Saturday, October 9, 2010

A Book For Every Season

About three years ago, I picked up a book at a local discount store. At the time the book interested me because it was about the early Chicago Cubs. But it has initiated another collection for me. The book that I picked up about three years ago was “When Chicago Ruled Baseball” by Bernard Weisberger.

Baseball cards tell a part of the story of each season. As a supplement to the baseball cards that I collect, I am now seeking books that cover a particular season. I don’t know whether it is possible to find a book fro every season, but that is the goal of this collection. Many times the books focus on a specific team but often they will discuss the teams involved in a pennant chase and the subsequent World Series. In any case, the books provide additional insight into the players and events of a particular season. Now, three years later, my baseball seasons book collection has reached 21. I will list my current collection. If any readers have suggestions for additional books, please let me know.

1903 – “When Boston Won The World Series”, Bob Ryan

1903 – “Autumn Glory”, Louis Masur

1906 – “When Chicago Ruled Baseball”, Bernard Weisberger

1912 – “The First Fall Classic”, Mike Vaccaro

1918 – “1918 Babe Ruth and The World Champion Boston Red Sox”, Allan Wood

1921 – “1921”, Lyle Spratz

1934 – “The Gashouse Gang”, John Heidenry

1935 – “September Streak”, Doug Feldman

1948 – “Epic Season”, David Kaiser

1951 - “The Echoing Green”, Joshua Prager

1959 – “59, Summer of the Sox”, Bob Vanderberg

1960 – “1960, The Last Pure Season”, Kerry Keene

1964 – “October 1964”, David Halberstam

1965 – “Cool of the Evening”, Jim Thielman

1966 – “Black and Blue”, Tom Adelman

1967 – “Rico Petrocelli, Tales From The Impossible Dream”, Rico Petrocelli

1969 – “The Cubs of ‘69”, Rick Talley

1969 – “The Greatest Team That Didn’t Win, Durocher’s Cubs”, David Claerbaut

1975 – “1975, The Boys of October”, Doug Hornig

1984 – “84, The Last of the Great Tigers”, Eli Zaret

2008 – “Sweet Lou and the Cubs”, George Castle

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Time When I Was A Pirates Fan

There was a short time that I abandoned Aparicio and the White Sox. That was during the 1960 World Series and for very good reason. I become one of the many fans of the Pittsburgh Pirates who had won the National League pennant and were trying to best the mighty New York Yankees.

This may have been a pre-cursor to my switch to the Cubs in the early 1970’s. Certainly no one with any sense thought that the Pirates could beat the Yankees led by Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris and Whitey Ford. Anyone who believed in the 1960 Pirates would be qualified to be a die hard Cubs fan.

In the end, the 1960 World Series came down to a deciding 7th game. When Bill Mazeroski came to bat in the bottom of the ninth, the game was tied at 9. With one swing Mazeroski hit a home run to win the game and the series for the Pirates.

I know that I was listening to the broadcast on radio. October 13, 1960 was a Thursday. I was a 7th grader at Elwood Haynes Junior High School in Kokomo, Indiana. My memory of exactly where I was at 3:30 PM that day is a bit fuzzy. I may have been on the school bus coming home from school when Mazeroski hit the home run to end the game.

I have several items pertaining to this game on the walls of my office/hobby room. These items in clued a color copy of the World Series Program, the very familiar photo from behind home plate that captures Mazeroski’s swing that launched the ball to left field and two baseball cards featuring Mazeroski and the home run. These were all posted on October 19, 2009 in this blog. Go to my older posts to check these items out.

I have another photo that I did not put in the earlier post. The photo came from a friend who grew up in the Pittsburgh area. The photo features the entire 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates team. Although the photo has a few wrinkles, it makes a great addition to my collection.

I continued to follow the Pirates after 1960 but my favorite team was still the White Sox. That was at least until 1975 when I switched to the Red Sox. But again that is another story for another post.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Luis Aparicio - Rookie Season - 1956

I wish that I could say that my Luis Aparicio collection begins with his 1956 Topps #292 Rookie Card. But I have not been able to add that card to my collection as yet. I do have a 1997 reprint of the rookie card that is a certified autograph issue, which is shown below.
I did have some 1956 baseball cards when I collected back in Delphi, but I do not remember having one of Aparicio. That may be because I really did not get interested in the White Sox and Little Looie until 1958.

Aparicio's debut came on April 17, 1956. He put together a very impressive rookie season for the White Sox. He appeared in 152 games while collecting 147 hits, scoring 69 runs and putting up a .266 batting average. As a preview of what was to come, Aparicio led the league with 21 stolen bases. Aparicio won the Rookie of the Year Award easily beating out both Rocky Colavito and Tito Francona.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

My First Major League Ballgame – July 13, 1962

Thanks to , I have been able to track the date and box score of the very first major league game that I attended. I talked a little about my early baseball hero, Luis Aparicio, in an previous post. When I was fourteen, my parents took me to a White Sox game in Chicago. Luis Aparicio was playing in his last season with the White Sox. In January 1963, Aparicio and Al Smith were traded to the Baltimore Orioles for Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson, Pete Ward and Hoyt Wilhelm.

