Monday, October 19, 2015

It Never Lasts Long Enough

Vacation that is.  That's why I haven't been posting for the past week or so - I've been on a well-deserved and desperately-needed stay-cation and I've been enjoying every second of it.  Sorry, blogging went right out the door with work-related stuff and eating healthy.

Alas, the calendar has come back around to Monday and my week of museums, concerts, pumpkin patches, apple orchards and amusement parks has come to a screeching halt.  Time to make the donuts, per se.

In my absence from the internet, I've had a few new additions to my collection that I've been dying to show off; neither my girlfriend nor my cats seem to appreciate cardboard majesty quite like the blogosphere.  However, my creative juices aren't quite flowing yet and I'm still feeling a tad lazy.

So, here's something I found in storage the other day:

Yes, anybody who was born before the 90's will understand, here we have a bootleg copy of Steve Goodman's classic tune about the woeful Cubs, as recorded directly off of the radio sometime in the early 80's.

Obviously, something like this holds no collector's value; but, this one-track mixtape holds a special place in my heart and not just because I love the song.  This recording was laid down by my Uncle Rick, who helped to watch and raise me everyday when my grandparents were otherwise occupied and both of my parents worked.

My favorite uncle (sorry everyone else), also helped to get me hooked on the Cubs from an early age and nurtured another hobby of mine in model railroading and being a train enthusiast in general.   In short, he really shaped my life from a young age.  Unfortunately, he passed away suddenly when I was only 6 or so due to a massive heart attack - he was only 40 years old at the time.  Like my vacation, his time on earth wasn't nearly long enough.

Thus, you can see why this otherwise insignificant bootleg tape was such a treasure to find,as it brought back all of those fond memories.  Good thing  I still have a cassette player, both in my house and in my car.  I can't imagine why people tell me I'm stuck in the past...

Additionally, with the way this series against the Mets is going so far, this tune may soon be blasting from my speakers as a coping mechanism.  Of course, the season has been an unprecedented success no matter what happens; but, that doesn't mean I won't be disappointed if/when it all comes to an end.

Anyway, we'll get back to our regularly scheduled baseball card blog tomorrow.  Play me out Steve!

Monday, October 12, 2015

Old as Moses Monday: Peaches Come From a Can

Either from a can or from baseball cards.

For this week's edition of "Old as Moses Monday," we shine the spotlight on one George Frederick Graham, otherwise known as "Peaches."

Graham, shown here on Topps' ode to the old T205 tobacco cards from 1911, was the ultimate utility player.

Throughout the course of his 7-year career, the guy started at catcher, second baseman, outfielder, third baseman, shortstop and even attempted a career as a pitcher as well.  He was a regular Bert Campaneris in his day.

He was a Cubbie double-dipper as well.  His first stint in Chicago lasted just one game, during his aforementioned attempt as a moundsman.  In his only start, he allowed 3 runs in 5 innings, downright disastrous in the Deadball Era.  It would be his only MLB pitching appearance.

After bouncing around the diamond for the Boston NL club for several seasons, Peaches was traded back to the Cubs in the middle of the 1911 campaign, for long-time catcher Johnny Kling, among others.  This time, he stayed exclusively at the other side of the battery, catching 36 games.

He wasn't much of a catcher though, he led the league in passed balls in just 75 games in 1908 and then booted 22 errors in 92 games behind the plate during the next season.  No wonder he kept bouncing around the playing field.

My only other Peaches card documents his time in Boston.
It comes from Renatta Galasso's reprint set of 1911 Turkey Reds

He was traded again in the off-season, this time to the Phillies, where he closed out his career with 24 more games behind the dish.

More importantly than his statistics though is just where in the world did he get such a cool nickname?  Allegedly, while playing in Colorado Springs during his minor league days, George ate an entire bucket of peaches on a dare from teammate Bunk Congalton, himself a future Cub.  Well, Bunk did say he triple dog dared him after all...

Graham then went and rapped out 9 hits in a four-game series.  As superstitious as ball-players tend be, especially in the early 20th century, from then on "Peaches" ate a peach before every game as he sat on the bench, convinced that they were good luck.  Turk Wendell had black licorice, George Graham had nature's candy.

