Wednesday, June 30, 2021

2021 Series Two Cubs Inserts - Silver Pack 1986 Chrome

 The silver packs and their chrome cards showed up again in series two as they did with the first series.  Everything remained the same - packs of four cards were available at hobby shops.  The set has 50 cards, and four Cubs among the 50.



Baez and Bryant were in series one, so we get a couple of the other big names in series two (Contreras and Rizzo), along with the 2021 designated rookie Brailyn Marquez, and Ryno


Sandberg has a card in the actual 1986 set, so we get to compare the original with the modern.  Both versions have their positives.  I like the smiling candid in the '86, while the action on the silver pack card looks pretty good too.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

2021 Series Two Cubs Inserts - 1986 & 1986 All-Stars

 Let's spend a few days checking out the Cubs inserts from 2021 Series Two.

Today I've got the 1986 cards. The set in the second series has half the cards as in the first set, going from 100 to 50.  Two Cubs are included among the 50.


And why the drop in the number of cards?


Because the second series also has an All-Star set of 50 cards. Two Cub middle infielders made the set.

Monday, June 28, 2021

2021 Topps Series 2 Cubs

 ...and I'm back.  It was nice to take a break from everything and have a chance to recharge.

My series 2 Cubs cards arrived while I was gone.  My mail was held at the post office and I had a nice stack of bubble mailers waiting for me.  

There are 11 Cubs cards in the second series.

Each series has 15 team cards and the Cubs were among those in the second series.  The card features the celebration after Alec Mills' no-hitter against the Brewers on September 13.



These seven player have logged at least one inning with the team in 2021



Hamilton signed with the White Sox in March.  That should have been plenty of time for Topps to put him with the other Chicago team.  Kipnis spent spring training with the Braves before being released and resigned by Atlanta.  He's been in AAA all year. There isn't any good reason for him to be in series two at all.  Marquez is Topps' designated Cub rookie this year.  He's been hurt all year.  Maybe we'll see him in every set next year, too.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Friday, June 18, 2021

Out On Vacation

I'll be taking some time away from the blog for a week or so.  I've got the Cubs game today, the weekend at my parents celebrating Fathers Day, and then some vacation time.  I may try to post something about the Cubs game, but other than that I'm taking a break from the blog.

Mrs. WW and I are off on another week long bike trip.  This time will be riding along the Illinois and Michigan canal. We start in Joliet, Illinois, and ride west for two days (about 60 miles total), then spend a day around Starved Rock State Park, before another two days on the return trip.

Covid made for a very stressful school year and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get away for a while.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Topps Now Baez Card

Yes, this was an impulse buy.  I don't collect Topps Now, but I got wrapped up in the El Mago mania of a few weeks ago and bought the card.

The write-up didn't do the best job describing the play.  You'd need more space than allowed on the back of a card to do an adequate job.  In fact, you'd need to put a few more pictures on the front of the card too.  

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Back to Buying the Old (And More Expensive) Way

 I've been spoiled when it comes to getting most of my Cubs cards.  For the past several years I've been buying almost everything directly from eBay seller Brentandbecca.  Brent made a full-time career of busting cases.

Unfortunately, that has come to an end.  Last week Brent announced that he wasn't able to get the number of cases he needs to make a profit.  In fact, he wasn't able to get anything at a reasonable price.  Last year he busted over 100 cards of each Topps series, and now he's been cut off.

Brent has always given me good service at a decent price.  Buying from just one source was also a big help on my budget.  I will miss buying from him.

You can blame Brent's woes on Covid.  The pandemic brought collectors out of the woodworks and has driven up prices.  It has also caused problems for Topps' production.  Increased demand and decreased supply are not a good combination for buyers.

Now I'm back to buying my older way, thought Sportlots and Ebay.  I try to use the fewest number of sellers as possible to keep down the shipping prices.  But that is difficult to do, especially if I want the cards soon after release.

My Topps Series 2 cards are on the way.  It took me a total of ten sellers to get all the Cubs cards and inserts.  Ten is a lot more than one, isn't it!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Recollection Road Topps Video

 Would it be safe to assume that a majority of long-time card collectors have an infinity for nostalgia?  I'm guessing that's a safe bet.  Collecting cards is something that connects us to our youth, to times long ago.... and for some of us, loooooonnnnngggg ago!

