Wednesday, October 22, 2014

1950s to 1969 Phillies Postcards

Number of Cards:  78
Card Size: 3 1/4" x 5 1/2"
Description:  These postcards featured black and white portraits of Phillies players (and managers) to have suited up for the team between 1950 and 1969.  Most of the postcards contain black facsimile autographs on the fronts, and the backs are blank.

How Distributed:  The cards were produced throughout the '50s and '60s by the Phillies as needed and as new players joined the club.  There's no way to tell which year any particular card is from, other than each player's card would have been issued during his tenure with the Phillies.  For example, the Johnny Callison card featured above could have been issued at any point, and over several different years, between 1960 and 1969, the years Callison played for the Phillies.

Vintage-wise, Dick Sisler is the earliest ex-Phillie, having left the club following the 1951 season.  Deron Johnson is the latest Phillie on the checklist, having joined the club in 1969.

Complete Standard Checklist:  This list could grow, although I suspect that any new postcard discoveries would have been made by now.  With the advent of the internet age, the mysteries surrounding these types of issuances are slowly dissipating.
  • Rich Allen - Glasses
  • Rich Allen - Best Wishes
  • Rich Allen - Look Ahead
  • Harry Anderson
  • Richie Ashburn
  • Jack Baldschun
  • Dennis Bennett
  • Ed Bouchee
  • Johnny Briggs
  • Jim Bunning
  • John Buzhardt
  • Smokey Burgess
  • Johnny Callison
  • Don Cardwell 1
  • Don Cardwell 2
  • Doug Clemens
  • Jim Coker
  • Gene Conley
  • Wes Covington
  • Ray Culp
  • Tony Curry
  • Clay Dalrymple - Glove
  • Clay Dalrymple - Portrait
  • Jacke Davis
  • Don Demeter
  • Dick Ellsworth
  • Del Ennis
  • Dick Farrell 1
  • Dick Farrell 2
  • Chico Fernandez
  • Woodie Fryman
  • Tony Gonzalez - Phillies
  • Tony Gonzalez - Part of Phillies
  • Dallas Green
  • Dick Groat
  • Granny Hamner
  • John Herrnstein
  • Larry Hisle
  • Grant Jackson
  • Larry Jackson
  • Deron Johnson
  • Willie Jones
  • Jim Konstanty
  • Stan Lopata
  • Art Mahaffey
  • Gene Mauch MG
  • Jack Meyer
  • Don Money
  • Bobby Morgan
  • Wally Post
  • Robin Roberts
  • Cookie Rojas
  • Mike Ryan
  • Ted Savage
  • Ed Sawyer MG - Fac. Auto
  • Ed Sawyer MG - No Auto
  • Andy Seminick
  • Ray Semproch
  • Chris Short - Phillies
  • Chris Short - Hill
  • Roy Sievers
  • Curt Simmons
  • Dick Sisler
  • Bob Skinner MG - Stands
  • Bob Skinner MG - No Stands
  • Bobby G. Smith
  • Charley Smith
  • Frank Sullivan
  • Gary Sutherland
  • Tony Taylor - Antonio
  • Tony Taylor - No Auto
  • Earl Torgeson
  • Gary Wagner
  • Bobby Wine - Phillies Showing
  • Bobby Wine - Partial Phillies
  • Rick Wise
  • Bill White - Portrait
  • Bill White - with Bat
One and Done (1):  Going through my collection and double checking the Beckett database, I believe these postcards mark the only Phillies baseball card appearance of Charley Smith (112 games in 1961).
First Appearances (62):  There are 63 known players to have appeared in these postcard sets.  C. Smith and 62 other players who appeared elsewhere on Phillies baseball cards throughout the years.  (The First Appearance designation is for players who have never before appeared within a Phillies team issued set.  These players may have already appeared on other Phillies baseball cards.)

Managers (3):  Sawyer, Mauch, Skinner
Coaches (0)
Phillie Phanatic (0):  The Phanatic was still just a mere twinkle in Bill Giles' eye when these postcards were originally released.
Broadcasters (0)
Commemorative Cards (0)
Other Cards (0)

Variations/Rarities (12):  I've listed in the standard checklist above the variations to be found for Allen, Cardwell, Dalrymple, Farrell, Gonzalez, Sawyer, Short, Skinner, Taylor, Wine and White.

