Friday, July 24, 2015

The Force is Strong With This One

Man - so I went about a full year without making any trades (gosh, I am socially awkward) and then I went and made two within the same week. Plus, I've already got a third one brewing right now.  I guess I feel the need to make up for lost time (a lot of it).

JediJeff of the wonderful 2x3 Heroes, who I've come to find out used to live in the next town over from me before I moved, called dibs on the Fleer throwbacks from this post and I was happy to send them over to him; his Throwback Thursday posts need fuel after all!  

I wasn't expecting anything back, but lo and behold, an envelope showed up in my mailbox yesterday from the fan of the other team in town.  In it were plenty of Cubs cards to add to my collection:

Every time the Cubs go on a cold streak or pry defeat from the jaws of victory against teams like Milwaukee or Cincy, I remind myself that most of them only just shed prospect status.  Then I remind myself that at least they aren't prospects like Ty Griffin.  This #1 pick never got past AA - but, still a cool card for the college uniform.

Sidebar - the Cubs' 1988 draft is vomit-inducing.  Only three players even made the Majors, Kevin Roberson, Chris Pritchett & Jesse Hollins, Roberson being the first in Rd. 16 and Pritchett not even for the Cubs.  These three combined for a -1.6 WAR across just 230 games... and I thought 2005 was bad.

If you've read this blog for a while, you know that I adore Conlon Collection.  The photography is amazing, the layout is simple and the player selection is vast.  After all, outside of pre-WWII vintage (some not even that), these are often the only cards available for these guys.

I mean, how often does Charlie Root show up on cardboard?  The Cubs' all-time leader in wins (201) got some love from TCMA back in the day, but that's about it.  On the other hand, the HOFer Hartnett shows up every now and then in modern products; however, he's no Sandberg or Banks.

Well speak of the devil - a new Ernie is still always welcome to my collection and Panini's Hometown Heroes might be one of my favorite recent sets.  The bright colors and relatively simple layout seem like a combination of '58 and '65 Topps; the best of both worlds, at that, and two of my favorite releases all-time.

Again, the player selection in this set is top notch.  I mean, adding Banks to the checklist is far from going out on a limb, but the last time the 1989 Rookie of the Year had a card printed in his name, he was still an active player.

These are my first two cards from 2015 Donruss.  I don't hate the set like what seems to be a majority of the blogosphere, but I don't love them either - I'm lukewarm.  It just doesn't really bring anything new to the table and is too similar to last year's collection.

However, I need to beef up my Soler PC and this shiny Preferred insert is pretty neat.  I love the inclusion of a subtle, secondary photo on the bottom right - it's a unique little quirk.  The Sandberg is cool too; but, I have to wonder why they photoshopped the color of his number and the striping on his pants from red to blue... that seems to make zero sense.

More Ryno!  I'm fairly certain that I already have the All-Star card on the left; but I'm definitely not going to complain.  Plus, the Studio is definitely new to me and the fact that the photos in this set looks like high school yearbook glamour shots adds a campy charm that I've always enjoyed.

Every set needs something that sets it apart from the rest.

A couple of cards from sets that I don't really have much of.  The 2008 Documentary card is, I think, only the second from the release that I've added to my collection.  I like the idea of the set, even if the execution left something to be desired (why not use photos from the game depicted?).  Plus, they picked a good year to do that set because 2008 was a year in Cubs history that deserves to be documented game-by-game.

But not the playoffs... God, not the playoffs.

Speaking of 2008, Jimmy Ballgame really grew on me that season.  Despite his contentious at best relationship with Chicago baseball fans and his apparent declining skill-set and the time of his acquisition, he ended being a key piece of the offense that year and had some of my favorite moments of the season, i.e. his two homers in one inning against the White Sox and his big homerun against his former club, Cardinals.

Both of those 2013 rookie "stars" ended up with the Cubs.  Chapman was a throw in with Arodys Vizcaino when the Cubs traded Paul Maholm to Atlanta, but made only a few token appearances out of the pen before being relegated to the Indy leagues.  Neal was a waiver claim in the thick of the "roster jenga" years,

Neal was interesting to me because he suffered a season ending injury in only his 2nd game with the club.  That injury occurred on a play that also saw Matt Guerrier's season come to an end and Dioner Navarro taking a serious enough blow that the Cubs needed to call-up a third catcher,

1 play - 3 injuries.  That's rough.

Some Fleer Ultra was in the mix as well.  Shawon was an early favorite of mine as a kid, mostly because of the odd spelling of his first name, but still a favorite.

Jose will always hold a special place in my heart for being the main piece in the trade that brought Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton to Wrigley Field in 2003.  12 years later and that trade still blows me away.

We close out the envelope with some more glossy 90's pieces.  I love that bunting shot on the Chico Walker card!

Overall, this was a fantastic return for a few throwbacks that didn't even fit into my collection.  JediJeff, you are a very generous man and I look forward to trading with you again in the future,  I will forever be setting aside my throwbacks and White Sox cards for ya!


  1. I often look at drafts and just shake my head. The 2009 draft was a rough one for the Pirates.

    1. Yikes, I can see why. It doesn't help that the two most productive picks are doing so for other squads (Holt & Lamb). It's no wonder no one cares about the MLB draft.

  2. It's strange to say it, but Jim Edmonds was one of my favorite Cubs in 2008.

    1. Same here. It's also bizarre to think that he's quite fondly thought of by Cubs fans today... the animosity and hate he got before that season was staggering...