I subscribe to the You Tube channel "Recollection Road."  They put out videos that look back at a particular brand or item from long ago.

On Sunday the released a video on Topps.  It focuses mostly on baseball cards.  There are a few details that are not correct, but for the most part it's a pretty decent little snippet on the history of Topps.


Monday, June 14, 2021

Early Fathers Day Gift

 Over the weekend I got an early Fathers Day present from my three boys.  Take a look.

How cool is that?  A personal message from the Cubs radio announcer Pat Hughes, tickets to a Cubs game, and a new voicemail message too!

Pat was a little mixed up.  The tickets are for this Friday, not Fathers Day.  It's a rare Friday night game, against the Marlins.  The Cubs had to get special approval from the city council for the start time, since weekend night games are illegal at Wrigley unless they are a national broadcast.  

The Cubs play Thursday night in New York.  That wasn't very nice of the Mets to schedule a night game on a getaway day.  The team would be getting home in the middle of the night and would have had to be ready for a 1:20 p.m. start.  Thankfully the council approved the change and the game now starts at 7:05 p.m.

So we are off to Chicago this Friday.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Five Random Cubs Cards

  I've got 19,238 Cubs cards from 285 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1955 Bowman #247 Dutch Leonard The RNG gets us off to a great start with the Bowman TV set.  Leonard was the Cubs pitching coach.  The signing war between Bowman and Topps left both companies short and they resorted to making cards for managers, coaches, and umpires to fill the sets.

1980s: 1988 Topps #87 Mike Mason The lefty was released by the Cubs towards the end of spring training in 1988.  The Twins picked him up and he gave up eight runs in six innings, the last innings of his major league career.

1990s: 1996 Upper Deck Traded #486 Terry Adams Adams led all Cubs relievers in innings pitched so Upper Deck felt obligated to include him in the update set.  Fleer did also, but Topps did not.

2000s: 2004 Bazooka #230 Sammy Sosa Is that the ball in the upper right hand corner?  No home run here if that is the case.

2010s: 2016 Gypsy Queen #79 Kris Bryant Variation  Remember when Kris Bryant used to be the Cubs third baseman?  He played there last night for the first time since April 20.  He's played all three outfield positions and first base for the past seven weeks.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

2003 Vine Line George Brace Postcards

 I was able to pick up one of the two Vine Line postcard sets that I'm chasing.  The set I got was the George Brace set from 2003.  George Brace was a long-time Chicago photographer.  He took pictures at both Wrigley Field and Comiskey Park from the 1930's through the 1990's.

The Cubs picked eight of his pictures for this postcard set.  All are from the 1930s except for the Ernie Banks picture.  The back of the postcard describes what is going on.  Good for George for documenting what he was capturing.  So often old pictures have nothing telling us what we are looking at.   Not with these.

Opening Day, 1937, the last Opening Day with the old bleachers.

Ernie Banks on his first day as a Cub in 1953

Woody English and Augie Galan show off their cars

Charlie Grimm with an actual cub.

Planting the ivy in 1937.

Ladies Day 

Babe Ruth as a Dodger coach in 1938

Zach Taylor, Charlie Grimm, and Charlie Root have some fun with a bag of chewing tobacco.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Went to a Kane County Cougars Game

 Mrs. WW and I did a three day bike trip along the Fox River in Illinois over Memorial Day weekend.  We rode between Oswego and Crystal Lake, about 45 miles each way.  This is the third time we've done this route and it has always been a nice ride.

We always plan to spend the second night in Geneva.  We stay at a hotel that is about two miles off the trail.  It is also about 1½ miles from Northwestern Medicine Field, the home of the Kane County Cougars.   Taking in a Cougars game is always a nice way to spend an evening.

The Cougars have been around since 1991 and we went to several games when we lived in the NW Chicago suburbs.  The team was popular right from the start, and led the Midwest League in attendance several times.

Drawing big crowds didn't mean much to MLB however.  When the minor leagues were restructured this past winter, the Cougars were one of the teams that lost the MLB affiliation.  They became a team without a league.