Trivia:  The players with the most games with the Phillies in the 1950s without a team issued postcard are - Eddie Waitkus (559 games), Ted Kazanski (417 games) and Johnny Wyrostek (315 games).  From the 1960s, the top three players by games played but not appearing on a Phillies postcard are - Ruben Amaro (668 games), Pancho Herrera (271 games) and Don Lock (215 games).
Resources:  Fellow Phillies collector Rick (@rickphils) provided the scans below.  The checklists were originally compiled by collector Dan E. and Rick has made notations on the lists throughout the years based on his discoveries of new variations.  Thanks again to Rick for sharing these lists and the scans!  (Click on each to enlarge.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Go Royals!

2003 Topps Heritage #91
I'm predicting Royals in 6 with at least one dramatic contribution from Raul Ibanez or Erik Kratz.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Your Source for Information on Phillies Team Issued Sets (Eventually)

1983 Tastykake Phillies
If detailed posts on Phillies team issued baseball card sets aren't your thing, fear not.  I'll still be posting about the team's off-season moves throughout the coming months.  I also have the unfortunate task of looking back at the 2014 Phillies statistical leaders through the final cards in the 2014 Chachi set.

I've gone on a bit of a binge over this past week with posts looking at the Tastykake Phillies sets issued between 1982 and 1985.  My goal is to eventually cover all the team issued sets through the years, and I've set aside a page to serve as a portal to all these posts.  You can find bits and pieces on the Phillies team issues sets from the 1950s through today on various websites and in the older Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards editions, but there's nowhere (that I could find) where all of this information is brought together in one place.  I hope to do that.

I seriously doubt I can keep up the pace of a set a day, but look for more posts throughout the World Series (Go Royals!) as I need something to take my mind off the troublesome state of the current Phillies.

If you have any information to add to any of these posts where you think revisions are needed, please don't hesitate to contact me or leave a comment.  My goal is to present the most accurate and complete information possible on the baseball card sets issued by the Phillies over the past fifty-plus years.  Special thanks goes out to fellow Phillies collector Rick (@rickphils) who has e-mailed to me a ton of great information on these sets in the past few weeks.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

1985 Tastykake Phillies

Number of Cards:  47
Card Size:  3 1/2" x 5 1/4"
Description:  Beginning in 1985, the team used the exact same card design for three straight years.  The only things differentiating the cards are the photos used and the copyright line on the bottom right of the cards' fronts.  The design removes the Phillies script logo found on the 1984 cards and adds the player's uniform number and position.
How Distributed:  All fans attending the Phillies game at Veterans Stadium on April 21, 1985, received a complete shrink-wrapped set with a header/checklist card on the top.  The back of the header/checklist card advertised that additional sets could be purchased from the Phillies via mail order for $3.50.  The Phillies raised the price of a complete set by fifty cents over the previous year.

Complete Standard Checklist:  The cards themselves aren't numbered, but I'm presenting the checklist below based on the numbered checklist found on the back of the header card.
  • Header Card/Checklist
  • John Felske MG
  • Dave Bristol CO
  • Lee Elia CO
  • Claude Osteen CO
  • Mike Ryan CO
  • Del Unser CO
  • Manager and Coaches
  • Pitchers
  • Catchers
  • Infielders
  • Outfielders
  • Larry Andersen
  • Steve Carlton
  • Dan Carman
  • John Denny
  • Tony Ghelfi
  • Kevin Gross
  • Al Holland
  • Charles Hudson
  • Jerry Koosman
  • Shane Rawley
  • Pat Zachry
  • Darren Daulton
  • Bo Diaz
  • Ozzie Virgil
  • John Wockenfuss
  • Luis Aguayo
  • Kiko Garcia
  • Steve Jeltz
  • John Russell
  • Juan Samuel
  • Mike Schmidt
  • Tim Corcoran
  • Greg Gross
  • Von Hayes
  • Joe Lefebvre
  • Garry Maddox
  • Jeff Stone
  • Glenn Wilson
  • Ramon Caraballo/Mike Diaz
  • Mike Maddux/Rodger Cole
  • Rick Schu/Chris James
  • Francisco Melendez/Ken Jackson
  • Randy Salava/Rocky Childress
  • Rich Surhoff/Ralph Citarella
  • Team Photo
One and Done (1):  Zachry
First Appearances (1):  Rawley
Returning Players (26):  Aguayo, Andersen, Carlton, Carman, Corcoran, Daulton, Denny, Diaz, Garcia, Ghelfi, G. Gross, K. Gross, Hayes, Holland, Hudson, Jeltz, Koosman, Lefebvre, Maddox, Russell, Samuel, Schmidt, Stone, Virgil, Wilson, Wockenfuss

