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.

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Roberto Clemente - 3000 Hits

Happy New Years Eve to everyone ! I hope that 2009 starts off with a bang and brings everyone good health and more baseball cards to enjoy and share. 2009 may just be the year the Cubs win teh World Series too - ok I will continue to believe and dream.

Anyhow, the card I am highlighting today is in honor of one of the greatest basbeall players ever and his last card.

Lets go back in time for a moment: the year is 1973, and the baseball season begins like any other except baseball lost one of the greatest stars of all time before the first pitch ever crosses home plate.

Roberto Clemente died in an aviation accident on December 31, 1972 en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua. Clemente had been involved in this work for several years, helping those in need in his home country of Puerto Rico and other Latin American countries and the off season of 1972 was no exception. Personally speaking, I admire those that “give back” and I myself am active in Rotary International (I will write more about that in future posts).

So much has been written about Roberto Clemente; schools have been named after him, documentaries, books and even a movie has been produced.

Roberto Clemente was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 1973, the only player for whom the mandatory five year waiting period was waived. A twelve time all-star, twelve time gold glove award winner , the 1966 NL MVP, 1971 World Series MVP and his uniform #21 is retired (just to name a few of his career highlights). This is not a history of Clemente since I could not do that any justice and will not try.

Roberto Clemente’s last card is the 1973 Topps # 50. I find it most interesting to collect the last cards of hall of famers, to have a glimpse of their career stats and Clemente’s ’73 card tops my list for that reason. The back of the card (yes once again the back tells more of a story than the front) depicts a drawing with 3000 in big print on his bat. Yes Clemente got his 3000th hit in 1972. The major league totals on this card bears that fact as well. An accomplishment held by very few and to have his career end with exactly 3000 hits is what I like to term as a “Clemente-ism”. I like this card for that reason.

As far as a Cubs connection goes – July 25, 1956, Clemente hit a walk-off inside the park grand slam at Forbes Field as the Pittsburgh Pirates beat the Chicago Cubs 9 – 8.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Greatest Year in Sports ?

This is the time of year that debates will occur across this nation among sports fans: Was 2008 the greatest year in Sports ever ? I will remind everyone that I am a Chicagoan and more specifically a Chicago Cub fan so you may already gather where I said on this topic but none the less . . .

This past year began by bringing us the Giants victory in Super Bowl XLII, the amazing escape by Eli Manning to go along with the even more amazing catch by David Tyree and their victory over the heavily favored Patriots – what a way to start the year, if you are a Giants or football fan. The Philadelphia Phillies winning the World Series over the upstart Tampa Bay Rays. Olympic moments by eight time gold medal winner Michael Phelps, a Boston Celtic basketball championship after 22 years and college football madness that would have exciting games and remarkable victories every week. Not too mention the “greatest” golfer of all time winning the US Open on one knee with an extra 19 holes played on Monday. 2008 was truly a remarkable year in sports.

Many might argue that 1969 was better. The Miracle Mets (who overtook the Orioles and my Cubs), Namath’s AFC Jets and then there was Rod Laver in tennis winning the grand slam. 1972 was not half bad with the undefeated Dolphins, Mark Spitz seven gold medals and seven world records in the Olympics and Olga Korbut (who can ever forget her).

And 1980 will always be remembered for the “Miracle on Ice” as the USA Olympic Hockey team wins gold and the Phillies break a 97 year draught and win the World Series. And some even believe 1998 was the greatest year in sports; the year McGwire and Sosa fought bat-to-bat for the most homeruns (yes the steroid era will diminish this); Cal Ripken Jr ended his iron man consecutive game started streak at 2632 and the Chicago Bulls attained a “three peat repeat”.

All that said, 2008 will go down in history as one of the greatest years in sports ever.

For most, this debate is a generational argument; depending on your age, favorite sport, who we watched in person or on tv and what we consider to be our greatest memory in sports. For me the greatest year in sports will be when the Cubs finally win the World Series, whenever that may be or no matter how old I may be. I would love to hear from all of you. What is your take on this, what is your vote for the greatest year in sports ever ? For us Cub fans we just say “wait til next year” . . .

