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The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs: A Decade-by-Decade History edited by Joe Knowles (2017)

Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs: A Decade-by-Decade History
edited by Joe Knowles
Agate Midway, 2017

No longer the “lovable losers,” the Cubs finally overcame their 108-year drought by winning the World Championship in 2016. With the team poised to make another run at the title this year, there is no better time to revisit the team’s rich history. The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs: A Decade-by-Decade History goes all the way back to the team’s beginnings as one of the charter members of the National League in 1876. Those first 24 years, during which they changed from the White Stockings to the Colts to the Orphans, are covered in just a few pages. Beginning with the 1900s, the book goes into much more depth, featuring several player profiles, decade highlights, and a “Team of the Decade” feature.

The Cubs were first called the Cubs in 1902, but that did not completely settle the name of the club. It was not until 1907 that the nickname was officially adopted due to the support of Frank Chance. Replete with photographs from the Tribune’s vast archives, this volume is a treasure trove for fans of baseball history, the Cubs in particular. Add to the player profiles a number of topical articles of interest, including “Tinker to Evers to Chance” and “Babe Ruth’s ‘called shot’,” and the history of the franchise comes alive.

Of course, the book features the all-time greats like Greg Maddux, Ernie Banks, Ryne Sandberg, and Fergie Jenkins, but there are also stories about lesser-known players, such as Jeff Pico, who held the Reds to only four hits in his big league debut, and Chuck Connors, who is better known for his role as “The Rifleman” on television. The decade break-downs conclude with the celebration of the Cubs’ World Championship in 2016.

But wait, there’s more! In a section called “Extra Innings,” The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs delves into everything else: the ballparks, the award winners, the postseasons, no-hitters, best and worst trades, and the legends, curses, and myths that surround the team.

Pound-for-pound (and it is a heavy one, measuring 9.5×11 and 344 pages), this is the best book on Chicago Cubs history on the market. Cubs fans will absolutely love it, regardless of the results of the 2017 season.

Learn more about Agate Midway.

Purchase The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs edited by Joe Knowles.

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Goodbye, Don Baylor

(June 28, 1949 – August 7, 2017)

Baylor

Slugging outfielder and 1979 American League MVP, Don Baylor passed away today from multiple myeloma, a form of cancer of plasma cells. Baylor his 338 home runs in his career, was an All-Star in 1979, and won the World Series with the Minnesota Twins in 1987. He presided over the Boston Red Sox’s kangaroo court, and fined Roger Clemens $5 for giving up a single to Spike Owen on an 0-2 count during his 20-strikeout game in 1986. He was also the Colorado Rockies’ first manager.

Tigers GM trades his own flesh and blood

Detroit Tigers’ general manager Al Avila traded his son Alex Avila (along with Justin Wilson) to the Cubs. According to Jon Morosi, this is the first time in almost fifty years this has happened at the MLB level. The best reaction on Twitter, and perhaps the best Tweet of all-time:

The Cubs will send Jeimer Candelario, Isaac Paredes and either the infamous player to be named later or cash to the Tigers.

Morosi failed to provide the last dad-sends-son-packing deal in his report, however. In 1968, another Al—Dodgers’ GM Al Campanis—dealt his boy Jim Campanis to the expansion Kansas City Royals “as part of a conditional deal.” Dad’s reasoning was that Jim was more likely to get playing time with the new team rather than the established Dodgers. Perhaps the elder Aliva wanted Alex to have a better shot at a ring. The Cubs are the defending World Champions, and currently sit atop the National League Central division, while the Tigers aren’t even playing .500 ball.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps All-Star Vance Law

Law

Three-fourths of the Cubs’ infield was named to the National League All-Star team; the only omission was rookie first baseman Mark Grace. Vance Law made his first appearance as an All-Star, and finished with his highest RBI total and batting average of his career.

Law

Manager Whitey Herzog put Law in the game in the ninth inning, but not at third base; Law replaced Cubs teammate Ryne Sandberg in the field at second base.

Fun Cards: 1988 Topps All-Star Shawon Dunston

What if Topps had made All-Star cards for every player on the All-Star roster in 1988? Then we would have had cards like this…

Dunston

Instead, from 1984-1990, Ozzie Smith ruled the shortstop position for Topps. And for good reason…he is, after all, the Wizard. Another Hall of Famer, Barry Larkin, took over in 1991. But Shawon Dunston, who made the team in 1988 and 1990, was shut out.

Dunston

Dunston didn’t play in the 1988 Midsummer Classic, but did get two plate appearances in 1990 against Bret Saberhagen and Chuck Finley.