This tells me there was very little roster turnover between the end of the 1984 season and spring training 1985, as Rawley and Zachry are the only two new additions to the set.  Along with Zachry's one and done Phillies card, this set includes the only Phillies baseball card of Rich Surhoff.

The First Appearance designation is for players who have never before appeared within a Phillies team issued set.  These players may have already appeared on other Phillies baseball cards.  (In fact, Rawley made his Phillies cardboard debut within the 1984 Fleer Update set.)

Manager (1):  Felske
Coaches (5):  Bristol, Elia, Osteen, Ryan, Unser
Phillie Phanatic (0)
Broadcasters (0)
Group Photos (5):  Manager and Coaches, Pitchers, Catchers, Infielders, Outfielders
Future Phillies (6):  Caraballo/Diaz, Maddux/Cole, Schu/James, Melendez/Jackson, Salava/Childress
Other Cards (2):  Header/checklist card, team photo

The set's designer's decided to try something different with group photos of coaches and players by position.  Batting practice pitcher Hank King is featured on the coach's card, making this (I believe) his sole Phillies baseball card.  Bill Campbell is featured on the pitcher's card and Ivan DeJesus is featured on the infielder's card, but both are omitted from the regular set.  As the regular season was about to begin, Campbell and DeJesus were traded to the Cardinals for pitcher Dave Rucker.

Of the players receiving solo cards in the regular set, Ghelfi was left off the pitcher's card, Wockenfuss was (sadly) left off the catcher's card, Garcia was left off the infielder's card and Lefebvre and Maddox were not on the outfielder's card.

Variations/Rarities:  There are no known variations or rarities to be found for this set.  Basically, once you have the original 47-card set, you're done.

Also See:  Scrapbook Sunday: September 1, 1985
Trivia:  The 1985 Tastykake Phillies set seems to be the most ubiquitous of all the team issued sets from the 1980s.  The sets can be readily found on eBay and at Citizens Bank Park.  The Memorabilia Store from Hunt Auctions located behind Section 126 had several of these sets for sale this past season.
Resources:  Phillies SGA 1985;

Saturday, October 18, 2014

1982 Tastykake Phillies

Number of Cards:  35
Card Size:  3 1/4" x 5 1/2"
Description:  This is the first of eight years during which Tastykake sponsored the Phillies team issued set.  The cards feature black and white pictures, with a mix of action shots and portraits.  Some of the cards include blue facsimile autographs on the fronts, and the backs of all cards are blank.
How Distributed:  My best guess is that these cards weren't ever distributed in set form, although I could be wrong.  I've only been actively searching for these cards for a few years now, but I've only ever come across single card auctions from the set.  The cards were most likely handed out to fans individually and supplied to the players in order to reply to fan mail or honor autograph requests.

The one card from the set in my collection (as of this writing) is the McGraw card featured above.  The blue facsimile autograph looks surprisingly genuine.

