Thursday, February 29, 2024

The Rest of the 2024 Series One Inserts

 I've got the final four Cubs inserts today.  There is just one Cub in each of these four sets.  And as I mentioned yesterday, it will be the same three guys we saw yesterday, Sandberg, Morel, and Crow-Armstrong.

Morel has this card in 2023's Greatest Hits.  His hit was a walk-off three-run homer against the White Sox on August 16.  

More Morel here, from Heavy Lumber.  And yes, I paid more than I'd usually pay for a card, but I can't have any holes in the collection, now, can I?

Ryno is the lone Cub in this 26-card set.  I hope this doesn't come off as ghoulish, but is Topps overdoing the Sandberg cards because of his cancer diagnosis?

The last of the four is the only player in the Stars of MLB set with a career batting average of .000.  I'll have more tomorrow on this card and what I think is a odd Topps mistake with the entire set (and I'm not talking about including Mr. .000).

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

2024 Topps Series One Cubs Inserts - 1989 Topps

My count has twelve basic insert sets in 2024 Topps Series One. The Cubs were shut out in half of them.  The six with no Cubs are 2023 All-Topps Team, Home Run Challenge, Homefield Advantage, Legendary Homefield Advantage, Superstar Blueprint, and Topps Mega Stars.

I'll show the six sets that have Cubs cards over the next few days and today I'll start with the two 1989 sets.


Two Cubs are in the basic 1989 set, Christopher Morel and Ryne Sandberg.  Ryno also has a card in the actual 1989 set, so let's see how the two compare.


He's got the same over-the-shoulder look in both cards.  The picture on this year's version is from 1990 - 1993.  Too bad they didn't use a picture from 1988 or 1989.

The Chrome Silver Pack set has three Cubs.

Here's the sad part... I've shown five of the nine Cubs inserts in the first series.  Just three players are represented.  And in the other four inserts, which I'll have tomorrow, Topps uses these same three players.  

Nine total inserts, just three players.  That I find to be quite boring.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

2024 Topps Series One Cubs

 My series one Cubs have arrived.

There are twelve cards, including this team card.



These are the first five alphabetically, and all five feature a player screaming.  While I do like cards that show the player's personality, I think the whooping it up cards have become a cliché and I'm tired of them.



The final six show the players going about their business a little less dramatically.

Monday, February 26, 2024

The Billy Rainbow Has Gotten Much Bigger!

 I wrote in this post on January 10 about a fantastic Billy Williams rainbow gifted to me by reader Tim.  He gave me 18 of the 34 different cards from the 2022 Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary set.  It was by far my biggest Billy rainbow to date.

But why settle for 18 when there were many out more versions out there.  I owed it to Tim to get as many of the 34 as possible... or at least that was the excuse I used to go on a buying binge!

I was able to come up with an additional twelve cards, bringing my total to 30 of the 34 cards. 

Here's what I've got. The ones in bold came from Tim and I picked up the others.

Black & White Mini-Diamond Refractors (Lite only)
X-Fractors (Hobby and Lite only)
Prism Refractors (retail only)
Blue Prism Refractors (retail only)

Aqua Lava Refractors (/299)
Yellow RayWave Refractors (/250)
Blue Mini-Diamond Refractors (/199)
Platinum Toile White/Blue Refractors (/199)
Speckle Refractors (/150)
Blue Atomic Refractors (/100; retail only)
Fuchsia Atomic Refractors (/100)
Platinum Toile Cream/Fuchsia Atomic Refractors (/100; Hobby only)
Red Atomic Refractors (/100; Hobby only)
Green Wave Refractors (/99)
Platinum Toile White/Green Refractors (/99)
Platinum Toile Cream/Rose Gold Refractors (/75)
Rose Gold Refractors (/75)
Rose Gold Mini-Diamond Refractors (/75)
Gold Refractors (/50)
Gold Wave Refractors (/50; Hobby only)
Platinum Toile Cream/Gold Refractors (/50)
Platinum Toile White/Orange Refractors (/25)
Orange Refractors (/25)

Orange Wave Refractors (/25; Hobby only)
Black Refractors (/10)
Platinum Toile Cream/Black Refractors (/10; Hobby only)
Platinum Toile Cream/Red Refractors (/5)
Red Lava Refractors (/5; Hobby only)

And the ones that I'm missing:
Gold Prism Refractors (reported just 15 copies, retail only)
Red Prism Refractors (reported just 10 copies, retail only)
Red Refractors (/5)
SuperFractors (1/1)

You can see that I'm missing some relatively rare ones.  I have saved eBay searched for each, but I doubt I'll ever see any of them.

