Asyou may or may not know, Jon and I are new to the hobby all over again, having collected as kids in the late 80s and early 90s. What you may not know (and why would you) is that this is actually my third real dalliance with the hobby. The second came during a period lasting (on and off) from 2003-2006. I had become interested in cards again when I saw the premiere edition of Topps Heritage. My interest in baseball in general was waning during the the PG period (that’s Cub-ese for Post Grace) and Heritage brought back those warm fuzzies that we card nerds call “The Itch” and that casual observers correctly identify as “Gambling Addiction.” So I got back into it. But, as my finances were embroiled in a heated battle with my newly-mature student loans, I could only afford a few packs here and there and one or two random things on eBay. One of those random things was a collection of Cubs cards that I picked up in an eBaccident. That’s when you place a lowball bid to follow an auction because your watchlist is full but then accidentally win it. Remind me to tell the story of the records I eBaccidentally bought for $1100. Hilarious.
Anyway, this collection of Cubs cards was appealing to me because it featured a high number of Mark Grace cards. I knew even back in 2003 that my CADD (Collecting Attention Defecit Disorder- you’re learning so much in this post!) didn’t make a Cubs team collection a suitable goal for myself. So I was going to focus on Grace- easily my favorite player of all time. I admired his attitude, his hitting ability and his patience with the Cubs brass who shafted him with one year contracts EVERY YEAR he was eligible to negotiate as a free agent. Truly unbelievable but unsurprising behavior for a team who felt that Steve Buchele might make an all right third baseman (excellent post about the Cubs’ third base woes at Wrigley Wax- my favorite Cubs cardblog).
Anyway, the cards arrived (along with a Juan Cruz autographed mini helmet that I’m sure has appreciated in value by now- let me check his sta… oh, nevermind) and I eagerly flipped through the pages of the basketball-branded binder. Needless to say, the list of players who’ve donned Cub uniforms is uninspiring. Here we’ll take a look at the first page.
I won’t be paying off those student loans with these cards, but there is a nice trip down memory lane here. Obviously, Banks is a hero. And there’s a guy who pees on his hands. Then the guy with “ass” in his name. Then a guy who gets an ironically-named Topps Finest card (protective covering intact to retain full value!). Rick Aguilera might have been good somewhere else once (oh, yes, the Mets in 1987 as a starter), but his 4.91 ERA for the Cubs in his final year is probably my fondest memory of him. MAnny Alexander and Shane Andrews sucked so bad that I don’t even remember their positions. And I’m not even bothering to link to their stats.
Rough start, looking back. I wonder what I thought in 2003? I probably put that Juan Cruz mini helmet on my head and though, “This isn’t worth what I paid for shipping.”