Monday, December 29, 2008

Join me in Paradise - Meet the Phlockers

Click on the link and live the tropical life

Cubs three Hall of Famers from 1969

Back in the early days of my collecting I picked up these three cards. Back in the day when I collected cards of the stars I cheered for, back in the day when baseball was played for the shear enjoyment of the game.

Jenkins, Williams and Banks: three names in Chicago Cub history that is synonymous with the potential the Cubs had throughout the sixites. Three players, who are among the greatest players of all time to never, play in a World Series game.

Six years separate each in their major league experience as the 1969 season began. After playing together in 1967 and 1968 the hopes to make it all come together in 1969 were as strong as ever.

Jenkins, coming into his fifth year as a big leaguer, back from two consecutive 20 win seasons (he would end up with six consecutive 20 win seasons pitching in Wrigley field with the Cubs).

Williams the consistent powerful offensive production coming back from his 1968 numbers 30 HR, 98 RBI and a .288 batting average and then there was Banks.

Banks, entering his seventeenth year as a Cub coming off of hitting 32 round trippers in 1968, the most he had had in six previous seasons.

The front of the 1969 cards of these three; the intensity of Jenkins eyes, the power in Williams’ swing and the playful smile on Banks make for the high hopes entering 1969 even more thrilling. The full card photo and white frame with a thin black outline make for a real clean looking card. The orange circle with the players name and position is a nice touch.

Banks’ card has this orange circle right over his shoulder, looking like the sun, setting in the background at Wrigley and for his career.

The backs are no less interesting. Jenkins’ has a drawing of a skinny umpire saying “he wears me out” in recognizing Jenkins’ 260 club record strikeouts in 1968 (he would go on to break his own record in 1969 and then again in 1970) and Williams’ card showcases his Rookie of the Year trophy earned in 1961.

And then there is Bank’s card – no drawing just sixteen years of statistics, all with Chicago N.L. as his team.

Banks, Jenkins and Williams: the heart of the Cubs past, present and future (from 1969 of course); three great players who never played in a World Series; three Chicago Cub Hall of Famers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bear Fans have to "wait til next year"

I know this is a baseball card blog but I am a Chicagoan and the Bears are the only other sports team I cheer for, besides the Cubs of course. The Bears lost today, lost their hopes for a playoff game and solidified our off season woes.

The Bears of 2008 will be remembered for losing games they should have won and winning games they should have lost. Beating the Detroit Lions twice, the Packers once and the Vikings once; certainly was a good thing the Bears did beat the Lions twice.

Kyle Orton played respectively and could be the quarterback for some time, Matt Forte rushed for over 1000 yards and Robbie Gould (field goal kicker extraordinaire) should be the teams’ MVP.

On the down side was that Devon Hester did not even lead the team in punt or kickoff return average and had zero, yes zero, touchdowns from returns. Brian Urlacher, the “stud” in the middle” did not make the pro-bowl and had zero sacks, though had two interceptions.

Thank you Chicago Bears, for teasing us and disappointing us. All in all, the Bears are not in the playoffs, will have to re-tool in the off season and all of us Chicago sports fans have only to look forward to baseball spring training in Arizona and Florida, the Cubs opener in Houston on April 6th and Opening Day (April 13th) at Wrigley for the Cubs ! Go Cubs Go !

Yastrzemski - 1968 - The Triple Crown

Carl Yastrzemski, nicknamed “Yaz”, although a more appropriate nickname should be Mr Red Sox. Similar to “Mr. Cub”, Ernie Banks, Yaz spent his entire career with one team – the Boston Red Sox, twenty three years to be exact. Only one other player has spent as many years with one team, that being Brooks Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles.

Yaz was a 18 time all-star, member of the 3000 hit club, is the RedSox leader in almost every hitting category including games played, hits and RBI’s. He is second all time with 452 homeruns in a Red Sox uniform (only behind Ted Williams). Yaz’s uniform # 8 was retired by the Red Sox in 1989.

The 1968 Topps card # 250, pictured here is unique. The wood grain framing on all 1968 Topps cards were a bit unusual, many variations of this border exist and most are not very appealing to my eye. The picture on the front is a posed serious look and does nothing to enhance Yaz’s credentials.

