Saturday, June 27, 2020

On the Road, Taking Some Time Off

This will be the last post for several days.  Mrs. WW and I are taking another bike trip vacation and I'm taking a vacation from the blog, too.

This is our third bike trip.  The past two years we did a Michigan trip and a ride along the Erie Canal.  This year we head to Pennsylvania and a ride along the Great Allegheny Passage.

We'll be staring near the eastern continental divide and head northwest to Pittsburgh, covering around 125 miles over four days.  The good news it that gravity will be our friend as we head downhill the whole way.

I look for any Cubs connections on our bike trips.  This year was slim pickings.  The towns we head through are pretty small and I was able to find just one Cubs player born along our path.

Gary Ross is a native of McKeesport.  He pitched a bit for the Cubs in 1968 and 1969 before being traded to the Padres in the Dick Selma trade.  He lost a team-record 11 consecutive decisions for the expansion '69 Padres.

Play nice while I'm gone and I see you in a week or so.

Friday, June 26, 2020

1947* Play Ball Cubs

TCMA's 1947 version of the Play Ball has a copyright date of 1985, one of three sets released that year.  It's pretty much a repeat of the 1946 edition... same number of cards, same number of Cubs, same design, and same color.


Thursday, June 25, 2020

1946* Play Ball Cubs

After putting out four Play Ball sets in 1983, TCMA dialed down to just one in 1984.  The 1946 set is made up of 45 cards, including three Cubs.  The design remains the same, though the color has changed again, this time to green.


Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Topps Total Wave 2 & 3

The Total waves keep rolling.   I bought waves 2 & 3 from the same seller at the same time a while back.  Wave 2 was out at the time, but I had to wait for the third to be printed and shipped before my cards arrived.

Three Cubs were included in each of the waves.


These three are the cards from wave 2.  Of course we had to get a card of Adbert Alzolay.  It wouldn't be a Topps set with him!  Oh, and some guy named Rizzo too.


Wave 3 includes a card of the Cubs designated hitter, Schwarber, assuming that there will be a season.

The checklists for waves 4 & 5 are out and I've got the seven Cubs cards ordered.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Karl vs. Tuffy

Tuffy Rhodes has one really great game for the Cubs: Opening Day, 1994.  He hit a home run off of Doc Gooden in each of his first three at bats.  It was downhill from there, as he hit just five more homers over the rest of the season and ended up with a .234 average.  The Cubs released him barely a month into the 1995 season.  He had some great years playing in Japan, and ended up tying Sadaharu Oh's Japanese League single season home run record in 2001.

I always knew of him as Tuffy Rhodes. That's the way Harry Caray referred to him.  If Harry said it, so it was.  I just assumed that everyone, including the card companies, called him Tuffy.

His 1995 Score card was picked by the RNG as one of Sunday's Five Random Cubs Cards.  Score called him Karl.

Turns out that almost everyone else did too.

I've got 25 cards of Rhodes with the Cubs.  That's a lot of cards from just a 1½ year Cubs career, but this was the peak of the junk wax era.


These are the only three that show his as Tuffy.

He is Karl on all of the others.

Monday, June 22, 2020

1945* Play Ball Cubs

This is the final of four sets put out by TCMA in 1983.  The cards used the same design as the previous three and blue printing like the 1944 set.  Three Cubs were included among the 45 cards.


All three were contributors for the pennant winning 1945 Cubs.  

Don't let Derringer's picture fool you.  He's pictured as a Red, with whom he spent the best years of his career.  He joined the Cubs in 1943 and won 16 games in 1945.

Sunday, June 21, 2020

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 18,220 Cubs cards from 250 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1966 Topps #139 Cubs Rookie Stars Browne hit 16 homers as a rookie in 1966 but never came close to matching that again.  His career lasted through 1972 and he hit just 14 more over those next six seasons.  Young didn't stick with the Cubs until 1969 and lasted just that one season.

1980s: 1989 Upper Deck #780 Dwight Smith For the second week in a row, the RNG selects a rookie player from Upper Deck's rookie set.

1990s: 1995 Score #121 Karl Rhodes  Some day I'll have to check all of his cards to see how many have Karl and how many use Tuffy.

2000s: 2006 Allen & Ginter Mini #115 Greg Maddux  I love the look of the Ginter minis!

2010s: 2019 Stadium Club #100 Anthony Rizzo  Stadium Club gives Rizzo a nice round number.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

1944* Play Ball

The 1944 set was the third of four Play Ball sets put out by TCMA in 1983.  The design of the set changed slightly, as the border printing is in blue instead of black.


By 1944, MLB was stripped of most of the able-bodied players.  Hank Wyse was rejected of military service due to a spinal injury.  For 71 years he was the last Cub to pitch in the World Series.  

