Wait til Next Year . . . is making a come back.

I am going to mix a bit of the philosophy of my life into this blog as I continue to highlight some of my baseball card collection. (hoping the card collectors of this world welcome me back)

Its been a tough 18 months for me . . . the Chicago Cubs have had it rough as well.

This site will be devoted to all those who need to define what "wait til next year" means.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Duplicate Initials: C.C.

Players with the initials "C.C." are not as prevalent as the previous B.B. but there are plenty of players that come to mind. First many of you might think of C.C. Sabathia but sorry I meant first and last initials.

There is Cecil Cooper, Carl Crawford and Coco Crisp. Lesser knowns, Clay Carroll, Chris Carpenter, Chien-Ming Chang, Carmelo Castillo and Casey Cox. I could have also been a homer and just used a Chicago Cubs team photo or even non-players with cards like Charles A Comisky or former President Calvin Coolidge.

No, instead I went with a "star" from the early seventies, billed a "the next Willie Mays" by Leo Durocher in 1972 (then the manage of the Houston Astros). A supreme talent who burst onto the big league circuit at the age of 19; a rocket of an arm, blazing speed, a solid glove and a bit of pop in his bat. Five time Gold Glove winner, four time all-star and had 20 HR's and 50 stolen bases three consecutive years (1972, 73, 74).

While he never lived up to that super-stardom label (nobody else has managed to do that either), Cesar Cedeno was a very good player; career numbers of 199 HR's, .285 BA and 550 SB. Mostly known for hs days in an Astros uniform (1970-81) but also played for the Cincinnati Reds (1982-85), St Louis Cardinals (1985) and finished his career with the Los Angeles Dodger (1986). Historian Bill James ranks Cedeno as the 21st best center-fielder of all time.

I found a quote from The Baseball Page written by Dan Holmes and Kirk Robinson that best summarizes Cedeno: " A talented player in the mold of Willie Mays, Cesar Cedeno never reached superstar status for many reasons, some beyond his control. The Dominican-born Cedeno was involved in a scandalous off-the-field episode that resulted in the death of his girlfriend; played much of his career for a team that rarely made headlines above the Oklahoma border; suffered from playing in the Astrodome, a stadium that cost him power numbers that may have gave him notoriety; and finally, injuries and attitude problems cost him playing time. Despite all of that, Cedeno had a very good career, winning five Gold Gloves and finishing among league leaders in steals, batting average, and doubles on many occasions. "

There you go . . . my entry for Duplicate Initials: C.C. . . . Cesar Cedeno . . .

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Born in 1960: Joe Carter

As my first real post for my "irregular special feature" called, Born in 1960, I wanted to highlight a Chicago Cub so here goes . . .

Joe Carter . . . ok, I know he really was not a Cub for very long; albeit only 23 games but nonetheless a Rated Rookie as a Cubbie ! Carter was the Sporting News College Player of the Year in 1981 and the Cubs made him the second pick overall in the amateur draft that year. Speed and power were his trademarks and he produced admirably in the minors winning the AAA Rookie of the Year award in 1983.

By June of 1984 he was sent to the Cleveland Indians (for Rick Sutcliff as part of a six player swap) in a deal that would catapult the Cubs to their division win. Sutcliff went on to go 16 - 1 and win the Cy Young award.

Carter on the other hand was belting HR's and striking out at a torrid pace. He ended his career with 396 career homeruns and 1387 strikeouts. Interesting enough, he had zero, none, nadda, zip, nil and no homeruns as a Cub but he did have 21 strikeouts. In the next fifteen years, Carter would go on to play in five all-star games, win two silver slugger awards and land in the top 20 for MVP voting eight times.

His career highlight will always be that game 6, ninth inning walk-off HR in the 1993 World Series in the dome of Toronto.

. . . a Chicago Cub . . . a World Series Trophy . . . and Born in 1960 . . .

Born in 1960

In this first post of a new "irregular special feature" I will be highlighting players who were born in 1960. Why 1960 ? Well, that is the year I was born and that is as good a reason as I could came up with.