Once again the back of the card is the most interesting. The statistics of the 1967 season . . . a triple crown winning season. Yaz is the last player to achieve this feat; leading the league in batting average, homeruns and RBI’s. 44 round trippers, 121 RBI’s and a .326 batting average in 1967.

Yaz was also recognized as the AL MVP and Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year for 1967.

What a year . . . except that the Red Sox lost the World Series to the St Louis Cardinals in seven games.

The question and answer story panel on the back is a nice feature of the 1968 cards and this card asks who was baseballs last triple crown winner before Yastrzemski ? Answer: Baltimore Oriole Frank Robinson in 1966.

Another interesting item about Yaz; he is one of the only power hitters of that era whose career numbers indicate he hit more doubles than homeruns (646 to 452). When and who do you think will win the next triple crown ? Will it ever happen again ?

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Randy Hundley - 1966 All Star Rookie

Randy Hundley is credited with bringing the skill of being a one-handed backstop to the major leagues. The actual credit should be given to Hundleys’ father, who actually taught (or forced Randy to learn) this technique. As of today, every catcher uses the Hundley one-handed method.

Hundley’s major league career actually started with the San Francisco Giants, receiving an $ 110,000 signing bonus right out of high school in 1960. In a trade during the off season in 1965 would give the Cubs a dependable catcher for the next several years, including the “magical” year of 1969.

For the first four years as a Cub (1966 thru the 1969 campaigns), Hundley caught more than 600 games and was one of the most reliable defensive gems behind the plate.

Overworked and injury-plagued Hundley played in only 450 games for the next 8 seasons. Hundley career offensive numbers are weak; so weak that his name is recorded in the baseball archives for having one of the ten lowest career batting averages, .236 (with at least 2500 at bats). Yet for four years, Hundley was the heart and soul of the Cubs behind the plate.

The 1967 card of Hundley, showcasing his election to the Topps 1966 All Star Rookie team and trophy is a good picture of Hundley in “action”. The back of the card is interesting with just completing his first full year in the majors, first full year with the Cubbies and boasting 19 homers along with his .236 batting average. Quite coincidentally that is also Hundleys career batting average after 14 seasons; .236

After his playing days, Hundley “worked” for the Cubs organization as an assistant coach and scout for a few years and then started his Baseball Fantasy Camps in Arizona. Hundley was the first again to start a camp for “wealthy executives” to play side by side with major leaguers. His camps are now copied by many and once again Hundley is credited with changing baseball.

From one-handed catching to developing baseball camps Hundley has impacted the sport greatly.

Friday, December 26, 2008

1960 Bill Mazeroski - The Homerun

The Year I was Born (part 1)

The cost of gasoline was $ .25 cents a loaf of bread only $ .20 cents. Eisenhower is President, though JFK would be elected in November by one of the smallest margin in history. “The Magnificent Seven”, “The Entertainer” and “Psycho” were hit movies; a song about an Itsy Bitsy Teeny Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini was on the radio. I could go on but this is a baseball card blog and it is the year I was born so I don’t really remember any of that.

Not that I remember any of that baseball season either . . . I did learn to appreciate all that happened in the year of my birth.

The Pittsburgh Pirates won the World Series in seven games. They beat the heavily favored and powerful New York Yankees and if that was not good enough (for us Chicago Cubs fan of any era that is usually good enough) the ending of the series was as dramatic as any had seen before.

A second baseball known for his stellar defensive plays, a singles and doubles hitter, career batting average of under .270, less than 50 career homeruns (at the time) hits the game winning, series ending, bottom of the ninth homerun to send the Pirates to their World Series victory. The first ever walk-off homerun to win a world series (since repeated in 1993 with Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays, yet that was a series ending Game 6 homerun).

That is what baseball is all about. The “little” guy, the unsuspecting hero, everyone gets their chance to perform and become a superstar, forever etched in baseball lore. Bill Mazeroski is one of my favorite players outside of Cub-dome.

And speaking of the Cubs . . . did you know that the 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates were the first team since 1945 to undo the superstition called the “ex-cub” factor. (the “ex-Cub” factor, in which a team with three or more former Cubs are unable to win the World Series). Thirty-one years later, 2001, the Arizona Diamondbacks defied the superstition again.

