Thursday, November 13, 2014

Ain't That a Kick in the...

Maybe it's the gloomy, unseasonably icebox-like weather.

Maybe it's the fact that work has featured more stoppages and roadblocks than a segment of Chicagoland expressway.

Maybe it's the fact that the Bears are about as intimidating as my skittish, little cat Leroy.

Whatever the reason, I just haven't felt like writing - inspiration is lacking.

Don't get me wrong, I was grinning like an idiot at my girlfriend's charity function when I heard that the Cubs had closed on "Uncle Joe" Maddon (now everyone thinks I'm weirder than they already did) and just the prospects of signing a name like Russell Martin, Jon Lester or David Robertson has me giddy.

I have a good feeling about this guy

For that matter, I haven't stopped pulling in new cards either.  One of my favorite finds in this dark period is that Frank Gustine exhibit card (from approximately 1949) at the top of the post, the card that looks like Frankie took a baseball right in the gonads.

My enthusiasm for baseball is alive and well, it's the whole writing thing that goes along with blogging that has been unappealing.

So, hopefully this post wakes me from my writing-free fog.  I wouldn't want to disappoint all of my loyal fan.  Yes, I know that "fan" lacks an "s"  - hi mom!

But seriously, this may turn out to be the busiest off-season the Cubs have had since I was in high school, I have to be ready to spring on and show some cards of new players - the biggest names brought in since they signed since Jim Edmonds*.

*Milton Bradley's name has been redacted from Cubs history.

 All I want for Christmas is some star-power!... and a scanner...

Circling back to Mr. Gustine at the top of this post, I really hope that this off-season doesn't leave me feeling like I took a swift kick to the nether-regions come February.

However, as a Cubs fan, I suppose that I have to be ready for that possibility no matter what!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A Misfit in My Collection

When it comes to collecting baseball cards, I must admit, I'm a bit of stickler when it comes to size.

I like organized, neat, 9-pocket pages of 2.5 x 3.5 cardboard rectangles.  It's both visually appealing and keeps my OCD in check.

But, "the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

When it comes to finding cards of the more obscure and/or antiquated players in Cubs history, I simply have to take what I can find; expand my horizons, or borders, per se.

Thus, my newest addition to the CATRC:

Don't get me wrong, this piece from Bob Parker's More Baseball Cartoons set is a lovely & artistic oddball that dates from 1977; but, it just doesn't fit in my collection.


This set is made up of over-sized art cards on thin stock with illustrated trivia about stars of baseball's past, ranging from Cal McVey here in the 1870's to the (then) more recent times of Ernie Banks.

The dimensions are rather odd; I don't have a ruler handy, but they are just about 1/2 an inch taller and wider than your average, every day post card.  So, the post card-sized pages I bought for this particular case are for naught.

So, I'll have to run to the LCS in a few days to pick up a full-size photograph page in order to put Cal into my CATRC.  #FirstWorldProblems

Cal as a Boston Red Stocking on an early baseball photo card that I'll never own

As for Cal himself, the man was a star on the mound, behind the plate and on first base in the earliest days of professional baseball.  However, as a member of the first NL Chicago White Stockings/Cubs roster in 1876, he stayed mainly on first.

I'll leave you to the scan for further tidbits on McVey's career, as Mr. Parker has done a much better job conveying that information with his cartoons than I ever could with my long, rambling words.

Though my new CATRC exhibit may be a bit of a misfit due to it's odd size, it's still very welcome in my collection.  After all, with all of the tobacco, exhibit and team issued cards in my binder, he's hardly the only misfit!

Besides, I love misfits - they add an extra level of character and variety to my collection.  It'd be kind of boring if it was made up of entirely Topps flagship wouldn't it?

Speaking of Misfits...

I'm just seeing them all over the place!  Soon after receiving this card in the mail, I went out and caught the Misfits live on stage.

