Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Come "Sale" Away With Me - Part 2 of 2

Today we continue to talk about the big box o' cards that I picked up during Coal City's annual Garage Sale Day this past weekend.  Yesterday, I showed off all of the weird and interesting odd and ends, not necessarily having to do with baseball.  However, for today, let's get back to what Wrigley Roster Jenga is all about - Cubs baseball cards!

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
Doug Creek - 1999
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. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Come "Sale" Away With Me - Part 1 of 2

There are few things I enjoy more than perusing through garage sales.  In fact, flea markets, antique shops and rummage sales are probably the only things comparable.  Apparently, I just really enjoy looking through other people's junk; one man's trash is another man's treasure, after all.

So, when I discovered that Coal City was having a community-wide garage sale day last Saturday, I jumped at the chance.  Coal City is the town from which my girlfriend hails and we also needed furniture for our new apartment; win-win.

While the main objective was, of course, to furnish our new abode, I was secretly hoping to find a nice stash of cards to go through and release some of the inevitable stress associated with a move.  However, in that regard, I was almost shut out.

We found a nice shelving unit for my record player, a CD tower and some new reading material; but, there were no baseball cards to be found.  I was let down to find out that the only binder that even surfaced was filled with Magic: The Gathering cards.  I tried to get into those when I was in the Boy Scouts, where it was the cool thing to do, many years ago... no thanks.  I almost gave up hope.

But patience is a virtue! At the very last stop before we turned around and headed home, I found a place that was selling boxes of sports cards for $5.  Since the boxes themselves usually cost about $4.50, how could I pass up that opportunity?

I grabbed this one, labeled "baseball," and resisted the urge to buy more - after all, I'm still trying to finish organizing the new apartment.  That said, while the box was labeled "baseball," it was definitely not leafed through beforehand.

It was mostly America's past time, but some other odds and ends made it in there as well.  Today, I want to show off some of these cards.  While they certainly didn't fill any of my needs with my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection nor did they technically fit under the subject matter of "Wrigley Roster Jenga," they certainly brought a smile to my face!

Politics aside, these two finds might be the first time my girlfriend was more excited to see cards than I was!

There's that TriStar Obak series again, being all different and exciting (ahem, Topps, pay attention!).  I actually featured another card from that set in yesterday's Old as Moses Monday feature.  While I was initially disappointed that they weren't "really" baseball cards and set them aside, the lady took them for herself.  Hey, I've sucked her in!

Now, as a child of the 90's, this was my absolute favorite show of all-time as I was growing up.  I had every action figure, VHS tape and t-shirt; plus, the MMPR movie was the first film I saw in theaters.  Therefore, this card definitely pulls on my nostalgic heart strings, even if it doesn't include my favorite ranger...

That's totally not me dressed up as a Power Ranger for Halloween as a full-grown adult...

Ahem... let's get back to cards.  Sticking with the 90's theme, the Lion King was also a large part of my childhood.

I'm pretty sure I wore that VHS tape out and the soundtrack album was the first CD I ever claimed as my own.  I can probably trace my longstanding appreciation of Elton John back to that development.  Another pull at those nostalgic strings...

I'm filing this one under novelties because it isn't a Cubs player and I need to correctly balance the contents for tomorrow's post.  Pat Venditte is the only full-blown switch-pitcher in the modern era of baseball.  Greg A. Harris once did this in 1995 with Montreal, but he had been in the majors for 10 years at that point and was making his second-to-last appearance; Venditte regularly switches back and forth.

While he's been working his way up the Yankees chain since he was drafted in 2008, MLB was forced to adopt a new rule - The Pat Venditte Rule.  So, even if he never reaches the Bigs, he'll have left a lasting impact on the game anyway.

Also, TriStar Obak continues to prove why it is one of the best brands in the last ten years!

Finally, despite my best efforts, I was unable to win tickets to an MLB game... in the year 1996:

There were a million of these things in here and, yes, I scratched them all just to see if I would have been lucky 18 years ago.  Oh well.

