Thursday, October 22, 2009

1951 Bowman - Smokey Burgess

This post is linked to the previous post about the 1960 World Series. The Pirates catcher in 1960 was Forrest "Smokey" Burgess. As a kid collecting baseball cards I remember him as the catcher for the Reds. I clearly remember having his 1957 Topps baseball card like the one below.However until I started collecting Cubs team sets I did not realize that Burgess' rookie card was in 1951 and he was a Cub. The card pictured here is #317 in the 1951 Bowman set.Smokey played a total of 140 games as a Cubs in 1949 and 1951 before being traded to the Reds in October 1951. The Cubs got Johnny Pramesa and Bob Usher for Burgess and Bob Borkowski. Burgess was traded to the Phillies about two months later in a 7 player trade. Burgess returned to the Reds 1955.

Monday, October 19, 2009

October 13, 1960

Game 7 of the 1960 World Series gets my vote as the greatest World Series game of all time. The Pirates beat the Yankees with a score of 10 to 9. Bill Mazeroski hit the walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th inning that won the 1960 World Series.
I was a 7th grader at the time in north central Indiana. My two favorite MLB teams were the White Sox and whoever was playing the Yankees. So I was hoping like many that the over-matched Pirates could some how pull off a miracle……..and they did.

Was this the greatest game ever? Well, that will never be settled for sure. There are just too many great moments and game in World Series history to be able to pick just one. Of the games that I have personally watched or listened to, several could fall into the category of greatest.

For example, Game 6 of the 1975 World Series certainly is memorable. The battle between the Red Sox and the Reds was finally decided by that dramatic HR by Carlton Fisk.

Then, of course, there was Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. Kirby Puckett won that game with an 11th inning HR. The Twins beat the Braves 1-0 in game 6. This is often included because then in Game 7, Jack Morris threw a 10 inning shut-out to complete the Twins magical ride.

In 1956, Don Larsen tossed his perfect game. The 1962 Yankee win over the Giants (1-0) must be included as well as the 1924 extra inning Senator win over the Giants.

The purpose of this posting is not to generate any additional discussion of great World Series games but rather to present a book that I am currently reading. The Book is The Best Game Ever by Jim Reisler. This book focuses on the October 13, 1960 World Series game between the Pirates and the Yankees. The author proceeds inning by inning through this game presenting a play by play account along with historical perspectives on many of the player that were involved.

If you enjoy reading about the rich history of baseball, this book should be a part of your library. I found the book on the Barnes and Noble site as a used book for a very reasonable price. Throughout this posting, I have included scans on some of the memorabilia that I have collected specific to this game. I hope that you enjoy the scans and the book if you choose to read it.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

1999 Topps - Sosa HR Parade

In 1998, nearly every baseball fan got caught up in the home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Even though, this period in baseball has been tainted by alleged use of steriods and other performance enhancing drugs, it was a time when nearly everyone knew the status of the HR race.

In 1999, Topps included multiple variations of card #220 and #461. Card #220 featured 70 variations for each of McGwire's HR's and card #461 featured 66 variations of Sosa's 66 HR's. The front of the cards were the same except for the HR number. The back featured a description of each HR including date, location, pitcher and other interesting information.

To collect each different variation is a labor of love, but something that I am committed to completing for Sammy Sosa. Currently, I have 47 of the 66 different variations. Almost all variations are readily available but I don't want to pay $6.00 to $10.00 each. So I will continue to pick up individual cards from EBay, Beckett or Sprotslots as they become available at a reasonable price.

Home Run #66 is interesting to me. Sammy hit his 66th HR off of Jose Lima from Houston. In 2001, the Cubs and Sosa came to Detroit for three inter-league games. I was able to get tickets about four rows from the field along right field. Sammy was always a great ambassador for baseball. In Detroit as every where he went, he interacted with the fans. After he warmed up before each inning, he threw his warm-up ball into the stands. He was happy and just appeared to love to play the game of baseball. In this game, he hit 2 HR's off of Jose Lima, now a pitcher for the Tigers. Lima may have fooled most of the Cubs that day, but certainly not Sosa. Unfortunately for me the Cubs lost that game 9 to 6. Kerry Wood pitched but did not have a stellar game giving up 9 hits and 6 runs in six innings pitched. Sosa has 2 HR's, 4 RBI's and 2 walks.

The cards that I still need to complete this HR Parade sub-set are; 4, 9, 14, 16, 18, 19, 20, 22, 23, 26, 29, 37, 38, 42, 43, 52, 53, 55 and 61.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cubs Scorecard Collection

Not long ago, I received another Chicago Cubs scorecard to add to my collection. The newest member of my scorecard collection is from 1948. It is a bit wrinkled and worn, but will fit my needs just fine.
I have been picking up scorecards as the opportunity presents itself for the past year or so. The goal is to collect a Cubs scorecard from every year beginning in 1948 (my birth year) to present. Once these scorecards are framed, I am using them to make a border around my "Baseball" room. I have not done any investigation of the scorecards from other teams, but I can report that the Cubs scorecards up to 1981 have some very neat artwork on the front. The art changed each year (although some is repeated later). As you can see, it makes an interesting and unusual border. To date, I have collected about half of the scorecards that I am looking for. I am still looking for 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954 1955 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1963, 1965, 1969, 1975, 1980, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008.

If you have an interest in Cubs scorecards there in a great site that has scans of scorecards back to the 1890's. plus other interesting Chicago Cubs information and scans. Check it out if you have the time.