The franchise is now a part of the American Association, which is a partner league with MLB. That means that the Cougars have to get all of their players and coaches by themselves instead of them being provided by a major league team.

That became apparent when reading the free GameDay program.  The 52-page book doesn't contain a single word about the players on the team. There is no roster, no player biographies, no player pictures.

The action on the field didn't seem as sharp, either.  The Class A Cougars had players in their late teens and early 20's.  The age of today's Cougars was more in the mid to upper 20s.  They are guys that were cut from MLB organizations and are looking for that one last chance to make it.

It would be nice if one of the players we saw did make it, but we'll never know.  The program didn't tell us who we saw!

Thursday, June 10, 2021

2012 Cubs Gameday Program


I bought a copy of the 2012 Cubs Gameday program.  I was hoping to find a July edition that featured Darwin Barney on the cover.  I settled for August and Anthony Rizzo.  If a July ever shows up and it is priced right, I may grab it.

Below is the updated progress as I work on completed the program collection.

1940 - 1947: I have five... I need 1940, 1942, 1944

1948 - 1981: No programs, just the four-page scorecards

1981 - 1988 Official Souvenir Program Magazine - I have 26 of the 27... I need 1984 #3.

1989 - 1990 Magazine Scorecard: I have nine of the ten... I need 1990 #1

1991 - 2000 Cubs Quarterly: I have 35 of 40... I need 1992 #1, 1995 #2, 1996 #2 and #4, 2000 #4

2001 - 2009 Official Souvenir Program: I have all 22.

2001 - 2010 Scorecard Extra:  I have one all ten

2011 Vineline Gameday: I have it

2012 - 2018 Gameday: I have all seven

2019 The Confines:  I have it

Postseason Extras 2015 - 2017: I have six of the seven.... I need 2015 NLDS

From 1940 - 2019: 133 Total Game Programs to collect

                               122 in my collection

                                 11 still needed

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

All The Vine Line Premiums


The Cubs official newspaper / magazine debuted in March, 1986 and ran through 2018.  The team offered a variety of premiums over the years to entice people to subscribe or renew.  Yesterday I showed the Fergie Jenkins coin offered in 1991. 

I have several of the other premiums, mostly postcards.  But I wondered just what all did the team give away.  So I did some digging.

There was usually a Vine Line ad in the team's game programs.  Since I have most of the programs, I spent some time looking for each of the Vine Line ads.  

It turns out that more than just cards or postcards were offered.  There were also pins, posters, photos, personalized photos, game scorecards and programs, magnets, and tickets.  I never realized that such a variety of items were offered. 

Prior to my research, my initial thought was to collect all of the Vine Line items.  But the many non-card type things don't really fit with my collection.  So I'm limiting myself to just the cards and postcards.

1986 - No ad in program 
1987 - 1987 Yearbook -from ad in first program only, no premium mentioned in other editions 
1988 - no premium offer 
1989 -  Wrigley Field 75 anniversary pin 
1990 - Photo with your name on the marquee 
1991 - 1 year - Jenkins Coin, 2 year - 36 card set 
1992 -  All Ivy Team print 
1993 - 12 card Sandberg set 
1994 - 1994 Anniversaries postcard set 
1995 - No ad in program 
1996 - 1 year - sheet of 1995 playoff tickets, 2 year - Photo with you name on the marquee 
1997 - 1 year - replica 1932 WS Program, 2 year - Photo with your name on the marquee 
1998 - 1 year - First Night Game program, 2 year - Ryne Sandberg Day program 
1999 - 1 year - 1998 tiebreaker scorecard, 2 year - NLDS program
2000 - 1 year - Final Game of Century scorecard, 2 year - Wrigley Field Sunset picture 
2001 - 1 year - Kerry Wood Scorecard, 2 year - Wrigley Field flags photo 
2002 - 1 year - Wrigley Field postcard pack, 2 year Sammy Sosa foldout poster 
2003 - 1 year - George Brace postcard set, 2 year - Mark Prior rookie card 
2004 - no premium offer 
2005 - 1 year - 8 pack postcard set, 2 year - Greg Maddux poster 
2006 - 1 year - 8 pack postcard set, 2 year - Derrek Lee card 
2007 - no premium offer in regular editions, Cover magnet, advertised only in NLDS edition 
2008 - no premium offer in regular editions, Metallic team photo, advertised only in NLDS edition 
2009 - 1 year - Geovany Soto rookie card, 2 year - NLDS program, 3 year - photo with your name on scoreboard message board 
2010 - 1 year - Jenkins / Maddux card 
2011 - No ad in program 
2012 - I don't have a program from this year
2013 - no premium offer 
2014 - no premium offer 
2015 - no premium offer 
2016 - no premium offer
2017 - no premium offer 
2018 - no premium offer

