Saturday, June 30, 2012

1998 Cubs Convention Set Part 2

This is a continuation of the posting of the Convention set the Cubs handed out at the 1998 convention.

The first post covered the Hall of Famers and other distinguished Cubs, and this post will continue with the rest of the earlier players and end with what, at the time, were considered to be the future of the Cubs.

First there are two Alumni Club cards:

You can't see it but this card has four folds, yes, folds, in it. I was able to smooth it out for the scanner. Really thin cards.

Carmen played the National Anthem before some games with his trumpet:

He was also known as the guy who was second on the Cubs in RBIs in 1972 with 42. Ouch. Billy Williams was first.

I believe Sammy Sosa had a 90+ RBI difference between him and the next player during one of his prominent years.

Paul Reuschel is long time Cubs player Rick Reuschel's brother. Rick should have been on this card instead of his brother.

Here is the other Alumni Club card:

 Oscar is more famous for reasons other than playing for the Cubs:

Larry was just with the Cubs for a couple of years towards the end of his career.

Just as Oscar was just with the Cubs for a bit during his earlier years.

I can think of a hundred Cubs right now that would have been better choices to be on this card.

Next there is this 'Then & More Recent' card, playing of the Then & Now' phrase:

When reading the wikipedia article on Randy I was surprised at the number of accomplishments and little tidbits he amassed in his career:
  • Set a MLB record for most home runs for a rookie catcher with 19
  • Set a National League record with the fewest errors for a catcher in a season with 4
  • Was the first catcher to adopt the hinged catcher's mitt
  • Was a 1969 All Star, along with the entire Cubs infield
  • First catcher with three straight 150 game season behind the dish
  • Holds a career .990 fielding percentage
  • One of just a few catchers to steal home
  • Caught two no hitters in the same season(1972)
Jody Davis was hugely popular during his Cubs days. He was known as 'King of the Wild Frontier' because quite a few of the Cubs players in the 80's had animal nicknames and he, being the catcher, and field general, was seen as the king of them.

Here are a few of the Cubs players and their nicknames:
  • Ryne Sandberg-Ryno
  • Bob Dernier-The Deer
  • Leon Durham-Bull
There might be a few others but I am not learned in their existence.

I vaguely recall hearing Harry Carey sing out on the microphone to the crowd one game so long ago:

"Jody, Jody Davis, King of the Wild Frontier"

Jody was an all around excellent catcher. Slugger, great framer of the pitch, commander of the plate and position, and had a gun for hosing those fools trying to defy him.

He threw out 78 fools in 1987 and was known as a guy who would only miss a game if he was dead.

The next card highlights a couple of players who were essential to the Cubs playoff berth in 1989, the '89ers':

Bielecki won a career high 18 games that year, along with career highs of 212 IP, 33 starts, 4CG, 3 shutouts, and 147 SO.

He was also the Cubs starter for the first official night game at Wrigley Field in 1988. That game was rained out and I'm not sure who started the next night game.

Vance Law also set career highs in multiple categories:78 RBIs, 163 hits, and 12 game winning RBIs. He paced 8th in the NL with a .293 average and was voted an All Star.

A Hot Prospects card:

The only thing I can say about this card is NOPE.

And the fact it is so wrinkled it looks like a topography map. And the fact Jennings was actually born in Singapore. Probably a military brat.

Myers was born Rockford, Il. Probably not a military brat.

This card has it half right. Future Star:

We all know what Kerry is famous for and we know he has actually had a very solid career. He also ranks amongst the greatest ever in hits per 9 innings and strikeouts per nine innings.

But we also know Jim Riggleman and Dusty Baker are the reasons he will never be going to the HOF. Even I know you can't throw 120+ innings in each and every start.

It took Kerry a few operations to learn how to become a pitcher instead of a thrower just by having to change his release from a 9 o'clock level to a much easier on the arm 11 o'clock level.

What could have been. That's what I say whenever I see a card of him. And that also applies to Grady Sizemore.

Pat Cline is merely there to make Kerry really stand out on the card.
Nothing personal, Pat.

Next, Veteran Hurlers:

Bob was....a guy.

