Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trade with unclemoe

After dangling the Opening Day trade bait a little bit ago, I got a bite from unclemoe over at My 2008 Topps Set Blog. I sent him over the mascots I pulled along with a few Diamondbacks, and I received his end of the trade over the weekend.

First off, he sent over a handful of Opening Day base cards I still needed. Nice!

I like how Saltalamacchia is pretty much facing forward but his name is so long it is creeping into view.

Kendrys Morales gets the short end of the stick here but when you're scanned with three horizontal cards, you're gonna lose every time.

Also in the stuffed team bag was a smattering of miscellaneous Cubs! Lot of brands and different players, good stuff!

Without Ryne Sandberg and Shawon Dunston, the Cubs middle infield of the late '90s was Jeff Blauser and yesterday's Mickey Morandini.

A trio of Corey patterson cards. I really like the Lugnuts card and the look Patterson is giving in the second card to the photographer, who was presumably taking pictures during the National Anthem.

Another trio of cards, this time Sam Fuld. Always liked him.

A sweet swingin' Billy Williams although this particular photograph shows anything but a sweet swing. 

I missed the Matt Murton experience for the most part before coming back full steam to the hobby, but I hear he has/had a cult following. 

How many non-Cubs fans would know that Jon Lieber was our last 20 game winner. Heck, how many Cubs fans would know?

And a really nice throw in that I wasn't expecting at all, a Kosuke Fukudome jersey card. This is the epitome of a card that belongs in the collection, but I wouldn't necessarily buy it for myself. 

For those who can't read the category at the top, in 2010, Fukudome led the MLB in batting average from the number 2 spot in the batting order. Really digging deep there, Topps...

There were a bunch more cards that I didn't get around to scanning including a 1986 Fleer mini Shawon Dunston and a couple of cards from the mammoth 2008 Upper Deck documentary set. When I started making the customs for the entire team last year, I hadn't heard of this set. I was considering making a 162 card set, one for every game, but as the season got worse and worse, I opted not to...

Thanks for the trade unclemoe!! 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mickey Morandini

This is the final ATCRCS card that I sent into my Spring Training helper. I don't have a back for this one yet either so I can say a few things here, whereas I usually let the card speak for itself.

Most people probably associate Mickey Morandini with the Philadelphia Phillies. He did spend nine years and earned his only career All-Star appearance there compared to two seasons with the Cubs. Fair enough.

But to me, Morandini was the first post-Ryne Sandberg second baseman. Sure, Rey Sanchez filled the year of Sandberg's first retirement, but Sandberg came back. This was around the time I was temporarily moving on from baseball (high school/college time) but still somewhat followed the Cubs. Morandini had some big shoes to fill.

So how did he do? Well enough to tie for 24th in the NL MVP voting in 1998. Before you scoff at 24th, keep in mind that's out several hundred eligible players. Plus, Sammy Sosa kind of ran away with it that year. Although Sandberg was no slouch at the plate, I think he was more known as a Gold Glove second baseman. Morandini followed him up with leading all NL second basemen in fielding percentage with a pretty solid .993, beating 3x returning champ Bret Boone by .005 (that's a lot in fielding percentage).

So I guess you can say I was ok with Morandini taking over. We've definitely seen worse since. He's probably the only other post-Sandberg second baseman I've liked besides Darwin Barney.

I really liked the photo I used this card. He's choking up on the bat, adjusting his grip and looks like he's about to rip one. You can also clearly see the Harry Caray memorial patch the Cubs wore that season following Caray's passing.

According to SCN, Morandini is pretty good about signing and returning autograph requests TTM. I could have gone that route but figured since I was sending stuff already to someone going to Phillies camp, I migt as well knock out as many players as possible.

But several years ago, I did send a letter and asked him to sign this card:

I remember this play being pretty big news. In 1992, Morandini was the 9th player to turn the unassisted double play and the first since 1962. Six more players have accomplished the feat since then. Yes, it's a Phillies card, but it's a keeper. And look how skinny Barry Bonds is!

The ATCRCS card is the 48th signed card in that collection.

UPDATE: Found a video of the triple play at this link. You'd probably have to be a big Morandini or Phillies fan to sit through the entire 5 minute video but luckily, the triple play comes early on. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Repack Sunday!

It's Sunday so that must mean it's time for another Repack Box. I went with the standard 4 packs plus 100 miscellaneous cards for $5 box from my local Five Below store. I don't have much time for commentary today so hopefully these pictures are worth thousands of words!

Starting off, we have the 1989 Topps Jumbo pack:

Rookie of the Year and three retired jersey numbers
Record Breakers and All-Stars
 After 8-9 of these repack boxes, and all but one having the Jumbo pack from 1989, I was bound to get some doubles. But these 6 cards all came in this one pack. Not consecutively either, like you would think collating works. The Argenis Salazar and Greg Maddux above were the only Cubs in the pack.