Complete Standard Checklist:
  • Luis Aguayo
  • Porfi Altamirano
  • Dave Bristol CO
  • Warren Brusstar
  • Marty Bystrom
  • Steve Carlton
  • Larry Christenson
  • Pat Corrales MG
  • Dick Davis
  • Mark Davis
  • Ivan DeJesus
  • Bob Dernier
  • Bo Diaz (action)
  • Ed Farmer
  • Greg Gross
  • Deron Johnson CO
  • Mike Krukow
  • Sparky Lyle
  • Garry Maddox
  • Gary Matthews
  • Len Matuszek
  • Tug McGraw
  • Sid Monge
  • Claude Osteen CO
  • Ron Reed
  • Dave Roberts
  • Pete Rose
  • Dick Ruthven
  • Mike Ryan CO
  • Mike Schmidt
  • Manny Trillo (without hat)
  • Del Unser
  • Ozzie Virgil
  • George Vukovich
  • Bobby Wine CO
Image is from an old
eBay auction
The checklist found at The Trading Card Database lists only 28 cards in the set, omitting seven cards included on the checklist found within the 2001 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards - Bystrom, M. Davis, Gross, Johnson, Maddox, Ruthven and Vukovich.  I'm including these cards on the checklist above as a Google Images search yielded images for the Maddox and Vukovich cards.  If those exist, there's a really good chance the other five exist and the entry at The Trading Card Database is simply missing these seven cards.

One and Done (0)
First Appearances (11):  Altamirano, M. Davis, DeJesus, Dernier, Diaz, Farmer, Krukow, Matuszek, Monge, Roberts, Virgil
Returning Players (18):  Aguayo, Brusstar, Bystrom, Carlton, Christenson, D. Davis, Gross, Lyle, Maddox, Matthews, McGraw, Reed, Rose, Ruthven, Schmidt, Trillo, Unser, Vukovich

Manager (1):  Corrales
Coaches (5):  Bristol, Johnson, Osteen, Ryan, Wine
Phillie Phanatic (0)
Broadcasters (0)
Commemorative Cards (0)
Other Cards (0)

The First Appearance designation is for players who have never before appeared within a Phillies team issued set.  These players may have already appeared on other Phillies baseball cards.

Variations/Rarities:  The Beckett database entry for this set omits the Bystrom card and adds three variations for a total of 37 cards in the master set.
  • Bo Diaz (portrait)
  • Karen Eberhard (ball girl)
  • Manny Trillo (with hat)
Also See:  1982 Topps Phillies, 1982 Topps Traded #28T Bob Dernier
Trivia:  I spent a few minutes Googling Karen Eberhard Ball Girl until it started to feel creepy, so I stopped.  I know the current ballgirls hand out "cards" at their promotional stops, but these cards aren't in the style or size of the current year's team issued set.  I wonder what made the Phillies decide to issue a separate card of one of their ball girls in 1982?
Resources:  The Trading Card Database,

Thursday, October 16, 2014

1984 Tastykake Phillies

Number of Cards:  47
Card Size:  3 1/2" x 5 1/4"
Description:  The 1984 Tastykake set got a little more ambitious than its predecessor by adding cards for all the coaches and a broadcaster card.  The fronts are nearly identical to the 1983 set, with the exception of the Phillies script logo added to the top.  The photographer also requested that everyone remove their hats for this set, which was unfortunate for some of the subjects.  The backs of the cards feature a facsimile autograph of the player, coach or manager, and some of the cards include words of encouragement.

I really wish the Phillies had chosen, "Wherever you go, there you are" for the back of Larry Andersen's card.

How Distributed:  All fans 14 and under attending the Phillies game at Veterans Stadium on April 21, 1984, received a complete 40-card set, shrink-wrapped and containing a logo/checklist card on the top.  The back of the logo/checklist card advertised that additional sets could be purchased from the Phillies via mail order for $3.

The remaining seven cards were issued as an update to the 40-card set at some point late in the season.  Based on my research and correspondence with fellow collectors, it's possible the update cards were released in two groups.  The first group consisting of four cards (Carman, Russell, Stone and Wehrmeister) and the second group consisting of three more cards (Daulton, Fireovid and Jeltz).

UPDATE to the Update (10/20/14):  Per Rick's comment below, apparently the Phillies produced a seven card sheet late in the season that was never released to the general public.  A local baseball card dealer (anyone have his name or contact information?) had the sheets professionally cut and sold the additional seven cards as a set.

