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Fun Cards: 1990 Topps Doug Dascenzo (“Secret Weapon”)

1990 Topps Doug Dascenzo

Who was the best pitcher in Cubs history? Greg Maddux you say? Fergie Jenkins? Mordecai Brown? Rick Reuschel?

You’re wrong.

The greatest pitcher in Cubs history is none other than Doug Dascenzo, the scrappy 5’7 centerfielder who made four relief appearances over two seasons and never gave up an earned run. He stared down eighteen batters, and only three got a hit. He struck out two (Willie Fraser and Joe Redfield) and walked two in five innings.

Sadly, Dascenzo declined to pitch any more at the major league level after the 1991 season. “Any time I go out and touch the mound, we’re getting beat by 10 or 15 runs and we’re losing a game in the standings,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 1992. “I don’t want any part of that. I want us to be beating someone else’s brains in.”

For the record, the Cubs were outscored 59-23 in the four games Dascenzo took the mound, but he was not responsible for any of those runs.

He did toe the rubber two more times—in the minor leagues. In 1995 for the Marlins’ AAA Charlotte Knights and in 1997 for the Padres’ AAA Las Vegas Stars. It was in his last appearance that the opponent finally crossed the plate on him, but I have been unable to locate the name of the hitters he faced in that game.

Tip of the hat to @onemillioncubs who dug up that awesome photo and posted it on Twitter a few days ago. The picture is actually from 1991, so it is a bit anachronistic, but I like the 1990 Topps design. (I’m not being facetious.)

Blog Bat Around: My Card Collecting Projects

Blog Bat Around

I’m not sure if I have ever participated in a Blog Bat Around before, but this one might help me organize my thoughts on collecting. Thanks to Night Owl Cards for starting the topic. Here goes…


Cincinnati Reds

Cincinnati Reds: I know I will never own every Cincinnati Reds baseball card, but that doesn’t stop me from attempting to create a master checklist. It’s an ongoing project, as new sets are released every year and I discover older sets I never knew existed until some kind soul sends me a card from the set. I’m still working on crossing out my recent acquisitions, and I found a shoebox that had several other needs that have not been inventoried yet.


Kurt Stillwell: The former second-overall draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds has right around 100 cards. At one time, I had a good checklist and kept up with the collection. I was close to completion, and something went off the rails. I have several empty slots in the binder, and the checklist has disappeared, and I really have no idea which cards I still need. It’s not a huge project, and so close to finished, I really need to figure out where I’m at with it.

Shawon Dunston and Doug Dascenzo: As a baseball fan in the mid- to late-’80s and early ’90s, I saw a lot of Chicago Cubs baseball on WGN. I loved watching Dunston fire the ball to first base, nearly breaking Mark Grace‘s hand. I loved seeing Dascenzo hustle around the bases and take the mound on occasion. Both were fantastic “through the mail” signers to boot, so I have quite a few autographs of each. I would like to eventually acquire, at a minimum, all their Cubs cards from their playing days. Both moved on to other teams, and I do have some cards from those later years, but I remember them best as Cubs.

The Jacksons

Reggie and Bo Jackson: I think Reggie was my first favorite player. Or at least my first favorite non-Reds player. I don’t have a huge number of his cards, but one of my prized possessions since middle school has been his 1973 Topps card. I recently came into possession of his rookie card, which is now the pièce de résistance of my small Reggie collection. These are not organized at all, and I have no idea what I might be missing. Bo was an amazing athlete. For those who never saw him perform live—even if only on television—you truly missed out. Acquiring his cards from his playing days, even if including the football issues, seems a little more doable than Reggie.

Non-Reds cards of Eric Davis, Chris Sabo, Buddy Bell, and Dave Parker: Davis and Sabo had their best years in Reds uniforms, while Bell and Parker were better known for their time with other teams. I don’t have checklists available for these collecting goals yet, but I like to pick up cards I don’t think I already have occasionally.