Hall of Famer, former Cub and wannabe Cub
Proof of Dibble as a Cub, you ask? Here's an AP Photo from the Spring of 1996:

No love lost for this never Cub, mainly because of the incident in the video below. The first two minutes are entertaining in and of itself, but check out Dibble's reaction to a play at around the 1:50 mark.

Pedro Martinez, future Cubs Tom Gorzellany and Edwin Jackson
Mark Teixeira and Cubs question mark, Carlos Marmol
For the second box in a row, there was nothing worth scanning in the 5-card pack of Fleer Ultra.

There was however, some pretty cool stuff among the miscellaneous cards.

Oldest and newest cards from the box, 1981 Donruss-2000 Topps
Not only 1981 Donruss, but a trio of '82 as well!
An assortment of catchers. Spanky!
Some Ryan Express appreciation
Closest thing to an oddball this week
Future Cubs
More future Cubs
Cubs who moved on
More former Cubs
Current Cubs
Cameo by future Cubs coach, Rob Deer
Future Cubs manager Dale Sveum
There, you have it. Another Repack Sunday in the books. I don't think there's high demand for a lot of this junk wax, but as usual, everything you see here is available. I happened to already have the Cubs cards included in this box, so even those.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Signature Saturday - Don Zimmer

I've made no secret of the fact that my favorite Cubs team to date has been the 1989 so-called Boys of Zimmer. I was a bandwagon, 1st grade fan in 1984 when I spent the 1984-1985 school year in Moline. After that, I moved around quite a bit, but was always able to find the Cubs on WGN.

Fast forward a couple of years, I am starting to learn more about the game, collect baseball cards and consequently the players. Meanwhile, the Cubs had a new manager in 1988, Don Zimmer. Despite a losing record, the Cubs managed to send six players to the 1988 All-Star game. Zimmer proceeded to lead a 16 game turnaround for the Cubs in 1989, winning the National League East division and the NL Manager of the Year title.

Along with the Les Lancaster, Sandy Alomar Sr and Dwight cards I sent down to Spirng Training, I also included a couple of Don Zimmer card. In the card below, Zimmer is arguing a call with an umpire who didn't make the cut to be included in the card. The incredulous look on his face was perfect for a manager card. Thankfully, he signed between his jacket and his name where the blue signature could be more easily seen.

Not only did Zimmer manage the Cubs (and coach a few years prior), but he also played for the Cubs in 1960 and 1961 when he earned his only All-Star appearance. So he gets two ATCRCS cards! Below is a much younger "Popeye" from his playing days. With nothing hindering his autograph, I got a nice bold signature right across the middle of the card.

But wait, there's more! In addition to the ATCRCS cards I'm working on, Zimmer was also included in the Desert Shield set in 1991.

These cards mark the 46th and 47th signed ATCRCS cards in my collection and the 5th signed Desert Shield Cubs team set card.

Additionally, I have previously shown off my Don Zimmer ice cream helmet as part of that subcollection. But here it is again since that was in the way early history of the blog.

Friday, April 26, 2013

2013 Heritage Clubhouse Collection Matt Garza Jersey

Earlier this week I posted about a nice pseudo-surprise from 2 by 3 Heroes that contained a Starlin Castro jersey card. I think, aside from that card the only other reasonably priced Cubs relic from 2013 Heritage is the following Matt Garza jersey card.

There is also a low numbered coin card with Billy Williams and apparently autographed relic cards of Williams and Ernie Banks. But unless one happens to magically appear in my mailbox, I doubt I'll be able to add those to my collection anytime soon.

When Garza returns from the disabled list, hopefully soon, he'll begin his third season with the Cubs. One of the things I like about him is that he appears to be involved in every game. He doesn't look too thrilled to be a Cub in the photo used for the card above, but whenever the TV cameras show the Cubs dugout, Garza always seems to be on the steps/along the rail, cheering on the team. The Cubs haven't had too many reasons to celebrate the last couple of years, but the oft-injured Garza seems to make the most of the situation when they do. 

Photo by Jonathan Daniel (courtesy of Getty Images)
On April 8, 2012, Garza gives winning pitcher Jeff Samrdzija a shaving cream pie to the face. Samardzija pitched 8 2/3 innings to give the Cubs their first win of the season in a 4-3 victory over the Washington Nationals.
Photo by David Banks (courtesy of Getty Images)
On May 30. 2012, Garza give Darwin Barney a Gatorade (water?) bath after Barney's 2-out walkoff home run gives the Cubs a sweep over the San Diego Padres. Another photo in this sequence was used to on Darwin Barney's 2013 Opening Day Ballpark Fun insert card.
Photo by Brian Kersey (courtesy of Getty Images)
On June 26, 2012, Anthony Rizzo had an RBI double to break a 3-3 tie between the Cubs and the New York Mets. The Cubs went on to win 5-3. This wasn't a walkoff hit (it came in the 4th) so I'm not sure that a shaving cream pie to the face was the appropriate response, but in 2012, a win was a win. Then again, it was Rizzo's Cubs debut so there's that too.