For those who don't know, the Misfits emerged from the punk scene in the late 70's - unique for their lyrical fascination with horror and B-movies.  They broke up in 1983 due to in-fighting, but built up a steady cult following in the ensuing years, leading to reunions with several different lineups.  Today, Jerry Only is the only remaining original member

Their "fiend" mascot is one of the most iconic images in rock music.

I discovered them in college when I was assigned to expand our radio stations punk offerings and I was hooked.  When I saw that they were playing a show just down the street, I couldn't miss it, even if the roster was a little watered down.

The show was fun and the energy was absolutely infectious.  Though, much like seeing that classic rock band with 1 or 2 original guys left at your local county fair, it left something to be desired.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a true and full Misfits reunion someday.

But yea... baseball cards.... that's what this blog is about.  Oops.

The take away from this post is that despite my idiosyncrasies OCD tendencies and I actually love misfits, both in baseball cards and in rock'n'roll!

...And that it doesn't take much for me to skid off track.

But, mostly the former.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Swingin' Through the Sixties

While showing off my most recent Cubgrades found inside a big, discounted box of 60's Topps in yesterday's post, I hinted that I was also able to find some brand new players for my CATRC.  Lately, this has been getting hard to do.

At this point, I've been working towards my goal of collecting one card of every Cubs player in franchise history (off and on) for 10 years.  I've already accumulated all of the stars and most notable names.

Thus, random trips to the LCS are no longer a reliable source for new additions; I've become increasingly dependant on online sources.  After all, oddball releases of has-beens, no-names and never-wases aren't exactly big attractions to most people.

That said, there are still some regular ol' vintage Topps flagship cards that fill my needs and so I was very happy to come away with a handful of 60's singles that fit the bill.

Ah, multi-player cards, a necessary evil in the CATRC.

While I much prefer cards that focus on a single player, some people weren't lucky enough to receive that honor.

Fred Burdette was the guy I was after on the '64 Topps to the left.  The righty was signed in '54 but had to wait until '62 to finally reach the big time.  Though he wasn't bad, 1-1 w/ a 3.41 ERA in 34.1 innings out of the bullpen through '64, the Cubs saw no future with the journeyman and cut him.  Thus ending his big league career.

On the 1960 Topps floating head coaches card, I was chasing Reggie Otero.  Otero was a Cuban that had a long career in the minors, but also got a brief call up during the pennant winning season of 1945.

He sure made the most of it, batting .391in 23 ABs over 14 games, but the first baseman was glossed over once the big boys returned from war.  Seeing as no major card sets were produced during the war years, I have yet to see a card from his playing days.

Mel Roach was a utility player that managed to sneak into a few games every year for the Braves from '53-'61 (when he wasn't serving in Korea) despite a weak bat (career .238 BA).

So, of course, the Cubs traded aging all-star Frank Thomas away to obtain Roach.  Though he was past his prime, Thomas still had several productive seasons left in him while Roach hit .128 in 23 games for the Cubbies in '61 and was out of the league by the end of '62.


Ben Johnson was signed as an amateur in 1949 by the Boston Braves but didn't reach the majors until '59 with the Cubs.  Like Burdette at the beginning of the post, Johnson had to bide his time.

While the sun is clearly blinding Ben in this 1960 Topps selection, his big league career was over in the blink of an eye; he might've missed it.

He got into 21 games from 1959-60 and went 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA and quickly got lost in the shuffle that we call life.

Unfortunately, Johnson was the last new Cub that I found for my CATRC.  However, I was lucky enough to find some other cool cards for my collection as well.

I'm trying to not to be so laser focused.

The tragic tale of Ken Hubbs has been told many times before and I'd rather not bum you out entirley on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.  But this famous Topps tribute was priced as a common, so I wasn't about to let it get past me. 

This Charley Grimm comes from 1960, the last year that he managed the Cubs.  "Jolly Cholly"' served three different managerial stints (1932-38, 1944-49, 1960) and led the club to 4 pennants.  That combined with his days as a star first baseman with the Cubs made him the embodiment of the franchise until "Mr. Cub" came around.

I love the portrait on this card; he looks almost regal!


