Monday, March 9, 2015

Coaches' Corner

I've been actively working on my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection for over 10 years now.

While the Cubs franchise has existed since before the Great Chicago Fire and has seen a couple thousand players come and go throughout that time, the collection is starting to hit a lull.  I've covered pretty much all of the players of stature and a great majority of players since Topps started up.

After that, it's really hard to find reasonably priced cardboard of players from the days of horse and buggy.  I can't exactly afford real Allen & Ginter or Gypsy Queen.

That's if there's even cardboard at all.  Cards probably weren't made of Joe NoName and his 3 at-bats for the 1890 Chicago Colts.  That said, I will search until I can search no more.

Thus, in order to keep from falling into an extensive funk,  I've started to explore another avenue of my archive:  coaches.

I've always kept cards of Cubs coaches when I've come across them, but I've never really actively pursued them.  It wasn't until the last month or so that I finally decided to start organizing them, research a full list of coaches and put them into their own little section of my CATRC binder.

Duffy and Tony here were among my first gets.

Dyer had a fourteen year MLB career that included a World Series title in 1969 with the Mets *shudder*  Clearly the Cubs didn't hold that against him when Lee Elia added him to his coaching staff in 1983.  Muser spent 4 years as the Cubs hitting coach from 1993-97 after a journeyman ten year, big-league career.

I must say, I've always liked the Pirates yellow batting helmets and the White Sox jerseys that incorporated red from the late 60s/early 70s.  They look so odd today.

Before Ruben's son was running the Phillies and after Ruben was playing for the Phillies, Ruben was coaching for the Cubbies from 1983-86.  Cottier's MLB career ended in 1969, courtesy of an Achilles tendon injury, leading to a long coaching career that included a stint as manager of the Mariners from 1984-86 and a lengthy stint on the Cubs staff from 1988-94.

I will always love the wood grain borders of 1962 Topps; it's iconic for a reason, after all.  Plus, any opportunity to add a card featuring a forgotten franchise like the Senators is a welcome one.

Sonny Jackson was a member of Dusty Baker's staff throughout his entire run (2003-06).  Meanwhile, Dick Cole's tenure on the Cubs staff came 40+ years earlier in 1951.  Unfortunately, that is not an authentic 1954 Topps card, but a Topps Archives reprint.  Nevertheless, those are two pretty iconic sets represented by these two cards.

Ray Schalk might be more of an icon on the south side of the city for his Hall of Fame playing career and being one of the honest members of the Black Sox, but he also plied his talents on the other side of town right after his retirement from 1930-31.  Who knew?

Herm Starette might have been recognized by TCMA in their 1978 set "Star of the 60's," but otherwise his brief playing career has been largely forgotten.  After all, it only lasted 27 MLB games, 46 innings. Regardless, he's a baseball lifer and besides the Cubs in 1987, he's spent time with the Braves, Orioles, Giants, Brewers, Expos, Red Sox and the 1980 World Champion Phillies.

One more for tonight:

Mark was the pitching coach under the infamous Mike Quade-era of the Cubs in 2010 and 2011.  He never made the majors as a player and, to date, he has not served on another big league coaching staff before or since his time with Chicago.  After all, the pitchers that the Cubs trotted out under his watch (John Grabow, Doug Davis, Ramon Ortiz... gag me) really didn't do much to boost his resume.

Still, gotta appreciate minor league baseball cards.  Unfamiliar teams and garish designs make up for the fact that this is a Cardinals card.

So, my coaching collection is off to a pretty decent start.  Besides these guys, I have about 47% of the all-time staff covered.  One of these days, I'll get around to updating my lists and include the coaches in case anyone wants to arrange a trade.

That said, my main focus is still on my Cubs player collection, this at least gives me a nice tangent to pursue when that trail starts getting cold.

I guess when it comes to adding coaches to my CATRC, that famous Fogerty tune becomes "put me in, I'm a coach and I'm ready to play!


  1. Granted, Quade didn't do too well, but wow - that pitching staff. I'm glad you said it already so I can bust on them because that was a pretty pathetic group up north.

  2. Soon you'll be able to add Manny Ramirez to your coaching roster. Keep up the good work!