Thursday, November 17, 2016

Ain't That a Shane

For many decades, the Red Sox and the Cubs had an awful lot in common (emphasis on awful) as franchises stuck in the insurmountable rut of futility.  You had the Curse of the Bambino/Curse of the Billy Goat, through Buckner's legs/through Durham's legs, scenic Fenway/scenic Wrigley and decades and generations of fans who never saw a World Series triumph.  Of course, that all changed when the Sawx broke through and became a dynasty, starting in 2004.  That said, the Cubs look primed to join them in that territory now...

Anyway, with all of those parallels between the AL and NL clubs, I guess it shouldn't be a surprise that Red Sox fans and Cubs rooters should understand each other.  With that in mind, the trade package I received from loyal Boston booster Shane, of Off the Wall fame, was so on point with my collecting habits that it could have been assembled by myself.

We've been conversing back and forth since Shane's return to the blogosphere and we've found quite a bit of common ground, even besides our favorite franchises' similarities.  We both enjoy custom card-creating, we both have a thing for oddballs and he has an All-Time Red Sox Collection like I do for the Cubs.  So, when he offered up a trade for some needed names to help beef up my equivocal Cubs collection, I jumped at the chance.

Both needs came from the immense 1990 Target Dodgers checklist, a promotional giveaway set, which purported to include a card of every from the team's then 100-year history.  Luckily for my collecting habits, there has been plenty of overlap between the Trolley Dodgers and the Cubbies.

Bob Barrett was a spare outfielder for Chicago and Brooklyn throughout the 1920's after being taken by the Cubs in the Rule 5 draft and later being traded to the Dodgers for Tommy Griffith.  Meanwhile, Duke Farrell, pictured in what appears to be an old-timers game, came into the league with the Cubs for two seasons starting way, way back in 1888 and stuck around the Majors through 1905 with the Red Sox.

The Red Sox - how appropriate.

Speaking of Red Sox, here's a guy who had a pretty notable tenure with the Boston ballclub.

The only other card I was expecting from Shane's uber-generous trade package was this Manny Heritage Minor League single from a couple years back.  I've pined for this card since the day it was released, so it was extremely gratifying to cross this off my want list.

It's too bad that Manny didn't get a call-up during his time as a Cubs minor leaguer; however, he played a vital role in grooming the young guys who powered the 2016 World Series Champions.  Thus, he had a bigger impact on the club as a coach than he likely ever would have as a player.


Along with the ManRam bush league card, Shane also included a hefty handful of minor league singles of guys who did make the Majors in the Windy City, represented by the four you see above.  I have a binder full of such cards, so these new additions were exceptionally welcome sights.

Also, I'd entirely forgotten about Arismendy Alcantara... I think he's the only prospect who's bombed out of Chicago in the last 2-3 years.  What a farm-system we have!

Sticking with the faux-vintage theme of those Minor League Heritage singles, Shane also stashed a few welcome pieces of the Topps All-Time Fan Favorites and Panini Cooperstown sets.    Here's a couple of brands that I sure wouldn't mind seeing resurrected at some point in the future.

While many of those previous cards ape vintage, Shane also included a significant amount of the real deal.  The knuckleballer Joe Niekro is one of my favorite short-term stops/"unfamiliar uniforms" in Cubs history.  Meanwhile, I don't have nearly enough 1963 Topps in my collections and this Bob Buhl will help correct that.

Along with these two examples, there was plenty more vintage to be had, including several 1959 singles, my favorite vintage set, which I forgot to photograph.  Furthermore...


...there was this beautiful 1956 Bob Rush nestled at the bottom of the box.  It's not often you received a card this old unannounced in a trade package, so I was stopped in my tracks with it's inclusion.  It's in excellent shape too, with crisp corners and bold colors.  Simply wow.

You might say, it gave me quite the "rush" when I saw it.  ba dum tiss.


There were also a whole bunch of more mainstream, non-vintage base cards and inserts included within Shane's offering.  I could easily build a whole post off of this content alone; however, I'll allow my two favorites to do the talking here.

Cole Liniak may have been a total bust as a prospect, but his 2000 Fleer Ultra base card is All-Star material.  There aren't nearly enough cards that use "The Friendly Confines" as a backdrop, let alone with it's iconic, hand-operated scoreboard prominently featured.  Meanwhile, that Wilson "Record Breakers" insert hails from 2003 Topps Flagship and highlights Hack's likely unbreakable record of 191 RBI's in one season.  For lack of a better term, I think it's just a sharp looking design... and not just because of the shards of glass either.

