One of my near-term goals for this One Million Cubs Project website is to get a page for every player who has donned a Cubs uniform. Within each page I will display items from my collection. An online One Million Cubs Project museum.
A lot of back-end work is being done for this undertaking. It’s time consuming, and sometimes I get distracted by an eBay search of a player from the 1930’s or 1940’s.
During a search I found a seller offering up an autographed index card of a former Chicago Cubs player. He had a couple hundred Cubs autographs, many obscure, in his eBay store. I bought a handful of signed Cubs index cards. And, I returned to buy more. The latest shipment of old Cubs autographs arrived.
One Game Wonders are fascinating. Players who have worked so hard to reach the highest level of baseball. They get on the field for the first time – and would never return. Larry Fritsch Cards even made a trading card series titled “One Game Wonders.”
Don Carlsen isn’t exactly a One Year Wonder, though he is a Cubs one-game wonder. The pitcher from Chicago made his big league debut with his hometown Cubs on April 28, 1948. It didn’t go so well. Carlsen pitched one inning and gave up four earned runs on five hits and walked a pair of batters for a 36.00 ERA. While it was his only appearance for the Cubs, Carlsen did pitch in 12 other MLB games, but in a Pittsburgh Pirates uniform.
Dick Burwell made five big league appearances all for the Chicago Cubs. Burwell started one game as a pitcher in 1960, while the other four appearances occurred in relief in 1960 and 1961.
Bill Connors made his debut with the Cubs in May 3, 1966, tossing two innings and giving up four earned runs against Houston. He played in 26 games over three seasons with the Cubs and New York Mets.
With the previous three players mentioned it would appear Dick Drott was a big league lifer appearing in 176 games over seven seasons. Drott was a 15-game winner as a rookie in 1957. He threw seven complete games and pitched 229 innings that first year. It was his best season as a big leaguer.
Another young Cubs pitcher that peaked his rookie season was Jack Curtis in 1961. He started 27 games and had a 10-13 record as a rookie.
Clay Bryant won 19 games for the Cubs in 1938. In 270.1 innings he led the National League in strikeouts with 135 punchouts.
Jim Davis played four seasons in the big leagues. Three of them came with the Cubs (1954-56). David won 11 games during his rookie campaign in 1954.
I’ll keep an eye out for more vintage Cubs autographs. There are a few on eBay that have really caught my eye, but the price just isn’t right.