Saturday, December 19, 2015

Greetings From Wrigley Roster Jenga

As I've stated many times before, since I've been working on my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection with a (more or less) laser focus for about 10 years, it's getting rather difficult to continue filling holes. At 69.5% completion, there's still plenty of room for growth; however, at this point, the players that I'm searching for are relatively obscure and don't have much in the way of trading cards or memorabilia in general.

Therefore, I've had to get a touch liberal in order to continue crossing names off, as I detailed in my lengthy post about George Gore and stickers.

So, I know how you all feel about stickers; but, what about this?:

It might look like just an over-sized trading card. that is, until you open this bad boy up:

Yea, this right here is a greeting card.  Y'know, those things we usually only pick up from the corner drug store when someone is getting another year older or when we want to suck up to our significant other or what not.

I found a healthy selection of these at the Barnes and Noble in the Loop (Downtown Chicago) when the girlfriend and I spent the day ice-skating, stuffing our faces with homemade gingerbread at the Christkindlmarket and sipping tea at the local tea shop.  What better way to close that day than strolling through a book store?

As I alluded to here, I told you that's something I do quite often.

Anyway, there were two full racks of these cards, all featuring snapshots of Chicago's distant past - the Union Stockyards, the World's Fair, streetcars, etc. - and several of them were baseball themed.  I was pleasantly surprised to find one spotlighting a player who I'd never seen anything for - George Tyler.

There was even some information on the back, making it feel like a real baseball card:

While the text might be more to do with old-school baseball uniforms, I still feel like that makes this more legitimate... or at least that's what I told myself as I slipped it into my CATRC binder.  After all, Tyler only had a couple of cards made with his likeness and they're super rare/valuable tobacco issues - so, this is likely the best I'll be able to do until I win the laundry.

For the records, "Lefty" Tyler pitched for 12 years in the NL, splitting time with the old Boston Braves and the Cubs.  He won a World Series ring with the Miracle Braves of 1914 and pitched in another with Chicago in 1918.  With a career ERA of 2.95, I think it's safe to say he was pretty good, even for the tail end of the Deadball Era.

But, back to the cards, that's right, I said cardS.  I was unable to walk away from those racks with only one of these oddities:

The other one I grabbed does not focus solely on one player.  Here we have a group of unspecified Cubs doing drills in a publicity shot during spring training, way back when the club used to train on storied Catalina Island, just off of California.

I wonder if they ever attended any wine mixers at Catalina?

I actually loathed that movie when I first saw it, which is pretty rare for me with Will Ferrell, but it does have some funny parts.

Oh yea - cards...

As best I can tell, that's Dim-Dom Dallesandro in the middle, judging by his height, and "the Mad Russian" Lou Novikoff at the right.  I could be wrong though, it's kind of hard to tell when they're all looking up.  Maybe the back will help us to identify our leaping friends?

Negatory - instead we just get a history with the Chicago NL ballclub and it's spring training experiences.  Any baseball historians out there have any ideas?  If one of the three happens to be a name still to obtain, I'm not above using this one.

As you can see from the back scans, these greeting cards were produced by The Nice Card Company, based out of Chicago.  Founded in 1992, they have been using retro, black & white images to produce these blank greeting cards as an appreciation of historical photography.  The source of these awe-inspiring images appears to be the Chicago History Museum, which I must make a point of visiting one of these days.

The cards are quite Nice

Long story short, that's how a couple of greeting cards entered into my baseball card collection.  I mean, they are greeting CARDS and feature pictures of BASEBALL players on the front - I mean, that technically makes them baseball cards, right?  Regardless of whether or not they open up or that they're intended to be sent off to congratulate friends on major life events.

Postcards seem to be widely accepted as baseball cards, they're listed in Beckett and such, and aren't greeting cards essentially just postcards that open up?  That logic checks out to me.  Still, I'm curious what you all think - should these count?  Please weigh in below.

All that considered, finding these oddballs was quite a pleasant surprise and a fantastic exclamation point on an already superb day.


  1. It's not exactly the same, but a Mears Online auction had a bunch of 1938-1940 Cubs photos from Catalina a little over 4 years ago and, in that lot, had this photo:

    Here's the Mears auction listing:

    Apparently, jumping up in the air with a ball in their glove -- or at least reaching for the sky -- was a Cubs spring training routine. Here's another photo from the Catalina Museum:

    That's all I've got right now...

    1. I appreciate the effort - it sure does seem like they liked that routine.

  2. There are two projects out there in the cardsphere that I find just insane. Your CATR collection is one of those two. The Tim Wallach guy is the other.
    Greeting cards at a book store? Wow! You. Are. Dedicated.

    1. To be mentioned in the same breath as the Wallach collector is quite an honor... even if it means were both insane!

  3. I wonder if those ST Cubs ever bounceda foul ball off of a passing buffalo?

  4. I need to go to this bookstore.