Saturday, October 4, 2014

Treasure Fit For a King

The spoils of my recent boredom-inspired trip to the LCS were certainly worthy of a king.

Specifically, King Kelly:

This is why I love Panini's Golden Age sets, even if they are unlicensed.  They inject some "new" blood into the hobby by shining the spotlight on forgotten stars or using a different spin for an overused subject.

For instance:

"Philliabuck" is one of a surprisingly long line of above-average first baseman who have called Chicago home.  He played for the Cubs from 1934-53, was thrice an All-Star and won the batting title (.355) & MVP award in '45.

Yet, he never seems to get any cardboard love.

Meanwhile, the player on the left needs no introduction.  But, if you're confused as to why "Mr. Cub" is listed as playing for Kansas City, you've forgotten that Ernie played several years in the Negro Leagues before making the jump.

See?  That's how you keep things new and interesting.

Those three Golden Age pulls would have been good enough for me, as I've been chasing them since the set was released.  However, I found more treasure buried within some large Cub-centric boxes.

Unfortunately, there were no new additions to be found for my CATRC, I was able to "Cubgrade" a handful of players, including Kelly.

Not a lot of star-power here otherwise, but finding these guys in Cubs duds has been surprisingly frustrating:

That '90 Topps Yelding has been his representation in my CATRC since I started the project 10 years ago.  It dates back to when my grandfather was my main source for baseball cards in the mid-90's.

Sidenote:  I absolutely adore that 1993 Team Stadium Club set.  The green, wavy design elements evoke the ivy in my mind.

Meanwhile, it seemed that the only cards I could ever find of Bere were from his White Sox tenure.  While I like that team issued card and have nothing but love for the second team in town, that was not going to cut it for me.


I found that very Gathright shortly after he was traded away for Ryan Freel (RIP) in 2009; I didn't grab it because I thought I already had it.  Well, 5 years later....

But, thank you to that lovely 2008 UD Silver Foil Parallel for holding the place for the ensuing years.  Unlike Joey himself, it performed admirably.

Even after all those long overdue "Cubgrades," there were still more goodies to be uncovered.

What's diggin' for gold without a little prospecting?

Rhee has sorta fallen off the prospect map with the Theocratic infusion of talent lately, but he did made it up to AAA last season.  There, he pitched well enough to stay around - 3-2, 3.75 in 8 starts.

If he keeps persevering like that, he may yet get that elusive call.  Now I've got a card queued up for him, just in case it's needed for my CATRC.

There were also a couple of souls that were taken from this earth too soon:

Oh what could have been with Hubbs.  The 1962 ROY and GG winner was killed in a tragic plane crash in 1964, shortly before spring training.  He sure would have looked nice in a lineup with Banks, Williams, Santo, Kessinger, etc...

While "Popeye" certainly lived a full life, it seemed as though the living embodiment of baseball would keep on truckin' forever.  He never held a job in life that wasn't baseball related, starting when he was drafted by the Dodgers in 1949.

This is my first "Zim" card that depicts him as a player.  It's pretty "swell" ain't it?

I was very content at this point of my treasure hunt, but at the back of one of the boxes, there was a rather old gem of a card, iconically vintage even:

"Handsome Ransom" Jackson manned the infield for the Cubs during the early 1950's and was thus included in the 1953 Bowman set.

That set was issued in two styles; the star players were given the color treatment, while the lesser knowns were black & white.  Perhaps spurned by this, Jackson went on a tear for the next two seasons and was a back-to-back All-Star.

I already had the reprint of this card in my CATRC, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to replace it with the real one for just a few bucks.

At that, there was no more gold left in them there mountains.

However, I certainly never expected to find that much cool stuff at that LCS, I was pretty sure that I had mined that location dry.

Alright, no more treasure hunt imagery and wordplay, it's time for me to "map" out another post.

Sorry; starting now...

Errr... I mean now...


  1. That Golden Age Kelly is one of my nominees for "Card of the Year". I've never seen another that specifically lists him as a Cub/White Stocking.

  2. Nor have I. In fact, I am only aware of about 5 cards produced since the tobacco era that feature his likeness at all; and that's if you include postcards. He was arguably the biggest star of his time, his selling to Boston was a landmark moment in MLB history, he inspired a movie and a pop song, and was elected to the Hall of Fame. Throw him a bone Topps? Alright, I'm done ranting, lol.