Monday, December 22, 2008

A Cubs Snowfall - Thanks, Night Owl!

Here is a news just snowed Cubs in Michigan. Actually it seems like it has been snowing here in the Ann Arbor area since late July, but the snow fall I'm talking about came from Greg at the Night Owl Cards I had sent him some 1986 Topps to help with a set he is building. He returned the favor by sending me some recent Cubs cards. The only set that I am actively building is a 1964 PSA Graded set. I also add PSA Graded vintage Cubs to my collection. My other interest is a few boxes Cubs cards that I have collected through the years. I like to add to this collection as the opportunity presents its self.

I am sure that I am no different than many collectors. Almost any stack of baseball cards will bring back great memories of seasons past. Most of the cards that Greg sent were from the past three or four years, so the memories that surface were of the efforts that the Cubs organization to bring a pennant and World Series Title back to Wrigley Field. The team that is being built on the northside with Zambrano, Soriano, Ramirez, Lee, Theriot and Dempster will eventually get the job done.

There were at least two older cards of interest included in the package. A 1991 card featuring Dave Smith was included. Smith had his great years with the Astros (probably several great games at the expense of the Cubs). Smith was a 2 time All Star with the Astros while saving 199 games (2nd only to Billy Wagner). Smith died recently (age 53) after a battle with cancer. Smith played two seasons for the Cubs near the end of his career.

The second interesting card actually commemorates one of the dark times in the Cub's history - 1993 Topps #183 - Greg Maddux. In a move remembered sadly by most Cub fans, Maddux was granted free agency in October 1992 and signed with the Braves in December of 1992. Cubs fans just wish that the picture of Greg in a Cubs uniform on the 1993 card was true. But after 95 wins for the Cubs, Greg moved to Atlanta to continue his Hall of Fame career. Of course, Maddux did return to the Cubs in 2004....just in time to win his 300th game.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

1964 Topps #557 Leo Burke - Upgrade from PSA 7 to PSA 8

I was able to upgrade this high number card recently from a PSA 7 to a PSA 8. This not only helps my 1964 set but also my 1964 Cubs team set.

Leo Burke was a utility player who played for four different teams during seven major league seasons. He played both infield and outfield. He even caught in three games near the end of his career. Burke was signed as a free agent by the Baltimore Orioles in 1957. He was drafted by the Washington Senators in the 1960 expansion draft but was purchased by the Angels less than 30 days later. He also played for the Cardinals and Cubs later in his career.

His career stats include 165 games with 301 at bats. He collected 9 home runs and 45 RBIs with a batting average of .239.

The difference between a PSA 7 and PSA 8 can be seen in these two scans. While the centering is slightly better on the PSA 7 card, you can clearly see that the corners on the PSA 8 card are superior.