How many others out there rise to the occasion, perform when the pressure is greatest and make history (baseball or otherwise) when no one expects it ? There are so many stories like Bill Mazeroski in October of 1960. Let’s hear about some of your favorites.

The 1961 card (Topps # 430) depicted here has a great three panel story / comic on the back. That used to be a Topps tradition; mini drawings or comics on every card. Those were the days. Each panel tells us a little something about Mazeroski; his blast that won the series, acknowledging his defensive prowess and that he likes to fish.

The cards of the sixties were fun that way . . . I like the 1961 Topps cards. Simple white border, conventional posed photo, an artist’s rendering of something important about the player and the card has the nine basic stats we all loved to learn about back then (today there are so many more statistics that many argue what is really important any more). Most important to me however, every card has the last line of the stats that read . . . 1960 . . . the year I was born.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Ernie Banks - 1971 - "Let's play two"

“Mr. Cub” as he is called. Nineteen years in a major league uniform, all with the Chicago Cubs. Career home runs 512, first uniform (#14) by the Chicago Cubs to be retired, back to back National League MVP’s (1958, and 1959) and 11 time all star. Countless number of records held by a Cubbie including games played (2528), at bats (9421) and total bases (4706). Banks was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977 in his first year of eligibility. Banks, one of the greatest baseball players of all time, he is “Mr. Cub”.

The 1971 Topps (#525) is one of my favorite Banks cards for many reasons. The black border card and signature make for a nice framed shot of Ernest Banks. His last official Topps card he looks as anxious to swing the bat as ever. His mouth is open as if talking to us and sharing what he is most famous for saying: “It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame . . . Let’s play two”. He loved the game so much, loved Wrigley Field and just wanted to play baseball every day.

The back of this card has another photo of Banks smiling – the players today should love the game as much as Banks did (sorry about that editorial concerning today’s players). The eleven stats include total bases and stolen bases and this card shares Banks career totals of 509 homeruns (he played briefly in 1971 playing in only 39 games and hitting 3 HR’s).

The year was 1969, opening day and Banks was beginning his seventeenth year as a Chicago Cub. The Cubs had high hopes for this year as did Banks. His first two at bats were homeruns and this season was to be special . . . . the highs and lows to come made 1969 a year most will never forget.

Banks hit his 500th home run on May 12, 1970 – just four days before my 10th birthday. Four summers later began my summer work at the Glencoe Golf Course and I remember shaking his hand, cleaning his golf clubs and watching him . . . always smiling, always happy, always “Mr. Cub”.

Bears Win Bears Win

I know this is a baseball blog but . . . . I am a Chicagoan deep down and the Bears are still alive with an overtime win in week 17

I was so prepared to write a post tonight about how the Chicago Bears lose to the Green Bay Packers and end their hopes for a playoff spot this year and perpetuate the “wait til next year” theme but nooooooo they come through with an overtime field goal to win 20-17.

The game time temperature was less than 5 degrees with a wind chill of 10 below – so glad I now live in Sarasota Florida. The hopes for all Chicago Bears fans live on for one more week.

While I am a Chicago Cub and baseball fan at heart, the Chicago Bears would be considered in my veins too (just a different shade of blue). I actually attended Super Bowl XX in New Orleans in January of 1987 – the 1986 Super Bowl Shuffle team with Payton, McMahon and the Refrigerator. Many memories . . . .

Ok, enough regressing . . . the Bears live on for one more week. We do celebrate that in the sunshine state.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ron Santo - Rookie Card, Topps 1961 #35

Playing third base for most of my youth baseball days drew me naturally to other third baseman of the big leagues. Ron Santo was playing third base for the Cubbies throughout the sixties and his rookie card (1961 Topps # 35) was one of my first rookie cards I bought during my “re-investment” days.

Santo is and always has been one of the most enthusiastic and passionate baseball people of Chicago. From his playing days to his broadcasting days there is not a day that goes by that his energy and excitement is not portrayed. Santo is credited with his jumping and clicking of his heels three times after an emotional win in July of 1969 and has been a trademark (for good and bad) of his fervor for winning.

