Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Scorecard Joins My Collection

I was able to add another Cubs Scorecard to my collection. This time the scorecard was from 1957. This scorecard features some more of the great baseball art that appeared on Cubs scorecards through the years.
The 1957 Cubs under first year manager, Bob Scheffing compiled a record of 62 wins and 92 losses. With that record, the Cubs tied for last place in the National League.

Ernie Banks was in his fourth full season as the Cubs shortstop. Ernie played in 156 games in 1957. He batted .285 with 43 home runs and 102 RBI's.

The primary starters during 1957 were:
Catcher - Cal Neeman
1st Base - Dale Long
2nd Base - Bobby Morgan
Shortstop - Ernie Banks
3rd Base - Bobby Adams
Left Field - Lee Walls
Centerfield - Bob Speake
Right Field - Walt Moryn

The starting rotation included Moe Drabowsky, Dick Drott, Bob Rush and Don Kaiser. The closer was Turk Lown.

This particular scorecard was for the game played Friday, August 2. The opponent for the day was Pittsburgh. The Pirates was the team that the Cubs would tie for last place in the National League.

The August 2 game was number 102 for the Cubs. It was a notable game for 1957 as this game was the first win in what would be the Cubs longest winning streak of the year (6). This game would also feature three future Hall of Fame members. Ernie Banks, Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski. Banks and Clemente would both go hitless during the game while Mazeroski would collect one hit. The game winning hit for the Cubs would be a three run homer by Cal Neeman. That HR allowed the Cubs to win 6 to 4.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Cat and the Bat - Ron Santo

I don't collect alot of the game used uniform or bat cards, but every 0nce in a while I find one that attracts my attention or that I can get a good deal on. This 2004 Donruss Throwback Threads bat card featuring Ron Santo hit on both acounts. I got it for the starting price of $0.99 in an EBay auction. Santo cards usually have a little more interest but in this case I was the only bidder.
The card carried a serial number of 211/250 which is always fun to have.
Finally the bat slice is guaranteed to be personally game used by Ron Santo. So in my imagination I can believe that I also have a picture of Santo holding my bat. I am now on the look out for the card that has an actual hair from the cat.

Monday, November 23, 2009

1949 Bowman #115 - Dutch Leonard

Card #115 in the 1949 Bowman set features Emil “Dutch” Leonard.
Leonard had a successful 20 year career in MLB (1933 to 1953). His final five seasons were spent as a Cub. He joined the Cubs as part of a trade with the Phillies. The Cubs traded Hank Borowy and Eddie Waitkus to the Phillies for Leonard and Monk Dubiel in December of 1948.

Leonard had been a starting pitcher for most of his career, but became a valuable relief pitcher for the Cubs. 28 of his 44 career saves came as a Cub. His record as a Cub was 26 wins, 28 Losses and a 3.60 ERA.

Overall, Leonard finished his career just 9 wins short of 200. Notable about Leonard is that he was one of the first pitchers to rely heavily on the knuckleball. While he would periodically throw a fastball or a slip pitch, his “out” pitch was the knuckleball. Leonard also played for the Dodgers, Senators and Phillies during his 20 seasons. He was selected to the All-Star team four times (1940, 1942, 1943 and 1944). Leonard was the winning pitcher in the 1943 All-Star game.

1949 Bowman #22 - Peanuts Lowrey

In the next two posts, I will be showing two of the oldest cards in my Cubs collection. Both cards are from the 1949 Bowman set. The subject of this post is #22 featuring Harry “Peanuts” Lowrey.

Harry “Peanuts” Lowrey played 726 games as a Cub between 1942 and 1949. He was signed as a free agent by the Cubs before the 1937 season. In his Cubs career, Lowrey hit for a .278 average with 22 home runs and 311 RBI’s while playing primarily as an outfielder. During his Cubs career he played in the 1945 World Series against the Tigers and appeared in the 1946 All Star game. The 1946 All Star game was a one sided affair with the American League winning 12 to 0. Ted Williams went 4 for 4 in the All Star game with 2 home runs and 5 RBI’s. Lowrey was traded to the Reds in June of 1949 along with Harry Walker for Frank Baumholtz and Hank Sauer.

Lowrey played for a total of 13 seasons with the Cubs, Reds, Cardinals and Phillies. His career was rejuvenated in the 1950’s with the Cardinals as one of the NL’s premier pinch hitters. He contributed 13 pinch hits in 1952 and increased that total to 22 in 1953.

