Saturday, September 12, 2015

Cubs of a Different Color - The Letter B

First of all, let me just say that I had no idea what passion my "New Coke" themed post would bring out; Cola War PTSD is a real thing.  Hopefully I can keep some of this blog momentum going.

Second of all, as you might have heard, tomorrow is the first Sunday of the NFL season and it's going to be football, football and more football all day.  In turn, I kind of want to do a themed post with a new collection I've been working on.

The dilemma - last week I started a weekly spotlight on another new collection to be posted on Sundays, my Cubs of a Different Color collation, which aims to contain a card of every Cubs player on another team.  I quite like this feature and I have no intention of stopping or interrupting it.

Solution - from now on, this series will run on Saturdays.  It's not like there's a particular reason I decided to schedule it for Sundays; that is, other than the fact that I was super bored last Sunday.

But first, a refresher:

The rules:

  1. The card must depict them in an MLB uniform that is not the Cubs.  
  2. MiLB cards do not count; they go into their own, separate collection.  
  3. "Zero-year" cards do count, provided they show MLB teams (so Bowman Draft counts).
  4. Have fun (mandatory!)
I chose each card based on availability, which I liked the best and variety in clubs - with extra weight given to teams each player may be most identifiable with.  Plus, I may have been biased to other teams I have a rooting interest in  (White Sox, Red Sox & Phillies).  Sue me.

Each Saturday, I'll showcase a letter of the alphabet, since I have these cards sorted in ABC order. Today, the letter "B" takes the spotlight:

    Page 1:
  • Jeff Baker - 2007 UD Rookie Elements #144 (Serial #474/550) - Rockies
    • This shiny piece of serial-numbered goodness came my way courtesy of a repack, of all places.  Thank you repack gods!
  • John Baker - 2008 Topps Heritage #622 - Marlins
    • 1959 Topps is one of my favorite sets of all-time, so that made this selection quite easy.  Baker has become something of a cult hero in Chicago, thanks to his being the winning pitcher and scoring the winning run (yea, he's a catcher) once last year.  Also, a great follow on Twitter: @manbearwolf
  • Scott Baker - 2012 Topps Opening Day #131 - Twins
    • Scott was supposed to bring rotation depth to the Cubs, coming off Tommy John surgery in 2013.  After several setbacks, he barely became a Cub, making only 3 starts while being very surly about it. But, he did bring a nice throwback jersey to this collection. So, there's that.
  • Jay Baller - 1993 Donruss #356 - Phillies
    • This was my only non-Cub card of Jay, he of extreme chest hair fame.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, just look up his card from 1988 Topps.
  • Willie Banks - 1993 Donruss #79 - Twins
    • Two cards from the same set right next to each other.  This is something I really wanted to avoid; I'll have to take another look at what I have for Willie.  I like the set; but, I don't like it that much.
  • Brett Barberie - 1992 Donruss Triple Play #134 - Expos
    • Expos sighting!  Triple Play was aimed at kids and really helps remind a collector what this whole experience is really about - having fun, not profit.  Also, I'm like 75% sure that that' Wrigley Field in the background.
  • Dick Bartell - 1992 TSN Conlon Collection #452 - Giants (NY)
    • That box of Conlon I bought several months ago continues to pay off this far down the road.  Not a lot of people are asking why Dick isn't in the HOF anymore; the offensive outburst from middle infielders in the years after this card ensured that.
  • Michael Barrett - 2000 Wizards of the Coast MLB Showdown #264 (Expos)
    • Another Expo!  Back when Montreal stuck Barrett at third base, in a desperate attempt to find a position he could actually play.  Showdown cards are amongst my most favored oddballs; so, this won't be the last of these you'll see.
  • Miguel Batista - 2012 Topps Update #US77 (Mets)
    • He was a Cub?  Yes, in fact, he was.  He was also a D'Back, National, Mariner, Blue Jay, Royal, Pirate, Brave, Cardinal, Marlin and, as we see here, a Met during his 18 year career.  Thus, it shouldn't be hard to find a card of him another uniform; yet, this is the best I could do.