Kevin was as well, but he was always keeping you in the game. He was always hanging around the .500 win mark and also sitting perpetually on the 4.00 ERA.

He did have 9 straight wins at one time though, so, yay!

Missed a past Cub:

I love you guys.....bbbbrrrrppppp!!!!
The caption of course referring to this:

I loved him as a Cub and like his announcing. Seems to be just one big, relaxed dude. That's because he is and I know this from fact.

One day back when I was 13 I was at my step mom's sister's house just sitting there while they and my dad were talking. Then the doorbell rang and the next thing I see is a towering guy with red hair standing there. I remember shaking hands with him and him saying some jokes to me but the whole time I was just trying to pick up my jaw. Then we all sat down. Rick Sutcliffe was sitting on the same couch where moments before I was probably dreaming about a girl or why there were girls.

Crazy foir a thirteen year old to take in.

He had come over because my step aunt knew him and he was driving from St. Louis to Chicago and she had invited him to stop in and have supper that day. We had spaghetti that day.

It was a very cool day and he autographed something for me but I can't remember what it was. But every time I have pasta I think of that day.

Some bullets about the Red Baron:
  • Played for Cubs from 1984-1991
  • Inducted into Cubs Walk of Fame(more like walk of shame...../crickets)in 1995
  • Was ROY for the Dodgers in 1979
  • After being traded to the Indians for Joe Carter early in 1984, he proceeded to amass a 16-1 record as a Cub and garner the NL Cy Young trophy. What kind of numbers would Joe have had? I loved him as a player and thought he was a great ambassador of the game. Always laughing and smiling. He was a Cubs broadcaster for a bit but he went away and I never knew why. I think it would be safe to add 10% to his HRs and RBIs and at least 10 batting points to his average if he had stayed a Cub. He's very borderline as a HOF'er now, but if he had stayed there would have been no doubt. Blame Rick, Joe.
  • Was the first Cy Young winner to split a season between the leagues

Now, going from one of my best moments to two departed Cubs' worst moments I have these two cards to show, with a sadness while doing so:

Kevin Foster was a promising player for the Cubs with the most infectious smile and great zeal for being a Cub. He had a few up and down seasons with the Cubs. But when he was on the mound I've never seen anybody more focused then he was.
   He was just the kind of guy you cheered for because he is one of those guys you couldn't help but like.

I did a Google image search for him and I am kind of PO'ed that there aren't any of him smiling. I guess that isn't surprising since he only smiled off the field or when he wasn't pitching that day.

Unfortunately, and sadly, Kevin passed away in November of 2008 from renal cancer. I don't like using profanity on here, but FUCK cancer!

That would make the following card I got autographed by Kevin at the convention an, to borrow from a fellow collector, unpossible autograph:

RIP, Kevin
As far as I or anyone knows, Mark is probably alive but he played dead while with the Cubs.

Well, that was kind of depressing. Let's say we lighten the  mood. Um, nope. One more dose of reality moment for us all, just in a highly unlikely scenario:

Mark Clark was a journeyman who didn't really do anything to mention.

Geremi Gonzalez(he told everyone this was how his name was spelled but not until towards the end of his career) didn't really do anything to mention, either, but something did something to him that makes the lotto odds look like counting the fingers on your hand.

He was Just a promising prospect coming up when this pic was taken. He went 11-9 his rookie year and it looked like the Cubs had a legitimate player.
But injuries forced him out of that path and instead sent him on a journey of operations and minor leagues stints until 2003 when he made the Tampa Bay Devil Rays squad and was award their Out of Nowhere award. He had a 6-11 record for them, but that was so misleading:
  • Allowed three runs or fewer in 17 starts
  • Received the lowest run support of any AL East starter
After that year he bounced around until a Triple A release in 2007. He joined the Yomiuri Giants in the JCL.

I assume he was still going to be pitching somewhere in 2008 but then the unexpected happened:

 González died after being struck by lightning in Punta Palma, Zulia, on May 25, 2008.

All I can say is RIP, Geremi.

So as not to end this post on a depressing note:

 And the conclusion of this set will feature the current players, broadcasters, and new free agents.

Thanks for reading.....

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