However, On July 13, 1962, my dad, my mother and myself were among 21, 191 people who saw the White Sox beat the Detroit Tigers by a score of 4 to 1. Ray Herbert pitched a complete game allowing only three hits.

Aparicio batted seventh for the White Sox, but was quiet for most of the game. In the bottom of the first, with two runners on base, Luis grounded into a force out at 2nd to end the inning. In the bottom of the third, Luis popped out to the second baseman for the 2nd out of the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, Aparicio led off the inning by flying out to the left fielder.

By the time Little Louie came to bat with two outs in the bottom of the eighth, I was getting concerned about two things. First, Aparicio had not given me anything to cheer about offensively. He had only a ground out and two flyouts so far.

The second thing that I had hoped would happen was a home run so that I could see the scoreboard fireworks show. Bill Veeck had created the famous Monster Scoreboard in 1960. Whenever a White Sox player hit a homer they would be greeted by the lighted pinwheels and fireworks display. However, other than Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio was probably the least likely position player to light up the “exploding scoreboard”. The monster scoreboard operated until the 1990 season.

With the White Sox leading, Louie could well be the last batter for the White Sox. Aparicio took care of both of my concerns with one swing. He hit a two run homer to left field. I am sure that somehow he knew that I was in attendance and hit that home run just for me so my first ball game would be one to remember for ever.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Growing Up In Delphi, Indiana

My early years were spent in Delphi, Indiana. Delphi is located in west central Indiana near Lafayette. Along with my friends, Dave Issacs, David Cunningham and Steve Hutton, a good part of the summer was spent participating in baseball related activities. We typically either played actual baseball games or used our baseball cards and our imagination to play games.

From 1957 through 1959, we all collected baseball cards, although Steve had by far the most extensive collection. Most of my baseball cards were purchased at Ollie Limp’s Hilltop Grocery Store. I recently found this picture of Ollie in Carroll County Historical Society files. Back in 1959, you could get a pack of cards for a penny.

Cards were sorted by team and our favorite players were saved for baseball games using the Ed-U-Card game. We bought the Ed-U-Card decks at the dime store downtown, probably for less than a dollar. These vintage games go for quite a bit more on EBay today. We usually double and triple decked the Ed-U-Cards so that we could play full games without reshuffling. We would keep score of the games and log player stats in a notebook.

I recall that most of us did not really like the Yankees and in particular the 1957 and 1958, Mickey Mantle cards were not considered very valuable. It sure would be nice to have a few of those Mantle cards today.
My favorite team during this time period was the White Sox and my favorite player was Luis Aparicio. I think I liked Aparicio because he played the best position on a baseball team, shortstop. He was a sparkplug for the White Sox with his speed and defense.

When we could find enough players, we would play games in the “Big Lot”. The “Big Lot” was a full sized empty lot located between my house and Cunningham’s house. We played baseball and football on this lot. At one time David Cunningham’s dad owned a Crosley which he let my brother drive in circles on the “Big Lot”. If you are not familiar with the Crosley automobile, it was a quirkly little vehicle that was the brainchild of Powell Crosley of Cincinnati, Ohio. Crosley also owned the Crosley Broadcasting Corporation and for a time the Cincinnati Reds. The Crosley could get up to 50 mpg and were built in Richmond, Indiana up till 1942. After WWII, production resumed in a factory in Marion, Indiana. The last Crosleys rolled off the assembley line in 1950. Bob Cunningham bought two Crosleys and used the parts to make one of them operational. The picture shows some Crosleys. The second body sat in our back yard as a outdoor toy. Years later, a house was built on this lot.

My family moved from Delphi to Kokomo in the summer of 1959. I continued to follow the White Sox and Aparicio until the mid-sixties when I switched to the Red Sox……..but that is a story for another time.

I will show some of the Aparicio cards that are in my current collection and talk about thefirst Major League baseball game that I attended to see my "hero" play ball in another post.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Upgrading a PSA Set Means a Good Day!!

It is a very good day when I am able to upgrade a card or cards in one of my PSA Graded Cubs sets.

Recently I was able to get a good deal on a pair of PSA 8's that I needed for my 1964 Topps Cubs set.

Moving up one grade in a set like the 1964 Topps moves to a significantly rarer version of the card. The first upgrade was #131 - Steve Boros. In the case of this card, there are over 90 graded cards that are rated higher than PSA 7. There are 71 PSA 8's and only 23 cards graded higher than PSA 8.

The second PSA 8 that I got was #486 - Bob Kennedy. There are 80 cards with a grade higher than PSA 7 for this card. Moving up to a PSA 8 means that there are only 20 cards with a higher grade.
I have posted scans of both the PSA 7 and PSA 8 versions of each card. The difference between a grade level is ofter hard to see. In the case of these two cards the PSA 8's appear to have slightlt better centering, clarity and color.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

1968 Topps #542 John Boccabella - PSA 8.5

John Boccabella was a journeyman catcher and utility player for the Cubs, the Expos and the Giants during his 12 season career. He was signed by the Cubs as an amatuer free agent in 1963. Boccabella played for six season with the Cubs. During his stay with the Cubs, he appeared in 146 games and made 403 plate appearances. His Cubs batting average was .223 with 8 home runs and 44 RBIs.