Complete Standard Checklist (40):  The cards themselves aren't numbered, but I'm presenting the checklist below based on the numbered checklist found on the back of the logo card.
  • Logo Card/Checklist
  • Team Photo
  • Phillie Phanatic
  • Veterans Stadium
  • Steve Carlton - Future HOF
  • Mike Schmidt - Future HOF
  • Broadcasters
  • Paul Owens MG
  • Dave Bristol CO
  • John Felske CO
  • Deron Johnson CO
  • Claude Osteen CO
  • Mike Ryan CO
  • Larry Andersen
  • Marty Bystrom
  • Bill Campbell
  • Steve Carlton
  • John Denny
  • Tony Ghelfi
  • Kevin Gross
  • Al Holland
  • Charles Hudson
  • Jerry Koosman
  • Tug McGraw
  • Bo Diaz
  • Ozzie Virgil
  • John Wockenfuss
  • Luis Aguayo
  • Ivan DeJesus
  • Kiko Garcia
  • Len Matuszek
  • Juan Samuel
  • Mike Schmidt
  • Tim Corcoran
  • Greg Gross
  • Von Hayes
  • Joe Lefebvre
  • Sixto Lezcano
  • Garry Maddox
  • Glenn Wilson
Complete Update Checklist (7):
  • Don Carman (7/6/84)           
  • John Russell (6/22/84)
  • Jeff Stone (6/19/84)
  • Dave Wehrmeister (6/3/84)
  • Darren Daulton (N/A)
  • Steve Fireovid (9/1/84)
  • Steve Jeltz (9/1/84)
The entire following paragaph is now null and void thanks to Rick's comment and the UPDATE to the Update above.

Lending credence to my two update set theory is the fact that the first four players in the update set all made their 1984 debuts with the Phillies between the beginning of June and the beginning of July.  I've listed the dates of their Phillies debuts above.  From the second set of cards, Fireovid and Jeltz were September call-ups and Daulton never appeared in a game with the Phils in 1984.  I've honestly never seen the Fireovid or Jeltz cards, and I'd doubt their existence if not for the fact that I added the Daulton card to my collection last year via eBay.  (Thanks again to Matt from Phillies SGA for the head's up!)

One and Done (2):  Fireovid, Wehrmeister
First Appearances (19):  Andersen, Campbell, Carman, Corcoran, Daulton, Garcia, Ghelfi, K. Gross, Hudson, Jeltz, Koosman, Lefebvre, Lezcano, Matuszek, Russell, Samuel, Stone, Wilson, Wockenfuss
Returning Players (12):  Aguayo, Bystrom, Carlton, DeJesus, Denny, Diaz, G. Gross, Hayes, Maddox, McGraw, Schmidt, Virgil

If you're in the market for a Phillies card of either Fireovid or Wehrmeister, this is the set for you.  The First Appearance designation is for players who have never before appeared within a Phillies team issued set.  These players may have already appeared on other Phillies baseball cards.

Manager (1):  Owens
Coaches (5):  Bristol, Felske, Johnson, Osteen, Ryan
Phillie Phanatic (1):  Uses the same ATV photo from the 1983 Tastykake set.
Broadcasters (1):  Chris Wheeler, Harry Kalas, Andy Musser and Richie Ashburn
Commemorative Cards (2):  Carlton and Schmidt get Future Hall of Famer cards.  The back of the Carlton card features a list of all-time victories leaders, while the back of the Schmidt card features a list of all-time home run leaders.
Other Cards (3):  Logo/checklist card, team photo and Veterans Stadium

Variations/Rarities:  There are no known variations or rarities, although I've had a difficult time tracking down the 7-card update set.  Through the kindness of fellow bloggers, I'm down to needing just the Fireovid and Jeltz cards.

