Tuesday, December 8, 2015

#11 Chicago Cubs Team Card

Topps included full team photos in its baseball card set for the first time in 1956, having previously experimented with team cards in a limited edition 1951 stand-alone set.

Building the Set
December 4, 1999 in Raleigh, NC - Card #188
This is one of four cards I acquired at the "Holiday Sports Classic" baseball card show held in Raleigh in late 1999.  I paid $10 for the card and at the time it was the seventh (out of 16) team cards we had in our set.  Given the timing of this show right before holidays, I would have attended this show by myself but I most likely called my Dad back in Millville, New Jersey to update him on my purchases later that day.

The Card
The Cubs are shown in a photo taken during the 1955 season at some point after June 12th.  Owen Friend was purchased from the Red Sox on that day and he's included in the photo.  You can just barely see the ivy on the outfield wall to the left and right of the team.

  • Front Row
  • Howie Pollet (#262 with White Sox)
  • Jim Bolger
  • Paul Minner (#182)
  • Batboy Billy Phillips
  • Warren Hacker (#282)
  • Jim King (#74)
  • Walker Cooper (#273 with Cardinals)
  • 2nd Row
  • Hal Jeffcoat (#289 with Reds)
  • Jim Davis (#102)
  • Coach Ray Blades
  • Lewis (perhaps a team executive?)
  • Manager Stan Hack
  • Coach Dutch Leonard
  • Coach Ray Hayworth
  • Frank Baumholtz (#274 with Phillies)
  • Bob Rush (#214)
  • 3rd Row
  • Clubhouse Manager Yosh Kawano
  • Owen Friend
  • Clyde McCullough
  • Ernie Banks (#15)
  • Bob Speake (#66)
  • Gene Baker (#142)
  • Randy Jackson (#223 with Dodgers)
  • Dave Hillman
  • Eddie Miksis (#285)
  • Trainer Al Scheuneman
  • Back Row
  • Hank Sauer (#41)
  • Sam Jones (#259)
  • Lloyd Merriman
  • Solly Drake
  • John Andre
  • Harry Chiti (#179)
  • Harry Perkowski
  • Don Kaiser (#124, Daiser on card)
  • Dee Fondy (#112)
The Cubs still call Wrigley Field their home although capacity has increased to 41,160.  All the single season records on the back of the card still stand with the exception of home runs in a season.  The Cubs hit 235 home runs in 2004, eclipsing the 171 hit in 1930.

Most Home Runs - 235 in 2004
Most Runs Scored in One Game - 26 in 1922 and 1995
Additional Pennant Winning Teams - 1984, 1989, 2003, 2015
Additional World Championship Teams - N/A

The Cubs team card, along with the team cards for the Phillies and Indians, is available in three variations.  I have the "No Date - Centered Name" variation and the other two versions available are the "No Date - Left Name" and "1955" variations.

1955 Variation
No Year, Team Name at Left
1956 Season
The Cubs finished in last place in 1956 with a record of 60-94, 33 games behind the pennant winning Dodgers.  Shortstop Ernie Banks (#15) and right fielder Walt Moryn paced the offense.  Banks hit .297 with 28 home runs and 85 RBIs, beating out Moryn for the Cubs triple crown.  Bob Rush led the pitching staff with 13 wins.  Following the season, General Manager Wid Matthews resigned and the Cubs would not have a winning season again until 1963.

Cubs Cards That Never Were
I've always been very interested in the concept of "cards that never were" and my other blog, The Phillies Room, has been slowly tackling custom cards for the players who played for the Phillies but never appeared with the Phillies on a baseball card.  As I go through each team card from the 1956 Topps set, I'll highlight some of the team's players, managers or coaches omitted from the set.

For the Cubs, these are the 1956 Topps cards I'd like to see.
  • Stan Hack (manager) - Hack played 16 seasons with the Cubs between 1932 and 1947 and he was a four time All-Star.  He managed the team for three seasons (1954-1956) never finishing with a winning record and going 196-265 overall.
  • Pete Whisenant (center field) - Whisenant was the team's primary center fielder in 1956, splitting time with Solly Drake.  This was his only season with the Cubs as he was traded to the Reds in November 1956.  His rookie card (with the Reds) can be found in the 1957 Topps set.
  • Walt Moryn (right field) - Moryn enjoyed a break-out season in 1956, hitting .285 with 23 home runs.  He'd also appear in the 1957 Topps set.
  • Turk Lown (relief pitcher) - The team's closer in 1956, Lown saved 13 games but didn't receive a Topps card until 1957. 
  • Yosh Kawano (clubhouse manager) - The popular Kawano, featured on the team card, was with the Cubs from 1943 until his retirement in 2008.
  • Billy Williams (left field) - Certainly a stretch here, but the future Hall of Famer was signed as an amateur free agent in 1956.  He appeared in 13 games that season for the Ponca City Cubs of the Class D Sooner State League.
Baseball Reference
The Trading Card Database


  1. Just had the 'dated' version of this card shipped to me from the COMC Black Friday sale; to finish my set. Then I look and see my copy of the "Team at Left" version has a massive tack hole in it! All the Brooklyn Dodger cards had significant markups as I recall, Yankees were far easier to find for me.

  2. Very cool. I've always toyed with the idea of adding the team set variations so that I can say I have a "master" set. I may just have to do that one day.