Cubs Convention 2018 Preview

For the fourth consecutive year, I will be making the trek to Chicago’s downtown Sheraton for the annual Cubs Convention.

After a career in radio (no money) and Division I college Athletics (no time), I made a career move that allowed me time each January to attend the convention.

Year one was amazing and it has been great each year since. Each year I make notes on the Metra ride out of Chicago.

Some of these notes have included: bring more $1 and $5 bills for tips at Kerry Wood’s Woody’s Winter Warmup to personal strategies to maximize purchases and autographs.

This year marks a change in itinerary. I’ll be heading down Thursday instead of Friday morning. Club 400 will be hosting a pre-convention party/fundraiser with Ray Burris and Bill Buckner in attendance. If you haven’t seen or heard of Club 400, do a google search. It’s a sight to behold for anyone, regardless of your baseball affiliation.

It just so happens my best friend since junior high lives just blocks from Club 400, so I have a free night stay.

Friday I will take the Metra out of Crystal Lake and check in for the convention by noon. My friend, Dave, and I have had an annual tradition of eating a late lunch at the Billy Goat.

Friday night will be the convention’s Opening Ceremonies and then we make a mad dash to Harry Caray’s for the Woody’s Winter Warmup. This event is well worth it!





And I may have been most excited to see Scott Sanderson. He was my favorite Cubs player of the mid-80’s.

Tune in next week as I will keep you updated on Cubs Convention 2018. I do not plan on buying many cards for the pursuit to One Million cards, but I’ll have to make at least purchase to denote the occasion.

2002 Donruss Team Heroes #209 Jose Cueto

Not too often do I come across a Cubs baseball card of someone that escapes my memory. However, that did happen today during data entry.

Card 3,864 in my database was quickly entered. As I began to type in the last name, I did a double take. This 2003 Donruss Team Heroes card was not Jose Ceda. There’s a Marlins logo on the card. Maybe I mixed in the wrong card to my Cubs collection. It was neither Ceda, nor a mistake.

Jose Cueto spent time in the Chicago Cubs organization, but never in Wrigley Field. Not even a game in Major League Baseball as a matter of fact. Who was Jose Cueto?

That question perplexed me. Not only do I have a photographic memory of Cubs players, I have closely followed its prospects since the mid-1990s. So, who was Jose Cueto?

A trip to Baseball Reference led me with a couple more questions than answers. Cueto never appeared with the Chicago Cubs, topping out at AA West Tennessee in 2001 and 2004.

My 2003 Donruss Team Heroes card denoted “traded to Florida Marlins.” Now I was curious as to which trade he was involved in. A Google search led to the answer.

Cueto was traded to the Marlins on March 27, 2002 with Julian Tavarez, Dontrelle Willis, and Ryan Jorgensen for Antonio Alfonseca and Matt Clement.

He spent the 2002 season in AA with Portland and 2003 with AA Carolina in the Marlins system, then returned to the Cubs in 2004 playing with West Tennessee (5-3, 3.22 ERA, 43K/35BB).

The Jose Cueto mystery solved. And that’s the fun in cataloguing my Cubs collection. Uncovering cards I overlooked and learning more about this wonderful baseball franchise.

1989 Peoria Chiefs Kodak/McDonalds Minor League Set

The year 1989, as previously discussed, is my first real memory of being all-in as a baseball card collector.

Growing up in a small town we lived a simple life. The only thing I wanted for my 8th birthday was a small party with my eight closest friends “camping out” in the backyard following a trip to “the cities,” as in Quad Cities, to ABC Collectibles in Moline, Illinois.


This was in 1990 when Baseball Card shops were booming. In the two small cities nearest my hometown there were a combined five card shops around this time. That’s impressive for rural Illinois covering two towns with a collective population of less than 20,000 people.

But ABC Collectibles had it all. It was a very nice, large hobby shop. A huge collection of vintage, new product, supplies, and memorabilia.

I don’t remember my complete haul from that birthday trip, but one purchase stands out to this day. The 1989 Peoria Chiefs Kodak/McDonalds minor league set.

The Chiefs were the low-A Cubs affiliate at this time playing in the Midwest League. Peoria was only an hour away from my hometown growing up, but did not see a game until 2001. Ironically, I would later spend a summer working for the Chiefs as a broadcast engineer and fill-in PA Announcer in 2012.

This 1989 Kodak release was a great set, although cut slightly smaller than a standard card. It was also the first time I had seen minor league cards.


