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.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

1975 Topps #604 - Oscar Zamora

Oscar Zamora is featured on card # 604 of the 1975 Topps set. Zamora played 15 seasons in professional baseball. However, parts of 14 seasons were spent in the minors. Zamora played parts of three seasons in the majors. Only one season was spent entirely in the majors (1975). As a Cub, Zamora was a reliever. He pitched in 148 games for the Cubs winning 13 and losing 14. His ERA as a Cub was 4.34 with 23 saves. Zamora became expendable in 1976, when Bruce Sutter arrived on the scene. He was granted Free Agency in November 1977 and signed with Houston. He played in 10 games for Houston before his MLB career ended.

During his years with the Cubs, Zamora gave up an average of more than one hit per inning (236 hits in 209 2/3 innings). Cubs fans made up a song to the tune of “That’s Amore”.

“When the pitch is so fat,”
“That the ball meets the bat,”
“That’s Zamora.”

Monday, January 4, 2010

Two More 1999 Topps - Sosa Home Runs Added

Although I took some time off during the holiday week, I was able to add two more home runs from the 1999 Topps subset. There are 66 variations of card number 461 in the 1999 Topps set. Each variation commemorates one of Sosa's 66 Home Runs during the 1998 season. I now have 51 of the variations, leaving only 15 more to complete the subset.

The challenge to this subset is not finding the variations because they are reasonably easy to locate on EBay, Sportslot or Beckett. The challenge is finding the home runs that one needs for a reasonable price. It would seem that most of the numbers can be purchased for $3.00 or $5.00 including shipping. At this price it would cost about $300 to $350 to complete a set. But I have seen these cards listed for $6.00 to $10.00 (and higher).

The cards that I have just added are home runs #4 and #53. Sosa hit home run #4 on April 23, 1998 off of Dan Miceli of the Padres. This was before Sosa's big June home run explosion. After this home run, he was on track to hit a season total of 37 HRs.

Home run number 53 came on August 28, 1998 against the Rockies. The pitcher was John Thomson. This home run tightened the race between McGwire and Sosa to just a single HR.
The 15 cards that I still need to complete this HR Parade sub-set are; 9, 14, 16, 18, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29, 37, 38, 42, 52, 55 and 61.