Baseball cards from Orlando

packs

I have been sitting on this post for absolutely no reason other than laziness. I bought a handful of fifty-cent packs when I was in Orlando at the beginning of the month, and scanned a handful of them, even uploaded the scans, but just haven’t been motivated to post them. I have nothing else planned for today, so let’s see what I got…

Davis

First up is Eric Davis from the 1987 Fleer Star Stickers set. These cards are very similar to the 1986 set, but with a green border instead of maroon. Either way, the border clashes with the red jersey.

Mattingly

The 1988 Fleer Star Stickers went with a gray border sprinkled with colorful stars. This Don Mattingly is the best card I pulled from that pack.

Davis mini

Franco mini

Back to 1987, and a pair of Reds in a pack: the best centerfielder and the best relief pitcher of the second half of the decade. John Franco is criminally underrated.

Benzinger

Benzinger

Clark

Clark

I bought a couple of packs of 1990 Donruss. Don’t look at me like that. I did not have any Grand Slammers cards, and I wanted a couple. I pulled the Todd Benzinger from one pack, and Will Clark from another. If I had found another pack with Bo Jackson on top, I would have bought that one too.

Big Hurt

I did not know the 1992 Fleer “The Performer” cards came in packs of their own. I assumed they were inserts. In a five-card pack, I pulled Nolan Ryan and Frank Thomas. And probably some ‘roiders, I can’t remember now.

Griffey All-Star

Henke

Art cards will always be my weakness. I’m not sure why I picked up a pack of 1992 Score, but I was happy to pull these bad boys.

Ryan

Henderson

Also from the same 1992 Score pack.

Thome

There it is. I knew there had to be something cool showing on the top of a 1992 Score pack for me to buy it, even at only fifty cents. Jim Thome is the man.

Dennys

Kirby Puckett from 1996 Pinnacle Denny’s. Not sure why I bought this one-card pack. Oh well, at least it’s a Hall of Famer.

Double Headers

Double Header

I have always wanted some Double Headers, but have never seen them in person. Vince Coleman is from 1990, while Wade Boggs and Andre Dawson are from 1989.

Brett

candy

Think this candy is still good from 1991?

buttons

Finally, a couple of 1990 Baseball Buttons. I already have several of these, so I probably shouldn’t have bought them, but it was only fifty cents.

Fun Cards Submission: 1961 Baseball Scoops Jake Arrieta

Arrieta

Not really a “fun card” when you’re on the losing side, but Jake Arrieta was absolutely dominant last night as the Reds got beat down 16-0 in the pitcher’s second career no-hitter. The 2015 National League Cy Young Award winner is already making a case for himself this year, starting off 4-0 with a minuscule 0.87 ERA in 31 innings. TWJ contributor Patrick captured the 2016 highlight on a 1961-style card, and even though I’m a bigger Reds fan than Cubs fan, I do like Arrieta and hope he does well this year.

Goodbye, Milt Pappas

(May 11, 1939 – April 19, 2016)

Pappas

Milt Pappas pitched for the Orioles, Reds, Braves, and Cubs, winning 209 games in 17 seasons. He was involved in the worst trade in Reds history when Cincinnati received him in a lopsided trade for Frank Robinson. Pappas was a three-time All-Star and pitched a no-hitter for the Cubs in 1972. His first wife disappeared in 1982; her body and the car she was driving was discovered five years later in a nearby pond. Pappas was found dead in his home today.

Random Awesomeness (part 209)

Random Awesomeness


Purchase Kiefer Sutherland – “Not Enough Whiskey” on MP3.

2016 TWJ cards are here!

Andrew McCutchen debuted as card #1 in the 2016 TWJ set yesterday, Tim Hudson showed up on a “Final Tribute” earlier today. For at least the first couple of weeks, two new cards will show up each day at TWJ cards on tumblr. Dallas Keuchel and Joey Votto are scheduled for later today, and then Corey, Dan, David, Ian, Ryan, Aramis, Rougned, and Matt will conclude the regular week. Jose, Barry, Madison, and Logan are scheduled for the weekend.

As a special preview, here’s a card that won’t show up on the tumblr feed until next week…Chicago Cubs third baseman and future Hall of Famer Kris Bryant

Bryant

Here’s the general plan: two cards from each team to start the season, then I stop counting. If the Yankees end up with only two cards in the entire set, so be it. The Reds might get 73 (because they will have at least that many players pass through the bigs this year). OK, I wouldn’t really do that to those who keep up with the daily posts at TWJ cards on tumblr, but you get the point. I’ll make sure each team gets at least two regular cards (not including “Final Tributes” or All-Stars or other special cards that might pop up during the year).

The question is, who do you want to see in the set? If you have any suggestions or requests, you can post them here, e-mail me, or send a message through tumblr or Twitter.

Other virtual card sets have made their debuts recently as well. The 2016 TSR design was released today, and Jason’s Custom Trading Cards has already shown off fifteen cards! If you are aware of other custom card sets, please leave a link in the comments section for everyone to enjoy!

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