Attracting me to this set was Ty Griffin. He was a top prospect and the Cubs first round draft pick in 1988. Normally at this age I wouldn’t have known prospects, but Griffin had appeared in the 1989 Topps set, as well as the 1988 Topps Traded set as a member of Team USA.

This was not the only Griffin card in the set, as he was featured with Fernando Ramsey. The card was titled, “Peoria’s Olympic Stars.” Griffin was a star of the 1988 gold medal winning Team USA, while Ramsey had been a member of Team Panama in 1984 Central America and Caribbean Junior Championships…as a sprinter in the 100-meter dash.

Heathcliff Slocumb became my favorite card in this set. Not because of his MLB career, rather his unique name. And I was a big Heathcliff the Cat fan as a kid.

Other players made names for themselves with big league stints such as Matt Walbeck.


And Alex Arias

Brad Mills managed the 1989 Peoria Chiefs and later managed the Houston Astros. Mills is currently the bench coach for the Cleveland Indians.

Rick Kranitz was the team’s pitching coach. Kranitz is the pitching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies.


He had had a long career in the big leagues with stints in the same position with the Brewers, Orioles, and Marlins. And look at this card. Such a unique picture.

Maybe my favorite story from this set comes from my Through The Mail (TTM) autograph requests. From 2006-2009 I obtained well over 1,000 Cubs autographs through the mail. Braz Davis was one of my favorite successes.


He signed a few minor league cards for me and wrote back a page long letter thanking me and giving me an update on his post-playing career. I will try to track this letter down and post it.

Thank you readers for the outpouring of support and trade requests. Sending out a couple more boxes tomorrow and several other trades are in the works.

Trade Review: Twitter's @PreserveHobby With 100 Cubs Cards

The second One Million Cubs Project trade has been completed. This marks my first ever deal through Twitter, and it was a success.

My deal was struck with Twitter user @preservehobby through one of my other Twitter accounts (@setfillercards). We discussed future deals, but agreed on starting our first trade with a 100-card swap. He was seeking Pirates and Mets cards in this deal, so I sent an equal 50 cards from each team.


I was very impressed with my Cubs return that came in the mail today. It was a nice mix of cards from each decade back to a six pack of 1974 Topps. Jose Cardenal, despite playing before I was born, has always been one of my favorite Cubs players from this era. His baseball cards always tickled my fancy with his afro overflowing from under his hat. Don Kessinger was another fan favorite from this era.

And the cards spanned all the way to the present as I was surprised with a Kris Bryant 2017 Topps League Leaders. The plan is to eventually separate out some of my favorite players into binders. I have a plethora of 3-ring binders that I have hoarded from local Goodwill stores.


Collectors tip: if you don’t mind plain white or black binders for sets or collections, check out Goodwill. Often, they price them at $0.49 and every once in a while they will tape together five or six binders and charge $1.49.

Speaking of player binders, my first target for the binder will be my Javier Baez collection. By no means am I a Baez collector, but I will grab his cards if priced right. This trade netted me a 2016 Topps Holiday Baez in addition to an Addison Russell and Jake Arrieta from the same set.

Throwback and Vintage card designs are striking. I’m so sick of seeing 1989 Topps, but for some reason if Topps slaps a picture of Anthony Rizzo it’s a must have. Or a 1983 Topps design featuring Starlin Castro from 2015 Archives. Topps Heritage and Archives will always get my money.

The final featured card is a new one for my collection. Always a plus. Keith Moreland was one of my favorites as a youngster in the 1980’s and here he is on a 2013 Panini Hometown Heroes.

Thanks again to @preservehobby for our first trade. We are already working on a second trade to swap 200 cards this time. A couple more trades are in the works and three packages were mailed out today. If you want to trade, please send me an email,, or reach out via Twitter.

Team Traders Wanted: Here Are The Details

Acquiring one million Cubs baseball cards will take some help. A lot of help. Since this is a popular time to state goals for the new year, the One Million Cubs Project goal for 2018 is to reach 250,000 Cubs cards by the end of the year.

It will take some trading. A lot of trading. One trade has been completed, and a couple packages should be in the mail, and another three packages will be shipped this week. More traders are needed.

The main trading goal is to offload my excess cards by team(s). My team lots consist of cards from 1980 to 2017. Many different sets including oddballs and some inserts. All baseball teams are available except the Chicago White Sox. I also have football and hockey (no Pittsburgh Penguins available) cards available.

My inventory includes more than a million cards, and have plenty of cards to trade for Cubs. Additionally, I have more than 100,000 Oklahoma Sooners 2011 Upper Deck football cards to trade.

