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Sunday, August 30, 2009


Today is brought to you by the color RED. I noticed that the color red really pops on these 2005 Upper Deck Classics cards.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Lou!

Today is Lou Piniella's 66th birthday. Happy Birthday Lou! You got what every manager wants on his birthday, a win. The Cubs scored 4 in the 8th to win 5-2 over the depleted Mets. After the game Lou was asked if he was going to celebrate tonight. He said if he was 36 or 46 maybe but not at 66. "I've celebrated enough, I've over celebrated!"

Vintage Football Friday

Football season has started (pre-season anyways) and none too soon for me since the Cubs are done. Special thanks to Alphonso Soriano .238, Milton Bradley .255, Geovany Soto .218, Mike Fontenot .226, Aaron Miles .177, and Carlos Marmol , Kevin Gregg, and Aaron Heliman 29 saves out of 45 opportunities, for helping to make this one hell of a frustrating season.

As I was saying, football season has started and I've dug into the vintage vault and pulled out a couple of iconic quarterbacks, Johnny Unitas and Broadway Joe Namath.

This is just classic Unitas, still sporting the flattop hair. We can't see but I'm sure he's wearing he black hightops too and the squinty stare is just perfect. His card says John but don't you always think of him as Johnny?

This is Joe's 1970 card, the year after the huge Superbowl win. Judging by the hair the picture is a couple of years old. Note the band-aid by his left eye.

Here's Johnny, one year later cardwise (1972), but he almost looks like another guy. Is pink really a good color for a football card?

Same year, 1972. Now Joe looks like Broadway Joe. I didn't have the sideburns but my hair looked a little like that in 1972.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

1980-83 Cramer Baseball Legends

I love sets of all retired players. Cramer Baseball Legends covers about as wide an range of eras as I've seen. It was issued in the early 80's by Cramer Sports Productions which would later become Pacific Card Co. There were a total of 124 cards in the set.

Babe Ruth is card #1 here as he should be in any legends set.

This is what the backs look like. The askew Major League Record was apparently a design decision, not a mistake. They're all like that.

"Hit 'em where they ain't" Wee Willie Keeler. .345 lifetime average

John McGraw This picture looks to be from his playing days though he was inducted into the HOF as a manager. Check out the glove.

Sam Crawford is the all-time career leader in triples.

The Big Train, Walter Johnson. He could bring it. 416 wins in 21 seasons. A gentleman to boot.

"Say it ain't so Joe."

Just remember, if you do go to the Shoeless Joe Jackson Museum, there is "NO PUBLIC RESTROOM", even though the toilet is new. BTW the guy doing the tour, Phil Bildner, writes children's books about baseball.

The colorful "Rabbit" played for 23 seasons and is 22nd all-time with 10, 078 at-bats.
How many sets include HOF'er Heinie Manush? It's a fun name. Say it with me, HEINE MANUSH. Career average, .330.

Here's another rarely seen player, Monty Stratton who lost his right leg in a hunting accident (no, Dick Cheney wasn't even born yet). He was the subject of the Jimmy Stewart film "The Stratton Story".
Here are more highlights that I won't comment about since this is getting a little long, except to say that I like the Maris photo in a KC Athletics uniform.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I could not be Hackenbush if I didn't post this:

The following from today's Chicago Tribune,

"Chicago has overtaken the Cardinals ... though not in baseball.
The city has wrenched the Guinness World Record for "most people wearing Groucho Marx glasses" from an event held by a St. Louis Cardinals minor-league affiliate in Springfield, Mo.
The sparkling new record of 4,436--now verified by Guinness--was attained July 21 during a screening of the classic Marx Brothers movie "Duck Soup" at the Chicago Outdoor Film Festival in Grant Park, the Mayor's Office of Special Events said Tuesday. The previous record of 4,077 was set in 2007.
"We are a city of many firsts, and I hope this is one of many records yet to be broken in the City of Chicago," Mayor Richard Daley said in a statement."

"But Chicago may have to watch its back. The Mid-America Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which coordinated the event where the previous record was set, tries to set a new record every year.
"It's always fun to have good competition and at the same time, be able to draw attention to good causes, but I'm sure that Springfield will respond in kind to reclaim their record," said Janna LaCock, executive director of the Mid-America Chapter (and wife of former Cubs first baseman Pete LaCock). "It's on.""