In 1944 Dom Dellessandro was designated 4-F due to a head injury he suffered running into an outfield wall in 1933.  A year later he was re-examined and cleared for duty.  He was inducted into the army in March, 1945.

Friday, June 19, 2020

1943* Play Ball Cubs

TCMA was busy in 1983.  In addition to their 1942 Play Ball set, they also put out sets for the next three years, up to 1945.  Today I've got the 1943 cards.  The set has three Cubs among the 45 cards.


TCMA's design is identical to the 1942 cards.  Hartnett and Lowrey cards are in my collection.  The Nicholson is a borrowed picture.  His card is nowhere to be found and has landed a spot on my most wanted list.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

1942* Play Ball

After issuing baseball card sets for three years starting in 1939, Gum Inc. did not issue a set in 1942.  World War II prevented that.  In fact, Gum Inc. would not release another Play Ball set, ever.  When the company got back to baseball cards in 1948, they brand name for their cards was changed to Bowman.

That is the reason for the asterisk in the title of today's post.  There is a 1942 Play Ball set, but it wasn't put out by Gum. Inc.  In fact, it wasn't put out in 1942 either.

In 1983, TCMA decided to create the sets that World War II took away.  For the next few years they issued Play Ball sets that covered the year 1942 through 1949.  I've been able to get all of the Cubs cards except one for the 1942-1947 sets. The '48 and '49s have been a challenge and I have none of the Cubs.


Here are the two Cubs from the 45-card 1942 set.  The design used by TCMA was similar to the original Play Ball design.  I wonder if they had permission or if they just "borrowed" it.  In 1983 Topps owned the Bowman brand name, so I assume that Play Ball was theirs too.  But Topps was busy fight off upstarts Fleer and Donruss in 1983, so I doubt this TCMA set was even on their radar.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Play Ball!

The title of today's post is a bit misleading.  It doesn't look like MLB will be playing ball any time soon.  It's starting to feel like 1994 (and 1972, and 1981) all over again.

To get my Play Ball fix, I'll be showing all of my Play Ball Cubs cards over the next several days.

Gum, Inc. put out their first Play Ball set in 1939, ushering in the next era of baseball cards.  The set contained 162 cards and featured players from 15 teams.  In 1939 there were 16 teams between the National and American Leagues.  And which team was excluded?

The Cubs.

The Cubs were the defending National League champions in 1939, but Gum. Inc. ignored them.  I wonder what the reason was for the omission?

A second Play Ball set was released the next year and this time it included some Cubs!  Five Cubs were among the 240 cards.  Percentage wise, that is not even close to what is should be as 16 teams divided by 240 cards equals 15 players per team.  But, hey, five instead of fifteen is better than none at all.


We get two Hall of Famers, a standout Cub player and manager, a guy who was at the tail end of his career, and a coach.  That's quite a wide range of players!

Play ball returned in 1941 with color cards, really raising the bar.  Unfortunately for me, the Cubs, like in 1939, were the only team to not be included.

As I think about the reason again, I wonder if it has something to do with gum.  Play Ball was put out by a gum company.  The Cubs were owned by a competing gum company. Did Gum Inc. want to stick it to Wrigley? 

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

The Missing 2013 Panini Select Cub

There are 13 Cubs cards in the 2013 Select set. I have twelve of them.  I got eleven from Sportlots and one from Beckett.

The missing card is a rookie card.  Its not a famous player.  Its not someone who would have a slew of collects doing a player collection.

Its Justin Grimm.

Why his card is not available on Ebay, Sportlots, Beckett, or COMC is a mystery to me.

I'm stuck with another hole in my collection until one pops up somewhere.

Monday, June 15, 2020

2013 Panini Select Cubs

Last week I showed the 2020 Panini Select Cubs.  I also mentioned that it was the first select Cubs set since 2013.  Then I had one of those Doh! moments.

After a quick check of my binders, I realized that I didn't have the 2013 Cubs cards from Select.  I wasn't paying careful attention to the unlicensed stuff back then and never realized the set came out.  However, since I have all of the other Select sets, I had to fill the hole.

The 2013 version of Select has 250 cards.  They include current players, retired players, and rookie autograph cards.  I don't like it when autographs are included in a base set because they can be hard to find and expensive.  Luckily for me, the Cubs rookies in that year were a bunch of no-names, so the autos were easy to find and cheap.


Two Cub Hall of Famers made the checklist.



The active players include two regulars and three rookies.



The autographs are Jaye Chapman, Junior Lake, Mike Olt, Brooks Raley, and Chris Rusin.  Now you know why these were cheap and easy.

Unfortunately, there is one more Cubs card in the set that I'm missing.  More on that tomorrow.