The man who indirectly gave "Peaches" his moniker, on a real tobacco card which I do not yet own.
Image courtesy of

As for the card, it hails from Topps 205, just as the company was realizing that super-retro based sets were money-makers.  Topps 206 was released a year earlier to surprising success; so, to follow up, the first series of Topps 205 was released in July 2003.

Just like the original 1911 T-205's, there are separate designs for the NL, AL and minor league players. The first third of the checklist consists of current Major League players, the second features prospects and first-year players, and the last features various "reprints" of some of the original T-205 cards. Obviously, the Graham cards comes from the latter third.

At least UD gets it with their Goodwin Champions set and so too did TriStar when Obak was sitll a thing... sigh.

This is something that Topps eventually strayed away from when it comes to their old-timey sets.  No longer can we find players from the eras being honored in sets like A&G, Gypsy Queen and the like.  I'm just saying, we have enough cards of David Ortiz and Alex Rodriguez - a little nod to the players of yore would add a little spice to these increasingly repetitive releases.

End rant.

Anyway, that about does it for this week's edition of "Old as Moses Monday."  Now, I have to go and watch as Jake Arrieta (hopefully) continues his run of dominance against those damn Redbirds.  

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cubs of a Different Color - The Letter E

Each Saturday, I'll showcase a letter of the alphabet as part of my collection of Cubs in different uniforms. Today, the letter "D" takes the spotlight.

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!)
  5. 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.

Here we go:

Page 1:
  • Rawly Eastwick - 1978 Topps #405 - Cardinals
    • We lead things off with a Cardinal... that's bad mojo.  Here's hoping that the Cubs can even up the series tonight.  Unfortunately, Jamie Garcia is a much better pitcher than the crudely airbrushed Eastwick.
  • Angel Echevarria - 1994 Bowman #610 - Rockies
    • I impatiently snagged this card off of Ebay when I thought it was at a decent price.  Then, a couple weeks later, Stubby included it in a trade package.  They always said that patience was a virtue... Regardless, it has a home now.
  • Dennis Eckersley - 1993 Leaf #72 - Athletics
    • Eck was on the call for game one of the NLDS last night and did a pretty fair job.  He was both a Cub and a Cardinal, so I guess his inclusion does make some sense.  That said, he's in the HOF for his time spent with Oakland, so I had to include him in green and gold.
  • Tom Edens - 1991 Topps #118 - Brewers
    • It's a long, long road out of Edens... I don;t really have much else to say, Tom was just one in a long line of faceless and skill-less middle relievers that the Cubs rolled through in the mid-90's.
  • Jim Edmonds - 1996 Score #359 - Angels
    • This card dates back to my original collection and was likely purchased by my late grandfather.  I remember being really excited to add this card to my Cubs binders about a decade later, when the Cubs signed him off the scrapheap.  Plus, did you really think I was going to include him as a Cardinal?
  • Hank Edwards -2003 Ronnie Joyner Browns #16- Browns
    • This is from a beauty of a set that I covered in detail here.  Hand-drawn artwork, bright colors, long-forgotten team... what's not to love?  This was an easy decision to include.
  • Lee Elia - 1987 Topps Traded #32T - Phillies
    • This f#%^*&@ card was the only god$%*&^# card I had of Elia to spare.  The mother f#%^*&@ decision was  f#%^*&@  made for me.
  • Shawn Estes - 1997 Score Premium Stock #270
    • Back when Estes looked like a potential TOR arm for the Giants; so, he got the Premium Stock treatment from Score, which is really just a silver parallel.  Just a few years later, he was the fifth starter who caused everyone in Chicago to cringe during the playoff push in 2003.
  • Johnny Evers - 1991 TSN Conlon Collection #15
    • He might be most famous for his time in Chicago; however, this poetic legend also managed and played for the Miracle Braves of 1914, who went form worst to first that summer.  It's only appropriate that such an improbable comeback should be honored in this binder.