Outside of a bunch of football and basketball cards I haven't wanted to sort through, the entire rest of this box was made up of actual baseball cards. Thus concludes the odds n' sods portion of this series 

I'll be back tomorrow with my Cubby loot and your regularly scheduled Wrigley Roster Jenga programming!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Old as Moses Monday: Ross Barnes

The home run.  In Major League Baseball, there is no moment more exciting than the instant one hears the familiar crack of the bat and sees the ball driven high and deep.  They say chicks dig the long ball - but so do guys; after all, who doesn't like instant runs?

While such displays of power are more associated with names like Ruth, Maris, Aaron, Bonds, etc. they certainly weren't the first men to deposit a baseball into the bleachers while wearing an MLB uniform.  That honor went to a second baseman by the name of Roscoe Barnes, way back in 1876 - during the maiden season of the National League.

Ross Barnes had already been a super star in professional baseball before the NL came to be.  In fact, so much so, that the NL might not have existed without him.  While playing with the celebrated Boston Red Stockings in the old National Association (NA), Barnes twice lead the league in batting average, three times in runs, three times in hits, twice in doubles, twice in walks and once in stolen bases.  The man was an offensive force.

The Boston Red Stockings in 1874 - Barnes is standing, upper left

It was because of his impressive skill, that he was often considered the most important cog in the Cincinatti machine (well before the Big Red Machine!).  Thus, Chicago White Stockings owner William Hulbert had to have him.

Along with three other Boston players (Albert Spalding, Deacon White & Cal McVey), "jumped" and signed contracts with Chicago, despite still being under contract with the Red Stockings.  Rather than sit and wait for the NA to void these deals, Hulbert had a plan.  Already looking to seize power in the pro baseball world, he went out and formed his own league, the National League, in order to force the NA to disband.  

138 years later, I think we know who won that battle.

Ross Barne's "Band of Brothers"

At any rate, Chicago now had a team full of stars and were well on their way to dominating the early days of the NL.  Barnes certainly did his part in that inaugural season, winning the first NL batting title (.429) while also leading the league in runs, hits, doubles, triples and walks.  

But, as this card celebrates, what Barnes might most be remembered for is his lone home run on the season.  On May 2nd, Barnes took one deep off of Cherokee Fisher in Cincinnati to secure his place in trivia books for the rest of history.  It was a solo shot in the top of the 5th inning and thus began our fascination with the home run.

However, while Barnes' 1876 season was simply amazing, it was to be the last productive season of his career.  First, the NL banned the fair/foul hit (originally, any ball that landed fair and then rolled over the baseline before passing the base was considered "in play") a play that Barnes was an acknowledge master of  Then, he came down with a severe case of "'the ague,' a malaria-like affliction characterized by alternating high fever and chills, along with a marked loss of strength, stamina, and vitality.”

Had this play occurred in 1876, the ball would have been fair no matter what

As a result, he played in only 22 games the next season, batting only .272, before going to the International Association (an early minor league) for 1878.  He made two brief comeback attempts in 1879 with the old Cincinnati Reds and then in 1881 with Boston, but the magic was gone.

That said, there is still a strong push to have Ross Barnes inducted into the Hall of Fame.  While most of his playing time and his feats were accomplished in the NA, Barnes offensive dominance from 1871 to 1876 has never been matched.  He certainly appears to be worthy to me.

Yet, despite all of this, most of the recognition that Barnes receives today is for that single home run he hit back in 1876.  Proof positive that baseball fans love displays of power.

As for the card itself, it comes from TriStar's Obak series in 2011.  The focal point of this set was on forgotten players and accomplishments from throughout the history of baseball, while leaning on the original 1911 Obak tobacco cards for inspiration.  It's a set I've come to love and has provided me with much help in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection.

Plus, the artificially colored photograph layered over the forest background, while unorthodox, makes for a unique piece of cardboard.  The colors really pop off of the card!

