Saturday, April 19, 2014

Cubs Lot #1: Scans and Breakdown

This first lot was also the smallest of my recent pickups coming in at an advertised 217 Cubs cards.

I've been on both sides of the transaction as a buyer and seller so when I buy cards online, I look at the overall price and try not to worry about whether the money is going towards the card(s) or towards shipping. In this case, the starting (and final price) was a mere $0.99 but shipping was a bit ridiculous at $7.99. The box it arrived in was one of the small VHS sized Priority Mail boxes with a $5.90 automated stamp on it.

Six team bags inside
I could rail on about how I overpaid $2 on shipping for something he sent in a free box, but in reality, I got over 200 cards from my favorite team for less than $9 total. That's less than a nickel a card. On the contrary, I almost feel bad for the seller because when you take out what he paid for shipping, eBay and Paypal fees, he's lucky to have cleared $2. So I may have paid just under a nickel per card, but he only cleared about a penny each. And that doesn't even account for his time to sort, list and pack them up.

This listing didn't mention any particular years and the picture included with the listing included just nine cards. Before I got organized, I would have been hesitant to pick up such a small lot, working under the assumption I had most of them already. But like I mentioned yesterday, I found quite a few large gaps in my collection. Vintage is a given, but my time out of the hobby, mid 90’s to 2010-ish, presented a ton of card options. There were still multiple card companies, the birth of parallels and all kinds of inserts. It didn't hurt (or help depending on your perspective) that during that time frame the Cubs had several "collectible" players such as Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa, Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Those guys were seemingly in everything!

Of the nine cards showed in the auction, I only had three. So I knew, at the very least, I would be getting six new-to-me cards and they were all from that time period I missed. That gave me enough confidence to place the minimum bid (but no more) and I still came away the winner.

I turned on the TV and started cracking open the team bags. I was quite impressed on the first pass through. There was a lot of variety among the players, years and brands and there were hardly any dupes within the lot itself. I pulled out a bunch that I knew right off the bat were new to me to scan. I’ll show some and then get to the statistics at the end for those interested.

First up are a pair of cards that are not only new to my collection, but the players are new as well.

1998 Pacific #260 Ramon Tatis
Ramon Tatis was drafted away from the Mets in the 1996 Rule V draft. He went 1-1 with a 5.34 ERA in 56 relief appearances for the 1997 Cubs before being taken by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 1997 expansion draft.

2010 Upper Deck Season Biography #SB-159 Jake Fox
I should note that this is my first official Jake Fox card. Last summer I had a little help getting my Fox ATCRCS card signed while Fox was playing in the independent Atlantic League.

The oldest card in the package was this Lee Smith card.

1982 Fleer #603 Lee Smith
I recognized it as one of his rookie cards that I already have, but it wasn't until I turned it over that I realized I didn't.

In case you missed it, take a closer look at that Cubs logo. Or should I say, that CnB2 logo. This is back when errors were cool and corrected.

These three sets were represented a couple of times among different players. They didn't look familiar but I can't say for sure whether they are the first of their kinds in my collection off the top of my head. From left to right, we have 1997 Circa (Terry Adams), 1998 Topps Finest (Jeremi Gonzalez) and 1999 Flair Showcase (Roosevelt Brown). The Flair Showcase seems to have a bunch of parallels (Rows?). This one is a Row 2, whatever that means.

A trio of prospects with varying degrees of success. Kevin Orie played in parts of three seasons with the Cubs in two stints. Robin Jennings also played in three seasons with the Cubs (1996, 1997 & 1999). Daniel Garibay went 2-8 in 30 appearances for the 2000 Cubs.

I've always liked the artwork on Diamond Kings. What I don't understand is why Fred McGriff was painted in a Cubs uniform but is credited with the Dodgers on this card? I mean, I get that after the Cubs, McGriff signed as a Free Agent with the Dodgers, but this is artwork. Was it that hard to change the jersey or leave him off the checklist?

How about a nice card of the last 20 game winner from the Cubs? Didn't think that was a guy named Jon Lieber, did you?

I'm always surprised to see a new Nomar Garciaparra Cubs card because I feel like he was only with the team for a minute. But then I remember he used to be mentioned in the same breath as Derek Jeter and A-Rod and was probably the Red Sox version of Sammy Sosa, Mark Grace and Mark Prior. Before they shipped him off to the Cubs and won a World Series. Or two. I won't say three because he wouldn't have still been around for last year's. 

And speaking of those guys, here are a couple of new additions. The Sosa is die cut and from 1996, which was two years before his historic home run season. I probably should have read the back before I posted to see what his "Claim to Fame" was back then.

This Karim Garcia card was one of the more interesting in the package. On the front, Sammy Sosa is faded into the background. At first, I didn't even notice him as my eyeline was drawn to the color photo of Garcia and his name. On the reverse, Pinnacle compares an up and coming Garcia to a younger Sosa. There's a Cubs logo and Sosa is named, which is why its kind of weird that he's not mentioned on the front and just has a picture. And that his photo is in black and white like he played decades before Garcia, not just a couple of years.

My favorit-est new card though is the above Mark Prior. It is part of a 30-card checklist, one player from each team. They were produced by Upper Deck, came in packs of three and were given away at the 2004 Little League World Series by the New Era Cap Company. I don't know how rare they are but I didn't see a single one from any other player on eBay.

Last and least, there are a couple of close, but no cigar cards.

While Mark Grudzielanek did play for the Cubs, the card above shows him on the Montreal Expos. Keenyn Walker was drafted out of high school by the Cubs in the 16th round of the 2009 draft. He decided to go to college instead and fell to the Phillies 38th round pick the following year. Sticking it out in college for one more year, Walker was then drafted in the 1st round, 47th overall (as noted on the front of the card) by the other Chicago team, the White Sox.

Jamie Moyer is another former Cub, but unfortunately, the card shows him as a member of the Phillies. However, it is a keeper for my horizontal niche collection. Nice!

These were just a handful of the cards that came in the package. There were many more new to me (or upgrades) but I only have so much time allotted to scanning and cropping. Plus, the next package has arrived! Let's take a look at some of the statistics of this box before I move on though.

Advertised Quantity: 217
Actual Quantity: 222
Damaged Cards: 0
Non-Cubs: 3
Different Cards: 197
Price Per Cubs Card: $8.98/219 = $.041
Price Per Different Card: $8.98/197 = $.046
New Cards (or upgrades): 132
Price Per New Card:  $8.98/132 = $.068
Number of Different Players: 106 + 3 team cards/multiple players

The next boxes are going to be much bigger. It might take a few days to get stuff sorted and scanned from them. I don't want to leave you hangin' but I want to do them justice. Hopefully, they deserve it!


  1. Nice pickup! That Lee Smith error is hilarious.

  2. Let me know if you get any Nomar repeats! He was one of my faves when he was with the Cubs.

    Maybe after your other boxes we should swap Cubs repeats for Cubs repeats. I need to thin the heard. Plus, I've been meaning to flip through my collection for some horizontals for you as well.