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!


  1. 'Tis a rare thing indeed to hear someone praise the '68s as superior to the '67s. Growing up, I thought the '68s were the ugliest cards I'd ever seen (many uglier would come along decades later), while I enjoyed the "clean" look of the 67s. Of course, I also liked the '66s and there aren't many collectors who agree with me on that one.

    1. I think the '59 and '72 sets are actually my favorite sets from before I was born. Once you get past my birth date, you get many of the wacky, overdone, trying to be cool sorts of sets that permeated the '90s.

      But, as far as '67 vs. '68 goes, I do think the '68s aren't particularly pretty except for the Cubs set. I think the tan border really accents the 60's Cubs jersey well. It may also just be my Cubs bias cropping up in unexpected ways, but oh well. I dislike the '67s for the same reason as I do the '88s - they're dull and the photography is hit or miss, especially with the updates.

      That said, I understand why so many hat-less/poorly framed photos were used and I really would have no better suggestion given the limits of technology at the time.