As it turns out, I don't have very many "E" players:

Page 2:
  • Scott Eyre - 2004 Topps Total #52 - Giants
    • Insert obligatory "bring back Topps Total!" comment here.  Scott Eyre - otherwise known as the guy were traded for the legendary Brian Schlitter (heavy sarcasm).  Anyway, he was a decent late-inning reliever and an all-around nice guy who got a ring with Philly in 2008 thanks to that swap.

Alright. that does it for this week's edition of the Cubs of a Different Color collection. Next week (spoiler alert!), we'll take a look at the letter "F." It will feature "Little Babe Ruth," the guy given up for the cyborg known as Jake Arrieta and a former pitcher who is now making a living playing semi-pro football, among others.

See ya next time!

Friday, October 9, 2015

When is a Cub Truly a Cub?

This is a question I've been dealing with for the past couple of days.

As a reward for going to the dentist and having been very brave (does anyone really like going there?), I treated myself to a trip to my former LCS from when I had lived in that neighborhood. Gotta dangle a carrot out in front of my face... of course, if it were carrots I was dangling, maybe I wouldn't have had to go to the dentist in the first place.   Anyway...

It was a very productive trip, netting three new, vintage players for my CATRC, a Cubgrade and a few other odds and ends.  However, it was one of these new guys that forced me to ponder about the titular question:

As you can see, Mr. Sammy Drake here is sporting a classic Cubs road jersey, as Ernie will model for us here:

Image courtesy of Getty Images

Even though we can tell what uniform he's wearing, the photo is purposely cropped tightly and he is lacking a hat so that Topps had the ability to easily alter the team affiliation on their card if need be.  As we all know, 1962 Topps is somewhat notorious for the amount of these types of images found in it's checklist.

Of course this came into play.  Drake had two auditions at the MLB level in '60 and '61, betting a combined .050 in 28 games, mostly playing 2B and 3B.  Well, the Cubs already had a young, budding star in Santo at third and a promising prospect by the name of Ken Hubbs ready to come up at second; needless to say, Sammy and his almost non-existent bat were more than expendable.

So, with the New York Mets coming into existence, the Cubs left Sammy out to dry and unprotected for the expansion draft going into the 1962 season.  So, as you probably already noticed, the team that Sammy is listed with on the above card is, in fact, the Metropolitans.

Sammy wasn't long for NY either
Image courtesy of Centerfield Maz

After 25 games, he managed to raise his batting average all the way up to... .192; so, he was quickly shipped out of town, too anemic for even an expansion franchise.

But, back to the question at hand, since his time in Chicago was so brief and unsuccessful, he never had a baseball card produced with his likeness that officially listed him as a Cub.  That's a bummer for me, since I want to collect at least one card of every Cub that depicts them as such, at least as far as I can.  

Thus, can I count this card as a Cubs card since it so obviously pictures him in a Chicago uniform, even though it commemorates his time in New York?  #FirstWorldProblems

Before we close out this post, Drake was actually a part of some interesting trivia during his short MLB tenure.  He and his brother Solly, himself a former Cub who played just three seasons, were the first african-american brother combination to both make the big time.  They also both played in the Cubs farm system concurrently, but not crossing paths.

Baseball is just chock full of familial ties

Anywho, back to the business at hand, when is a Cub truly a Cub?  Is it when he's shown in the right uniform, like my Drake?  Does he need to be listed as a Northsider?  Or does it have to be both and have all our bases covered?

I leave it to you, the reader to decide for me because I am far too indecisive.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Take Another Little Piece of My Heart

WHEW!!!  What a game last night, huh?  Jake Arrieta continues to prove he's more machine than man and Sean Rodriguez has anger management issues (or perhaps that water cooler started it).  All in all, it was one exciting game and when the Pirates loaded the bases in the sixth, I didn't think my heart could take it.

As it stands, this Cubs team continues to be the most exciting and likable bunch in my lifetime and they claimed another little piece of my heart last night.  Bring on the Cardinals!

I feel much more confident when it comes to a 5-game series with St. Louis than 27 outs of doom with the Pirates; but, regardless of the outcome of that set, I'll always think of this season quite fondly (hopefully as the starting point of a Blackhawks like dynasty).  If it all ends there, I think I'll be content.

Plus, I'll always have my baseball cards to get me through and it's trade packages like the one that Dimebox Nick sent me that keep me going.

