Baseball players have been depicted on playing cards sine the earliest days of the sport. To card collectors like us, when you put ball players' mugs on the ace of spades, these are simply no longer playing cards; they become a unique, oddball baseball card set. Certainly I'm not the only one who has hoarded or dismantled a perfectly good set of playing cards in order to add to my collection?
Another set has been picked apart at my hands. However, I must state that the group had already been broken up and strewn about in a dime box at my LCS when I got there. At worst, I'm an accessory to the crime!
This deck was issued in 1985 by the Jack Brickhouse camp. They were unlicensed, as you can tell the Cubs logo on many jerseys was obviously altered, and feature black & white photography highlighting the history of the franchise since it's inception.
However, the box that the deck originally came in was long gone when I reached this dime box, as were several of the cards. So, there won't be any go-fish or slap-jack played with my new acquisitions anytime soon (poker and other "real" card games have never appealed to this guy).
None of these players were entirely new to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection, but they were all the first cards that pictured/listed them as Cubs. Thus, they are upgrades as I place more value on cards that actually show Cubs as Cubs.
Now, let's deal! The deck is off to a flying start with two Hall of Famers:
On the right, we have the "Good Kid" Lou Boudreau; although, by the time he came to the North Side, he was far from a kid. He was hired as a play-by-play man for WGN radio in 1958 after his days on the diamond ended.
Early in 1960, with the club struggling under the aging Charlie Grimm, Boudreau took over the dugout while "Jolly Cholly" took over the microphone. The experiment did nothing to change the results on the field and Lou was out as skipper after the end of the season.
As far as I can tell, this is the only card that features Boudreau in a Cubs uniform and I'm happy to finally have it in my binder.
To the left, Dizzy Dean is much more well-known for his Cardinals career, but spent some brief quality time in Chicago as well.
After his much publicized arm troubles had taken their toll and the Cards cut ties in 1938, Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley quickly arranged a trade for Dean. Much like he did for past-their-prime stars Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, etc.
Dean went 7-1 with a sterling 1.81 ERA, injecting the club much in the same way Rick Sutcliffe would many years down the road. Soon after that, Dean came back to earth and was cut after the 1941 season.
Though I have several cards that feature him as a Cardinal, this is the first that acknowledges his short and much-less distinguished time at Wrigley Field.
Another Hall of Famer; what a star-studded post! Joe McCarthy got into the Hall of Fame based on his amazing run of success managing the Yankees during their Murderer's Row period, but he got his start as a manager with the Cubbies.
From 1926-30, McCarthy turned the Cubs from afterthoughts into regular contenders. However, they only won one pennant under his tutelage in 1929. Thus, with the Wrigleys thinking he was too expensive and his lack of a World Series title, they fired him near the end of the 1930 season. I think he got over it.
But, as McCarthy was walking out the door, Lon Warneke was walking right in. "The Arkansas Hummingbird" debuted in 1930 and went on to become a key regular in the starting rotation.
As a Cub, he was 3x an All-Star and garnered MVP votes in 4 seasons. In '32, he had his best season, leading the NL in wins, winning percentage & ERA by going 22-8 with a 2.37 ERA, finishing 2nd in the MVP voting and leading the Cubs to another pennant.
The Cubs traded him away to the Cardinals for Ripper Collins for '37 and Lon didn't even stutter; he was twice more an All-Star and kept getting MVP votes. So, in '42, the Cubs tried to right their wrong and bought him back. But, by now he was winding down and he ended his career in war-thinned '45 season.
So, even though I didn't get any brand new players for my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection, the Jack Brickhouse deck of Cubs playing cards was very kind to me. In total, I got four new updates with Cubs uniforms and that's pretty good for any one set of cards.
In the meantime, I have a big move coming up this weekend; so, if I miss any more days of posting, that's why.
Ah, if only it were as easy and enjoyable to sort furniture as it is to sort baseball cards....