Page 2:
  • Jose Bautista - 1989 Upper Deck #574 - Orioles
    • I had to have at least one example of this iconic set in this binder; so, why not with Jose Bautista?  Unfortunately, the Cubs got the wrong Jose Bautista.  This Jose spent most of his career in Baltimore; so, I felt he should be represented as such.
  • Dave Beard - 1984 Fleer #438 - Athletics
    • Ironically, Dave is sporting the clean shaven look.  Fun fact, the only member of ZZ Topp who does not sport facial hair is the drummer - Frank Beard.  Feel free to impress your friends with that one.  Oh yeah - the card - I've always had a thing for A's jerseys.
  • Rod Beck - 1995 UD Collector's Choice #112 (Blue Parallel) - Giants
    • This was one of the easiest choices I had to make.  The ever rare shot of a relief pitcher at the plate and it's Shooter of all people?  Plus, blue parallels always get me.
  • George Bell - 1990 Fleer #628 - Blue Jays
    • His greatest contribution to the Cubs franchise was being traded for Sammy Sosa way back in 1992. However, in the previous decade he was quite good, as this card honors.  He's always a Blue Jay in my mind and cards that bestow awards are pretty cool.
  • Les Bell - 1992 TSN Conlon Collection #651 - Cardinals
    • Another card from that box bubbles up, this one was a double.  I don't have any other cards of the guy; but, even if I did, that perfect view of the NL 75th anniversary patch would make it impossible to beat.
  • Mark Bellhorn - 2004 Topps #569 - Red Sox
    • The 2004 Red Sox were my favorite non-Cubs team to watch ever because they gave me hope that this long-suffering franchise could someday overcome their "curse."  As such, when I think of Bellhorn, I think of him a Red Sox (Sock?) first and a Cub second.
  • Alan Benes - 1995 UD Collector's Choice Rookie Class #11- Cardinals
    • Nice throwback, pullover jersey there Alan.  Even though you're a dreaded Cardinal here, that fact is your saving grace here.
  • Jason Bere - 1996 White Sox Team Issue #46 - White Sox
    • I wish there were more team-issued sets these days; I would go to every game in which the Cubs issued such a thing. So, to encourage them to do so (I know they hang on every word of my blog), I'm showing some love for my South Side brethren.
  • Damon Berryhill - 1993 Donruss #78
    • There's 1993 Donruss again.  I must subconsciously love this brand ten times more than I thought I did.  Damon looks like he had a bad moment at the plate there and his frustration makes for an intriguing picture.  His pain, my gain.

Page 3:

  • Mike Bielecki - 1987 Topps #394 - Pirates
    • The pill box hat = total no-brainer here.
  • Larry Biitner - 1983 Topps #527 - Reds
    • I have to say, I've never really liked this set; but, it wins by default since I am otherwise Biitner-less.
  • Steve Bilko - 1986 CCC '51 Bowman Reprints #265 - Cardinals
    • The best flea market find I've ever had keeps on giving and giving.  Maybe some day I'll find something that cool at one again.
  • Doug Bird - 1980 Topps #421 - Phillies
    • Since my girlfriend is from the east coast and an active Phillies phanatic, I've developed a certain fondness for the club.  Philly suits 1980 Topps.
  • Henry Blanco - 2002 Topps Heritage #361 - Brewers
    • Good ol' Hank White has bounced around a little bit; so, it's easy to forget that he was a Brewer.  This one won for novelty's sake.
  • Jeff Blauser - 1996 Pacific #15 - Braves
    • Pacific!  Wrigley Field's ivy wall in the background!  Flip-down shades!  There's nothing not to like about this card.
  • Brian Bogusevic - 2011 Topps #88 - Astros
    • Until the Phillies recently gave him another shot, the local kid (Palos Heights, IL), had never played for another franchise besides the Cubs except for Houston; so, there aren't a lot of options on the market.  But, my love for 2011 Topps continues to grow exponentially.
  • Bobby Bonds - 1981 Donruss #71 - Cardinals
    • Another set my love has grown for, 1981 Donruss might be chronically blurry, often miscut and on terribly thin card-stock; however, it has a certain charm to it.  Even if it is a red bird.
  • Bill Bonham - 1980 Topps #47 - Reds
    • Nice blue-sky background that really makes the Reds colors and the green grass pop.  Even though it's the second '80 Topps card on the page, it's safe for now.

Page 4:

  • Emilio Bonifacio - 2015 Topps White Sox Factory Team Set #CWS-16 - White Sox
    • Here's a short-term stop we'll all soon look back on and say, "wait, Emilio played for the White Sox?"  Cool beans.
  • Zeke Bonura - 1991 TSN Conlon Collection #237 - White Sox
    • Back to back pale hose.  I like the White Sox; but, this was necessitated by being my only extra Zeke.
  • Julio Borbon - 2010 Topps T206 #242 (Gold Parallel) - Rangers
    • This one is as good as gold.  Not really, I think this set is rather ugly on the whole; but, damnit, I'm a sucker for parallels.
  • Rich Bordi - 1987 Topps #638 - Orioles
    • Wood-grain borders are always welcome in my binders.  It's going to be tough to top 1987 Topps when it peaks up.
  • Steve Boros - 1959 Topps #331 - Tigers
    • Vintage!  The first piece of real vintage to appear in this collection.  I was kinda sad to Cubgrade this card and banish it to my miscellaneous box.  Now, it hath been rescued from limbo.
  • Joe Borowski - 2008 Topps #554 - Indians
    • I'm not going to lie, I completely forgot the Joe Borowski made a comeback after injuries killed his Cubs career in 2005.  This exercise has been both fun and educational.
  • Thad Bosley - 1981 Donruss #162 - White Sox
    • They may be some of the horrid uniforms ever sported on a Major League diamond; however, these leisure suit oddities are so ugly that their awesome!
  • Pat Bourque - 1974 Topps #141 - Athletics
    • More vintage!  1974 is in my top 5 Topps sets ever issued.  Green and yellow never looked so good (although those colors will probably look great against the Bears tomorrow... *sigh*).
  • Larry Bowa - 1981 Donruss #142 - Phillies
    • There's '81 Donruss again - I am not ashamed!  Bowa will always be a Phillie in my mind, even though he was a Cub on the lauded 1984 squad.