I knew this was going to be a good PWE when I saw that stamp.  While I knew it's contents appealed to my baseball sensibilities, it was a nice touch to add a little nod to my love of classic music as well.

But, what about the cards?

In exchange for some Sportsflix singles and some other odds and ends that I knew he would appreciate, Nick lead off with a need from Topps' most recent release:

"Old Graybeard's" first card as a Cub came in the new edition of Heritage High Number, so now I can officially "Cubgrade" him in my CATRC.  I posted about my first pack of the product a few nights ago and mentioned how this was really the only card I was searching for from the set.

When anyone asks me why I bother with blogging, it's times like this one that I cite.  Not only did Nick immediately chime in and offer up his extra copy, but two other people also made it known they were willing to part with one as well.  How's that for generosity?

This was the only card I knew that I was getting; but, it was not the only card that immediately found it's way into my binders either:

While many people might just see a nondescript reliever from days past, I see another "Cubgrade!"  This Pacific single (which we all know how hard it can be to track down certain Pacifics) is my first of Heredia as a Cub and thus it bounced this previous entry from my CATRC binder:

While I do like the shiny "Gold Medallion" cards from '97 Fleer, I like the Cubs much, much more.  Still, this card will now find a home in my "Cubs of a Different Color Collection."

Nick didn't stop the "Cubgrading" party here though:

There was some well-loved, vintagey goodness to be found as well.  As a very much low-end collector, wear and tear doesn't bother me any.  In fact, I feel that such "imperfections" add character.  So, the fact that a kid back in the 60's decided to hand-write an update to his Collum card to indicate his move to the Twins is all-good with me.

As such, another card got bumped in favor of Nick's generosity:

It's from an iconic set too.  This immediately becomes one of the nicer cards in my "Cubs of a Different Color" set.  Who doesn't love old-school Bowman?

While not new name or "Cubgrades," there were yet a couple of more cards that feel out of this envelope that presented upgrades to my CATRC binder too:

As you can see, Nick was very giving with the vintage.  Don't go rushing to Baseball-Reference, there were no players in baseball history named Mike Drabowsky.  On the left, we have Moe mislabeled as Mike by someone at Topps who was too busy/lazy to fact check in 1958.  I already had this card; but, Nick's is a significant conditional upgrade.

On the right, we have the "Diamond Anniversary/Factory Set" parallel of Cash's 2011 Topps card.  I'm not sorry that we flipped him for Rizzo, just like I'm not sorry that I flipped his plain, boring Opening Day card for this shinier version.

To sum everything up so far, while Nick had already added significant boosts to my CATRC and COADC binders, he STILL managed to hit another, slowly-building collection of mine:

Ever since I was little, I've been fascinated by minor league cards; something about the unfamiliar and goofy team names and the allure of seeing Major Leaguers before they hit the big time.  So, a couple of weeks ago, I finally decided to separate out my MiLB cards and create a binder of Cubs players in their days riding buses.  I call it my "Baby Bear" collection.

Even though Mr. Dubois here never lived up to his billing as a top prospect, he still made the show and thus winds up in the aforementioned "Baby Bear" set.  Even if he made me look stupid when I bet my friend he would successfully fill the void left by Sammy Sosa in right field.

Furthermore, minor league singles can be a pain the rear end to track down at a reasonable deal; so, this was another generous inclusion by Nick,

The rest of the envelope (and at this point, everything else was gravy) went to stocking my various  Cubs player collections:

Some real nice stuff in there.  I'm particularly fond of the Cracker Jack Kerry Wood and the "Making Their Mark" insert of Anthony Rizzo.  I don't think there's any doubt anymore that "The Riz" has made his mark on this team.

Nick - a huge thank you goes out to you for this mailing.  While I would have been more than happy with just the Ross, you managed to stoke several different aspects of my collections with just one stamp.  I can only hope that you got half as much enjoyment out of my envelope.

A great trade package and an historic win for the Cubs franchise - my heart is happy; here's hoping that my ticker can last through a playoff series with the Redbirds... I have my doubts!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

It's Wild Card Wednesday!

