Landing My Cubs "White Whale"

The term “white whale” is derived from Moby Dick. Something you chase, and chase, and chase. Recently, I landed my Cubs “white whale.”

Lately I’ve been chasing pre-war cards and have picked up a few at decent prices. But the top of my want list has been Cubs cards from the 1887 Old Judge set.


Several years ago I had an opportunity to pick up an Old Judge authenticated Cubs card and passed. Soon, they vanished from eBay. I have been looking occasionally for the past two years and have come up empty.

Finally, a Duke Farrell 1887 authenticated Old Judge was listed on eBay. It was a decent price, but I waited until an eBay sale or eBay Bucks promotion.


A 15% off sale arose and I pulled the trigger. Finally, a 131-year old Cubs baseball card would be in my collection.

Duke Farrell had a long pro baseball career that lasted 18 seasons. His first was with the Chicago White Stockings (Cubs) in 1888.


Farrell played in 165 games for the Cubs in 1888 and 1889. He hit .252 with 10 home runs in that span. The catcher had a career year in 1891 with the Boston Reds winning the pennant and the home run title (12) while hitting .302.

Following his baseball career he managed a hotel in Marlboro, Massachusetts and served as a deputy U.S. Marshall. Charles Andrew “Duke” Farrell passed away at the age of 58 in 1925.

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