Monday, March 10, 2014

Old as Moses Monday: Tom Needham

On Sunday I debuted my first new weekly feature here at Wrigley Roster Jenga.  I also hinted at today's new feature as well, Old as Moses Monday.

I bet you can figure out the concept; it will shine the spotlight on the Cubs forgotten stars of yesteryear.  We're talking pre-WWI here! However, as old as the Cubs franchise is, they don't actually extend to the time of Moses.  But, they did once visit Egypt:

Here we have Tom Needham, or "Deerfoot" to his friends:  backup catcher extraordinaire!  Tom spent 11 years playing second string for the Boston Beaneaters (Braves), New York Giants and of course the Cubs, where he wrapped it all up. The Cubs acquired him from St. Paul in the American Association in a trade for Fred Leise just before the 1909 season.  Remember, this is before the modern farm system was set up and minor leagues were often treated on equal footing.  

Unfortunately for Tom, he just missed being a part of the famous (or infamous) Cubs World Series champs of 1908, but he proved to be an able back up to Johnny Kling and Jimmy Archer through the 1914 season.  Though he only batted, .184 in a blue uniform, catchers were not expected to be much of an offensive contributor during the Deadball Era.  All told, Tom was a pretty forgettable player, but he served his purpose.

The card you see above is my second oldest possession and the first tobacco card I found in person; the oldest will probably be featured in this series at some point.  This antique is a 1914 T213 Coupon Cigarette card that I found at the Volo Auto Museum and Antique Mall in Volo, IL and snapped up for just a few bucks. 

If you're an Illinois-native, I highly recommend that you check this place out.  They have 4 or 5 barns filled with antiques and garages filled with antique and celebrity cards, i.e. the Batmobile, Herbie, Kit, the Mystery Machine, etc.

Ok, commercial over.  This card is obviously not in the best of shape, but I hope that I look that good when I hit 100 years old!  Someone chopped the original white borders off and they didn't cut them very straight either.  These go for about $100 in better shape, but I could really care less about the monetary value.  I couldn't pass up the opportunity to satisfy a hole in my collection with such a piece of history.

There you have the inaugural post in Old as Moses Monday!  I hope this proves to be informative and brings some intrigue to little-known players in the annals of Cubs history.  Also, thank goodness Monday is almost over.