...and nerves are already starting to get to me.

But, before I succumbed to my nerves, I was able to quickly rattle off this custom playing card of the infallible Cubs ace, in honor of tonight's sudden death showdown in Pittsburgh.

However, you can tell the butterflies were starting to flutter in my stomach since I left the text at the bottom backwards - oh well.

Here's hoping that Jake will be dealing tonight and continue his historical season on the mound.  There's no reason to think that he won't; but, I'm a Cubs fan, so I'm conditioned to expect the worst.

I do know one thing though - no matter what, the game tonight will be edge of the seat exciting and whichever team wins definitely deserves to move on and face the Cardinals. long as it's the Cubs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Takin' it to the Streets

The temperatures are dropping, the leaves are changing and all I hear about from my sister and girlfriend is pumpkin spice this and that... yup, fall is in the air and it ain't goin' anywhere anytime soon.

Now, I've always been a summer guy and I work outside, so nature's reminder that a brutal Chicago winter isn't too far away is not a particularly desirable season for me.  Although, I do love to put on a goofy costume and free candy - but, that's only one day of the season.

That said, if it being fall means that I can have days like Saturday, I'm all sorts of in favor of that.

You see, in Coal City they have an annual Octoberfest.  It's a street fair with a bunch of vendors, some performances by local musicians and dance troupes and it's all capped off with a fairly large parade.  All together, it makes for a pretty good time.

Now, I love all of the above described things and I was looking forward to going to the event; but, I didn't expect it to be quite as fulfilling as it was.

I fully expected most of the vendors to be people peddling homemade crafts and/or overpriced "antiques."  There was definitely plenty of that and I think there should be a constitutional amendment declaring that anything from the 80's isn't old enough to be an antique yet, just sayin'.  But, on top of that, there were not one, but two sports memorabilia dealers!  With cards!  And semi-reasonable prices!  I wish I snapped a picture of these two temporary establishments - c'est la vie.

The first booth was actually pretty useless to my collection, but still amusing to look through. Nestled amongst the needlessly framed 1991 Donruss cards of Ryne Sandberg and the like were some cool NASCAR singles. Plus, he had an impressive stock of of 1:24 scale die-cast cars too - it's clear what this guy's bread and butter is.  However, I didn't feel like spending any money on that collection at the time and so I moved on, fully expecting not to add anything and content with getting to look around a little bit.

This relic was almost cool enough to make me open my wallet; but, as you 
can see by the COMC watermark, I opted to save my cash for baseball stuff.

Then, I found the second vendor.

He had three 3,200 count boxes filled to the brim with singles from all sorts of product, vintage and new, oddball and mainstream.  Most of it featured legendary names like Bench, Berra and Gibson, so they weren't particularly helpful to my roster jenga collecting habits.

But, stacked to the side since they couldn't fit in the boxes, I found a nice stack of these:

I've honest never seen any of these Sportscaster cards in person before and I don't think I realized how big they are. Or how thin they are, for that matter.  As for the origin of the set, according to the Sportscaster Cards Database:
These cards were available from 1977-79 by mail-order subscription only. Every few weeks the subscriber would receive a collection of 24 cards in the mail and have the option to continue to receive more decks by remitting payment. No complete sets were ever offered and... they were sadly discontinued in 1979, due to lack of subscribership.
So that's where the came from, eh?  Much less earth-shattering than when I learned where babies come from...

Obviously, I already have Mr. Cub covered in my CATRC; however, a Canadian oddball of the greatest Cub of all-time certainly piqued my curiosity and will always fit in my collection.  Especially at the price of just $1. Sold!

A vintage, oddball card of a first rate Hall of Famer for the price of a bottle of Coke?  I'll take that any day of the week.

With much more added space due to it's size, we get quite the detailed bio on the back:

I think we can all agree that Ernie Banks was one of baseball's nicest people, by far.

At this point, I would have been perfectly content to call it a day.  After all, I was full of cotton candy, rib sandwich, had a bag of parade candy missed by the kids and had spent the whole day yucking it up with family.  Even so, I wasn't done finding deals yet.

