Now, I'm not talking about the progressively more boring Topps reboot; better than that. On the other hand, I'm not talking about an original set either; that would be a rather unprecedented find and I don't have a house to mortgage.
What I found was the full, factory sealed 1911 Turkey Red Reprint set produced by Renata Galasso from 1982. Score!
While this aren't the real thing, they are absolutely the next best thing. They reduce the size from the original cabinet sized cards to traditional baseball card size and do an absolutely wonderful job recreating the vivid and warm color lithographs on the front. They are probably my favorite reprint set of all-time, no exaggeration.
Since cards from the deadball era are exceedingly expensive and rare, the time period runs rather thin in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection. This set did a lot to change that problem!
Retail, full sets appear to be selling for anywhere between $50-75; but, thanks to packaging it with some other items and for being a loyal customer, the proprietor let me take them home for $30. The other items were also really cool and will be shown off early next week, I know you're just dying to see them.
But, enough describing how beautiful the cards are; let's take a look at the names I can now cross off of my CATRC wish list:
Leading off, we have one William "Kitty" Bransfield, who served as the Pirates' regular first baseman from 1901-04, including during the inaugural World Series in '03. After the 1904 season, Kitty was traded to Philadelphia, where he stayed entrenched until midway through the 1911 season.
With his star rapidly fading, Chicago bought his contract that September as player/manager Frank Chance had reduced himself to a part-time role and Vic Saier proved inconsistent. He only got into 3 games as a Cub, but he definitely made the most of it. In 12 PAs, he batted an even .400 with 2 walks and 2 doubles.
You might say that, as a Cub, he was the cat's pajamas. Hey-o!
On the right, you'll see Tommy Leach. He enjoyed a particularly long career, playing from 1898 to 1918 at third base and center field. Like Kitty, as a member of the Pirates, Leach participated in the first World Series and knocked four triples, a record that still stands 111 years later.
Partway through the 1912 season, the Cubbies landed Leach for Solly Hoffman and King Cole and he served as a regular outfielder for the next 3 seasons. He even lead the league in runs scored in '13 with 99.
The Cubs cut ties after the 1914 season and he moved on to Cincinatti. After nearly being named the manager of the Chicago Federal League entry, he got one last curtain call with Pittsburgh in '18 before calling it a career.
Next up, is not the swashbuckling Pirate nor is he a Daydream Believin' pop singer; but, nevertheless, he is Davy Jones.
This Davy Jones was nicknamed "Kangaroo" because he hopped from team to team quite often. After signing with the Chicago Orphans (Cubs) in 1901, he soon hopped to the old Milwaukee Brewers. The next year, he hopped from there to the St. Louis Browns before hopping right back to Chicago!
One of baseball's first platoon players, Davy batted .275 for the Cubs from 1902-04 before hopping off to Detroit. He found his way to to the South Side of Chicago and to Pittsburgh in the Federal League before an honorary curtain call in '18 back in Detroit.
In that final showing, Davy was pulled out of the stands by his friend and Tiger manager Hughie Jennings to play in the last game of the war-shortened regular season.
To the left, to the left (Beyonce reference? C'mon Tony...) is Mike Mitchell. In his time with the Reds, Mike led the NL in triples twice from 1909-10 and was noted for having one of the best outfield throwing arms of his era. His record of 39 outfield assists during his rookie year of 1907 was not broken until 1930.
But, by the time the Cubs acquired him prior to the 1913 season in the same trade that saw Joe Tinker's Cubs career come to an end, Mitchell was breaking down. His power numbers declined drastically and he was exposed to waivers, where he was quickly snapped up by the Pirates. He was out of baseball by 1915.
Next on the horizon (yay puns!), is Ed Lennox. A third baseman by trade, he spent just 27 games with the Cubs in 1912. He batted .235 with 1 homer and 16 RBI over the course of 101 PA.
His MLB career lasted sporadically from 1906 to 1915, where, in addition to the Cubs, he spent time with the Dodgers, Athletics and the Pittsburgh Rebels of the Federal League.
That's about all that I can find out about this guy, there is very little information floating around out there.
Here we have a fine "action shot" of Buck Herzog avoiding being picked off at first at the hands of Tim Jordan. Of the two, only Herzog spent any time with the Cubbies.
Herzog was a long-time NL infielder, playing with New York and Boston (2 stints each) as well as the Reds from 1908 through 1919.
The Cubs acquired his services for the last 2 years of his career and he "rewarded" them with a .225 average in 143 games from 1919-20. He was clearly on his last legs.
This is another guy where there just isn't a lot of biographical information to be found.
That does it for today's posting. These lovely Turkey Red reprints certainly brightened my mood, as did the other sets of cards that I'll be bragging about soon. That said, the beautiful weather in Chicago today (70 degrees and sunny) has brightened my mood much, much more.
If you survived this past winter in the midwest, surely you understand why this is such a big deal.
So, I'm getting off the computer and going to have a picnic... or something... anything outside!