Monday, August 24, 2009

Spring Training 1995

In the Spring of 1995 my friend Beth invited me to visit her in Phoenix where she had moved the year before. Both of us being Cubs fans it was a natural to plan a day watching the Cubs during Spring Training in nearby Mesa. The summer before, the baseball season had ended on August 12 with a player walkout. There was no World Series in 1994 and the strike lingered through the winter. We bought our tickets early hoping things would be settled by March. They weren't. So on a sunny Spring day Beth and I went to HoHoKam Park and watched a bunch of nobodies play baseball. I do remember getting a nice burn on the back of my neck and this program:

This was the "Cubs" roster on that day:
Jim Riggleman, currently the Washington Nationals skipper, was in his first year of managing the Cubs. Other than Jim and the coaches, Muser, Jenkins, Williams,Radison and Strode I can't say I recognize anyone on the roster. The 1995 regular season Cubs roster was not that much more impressive if you ask me though they did finish with a rare winning record of 73-71. The standouts were Mark Grace, Sammy Sosa and Shawn Dunston.

Included in the program was this look back at 1994:
I'm a Cubs fan so I'll focus on the most negative thing, the 0-12 start at Wrigley, though there are a few fun bits of trivia there.
The picture here is hard to see but it's Steve Stone as an Oriole. I personally like Steve. I think he's one of the best color men in the game. It's a shame he's with the White Sox now. He may have made a good general manager, the position he aspired to a one time. I have sometimes wondered how his post baseball career would have differed had he not had that one magical year in Baltimore when he won the Cy Young award. We did not eat at his restaurant so I can't give you a review. Steve sold out and the place is now called Sluggo's Sports Grill.

There's one more thing of interest in the program and it's a small feature on Michael Jordan as a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions.
I know a lot of people have negative feelings about Michael's foray into baseball. As a tribute to his father I think it was touching. The fact that he took a spot away from the twentysomething'd player on a minor league team doesn't bother me. In the end he says playing with the minor leaguers reinvigorated him. It led to three more NBA championships and for that I'm grateful.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sweet Lou Quote of the Day

The Cubs lost again and are now 8 games out of first. Lou has tried everything but the Cubs just can't seem to drive in runs on the road.

"I wish I had a magic formula and magic dust," Piniella said. "But I don't."

Come one Lou, you're the Magic Man!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bowling? Don't hate me. You've all done it.

When it comes to swingers, after Hef, I always think of HOF bowler Don Carter.

Dig the white shoes!

Truly "Vintage" 1965 Topps

Here's two cards from my small 1965 Topps collection. When I saw the Dave Vineyard, which I had never really noticed before, I remembered the Bobby Wine.

Dave Vineyard never pitched to Bobby Wine in the big leagues. It may, however, have happened in the minors. Both players were in the International League in 1962, Bobby with the Buffalo Bisons, Dave with the Rochester Red Wings. I'd like to think so. "Here's the pitch from Vineyard to Wine.."

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back of the Card--1960 cartoons--College Boys

I don't have the stats but I would guess there were a lot less college educated players around in 1960 than today. It was enough of a novelty that Topps thought it merited a cartoon. Of course, if you look closely 4 of the 5 geniuses here are said to have "attended" their college. Can we assume that only Red Wilson actually graduated?

Neil Crisley batted .210 in five undistinguished seasons. How bad is it that he was purchased by the '62 Mets in October 1961 from the Braves and returned to them on April, 2 1962! Apparently he wasn't good enough for a team that finished the 1962 season 40-120.

Earl Wilson was only the second black player on the Boston Red Sox after Pumpsie Green when he debuted in 1959. He pitched a 2-0 no-hitter against the LA Angels in June 1962. He also homered in that game. His best year was 1967, 22-11 for the Tigers and he was in the rotation the next season when Detroit beat the Cards in the World Series. He ranks 5th all-time in career home runs by a pitcher with 33.

Red Wilson was an outstanding college athlete. He starred in both football and baseball for the Wisconsin Badgers. In 1949 he was the Big Ten conference MVP. The following year he led the baseball team to the College World Series. He was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in 1950 but chose a career in baseball playing 10 seasons for the White Sox, Tigers and Indians. His college degree was put to good use. He was founder and president of the Westgate Bank in Madison, WI.

Bob Bruce pitched for 3 teams in nine seasons finishing his career with 49 wins against 71 losses . He is one of only 39 pitchers in MLB history to strike out the side on 9 pitches that were all strikes. He accomplished this rare feat in the eighth inning on April 19, 1964 against the Cardinals. Coincidentally, some nobody named Sandy Koufax had just accomplished the same thing the very day before against the Reds.

By the way, I wonder why Bob attended an all girls college? Oh wait, I think I know.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Sweet Lou Quote of the Day

From Wednesday night's game against the Padres, won by the Cubs 7-1.

"[Milton] Bradley hit his ninth homer with one out in the sixth off Luis Perdomo, but not without some extracurricular activity. A fan seated near the Cubs dugout razzed the outfielder as he stood in the on-deck circle. After Bradley had crossed home plate, he made a talking sign with his hand to the fan as the outfielder headed to the dugout. One out later, Ramirez, who apparently wasn't goaded, connected on his 10th."

"He was having a 'Muppet' conversation with one of the fans," Piniella said.

Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune:
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