That does it for this week's edition of Old as Moses Monday.  I'll be back tomorrow to brag all about my finds from the community-wide garage sale day that I attended over the weekend.  Please, try to contain your excitement!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Short Stay Sunday: Rey Ordonez

For today's edition of Short Stay Sunday, I'll be featuring a player who I had an odd attachment to when he was on the roster.  This guy was known for his defense and not much else; basically, he was a modern day Mario Mendoza with an exceptionally better glove.  His name is Rey Ordonez and he was briefly a Cub in the summer of 2004.

Oh, those 2004 Cubs.... to this day, thinking of that disappointing collapse makes my stomach turn.  After the near miss in 2003 and the high quality imports brought in in the off-season, it truly felt like the Cubs were destined to end the drought.  Instead, they underachieved and blew it in the end.

However, Rey Ordonez was only a minor factor in that gut-wrenching blow up.  The longtime Met won 3 straight Gold Glove awards at shortstop from 1997-1999.  However, his defense was the only thing that assured his starting spot; his batting average as a Met was a weak .245 with an even more pathetic OPB of .290.  Needless to say, he was an easy out.

Rey was traded away to Tampa for 2003 after calling Mets fans stupid, never a good idea, and then injuries robbed him of most of the season.  Suddenly, Rey was at a career crossroads.

He went into 2004 battling with an unknown rookie named Khalil Greene for the shortstop job in San Diego.  Obviously, he lost that battle and again found himself on the scrap heap.  Things were looking pretty bleak for Rey, but then Alex Gonzalez broke his wrist.

 Gonzo - why couldn't you field that groundball?

Alex Gonzalez, simultaneously a postseason hero and goat during the magical 2003 playoff run, took a pitch off of his wrist that May and found himself sidelined for several weeks.  Enter Rey Ordonez.

GM Jim Hendry signed Rey to be Rey.  That is, all he needed to do was bring his Gold Glove and at least look like he knew how to hold a bat.  However, he only held up one end of that bargain.

In his time to shine, Rey had the worst offensive season of his career and that is certainly saying something.  In 23 games, Rey batted .164 at a time when the Cubs were in the thick of the playoff race.  Obviously this wouldn't cut it.

That July, the Cubs cut ties with Ordonez.  Alex Gonzalez was back and unbeknownst to us at the time, soon to be included in a blockbuster three-way trade to acquire Nomar Garciaparra to take over at short.  Obviously Ordonez was dead weight.

 Nomahh - soon to be the hero of many Chicago children

In an ironic twist, Gonzalez ended the season at the starting shortstop for San Diego, the very team that cut Ordonez to begin the season.  Baseball is a funny sport.

With that, Rey Ordonez's MLB career was over and done with.  He found himself out of baseball for the rest of 2004 and all of '05.  He attempted a brief comeback in '06 with Seattle and looked to have made the team out of spring training.  That is, until a late trade with San Francisco for Jason Ellison pushed him out of the picture.  He refused a minor league assignment, saying "he was too old for that," took his ball and went home.

So, why was I attached to a player far past their prime on a team that was doomed to disappoint Cubs fans for the rest of their lives?  I always root for the underdog.

I always want to see that career minor-leaguer get his chance to succeed in the majors, to see a "4A" player make it to the bigs and succeed, to see an aging veteran come in and see one successful go around before calling it quits.  Thus, I developed special affinities for guys like Bobby Scales, Bryan LaHair and, you guessed it, Rey Ordonez.

C'mon - who wasn't rooting for these guys to stick?

Not to mention, he hit his only homer of the season against the White Sox.  As a Cub fan deep in the south side of Chicago, anyone who showed it to the Sox and got the kids at school to shut up was cool in my book!

This card itself was acquired just yesterday at a community wide garage sale day in Coal City.  I have several Rey Ordonez cards, however this one shot to the top of the stack because it features him wearing the number zero.  I love it when players wear unorthodox numbers; you have to change things up after all!

