Keavin Keating Of QAM – Collecting The 1969 Chicago Cubs

This week we have some really great items for sale and even more new acquisitions listed on our website at www.qualityautographs.com. Be sure to contact us at 800-241-4809 or qualityautographs@msn.com to reserve your finds early.  Don’t miss out on some great new items!  Kevin Keating has been a prominent hobby figure for a long, long time. Known for his deep knowledge of sports autographs, Keating has developed a loyal following of those who share his passion for famous signatures. This week we will look at collecting the individual member signatures on flat items of the 1969 Chicago Cubs, forever embraced by their fans for their Goliath collapse against David’s Miracle Mets.

Manager: HOF-Leo Durocher (d.91)
 
Starting eight:
HOF–Ernie Banks 1B
Glenn Beckert 2B
Ron Santo 3B
Don Kessinger SS
Billy Williams OF
Don Young OF
Jim Hickman OF
Randy Hundley C
 
Substitutes:                                      Pitchers:
Al Spangler                                        HOF-Fergie Jenkins
Willie Smith (d.06)                             Bill Hands
Paul Popovich                                    Ken Holtzman
Jim Qualls                                          Dick Selman (d.01)
Oscar Gamble                                    Phil Regan
Adolfo Phillips                                    Ted Abernathy (d.04)
Nate Oliver                                        Rich Nye
Bill Heath                                           Hank Aguirre (d.94)
Ken Rudolph                                     Don Nottebart (d.07)
Gene Oliver (d.07)                             Joe Niekro (d.06)
Jimmie Hall–*See Note 1                  Ken(Kenneth Travis) Johnson
Rick Bladt                                          Jim Colborn
Manny Jiminez–**See Note 2           Joe Decker (d.03)
Johnny Hairston–***See Note 3       Archie Reynolds
Charley Smith (d.94)                          Dave Lemonds
Randy Bobb (d.82)                            Alec Distaco(d.09)
 
                                                         Gary Ross***See Note 3
 
Coaches:                                            Other:
Joey Amalfitano                                   HOF-Broadcaster Jack Brickhouse(d.98)
Joe Becker (d.98)                               General Manager John Holland (d.75)
Pete Reiser (d.81)                               Owner Philip Wrigley (d.77)
Verlon Walker (d.71)
 
Since most team collectors attempt to assemble their items on flat items in order to display the completed team together, we will apply the scarcity index key (SIK) below only to our estimate of the total number of signed flat items we have seen for each person listed above:
 
SIK-I:  Extinct (we have never seen one)-none in this category
 
SIK-II:  Extremely Rare (we have seen 1-10)-none in this category
 
SIK-III:  Very Rare (we have seen 11-25)-none in this category
 
SIK-IV:  Rare (we have seen 26-100)-Randy Bobb, John Holland, and Verlon Walker
 
SIK-V:  Uncommon (we have seen 101-500)-Alec Distaso, Johnny Hairston, Manny Jiminez, Gary Ross, and Phillip Wrigley
 
SIK-VI
:  Readily available (deceased with little or no autograph-show or private signing participation but examples are routinely offered in the market largely or primarily due to volume mail responses; check or other document releases; and/or overall widespread collecting of that person during their lifetime)-Ted Abernathy, Hank Aguirre, Joe Becker, Jack Brickhouse, Joe Decker,  Leo Durocher, Dick Selma, Pete Reiser, and Charley Smith
 
SIK-VII:  Plentiful (deceased but seemingly endless quantities exist from participation in modern shows, private signings, and/or fan-mail responses or a combination
thereof)-Joe Niekro, Don Nottebart, Gene Oliver, and Willie Smith
 
SIK-VIII:  living but inaccessible and/or whereabouts unknown- Johnny Hairston, Manny Jiminez, and Gary Ross
 
SIK-IX:  living with limited and/or sporadic accessibility-Jimmie Hall
 
SIK-X:  living and accessible-all else
 
Notes:
 
1:  It is our understanding that Jimmie Hall is a truck driver who spends long periods of time on the road, making him virtually unavailable to autograph seekers. 
 
2.  After leaving baseball, Jiminez moved back to his native Dominican Repulic where he continues to reside, well beyond the reach of U.S. autograph collectors.
 
Note 3:  Neither Johnny Hairston, or Gary Ross are common to the autograph show circuit.  None are ready-signers through the mail, either.  
 
Summary:  
The 1969 Cubs are arguably the most collected of all 2nd place teams in history.  The roster showcased three future hall of famers (manager Durocher makes four) and five all-star players.  The team jumped out to an 11-1 record and stayed in first place for 155 days.  With the Cubs’ faithful believing that their 61-year streak of futility was finally at an end, the stage was set for perhaps the most stunning rise and fall of any team in history at the hands of an unlikely conqueror.  The Cubs ultimately lost 17 of the last 25 games of the season-blowing what was once an 8-1/2 game lead, while the Mets went 23-7 to win the NL Eastern Division, a full eight games ahead of the Cubs. The 16.5 game turnaround was one of the biggest in history.  And the combination of the epoch fall of the mighty Cubs at the hands of the ‘no-name’ Mets, who had set a season loss record of 120 games just seven seasons before, resulted in arguably the most astounding late season collapse in history.  The Mets went on to sweep the Atlanta Braves in the playoffs before completing their Miracle season by defeating the Orioles four games out of five to win the world series. 
 
Notwithstanding the lingering love that Cubs’ fans have for this team, one more reason this team is so widely collected is that it is readily possible to obtain nearly all of its members.  Moreover, most of the players can be found for a reasonable cost and all of its key members can be obtained if one has the patience and means to acquire them.  For the completionist, however, who wishes to get everyone who appeared in at least one game, Randy Bobb is the biggest challenge to find, followed by Alec Distaso.  On a significantly lesser scale, Jimmie Hall, Johnny Hairston, Gary Ross, and Manny Jiminez, who are all still living at the time of this writing may also pose challenges for collectors of this team who is celebrated more for what they didn’t accomplish than what they did.