All in all, not bad for a days work.  I'm really glad I came across that box.

However, there were some other excellent cards that I decided not to pull the trigger on at the time.  When I went back today to rectify that, I found that somebody had come and not only purchased that entire box, but cleared out the entire store of all it's 60's cards.  All of them.

Well, maybe I'm just bitter, but that sounds like an accumulator to me - not a collector.  Also, someone with a lot of disposable dinero!

But, so goes life.  I really shouldn't complain; it was still a pretty good trip!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Some Old School Cubgrading

Apparently I can only find cool stuff at my LCS's when I stop by out of boredom.

If I ever go into one with a specific motivation or I schedule a trip on my calendar, I wouldn't even be able to find my ass with both hands and a flashlight.

Of course, I suppose that doesn't really apply here.

Back to baseball cards, when I stopped by the Baseball Card King (a fine Chicagoland chain of stores) down the road, I was pleasantly surprised to see a whole box of discounted vintage.

I ended up paying about 25 cents per card for a nice stack of 60's Cubs cardboard.


I found some new players for my collection in said box; but, we'll cover that ground tomorrow.  Today, I'd like to show off a few Cubgrades I made in my CATRC.

The future Dodger relief ace got his start with the Cubs in 1960.  Though his 5 game audition was unremarkable (0-3, 5.82 ERA in 21.2 innings), it earned him a spot in Topps' 1961 set.

Brewer was unable to thrive at Wrigley in an era of the "College of Coaches" and the front office had an inability/disinterest in grooming young talent.  As was the Cubs way, he was jettisoned at the nadir of his trade value for no one of significance (Dick Scott).

Brewer, Brock, Drabowsky, Billie North... the list of young stars-to-be that the Cubs gave up on too soon goes on and on and on and on....

As far as the cards, though I love '72 Topps and this one came as part of a childhood Christmas present, I'm not really sad to replace it.  I've always appreciated the simple design of '61.  Plus, the clear, blue sky behind Brewer in the latter really pairs well with the Cubbie blue.

And here we have another relief ace.

This early closer came to the Cubs from the Cards in the mid-60's and provided a somewhat stabilizing force in the bullpen.  In his time on the North Side (1963-65), Lindy saved 39 games, finished 114 with a 3.06 ERA in 311.2 frames.

Unlike Brewer though, when the Cubs decided to part ways with Lindy, they actually got pretty good value.  His trade to the Giants netted both Randy Hundley and Bill Hands, two franchise legends.

The card on the left comes from the 2001 edition of Topps Archives; I found it on Ebay for less than a buck.  This '64 Topps is a Cubgrade both in that it depicts him as a Cub and that it dates from his playing days.

I highly prefer cards that were printed when the player was active because it lends a little bit more history to my CATRC.

The former Senators and Yankees star bounced around a little bit towards the end of his career and in 1959, he bounced right into Chicago.

In limited duty, he hit surprisingly well (.321 avg in 65 games) so the club let him stick around another season, as this 1960 Topps card shows.

Unfortunately, his statline wasn't nearly as pretty that year.  Come June, he was hitting .091 with no XBH and found himself cut.  After a quick cameo with the Dodgers that summer, Irv's MLB career was kaput.

Much like the McDaniel above, this card is a double Cubgrade.  Though you see a black & white 1953 Bowman card on top, it is a much more modern reprint.  Irv looks better in blue pinstripes anyway.

Finally, this last find was by far my favorite of the day and it was in a random binder in the back of the store that I noticed right before I walked out.  It's a card I've been searching for ever since I joined the blogosphere...

Before I discovered all these wonderful blogs, I was completely unaware that this Hall of Famer had any cards that showed him in Cubs fatigues.  After all, his stop in town was both brief and unsuccessful.

The Illinois native and former Phillie ace went 2-3 with a 6.14 ERA in 48.1 innings, his last innings in a MLB uniform.

Although I don't know why Swell chose to honor him with a picture from that dismal stint in their 1990 Baseball Greats set, but I'm quite thankful they did.

