Thursday, May 29, 2014

Back From the Dead

Well then.  I could post some long-winded, rambling excuse for why I've been absent from Wrigley Roster Jenga for so long, but I don't really have one.  I've honestly just not felt inspired enough to write about my baseball cards lately.  Perhaps it has something to do with the dreadful state of my team and the ham-fisted, ineptitude surrounding the renovation of Wrigley Field.

It's a shame that I can't get into hockey as much as I do baseball; the Blackhawks are certainly the best franchise in Chicago and one of the best in pro sports, after all.

No matter, it's time to resuscitate this blog because I have definitely pulled in some really interesting and odd cards that I feel inspired to show off and write about.  But, I'll warm things up with some more conventional vintage cardboard that I purchased in a (relatively) recent trip to my LCS.

This small, Chicagoland chain has a branch in Plainfield - right next store to my home in Crest Hill.  It has served me oh-so-well in the past few months, providing the best access to both vintage and new products at pretty decent prices.

But, I'm not an advertiser, so I'm going to stop tooting their horn... it's all about ME and MY stuff!!!!

*ahem* I mean, I'm not selling out.

Anyway, in their back room, the shop has big boxes of single cards from every Topps set from 1954 through 1985 (or thereabouts; it's been a few weeks since my last visit and my memory is hazy). This is a set collector's dream; but, it certainly has proved helpful to me in locating forgotten and semi-stars from bygone years.

For instance, these beauties from one of my favorite sets of all-time:

It might not be fair to call Bobby Thomson a role player, but his best years were definitely behind him when he arrived in Chicago.  In his two seasons (1958-59), he posted a .274 batting average with 34 homers.  Not bad for an aging slugger, but not exceptional either.  However, I'm very happy to finally have a "Cubs" card of the man behind "The Shot Heard 'Round the World" for my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection.  I have a few of his NY Giants cards, but no others in Cubbie blue.

In the days before the MLB draft, Chick King was signed right off of the Memphis State campus by the Tigers in 1951.  A tall, lanky outfielder, Chick's main calling cards were his glove and his swift feet (he was also a track star at Memphis State).  However, they did not translate well in the majors and his complete lack of power was a problem.  By the time he got to the Cubs in 1958, he was completely washed up and he received only 14 at-bats over his two seasons in Wrigley.

 Chronologically, the next card that I scored from these boxes was from another phenomenal set and was pretty much a God-send:

Get it? It's because he's an Angel!

Okay, so I'm no comedian...

Archie Reynolds came up with the Cubs just as they were starting hit their stride in the late '60's.  He was drafted in 1966 down in the 38th round, but he came rocketing out of the gate to start his pro-career.  Archie dominated Rookie ball, going 9–3 with a 2.13 ERA, earning a promotion straight to double A in 1967. There, he went 13–2 with a 2.19 ERA and earned his first call to the major leagues in August of 1968.

Unfortunately, he never really hit his stride in the bigs, but he also never got an extended chance.  Getting into only 7, 2 & 7 games with the North Siders from 1968-70 respectively with an ERA of 5.80 in 35.2 innings.

The Cubs traded him to the Angels for a seasoned veteran arm in Juan Pizarro as the Cubs tried desperately to get over the hump.  They never did get over the hump and Archie never did get a real audition; he was out of the Majors completely by 1973.

This "high number" (#672) has eluded me for some time now and therefore I was prepared to spend a couple bucks on it.  However, the clerk was kind enough to drop it in my bag for free because of the crop job.  Hey, that's fine by me!

Let us now fast-forward two years to uncover my next find:

1974 is a set that I can go either way on; depending on the team's assigned color scheme, I either love it or loathe it.  This Twins example falls under "love it," as the red and blue blend well with the background in the photo and the Twins jersey (as it should).  Plus, Mike Adams was also a Cub!

Adams' career wasn't very noteworthy; he spent his entire career as a backup outfielder on some pretty "meh" teams, including the Cubs from 1976-77.  His slash line in Chicago was an anemic
.129/.325 /.194; he wouldn't even crack today's Cubs outfield!

Also, he might share his name with a certain Phillie reliever, but he bares no relation.  However, his father Bobby played around the infield as a Cub for a few seasons in the '50s and his uncle Dick was also an MLB infielder.

Mike's father also resides in my collection.  But, alas, it is a reprint.

Thus concludes my rather productive trip to The Baseball Card King (three new Cubs players and a Cubbie Update) and my first post back on Wrigley Roster Jenga in some time.

Don't call it a comeback!

No, really.  Don't.  It just calls attention back to the fact that I've been a lazy POS and didn't feel much like writing anything.

But, I will definitely be back tomorrow with some international flavor.  You can count on that!

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