The Cubs made him available in the 1968 expansion draft and he was selected as the 56th pick by the Expos. Boccabella spent five seasons with the Expos and a final season with the Giants before his career ended after the 1974 season.

The card in my 1968 Topps PSA graded collection is a PSA 8.5 version.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

1968 Topps #516 Pete Mikkelson - PSA 7

Pete Mikkelsen had a very brief Cubs career. He was picked up off waivers from the Pirates in August 1967 and was traded to the Cardinals along with Dave Dowling for Jack Lamabe and Ron Piche on April 22, 1968. His Cubs career lasted 10 games and 11 and 2/3s innings. During his stay with the Cubs he did not record a win or a loss and compiled a 6.94 ERA.

Overall, Mikkelsen had a nine year MLB career with 5 different teams. He primarily worked out of the bullpen. His MLB record was 45 wins and 40 losses with and ERA of 3.38.

Friday, April 23, 2010

1968 Topps #475 - Joe Niekro - PSA 8

Joe Niekro is featured on card #475 of the 1968 Topps set. Joe Niekro was the brother of HOF pitcher Phil Niekro and the father of Lance Niekro who played for 4 years for the Giants. Joe Niekro was drafted by the Cubs in the 1966 amateur draft and played two plus years for the Cubs. Niekro debuted for the Cubs in April 1967 and was traded to the Padres in late April 1969 along with Frankie Libran and Gary Ross for Dick Selma.

As a Cub, Niekro played in 74 games compiling a record of 24 wins and 18 losses with and ERA of 3.83. Overall Niekro played for 22 seasons with 7 different teams. During his MLB career he won 221 games while losing 204. His career ERA was 3.59. Niekro’s final game was for the Twins in April of 1988. He died in October of 2006.

I currently have a PSA 8 version of Niekro’s 1968 Topps card.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

1968 Topps #451 Al Spangler

Al Spangler appears on card # 451 in the 1968 Topps baseball set. The version currently in my graded 1968 Cubs set is a PSA 8.

Spangler was originally signed by the Braves in 1954. His debut with the Braves occurred in September 1959. He was drafted by the Colt 45’s in the 1961 expansion draft and became one of the original members of that team.

Spangler’s Cubs career began in 1967 after he was signed as a free agent. Spangler played five seasons with the Cubs as a reserve outfielder and pinch hitter. As a Cubs Spangler appeared in 258 games compiling a .241 batting average with 7 HR’s and 55 RBI’s. One of the highlights of his Cubs career came on June 12, 1969 when he hit 2 home runs and drove in 4 runs in a game with the Atlanta Braves.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

1968 Topps #339 Rich Nye

Rich Nye was a promising left handed pitcher for the Cubs in the late 1960’s. He was drafted by the Cubs in 1966 and played for the Cubs for 4 years. He appeared in 99 games as a Cub both as a starter and a reliever. His best year for the Cubs was 1967 when he won 13 games with a 3.20 ERA. Overall as a Cub, Nye had a record of 23 wins and 29 losses with an ERA of 3.66. Injuries shortened what was a promising career. After spending 1970 with the Cardinals and Expos, he retired.

He completed studies as a veterinarian at the University of Illinois in 1976 and set up a practice in Brookfield, Illinois. His practice was directed towards exotic animals. He has retired from his practice but still serves as a consultant to veterinarians treating exotic animals.

In the 1968 Topps baseball set, Nye appeared on card #339. My PSA 8 version of this card is shown here.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

1968 Topps #279 Bill Hands - PSA 7

Card # 279 in the 1968 Topps baseball set features Bill Hands. Bill Hands played for the Cubs for 7 seasons. Hands was a solid starting pitcher for the Cubs from 1966 through 1972. His most memorable season may have been 1969 when he and Fergie Jenkins were an outstanding 1, 2 punch for the Cubs. Fergie finished with 21 wins while Hands won 20.

Overall Hands compiled a record of 92 wins and 86 losses with the Cubs. His ERA of 3.18 was also very solid. In 1972, Hands was traded to the Twins along with Joe Decker for Dave LaRoche.

Monday, April 5, 2010

1968 Topps #83 John Stephenson

John Stephenson spent parts of 10 seasons with four different teams including the Cubs. He was primarily a back-up catcher and pinch hitter. Stephenson’s busiest season occurred in 1971 for the California Angels. During that season, he played in 98 games and 308 plate appearances.

Stephenson came to the Cubs in a deal with the Mets. In June 1967 Stephenson and Rob Gardener came from the Mets for Bob Hendley. Stephenson played in 20 games for the Cubs in 1967 and 1968. He was released by the Cubs in April 1968 after playing in 2 games.