Stars and Famers

Stars and Famers: I used to hoard cards of Hall of Famers. I didn’t care how many 1986 Topps Ozzie Smith cards I had, they were never available for trade. Until recently. The cards were just taking up so much space, and I didn’t ever look at them. A much more manageable project is to keep one or two favorite cards of these guys. The rest have been shipped off to team collectors. Likewise with the likes of Don Mattingly, Ken Boyer, Dale Murphy, and a few guys that aren’t really should-be Hall of Famers, but once seemed to be on the right track, like Darryl Strawberry and Will Clark. Same rule as HoFers: one or two favorite cards of each is enough for me.


Horror-related cards: “Cereal Killers” is one of my favorite horror sets of all-time. I only have a handful of other horror-related cards, such as Eddie Munster and Freddy Krueger.


Music Cards: Pro Set Musicards, Yo! MTV Raps, Donruss KISS cards, and a very small selection of other brands. I have nearly the complete set of Musicards (missing only a handful of cards). Two of my favorite music cards came from Steve over a year ago, when he had Topps make custom cards of Vivian Campbell and John Sykes for me.

Miscellaneous: Here is the catch-all. If it’s something I like, I’ll collect it. Be it He-Man cards, Dukes of Hazzard cards, Star Wars cards, Superman cards, you name it. I may never chase the entire set, but I like to have a few cards of pop culture awesomeness in my possession. Come to think of it, I might be close on that He-Man set. No closer than I was 15 years ago when I first bought that wax box, mind you, but close still.

I look forward to reading all the other bloggers’ various card collecting projects.

Blind trades are often the best trades

I received an e-mail from Bo of Baseball Cards Come to Life a couple of months ago proposing a trade. He had a stack of Reds cards that he didn’t need anymore, and he wanted oddballs in return. I was happy to oblige and purge a good number of 1988 Donruss Baseball’s Best, minor league cards, and department store issues from my collection. I also sent along some duplicate stadium giveaways Reds sets that I had, and we exchanged 300ish cards with each other. Below is some of the loot I received…


Bo hit several needs, filling in a bunch of 1990s cards that I had never seen before. I haven’t had time to update the want lists yet, but I know I’ll be crossing off several entries thanks to this blind trade.

You’ll notice at the bottom a few non-Reds. In addition to my hometown Cincinnatians, I also collect cards of Doug Dascenzo and Shawon Dunston, as well as non-Reds cards of Eric Davis, Buddy Bell, Chris Sabo, Dave Parker and Kurt Stillwell. And if I ever get organized (ha!), I’ll probably add more names to that list. But Bo was kind enough to throw in some cards of these players that I had not yet obtained.

I love doing blind trades, though I don’t do it as often as I used to. It wasn’t very long ago that I gifted thousands of cards to a friend in the area, so I don’t have much in the way of non-Reds cards to trade anymore. Luckily, Bo was looking for some items that I just happened to still have and was more than happy to send away.

Thanks for the trade Bo!

Christmas cards

A few days ago, I posted a picture of one of my most prized baseball cards, the 1989 Upper Deck Ken Griffey rookie card. But that’s not the only thing I purchased with my Christmas money…

Christmas cards

In those stacks, I have:

The Sabo, Dunston, Dascenzo, and Stillwell cards will all be displayed at some point on All-American Baseball Cards, which has not been updated since June (but that will change!). The Reds cards will be tucked away in my binders.

My Reds wantlists have been updated; my All-American wantlists should be updated shortly. I have a Diamond King wantlist as well, but I need to do some editing to make it prettier before I post it.

New cards in the mail

New to me, that is.


This assortment of Kurt Stillwell cards was purchased from Sportlots and Amazon. This knocks the total Stillwell cards that I need down to fourteen. You have no idea how stoked that makes me, even though I know the remaining cards will be somewhat difficult to track down at reasonable (to me) prices.