The items in bold are the ones that I already have.  I'll be chasing the ones in red.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

1991 Vineline Fergie Jenkins Coin

 The Cubs magazine Vineline often offered a bonus for new subscribers. 

This is what you got for getting the magazine in 1991 - a Fergie Jenkins commemorative coin.  The card measures 3 3/4" x 5 3/4".  The coin is laminated to the card and I am going to leave it encased.

The Cubs celebrated his induction into Cooperstown in 1991, but didn't retire his number until 2009.  Some guy named Maddux was wearing Fergie's #31 in 1991 and I guess the Cubs didn't want to take it away from him.

Monday, June 7, 2021

1985 Cubs Program #1

I was able to knock off another of the missing Cubs programs recently.

This is the first edition from 1985.  The Cubs surprised the baseball world by winning their division in 1984.  The cover features the big award winners from that season.

The Cubs had a clean sweep of the major awards:

NL MVP - Ryne Sandberg

NL Cy Young - Rick Sutcliffe

NL Manager of the Year - Jim Frey

Sporting News Executive of the Year - Dallas Green

This is the last of the 1985 editions that I needed

Here's all four together.

Still missing from my collection are 1984 #3, 1990 #1, 1992 #1, 1995 #2, 1996 #2&4, 2000 #4, and 2015 NLDS

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Five Random Cubs Cards

  I've got 19,238 Cubs cards from 285 different brands listed on a spreadsheet. A random number generator picked five cards, one each from the past several decades.

1900s - 1970s: 1959 Topps #548 Elmer Singleton  You don't see many Elmers in the big leagues any more.  In fact,  there has been just one player named Elmer in the past 60 years.

1980s: 1987 Topps #369 Brian Dayett   Dayett's 1987 was the best of his time in the majors.  He had career highs in games played, average, home runs and RBIs.  The Cubs sold high on him, literally, by selling him to the Nippon Ham Giants after the season.

1990s: 1991 Fleer Ultra Traded #70 Danny Jackson  He was the Cubs big free agent pickup for the 1991 season, but was a bust.  He got injured in late April and ended up making just 14 starts.

2000s: 2003 Victory #187 Sammy Sosa Run Producers  It looks like there is a baseball between Sammy's legs, but that is the knob to his bat.

2010s: 2016 Topps Stickers #196 Addison Russell  Not much to say about him.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

1998 Cubbies That Became Cubs

 There were 25 players in the 1998 Rockford Cubbies set and six of them made it to the majors.  That's the biggest number of players among the three sets I've looked at.  Five of the six were pitchers.  Only two of the six had careers of major significance.  And finally, just one of the six spent time with the Cubs, and it was for just two games.

Booker pitched for three teams over three years, none of which were the Cubs.  He made a total of 17 appearances and has a career ERA of 14.79.

Garland is the biggest name in the bunch.  His career spanned 13 years, most with the White Sox.  The Cubs traded him across town in 1998 and by 2000 he was pitching on the south side.  

Gissell's MLB career consists of five games with the Rockies in 2004.  He had one loss and an ERA of 14.54.  

Lohse is the other notable player in the set as he was in the majors for 16 seasons, none of which were with the Cubs.  He player for six different teams and his best years were with the Cardinals.  Who would have thought that the young kid in the picture would end up earning $89 million over his career.

Smith had a nine year career with eight different teams.  He actually got in two games with the Cubs in 2001 before he began his travels around the majors.

Teut pitched in two games for the 2002 Marlins.  His ERA was just 9.82, much better than the +14s from Booker and Gissell.