Even though Stephenson barely played for the Cubs in 1968, he was pictured on card #83 in the 1968 Topps baseball set. The copy that I have for my graded Cubs set is a PSA 8.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

1968 Ken Holtzman

Ken Holtzman had three different cards in the 1968 Topps baseball set. His base player card was #60....shown here in PSA 9 - Mint condition.

Holtzman was also pictured on one of the set checklists (card #356). The checklist had two variations. The location of the player's head within the circle created the variation. This is a card that I have not yet collected in a graded version.

The third Holtzman card was #380 which was his All-Star card. This is shown in this post as a PSA 8 - NM-MT version.

Holtzman was drafted by the Cubs in the 1965 amatuer draft. He debuted in September 1965 and was a solid pitcher for the Cubs through 1971. He twice won 17 games as a Cub. Holtzman was traded to the A's for Rick Monday in November of 1971. Holtzman returned to the Cubs in June 1978 and completed his career in 1979 in a Cubs uniform. Holtzman won 80 games as a Cub during 9 seasons.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

1968 Topps #37 - Billy Williams

I like the Cubs new owner already. Tom Ricketts has announced that the Cubs will erect a statue in honor of Billy Williams on September 7. Hopefully this will be the first of several statues to honor the Cubs players that have made this a very special franchise.

So it is fitting that the first card in my 1968 Graded Topps set is Billy Williams. 1968 was a "typical" year for Williams. He played in every game and made 699 plate appearances. Williams posted a .288 batting average with 30 home runs and 98 RBI's. During Williams 18 year career, he had a batting average of .290 with 28 home runs and 96 RBI's.

Williams 16 year career with the Cubs was a special time for Cubs fans.

Friday, April 2, 2010

1968 Topps PSA Graded Cubs Set

I still have some work to do on my PSA Graded 1975 Topps - Chicago Cubs team set, but this work will slow down considerably now. I am only missing one card now from that set (#15 Jose Cardenal). The remainder of the work will involve upgrading the many PSA 8's to PSA 9 or better.

So for my blog, I will move on to my 1968 Topps PSA Graded Cubs set. Currently, my 1968 set is ranked 10th in the PSA Set Registry. I have 11 out of the required 36 cards for this set (30.56% Complete). The cards vary from PSA 7 to PSA 9, giving the set a weighted grade of 7.672.

Friday, March 19, 2010

1975 Topps Cubs Set Upgrade

I just added a PSA 9 1975 Topps #197 - MVP's to my collection. This was just an upgrade from PSA 8 to PSA 9. This upgrade raised to overall set grade from 8.22 to 8.27. From now on the progress with this set will be slow. Other than the two cards that I am missing evrything else will be upgrades.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

1975 Mistake Cards- These Guys Are Cubs!!

The 1975 Topps baseball set has at least four error cards that I can find…..or at least they are error cards in the eyes of this Cubs fan. These four cards feature players who are obviously pictured in the wrong uniform and listed as playing for the wrong team.

Billy Williams is shown in an Oakland A’s uniform. Williams played for the Cubs for 16 seasons in 2,213 games. As a Cub, he hit 392 home runs and drove in 1,353 runs. His Cubs batting average was .296. Williams was traded to the A’s in October 1974 for many Trillo, Darold Knowles and Bob Locker. He played just two seasons for the A’s before retiring.

Ron Santo is shown as a White Sox in the 1975 Topps set. Santo played most of his career in Wrigley Field. As a Cub, he appeared in 2,126 games over 14 seasons. He hit 337 home runs during those 14 years with 1,290 RBI’s and a .279 batting average. In December of 1973, the Cubs sent Santo to the White Sox for Ken Frailing, Steve Stone and Steve Swisher. Santo retired after just one season for the White Sox. Even though he was pictured in the 1975 Topps set, he did not play during that season.

Fergie Jenkins is shown as a Texas Ranger in the 1975 Topps set. Jenkins had six of his seven 20 win seasons as a Cub. Altogether, Jenkins was a Cub for 10 seasons compiling a record of 167 wins and 132 losses with the Cubs. He pitched 2,673 inning for the Cubs with 2.038 strikeouts and ERA of 3.20. Jenkins was traded to the Rangers in October 1973 for Bill Madlock and Vic Harris. After playing for Texas and Boston, Jenkins returned as a free agent in December 1981 to the Cubs to finish his career.

Glenn Beckert played for the Cubs for 9 years in 1,247 games. Along with Don Kessinger, Beckert was a fixture in the middle infield for the Cubs for nearly a decade. Beckert collected 1,423 hits and scored 672 runs for the Cubs. In November of 1973 he was traded to the Padres for Jerry Morales. Beckert played for two seasons in San Diego before retiring.

