At this point, I've been working towards my goal of collecting one card of every Cubs player in franchise history (off and on) for 10 years. I've already accumulated all of the stars and most notable names.
Thus, random trips to the LCS are no longer a reliable source for new additions; I've become increasingly dependant on online sources. After all, oddball releases of has-beens, no-names and never-wases aren't exactly big attractions to most people.
That said, there are still some regular ol' vintage Topps flagship cards that fill my needs and so I was very happy to come away with a handful of 60's singles that fit the bill.
Ah, multi-player cards, a necessary evil in the CATRC.
While I much prefer cards that focus on a single player, some people weren't lucky enough to receive that honor.
Fred Burdette was the guy I was after on the '64 Topps to the left. The righty was signed in '54 but had to wait until '62 to finally reach the big time. Though he wasn't bad, 1-1 w/ a 3.41 ERA in 34.1 innings out of the bullpen through '64, the Cubs saw no future with the journeyman and cut him. Thus ending his big league career.
On the 1960 Topps floating head coaches card, I was chasing Reggie Otero. Otero was a Cuban that had a long career in the minors, but also got a brief call up during the pennant winning season of 1945.
He sure made the most of it, batting .391in 23 ABs over 14 games, but the first baseman was glossed over once the big boys returned from war. Seeing as no major card sets were produced during the war years, I have yet to see a card from his playing days.
Mel Roach was a utility player that managed to sneak into a few games every year for the Braves from '53-'61 (when he wasn't serving in Korea) despite a weak bat (career .238 BA).
So, of course, the Cubs traded aging all-star Frank Thomas away to obtain Roach. Though he was past his prime, Thomas still had several productive seasons left in him while Roach hit .128 in 23 games for the Cubbies in '61 and was out of the league by the end of '62.
Ben Johnson was signed as an amateur in 1949 by the Boston Braves but didn't reach the majors until '59 with the Cubs. Like Burdette at the beginning of the post, Johnson had to bide his time.
While the sun is clearly blinding Ben in this 1960 Topps selection, his big league career was over in the blink of an eye; he might've missed it.
He got into 21 games from 1959-60 and went 2-1 with a 3.91 ERA and quickly got lost in the shuffle that we call life.
Unfortunately, Johnson was the last new Cub that I found for my CATRC. However, I was lucky enough to find some other cool cards for my collection as well.
I'm trying to not to be so laser focused.
The tragic tale of Ken Hubbs has been told many times before and I'd rather not bum you out entirley on a beautiful Saturday afternoon. But this famous Topps tribute was priced as a common, so I wasn't about to let it get past me.
This Charley Grimm comes from 1960, the last year that he managed the Cubs. "Jolly Cholly"' served three different managerial stints (1932-38, 1944-49, 1960) and led the club to 4 pennants. That combined with his days as a star first baseman with the Cubs made him the embodiment of the franchise until "Mr. Cub" came around.
I love the portrait on this card; he looks almost regal!
All in all, not bad for a days work. I'm really glad I came across that box.
However, there were some other excellent cards that I decided not to pull the trigger on at the time. When I went back today to rectify that, I found that somebody had come and not only purchased that entire box, but cleared out the entire store of all it's 60's cards. All of them.
Well, maybe I'm just bitter, but that sounds like an accumulator to me - not a collector. Also, someone with a lot of disposable dinero!
But, so goes life. I really shouldn't complain; it was still a pretty good trip!