Its the matte version of the 1996 edition of Fleer.  While I'd rather have the glossy one, this one is definitely satisfactory.  Unfortunately, since Rey's time with the Cubs was so short and over by late summer, he never got a card with a Cubs jersey, not even in Update.

But, that was far from the only thing I got at the garage sales; in fact, I got a whole bunch of new cards to show off.  They'll be divided into two posts, starting on Tuesday (tomorrow is Old as Moses Monday after all).

I'm sure you're all waiting with bated breath.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cubby Upgrade

Since my stated goal for my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection is to collect any one card of every player that has played for the North Siders,  I have plenty who are represented in my binder wearing other teams' uniforms.

This is because many players never had a card issued of them during their Cubs tenure or because their Cubs cards are small in number and large in price.  I''m not working with an unlimited budget here.

On the plus side, this allows my collection some variety and adds an extra hint of history as well.  You'll find Pilots, Senators, Browns, Expos, etc. in my collection, not to mention the awesome uniforms sported by the Astros and the Pirates in the 70s/80s.

That said, I'd still have entirely Cubs issues if I could.  Thus, I'm always looking to "upgrade" players that I already have so that they're pictured in good 'ol Cubby Blue.  Yesterday, while perusing the LCS for storage boxes, I couldn't help but notice a few new upgrades calling out to me.

First up was one of those infamous 1969 Cubs, Mr. Jimmie Hall.  Hall came over very late in the season via trade with the Yankees (Rick Bladt went the other way) as reinforcement for the outfield.  However, it was too little, too late at that point and this former star was burning out.  He hit .208 in 11 games and then .094 in 28 games in '70 before being sold to Atlanta, where he finished out the year and his career.

The card itself isn't exactly an upgrade condition-wise.  After all, this 1970 Topps release is pretty well worn and creased.  But, it was 25 cents, so it hardly broke the bank; I'll look for a further upgrade later on down the road.  As far as I can tell, this is Hall's only card being depicted on the Cubs.

That said, I have very little love for the 1967 Topps set, due to their frequent use of poor framing and lack of hats.  I understand why they did this, but the film student in me will never be able to get over all of that negative space...

Pete Mikkelsen was an early, prototypical closer.  This fireman came up with the Yankees and spent some time with the Pirates where he racked up 27 saves and finished 90 games before coming over to the Cubs in 1968, via a waiver claim. His time was short in a Cubs uni, in just 7 games he accumulated a 6.43 ERA with no saves before being ejected to St. Louis

Hopefully the Cubs eject Jose Veras in a similar, timely fashion.

There's that 1967 Topps again.  I like this card a lot more than the Jimmie Hall, but I like both the Cubs and the 1968 Topps set much more.  The beige in the border really brings out the bright blue in the Cubs uniforms; beautiful!

Andre Thornton was one of those guys that got away from the Cubs in the 60's/70's era, when the Cubs player evaluation was worse than Jose Veras' ability to keep people off base.  Sorry, I'm being awfully hard on Jose today.

After putting up some decent years with plus power at 1st base for the North Siders starting in '73, he got off to a slow start in '76, the Cubs traded him to Montreal for the immortal Larry Biitner and Steve Renko.  Montreal then sent him packing to Cleveland all he did from there was post 5 seasons of over 25 homers, 2 All-Star appearances, a Silver Slugger and garner MVP votes in 3 seasons, playing until 1987.  What a trade!

But, the Cubs had Bill Buckner and Leon Durham over that course of time, so I guess they didn't miss him too terribly.

I have many cards of Thornton in an Indians outfit, but this 1987 Topps piece was my favorite.  The wood framing makes the set one of my all-time favs and the picture is framed  perfectly with a nice action shot.  However, the 1975 Topps set is just a touch higher on my all-time favs list and the Cubs uniform obviously gives it priority in my collection.