It just seems wrong for any of these players to be pictured in a uniform other than the Cubs. However, these errors will seem minor after Andre Dawson goes into the Hall of Fame as an Expo.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

1975 Topps #638 Cubs Team - PSA 8

I have added a PSA 8 copy of the Cubs Team card to my collection. This is a somewhat difficult card to find in PSA 8 or better condition. Currently there are 74 copies grade as PSA 8 with only 12 cards graded above PSA 8.
The 1975 Cubs finished the season with a record of 75 wins and 87 losses. This record tied the Cubs with the Expos for last place in the NL East. The Pirates won the division but the NL East division winners just won the right to face the Big Red Machine for the NL Title. The Pirates lost 3 straight to the Reds and were finished for the year.

Jim Marshall was the manager of the Cubs from late season 1974 through the end of 1976. Marshall replaced Whitey Lockman after 93 games of the 1974 season. If nothing else, Marshall was consistent during his two full seasons at the helm of the Cubs. In both 1975 and 1976, the Cubs won 75 and lost 87.

With the addition of this card, I need just two more to finish the 1975 Graded set. I still need #15 Jose Cardenal and #190 – 1952 MVPs. My 1975 Cubs set is currently #4 on the list. It is 93.55% complete with an average grade of 8.226.

Friday, March 12, 2010

1975 Topps PSA Graded Cubs Set - Update on Progress

The most recent addition to my PSA Graded 1975 Cubs set has pushed my set into the #5 position on the all-time list. I have also purchased a PSA 8 version of the #638 Cubs team card. When I receive it I should move up one more step to #4.

Currently, the 1975 Topps set has an overall grade of 8.237 and the set is 90.32% complete. To move any higher than #4 will take some real work and investment. The top three 1975 Cubs sets are all 100% complete and have average grades of 9.29, 9.23 and 8.79 respectively. The price for playing goes up substantially when one moves to PSA 9 or higher.

1975 Topps #434 - Bob Locker - PSA 8.5

I recently added #434 - Bob Locker to my 1975 graded Cubs collection. I was able to purchase a PSA 8.5 version. This has been a bit of a challenge to find in a grade above PSA 8. There are only 4 PSA 8.5's and 21 graded above 8.5.

Bob Locker pitched for the Cubs during two different years - 1973 and 1975. !973 was a strong year for Locker. Probably his best in MLB. In 1973 he had 10 wins to go along with 18 saves and a2.54 ERA. Apparently when he was traded to the Cubs from the A's in 1973 for Bill North, he told the Cubs he would pitch one year in Chicago and then wanted to be traded back to the A's. The Cubs honored the request and sent him back to the A's for Horacio Pina in 1974. Unfortunately for the A's, Locker had to have surgery to remove bone chips and did not play in 1974. He was then traded back to the Cubs along with Darold Knowles and Manny Trillo for Billy Williams.

Locker was not able to repeat his strong play in 1975. In 22 games he won none and lost 1 with an ERA of 4.96. He was released by the Cubs in late June and never played in the majors again.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

1975 Topps #494 - Pete LaCock

Last week, I added a new card to my 1975 PSA Graded Topps baseball set. I purchased a PSA 8 copy of #494 - Pete LaCock through an EBay auction.

Pete LaCock had a fairly unspectactular 9 year career in MLB. He was drafted in 1970 by the Cubs and made his MLB debut in September 1972. In all he played during 5 seasons as a Cubs. As a Cubs he appeared in 263 games while compiling a batting average of .221 with 15 home runs and 73 RBI's.

In December of 1976, LaCock was part of a three team (Cubs, Mets and Royals) trade that sent him to the Royals. He was granted free agency in 1980 but never played again in the majors.

LaCock's non-baseball claim to fame is that he is the son of Peter Marshall (Hollywood Squares) and actress, Joanne Dru.

Monday, February 22, 2010

1975 Topps #436 - Ken Frailing

I recently have added a PSA 8 copy of 1975 Topps card #436 - Ken Frailing. While Frailing was only a minor part of the Cubs in 1975, this card is somewhat difficult and expensive to obtain. There are just 101 versions of this card that are graded PSA 8 or higher.

Frailing came to the Cubs along with Steve Stone and Steve Swisher in the December 1973 trade with the White Sox that sent Ron Santo to the southsiders. Frailing had a three year Cubs career with an overall record of 9 wins and 16 losses. Frailing got himself in to trouble by allowing a lot of baserunners. As a Cub, he pitched in 197 innings but gave up 231 hits and 74 walks. This translates to 13.8 hits and walks per 9 innings.

Frailing's hits plus walks ratio per 9 innings (13.8) was higher than Oscar Zamora's (12.6). See the January 6 posting that talks about the song Cubs fans made up about Zamora and his tendency to allow baserunners.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Nu-Card Scopps #410 - Don Cardwell's 1960 No-Hitter

A couple of weeks ago (2/6/10) Wrigley Wax ( which is another blog that talks about Cubs baseball cards, had a several part post that focused on the 1960 Topps Cubs cards. Don Cardwell was card #384 in the 1960 Topps set. He was featured as a Phillie on that card, but was traded to the Cubs on May 13, 1960. Two days later, he pitched a no-hitter in his first game as a Cub.