Also See:  The Curious Case of Dave WehrmeisterMemories of 1984 Phillies Photo Day
Trivia:  Beckett's online database does not include the three final update cards.
Resources:  Phillies SGA 1984Beckett.com14,000 Phillies - Dave Wehrmeister, Worst Phillies Card of All Time

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

1983 Tastykake Phillies

Number of Cards:  32
Card Size:  3 1/2" x 5 1/4"
Description:  This is the first team-issued set featuring full color photos.  A color head shot of each player is on the front and the backs are either blank or contain an encouraging message "written" by the player.  This is the second consecutive year Tastykake sponsored the set.
How Distributed:  My guess is that these cards were available to purchase in set form at Veterans Stadium and also available individually as players responded to fans' autograph requests.

Additionally, the checklist was most likely finalized prior to the start of the season.  Kiko Garcia is omitted from the set, despite appearing in 84 games for the 1983 Phillies beginning on May 18th.  Dave Roberts was released the day before Garcia made his Phillies debut, and both Sid Monge (to the Padres) and Dick Ruthven (to the Cubs) were traded away on May 22nd.

Complete Standard Checklist:
  • Luis Aguayo (Dear Fan)
  • Porfi Altamirano (Dear Fan)
  • Marty Bystrom (blank)
  • Steve Carlton (blank)
  • Larry Christenson (Dear Fan)
  • Pat Corrales MG (blank)
  • Ivan DeJesus (Dear Fan)
  • John Denny (need)
  • Bob Dernier (Dear Fan)
  • Bo Diaz (Dear Fan)
  • Ed Farmer (Dear Fan)
  • Greg Gross (Dear Fan)
  • Von Hayes (need)
  • Al Holland (Dear Fan)
  • Garry Maddox (Dear Fan)
  • Gary Matthews (Dear Fan)
  • Tug McGraw (Support . . . )
  • Larry Milbourne (Dear Fan)
  • Bob Molinaro (Dear Fan)
  • Sid Monge (Dear Fan)
  • Joe Morgan (Dear Fan)
  • Tony Perez (Dear Fan)
  • Ron Reed (blank)
  • Dave Roberts (Dear Fan)
  • Bill Robinson (need)
  • Pete Rose (Dear Fan)
  • Dick Ruthven (blank)
  • Mike Schmidt (blank)
  • Ozzie Virgil (Dear Fan)
  • Phillies Coaches (blank)
  • Phillie Phanatic (need)
  • Veterans Stadium (blank)
I've listed the inscription that can be found on the back of each of the cards I have in my collection.  As of this writing, I still need the Denny, Hayes, Robinson and Phanatic cards.

One and Done (0):  None.  All players featured in the set also appear on other Phillies baseball cards.
First Appearances (7):  Denny, Hayes, Holland, Milbourne, Molinaro, Morgan, Perez
Returning Players (21):  Aguayo, Altamirano, Bystrom, Carlton, Christenson, DeJesus, Dernier, Diaz, Farmer, Gross, Maddox, Matthews, McGraw, Monge, Reed, Roberts, Robinson, Rose, Ruthven, Schmidt, Virgil

The First Appearance designation is for players who have never before appeared within a Phillies team issued set.  These players may have already appeared on other Phillies baseball cards.  (However, in the case of the seven players listed above, I do believe these Tastykake cards represent their first Phillies baseball cards.)

Manager (1):  Corrales
Coaches (1):  There's one card featuring all five Phillies coaches - Mike Ryan, Deron Johnson, Bobby Wine, Dave Bristol and Claude Osteen.
Phillie Phanatic (1):  The more readily available version features the Phanatic on his ATV.
Broadcasters (0)
Commemorative Cards (0)
Other Cards (1):  Veterans Stadium

Variations/Rarities:  According to the set's entry in the 2001 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, several cards are available with different backs.  There's also a different Phanatic card available showing him walking around the field in the vicinity of home plate.  I've listed these variations below.
  • Sid Monge (Quitters never win)
  • Bill Robinson (Stay in school)
  • Pete Rose (A good education)
  • Phillie Phanatic (not on ATV)
I'm the lucky owner of one of the Monge variation back cards.  Behold its majesty.