So for starters I will acknowledge the career leaders in some statistics:
Homeruns: Cal Ripken Jr - 431
RBI's: Cal Ripken Jr - 1695
Batting Average: Tony Gwynn - .338 (more than 100 games played)
Stolen Bases: Steve Sax - 444
Triples: Juan Samuel - 102

Wins: Mark Langston - 179
Saves: John Franco - 424
Strikeouts: Mark Langston - 2474

Other notable players that were born in 1960 are:

Sid Bream
Ron Darling
Kirby Puckett
Fernando Valenzuela
Andy Van Slyke
Harold Reynolds
Kent Hrbek
Chili Davis
Tom Brunansky and many many others

In the weeks and months ahead I will scan some cards and share some insight about those players that were born in 1960. Hope you enjoy . . .

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Ron Santo

Today; February 25, is Ron Santo's Birthday. Celebrating his 69th year (yes he was born in 1940), Santo has been a fixture in courageous Chicago sports lore since his rookie season in 1960. Santo has inspired hundreds if not ten of thousands of people with his athletic abilities, enthusiasm and work ethic while dealing with Diabetes since the age of 18.

Career numbers aside (though they ARE good enough) Santo should be elected to the Hall of Fame, soon, as only the 11th 3rd baseman,. Maybe the Veterans Committee will see it that way (at least the MLB Network has, in their most recent prime 9 special of the nine players who should be in the hall -Santo was tops on the list !).
Santo played 15 years all in Chicago, albeit his final year the southside; hitting 342 homeruns, 2254 hits, 1331 RBI's and a career BA of .277 in 2243 games ! In eleven straight seasons he played in 154 games or more !

But the numbers tell only one part of the Santo story and today we all should raise a glass and celebrate his birthday - Happy Birthday Ron . . . forever a Chicago Cub, forever a hero !

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

in a class (post) by himself

I know I could have made one looooooong post about the cards I received from Ryan at Ryans Memorabilia Blog but Ryne Sandberg deserves to be in a class (post) by himself.

The first card is his 2008 Upper Deck Masterpieces (my newest favorite set); a great Sandberg card, with his stats from 1990 on the back: showcasing his career high and league leading 40 HR to go along with 30 doubles, 100 RBI's, a .306 BA and leading the league in runs scored with 116 and total bases with 344.
Other Sandbergs in this package were: a grimace ( 1996 fleer checklist # U249), an MVP card (1991 Leaf #404) and a triple action photo of him turning a double play (1994 Topps # 300).

Thanks again Ryan . . . as Ryne Sandberg is always in a class by himself and deserves a post all to himself.

Cards from Ryan

I received a great assortment of Cubs cards from a new blogger named Ryan (check out his blog: ryans memorabilia blog.wordpress). He being an Orioles fan should see his package of "vintage" O's arrive shortly.

Included in this group is my first jersey card: Fred McGriff - Stars of 89 from the 2002 Upper Deck.

While I have heard about these cards (and the even newer"pants" cards) this is indeed my first official jersey in my collection. It is somewhat interesting to me to note what other bloggers have also noticed; that being that McGriff is shown as a Cub, the Cubs logo is on the back but the "Congratulations!" clearly states this: "authentic piece of jersey worn by Fred McGriff in an official Blue Jays MLB game". That's right a Blue Jay jersey is what I have.
Nonetheless, I like having my first jersey card - I will just have to keep it front side up and ignore the back.

Also included in this package was another first for me; a 1997 Pinnacle Mint Bronze card of Sammy Sosa 17 / 30. I do like this card, the contract between the color photo and black and white (or in this case bronze and white) really has a nice look. The look on Sosa's face reminds me of his courtroom look.

Ryan also sent me a few of my "new" favorite cards; 2008 UD Masterpieces. I am now on a mission to collect the entire Cubs set of these cards. I like the large picture, the heavy cardstock and the gold thin line border.

Thanks Ryan for sending me two firsts and two favorites. More of what Ryan sent will be featured in a future post.

Monday, February 23, 2009

a little bit o' "Rico"

Americo Peter "Rico" Petrocelli spent his entire 13 year career with the Boston Red Sox from 1963 until 1976. A defensive specialist at shortstop and third base (led the league twice in FP), Petrocelli also had a pop in his bat.

