Thursday, August 6, 2015

Games People Play

The debate rages on in the card collecting world about whether or not game cards count as true baseball cards.  OK - well, not really "raging," moreso it's a common topic.

Playing cards with pictures on them, MLB Showdown, Topps Attax, Cadaco Discs... the list goes on and on.  Personally, I consider anything with the player's likeness on it to be a baseball card, regardless of it's intended use.

So, with that in mind, what the heck do I do with these?

APBA is a long-running baseball simulation game (in the mold of Cadaco and Strat-O-Matic) in card form.  I do not know how to play this particular game; but, according to Wikipedia:
"The company's first offering was a baseball simulation table game using cards to represent each major league player, boards to represent different on-base scenarios (e.g. 'Bases Empty', 'Runners on First and Third,' 'Bases Loaded'), and dice to generate random numbers."

Good enough for me - I'll probably never play it, to be completely honest.

I saw a Cubs team set of these game cards sitting around all lonely-like on Ebay with free shipping and a two buck asking price; obviously, curiosity got the best of me.

And what a team set it was!  The 1929 Cubs were the class of the National League and started a trend of winning the pennant every three years ('29, '32, '35 & '38).  If I'm going to experiment, I might as well experiment with good stuff, right?

Upon opening this conveniently included envelope, I found four Cubs players for whom I did not previously have any sort of baseball card for:

                                                                                      Image courtesy of the Woody English Website

As you can see, you get your basic baseball card info and some game play notations on the front, but no picture.  So, I have so very generously provided one for you so you can get the full experience. I'm just that awesome.

Clyde Beck was mostly a utility infielder for the Cubs from 1926-30 and for the '29 squad, he played in just 54 games and batted a weak .211 with just 7 extra-base hits.  His lack of production earned him exactly 0 appearances in the World Series.

                                                                                      Image courtesy of Retro Image Archive

"Footsie" was another spare infielder for the Cubs that season in his debut campaign.  Unlike Clyde, he did a little more damage with his bat, batting .319 in 26 games, though he made an out in his only World Series at-bat.

He earned the starting gig at second base the following season after Rogers Hornsby broke his ankle early in the year; but, he was relegated back to the bench after "Rajah" healed and was out of the Majors for good after 1931.

I would love to know how he got the nickname "Footsie;" however, the internet is letting me down.

                                                            Image courtesy of Wikipedia 

As you can see from the scan, Mr. Carlson was a local boy, having hailed from Rockford.  That said, his best success came in a long run in the rotations of both Pennsylvania teams:  1917-1927.  Once he came to Chicago, he became something of a pumpkin, with an ERA over 5 in 3 of his 4 seasons.

But, he never did get a full chance to make up for it.  Carlson died suddenly in the middle of the 1930 season after complaining of stomach pains.  While being transferred to the hospital, Hal died of a stomach hemorrhage.  The poor guy was only 38.

                                                                                       Image courtesy of Mears Monthly Auctions

Norm had played for 3 teams in 3 years and had been out of the Bigs completely for four years when he came to the Cubs in 1928 and became the surprise starter for the pennant winners the next season. The player whom he succeeded? The aforementioned Clyde Beck. 

McMillan is most notable for hitting what is probably the shortest home run in MLB history, according to TSN:
“I hit a ball that bounded over third base... It bounced foul and into the Cubs’ bullpen and slipped up inside the discarded jacket of relief pitcher Ken Penner, which had been lying on the ground about ten feet behind the base. As it turned out, the ball went up the sleeve of the jacket and while the Reds’ left fielder, third baseman, and shortstop were all looking for the ball, we all raced home.”
This is why you don't leave you clothes laying on the floor, kiddies.  Listen to your mother!

That was it for new names; however, here is the handy-dandy little roster that was included with the game cards if you're curious as to who else was in the deck:

Well, now here's the kicker - do these count as baseball cards and should they be included in my CATRC?

For now, I think I'm going to include these four - mostly just because I want to cross some names off of my list and I already spent the money.  That said, what would you do in this situation.  Am I stretching or cheating?

That said, I will undoubtedly replace them if and when I should acquire more "traditional" baseball cards of the above players.  All of them have at least one floating around out there; that is, except for Norm McMillan, at least to the best of my knowledge.

Dammit Norm!  Screwing up my compromise of a plan.

The games people play, you take it or you leave it.


  1. I think I saw a few of these in miscellaneous boxes around the National and I was wondering what the heck they were. I'd count them, especially if you don't have any other cards of those handful of guys.

    1. It's your collection and your rules! I say count if they help you get closer to your goal. You can always upgrade to a picture later.