In all these years of trying to build a collection of the Cubs' all-time roster, I've come to accept the fact that certain names will never be officially added to my corresponding binder. In collecting a team whose history dates back to the Reconstruction Era, many a player has come and gone without any sort of cardboard immortalization.
However - that doesn't mean I'm not going to do my damndest to get all of them anyway... and in any way possible too.
One of these heretofore, ancient and unknown names is one Charles "Chick" Pedroes, who was a Chicago "Orphan" for all of two games in 1902. In the course of six trips to the plate, the rightfielder didn't so much as touch first base.
Officially, he's never had a baseball card issued in his name - after all, he had a exceptionally brief cuppacoffee over 100 years ago. That said, I still managed to add him to my CATRC collection today:
What you see here might not technically qualify as a card and it certainly holds no monetary value; however, it will still be slid into a nine-pocket page, all the same.
The proprietors of the above-linked fan-site has created one of these virtual "cards" for every Cuban to ever reach the Major Leagues, including the little-known Chick Pedroes. Before we talk anymore about this template, we have to address the elephant in the room: although his name is the definition of obscure, Chick is notable for being the first Cuban-born player in Cubs' history, a credit we don't often hear about.
In an era where cultural heritage is often spotlighted and when Cuban/US relations haven't been better in decades, why has this fact been glossed over? MLB blogger Peter Bjarkman posited this reason when Pedroes' birthplace was solidified in 2008:
"(Pedroes and contemporary Jud Castro) are Latino pioneers only by special case: they are North American ballplayers who happen, by a quirk of fate, to have been born outside of American soil. None of their baseball talents, styles of play, or athletic heritage had anything whatsoever to do with their seemingly non-existent “Latino” heritage."
In Peter's eyes, Chick just wasn't Cuban enough. Hmmmmm.... Anyway, back to the custom creation at hand.
In the process of printing this thing, I came to the realization that whoever was the creator behind it either drew heavy inspiration from a notable custom card-maker, or he straight up lifted said artist's work. If you're familiar at all with blogger, artist and author Gary Cieradkowski and his beautiful "Infinite Baseball Card Set," the frame around Chick should definitely ring a bell:
As you can plainly see, these also obscure and old-timey Chicago baseballers above are presented to us on a pretty much identical template. Both of these cards were purchased straight from Gary to fill other gaps in my collection that would otherwise remain empty forever.
I'm not looking to get anyone in trouble here, but...
Also of interest to me, is the team for which Mr. Pedroes is pictured as playing with - "Gunther." Chick had been playing in the organized minor leagues going way back to 1888, with his all-too-brief Cubs call-up being the noted finish line for his professional baseball career. None of his bush league stops were with a team called "Gunther."
Therefore, this lack of record combined with the fact that the picture appears to date from a little bit later in the decade (based on the quality) and the apparent age in Pedroes' face, "Gunther" must have been some sort of semi-pro or industrial league nine he played with after his career in organized ball had come to an end.
Gunther is also, apparently, a terribly vulgar Euro-pop artist. Who knew?
Regardless, this "bootleg" card will probably have to serve as Chick's representation in my CATRC binder for the duration of my collection - that is, unless someone decides to properly recognize his status in Cubs history with a card or I feel motivated enough to create my own custom. No matter what though, I got a blog post out of it, at least!
Does anyone else do this for cards of subjects that they'd otherwise never get? Perhaps a print-out of an otherwise exclusively digital release (i.e. Topps Bunt, Huddle, Star Wars Card Trader, etc.) resides in a binder page or two? I really hope that I'm not the only one desperate enough to do this.