Playing in only 103 games in 1965, Topps elected Petrocelli to its 1966 Topps All-Star Rookie team. Not to disappoint, in 1966, Petrocelli did hit 18 round trippers, had 20 doubles with a low yet respectable (for the era) batting average of .238.

His glove work was his main skill yet in 1969 Petrocelli found that offensive punch as well. He had career highs in HR ad BA; hitting 40 (a record at the time for AL shortstops) and batted .297. He was also elected to his second all-star team (first was in 1967). While injuries would cause Petrocelli to retire after the 1976 campaign, he did have a solid career for thirteen years; hitting 210 HR's, 773 RBI's, a .251 BA and a .970 FP.
I like this 1970 card for a few reasons (aside from the fact that I am 92 % complete of the set). Take a look at Petrocelli's face - did he just wake up or something ?

More interesting (at least to me) is the back. I like the fact that Topps put his "real" first name on the card - Americo; and in looking at his stats and HR column, his major league total for home runs is exactly 100 at seasons end. Something I classify as a "clemente-ism"; a unique statistic occurring on ones card. The little factoid in the upper right says "Rico plays the drums to keep his wrists strong". I can see it now being patented as a rather interesting musical training device of the 60's or in todays world being banned as a PED.

So, I hope you enjoyed your "little bit o' Rico" for the day. Every day should have a bit o' rico.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Duplicate Initials: B.B.

The second letter of the alphabet and my second entry of my "irregular special feature" called Duplicate Initials must highlight the letter B, or in this case B.B. as the players initials.

Many of you might have already thought of "stars" Bobby Bonds or Barry Bonds or Bert Blyleven. There is also Bob Boone, Bob Brenly, Bob Bailey and Bobby Bonilla. There's Bill Bene and Billy Beane and so many others from various decades. "B.B." is not uncommon . . .

My choice is a player who "starred" for the Cubs yet came to into the League as a Dodger and came to "fame" as a Red Sox (or should I say Red Sock). None other than Bill Buckner !

I like this 1970 card, since I am 92 % of the way to complete the 1970 set, but more importantly for this blog post, Buckners card represents a double Duplicate Initial with Jack Jenkins appearing with him.
So there you go . . . my second in my simple series of Duplicate Initials. Next entry will be C.C. . . .who is your favorite C.C. . . . who will I "feature" ?

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Twice a Rookie Star then a ROY

Yes that is exactly what happened to Stan Bahnsen. In this 1967 card Bahnsen is featured as a "Rookie Star" along side Bobby Murcer (who deserves his own post another day) though Bahnsen played in only four games going 1 - 1 in 1966.
Somehow that was a "jinx" since Bahnsen saw no action in the major leagues in '67 so the genius' at Topps decided to give him one more chance and allowed him to appear as a "Rookie Star" on his 1968 card as well. That seemed to be the kick start Bahnsen needed as his 1968 campaign earned him that gold trophy as a Topps All-Star Rookie and more importantly AL Rookie of the Year honors in 1968. He went 17-12 in '68, throwing 10 complete games, had a career high of 162 strikeouts and the second most innings pitched of his career with 267 1/3.
(a card I do not own but it is on my "will find soon" list; thanks to google images for this pic)

Bahnsen was eventually traded from the Yankees to the White Sox in 1971, where he and Wilbur Wood shared the majority of the mound work for three years on the southside of Chicago. Bahnsen did win 21 and 18 games in 1972 and '73 respectively and ended his career as a Philadelphia Phillie in 1982 with a 146-149 record.
Topps was persistent with Bahnsen giving him "Rookie Star" status for two years in a row before he got the message and lived up to that "fame". Somehow I still think it was more of a "curse" than a blessing but Topps eventually got it right, at least one year.

Cubs Baseball Schedule; Pocket size

The 2009 Cubs Baseball Schedule is out and I just received a copy.

This years schedule highlights a celebration photo with McGehee(27), Harden(40) and Dempster(46) the last to arrive in the group. I wonder why this picture was chosen ? Harden and Dempster hopefully will achieve success again in 2009 but McGehee you ask ? McGehee appeared in only 9 games, had 4 hits in 2008 (all after the division was clinched) and wont even be in a Cubs uniform in 2009. He will however be visible forever on many desks, walls and back pockets all year long.