Lowrey was born in California near Hollywood. As a child, he appeared in bit parts in several silent movies. In 1952, he had a speaking part in “The Winning Team” which starred Ronald Reagan and Doris Day.

His nickname “Peanuts” originated from his grandfather, who comments that as a baby he was “no bigger than a peanut”.

Friday, November 20, 2009

1999 Sosa Home Run Parade #20

I just received the 49th card in the 1999 Topps Sosa Home Run Parade set. This is a sub-set of the 1999 Topps Baseball set.
I recently bought HR #20 in an EBay auction. Sosa's HR #20 came in an inter-league game between the Cubs and the Twins in Minnesota. Both the Cubs and Sammy were HOT at the time. For the Cubs it was win number 10 in a row. In those 10 games Sosa had hit .405 with 11 HRs and 25 RBIs.

The 17 cards that I still need to complete this HR Parade sub-set are; 4, 9, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29, 37, 38, 42, 52, 53, 55 and 61.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

1971 Dell Todays Chicago Cubs

Sometimes the most interesting additions to my Cubs collection are the unusual items. This post describes one such item. Dell produced small booklets for the 1971 season for each MLB team. The booklets sold for $0.39 and could be ordered from Dell in sets of 6 with a binder.
Dell packed a lot of information into each booklet including a short team story, player stamps with a narrative on the back, a seperate page of individual player statistics, a page of all-time team stars and the 1971 schedule.
Many stamps from this series are included as requirements in PSA player Master sets. In the case of the Cubs - Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Billy Williams and Fergie Jenkins have the 1971 Dell stamp as part of their PSA Master Set.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Greatest Team That Didn’t Win – The 1969 Cubs

1969 is a memorable year. A man walked on the moon. The Vietnam War was consuming and dividing the nation. And the Cubs fielded arguably one of their best teams ever. Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins, Ken Holtzman, Randy Hundley, Ron Santo and Don Kessinger were led by their unforgettable manager, Leo Durocher. The Cubs finished April 1969 in first place and held that position through August. Then they lost 8 in a row, dropped out of first place and finally lost the pennant to the “Miracle Mets”.

As difficult as it is to read about the 1969 season, this is a rich part of Chicago Cubs history. I have recently added two books about the 1969 Cubs to my collection.

The first book is “The Cubs of “69” by Rick Talley. Talley is a noted former sports columnist who contributed to the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Today and the Los Angeles Daily News. This is a well written book containing stories and recollections about the 1969 Cubs.
The second book is called “Durocher’s Cubs – The Greatest Team That Didn’t Win” by David Claerbaut. Claerbaut is a lifelong Cubs fan who works as a consultant in Chicago. This book covers the 1967 through 1972 Cubs seasons with a focus on the 1969 season.
Both of these books are well written and would be enjoyed by nearly any baseball fan. Of course they are particularly interesting for a Cubs fan. Regardless of the outcome of the 1969 season, the stories about Ernie, Fergie, Billy, Ron and the others are great reading for the Cub fan.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

1951 Bowman - 2 PSA Graded Cubs Cards

I have described my Cubs collection in earlier posts. One thing that I am including in this collection is graded cards from 1980 and earlier. I will typically pick these up from Ebay when the price is right or I will send raw cards to PSA for grading.
I have recently added two cards to start my 1951 Bowman graded set. In a post in late October, I showed a raw Smokey Burgess rookie card. The two PSA graded 1951 card are #103 - Andy Pafko and #139 - Doyle Lade.

Andy Pafko should be a familiar name for most collectors of my generation. He may be best known as a member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves World Series Champions. Pafko started his career as a Cubs in 1943. He played for the Cubs from 1943 through 1951. Pafko was a five time All-Star for the Cubs and started the 1945 All Star game as the 3rd baseman. Pafko played for the Cubs, the Dodgers and the Braves during his career. He was released by the Braves after the end of the 1959 season. Pafko played a total of 1852 games while collecting 1,796 hits, 213 home runs and 976 RBI's. His career batting average was .285.

Doyle Lade is a lesser known name as he only played five seasons, all as a Cub. Lade was a pitcher for the Cubs from 1946 through 1950. He was on the pre-season 1951 roster but was cut in May of 1951 to reduce the Cubs roster to 25 players. In a total of 126 games for the Cubs, Lade had a record of 25 wins and 29 losses. His career ERA was 4.39. Lade's best season was 1947 when he won 11 and lost 10 with an ERA of 3.94.