I was ecstatic to find this card at a random trip to the LCS; I knew I had to have it the first time I saw it.  But, I expected that I'd have to turn to Ebay or COMC to eventually find it.

Is it just me, or does ordering specific cards from these sources almost feel like cheating sometimes? I like the thrill of finding cards physically in front of me, after leafing through binders and digging through boxes.

These were the only Cubgrades I made on this particular trip to the LCS.  However, as I mentioned earlier, I was able to find some entirely new players for my CATRC as well; I'll be showing those off tomorrow.

In the meantime, I should probably get back to work.  Stupid real world.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Some Belated Farewells

The first moves of this young offseason are slowly trickling in.  As a result, the Cubs coaching staff will look a little bit different next season.

The biggest move made thus far in Chicago was Bill Mueller's resignation from the hitting coach position.

The former Cub and curse-busting Red Sox 3rd baseman was valued for his patience at the plate and obviously had strong connections with Theo Epstein.  He'd only just taken the job last offseason.

Though it's hard to quantify the true value of a coach, the re-emergence of Starlin Castro and Anthony Rizzo's bats may be at least partially a result from his tutelage.

On the whole, the offense was rather meager;  their .239 BA ranked 12th in the NL and .313 OBP ranked 13th.  Though it should be noted that they were second in the league with 157 homers.

At any rate, it still came as a surprise that Bill was stepping down from his post so quickly.

Turns out that the reason he gave for his departure was the sacking of assistant hitting coach Mike Brumley.

One week previously, the former Cub utilityman was demoted from his spot on the staff.  Although he was offered a position as a scout in the system, it appears likely that he'll seek employment elsewhere.

As tough as it his to quantify the affect a hitting coach has on a club, I'd say it's downright impossible to do so for the assistant.

No reason was given publicly for the change, however rampant speculation around these parts centers around another former Red Sox star....

That's right; the grapevine has been telling us Chicagoans that Theo & Co. might have let Brumley walk so that they could offer the assistant position to Manny Ramirez.

In addition, did Mueller bolt due to a long-standing frustration with the "Manny Being Manny" act?

No matter, as far as a coaching hire can be, that'd be quite the blockbuster!

It's not that crazy though.  Ramirez received rave reviews from everyone in the system during his stint as a player-coach at AAA and it seems that he has honestly turned his life around for the better.

I guess we shall see.  In the meantime, Tom Brunansky's name has been floated as potential replacement for Mueller.

Finally, not to be forgotten, the Cubs officially said goodbye to one player as well:

Eli Whiteside filed for minor league free agency a few days ago.  He had a cuppacoffee with the big league club this summer as an injury replacement, but the catcher spent the bulk of the year in AAA.

For the record, his official Cub batting line is as follows:  .120/.115/.160 in 26 PA's over 8 games.  I don't think fans will miss him too much.

Although a Cub is a Cub and I have yet to obtain a card of Eli for my CATRC.  I highly doubt that he'll be featured in Topps' Update set so his Iowa Cubs team issue card is the closest thing to a Cubs card he'll have.

If anyone has one they're willing to part with (or any Eli Whiteside card really), I'd love to work out a trade!

Fare thee well Bill, Mike and Eli!  Thank you for your services and I wish you nothing but the best of luck.  You will forever be remembered in my CATRC as Cubs players and, in the case of Bill and Mike, as coaches as well.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

It Came From Within, Pt. 2

Yesterday on Wrigley Roster Jenga, I wrote all about how my own aloofness caused me to completely pass over a card that I had needed.

I think this is something that all of us collectors can relate to.

To recap, Bob Rhoads was on my "to obtain" list for my CATRC.  However, courtesy of a full-set purchase a few months back, his 1982 Renatta Galasso reprint from the 1911 Turkey Red release was clearly already sitting in my trade bait box.

While it would have been easy to write this off as a one-time mistake, I couldn't help but wonder if that was the only card that I had missed when sorting that set.

*Spoiler alert*

It wasn't.

It was actually Downey that finally provided the impetus for me to go and follow up.