That same vendor also had a box full of $5-10 cards, which I decided to flip through while killing time.  Thankfully, the vendor had a nice comic book set up too, which kept the others in my party occupied.  Tucked within that box, I saw this staring back at me:

No, despite what it looks like, that is not a plain, newish back issue of Beckett.  It is in fact a baseball card version of Beckett featuring Kris Bryant!

For the National, Beckett released a full checklist of these, featuring covers from throughout the publication's history, as a special promotion for the show only.  There were 15 cards in the full set and Mr. Bryant here was featured on 5 of them... yea, I think his stock is pretty hot right now.

Now, like the Sportscaster card, this was the first time I had seen one of these in person.  Just a few days ago, P-Town Tom was lucky enough to find one of these in a generous trade package from Brad of Brad's Blog fame and I was uber jealous.  Now, I no longer have to pine in vain.

Each card is serial numbered; but, in a 90's sports card serial-numbered way:

Yea, 1,000 is a really low print run, but, I'll forever treasure #682.

The backs of these cards feature different brick and mortar card shops; I imagine this has something to do with how these were distributed at the National.  Unfortunately, I don't have an iPhone to scan the little barcode thingy, otherwise that might clear that up.  Funny enough though, the Baseball Card King was my LCS when I lived in the Joliet area.

I was honestly surprised to see this priced at five bucks.  Kris' stock couldn't possibly be higher right now (unless, y'know, he knocks a game-winning homer in the WC game tomorrow) and his regular base cards, not even the short-prints or photo variations, were priced at $10 or more at this same booth.  Not to mention, a quick search of Ebay shows that these Beckett cards regularly go for more..

As you can see, my copy is a little off-center, which would hurt it's grading, if I were into such things.  I'm guessing that's why it was priced into my cheap-ass range.

Even better, this is actually my very first licensed card of Kris Bryant.

Previously, this logo-less Rize Draft card of Bryant had been representing the Cubs savior in my CATRC.  I bought it right when the set originally came out in 2013, shortly after he was drafted and before the market on his cards began an endless climb.  He was soon priced well out of my range.

But, that slight has now been rectified.

I definitely didn't expect to be adding baseball cards to my collection at the Octoberfest street fair; it made an already great day to become a pretty much perfect day.  Maybe I can get used to this whole fall thing after-all.

That is, until I walk back outside after lunch.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Old as Moses Monday - Andy "Don't Touch My Hat" Coakley

*I bet you can figure out the concept of this feature; it shines the spotlight on Cubs players from baseball's ancient history that have found their way into my CATRC. We're talking pre-WWI here!*

Andy Coakley was lucky enough to be a member of the (as of yet, fingers-crossed) last Cubs team to win the World Series in 1908.  He wasn't there long; but, he definitely made his presence felt during his the stretch run.  However, it was his desire to be compensated for his efforts that kept him from continuing onward with the then Westsiders or any other ball club.

Coakley has quite an interesting story behind him.

He originally came up in 1902 with Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, fresh off of completing his second year of studies at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.  The 19-year old rookie went 21 in 3 starts for the A's with an ERA of 2.67 - not bad for a youngster.

Now, one has to wonder if there might have been some overlap with his MLB service time and his college studies.  For that 1902 season, Coakley played under the alias of Jack McAllister.  It appears as though Mr. Mack might have let Andy pull some double duty with his alma-mater's squad.

Coakley didn't start seeing regular action in the Bigs until the 1905 season - perhaps it was due to further eligibility snafus - when he burst onto the scene with an 18-8, 1.84 ERA season as the number two pitcher for the Philly AL club.  Unfortunately, Andy's breakout season would also be the one in which he punched his ticket out of town.

The ace of the Athletic's staff that season was HOF'er Rube Waddell, known for being a top-flight hurler on the mound and a first-class knucklehead off of it.  The former Cub had already ruin himself off a handful of clubs for his antics, including attempting to leave the mound in the middle of a game to chase a firetruck on it's way to a blaze.  He was something to deal with, that's for sure.

"Rube" Waddell definitely earned his nickname

That September, the A's had a comfy 7 game lead for the AL pennant.  While travelling back to Philly after a long road trip, Rube knocked Andy's straw hat right off of his head.  Though it was likely meant as a playful gesture, Coakley took offense to the childish act and engaged the man in fisticuffs.  How's that for some period appropriate terminology, eh?