Page 5:

  • Michael Bowden - 2010 Topps National Chicle #128 - Red Sox
    • I thought the Bowden for Marlon Byrd trade was an absolute steal at the time.  Byrd was almost immediately suspended for performance enhancers and Bowden had a live arm.  Well, we can see who's still in the league now...
  • Rob Bowen - 2007 Upper Deck Series 2 #908 - Padres
    • Bowen came to the Cubs in a brief stopover after the emergency trade of Michael Barrett, post-skirmish with Big Z.  Somehow, his anemic bat was flipped for Jason Kendall.  However, he doesn't look impressed.
  • Milton Bradley - 2006 Fleer Ultra #64 - Athletics
    • The greatest mistake in all of Cubs history.  It's a real shame that this extreme headcase and all around awful human being had one of the most fun names in baseball history.  How's that dichotomy?
  • Hal Breeden - 1973 Topps #173 - Expos
    • Expo!  '73 Topps is an absolute classic for a reason.
  • Roger Bresnahan - 1982 Renata Galasso Turkey Red Reprints #4 - Cardinals
  • Jim Brewer - 1972 Topps #151 - Dodgers
    • Another classic vintage set makes an appearance.  I've found that the Dodgers and the Cubs cards look the best in this set; so, this was another easy choice.
  • Al Bridwell - 1982 Renata Galasso Turkey Red Reprints #?? - Giants (NY)
    • Maybe some day I'll been rich enough to have actual tobacco cards in my secondary collections.
  • Dan Briggs - 1979 Topps #77 - Indians
    • I bought this card for cheap and then a few days later I found his Cubs card from a few years later (that I was completely unaware of) for pennies.  My impatience paid off (eventually).
  • Pete Broberg - 1977 Topps #409 - Mariners
    • This may be an egregious airbrushing job; however, this binder is lacking Mariners.  So, this Bro stays in Seattle.

Page 6:

  • Lou Brock - 2005 Fleer Greats #25 - Cardinals
    • So much pain... I pulled this from a pack many moons ago from the local CVS.  The embossing and the picture frame-esque borders really make this layout pop.
  • Brant Brown - 2000 Topps Stadium Club #312 - Pirates
    • Shiny!  
  • Jumbo Brown - 1992 TSN Conlon Collection #454 - Yankees
    • He earned his nickname - 6'4" and 295 lbs was gargantuan in his time and is still pretty darn big today.  He fills out a Yankees jersey for this collection quite well.
  • Mike Brumley - 1991 Fleer #445 - Mariners
    • Yellow bordered barf bait?  Somehow, it didn't feel right not to include just one of these cautionary tales of hideousness; their woven into the baseball card story.
  • Warren Brusstar - 1979 Topps #653 - Phillies
    • Couldn't Topps have turned the shot in another direction, so the sun wasn't in poor Warren's eyes?
  • Bill Buckner - Boardwalk and Baseball #14 - Red Sox
    • Oddballs will always take precedence in my eyes.  This Buckner goes all the way back to my original collection from the mid-90's.
  • Steve Buechele - 1991 Score #257 - Rangers
    • I honestly have nothing to say about this player.  Steve Buechele played for the Cubs and I chose this card to take his place as a Cub of a Different Color.
  • Damon Buford - 1994 Score #582 - Orioles
    • No damage to the gloss on the front of this one?  That's reason enough to include this one.
  • Steve Bullet - 1992 Topps Stadium Club #288 - Pirates
    • Can we just take a moment to appreciate how awesome this guy's name is?  Too bad his play on the field didn't match his excellent moniker.

Final page of the B's:

  • Lou Burdette - 1953 Bowman B+W Reprint #51 - Braves (Boston)
    • I sure wouldn't mind having the real one of these instead of a reprint.  But, this will do for now.
  • Smokey Burgess - 1989 Pacific Baseball Legends #201 - Pirates
    • Pacific's super crazy 90's sets might have been quite the eye catchers; but, these sets will always be their best work.
  • Jeromy Burnitz - 2001 Topps HD #24 - Brewers
    • Here's a one-hit wonder of a set.  An interesting concept that really just amounted to making the cardstock unusually thick and really amping up the saturation filter.  Still, that majestic swing...
  • Ray Burris - 1985 Fleer #418 - Athletics
    • Ray looks positively happy to be here.
  • Marlon Byrd - 2003 Topps Stadium Club #109
    • Baby Byrd!  Marlon was still just a Phill pharmhand at the time.  That said, the card lists him as a member of the Phillies themselves, so it counts!

Alright.  that does it for this weeks edition of the Cubs of a Different Color collection.  Next week (spoiler alert!), we'll take a look at the letter "C."  It will feature a current Cubs broadcaster, a set of brothers and a perfect game maestro, among others.

See ya next time!

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