The Wrigley Wax post made me think of a card that I recently purchased. The card that I thought of was from the 1961 Nu-Card Baseball Scoops set. This 80 card set features a mock newspaper on the front and commemorates great moments in various player's careers.

Card #410 of this set features Cardwell's 1960 no-hitter. If you are counting, only two other cards in this set feature the Chicago Cubs. #417 highlights Fred Merkle's 1908 Boner and #420 features Ernie Banks hitting 47 home runs and winning the MVP in 1958. Of course, Merkle was actually a Giant but made his famous base running "boner" against the Cubs.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

1975 Topps #566 - Ray Burris

I have been able to add a PSA 9 version of 1975 Topps #566 - Ray Burris to my collection. The 1975 Topps set is new enough that a PSA 9 is not uncommon. In the case of this card there are 52 PSA 9's with a total of 4 cards that have been graded higher than PSA 9.

Ray Burris played 7 seasons with the Cubs and was the ace of the staff for a couple of years. He completed his career with the Cubs with a record of 55 wins and 58 losses. In 1975 he compiled a 15 and 10 record and followed that in 1976 with a record of 15 wins and 13 losses. As a Cubs, Burris appeared in 237 games with an overall ERA of 4.27.

Burris was traded to the Yankees in May 1979 for Dick Tidrow. He played for a total of seven teams over his 16 season career.

Break is Over!!! Sandberg/Williams Swatch Card

OK, break is over!!! I have taken about two weeks off now with no good reason except that I just did not seem to get around to updating the blog.

So let me start with a card that is just fun to have. It is not numbered or really unique......but for me there are two of my favorite Cubs on this card. The card is from the 2009 Sweet Spot set. It is a dual swatch card featuring Ryne Sandberg and Billy Williams. The Williams swatch does have a pinstripe included, but beyond that these are readily availble on Ebay at a reasonable price.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

1980 Cubs Scorecard - Cubs vs Braves - A Battle of 5th Place Teams

Here is a scorecard from the Cubs 1980 season. This scorecard is for the game played on Friday the 13th (June 13). The opponent for the day was Atlanta. Neither team was setting the world on fire. Atlanta had a record of 23 wins and 31 losses while the Cubs stood at 23 wins and 30 losses. Both teams were in 5th place in their division.

Bobby Cox was in his third year as the manager of the Braves. The Braves would ultimately end up with a winning record for the year at 81 wins and 80 losses. Preston Gomez would not fare as well with the Cubs. He managed the Cubs to a 38 and 52 record. He was replaced by Joey Amalfitano on July 29th. Amalfitano finished the season with 26 wins and 46 losses. Apparently, the Cubs needed more than a managerial change.

This particular game featured pitchers Doyle Alexander (Braves) versus Lynn McGlothen (Cubs). The Cubs raised the fans hopes in the 1st by scoring 4 runs. However, McGlothen gave up 7 runs over 6 1/3 innings and the Cubs lost 7 to 6. Dale Murphy was the hitting star with a single, a double, a home run and 2 RBI’s. For the Cubs Lenny Randle went 3 for 3 with a stolen base and Jerry Martin hit a three run homer.

The one good thing was that a day at Wrigley was reasonably inexpensive. A General Admission ticket along with a hotdog, fries and a large coke cost $5.35

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Upgrade - 1975 Topps #39 Andy Thornton - From PSA 8 to PSA 9

I have been able to upgrade one card in my 1975 Topps PSA Graded Cubs set. Recently, I purchased a PSA 9 copy of card #39 - Andy Thornton. This card replaces the PSA 8 version that I had. The PSA 8 version of this card was posted on December 2, 2009.

This also is a good time to undate the current status of the 1975 Topps Cubs - PSA Registry set. My set is currently #7 on the current finest list at the PSA Registry. My set is 77.42% complete with a weighted grade of 8.22.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

1975 Topps #196 1958 MVP's - Ernie Banks and Jackie Jensen

This card is another in the MVP sub-set that was part of the 1975 Topps Baseball set. The 1958 National League MVP in 1958 was Ernie Banks. This was the first of twp MVP Awards that Ernie would receive. The second came in 1959 and the card was shown in a previous post.

Monday, February 1, 2010

1975 Topps #617 Rookie Infielders - Manny Trillo

This card is one of the 11 card sub-set of Rookies in the 1975 Topps baseball set. The Cub featured on card #617 is Manny Trillo. Trillo had minimal MLB experience with the A's in 1973 and 1974 (38 games with 45 AB). In October 1974, Trillo along with Bob Locker and Darold Knowles were traded to the Cubs for Billy Williams.

In all, Trillo played 7 seasons as a Cubs during two different stints (1975 -1978 and 1986 - 1988). As a Cub, Trillo played in 881 games. During his Cubs career he scored 265 runs and drove in 300 runs. His Cubs batting average was .261. As a Cub, he was an All-Star in 1977.

