First up, we have some minor league Cubs. Two of these men have had a much larger impact on the franchise than the other two, can you spot them?
Here's hoping the Cubs can figure something out with good ol' Jeffy Spellcheck and it looks as though Rizzo might be officially recovered from last season's mess.
On the flip side, Bowden just never could find consistency from the bullpen and Chris Volstad might well have been the worst starting pitcher I've ever seen in a Cubs uniform. But, a Cub is a Cub and I love minor league baseball cards.
From the worst to one of the best I've ever seen, The Professor made a few appearances in this box:
While I don't have any particular player collections and I just collect any player who has played for the Cubs, Maddux is one that I'm particularly excited to obtain new cards of.
I used to have that shiny Fleer insert in my original collection when I was just a kid, but it got beaten up and lost somewhere along the way. When I showed my grandfather the card at the time is when I first heard about the worst mistake in Cubs history. Welcome back to my binders, you piece of foiled awesomeness you.
I also get excited about serial numbered cards; but then again, who doesn't? Even if they're numbered to 5,000, it's still pretty cool to see that you own one of a finite number of cards. Especially when they feature a vintage player:
Babe Herman is depicted as Dodger here, but he played with the Cubs from 1933-34. I already have him depicted as a Cub in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection, but #385 of 399 will definitely sill occupy a place in my player binders.
In the meantime, these two players will have to wait a little bit before they get added to my binders, as they are not yet officially Cubs. But now I have them, just in case.
Joel Piniero had been out of baseball for a couple of seasons when the Cubs signed him to a minor league deal earlier this month. It's a long-shot, but if he comes back and pitches decently in the minors, there's always a chance that he could be called up when the big July sell-off occurs.
Meanwhile, the likelihood of Arodys Vizcaino making the Cubs roster at some point is much, much greater. He's still shaking the rust off after coming back from TJ Surgery, but he's been lights out in Daytona thus far. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see him in Chicago sometime later this year.
However, I was somewhat surprised to see this card in there:
Vintage is always exciting! Even if it is one of those buybacks with a gold stamp on it. Covington was another short term Cub from the '60s and is more remembered for his time with the Braves. But who doesn't love 1959 Topps?
I might have covered all of the non-baseball oddballs yesterday, but that doesn't mean there weren't plenty of Cubs themed oddballs to be found. Here are my favorites:
That Post Mark Grace comes from the same set as my very first baseball card (which was Mark Whitten) and it marks the second time in this box that I've reacquired a card lost from my childhood. It also doesn't hurt that Grace is on the same level as Maddux when it comes to my player collecting.
Another minor league card! It's always fascinating to see future MLB stars when they were young and green, back when they were another face in the crowd. Luis' time as a Cub lasted a season and a half (1995-96) and is certainly more remembered for his later years in Arizona, when he suddenly developed 50 HR power.
While I never actually played the game, MLB Showdown made some of my favorite cards of the early aughts. Neifi wasn't much of a fan favorite by the time his Cubs career ended (he was probably the all-time favorite whipping boy), he sure did help the Cubs during his time as a Rockie. It was his walk-off homerun in September of 1998 that beat the Giants and forced their one-game playoff with the Cubs for the NL Wild Card.
Finally, after sorting through all of this box, one new addition to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection did in fact emerge from masses. His time with the Cubs was short... and exceptionally bad... but, as I said earlier, a Cubs is a Cub.
Doug Creek was a journeyman reliever who played for a total of six teams from 1995 through 2005, including some time in Japan. One of those six teams was the Cubs, where he pitched in three games in 1999. In mop up duty, he was scored upon in all three appearances - 7 earned runs in just 6 innings - before getting sent to Iowa.
I don't think anyone else on this planet would be as excited to pull his card than I was - except for maybe Creek himself or his mother. With this finding, I am another name closer to completing my 1980-Present Side Quest.
Gene Krug - 1981
Bill Johnson - 1983-1984
Johnny Abrego - 1985
Mike Maksudian - 1994
Ramon Tatis - 1997
Steve Gajkowski - 1998-1999
Richard Barker - 1999-2000
Raul Gonzalez - 2000
Mike Mahoney - 2000, 2002
Mike Fyhrie - 2001
Jeff Beliveau - 2012
Lendy Castillo - 2012
Chang Yong-Lim - 2013
All good things must come to an end though. Unfortunately, the box produced no more goodies after that. But, I really can't complain - I got two posts worth of fun/cool/good/interesting cards for a mere five bucks, not to mention the box that contained them retails for the same amount empty.
The moral of this story is that garage sales are absolutely awesome. You just never know what you are going to find when digging through another person's junk.