However, in the midst of all this craziness, I received a package whose arrival brought me some happiness in an otherwise distraught weekend.
Inside this small box, I found four brand new players to add to my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection. They all came from a set issued in 1990 by the Dodgers in partnership with retail giant Target.
What made this set so special? I, honor of the 100th anniversary of the franchise, it included one card of every single player to don a Dodger jersey since 1890. The cards were given away in perforated sheets at Dodger games or with purchases made at Target.
This set looks to be exceptionally helpful in my cause seeing as the Dodgers have been around nearly as long as the Cubs. Those random, obscure players who didn't every receive a baseball card got one this time around and, thankfully, many spent time with the Dodgers and Cubs.
Be honest; have you actually heard of these guys (excepting the last one)?
Con Daily is a name that sounds like it should have been given to a silver screen villain, not a baseball player. Daily had an 11 year career in the NL (plus 1 year in the Player's League), spent mostly as a backup catcher. In fact, he held the Dodger record for stolen bases by a catcher (18) until Russell Martin came along.
His Dodger tenure came to an end in 1895, not because of a declining skill set, but because he darn near killed himself when he dove head first into shallow water at Sheephead Bay. You have to check these things.
Narrowly avoiding a broken spine and total paralysis, Daily tried to make a come back the next year with the Chicago Colts. In 9 games, Daily batted a whopping .074 and realized it was all over.
Meanwhile, as Daily's career came to an end, Sammy Strang's career was only just beginning. Coming up in 1896, "The Dixie Thrush" carved out a long career as a utility player for several teams, including some short cameos with the Chicago Orphans in 1900 (27 games) and in 1902 (3 games).
On this card, he's actually depicted in his Chicago White Sox duds, but thanks to some easy cropping, most of the world will never know.
Red Downs was a journeyman middle infielder who received a few chances to stick in the Bigs, but never took that step. After Detroit gave him a couple of extended chances in 1907 and 1908 (he batted a palsy .167 in the '08 World Series against the Cubs), he went back down to the minors, where he stayed for the next few years.
The Dodgers came calling before the 1912 season and he played in all of 9 games before the Cubs purchased his contract. He wrapped up his MLB career by batting .263 in 43 games.
Unfortunately for Red, there were more "Downs" than ups in his career.
Moving to the right, we see Joe Klugman; although, it's actually spelled "Klugmann" and he is pictured here in what appears to be a Cubs uniform during spring training. A picture of Joe in a Cubs jersey has to be a rare thing because he only played in 8 games with the North Siders from 1921-22, batting .251 in 26 PAs.
The second baseman got two more auditions with the Dodgers in 1924 and the Indians in 1925, but that would be all for him in the MLB.
Last, but not least, we have all-time relief great Hugh Casey. The famous Dodger "fireman" started his professional baseball career by rotting in the Cubs farm system. He spent all of 1935 in Chicago, but only pitched in 13 games, going 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA. “Sometimes I think [manager] Charlie Grimm never knew I was with the club. . . . I knew every blade of grass in every bullpen throughout the league,” Casey recalled.
While toiling in the minors, he injured his arm and lost significant velocity. In order to adapt, he is often credited as having developed the "splitter."
Thankfully for him, the Dodgers took Casey in the Rule V draft for the '39 season. From there, he twice led the league in saves (even if it was not a recognized stat at the time) and went 70-41 with a 3.80 over 7 seasons in Brooklyn. His stats would have been even more impressive had he not lost 3 seasons while serving in the Navy.
This colorful personality once sparred with Ernest Hemingway and threatened to quit baseball to pump gas in Atlanta, but it all came to a tragic end when Casey committed suicide at the age of 37.
As you can see, this Target/Dodger card set has been immensely helpful in helping me achieve my goal. It took a great deal of self-control to stop myself from buying up all of the Dodger-Cubs that were available in the set; there are a great deal more that I'm willing to wager have few, if any, other cards to their name.
Now, I'm also willing to wager that the girlfriend wasn't particularly pleased when the first things I unpacked were my baseball card and record collections. But hey, that's some pretty valuable (maybe more-so sentimentally) cargo right there!