Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Topps Update 2023 - The All Aces Cubs

 Two Cubs were included in Update's All Aces insert set.


That's a pretty nice tandum, both HOFer, both wore #31 which the Cubs retired, both Cy Young winners.  I like that Topps used pictures from both pitchers' first run with the Cubs.  That is the time that they were dominant, and the time that should be remembered.  

Marcus Stroman was in the second series, so the Cubs ended up with three aces.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Topps Update 2023 - The All-Star Inserts

 The 2019 season was the last time Topps included the All-Star cards in the update set.  Since then, the cards became a separate insert set in update.  There are 50 cards in this year's All-Star set, so not every player that made the teams got a card.  

The Cubs had three players make this year's NL team and all three were included in the insert set.

Justin Steele was the only Cub player on the NL's active roster for the game.  He pitched the fifth inning, giving up a one-out single, but then retiring the next to batters.  It took him just ten pitches to complete the inning.

Marcus Stroman opted to sit out the game, preferring to have the extra time to rest his arm.

A bruised heel landed Dansby Swanson on the injured list just a few days before the game, so he missed the game.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Five Random Cubs Cards

 I've got 21,253 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: 1917 Collins-McCarthy #148 Vic Saier My cards from this set are reprints.  There is one real card of Saier listed on eBay, a PSA 3, with a BIN price of $350.  I'll stick to the reprints.

1980s: 1989 Upper Deck #14 Mike Harkey After making his MLB debut late in the 1988 season, Harkey spent all of 1989 in AAA.  He made just 12 starts as shoulder problems kept him sidelined most of the season.

1990s: 1996 Zenith #104 Robin Jennings Jennings made the team coming out of spring training in 1996.  He saw limited action, going 3 for 14 in 14 games though mid May before being sent to AAA.  He was recalled in September and saw more action but never really got his bat going, ending the season with a .224 average.

2000s: 2005 Topps Chrome #285 Kerry Wood Chrome cards from this era had a much more pronounced edging around the players.  The green edge around Wood makes it looking like he has a radioactive glow.

2010s: 2016 Topps Archives #173 Billy Williams What a great way to end, with Billy Williams in the classic batter's pose.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Comparing the Main Brands - 2010

 Year - 2010

Main Brands -  Topps, Upper Deck

Number of Players Included Among All the Sets: 30

Players Included in Every Set: 14

Today I've reached the end of the line, the last year with more than one major brand.  Upper Deck lost their MLB license after 2009 but decided to put out a set in 2010 anyway.  They made no attempt to hide logos, which lead to a lawsuit.  Topps and MLB won and UD was barred from releasing their second series.

I debated whether or not to do this season, but UD's first series has 600 cards, nearly matching the 660 put out by Topps in total, so I went ahead.

There are 20 Upper Deck Cubs cards and you can see the Cubs logo or name in 18 of the 20, so UD was really daring legal action.  Seems like a pretty arrogant and stupid thing to do.    They designed the cards like it would be their last set though, with and ugly green border on the bottom and black and white head shots.

Friday, October 27, 2023

2023 Topps Update Cubs Inserts - The 1988s

 The 1988 love-fest continued in the 2023 Update set as there were again inserts sets that featured the base design and chrome cards.


These are the two Cubs in the regular 1988 set.  Wouldn't it have been more appropriate for Topps to use a photo from 1988 on the Maddux card instead of one from 2004-2005?


And here is a look at the actual Maddux card from 1988 next to the 2023 version.



Assad and Wesneski have cards in the chrome set but not the base set.  Mervis and Bellinger are in both sets (Bellinger had a card in series two).  The Mervis photos are the same in both sets.  Bellinger's chrome card has a real photo while the one used on the base card from series two was photoshopped.

These are the seven Cubs 1988 cards from all of the 2023 Topps sets.

There were four more Cubs in the chrome set compared to the base set.