Nick over at Dime Boxes was lucky enough to find some Cracker Jack reprints that showcased Federal League players.  Why can't that sort of thing ever happen to me?

After I picked my jaw up off of the floor, I noticed that one of the names sounded familiar - Buffalo's Tom Downey.

Upon further research, I saw that he played for the Cubs shortly before he went to the Feds (not that he's a "rat" or anything).  In 1912, he got into 13 games and batted a meager .182 in 22 AB's while playing all over the infield.

When I typed his name into Ebay, much like I did with Mr. Rhodes previously, I found his original 1911 Turkey Red cabinet release.

Uh oh.

Sure enough, when I dug out that box (yet again) I found that card nestled amongst my trade fodder.

But hey, I only missed two right?  That's not so bad....

Curses; foiled again!

Looks like George Browne slipped by me too.  Maybe I should stop drinking while I sort cards?

At any rate, Mr. Browne played for 7 teams in his 12 year career.  Aside from his 6 year run with the NY Giants (with whom he earned a ring in 1905), he jumped around more than a frog on a hot plate!

One of those 7 clubs was the Cubs and in 1909 he appeared in all of 12 contests during the early portion of the schedule.  In 39 AB's he put together a .205 avg with only 1 XBH from rightfield.  Certainly not going to cut it, especially for a corner outfielder; thus, he was waived that May.

He probably hadn't even unpacked his suitcase.


So, all told, I missed three cards that I needed for my CATRC when I originally sorted through my Turkey Red reprints.

On one hand, it's always pretty cool to add new Cubs players to the collection without having to plop down any money or trade anything away.  On the other, I'm a little annoyed with myself that my "free" additions were a result of my own small attention span.

Oh well, it's not worth getting upset over.  After all, there are much more important things in the world that I could have forgotten.

Like, for instance, if I were to forget my mother's birthday or my anniversary....... wait a minute.... what month is it?

October?  Ok, nevermind, I'm good then.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

It Came From Within

The call is coming from inside the house!

Well, not exactly.  But a new addition to my collection recently came from inside my collection.

Let me explain.

A few months back, I purchased a full set of 1911 Turkey Red reprints, produced by the one and only Renatta Galasso in 1982, in hopes of adding some new Deadball Era Cubs to my CATRC.

It was a very fruitful acquisition and apparently it's still giving.

I often peruse "Today's Cub Birthday" listings at Just One Bad Century; I plug the more obscure names into Ebay just to see what kind of cardboard is floating around, if any.  This past Saturday, one Bob Rhoads popped up.

When I punched in his name, I saw a listing for his original 1911 Turkey Red card.  "Well," I thought to myself, "how come I don't already have this guy in my binder then?"

I immediately consulted my CATRC binder to make sure that I hadn't simply forgotten to cross him off of my list.  Nope, he wasn't in there.

Did Mrs. Galatto forget to include Rhoads in her reprint set?  I sure hope not.

Renatta is obviously too organized to forget such things
Photo courtesy of Bearden

I went back and dug up the non-Cub remainders from the set from my trade-bait box and, sure enough, no more than 5 cards from the top was Rhoads, just staring back at me.


Looks like I need to pay more attention when sorting sets.  My theory as to how I missed Bobby (other than simply not paying attention) centers around the spelling of his last name.

Turkey Red and later Mrs. Galasso erred with her spelling.  They added an extra "e" so that it read "Rhoades" on his nameplate.

Too bad this guy wasn't around to help in 1911

Since the first name is not included on the cards, when I researched the more obscure names, I had to rely on searching the last name on BBref.  Hopefully, I'd be able to match that up with the correct player.

There have never been any "Rhoades" to play in Major League Baseball.  Ever.

Thus, I likely saw that, set it aside to do some further research into the card/player, and proceeded to forget about the mystery entirely.  Silly me.

For the record, "Dusty" Rhoads was a reliable rotation piece for Cleveland from 1903-09, slotting as their 2nd or 3rd starter and going 88-66 with a 2.39 ERA in that span.  Very respectable numbers in an era of little offense.

