Sunday, April 30, 2023

Five Random Cubs Cards

 I've got 21,055 Cubs cards from 316 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 of players, so they resorted to making cards for managers, coaches, and umpires to fill the sets.

1980s: 1988 Topps Traded #87 Jeff Pico  His major league debut was a start against the Reds on May 31, 1988.  Pico pitched a complete-game four hit shutout.  It was quite a debut and raised the bar for him quite high.  Maybe too high, because he never really delivered on the promise from that first start.

1990s: 1997 Finest #303 Ryne Sandberg This card is from the Competitors subset.  It is also designated Uncommon, which has the silver trim.  They were a bit scarcer than the common cards, with one in every four packs.

2000s: 2001 Fleer Ultra #28 Joe Girardi I always like a catcher action shot that shows him tossing the mask aside.  Plus there's a cameo by a Hall of Famer.

2010s: 2018 Heritage #171 Javier Baez  I don't know what is more distracting for me, the blond hair on Baez or the font in the circle that is smaller that the font on the original 1969 cards.  Both items look weird and out of place.

Saturday, April 29, 2023

Comparing the Main Brands - 1985

Today we have the defending champs of the Eastern Division.

For the first time, Fleer has a team card while Topps didn't have a team card.  Oddly, the Cubs were the only team with a team card.  The World Series champion Tigers didn't get one nor did the NL champs, the Padres.

Rookie cards also made their first Fleer appearance, while Donruss has rookies with the Rated Rookie designation.  Topps had no combo rookie cards for the first time in a long time.  They were replaced by Draft Pick cards.  Shawon Dunston has a card from each of the companies.

The Leon Durham cards from Topps and Donruss look very similar.  Same with Gary Matthews and Steve Trout.

Year - 1985

Main Brands -  Topps, Donruss, Fleer

Number of Players Included Among All the Sets: 32

Players Included in Every Set:  22

Friday, April 28, 2023

2021 Bowman Heritage Cubs

 Yes, you read that right.  I have the just-released 2021 Bowman Heritage Cubs cards.  Two years after the 2021 season began, and 14 months after the announced release date, Topps has finally made the 2021 Bowman Heritage set available.  It was so old that Topps bundled the 2021 boxes with Bowman Heritage 2022.

2021 Bowman Heritage uses the 1993 Bowman design.  The set has a checklist of 100 veterans and rookies along with another 150 cards for prospects.


These are the only two Cubs in the veteran / rookie section.  Marquez was the designated Cubs rookie in many 2021 Topps sets.  Injuries have derailed his career.  






There are ten Cubs among the 150 prospects, which is a pretty high number.  Several came from the trades the Cubs made during the 2021 season.  Crow-Armstrong was acquired in the Javier Baez trade with the Mets while Alcantara and Vizcaino came from the Yankees for Anthony Rizzo.

And where are these guys now?
Alcantara - High A South Bend
Amaya - AA Tennessee
Crow-Armstrong - AA Tennessee
Davis - AAA Iowa
Hernandex - Low A Myrtle Beach
Howard - recovering from a hip injury, not playing
Made - High A South Bend
Mena - still in the organization, but no stats for the year.  At the Cubs camp in Arizona?
Morel - AAA Iowa
Vizcaino - out of baseball.  He never showed up to spring training in 2022, so it looks like he quit

Thursday, April 27, 2023

2023 Topps Factory Team Set Cubs


The Topps Factory team sets came out very quietly last week.  In fact I heard nothing about them.  I have a saved eBay search for "Cubs Team Set" and the 2023 Factory set popped up.  One seller had them at a reasonable price so I bought it.  The cards were sent the same day and arrived within four days.

There is something strange with the packaging.  It actually started with last year's set, but I didn't notice until this year.

The blister that holds the cards is over an inch taller than the cards.  That extra space means the cards can slide around while the package is being transported.  They can move when the package is being sent to the store or mailed to you by the eBay seller.  Why would Topps do that?  Why use more plastic and also risk damage to the cards.

As usual, there are 17 cards in the set.  And since there was no Opening Day this year, the factory set is the only chance to see cards of players that weren't in series one.  

I'll start with the players that did have a card in series one and the factory set.



As usual, the factory cards don't have the shiny foil printing that is on the flagship cards.  With this years design, that is just the Topps logo.



These are the players whose factory card is their first in the flagship design.  The Horner card has a very interesting angle.  Too bad it is ruined by the ugly City Connect uniform.  Three of the players are Photoshopped, Bellinger, Swanson, and Taillon.  Will we see the same cards for them in series two or do we have to wait for the update set?