Now, this is the point where the package became a bit odd:

Odd as in oddball, that is!  In our conversations, I mentioned to Shane that I have an affinity for oddities and, lo and behold, Shane went "Off the Wall" for the rest of the glorious content.

On the left, we have one of those ubiquitous, unauthorized Broders from the late-80's, this one featuring another player who spent time in both Chicago and Boston.  Speaking of unauthorized, while that may look like your standard-fare '67 Topps Billy Williams, it's definitely some sort of unlicensed reprint - while you can't tell from the image here, the surface is far too glossy and the stock is too thin.  I'll still give it safe-haven in my collection though.

Next up on the oddball circuit, we have a Cooperstown Collection card featuring HOF second baseman Billy Herman, which was produced by Hillshire Farms and made available through sending in via their Kahn's Wieners products in 1989.  They're printed on wafer-thin card stock, but sure do look nice in hand with their simulated HOF plaque design.

Along with Herman, we have an umpire card of Mal Eason from Conlon Collection, possibly the most helpful set for my CATRC ever to hit the market.  Eason may be more known for his umpiring career; but, "Kid" was a hard-luck pitcher for the Cubs before he went behind the dish.

Sportflics always catch my eye, especially when they feature players from baseball's by-gone days.  It's a tad jarring to see an old school player like Ernie Banks depicted with such "futuristic" technology and I kind of love that dichotomy.  Besides, anytime I can add a new card of "Mr. Cub," I get a big, ol' Banks-like smile.

Here's a first for my collection - I've never seen these Topps tattoos in person before, let alone possessed one.   I don't think I'll be applying should-be-HOF'er Lee Smith's mug to my arm anytime soon, even though my inner-child is so very tempted.

As cool at this is, there's more than what meets the eye with this panel:

Ah - ha, we have the full sheet!   Temporary tattoos for everyone!

On a related note, here's another almost universally-beloved, Topps produced oddball variety that I have never been so fortunate as to have in my possession:

In 1981, Topps released a set of cards used to play a scratch-off baseball game.  These three-card panels were distributed in packs of 18 total cards.  I've seen these pop up on the blogosphere many times, but this is the first such example to find it's way into my grubby hands.  Now, I've just got to fight the urge to separate Ivan DeJesus from his lottery ticket-like brethren.

And now for something completely different:

This item here is entirely new to me - I've never even seen or heard it of before:  1986 Dorman's Cheese cards.  Apparently this Wisconsin-based, regional dairy distributor released a ten card set with two players each on perforated panels.  "Ryno" shares some real estate with Don Mattingly here and the only other Cub in the small set is Rick Sutcliffe.

Whenever I get something I never even knew existed, that package is definitely a winner.  I miss when baseball cards came with cheese, weiners, batteries, soda pop, breakfast cereal, etc.

That did it for the baseball card content; however, Shane "rebounded" with some more unexpected additions to my collections:

Also, there were an awful lot of perforated, panel-based cards in this box, huh?

As I mentioned in a recent post, my Bulls All-Time Roster Collection is not one I spend a lot of money on and rely heavily on trades when it comes to adding to it.  Shane must have read that post, as he threw in these two 1980-81 Topps basketball cards featuring Artis Gilmore and Reggie Theus, as an added bonus.  Both were needed for that aforementioned Bulls Roster Collection.

 No bull!

So many puns...

As you can plainly see, Shane really nailed it with this trade package.  All told, I ended up with two new players for my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection, several Cubs for my minor league binder, a slew of new vintage and oddball gems and some bonus Bulls for that collection. 

Shane, thanks again for the amazing trade and I can only hope that what I sent your way is at least half as productive and entertaining for you.  Here's to many more!

See?  We Red Sox and Cubs fans definitely get each other.


  1. Well done Shane. Ton of great cards

  2. Thanks Tony!! Glad you enjoyed the package!! I'm sure I can did up some more stuff for you.

  3. I agree with you. I would love to see the All-Time Fan Favorites set come back... Panini Cooperstown wasn't released too long ago, but that would be fun, too.
    Shane really sent you a well-rounded package!

  4. Don't know why, but I wanna try...Dorman's Cheese!
    Good call on that Cheap Trick song. Been a while since I've heard that one

  5. Love the 80's Topps oddballs. You can't go wrong throwing in a Topps Tattoos sheet or Scratch-Offs card into a care package.