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The Story of Jim Tracy's Stolen Cubs Jersey

A great array of Cubs baseball cards were sent by Dominic, Ed, and Josh last week.

In other blog posts I have mentioned a regular trading partner I call “Oddball Eddie.” He is Ed from Baltimore and a member of the Old Baseball Cards Group. This group of collectors are awesome to trade with as I’ve made many deals over the past two years with many of its members.

Oddball Eddie always comes through with some great Cubs baseball cards. Right at the top of his box was this 1982 Big League Collectibles Hack Wilson. First things first: oooh that art of Wilson is rough. Second, it’s defintely a new Cubs card because this would defintely be one to remember.

Ed always sends some well loved vintage. Mike “Moe” Drabowsky was born in Poland, before emigrating to the United States when he was three years old in 1938.

Dick Drott’s haircut on this 1961 Topps card reminds me of The Simpson’s episode in which Abraham Simpson comments about Johnny Unitas: “Now that’s a haircut you can set your watch to.”

As a kid I always wanted the 1968 Topps Joe Niekro card. When I discovered he had played for the Cubs it baffled my 10-year old mind. Joe Niekro, and Phil, were on my radar as a young collector from their 1988 Topps card.

Vintage Cubs team cards are always awesome.

How about this. Ron Santo flanked by Willie Mays on this 1965 Topps RBI Leaders card.

The 1965 Topps design is up there among my favorite all-time designs. I love the pennant in the corner. Here’s George Altman.

And look at this. It’s a 1971 Topps Larry Gura, and looks like it’s a 3-D card from the print error.

Dominic sent some awesome Cubs cards highlighted by this 1983 Donruss Ryne Sandberg rookie card.

Some vintage like this 1973 Topps Billy Williams.

And a 1967 Topps Don Kessinger.

Trivia question: Who was the last Cubs player to wear jersey #23 before Ryne Sandberg? It was Jim Tracy during the 1980 and 1981 seasons. Unfortunately, his only game used Cubs #23 was stolen in 1988 while Tracy was managing the Peoria Chiefs.

“That’s low. My major league jersey? I was gonna give that to my oldest boy when he got big enough to appreciate it. Now some sumbitch is gonna be wearing it in a beer league softball game!” (“The Boys Who Would Be Cubs: a Year in the Heart of Baseball's Minor Leagues.” The Boys Who Would Be Cubs: a Year in the Heart of Baseball's Minor Leagues, by Joseph Bosco, W. Morrow, 1990.)

Rick Kranitz was the Peoria Chiefs pitching coach and replied to Tracy: “Trace...I don’t think you have to be worrying about that. The low-life scumbag has probably already sold it as Sandberg’s.”

I couldn’t find any information on the aftermath of this theft that occurred in the clubhouse of the Rockford Expos. Rick Wilkins, a top Cubs prospect, was also victim to theft in this incident.

Josh from Seattle and his daughter Maisie sent a bunch of Cubs cards in a PWE. I was super impressed by some the stamps used. Take a look at that JFK stamp. I did a google search and it appears these were in production in the first few months of 1964. Super cool!

Here’s a look at the Cubs cards that Maisie and Josh sent.

And I’m finally caught up with my maildays, just in time to finalize the January numbers.

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