Also See:  I'd eventually like to feature a post on the 1983 Phillies Greatest Moments and Greatest Players postcard sets.
Trivia:  Interestingly enough, the 2001 Standard Catalog lists Joe Amalfitano in the checklist instead of Porti Altamarano.  The Beckett database entry for the set perpetuates this error.  As pointed out by 14,000 Phillies in his checklist entry for the set, both Beckett and the Standard Catalog omit the Roberts card from their checklists.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

1949 Eureka Sportstamps #149 Dick Sisler

Dick Sisler, along with Del Ennis, were my Dad's two favorite Phillies players.  Because of this, I'm slowly accumulating as many Sisler and Ennis cards as possible.  Featured here isn't a card but a stamp from the 1949 Eureka Sportstamps set.  14,000 Phillies ran a post a few years ago
containing information on this set, along with a complete Phillies checklist.

* * *

My Dad would have absolutely loved the fact that his oldest grandson Doug is now officially a baseball card collector.  Doug and I spent a lot of time talking about his Pop-Pop last night as it's three years today that he passed away.  Doug and I looked at old pictures, listened to some of his Pop-Pop's favorite songs, and we talked about how his Pop-Pop and I used to collect baseball cards together, just like he and I are doing now.

Doug's Pop-Pop would have been so proud of him and his little brother, Ben.  I know I am.

Monday, October 13, 2014

2014 Phillies Team Issue 2 #19 Tony Gwynn, Jr.

The Phillies announced on Friday that outfielder Tony Gwynn, Jr. had elected free agency.  Gwynn had been outrighted off the 40-man roster and rather than accept a demotion to Triple-A Lehigh Valley, he'll try his luck elsewhere.  In 80 games with the Phillies, Gwynn hit .152 with three RBIs.

He appeared in both team issued sets, and he'll have a standard sized Phillies card in the upcoming Topps Update set.

Moving On
Reid Brignac (10/2/14) - Elected free agency.
Jeremy Horst (10/2/14) - Elected free agency.
Jeff Manship (10/2/14) - Elected free agency.
Sean O'Sullivan (10/6/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and released.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. (10/10/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

2012 Topps Phillies

2012 Topps #617, #117, #449 and #120
The timing of this post is fitting as my oldest son Doug recently brought home a complete 2012 Topps factory set.  The cards are currently strewn about our dining room table in various stacks as he's slowly sorting and putting the set in order.

2012 Topps #280 (Back)
I wasn't overly thrilled when this set was first released, and I had no real emotional ties to it.  But the cool thing is . . . my son will.  He loves this set.  He's learning the players and showing me the cards he finds cool and asking me questions.  This set to him is what the 1979 Topps set was to me . . . already an "old" set when I discovered it, and therefore slightly mysterious and definitely awesome.

The Set
Number of cards in the set:  There are 660 regular cards to be found in the first and second series, with card #661 of rookie Bryce Harper added as a short-print and included within the factory set.  Before researching for this post, I didn't realize there are actual four different variations of the Harper card.  The update series added 330 cards.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  I wrote about my initial thoughts on the 2012 Topps set upon opening my first packs in February 2012.  Given my son's new found love for this set means that it now also holds special meaning to me as well.

2012 Topps #658, #28, #280 and #98
2012 Phillies
Record and finish:  Cracks in the Phillies armor first started showing this season, and they'd finish at an even 81-81 and in third place in the N.L. East.  Their undoing was a miserable month of June in which they went 9-19.  The Phils would miss the playoffs for the first time since 2006, and they haven't been back since.

Key players:  Injuries cut the seasons of Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Placido Polanco and Carlos Ruiz short and it speaks volumes that the most consistent hitter throughout the season was the veteran outfielder Juan Pierre.  The Phillies traded two-thirds of their starting outfield at the July non-waiver trade deadline, shipping Shane Victorino to the Dodgers and Hunter Pence to the Giants.  Domonic Brown and John Mayberry, Jr. assumed starting roles for the remainder of the season.  Jimmy Rollins led the team in home runs (23) and tied Ruiz for the team lead in RBIs (68).

2012 Topps #361, #392 and 2012 Topps Update #US206
On the mound, Cole Hamels was outstanding, winning 17 games and pitching to a 3.05 ERA.  Cliff Lee also turned in another fine season, owning a 3.16 ERA in 30 starts, but earning only six wins due to horrendous run support.  Roy Halladay's injuries starting taking their toll, and in his penultimate season the former ace went 11-8 with a 4.49 ERA in 25 starts.  Jonathan Papelbon joined the club in the offseason and saved 38 games.  Antonio Bastardo and Jeremy Horst were the team's other top relievers.