April 6th in Houston can not come soon enough . . . April 13th at Wrigley makes me want to cheer even louder . . . I just might keep it open and not pay much attention to the front.
A "celebration" is better than nothing . . . as in the 1971 version . . .
. . . I never did actually collect these pocket schedules though I do have this one from 1971 that had been saved, for some odd reason.

Friday, February 20, 2009

I give a "Hoot"

. . . Burt Hooton that is.

A Rookie Star in 1972 (correctly predicted by Topps) actually made his major league debut in 1971 appearing in just 3 games, going 2 - 0 and striking out 22 in 21 1/3 innings. He started 1972 like a "rookie star" should, pitching a no-hitter in his first start of the year on April 16, 1972 against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field. While that would be his Cubs highlight, Hooton went on to a 34-44 record and an ERA that rose every year would eventually be traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in May of 1975.

Hooton would have a solid career with the Dodgers, including going 18-7 in 1975 and 19-10 in 1978; earning him a second place in the Cy Young balloting that year.
His signature pitch was that nasty knuckle curve and 1981 Hooton earned his hardware; an All-Star selection, the NLCS MVP and a World Championship ring. Nicknamed "happy" by Tommy Lasorda, Hooton also could hit the ball; four career homeruns to go along with 49 RBI's. Hooton finished his career as a Texas Ranger going 5 - 8 in 1985.

While Burt Hooton will be most remembered for his knuckle curve, his playoff wins and world series ring as a Dodger . . . for me I give him four "hoots" for pitching a no-hitter in only his fourth game in the majors. A "rookie star" he was . . . as a Cubbie.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

They really know how to make me cry

. . . well, I did not actually cry but the MLB Network had a long (way too long in my opinion) segment on the 1969 Mets. The "Miracle Mets" as they have been called.

First they played almost flawless baseball and overtook the Chicago Cubs down the stretch in September, then go on to beat the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS. And then to make their year complete, they faced the highly favored Baltimore Orioles and rose once again and beat them 4 games to 1 for their first World Championship.
The pitching staff that included Seaver, Koosman, and Ryan shut down all opponents when they needed to. Jones and Agee provided the defensive highlights and clutch hitting by Weis and Kranepool was all they needed.
These are three of my least favorite cards in my collection. No, I wont ever burn them or destroy them . . . they just make me think of the day when the Cubs will "celebrate" and become World Champions. I just dont like being reminded of the "collapse" and heartbreak from 1969.

I guess after forty years one should "get over it" and be able to watch highlights but . . . my boyhood memories are as strong as ever. Thanks MLB Network for reminding me . . . and almost making a grown man cry, almost.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

New "irregular special feature" beginning now

For some reason I feel compelled to start a new "irregular special feature" on my blog and I give all the credit (or blame) to my wife. Prior to marriage her initials were K.K. (now they are K.P.) so she is my unofficial inspiration to baseball players that have the same first and last initial, {right now many of you are saying I know someone who has that but so what}.

Just something to think about . . . since there are three teams that also fit this category; Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and of course the Chicago Cubs !

Today I start with A.A. - Andy Allanson.
A.A. (Allanson) was a Topps All-Star Rookie selection in 1987 (probably his kiss of death), played for 8 years and five different teams, mostly for the Cleveland Indians. He never lived up to his status given out by Topps by hitting only 16 career HR's driving in 140 runs and having a lifetime BA of .240.

But nonetheless, A.A. is my first entry in my new "irregular special feature" that I will be calling . . . drum roll please . . . "Duplicate Initials". If I can submit an entry weekly, that means this task will be done in 26 weeks (or less if I can not find Q.Q. or a Z.Z.).

Just wait until next week . . .I know your brains are working already trying to figure out who will be my B.B. or C.C. or D.D . . . ? ! Please tune in again next week . . .

More cards from the UK

As I promised here is my second post acknowledging the generousity of John from across the Atlantic.