Manny Trillo was also a member of the 1980 World Champion Phillies.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

1975 Topps #519 - Jim Todd

Jim Todd was drafted by the Cubs in the 1969 amatuer draft. He worked his way up in the Cubs minor league system and finally got a chance in the majors in April 1974. He pitched in 43 games for the Cubs in 1974 posting 4 wins and 2 losses with an ERA of 3.89. He was traded to the Oakland A's in April of 1975 for Champ Summers.

After two years with the A's, Todd returned to the Cubs in a pre-season 1977 trade for Joe Coleman. Todd had a miserable early season with the Cubs. In 30 2/3 innings he allowed 66 baserunners. He was sent to the minors in July and then to the mariners after the season ended.

Todd performed slightly better with the Mariners but still allowed too many baserunners. He was released by the Mariners after the 1978 seasons and played his final year (1979) with the A's.

Friday, January 29, 2010

1975 Topps #315 - Don Kessinger

Don Kessinger was a familiar face in a Cubs uniform for 12 seasons (1964 to 1975). Although he was not known for his offensive abilities, Kessinger was a solid defensive shortstop. He was named to the All-Star team six times (1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1974). In at least in one list of all-time Cubs, Kessinger ranks #43.

During the 12 years as a Cubs Kessinger played in 1,648 games and collected 1,619 hits. He had a Cubs career batting average of .255 and scored 769 runs.

1975 would be his last year with the Cubs. After the season he was traded to the Cardinals for Mike Garman. Mike Garman would play 47 games with the Cubs in 1976 and then be a part of the trade that sent Rick Monday to the Dodgers for Bill Buckner and Ivan DeJesus.

Kessinger would play 1976 with the Cardinals and then be traded in August 1977 to the White Sox. Kessinger’s career ended in 1979 after a short stint as the White Sox playing manager.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

1975 Topps #129 - Rick Monday

Rick Monday was the first player ever taken in the amateur draft in 1965. This distinction led to very lofty expectations for Monday. However, Rick Monday had a solid 19 year career but never became the superstar that many thought he would.

Monday led Arizona State to the 1965 College World Series championship on a team that included freshman Reggie Jackson. Monday was the 1965 College Player of the Year before becoming the #1 draft pick by the Kansas City Athletics.

On November 29, 1971, Monday was traded to the Cubs for Ken Holtzman. Monday was a solid outfielder during his 5 year stay with the Cubs. In 702 games, he hit 106 home runs with 293 RBI’s. During this period his batting average was .270. Monday may be best known for his action during the April 25, 1976 game in Dodger Stadium. Two protesters run on to the field during the game with an American flag. As they tried to set the flag on fire, Monday raced over a grabbed the flag. After Monday handed the flag to Dodger pitcher Doug Rau, the police arrested the protesters. Monday received a standing ovation from the crowd when he came to bat in the next inning.

On January 11, 1977, Monday was traded by the Cubs to the Dodgers for Ivan DeJesus and Bill Buckner. As a Dodger, Monday was part of the 1981 World Series champions.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1975 Topps #197 - 1959 MVPs - Ernie Banks and Nellie Fox

The 1975 Topps set marked the 25th anniversary of Topps baseball cards. Topps included a subset picturing 25 years of MVPs. Each card from #189 through #212 pictured the MVPs of each year from 1951 to 1974. Most of the cards pictured were actual cards produced. However a few of the pictured cards were manufacured specifically for this subset since the player did not have a Topps card during the actual year.
Cubs player appear in this subset three times. Hank Sauer was the NL MVP for 1952 and apears on card #190. Ernie Banks apears on cards numbered #196 as the 1958 MVP and #197 as the 1959 MVP. The card shown in this posting is #197 featuring Ernie Banks along with Nellie Fox of the White Sox. It was a good year for Chicago baseball as both MVPs were from Chicago teams. The first three in AL MVP voting were White Sox. Luis Aparicio finished second and Early Wynn came in third.

Monday, January 25, 2010

1970 Milton Bradley Cubs Team Set

Today as a break in presenting the 1975 Topps PSA Graded Cubs, I will present a complete Cubs team set. This team set is very small and in some collector's eyes may not qualify as a team set. This set comes from the 1970 Milton Bradley Baseball board game. The 1970 Milton Bradley Baseball board game had only 28 different players. Many teams had only one player represented. While other teams did not have any players represented. The Cubs had two players - Ernie Banks and Ron Santo (There could have been three Cubs when you consider that Billy Williams was also playing at the time. This game is sometimes on EBay as a complete game but if in reasonably good condition, will go for a fairly high price ($75 to $200). The picture that I have added shows a complete game that was auctioned on EBay. If you are only looking for a single player like I was, you then have to hope that the particular player is in gradable condition. Otherwise, you must wait until someone puts up a single card of your player.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

1975 Topps #282 Jerry Morales

Jerry Morales came to the Cubs in 1973 from the Padres in exchange for Glenn Beckert and a minor leaguer (Bob Fenwick). The Cubs were making trades to fill roster spots with youth and speed. The Cubs also traded Fergie Jenkins after the 1973 season. The Cubs also decreased their payroll significantly by moving Jenkins and Beckert. Many thought that Billy Williams would also either be traded or moved to 1st base.