And the back for good measure although aside from the name and card "number" change, it is the exact same as the Starlin Castro card.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Les Lancaster

Today's cards are courtesy of the same helper from Spring Training as the Sandy Alomar Sr and Dwight Smith. I sent in cards for Les Lancaster from the two sets I am slowly, but surely making my way through, the 1991 Topps Desert Shield Cubs team set and my ATCRCS set. 

The photo on the ATCRCS card isn't as dark as the scan makes it appear. Lancaster has a unique signature in that it looks like he uses one big "L" for both his first and last names. There also appears to be a giant "C" at the end with a dot inside, although nothing in his name needs to be dotted. 

I haven't had a chance to make a back for the ATCRCS card yet but these are both great additions to the collection because Lancaster was one of the Boys of Zimmer. In 1989, we went 4-2 as a (mostly) middle reliever with 8 Saves and a 1.36 ERA. After managing in some independent leagues for a while, Lancaster is currently a pitching coach in the Phillies organization. 

These cards mark the 45th signed ATCRCS and the 4th signed Desert Shield cards in the my collection.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

2013 Topps Scott Feldman Cubs Factory Team Set

The 2013 Cubs Factory Team set I picked up a little bit ago brought me Scott Feldman's first Cubs card. Along with fellow offseason acquisition Edwin Jackson, they have yet to earn a victory, combining for a 0-6 record. Meanwhile, Carlos Marmol has 2 wins, including being the pitcher of record in last night's extra inning debacle of a win. But I digress.

I don't know the exact timeline on when these team sets were produced and released but this one is definitely a photoshop job. I'm not as much of a uniform aficionado as Wrigley Wax is, but I think it looks pretty good. They even got his number right as he switched from 39 is Texas to 46 in Chicago. I don't think they should necessarily retire Ryan Dempster's old number but it is a little sad to see it move on so quickly. (And Tony Campana's #1 is now worn by Cody Ransom.)

Photo by Michael Zagaris (Courtesy of Getty Images)
When this photo was taken on June 4, 2012, Feldman was in the midst of a 1.2 inning shellacking at the hands of the Oakland Athletics. Whoops. In addition to adjusting the uniform, you'll note that Topps removed the logo from the outfield wall as well.

As I mentioned, this is Feldman's first official Cubs card. But it's not his first card of 2013. He was also given a regular card in Series 1, while still affiliated with the Rangers.

This game wasn't much better for Feldman although he did make it further, as the Rangers fell 6-5 to the Twins on August 26, 2012.

Photo by John Williamson (Courtesy of Getty Images)
The backs are nearly identical with only changes made to the team and the blurb. Apparently, the Cubs and Rangers have the same color scheme. I never really thought about it before, but I guess I associate them more with red.

The blurb on the back of the Rangers card talks about his rough start to 2012 and then his impressive comeback to even out his record. What it fails to mention is that he didn't pick up another win all season and rattled off another five more losses.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

2012 Panini Prizm Tony Campana + Refractor

When the Cubs traded Tony Campana away in February, I wasn't sure when his next card would come out. He didn't make the D-backs out of the Spring Training and isn't exactly tearing it up in AAA Reno either. But since then, I've already added a couple of cards to my collection. Last week, I did a post on his card that was included in the Factory Team set from Topps.

Today I have his two issues from 2012 Panini Prizm, a base card and a refractor.

They scanned pretty dark but actually have a light grey/silver border. If I wasn't holding these cards at the same time, I doubt that I could tell the difference right away. Both are very shiny and glossy but the refractor has the rainbow-y look when held at an angle. At least you can kind of tell from the scan. (If you can't, it's the one on the right.)

Finally the non-fielding pose I was asking for! I don't have all of his minor league team set cards yet but aside from the ones I've made, this is the first I've seen of Tony at the plate.

As for the backs, I only noted one difference. The refractor has the word PRIZM in the lower right hand corner of the card and the base card doesn't.

I think the backs are pretty solid. They do reuse the same photo from the front, but only from the torso up and then sepia'd. Yep, I just verbed that word (and then again with verb). They have all the pertinent information with personal stats, a small blurb and stats from last season and his career. Can't reall ask for more.

That said, I won't be collecting the entire set of these (maybe if they had team logos) but I will eventually pick up a Cubs team set of both the base and refractors.