The 30 cards make a nice 5x6 mosaic and below that if a GIF with all of the cards. The cards in both the mosaic and the GIF are shown in the order as listed above, in case you want to figure out what each looks like.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

Five Random Cubs Cards

I've got 21,632 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: 1968 Topps #13 Chuck Hartenstein The sophomore slump hit Hartentstein in 1968 as he went from a 1967 rookie record of 9-8 to 2-4 in 1968. His ERA jumped from 3.08 to 4.54.  The Cubs traded him to the Pirates over the winter.

1980s: 1989 O-Pee-Chee #276 Mark Grace  Did O-Pee-Chee ever make the rookie cup bilingual?

1990s: 1994 Fleer #392 Randy Myers Is that a curveball or a two-seam fastball?

2000s: 2003 Topps Total #466 Dave Veres The 2003 season was Veres' last in the majors, capping a ten year career.  

2010s: 2018 Heritage Deckle Edge #18 Kris Bryant The Heritage version of the deckel cards seemed more faded than the originals.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

Eighties Alphabetically - Big League Collectibles

Big League Collectibles was literally, a mom and pop operation, run  by Stephen and Linda Mitchell.  Stephen's mom, Evangeline, painted the pictures, based on postcards she was provided.  Stephen wrote the information on the card backs, and Linda did most everything else, with packaging help from their kids.

They issued sets in 1982, 1983, and 1985.  Their business ended when MLB threatened them with legal action for the unauthorized logo use.

Back in 2020 I was able to ask the Mitchell's some questions about their sets and Stephen answered promptly and in detail.  I posted about it here.  I really suggest you read it as it is pretty interesting.

These are the two Cubs from their first set, Diamond Classics I, released in 1982.  Kiki Cuyler is on the left and Hack Wilson in next to him.

Two sets followed in 1983.  The top six cards are from Diamond Classics II, which is a continuation of the first set.  The bottom three cards are from a set commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first All-Star game in 1983.  Three Cubs were on the NL squad.

Their final set came out in 1985 and was called America's National Pastime.  It was limited to 90 players from the 1930s, including the above six Cubs.  This set had a print run of 5,000, while the other sets all had 10,000 copies.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Dansby Swanson Follows the Rules


I've been after one of these for a while.  There are not that many Swanson autographs that show him with the Cubs.  The TCDB lists 21 different Swanson autograph cards from 2023 that show him with the Cubs.  Of those sets, 19 list the print run.  I added them up and found that these have a total of 661 cards signed by Swanson in those 19 sets.  Add the other two and I'd say there aren't more than 725 total.

This comes from the Topps Brooklyn Collection, which came out on December 19.  You can see that there are 99 of these available.  I paid more than I normally would for a card, but being as scarce as it is, I was not upset with the price.

I now have certified autographs for 164 different Cubs players with at least one auto card from a year that they played for the Cubs and the card shows them with the Cubs.  I still need to get one for Cody Bellinger, but that is proving to be more difficult (and pricey) than it was for Swanson.

