My family recently went on a week-long vacation to Wisconsin Dells to visit the land of tourist traps, water parks and exceptionally good cheese and fudge. In their absence, my fiancee and I kindly volunteered to watch their pets while they gallivanted across state lines. For that week, we were in charge of three dogs, three cats, a turtle, a bearded dragon and a tarantula... a veritable zoo. Hell, we should have opened up the doors and charged admission!
Anyway, on their way home, my "Burb-herd" stopped at an antique mall. Yes, they consider going second hand shopping a vacation-worthy adventure - where do you think I got my thrifty ways from? While they were there, my mother kindly decided to pick out a gift for each of the pet-sitters, as a thank you for having to buy crickets, clean up urine and, in general, not killing their animals.
Here is what my reward was:
Sweet! Everyone knows baseball cards are the way to go when it comes to gifts for little ol' me. I honestly don't know if I've ever had the honor of unwrapping a wax pack of 1987 Topps. Lord knows I had plenty of singles in my childhood collection, but those were largely obtained secondhand and in re-pack grab bags that my old card shop provided.
Who knows - maybe I'll be lucky enough to win a trip to 1988 Spring Training?? Fingers crossed.
Let's see what pack one contained:
Hey - he played for the Cubs! In fact, Willie was Hector Rondon before Hector Rondon - he was selected in the Rule V draft and came out of nowhere to be an excellent relief ace. Too bad he truly blossomed after the front office traded him away for Dick Ruthven.
There we go - a Cub by name and by uniform. Scott Sanderson was a reliable, above average rotation arm for Chicago during the 80's and was lucky enough to be part of both the 1984 and '89 NL East Champion clubs.
Hey - a Cubs hot pack! This was to be "the Penguin's" last Topps card as a Chicago Cub. The third baseman was clearly on the decline at this point in his career and would soon find himself traded to Oakland to complete his final season.
Also, I know this might infuriate Night Owl, but I always think of Cey as a Cub first and a Dodger second, owing to his being the starting third baseman of that aforementioned 1984 team, which broke a 39 year postseason drought and are still beloved on the North Side.
Speaking of Cubs playoff teams, Terry Mulholand found himself on such a lucky squad as well; however, it wasn't until 11 years after this card was issued. The 1998 Cubs snuck into the NL Wild Card spot in it's first year of existence, largely on the strength of Sammy Sosa's 66-homer campaign. Terry was a valuable swingman on a questionable at best pitching staff.
ANOTHER playoff-related Cub? Jeeze, this pack must be trying to tell me something.
"In Dusty We Trusty" was a popular slogan in Wrigleyville during the 2003 season - you know, that year where they very well SHOULD have made the World Series? Ugh. Anyway, Baker was the skipper that left Mark Prior in to explode in Game 6 of the NLCS and later let his and Kerry Wood's arms explode as well with massive pitch counts.
Furthermore, Dusty sure does look weird as an Athletic, doesn't he?
Oh, and as for the gum, I dared my sister to chew it for a quarter. Upon spitting it out in disgust, she uttered, "jokes on you, I'd have done it for free." My response - "you just did," and I walked out without handing over a 25 cent piece. In other words...
Anyway, that does it for the Cubbie contingent in that pack. Honestly, as fun as that was, I'd like to celebrate my 400th post on Wrigley Roster Jenga (that's a whole lotta talkin' about nuthin') by giving away the final two to the first commenter to correctly answer a bit of Cubs trivia:
Who is the only Cub to have ever batted over the storied .400 mark (because this is post 400 and all) in the history of the franchise? I'll give you a hint, he was featured in a very recent blog post.
The winner will receive those two unopened packs of 1987 Topps and I'll include a team bag's worth of bonus cards based on their team preference as well.