Here's hoping that my post about it doesn't put you to sleep either.
We'll start out with what would be the oldest card if these were actually the real deal (If they were, I wouldn't be blogging about cards, I'd be cruising around in a Ferrari right now).
Lone Jack Cigarette Co. originally printed this run of cards that focused exclusively on the St. Louis Browns (today's Cardinals, then of the American Association) in 1886. They leeched off of Old Judge for the pictures, but I guess no one called them out on that back then. The set is among the rarest of the old tobacco cards, but after all, they're all pretty rare 130 years later.
I can't locate the year from which my reprint dates, but it's pretty safe to assume that it's from the junk wax era. Everyone was trying to cash in on the boom in anyway they could.
The set included one new Cub for my All-Time Roster Collection: Hugh Nicol. The Scotsman began his MLB career with the White Stockings (Cubs) in 1881 as a sub-outfielder, a terrible one at that. Through 1882, he hit .201 in 73 games during a high offense era.
When the American Association was formed to challenge the NL's monopoly, he jumped to the Browns to play everyday in 1883. He wrapped up his career in Cincinnati in 1890.
Speed was his calling card though. In 1887, he stole 138 bases for Cincy, which is actually still the all-time record. But, it should be noted that prior to 1898 a stolen base was credited to a baserunner who reached an extra base on a hit from another player. Still, he was a quick, little (5'4") dude.
Let's keep moving along "chronologically."
Here we have some tributes to Tom Barker's game cards, originally printed in 1913. The cards were used to play a variation of baseball, as you can see from the designations on the card borders. Think of them as the MLB Showdown or Topps Attax of their day.
Like the Lone Jack card previously, I cannot find the year from which these reprints date. But, I'm going to mark them as junk wax era again.
This set provided a multiple new Cubbies for my collection. Here we have Nixey Callahan, who spent all but 9 games of his 13 year career in Chicago (1897-1900 with the Cubs).
His biggest claim to fame is that he pitched the first no-hitter in American League history on September 20th, 1902 against the Tigers. An otherwise mediocre at-best pitcher, he also pulled a Rick Ankiel and moved to the outfield for the last 6 years of his career.
To your left, we have Larry McLean, who was a capable catcher for 13 years in the early 1900's. His Cubs career was really bad, but it only lasted 1 game, where he went 0-4 and committed an error.
He was, however, part of the trade package that landed Mordecai Brown from St. Louis. So, he contributed something to the franchise in the long run.
The tallest catcher in MLB history (6'5") was a bit of a trouble-maker though. His career ended in 1915 with the Giants after a brawl with John McGraw and coach Dick Kinsella. Then, his life ended in 1921 when he was shot during a barroom brawl in Boston.
The last pull from this set was Bill Sweeney, who book-ended his successful career as a Brave with 2 short Cubs stints. He was drafted out of the minors by the Cubs in 1906 and came up in '07 for all of 3 games before he was traded to Boston. There he blossomed as high-average (for his time) second baseman who garnered MVP votes from 1911-13.
Seeing that, the Cubs changed their mind and decided that they wanted him back. So much so, they gave up Johnny Evers to do so.
The cruel irony? Johnny Evers won the MVP with the Miracle Braves of 1914 and Bill Sweeney was out of baseball the next year. So goes Cubs history....
This card also shows how shoddy this reprinting job was. As you can see, the cards are supposed to have rounded corners. Sweeney's card still has one pointy one though. Gotta pump out those cards! Still, for about a buck, I really can't complain.
Finally, we have a re-print from a much more modern set:
I present to you Ben Wade from Topp's 1953 flagship release. This re-print was from Topps themselves in celebration of their 40th anniversary producing cards in 1991. They did a really nice job and added just the right amount of gloss to touch them up. That said, I'd still much rather own the original!
Wade's career was nothing significant. He came up with the Cubs in 1948 for 2 games in 1948 before being buried back into the minors. He didn't re-emerge until 1952 with Brooklyn, whereupon he pitched out of their bullpen for a few seasons.
Though his MLB career was short, he did spend 16 years in the minors and pitched over 2,000 innings.
Thus, I'd say my second trip to the re-print bin was much more successful than your typical sequel. eat your heart out Batman & Robin!
A lot of people might look down on reprints as stupid and pointless, heck, I'd absolutely always rather own the original. However, since I don't have the resources to drop a couple hundred bucks (heck, even double digits) they allow me greater flexibility with my collection.
Now, if this week would just hurry up and end already so that we could enjoy some real baseball, that'd be great.