Santo’s career statistics are well above average for third baseman; nine time all star, five time gold glove award winner, 342 career homeruns (337 with the Cubs) and defensive numbers that are in the top ten in every category. His role in Chicago goes deeper than just his playing days. Ron Santo may never make the Baseball Hall of Fame though his Chicago Cub number 10 was retired in 2003 (one of only four cubs with retired numbers; Banks #14, Williams #26 and Sandberg #23). That September day in 2003 was the day Santo told the cheering crowd of Wrigley Field “This is my Hall of Fame”.

The 1961 Topps # 35 rookie card of Ron Santo is important to me in many ways. Not only is it his first card in a Cubbies home white pinstripe uniform, posed with bat in hand looking down the left field line at Wrigley but it highlights the gold trophy designating Santo as a Topps 1960 All-Star Rookie. Santo used his rookie year as a catapult and earned this trophy over his fourteen years as a Cub (yes he played his final year as a big leaguer in a White Sox uniform but that was an uneventful and “miserable” year for him).

An interesting factoid on the back of this card reveals Santo began his minor league career as a catcher and led theTexas league in doubles in 1958 with 35 . . . the same number as this rookie card.

One final note about Ron Santo; he was diagnosed with Type I Diabetes early on in his life and concealed that fact for most of his playing days. Never one to complain or use this disease as an excuse he monitored his blood sugar levels on his own, medicated himself based on his moods and played through all the discomfort. Not until publicity surrounding Ron Santo day in August of 1971 did he reveal his struggles with diabetes. Ron Santo endorses the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and the Ron Santo Walk to Cure in Chicago since 1974. In 2002, Santo was named the JDRF Person of the Year and has encouraged so many to continue to battle. Ron Santo has since had both legs amputated just below his knee.

Ron Santo has never lost his enthusiasm or passion for the Cubs or the City of Chicago.

Ron Santo . . . baseball player . . . broadcaster . . . Chicagoan . . .hero . . .

Sunday, December 21, 2008

How I got started

My baseball card collection started in the early sixties as most of us kids back then did. Unfortunately, the gum was as important in those days as the cards and most of those cards were long ago lost, thrown away, destroyed or forgotten about in family moves.

In the early 80’s (prior to marriage I must add) I began to re-“invest” in the cardboard of yester-year and began to acquire cards of players I enjoyed watching as a youth; mostly players of the 60’s and 70’s and the Chicago Cubs. My collection is not large (under 10,000), mostly in very good or excellent condition and each tell a story.

I dabbled into buying sets but lost the interest quickly when, for me, the “fun” is being able to look at the faces, uniforms and the action depicted as well as the backs of each card. I always like the backs of cards; the statistics, the brief stories of players, tidbit trivia, miniature drawings, comics, stories of players and comparing year to year accomplishments. Sounds “nerdy” but the back of the card is where we actually can learn something about each player and uncover surprises (1964 Topps had rub off area) . I have since sold all of those factory sets and cartons and that certainly did help pay for my family to move to Sarasota Florida in the summer of 2002.

As a Chicago Cub fan my whole life (yes since birth as many of you will agree, it is in our blood), one of my first goals was to acquire as many Cub cards as possible. A friend gave me the idea to look for and complete team sets for the Cubs of the years we loved and I was able to do this with little trouble. My collection grew slowly (budget constraints) but I always kept them in plastic holders or page protectors.

In the summer of 1990, another hometown friend of mine and I were rummaging through “garbage” in his attic and came across a gem. An original cloth banner from 1969 stating: Chicago Cubs Eastern Division Champs 1969. As many in my generation and before know the Cubs did not win the pennant that year, more aptly put, they broke our hearts that year. As Rick Tally states in his book titled “The Cubs of ’69”; the Cubs were “The team that should have been”.

That pennant and my cards of the 1969 Cubs (the cards are 1970) is the pillar and motivation behind my collection and memories.

The Cubs of 1969 . . . my favorite team . . . my favorite players . . . my favorite year . . .

So this site is now dedicated to all those Cub fans who cheered in 1969, who remember more from that baseball year than any other year, and to all of us in our late 40’s who collected cards, lost or destroyed them and still reflect back.

