Monday, October 24, 2016

Best of the best: my top ten Cubs and Indians cards

One of the most highly-anticipated World Series in recent memory starts tomorrow night in Cleveland, as the American League Champion Indians battle the National League Champion Chicago Cubs. One of the longest championship droughts in sports history will finally come to an end - and one city's long suffering fans will celebrate long into the winter.

I haven't traveled much, but I have been to both Cleveland and Chicago - though I didn't see a game at what was then Jacobs Field. As a Red Sox fan, I feel a kinship to the Cubs - who were (and might still be) my favorite N.L. team. But the Indians are managed by former Sox skipper Terry Francona, and former Sox players Mike Napoli, Coco Crisp, and Andrew Miller are among the stars for the Tribe. 

Then again, Theo Epstein was the architect for this curse-breaking Cubs team - and there are former Sox on Chicago's roster as well, including ace lefty Jon Lester, veteran righty John Lackey, and the most popular third-string catcher in baseball, David Ross. 

I think I'll just sit back, crack open a cold one (Mountain Dew, of course) and enjoy this series while all the Cubs and Indians fans out there bite their nails with every pitch. 

While we await Game 1, I thought I'd share my ten best cards of this year's pennant winners. These aren't cards of current-roster Indians or Cubs, these are any cards depicting a Cleveland or Chicago player. 

Before I start the countdown, I have another quick story of a card I didn't buy. This was on sale on COMC earlier today, and I could have snatched it up for about $8:

Tris Speaker is one of the more underrated greats of the game - and there aren't a whole lot of Speaker memorabilia cards out there. So why didn't I jump on this card? Have I not learned my lesson from the David Ortiz patch/auto debacle? Well, I did ..and I didn't. 

Tbh, the price was right, but this card just didn't appeal to me aesthetically. The Tier One ribbon takes up half the card, and the production run is too high. 399? Pass. (Yes, I know I'm incredibly picky.)

Anyway, without further Apu -- here are my ten best Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs:

#10 Doyle Lade 1951 Bowman #139 

I might have a better Cubs card - but I don't have an older Cubs card. This was a recent eBay pickup and cost only $4.10. I don't know anything about Doyle Lade, but I like the brick wall background. That has to be at Wrigley, right?

#9 Sosa/Wood/Prior 2004 Fleer Classic Clippings
Jersey Rack #JR-S/W/P (#d/99)

This triple swatch of the key players from the Cubs 2003 team has been in my collection for over a decade. It's a neat Cubs card to start with, but there's something on the back that makes this a personal favorite:

This might be the only player-numbered jersey card I have. I was a big Sammy Sosa fan back in the day.

#8 Francisco Lindor 2011 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects
Blue Refractor #BDPP53 (#d/199) 

I picked this up on COMC the day Lindor made his major league debut. It's my best modern-day Indians card by far. However, it's not his first Bowman Chrome card. Why do you lie, Topps? 

#7 Moe Drabowsky 1959 Topps #407 (PSA 8)

This is one of a handful of vintage cards I spotted on COMC and later submitted to PSA. The pink really pops on this card. 

#6 Greg Maddux 1987 Fleer Update Glossy #U-68 (PSA 10)

I was never much of a Maddux fan when he pitched for the Braves, but I got to see him pitch for the Cubs when I went to Wrigley in 2004. Got this card on 4 Sharp Corners when I was hoarding rookie cards of current-and-future Hall of Famers.

#5 Al Rosen 1956 Topps #35 (PSA 8) 

The "Hebrew Hammer" was the 1953 American League MVP and a star slugger for the 1954 pennant winners. This is one of the early additions to my 1956 Topps set, and one of my highest graded. 

#4 Bob Feller 2005 Upper Deck Hall Of Fame 
Hall Of Fame Seasons Gold Jersey/Auto (#d/5) 

This was part of my first official COMC purchase, and at just over $40 it's still one of my highest-priced single card purcases on the site. It's a sticker auto and a pants swatch - but that didn't stop me from adding it to my collection of HOFer autos.

#3 Ernie Banks 1968 Topps #355 (PSA 8)

1968 Topps is one of my all-time favorite sets, and I try to add a Hall Of Famer to my collection whenever I can. This beauty Banks card popped up on eBay shortly after he passed away, and I bought it with a best offer. It's a shame that "Mr. Cub" isn't around to see this Series.

#2 Bob Feller 1951 Bowman #30 (PSA 6)

This is a card that has come and gone and come back into my collection. I've sold a copy or two in the past to fund other collecting needs, but I always make sure to keep one vintage Feller in stock.

And now I present, the number one most valuable Cleveland card in my collection...

LeBron James 2003-04 Topps Chrome #111 (BGS 9.5)

I know, I know... King James never suited up for the Tribe. But he did bring a long-awaited championship to Cleveland - and he finally decided to ditch the Yanks and root for the locals

The most valuable Cubs card in my collection is also the most valuable card in my collection, period. Of any player in any sport, in any era. And it's not even close...

#1 Kris Bryant 2013 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks
Refractor Auto #BCA-KB (#d/500) (BGS 9.5)

This card almost makes me forget about the disastrous decision to sell my Mike Trout auto. I bought it ungraded for $250 in November 2014, and sent it to BGS (by way of COMC) for grading. Hopefully Bryant becomes a Cubs legend - and I can use this card to pay for my girls' college expenses in about 15 years.

Do you have any high-end or unique Indians or Cubs cards in your collection? Are there any current or former players from these teams that you collect? Let me know in comments!



  1. I love that Bob Feller jersey auto combo. I've been to the museum in Iowa celebrating Feller and it's a neat stop.

  2. VERY nice!!! I think my favorite two are the Rosen and Feller cards. I'm sure that Bryant is already worth a pretty penny, and will probably be worth a lot more even if Chicago wins it!

  3. Here's hoping Bryant triples the value of the card in the next few games!