Alas, no longer must I give chase. I've, at long last, captured my prey: a 1967 Topps semi-high number (#489), featuring journeyman outfielder, Doug Clemens.
Landing this vintage need at a reasonable price was a bear of a task, one that I did not expect to take me over a year. However, it is now mine and Clemens is resting comfortably in my Cubs All-Time Roster Collection binder.
As you can see from the above scan, there are some creases , rounded corners and some sort of black defect on the upper right; nevertheless, the price was right and my legs were tired from the chase.
I forgot to scan the back, but let's just swipe a picture from the internet:
As you can see, Doug was a Cub from 1964-65, blowing into the Windy City midway through the '64 campaign in a fairly significant transaction. Upon his arrival, he was given the most playing time he'd ever see in his mostly-spare part career, earning the starting right fielder job in 1965. Unfortunately for the respected pinch-hitter, his .221 batting average in 122 games did little to impress the Cubs brass.
Coincidentally, the Northsiders traded a pretty decent right fielder in order to secure the services of Mr. Clemens. More on that in a minute.
Clemens, with the Cubs, circa 1965
Additionally, Doug wasn't particularly happy to pack his bags for Chicago, to begin with. You see, he was upset by the trade, mostly exacerbated by having to watch from the sidelines as several of his former mates in the Cardinals’ farm system, like Tim McCarver and Ray Sadecki) play in the 1964 World Series. I suppose I'd be a touch bitter too - the Cubs of the mid-60's weren't too good.
Yup, that's right, Doug Clemens was intended to be the replacement in right for future Hall of Famer Lou Brock. Also acquired in the infamous deal were the perpetually injured Ernie Broglio and reliever Bobby Shantz (who'd be traded again before '64 was out). Just mentioning this trade triggers a subconscious gag reflex in Cubs fans everywhere.
Back to Clemens, after flubbing his opportunity to be an everyday player in Chicago, he was traded to his hometown Philadelphia Phillies (as seen in my coveted card) and hung around their bench as an extra, extra fly-chaser through the 1968 season.
So, Clemens might be a reminder of a not-so-great moment in Cubs lore; that said, a Cub is a Cub and must be included in my comprehensive CATRC binder. This brings us back to the semi-high number I won on Ebay:
Somewhat surprisingly, after a career in the Big Leagues which lasted for nearly a decade, Doug only had one mainstream baseball card issued with his likeness - the card you see above. As far as oddballs go, there is his 1967 Coke bottle cap appearance and a 1978 Reading Remembers issue; but, a bottle cap is not a card and the retrospective Reading MiLB set is almost a complete unknown. Thus, I figured the 1967 Topps base card was the rational and simple target.
After sorting through stacks and stacks of '67s at every card show I've ever attended, this single just never reared it's head. My LCS's were of no help either and the prices on COMC and Ebay were always way too inflated for my taste. I never thought this would be such an issue.
These prices may be fair, but I'm not one to spend more than $10 on one card
As the old saying goes, patience is a virtue, and after a full year and some change of this card being a declared target, I was able to cross it off of my list for a pair of Washingtons and free shipping on Ebay. Thank goodness! I guess those semi-high numbers are harder to track down than I thought.
Another name off of the list.
Now, I'm left to wonder - was this experience unique? Have you ever ended up searching for a seemingly common or non-descript card for a surprisingly long time? Please feel free to tell me about your experience in the comments - I'd love to hear about it.
In the meantime, it's on to the next chase for me - Frank Secory, you and your '55 Bowman are mine!