Please reach out via Twitter or email to trade.

First Trade Completed During The One Million Cubs Project

A few trades are in the works for the One Million Cubs Project. On Friday, I shipped out two boxes of cards, and will ship out a couple more on Tuesday.

The first trade has been completed through the Keep It Real Facebook group. This is a great collecting group that I have been a member of since the summer of 2014. In the group I have sold cards, bought cards, traded cards, discussed hobby related topics, shown off my collection, and participated in box breaks.


One member, Tony C, and I completed a White Sox for Cubs trade back in 2015. We stuff a medium flat rate box of each other’s team and open them up and get some surprises.

Tony’s box arrived this morning with a 400 count box, a couple 300 count boxes, and a small medium flat rate box with more cards. In total, there were 1,054 Cubs cards to add to my collection.


My favorite hits in this package may have been the 2002 Topps Archives. Honestly, I may have these cards already, but these cards are great so I always enjoy receiving them. Most are just reprints, except for the Lee Smith 1983 Topps design and one of the Bill Madlock 1975 Topps design. These two are actually 2003 Topps Archives Fan Favorites.

I’m a big Rick Reuschel fan. It all began with the 1977 Topps Big League Brothers card. This was a white whale for a young Cubs collector pre-Internet era. Lo and behold I would later speak with Paul Reuschel on a regular basis as we lived in the same city and I worked for their alma mater, Western Illinois University.

During the Reuschel era, MSA produced Discs in 1977. Among the Cubs players featured on these discs were Andy Thornton, Jose Cardenal, and Jerry Morales.

Oddballs are great and this box provides a couple cards new to my collection. Jerome Walton and Dwight Smith were starring for the Cubs as my fandom was reaching a fever pitch as a seven year old.


The above cards are from the 1990 Fleer MVP set. I have about every 1980’s Oddball issue, but didn’t realize this set existed. The other is a 2003 Topps Bazooka Joe that I’ve never seen.

Similar to oddballs were some of the parallel sets released during the junk era. By no means are they Oddball or junk, though.


Fleer issued a glossy set, and that is what is pictured here with Sharon Dunston and Frank DiPino. The front side is glossy and it’s production was limited compared to its matte finish counterpart.

Finally, there are always a few cards that pop up that I not only knew existed, but didn’t know the player. I don’t recall a prospect by the name of Jovan Rosa, but here he is on a 2008 Donruss Triple Threads.


More cards are incoming and I am always looking for more trade partners. All baseball teams are available except White Sox. Also willing to trade football and hockey.

The Organization Of One Million Cubs

Counting and organization of one million Chicago Cubs baseball cards will be the largest struggle of this project. Moreso than the actual attainment of one million cards.

So how will it be done? Initially, the plan was to sort through the existing collection which numbers somewhere between 50,000 and 75,000 cards.


That seemed very time consuming and tedious. However, in some form or fashion a better organization plan will be implemented. At this time, the organization goal is to catalog the existing collection and get an accurate count.

Typically an estimate is not too difficult because the card boxes store an approximate number of cards. Monster boxes hold 5,000 or 3,200 cards on average. Other boxes containing Cubs hold 550, 800, or 900 cards. There are a few binders that contain maybe 500-1,000 cards. But then there are the multiple boxes that remain unsorted. So the current estimated count is in the neighborhood of 50,000 to 75,000 Cubs cards.

The first action has been simply to start an Excel spreadsheet (pictured above). This database contains the key checklist items to eventually sort the collection by finding out how many total cards, but also how many cards from a player, or set.

This strategy will come in handy to track down missing cards from the collection. Ultimately, I would also like to pull all Ryne Sandberg, Kris Bryant, Javier Baez, and other players to insert into binders.


That’s also where this form of compiling data can get tricky. Once catalogued, I plan to move these cards from their existing homes inside the boxes on the spreadsheet.

Each box will be numbered. Currently, I am cataloging the second box. The first two boxes are titled, A1 and A2. Then from left to right each row is numbered 1 through 4 or 1 through 5.


Time will tell how the spreadsheet will change after any cards are pulled and given a new home. This method will suffice for now, and it’s a still a long journey to one million.

Christmas 2017 Cubs Cards

Each year since the age of five or six, Santa has dropped baseball cards under my tree and/or in my stocking.

Even at age 35, Santa still finds me and brings me cards. This year, between Santa wife and Santa mom, I was gifted with both a 2016 Topps complete set and a 2017 Topps complete set. These will remain unopened with those existing Cubs cards locked inside.