Morales played a total of seven seasons as a Cubs in two diferent stints. The first stint was from 1974 through 1977. The second stint came at the end of his career (1981 through 1983). As a Cub, Morales hit .275 with 59 home runs and 375 RBI's. He was known as a strong outfileder with speed and a good glove. He was selected as an All-Star in 1977. After his playing career ended, Morales became a minor league hitting and outfield coach for the Cubs. He served in that position until 1986.

Morales also played for the Padres, Cardinals, Mets and Tigers during his career.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

1975 Topps #104 Bill Madlock

Bill Madlock was intimately involved with the departure of two Cubs greats. Madlock came to the Cubs in a trade with the Rangers. Madlock and Vic Harris came to the Cubs for Fergie Jenkins. The arrival of Madlock allowed the Cubs to trade Ron Santo to the White Sox.

While Madlock only played for the Cubs from 1974 through 1976, he complied outstanding numbers. In 400 games as a Cubs, Madlock batted .336 with 31 home runs and 202 RBI's. He was the National League Batting Leader in both 1975 and 1976. He finsihed third in the 1974 Rookie of the Year balloting and was an All Star in 1975. After the 1976 season, Madlock was traded to the Giants for Bobby Murcer.

Madlock who had the nickname "Mad Dog" for his fiery temper, completed a 15 season career with six different teams. His overall statistics showed a .305 batting average with 2008 hits, 163 home runs and 860 RBI's.

Friday, January 22, 2010

1975 Topps #63 Steve Swisher

Steve Swisher came to the Cubs in the December 1973 trade that sent Ron Santo to the White Sox for Swisher, Ken Frailing and Steve Stone. Swisher started 362 games for the Cubs at catcher during a four year period (1974-1977). Swisher was not a strong offensive factor as he batted .217 with 16 home runs and 106 RBI’s as a Cub.

In 1977, Swisher was traded to the Cardinals along with Jerry Morales for Hector Cruz and Dave Rader. It was the Cub’s intent to strengthen the catcher position with this trade. Rader played only 116 games as a Cubs and exhibited less fire power than Swisher.

Swisher is the father of current Yankee, Nick Swisher.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Dave Kingman Autograph And Graded Cubs Cards

I have added a new item to my collection of Cubs autograph and game-used cards. This card is from the 2005 Upper Deck Origins set and features a Dave Kingman autograph.

When the Cubs signed Dave Kingman as a Free Agent in November 1977, fans were excited by the possibility of the 6’6” Kingman taking aim at the ivy covered walls with the wind blowing out. I remember thinking that he could hit 75 HRs if the wind could just blow out every day. Kingman did not disappoint as he averaged 31 HRs and 84 RBIs during his three year stay in Chicago. Kingman had the best year of his 16 year career in 1979.

During the 1979 season, Kingman hit 48 HRs and 115 RBIs. His 48 home runs were good enough to lead the major leagues. After three years with the Cubs, Kingman was traded to the Mets for Steve Henderson and cash.

Although Kingman only played for the Cubs during three seasons, he has four different Topps cards in a Cubs uniform (1978 to 1981). I currently have two of these cards in my graded Cubs collection. Both cards are graded PSA 9 – Mint.

One of Kingman's career days at the plate occurred in Los Angeles on May 14, 1978. He hit three home runs against the Dodgers, including a three run shot in the top of the 15th inning that gave the Cubs a 10-7 victory. Eight of the Cubs' ten runs were driven in by Kingman.

Although Kingman hit over 400 home runs during his career, he was never a seriously considered candidate for the Hall of Fame. He became the first MLB player to hit over 400 home runs and NOT be voted into the HOF.

Friday, January 8, 2010

More Sosa HR Parade Cards

After my last post about the 1999 Topps Sosa Home Run Parade set, I went to Beckett and found a number of reasonably priced cards that I needed to complete my Sosa set. I am not completely done but I have made a big dent in this 66 card set. In the last 2 days I have recieved cards #9, #14, #22, #23, #37, #38 and #55. In addition, I should recieve #18, #29 and #52 shortly.

When every thing has been recieved, I will need only 5 more cards to finish this set. The ones that I still need to find are #16, #19, #26, #42 and #61. I believe that #61 will be both the most difficult and most expense to finish my set.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

1975 Topps #658 - Vic Harris

The last card that I currently have in my 1975 Topps graded Cubs collection is #658 featuring Vic Harris. Harris played for the Cubs in 1974 and 1975 during an 8 years career with five different teams.

He came to the Cubs after the 1973 season. Harris along with Bill Madlock were traded to the Cubs from the Rangers for Fergie Jenkins. Harris started the 1974 season as the Cubs 2nd baseman but was sent to the minors after hitting .195 in 62 games. In 1975, Harris was on the Cubs bench as a pinch hitter and utility player. During his Cubs career, Harris batted .191 in 113 games with no home runs and only 16 RBIs. After the 1975 season, he was traded to the Cardinals for Mick Kelleher.