Amongst the cards he sent me was a batch of 1978 Topps Chicago Cubs. That team from 1977 was as "unremarkable" a team as so many other Cubs teams from the mid seventies. A record of 81-81, one 20 game winner (Reuschel) {nobody else had more than 14}, and one player (Murcer, 27/89) who hit more than 20 HR and had more than 75 RBI's. But John did send me . . .

. . . Ivan DeJesus who led the team in stolen bases (24), triples (7), hits (166), runs scored (91) and strikeouts (90); Steve Ontiveros led the regulars in batting average with a .299 BA, and then there was Mick Kelleher and SteveSwisher - batting .230 and .190 respectively.

And Larry Biittner, yes he dotted both his i's and crossed both of his t's; did have a decent year with 12 HR's, 62 RBI's and a .298 BA but seems to be left out of the thick bushy mustache club.

A good time to say thanks again to John and to store away these easily forgettable Cubs of 1977 in my 1978 binder, alongside the likes of "unremarkable" George Mitterwald and Donnie Moore.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A package from the UK

Many of you know the generosity of John from the UK and his blog "pursuit of 80s"; now I do too. Our bubble mailers waved at each other as they were floating along high above the Atlantic and mine arrived today. Knowing that I am was looking for Cubs cards and the Topps All-Star Rookie cards (you know those gold little trophies); John sent me a fine selection.

Here is the first group I will share:

Three pitchers from the last place (ok tied for last with Montreal) 1975 Cubs, who won only 75 games that year. Starting in the middle is Ray Burris who led the team in wins (15) and innings pitched (238) and to the right is Darold Knowles who led the team in appearances with 58. Then there is Mike Garmen who I put in the first position only to make him feel a bit better about his 1975 stint as a Cub. My research found he did not play for the Cubs at all in 1975, going 3-8 with the 3rd place Cardinals.

Also in this package were two Bill Buckners:

A clean shaven, young looking 1972 Topps All-Star Rookie card (I like those little gold trophies) even if it looks like he is going to knock the top off of it with his bat and his 1979 card when he hit .323. Buckner would go on to have his most productive years as a Cub, winning the batting championship in 1980 (with a .324 BA) and elected to his only all-star team in 1981 - while wearing Cubbie Blue. While he may be most remembered for that single ground ball in game six of the 1986 World Series, Buckner should be remembered most for his great hitting and for being a "great" Chicago Cub.

Thanks again to John of the UK . . .I will post a second blog about more cards he sent when my scanner starts working again.

Pitchers and Catchers Reported

This past weekend pitchers and catchers reported to spring training camps in Florida and Arizona. While today much is made of last year stars, trades and signings in the off season, free agency, ped's and steroids . . . the anticipation is as great as ever for all teams.

Who will "break out" and provide that boost to carry a team to a pennant, who will slump and be moved around to the minors, who will do what when and for how long. While answers will not become clear until early April or June or even September . . . it was clear back in 1965 that two players would "star" for the Chicago Cubs.

Interesting enough, a pitcher and catcher, traded together in December of 1965 from the San Francisco Giants, appearing together as "1966 Rookie Stars" broughtthese same feelings for the Cubs as the feelings today during this time of year (except that ped talk).

Bill Hands and Randy Hundley had "star" quality years in Chicago, played together for the better part of seven years (thru 1972) and at least for this Chicago Cub fan both lived up to their "rookie star" status.

I like this card; even if they both appear to be wearing the Giants uniform (note the banding around the collar); they were "rookie stars" and "work horses" for the Chicago Cubs . . . as a pitcher and catcher.

Monday, February 16, 2009

1908 E M F

. . . no I did not discover a 101 year old baseball card that you have never heard of. E M F stands for Everitt Metzger and Flanders; a car company you probably have never heard of either. They built cars from 1908 until 1912; then Studebaker bought them and changed the brand label in 1913 to Studebaker.
This past Saturday I was "co-pilot" on a tour with very old cars and my good friend Scott who owns this car. Yes this 101 year old car (the oldest in our tour) still drives incredibly well. You have to crank start it, it has kerosene lamps, no doors, windows or top and we had a blast.