My stocking did reveal a few packs of cards, include 2017 Topps Series 1, Series 2, and Update.

There were no big hits, but six Cubs cards were inside. Another Kris Bryant card added to the collection as well.


Oh, and there was one more Cubs card inside my stocking. My mom stuffed a Christmas card with some cash and…a 1991 Score Bill Long. I forgot to ask why she threw in a random baseball card, but it’s another tally for the race to a million.

Merry Christmas!

Inspiration Behind One Million Cubs Project

Most ideas are not original, rather using the same premise from something already in existence. The One Million Cubs Project is no different. It was an idea born by not one or two projects in place by others. This project was spawned by four separate ideas.

First, the thought was born by an overwhelming amount of trading cards in my collection. Many of which are commons and hard to sell even in large lots. Initially the plan was to eventually sort the nearly 1.5 million cards in this collection and slowly list the entire inventory on Sportlots.

Over time that plan was foiled because thousands upon thousands of these cards range from 1979 through the 1990’s and cards from these sets will sit on Sportlots without a single purchase. During my time on Sportlots, I’ve taken the hours to sort and list thousands of cards from 1982 Topps only to sell $0.36 worth of cards in a year from that set.

So what do I do with all these unwanted cards? Team traders was the answer. Team trading has been an off and on hobby of mine since 1998 when I would make a few trades with people from the classified ads of Sports Collectors Digest or Beckett or Tuff Stuff. It only got easier with the dawn of social media and blogs.

That was the base of the project. Trading unwanted cards from other teams for Chicago Cubs cards. Acquiring one million Cubs cards was still not the plan.

Sorting through some 1991 and 1992 Conlon Collection baseball cards is when the plan was starting to simmer. As I pulled aside the Cubs cards there are several players in the set in which it is the only card of that player. Cards of obscure Cubs players have always intrigued me, which is why I read with much interest the blog of Tony Burbs.

Tony is collecting a card of every Cubs player from their all-time roster. Maybe this could be my aim with these Conlon Collection cards, my affinity for the Larry Fritsch “One Year Wonders” sets, in addition to my love for the Rookies App on my iPhone creating custom cards.

But I’ll leave that project to Tony, and I’ll just hoard Cubs cards. My second inspiration has always been a blog read for me. The Wrigley Wax blog has been online for several years. Each day, the blogger posts about cards from his Cubs collection. It could be acquiring pieces for player collections, purchasing team sets, or a piece about random cards from his collection. With the One Million Cubs Project, I will be borrowing ideas from Wrigley Wax.

By this time, I had started to conjure up the idea of collecting toward a milestone. Since I have more than a million cards and most are unwanted, it would be great to trade them for Cubs. Swapping cards and making a million….Cubs cards.

Collecting one million Cubs cards seems like a crazy idea, and it probably is. However it is not as crazy as the third blog that inspired this project. Corey Stackhouse is attempting to collect every Tim Wallach card. You may not think that’s crazy, because many collectors attempt to complete a player’s card run. But that’s not what Corey is attempting to do. No, he is attempting to collect EVERY Tim Wallach card, like all three million (just a blind estimate) 1988 Topps cards that were printed of Wallach (and others).

In the end, the One Million Cubs Project was hatched from these three blogs and will have similar posts and ideas from these three.

So, who wants to trade?

Introducing The One Million Cubs Baseball Card Project

More than a million cards have accumulated in my collection. Throughout the time I have collected, since around 1987, Chicago Cubs baseball cards have almost always been my target.

Multiple times over the years my collecting habits have changed, but holding on to Cubs cards has almost always survived my different collecting direction.

Over the past two years breaking boxes and cases has taken precedence, and of course I hold aside the Cubs from these breaks. Buying large collections and lots is another focus. The latter is how I have accumulated almost 1.5 million trading cards.

About 60,000 cards are listed in my Sportlots store and a few hundred are posted on EBay. What about the rest? More than a million lonely cards just sitting…and sitting…and sitting.

It was time for a change. And that is what led me to the one million Cubs project. The ultimate goal is to collect a million Cubs cards while simultaneously trading off my million extra cards.

How will I do this? I would like to conduct bulk trades in medium flat rate boxes, but will also conduct smaller trades.

At this time I have begun cataloging my Cubs collection. My estimate is somewhere in the neighborhood of 75,000 Cubs cards. So far I have about 600 entered into my spreadsheet. A new blog highlighting this project will be introduced in the coming days, including the two blogs that were the inspiration for the Million Cubs Project.

Also, follow the project on Twitter @onemillioncubs

Please let me know if you want to trade.