However, before that, he was given an audition with Chicago in 1902 (where he was teammates with yesterday's Old as Moses Monday subject Germany Schaefer).  His 4-8 record with a 3.20 ERA in 118 innings deemed him expendable and he was traded away to St. Louis (how he got to Cleveland has been lost to time).

Rhoads warming up at old Hilltop Park during his last season in the Majors, 1909
Courtesy of the Charles Conlon Collection

Though he went on to have a good amount of success, it wasn't such a raw deal for Chicago.  The piece they got in return for his services was Bob Zick, who was eventually himself flipped to the Reds for Orval Overall - a key cog in the wheel of the blossoming Cubs dynasty.

No mistakes made there.

On the flipside, at least the error of my ways has been realized and Bob is now sitting in his rightful pocket of my CATRC binder.  Nothing like adding a new card to the collection for free (kinda), even if it was a result of my own absent-minded ways.

I guess I just gotta start paying more atten.....


Monday, October 6, 2014

Old as Moses Monday - Germany Schaefer

*I bet you can figure out the concept of this feature; it shines the spotlight on the Cubs in my collection that time forgot a long time ago. We're talking pre-WWI here!*

I'll bet you never guess the nationality of today's subject.

What's that?  German?  How did you ever guess?

While his parents did in fact hail from the Motherland, Herman A. Schaefer was born right here in Chicago, IL back in nineteen-aught-two.  I'd want to go by another name too if my name was Herman.

Germany made his debut in the Major Leagues with his hometown club, the Chicago Orphans, a.k.a. the Cubs, in 1901.  The feisty infielder earned his call-up based on his swift base stealing speed and his solid glovework.

However, his coming up coincided with the formation of the famous "Tinker to Evers to Chance" infield and thus there was no space for the German.  His .196 batting average over 81 games and 323 PA's in 1902 certainly didn't help his case either.  He found himself back in the minors for the next two seasons.

Germany was a good middle infielder, but not good better than these guys

He did offer a glimpse of his speed though by stealing 12 bases in that time.

The Tigers came-a-callin' in 1905, purchasing him from the old Milwaukee Brewers and immediately plugged him into their starting lineup at 2nd base.  For the next 4.5 seasons, Germany average a .250 BA and totaled 123 stolen bags (including 40 in 1908).

However, he and his Tigers were unable to extract revenge against his former club, falling to the Cubs in the World Series in '07 and '08.

Given regular playing time, Schaefer quickly garnered a reputation as a trickster.

It was during his time in Detroit that former teammate Davy Jones claimed Schaefer used his plus speed to steal first base.

While trying to employ a double steal to distract the enemy pitcher, Davy broke from first and successfully took 2nd.  Seeing that the distraction did not have the desired effect, on the next pitch he broke back to first in order that he could try AGAIN on the next play.

Davy Jones' (maybe) saw Germany's stunt firsthand

The validity of this particular claim is foggy, as no verifiable evidence exists to back up Jones.  However, there is no doubt that he successfully attempted the same stunt yet again while playing for Washington against the White Sox on August 4th, 1911.

Allegedly due to his antics, MLB instituted rule 7.08i in 1920 which states that a player is out if "After he has acquired legal possession of a base, he runs the bases in reverse order for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game. The umpire shall immediately call 'Time' and declare the runner out."

Germany was quite the unorthodox individual.  

Germany loved to showoff for the camera and, apparently, operate it too

In addition, while his moniker of "Germany" would have become controversial upon the US declaring war on Germany in 1917, he immediately bestowed a new nickname upon himself:  "Liberty."  It seems that "Liberty" was always one step ahead of the opposition.

Germany may have been quite the personality, but he was no slouch as a ballplayer; after all, his career lasted 15 seasons, finally retiring for good in 1918 after brief stints in the Federal League, the Yankees & Indians.

So, next time you're at your little brother's t-ball game and you see a child run the wrong direction around the bases, don't assume they're just an overexcited kid.  Maybe they're the next Germany Schaefer, trying to gain a competitive advantage any way they can.