I wore my Chicago Cubs cap just to stay connected with my hobby . . . whether it be cars or cards . . . the older the better. Just wanted to share this with all of you . . . now back to my cards.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I collect cards because . . .

. . . . I enjoy baseball (watching, talking about, playing, reading, learning and now blogging about) and baseball cards are the small piece of history that can turn memories into stories, generation after generation.

Where else can a 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" piece of cardboard span over 50 years and tell so many tales. I love the fact that any one single player can appear on a card for so many years after one plays the game and still provide fans of the game of baseball a glimpse into their careers once forgotten.

For me "Mr. Cub" brings back many memories . . . Ernie Banks Topps 1957; my oldest card of "Mr Cub"Ernie Banks Donruss Threads 2008; my most recent card of "Mr Cub"

More Cubs Cards !

I have not won many contests in my life and I am pessimistic when it comes to contests submitted by fellow bloggers (only because my bank of knowledge is minuscule compared to most of you) but . . . Jack "the" Baseball Dad from the All Tribe blog had a picture contest and I guess I was the first to reply correctly.

I consider it just good timing but . . . my prize was a great selection of Cubs cards . . . here are just a few . . .

. . . as I am still amazed at the tremendous generosity of fellow bloggers as well as the myriad of different cards (and mfg's) out there . . . I really like the 2000 Fleer Tradition Bo Porter, 1992 George Bell, 2008 UD Starquest and Spectrum Soriano and of course the Donruss DK HOF Heroes of Fergie ! Thanks Jack !

I just might start entering more contests . . .

Friday, February 13, 2009

A "vintage" Valentines Day Poem ?

Here is a simple "vintage" Valentines Day Poem
please dont confuse this with a "chick" Manuel
though even if she is a bit difficult, you can still train her

may I suggest you be very Wise

and do the "right" thing

it might be time to take a Gamble

to express your feelings from your heart

you could flood her with cards

or take a chance
buy her something "red"

if all else fails . . . just give her some cash.

Friday Feb 13th

I am not the superstitious kind of guy, though as a kid I would "not stop on the sidewalk crack because it would break my mothers back". Today has been called "freaky friday" by some and others just treat it as another "normal" day . . .

There are certainly many many superstitions in baseball, or "curses" as we say as Chicago Cubs fans.

This post is not intended to bore you with the simple ones like never stepping on the baseline when entering or leaving the field of play, to the rituals of digging ones stance and adjusting ones self in the batter box . . . only because I am working on a more "clever" Valentines day post so I will cut this short and just wish everyone a "safe" Friday the 13th and remind all of you that tomorrow is Valentines Day.

P.S. above card number 213 is from what year and what player; small hint . . . the front of the card has appeared in a previous post of mine.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Hobby vs Investment ?

It seems that in some recent posts I have recently read two questions keep coming up.

First for some it is "what should I collect" ? So many of us are re-entering this hobby from many years of being absent and the shear number of mfg's, factory sets, sub-sets, boxes, packages, special inserts, autographed cards, limited editions, gold, chrome, silver, platinum, etc has made this "hobby" rather over-whelming. The best "advise" I have heard (thank you fellow bloggers)and do believe in myself is to collect what one likes. Whether it be a player or players, team or teams, a year or a decade, sets or singles . . . one should have a collection that you like. This is still a hobby (for most) and one should enjoy what one does for a hobby.

Which bring me to question number two; "which cards will be more valuable in five, ten or fifteen years" ? My thought (for most of you) is "it should not matter". As long as you have cards that are of interest to you or were of interest to you at some time in your life, then it should not matter. Cards offer such a historical setting and provide answers to "what happened when" that the value of such is so non-monetary. There are some of you (not me by the way) who treat baseball cards or memorabilia as a "business" and that is great ! They are the ones that buy-sell-trade-buy-sell-trade to make money. And that is like any other business; one works hard, becomes knowledgeable, and tries to make the best business decisions one can make. For the other 99% of us . . . we should just enjoy !

at least for me . . .this is a hobby.
I do have a few simple steps anyone could follow:

a) collect what you like
b) stick to your personal budget, remember this is still a hobby and not an essential of "life"
c) purchase (and trade) from fair and reputable sources
d) store your cards properly so you can still enjoy them in 5, 10 or 15 years
e) when in doubt refer to number one

The card I am "enjoying" most today is . . . . the Ernie Bank 1960 All-Star card. What is not to like about having one of your favorite players, having an All-Star card in the year you were born (yes I am "old" and born in 1960) and having a big 60 as the backdrop.
I also like the back of this card with the cartoon of his powerful swing. For those still reading, the card number is 560 (I was born in May 1960). When I am sixty I will still like this card . . . regardless of its value . . .