I will talk about the cards and players; superstars, HOF’s and the not so popular players of yesterday (mostly from the 60’s and 70’s), share some baseball memories and talk about what is on the back of cards. I may even regress further into childhood and share a story or two not related to baseball cards. I am not a serious collector, nor am I a true hobbyist but what I am is a Cubs Fan and a kid at heart. I hope you enjoy my trip back in time.
Wait ‘til next year . . .

wait 'til next year

As you may have gathered by reading “how I got started”, this first real post is about the 1969 Cubs and the old pennant that was found. This article was written by me in the summer of 1991 and originally published by Beckett Baseball Card monthly, issue # 80, in November 1991. I have taken the liberty to edit where necessary. This was and still is my only published writing to date.

My favorite team, my favorite players, my favorite baseball year. . .

Cub fans know the most popular phrase to describe our enduring optimism is always “wait til next season”. But when the 1969 season began, Chicago chanted a more positive tune, “The Cubs will shine in 69.”

I was 9 years old that season. The highest hopes of any major league fan were within reach and Opening Day set the pace with a dramatic game-winning bottom of the 11th homer by Willie Smith. By the end of April the Cubs were solidly in first place. Excitement held a tight grip on the Windy City as attendance skyrocketed to 1,674,993 by season’s end (a record that lasted until the 1984 season.)

By August 14 the gap had widened to 8 ½ games. Everyone was contributing with career seasons as the team held onto first place in the NL East for 155 days consecutive days since Smith’s Opening day heroiccs.

Even as the lead shrunk to an uncomfortable two games by August 27, the never-say-die Cubbies rattled off an incredible six-game winning streak that seemed to solidify their hold on the top spot.

No sooner had the excitement returned when the dog days of summer set in during September. Ernie Banks, two years away from his retirement, began to slow. The hitters were pressing, the pitchers were overworked and Leo Durocher was not about to make any changes in the lineup.
It was the beginning of the end.

With a five game lead on September 5 the Cubs lost their footing and fumbled their pennant hopes to the “Miracle Mets.”

The Hope the season had offered was lost. It was over except for the memories of diehard fans. So one might ask what ever happen to the souvenirs from that season. Most items wound up under the seats of Wrigley Field after the usual “how’d that one get away” tantrum. Programs were thrown away, foul balls tossed over playground fences and Moms across Chicago cut Cubs t-shirts into rags (including my mom). Everything was left to my memory except for a special pennant tucked away for 21 yearrs.

Late in the summer of 1990, I found the flag boasting what seemed to be at the time, obvious; “Chicago Cubs Eastern Division Champs 1969”. Immediately I started to think of ways to highlight this newly found treasure and then it came to me – a topical subset. The Sport Americana Team Baseball Card Checklist # 5 was my first stop and I easily put together the checklist of the 1969 Cubs (with the 1970 cards of course.)

After about six weeks, my set was complete. Along the way I had also picked up two 1970 Sporting News All-Star cards of Ron Santo (#454) and Don Kessinger (#456). Another interesting find was a 1970 Ernie Banks comic book I discovered by accident in a half-priced box at a show. (I have since been able to find the entire set of 24 story books which include Reggie Jackson, Pete Rose, Bob Gibson and Willie Mays and will highlight these in a subsequent post.)

As I checked each card off the list, they went directly into semi rigid card savers. When my subset was complete, I had 30 cards and a vintage pennant to admire. For days I set up the 1969 lineups with the cards and relived some memories on my dining room table. Then another idea came to me – to frame this collection.

So I took all my cards and pennant to a local frame store in and after about an hour of experimenting, the store owner and I agreed on a plan. The starting nine (from opening day 1969) would be displayed on a playing field while the rest of the team was organized around the pennant. The cards were kept in the holders and attached with self-adhesive corners, the banner is held in place with artist clips. If I ever wanted to I could take the frame apart and have a completely undamaged team set of cards, even the pennant would not have any glue stains.

The finishing touch is a brass plate which simply reads: “The 1969 Cubs”. Aside from a few grammatical changes and updated verbiage, this article was published in Beckett’s in November 1991. This framed collection of mine is still hanging in a prominent place in my home today and is the driving force behind this site and cornerstone of my collection. I can think of no better way to start my discussion and introduce myself to all of you . . . for one hundred years and counting . . . “wait ‘til next year” . . .