The last update purchase I made wasn't based on the uniform, but based on when the card was printed.  In addition to featuring them as a Cub, I like my cards to have been made in the era in which the player depicted was active, thus adding a little more history to my collection.

So, when I found this 1959 Topps card in the discount bin, I had to grab it - even though I already had the slugging Dale Long in a Cubs jersey.  It's a little beat up (thus it's presence in the discount bin) but this is probably my favorite set of all-time!

Not to mention, even though I love oddballs and I even dedicated a post to this Jack Brickhouse playing card set, I much refer the color photography found in the Topps release.  Sorry Jack!


So, even though I wasn't able to find any more new players for my Cubs collection yesterday, I was able to update my collection in other ways.  Plus, I was only supposed to be buying new storage boxes to pack up my extra cards in anyway... shhhh... don't tell anyone!

All the cards depicted here that have been updated out are available for trades, so if you see anything you like, shoot me an email or comment or smoke signal or something.

In the meantime, I have a community wide garage sale to attend today, where I'm supposed to be finding some furniture on the cheap for our new apartment.  But, I'm secretly hoping that I'll be able to find some lots of inexpensive baseball cards as well.  It's an addiction!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Brand New Cub

The Cubs made some roster moves today, necessitated by Justin Ruggiano injuring himself as he blew Wrigley's birthday game yesterday.  Ok, maybe that's not fair and I'm bitter, but that's not the point.

Anyway, Ruggiano has been placed on the 15-Day disabled list due to hamstring issues.  So, he gets the dubious honor of being the first Cub to hit the DL (minus those who started the year there) in 2014.

At the same time, the Cubs bullpen has been horrendous lately and needs a bit of a makeover; so, Blake Parker has been demoted back to Iowa and two relievers have been called up.

Why does this all matter to Wrigley Roster Jenga?  Well, it means that the Cubs have called up a brand new Cub!

Zac Rosscup has already been up - September call-up last year and once this year as the 26th man for a double header.  But, righty Neil Ramirez is joining a MLB roster for the very first time; welcome to the roster jenga Neil!

Luckily, I just so happened to have this card laying around - a random, lucky pull from a repack box back when he was still in the Rangers system.  I also found a Jake Arrieta card from the same set in that box... maybe the box was psychic?

Ramirez was acquired from Texas in the Matt Garza trade of 2013 as the "player to be named later."  In the Rangers system, the 2007 first round draft pick was a highly touted rotation prospect until arm injuries derailed his progress, somewhat.  Thus, the Rangers were a little more willing to let him go.

He pitched well in spring training with the Cubs and has been pitching in relief at AAA Iowa.  His numbers are pretty ugly, 7.71 ERA in 7 innings, but it's a really small sample size.  He's got a live arm and he's only 2 days younger than I am (meaning he's not yet 25); he could make the Garza trade even more of a steal!

   Ramirez becomes the 3rd man from the Garza trade to make the parent club

The Cubs roster now stands at 1,991 Cubs, all-time.

Where Have You Gone, Gene Krug?

Ok, perhaps that doesn't sound as poetic as Simon & Garfunkel's original musings, but, we actually knew where Joe DiMaggio was.  However, the same cannot be said for short-time Cub Gene Krug.

Twice drafted by the Mets, the Cubs finally came in and swooped the slugging first baseman out of Lamar College in the 29th round of the 1977 amateur draft.  Sorry New York!

Gene Krug in his Wichita Aeros garb

Krug did nothing but hit at every step of the minor league ladder in the Cubs system and quickly obtained prospect status.  He had a career .317 avg in the bush leagues with 45 homers and 305 RBIs in parts of five seasons.  The kid could rake.

Unfortunately Gene's only Major League action came during the strike-shortened 1981 season with one of the worst Cubs teams in franchise history.  So, maybe that's why he's hiding.

 The 1981 Cubs - But you won't find Gene Krug's face here

Regardless, Krug just kept on hitting.  In 6 plate appearances, all pinch hitting, he singled twice and walked once for a .400 avg.  I'd take that coming off of the bench.