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Cubs Poem . . .

Pitchers and Catchers are reporting soon,
Dreams of a pennant and singing that championship tune.
Coaches and managers will attempt to find the best,
off to the minors for the rest.
Opening Day is drawing near,
our national pastime is once again is here.

While there is nothing better than a Sunday at the park,
or the long majestic journey of the home run arc.
Whether April or October, blinding sun or clouds,
there will be an over pouring of joy of being one of the crowd.
Us (Cubs) fans who have waited decades, hoping this year we will be blessed,
with our team that hoists the trophy, signifying “we are the best”.

The summer of ’69 as I recall,
was when I first realized that the game was more than just a bat and a ball.
It overtook my senses with the power to excite,
a double play of Kessinger, Beckert to Banks and a fly out to right.
Santo’s heel click, Williams’ sweet swing, our faith that never ceases
was this be the year that futility finally decreases ?

It has now been over 100 years since the Cubs have won it all,
a century of curses, chokes and most of all that ball.
A little ball of twine and seams that truly have amazing powers,
to captivate and devastate a person in three hours.
Cub fans are famous for our faith, there is never a reprieve
For we all know there’s always this year, so we might as well believe.

Current 21 year old Adam Mamawala, originally wrote this poem and submitted it to his high school literature class - the subject being ones "true love". With his permission I have expanded and revised it slightly (note the third stanza) yet maintained his classic theme. He has accurately captured the feelings of baseball as a Chicago Cub fan (at least this fan). I greatly appreciate Adam for allowing me to modify it and re-print for all of you to enjoy . . . as this weekend brings the "unofficial" start of the baseball season.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Last Game of 1969

George Henry Decker Jr (everyone called him Joe for reasons I do not know) played for the Chicago Cubs from 1969 thru 1972, the Minnesota Twins in '73 thru '76 and made it back to the big leagues in 1979 with Seattle. His career was unremarkable with a lifetime record of 36-44 appearing in 152 games. 1974 was "his year", going 16-14, pitching 248 innings, starting 37 games, completing 11 of them for the Twins.

A couple of unique items about Decker as a Chicago Cub.

In 1969, Decker appeared in just four games yet was the winner in game # 162, a 5-3 winner against the New york Mets in the final game of the year. Though the game had no meaning in the standing it was the only win for Decker that year giving him a 1 - 0 record for 1969 (along with Hank Acquire ad Jim Colborn). Decker did hit one career homerun, off Phil Niekro on May 1, 1970.

Decker also made history by being fined $ 100.00 by manager Leo Durocher in 1970 for an "x-rated" outburst. This fine was supposedly the only fine Durocher ever collected from a Chicago Cub - ever. Decker was an "angry" young man with considerable talent and Durocher did not deal with "young" very well.
Joe Decker passed away on March 2, 2003 but he will always be remembered by me for being the winning pitcher in the last game of the season in 1969.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Getting closer !

This probably will be my last post in regards to my card show purchases this past weekend . . . highlighting the Topps 1970 set I am getting closer to complete. I am currently at 667 out of 720 or 92.6 % and have the feeling that the Nolan Ryan will be my final acquisition.

Nonetheless, I picked up 17 more cards for my set on Saturday and here are a few:
"No-Neck" Williams trying to knock the photographers head off.a solid hitting catcher (Freehan) , a work horse for the White Sox (Wood) and a catcher with no eyes (Tischinski) . . .

and Juan Marichal; a "perennial" 20 game winner with 243 career wins (with six 20 win seasons) and a strikeout to walk ratio of better than 3 to 1.

Overall, I got closer to completing the set . . .I still have a ways to go but getting closer is good . . .