As I flipped through the cards, there were some that looked so familiar that I was shocked to learn that I did not, in fact, own the card already. In the case of the above cards, I owned the Opening Day version and two parallels of the the Barney, the Topps Mini Soto, and the Chrome Baez. I'm actually still trying to figure out how I didn't have the regular flagship Baez rookie already, as I busted so much Topps in 2015. Then again, I also opened enough of that set to (almost) collate Series 2 multiple times over, but I still haven't pulled (or owned) the Kris Bryant rookie of that set. Maybe Javy fits in the same category there.
One of the best things about obtaining large lots of Cubs is digging out the players that are new to my Cubs binder. No, I don't have a CATRC binder, a la Burbs, nor am I crazy enough to attempt such a feat, but it is fun to find representation for as many Cubbies as possible. The highlights for me are the first Jose Quintana (Chrome Style) and Davy Lopes, looking as menacing as ever. Some players, such as Dave Sappelt, don't even ring a bell of recognition with me.
Aaron Heilman is new to my Cubs collection, too. Oddly, Topps doesn't seem to want him to be in it all. While he is clearly pictured as a Cub and labeled as such on the front, the back lists him with the Mariners. Not only is the Mariner logo and name on the back, Topps doubled down on its mistake by writing about Heilman leaving the Mets for the Mariners. So how did this happen? In December 2008, Heilman was sent to Seattle as part of a three-team deal involving the Mets, Mariners, and Indians. Luis Valbuena, J.J. Putz, and Joe Smith were some of the bigger names involved in this deal. Then Seattle shipped Heilman to the Cubs just about a month later in exchange for Ronny Cedeno and Garrett Olson. It looks as if Topps held off on Heilman's card until Series 2 to feature him with Seattle, but had to get a new picture when he was dealt again. Somebody (or everybody) apparently overlooked fixing the back that had, presumably, already been created. Marks for trying, though, Topps. Heilman was traded to Arizona in November following the 2009 season, marking his third trade in an 11-month span.
Here is a look at some of the Cubs' great can't miss prospects over the years.
- Lance Dickson got his Cup of Coffee in 1990, appearing in 3 games and posting a 7.24 ERA. It was his only time spent in the Majors.
- Ty Griffin was a #1 draft pick, but he never played in The Show. He spent 1989-1997 in the minors before hanging them up.
- Mike Harkey made his debut in 1988, started 5 games and posting a solid 2.60 ERA in 3 losses. Injuries hampered his progress, and he next appeared for the Cubs in 1990. He spent 5 seasons in Chicago as a starter (3.92 ERA) and kicked around the league with 4 teams in the 4 following years to end his career.
- Gary Scott saw MLB action in 1991-1992. He batted .160 with a .198 OBP. Fifty points under the Mendoza Line! His WAR in 67 total games was -1.8.
- Earl Cunningham rose to the level of the #44 prospect in baseball. He never rose to the level of a Major Leaguer. He gets points for a Cubs gold chain that places squarely in the late 80s/early 90s.
- Derrick May spent five seasons with the Cubs, having a pretty good season in 1993 when he hit .295 with 10 homers. May spent exactly the decade of the 90s in the Majors, from 1990-1999 with the Cubs, Brewers, Astros, Phillies, Expos, and Orioles. He was a serviceable outfielder.
- Greg Smith appeared in 27 games over three seasons with the Cubs and Dodgers. His career average of .212 puts him right around the Mendoza line.
- Finally, Brett Jackson was another first rounder that didn't pan out. He played one season for the Cubs, batting only .169. He drew a fair number of walks, however, that boosted his on-base percentage to .299. He was traded to the Diamondbacks in 2014 and played a few games for that club until he was out of the league.
This is the entire Cubs team set from 1997 Pinnacle Xpress. Honestly, I was completely unfamiliar with this set until I received these cards. It's typical late-90s Pinnacle fare: clear photography, unique--maybe even busy--design, and gold foil. They're pretty nice cards and I do like the different photographs being used.
These are cards I just liked for various reasons. Shawon Dunston sure was involved in a lot of flying dust, if these cards tell the story. Luis Salazar appears to be in the midst of a huge swing-and-a-miss. I've always found those cards interesting. A Chrome rookie of Starlin, who was just recently part of the Giancarlo Stanton swap. The Kevin Gregg card is interesting to me because where is his glove? Honestly, he looks more like a coach here. The last card is the most interesting to me, though. That is Doug Dascenzo, outfielder, on the mound in a real-life Major League game. I know that it's not all that rare for position players to pitch, but I haven't seen too many base cards depicting that event. It's pretty cool. Dascenzo actually pitched four innings in his career, giving up three hits and striking out two of the 18 batters he faced.
Finally, we'll end with some views of the beautiful ivy at Wrigley. Thanks again for the cards, Kerry. Any Cubs collectors out there who have holes in your 1988-1991 or 2012-2013 team collections, there's a chance I could have some dupes from this box to help you out. Let me know what you need, and I'll check it.