Krug never took the field though and was sent back down to the minors late that May, where he finished up the year playing in Iowa.  This is where the paper trail ends though.

1981 was the last season of Krug's professional baseball career.  I cannot find any indication of whether this was caused by injury, personal problems or if he just flat out had enough.  At any rate, I have to believe that the Cubs (or another team for that matter) would have kept him around if he wanted to stay.


So, why does this matter?  Well, since my goal is to collect at least one baseball card of every guy who has played so much as 1/3 of an inning for the Cubs, Gene Krug is on my "to acquire" list.  Not to mention my goal within a goal to obtain a card of every Cubs player since 1980.

Unfortunately, since his big league career was so brief and his minor league career came in a time before minor league cards were produced for pretty much every team, Gene Krug never had a baseball card issued in his honor.  None.  At least by my research.

That said, I knew when I set this collecting goal that it was unobtainable.  The Cubs franchise history dates back to the 1870's; research hasn't even turned up the first names of some of their early players. I truly thought that I would have to go further back in history than 1981 to hit my first snag like this. 

So, I've developed a little plan to get around this unexpected issue. has these nifty little blank trading cards meant for signatures.  One can even order them for a particular team:

If I can get Gene to sign one of these, it will lend a sense of legitimacy; I feel like a signature would make it an official baseball card.  However, I have no idea how to go about getting one of these to Mr. Krug.

So, all you autograph hounds out there - with your databases and what not - does anybody know if Gene Krug will sign autographs?  If so, does anyone have a method of communication?

My Cubs All-Time Roster Collection depends on you; any help would be greatly appreciated!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Don't Forget to Remember

I'm going to be a lot of fun to deal with when I'm older.

I say that because even though I'm only in my 20's, as the old adage goes I'd forget my head if it wasn't attached to my shoulders.

In trying to come up with an idea for today's post, I was glancing through my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection binder in hopes of getting some inspiration.  Then, I noticed a card I had completely forgotten about.

Frank Coggins was a name that I had been actively searching for when I finally came across his only Topps release on eBay about a month ago.  I was happy to see this piece of vintage cardboard listed under a dollar with free shipping to boot; so, I pulled the trigger.

Then, I forgot about poor ol' Frank Coggins.  While baseball fans might have forgotten him as well, I feel that I should at least give him a write-up now, having denied him the spotlight on Wrigley Roster Jenga for several weeks (I'm sure he's real broken up about it).

Coggins didn't have much of a career in Major League Baseball, even though he was tabbed as a Rookie Star by Topps going into 1968.  However, you can forgive them for thinking otherwise; in '67 Frank hit .307 with 8 RBI in 19 games for the Senators.  He started each of these contests at second base, a position he seemed primed to inherit.

So, the Senators gave him the starting nod for 1968, thinking that they had their second baseman of the future.  As it turned out, that future last no longer than summer time.

In 62 games, Frank posted a batting average of .175, well under the Mendoza line.  Now, if he fielded like Mario Mendoza, maybe he would have stuck around longer, but he booted 12 errors in that same time frame.

 There's always a job for good defenders

Thus, it was back to the minors for Frank, where he wouldn't reemerge for another four years.  After two trades and a minor league draft, Coggins got a cup of coffee with the Cubs in 1972.

In his six appearances, he was used as a pinch runner four times; but, he never even attempted a stolen base.  In addition, he went hitless in his 2 at-bats and never saw action on defense before the Cubs cut ties that July.  As you can plainly see, Coggins was no key cog for any team's offense.

Frank hung around for another 12 games in the Atlanta farm system in '73, but his professional career was over after that, never fulfilling that promise he showed Topps going into 1968.

Speaking of fulfillment, maybe I should go review my calendar and make sure I haven't forgotten about any commitments in that same time frame.  Maybe I'll start doing crosswords or something too.