Either that or picking dandelions in the outfield wasn't exciting enough by itself.

One of the two.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Treasure Fit For a King

The spoils of my recent boredom-inspired trip to the LCS were certainly worthy of a king.

Specifically, King Kelly:

This is why I love Panini's Golden Age sets, even if they are unlicensed.  They inject some "new" blood into the hobby by shining the spotlight on forgotten stars or using a different spin for an overused subject.

For instance:

"Philliabuck" is one of a surprisingly long line of above-average first baseman who have called Chicago home.  He played for the Cubs from 1934-53, was thrice an All-Star and won the batting title (.355) & MVP award in '45.

Yet, he never seems to get any cardboard love.

Meanwhile, the player on the left needs no introduction.  But, if you're confused as to why "Mr. Cub" is listed as playing for Kansas City, you've forgotten that Ernie played several years in the Negro Leagues before making the jump.

See?  That's how you keep things new and interesting.

Those three Golden Age pulls would have been good enough for me, as I've been chasing them since the set was released.  However, I found more treasure buried within some large Cub-centric boxes.

Unfortunately, there were no new additions to be found for my CATRC, I was able to "Cubgrade" a handful of players, including Kelly.

Not a lot of star-power here otherwise, but finding these guys in Cubs duds has been surprisingly frustrating:

That '90 Topps Yelding has been his representation in my CATRC since I started the project 10 years ago.  It dates back to when my grandfather was my main source for baseball cards in the mid-90's.

Sidenote:  I absolutely adore that 1993 Team Stadium Club set.  The green, wavy design elements evoke the ivy in my mind.

Meanwhile, it seemed that the only cards I could ever find of Bere were from his White Sox tenure.  While I like that team issued card and have nothing but love for the second team in town, that was not going to cut it for me.


I found that very Gathright shortly after he was traded away for Ryan Freel (RIP) in 2009; I didn't grab it because I thought I already had it.  Well, 5 years later....

But, thank you to that lovely 2008 UD Silver Foil Parallel for holding the place for the ensuing years.  Unlike Joey himself, it performed admirably.

Even after all those long overdue "Cubgrades," there were still more goodies to be uncovered.

What's diggin' for gold without a little prospecting?

Rhee has sorta fallen off the prospect map with the Theocratic infusion of talent lately, but he did made it up to AAA last season.  There, he pitched well enough to stay around - 3-2, 3.75 in 8 starts.

If he keeps persevering like that, he may yet get that elusive call.  Now I've got a card queued up for him, just in case it's needed for my CATRC.

There were also a couple of souls that were taken from this earth too soon:

Oh what could have been with Hubbs.  The 1962 ROY and GG winner was killed in a tragic plane crash in 1964, shortly before spring training.  He sure would have looked nice in a lineup with Banks, Williams, Santo, Kessinger, etc...

While "Popeye" certainly lived a full life, it seemed as though the living embodiment of baseball would keep on truckin' forever.  He never held a job in life that wasn't baseball related, starting when he was drafted by the Dodgers in 1949.

This is my first "Zim" card that depicts him as a player.  It's pretty "swell" ain't it?

I was very content at this point of my treasure hunt, but at the back of one of the boxes, there was a rather old gem of a card, iconically vintage even:

"Handsome Ransom" Jackson manned the infield for the Cubs during the early 1950's and was thus included in the 1953 Bowman set.

That set was issued in two styles; the star players were given the color treatment, while the lesser knowns were black & white.  Perhaps spurned by this, Jackson went on a tear for the next two seasons and was a back-to-back All-Star.

I already had the reprint of this card in my CATRC, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to replace it with the real one for just a few bucks.

At that, there was no more gold left in them there mountains.

However, I certainly never expected to find that much cool stuff at that LCS, I was pretty sure that I had mined that location dry.

Alright, no more treasure hunt imagery and wordplay, it's time for me to "map" out another post.

Sorry; starting now...

Errr... I mean now...