Kosuke Fukudome Brings Out the Bro Hugs

Rob in New Jersey sent a box of Cubs that arrived on Monday. This is my second trade with Rob. Just like the first deal, he sent a nice mix of cards that included many new Cubs to add to my collection.

Kerry Wood is an all-time fan favorite. I’ve mentioned a few times recently the goal to put together some player binders and “Kid K” will definitely have his own. Wood’s 20 strikeout game occurred in April 1998 right about the same time I had returned to baseball fandom and later in the summer would begin my Cubs super collecting by raiding the dime boxes at a local card shop.

Tops on a list of Cubs all-time fan favorites would be Mr. Cub himself, Ernie Banks. Not sure if this 2012 Topps Heritage Baseball Flashbacks is new to the collection or not, but something on the back did stick out. Below a comic strip reads, “In 1963, a personal camera sold for $15.95.” Not bad, though today a camera comes free with the purchase of a $1,000 iPhone.

Pre-dating Banks was Rogers Hornsby, who played with the Cubs from 1929 to 1932. Most of his career was spent with the St. Louis Cardinals, but we can ignore that ugly fact. Both of these Hornsby’s came out in 2011.

Jae-Hoon Ha was an outfielder signed out of South Korea. Ha climbed the Cubs farm system from 2009 to 2012 with stops in short season Boise, low-A Peoria, high-A Daytona, double-A Tennessee, and finally triple-A Iowa by 2013. He played 70 games over two seasons for the Iowa Cubs, but never tasted the big leagues.

You know how I love my Cubs prospects that never reached Chicago. Jeff Antigua was another one that played in the minor leagues the same time as Ha. The pitcher from Dominican Republic reached triple-A by 2014 playing two seasons in Des Moines.

D.J. LeMahieu also played in the Cubs farm system during the Ha and Antigua era. LeMahieu did make a brief appearance with the big league Cubs playing 37 games in 2011. He hit .250 with two doubles and four RBI. The infield was traded by the Cubs with Tyler Colvin in December 2011 to the Colorado Rockies for Ian Stewart and Casey Weathers. Wish we could have a re-do on that one. LeMahieu did get some Cubs Topps love with a rookie card in 2011 Update.

March 31, 2008. Wrigley Field. Season opener. Cubs vs. Brewers. Bottom of the 9th inning. Newly signed Kosuke Fukudome steps to the plate with his Cubs trailing 3-0 and facing Brewers closer Eric Gagne. In one swing Fukudome went into Cubs lore with a home run to tie the game. I had taken a half day at work to watch the game and have a few beers with my friend, Sean. Both of us diehard Cubs fans jumped from our seats with the colossal game-tying hit by Fukudome. The moment ended in a hug. Once our celebration was over we looked at each other and in a moment similar to that of Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly said without a beat, “did we just hug?”

By the 2000’s Upper Deck had lost me. Long gone was the aura of the inaugural set featuring the iconic Ken Griffey Jr. rookie card and packs priced beyond my seven-year old allowance. There are very few Upper Deck cards by the mid-2000’s that actually capture my eye. In 2010, Upper Deck featured cards of stadiums. In all of the collections and purchases I’ve made in the eight years since the set was released, I’ve never seen the Wrigley Field card. Now I have one. It’s a beauty.

Thanks for another trade, Rob!

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