Terry AdamsMike FontenotJon LesterManuel Rodriquez
Arismendy Alcantara   Kevin FosterCole LiniakChris Rusin
Albert AlmoraDexter FowlerGreg MadduxAddison Russell
Moises AlouJackson FrazierNick MadrigalJeff Samardzija
Adbert AlzolayKyuji FujikawaDave MagadanRey Sanchez
Jake ArrietaKosuke FukudomeTrey ManciniRyne Sandberg
Javier AssadSam FuldDillon MaplesKyle Schwarber
Javier BaezSean GallagherCarlos MarmolScott Servais
Darwin BarneyNomar Garciaparra   Sean MarshallJorge Soler
Francis BeltranMatt GarzaMiles MastrobuoniAlfonso Soriano
David BoteLeo GomezMatt MervisSammy Sosa
Milton BradleyTom GorzelannyAlec MillsGeovany Soto
Roosevelt BrownKevin GreggScott MooreSteve Smyth
Kris BryantAngel GuzmanChristopher MorelJustin Steele
Scott BullettJason HammelMatt MurtonMarcus Stroman
Freddie BynumTodd HaneyRod MyersSeiya Suzuki
Marlon ByrdIan HappThomas NealDansby Swanson
Jeimer CandelarioBrendan HarrisJames NorwoodMatt Szczur
Victor CaratiniKevin HartRoberto NovoaRyan Theriot
Andrew CashnerKyle HendricksWill OhmanKeegan Thompson
Larry CassianJason HeywardAugie OjedaOzzie Timmons
Frank CastilloJose HernandezMike OltSteve Trachsel
Welington CastilloBobby HillRyan O'MalleyDuane Underwood
Starlin CastroRich HillKevin OrieJermaine Van Buren
Ronny CedenoNico HoernerAngel PaganNelson Velazquez
Rocky CherryMicah HoffpauirBob PattersonJosh Vitters
Matt ClementBrandon HughesEric PattersonJared Young
Steve ClevengerCesar IzturisCorey PattersonTodd Walker
Buck CoatsBrett JacksonDavid PattonTodd Wellemeyer
Tyler ColvinReed JohnsonJoc PedersonRandy Wells
Willson ContrerasJacque JonesCarlos PenaTurk Wendell
Pete Crow-ArmstrongMatt KarchnerBilly PetrickHayden Wesneski
Juan CruzDavid KeltonFelix PieJerome Williams
Yu DarvishBrooks Kieschnick Lou PiniellaPatrick Wisdom
Wade DavisCaleb KilianMark PriorKerry Wood
Blake DeWittCraig KimbrelBrooks RaleyTravis Wood
Rafael DolisBryan LaHairAramis RamirezMichael Wuertz
Scott DownsJunior LakeAlfonso RivasCarlos Zambrano
Jason DubuoisTommy LaStellaAnthony RizzoRob Zastryzny
Carl EdwardsDerrek LeeHenry RodriguezBen Zobrist
Kyle FarnsworthJon LeiberHenry R. Rodriguez   Julio Zuleta

The 15 players in bold are currently on the Cubs 40-man roster.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

2023 Stadium Club Cubs

  I'm a little late to this party since the cards came while I was away from home.  Of course, I'm not as late as Topps was since this 2023 set was released on January 24, 2024

Ten of the 300 cards belong to the Cubs.  If everything was equal among all the teams, they all should have ten cards.  I doubt that that is the case.

These are the two HOF Cubs that were included.  It makes for the fifth consecutive year that both Banks and Sandberg have been in the set.  Additionally, Sandberg was in two other sets, meaning he has been a part of Stadium Club every year since the first time they started including retired players. Maybe its time to come up with some other Cubs legends.

This card of Bellinger is the only one of the eight active Cubs that is vertical.  The others are horizontal, which means that I either have to turn my head or the binder to look at the cards.

Stadium Club is noted for the photography, but can't they do something original for each card?

These are the rest of the active Cubs, although Stroman is now a Yankee.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

My First Attempt at Homemade 2024 Cards

 With 2024 packs in hand, that means cards in hand and the opportunity to create homemade cards.  I spent some time yesterday morning working on it and here is my first attempt.

I like to start with my all time favorite player, Billy Williams.  Most of the parts weren't too difficult.  The only problem I ran into is at the top.  On the real cards, the black border fades into the picture.  I haven't figured out how to do that, so my card has a straight black section.  I'll keep working on the fade, but I kinda like the look of the straight line.  

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The 2024 Topps Pack for the Wall

Compared to the past few years, it was relatively easy to find 2024 Topps series one packs.  The local Meijer had a large supply of boxes.  I wish I could just by a couple of packs, but it looks like those days are gone.  If you want to get a regular pack, you'll have to buy a box, which I did.

My run of packs is now up to 56 years, from 1969 though 2024, and they are all displayed on the wall above my desk at the WW World Headquarters.  Below you can see how the display has progressed, with a picture from when I started in 2009, and then from 2012 to today.