Rube was injured in the scuffle and lost for the rest of the season.  The club very nearly blew their 7 game lead and then promptly lost the World Series to Christy Mathewson and the Giants in 5 games.  To top it all off, Coakley lost his only appearance in the Series in a 9-0 blow out.

To say the least, Connie Mack was a little peeved with Andy.

After his record dropped to 7-8 in 1906, Andy eventually lost his spot in the starting rotation and was then sent packing to the baseball hell that was Cincinnati.  Connie had definitely lost his patience with the young man.

The Cubs rescued Andy from the second-division Reds in September of 1908.  Needing another arm for the stretch drive of their epic battle with the Giants, Chicago still saw potential in the embattled arm.  Coakley responded by posting 2 big wins and no losses, with a minuscule 0.89 ERA in 4 appearances (3 starts).  Not too shabby, eh?

Despite his efforts, Coakley was left off of the World Series roster.  I'm not sure how eligibility worked way back then; but, he certainly would not have been eligible to play today, having been acquired after September 1st.

A visual approximation of how that meeting went

Here is where the trouble begins again.  His short-term teammates slighted Andy by voting him not even a partial share of their World Series winnings - not a single dollar.  Of course, he felt slighted by their actions; he had no illusions of earning a full-share, but he did believe he deserved a little something for his troubles.

So, Andy took the Cubs to court.  I cannot find the ruling for the case of Coakley vs. The Cubs; however, I can find that he was lambasted in the press as being greedy and ungrateful.  Additionally, seeing as his contract was still controlled by Chicago, his playing time in 1909 amounted to just a single game and he was promptly pounded in that start.

Outside of a two game cuppacoffee  with the Yankees in 1911, Andy found himself informally blackballed by Major League Baseball and was forced to play out the rest of his career in various outlaw leagues.  All because he had the audacity to stand up for himself and ask that he be compensated for his services.  

Unfortunately for Andy, Curt Flood and the player's union were still more than half a decade away.

It wasn't all bad for Mr. Coakley though,  After his playing days, he embarked on a long and successful coaching career for Columbia University, spending 37 years as the head coach of the Lions from 1915 to 1951.  His most notable pupil?  A young man by the name of Lou Gehrig.

He died in 1963 at the age of 81.

Coakley and a few of his chargees from Columbia
Photo courtesy of the Museum of NYC and taken by none other than Stanley Kubrick!

As for the card I have featured here, it's a reprint (yea, I can't afford the real stuff) of a set put out by Ramly's Turkish Cigarettes in 1909.  The company behind the reprint edition isn't entirely career; but, it was definitely released in 1993 according to the back of the card.  I was gifted the entire Cubs portion of the set by my parents on Christmas morning, roughly a decade ago, and several of these cards still serve as representatives in my CATRC, including Coakley.

Maybe someday I'll have the money to replace them with the real deal?  Yea, right.  If that ever happens, that money is going towards my student loan debt.

Still though, the reprints are more than adequate for me and allowed me the opportunity to learn a little bit about forgotten players from before my grandparents were even born, including the troubled Andy Coakley.  

Moral of the story, don't injure the star player of your own team - it won't end well for you.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Bears Sunday: They Actually Won!

It's time for another edition of "look at my new Bears roster collection!"  I recently gathering up Bears in a similar fashion to my CATRC; so, now that I have enough to really call it a collection, I'm going to show it off page by page.

Sorry that I didn't post my regular Saturday edition of my Cubs of a Different Color Collection; although, judging by the post views that that usually generates, you didn't really care.  I was at a local street fest all day and was far too busy enjoying myself to post.  Although, a few vendors had baseball cards and I'll be showing that stuff off in a few days.

In honor of the Bears finally breaking into the win column (against the Raiders though), let's take a look at a few pages of my Bears roster collection:

Not much to say about this group of players, other than Maury Buford looks like the least threatening football player of all-time.  If it wasn't the longing, Mariah Carey-esque pose that he's striking in that Pro Line Portrait, it has to be the long socks with shorts look that makes him look ridiculous.