You can see my Stillwell collection in progress on All-American Baseball Cards. There is a wantlist posted there, and I’ve been posting a card a week for three weeks now. The frequency of posts will begin to pick up soon, and when I’m done with Stillwell, I’ll be focusing on this guy…


Another one of my favorites from the late 80s/early 90s was Doug Dascenzo of the Chicago Cubs. I knew I didn’t have this Cubs Marathon card yet, so I decided to go ahead and purchase it along with the Stillwell cards above. I was a bit disappointed when it arrived and I saw it was bigger than the standard 2.5×3.5. Bigger isn’t always better, especially when it comes to baseball cards. Talk about a storage nightmare.

I’ll be organizing my Dascenzo cards soon, as well as Shawon Dunston, Lou Piniella (player and manager), and Billy Martin (as a manager). Wantlists will be posted on All-American Baseball Cards when they are completed.

If you have any Stillwell cards laying around that I don’t already have, or Dascenzo or Dunston or Piniella or Martin, let me know. We might be able to work out a deal.

I made a small purchase today

Small as in tiny. Not mini. Micro. I bought the 1991-1993 Topps Micro sets.

I didn’t realize Topps put out complete sets in this form from 1991-1993. I have seen a few singles at times, but I always assumed they were Cracker Jack prizes.

These things are insanely small. I’ve only been through the 1993 set so far. It was opened, and I didn’t realize that until I got home, and it was missing the “Prism” cards that were supposed to be included. That kinda stinks because Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the “Prism” cards. But all the Reds were present, as well as Griffey, Eric Davis, Bo Jackson, and some other non-Reds that I enjoy collecting.

The Cubs

My favorite baseball teams are the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds. I was born and raised in northern Kentucky, not even fifteen minutes away from Riverfront Stadium, so the Reds is a no-brainer. The Cubs is a bit more fun to explain, for me at least.

When I was in high school, my dad would take me to ballparks instead of beaches during summer vacation. I’ve been to Yankee Stadium, Shea Stadium, Fenway Park, the old Three Rivers, old Comiskey, new Comiskey, and Tiger Stadium among others. But the best was Wrigley Field. The year was 1989, the Cubs were in the middle of a pennant race, and Jerome Walton was on his way to the Rookie of the Year award. We sat in the right field bleachers with a bunch of drunks and loudmouths, but that just made the experience better. Rick Sutcliffe was pitching that day, and all the stars were in the lineup: Mark Grace, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Walton, and Dwight Smith. I can’t remember the specifics of the game, even the opposing team (I think it was the Expos, but can’t be certain), but I do remember for sure that the Cubs won! Cubs won! Holy cow!

From that day forward, the Cubs were my favorite team. As a baseball card collector, I was already a fan of the stars. I would have rooted for Grace as the NL ROY in 1988 if it weren’t for Chris Sabo being in the league that year. Dawson was a monster slugger, and Ryno was a great second bagger. But it was that day at Wrigley that forever cemented my love for the Cubs.

My favorite Cubs of all-time come from that era, most already mentioned above (minus Dwight Smith, never really went crazy for him). Others include Greg Maddux, Doug Dascenzo, and Shawon Dunston. In fact, Dunston was my favorite overall player for a few years in the 1990s.

Now, I haven’t followed baseball much since the late 1990s. I’ll try to catch a game here and there, and will sort of follow the playoffs, but I don’t know much about who the big stars are today besides the obvious: Jeter, A-Rod, Bonds. I couldn’t tell you who is playing for the Cubs now other than a couple of pitchers (Wood and Zambrano…Prior left, right?). I’ve tried to get back into it, but I’m older and have other distractions that I didn’t have in grade school when I was first learning the game. I will try again this season, but I’m still not sure. Maybe if I start picking up some cheap packs of ballcards that will help me. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ll continue to remember that magical year of 1989, when I fell in love with the Cubbies.

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