, as a CHI) in a year that he played for the Cubs (and I'm assuming that he will get into a game in 2019), so that means he follows the rules for my relic collection.

By my count, there are now 88 different Cub players that follow my rules.  That number has not been going up much lately.  Last year I added just two players, Victor Caratini and Yu Darvish.  This year there haven't been any new players to add with the Topps products released so far.  Bote is the only new player in Donruss.

Here's a look at the cards...

...and here's the list of rule-followers, with the players currently on the Cubs in bold.
Arismendy Alcantara    Dexter FowlerFred McGriff
Albert AlmoraKyuji FujikawaBill Mueller
Moises AlouKosuke FukudomeJose Nieves
Jake ArrietaNomar Garciaparra  Mike Olt
Javier BaezMatt GarzaCorey Patterson
Darwin BarneyMark GraceFelix Pie
Francis BeltranMark GrudzielanekJuan Pierre
David BoteJason HammelMark Prior
Kris BryantIan HappAramis Ramirez
Damon BufordRich HardenAnthony Rizzo
Marlon ByrdBrendan HarrisAddison Russell
Jeimer CandelarioKevin HartJeff Samardzija
Victor CaratiniJason HeywardKyle Schwarber
Andrew CashnerBobby HillJorge Soler
Welington CastilloRich HillAlfonso Soriano
Starlin CastroTodd HundleySammy Sosa
Aroldis ChapmanBrett JacksonGeovany Soto
Hee Seop ChoiJacque JonesMatt Szczur
Tyler ColvinEric KarrosRyan Theriot
Willson ContrerasDavid KeltonJosh Vitters
Juan CruzBryan LaHairDarryle Ward
Yu DarvishJunior LakeTodd Wellemeyer
Wade DavisDerrek LeeRandy Wells
David DeJesusJon LesterRondell White
Ryan DempsterTed LillyJerome Williams
Blake DeWittKenny LoftonKerry Wood
Jason DuboisGreg MadduxCarlos Zambrano
Jim EdmondsCarlos MarmolBen Zobrist
Carl EdwardsGary Matthews, Jr.Julio Zuleta
Mike Fontenot

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

The Complete Court of the Diamond Kings

Javier Baez is the Cubs 2019 Diamond King.  It's hard to argue with his selection following his near-MVP season last year.  He's also a more appropriate choice than the Cubs first Diamond King in 1982, Ivan DeJesus.  He was coming off of a below-Mendoza year, hitting just .194 in 1981.

Below is a tile of all the Cubs kings... the full court.

Monday, March 25, 2019

2019 Donruss Cubs

I don't buy Donruss cards because of the look of their looks.  I get them because I can't stand having holes in my collection. 

I really went back and forth when Panini put out their first Donruss set.  I pride myself on having the complete run of a brand, and complete run means I have to have the cards.  The fact that they are pretty cheap to get made the decision a little easier too.

The 2019 set has 250 cards divided into four subsets. The Cubs have cards in three of the four.

Javier Baez is the Diamond King.  Anthony Rizzo has been a fixture here for most of the recent past, so this may represent a changing of the guard.

Having traded or recalled their top prospects, the Cubs have no cards in the Rated Rookie subset.




These are the Cubs in the base set, including a couple with photo variations.

The final subset, Retro 1985 has one Cub.


For grins I've got the original and retro versions side by side.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 16,687 Cubs cards from 196 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1960 Fleer #57 Johnny Evers I've always considered this a Cub card, though Evers is wearing a Braves uniform.

1980s: 1984 Fleer #494 Fergie Jenkins This would be one of Fergie's final cards from his playing days.  The Cubs brought him to spring training in 1984 but he was cut in mid-March.

1990s: 1993 Fleer #13 Steve Buechele Three Fleer cards in a row!  Buechele put up respectable numbers as the Cubs starting third baseman in 1993 - .272 with 15 HR and 65 RBIs.

2000s: 2003 Diamond Kings #87 Sammy Sosa  Awww, the Fleer streak comes to an end.  That's not a bad likeness of Sammy.

2010s: 2016 Opening Day Superstar Celebration #SC-8 Kris Bryant  He is getting doused after hitting a walk-off homer against the Indians on August 25, 2015

Saturday, March 23, 2019

2019 Topps Factory Cubs Team Set

Topps has been putting out team sets since 2006 and I've got the 2019 cards in hand.  This year marks the tenth year for the set to have seventeen cards.

Like Opening Day, the factory team sets give us a sneak-peek at series two.  Of the seventeen Cubs, seven players are not in series one.  Now we know what their cards will look like... probably.  Topps has occasionally used different pictures in the factory team sets and series two, but that hasn't happened much lately.

Here's the seven...


I don't know if it is just a coincidence, but all of these are vertical... and that makes me happy.

The other ten players have cards we've already seen in Series One...



The biggest surprise on the checklist is Mike Montgomery.  My guess is that he was added and Addison Russell was dropped.  Russell has been persona non grata in most of the early Topps sets.