Martellus Bennett is a good player with a very interesting personality, so I was happy to score that card on the bottom left on Listia.

Some excellent vintage cards to be found here.  That Jack Concannon comes from my favorite football set ever produced; since he's part of a long-line of disappointing QBs here in Chicago, it's price was well within in my budget.  Bobby Joe Green gets some punter love and Leslie Frazier powering through the snow are also a pretty sweet vintage pair.

Raymont Harris didn't really deliver on that promise that's emblazoned on the front of his card in the center; that said, he is sporting an excellent throwback uniform - so, he's got that going for him.

Some other no-names, "Papa Bear" George Halas looking on from the sidelines, and a Ricky Manning oddball that was part of a garage sale score previously detailed here.

 Brian Baschnagel has one of my favorite football names in the history of the Bears franchise - it's just a fun name to say.  Seriously, try it out,

Meanwhile, that Henry Melton might look like a Bears card; but, it's a dirty liar, masquerading as such.  If you look closely, despite being pictured in a Bears uniform with Bill & Ted's favorite number (69 dude!), he's listed as being a member of the Dallas Cowboys.  It's a phony!

That does it for this week's edition.  Maybe, just maybe when we pick this back up next week, the Monsters of the Midway will be marching back to the .500 mark.  After all, the Chiefs are also 1-3 and are pretty much a total mess too.

Ah, such low expectations.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Throwback Thursday - Sammy So-Long Ago

So, in today's social media dominated age, various weekly customs or "hashtags" have emerged as a means of expression.

You have #ManCrushMondays or #WomanCrushWednesdays, which seem pretty self-explanatory, #FreeFollowFridays if your looking to boost someone's Twitter follower count and, my personal favorite #ThrowbackThursday.  Alliteration is a must for a hashtag to catch, apparently.

The latter is basically an excuse to show off an old picture and make everyone look at it, kinda like your grandma would do with a dusty photo album, except through the internet.

JediJeff has been posting weekly Throwback Thursday posts for a while now, showing off the best throwback jerseys to be found on cardboard.  I too want to toss my hat into this ring, but with my own twist; I don't want to be a blatant copy cat.

Thus, I decided to do like they do on Facebook and post awkward pictures from one's formative and younger years.  Each Thursday, I'll be showing off (at least) one card from a Cubs player's minor league days.

This week, we have Sammy Sosa way back when he was just a gangly prospect, grinding out the minor league season with the Port Charlotte Rangers.

Check out that sweet permed mullet!  Guys, remember when Slammin' Sammy wasn't pumped up on Flinstone vitamins and his skin hadn't pulled a Michael Jackson?  Ah, nostalgia.

This card comes from the Star Company, best known for their 1980's basketball sets from when they were the sole NBA license-holder and MLB player-centric sets later on in the decade.  With the explosion of the junk wax era, minor league cards were starting to be printed off right and left as companies like ProCards and Line Drive were desperately looking for new subjects.  Star too decided to dip their toes in the water with MiLB sets of their own, starting in 1988.

Minor league cards were becoming all the rage

A few things about this particular card though...  First off, it's part of the 1990 checklist and Sosa was traded to the White Sox in July of '89.  Additionally, he played exactly zero days in the minor leagues anyway in 1990. Odd indeed that he would show up on a Rangers' bush league card at this time, ain't it?

Perhaps it was done on purpose to entice card buyers to invest in a, seemingly, pre-rookie card of a budding star?  This is not something that Star was above doing.

The Star Company got into quite a bit of trouble in the mid-90's for printing older-looking basketball card sets that looked extremely similar to their original products and deliberately falsifying the copyright information. These sets were then marketed through third-party sources in order to trick the then rabidly hungry card-collecting public.

 The real card is on the left - you can see how someone could fairly easily be fooled
Images swiped from Ebay

The dastardly devils were eventually caught and got their pants sued off by the NBA.  That is why the Star Company is no more.

I hope you enjoyed this little stroll down memory lane, even though it became much longer than I originally planned.  It's doubtful that this weekly feature will always be of this length; but, I guess we'll see how it goes.