Key events:  Jim Thome returned to the Phillies in an offseason free agent signing, playing only four games in the field and being used mainly as a pinch-hitter and DH in American League ballparks.  He had his biggest hit of the season on June 23rd when his walk-off home run gave the Phils a 7-6 win over the Rays.  It was his 13th game-winning home run, the most in Major League history.

Thome joined Victorino, Pence and Joe Blanton in getting traded to contenders half-way through the season when the Phillies fell out of contention.  A week before the fire sale, the Phillies and Hamels reached an agreement on a six-year contract extension, which includes a vesting option for the 2019 season.  Howard hit his 300th career home run on September 22nd.

2012 Phillies in 2012 Topps
Who's in:  Phillies players appear on an impressive 17 cards in the first series and another 13 cards in the second series.  Add in the 9 Phillies cards from the update set, and that's a total of 39 cards for a complete Phillies team set.  That's the most since the 41 Phillies cards found within the 2009 offerings.  There's also a short-printed Howard variation card, which is probably the best Phillies card in the entire team set.
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#117 Carlos Ruiz (c), #280 Ryan Howard (1b), #361 Chase Utley (2b), #617 Jimmy Rollins (ss), #28 Placido Polanco (3b), #658 Juan Pierre (lf), #449 Shane Victorino (cf), #120 Hunter Pence (rf)

2012 Topps #190, #458, #150 and #307
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 5 cards
#190 Cole Hamels, #392 Cliff Lee, #458 Kyle Kendrick, #150 Roy Halladay, #307 Vance Worley
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 2012 - 17 Cards
#64 Michael Martinez, #98 Domonic Brown, #243 Justin De Fratus, #259 Michael Stutes, #287 Antonio Bastardo, #345 Jonathan Papelbon, #353 John Mayberry, Jr., #371 Jim Thome, #464 Joe Savery, #465 Michael Schwimer, #551 Joe Blanton, #634 Jose Contreras, #US82 Ty Wigginton, #US85 Jake Diekman, #US130 Laynce Nix, #US199 Nate Schierholtz, #US225 Josh Lindblom
  • Base cards of players who did not play with the Phillies in 2012 - 0 Cards
Topps did a really nice job with player selection for the Phillies, and for the first time since 2007 everyone who received a Phillies base card in 2012 actually played for the team in 2012.

2012 Topps #371, #353, 2012 Topps Update #US82 and 2012 Topps #345
  • 2011 National League Leaders cards - 3 cards
#156 Roy Halladay (Victory Leaders), #224 Ryan Howard (RBI Leaders), #297 Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee (ERA Leaders)
  • Active National League Leaders cards - 2 cards
#29 Roy Oswalt (Active Wins Leaders), #92 Roy Oswalt (Active ERA Leaders)

I kind of liked these cards when they came out, but I soured on them when it seemed as if every pack I opened had one of these cards in it.  The idea for this subset is unique, but I would have rather it been an insert set instead of taking up valuable room in the base set.
  • 2012 National League All-Star cards - 3 cards
#US91 Jonathan Papelbon, #US206 Cole Hamels, #US295 Carlos Ruiz
  • 2012 Record Breaker cards - 1 card, #US152 Jim Thome
Who's out:  As is the norm, the bench and the bullpen could have been shown more love.  Kevin Frandsen, Freddy Galvis and Erik Kratz were on the bench for most of the season, and a case could be made that relievers Chad Qualls and Horst deserved cards.

Phillies on other teams:  Thome has three cards in the first series featuring him with other teams.  He appears on two Active Leaders cards (#91 and #324) with the Indians and a Higlight/Checklist card (#97) with the Twins.  There are also cards of Schierholtz (#63 with the Giants) and Wigginton (#154 with the Rockies) in the first series.  Finally, if you want a 2012 Topps card of Mike Fontenot, who appeared in 47 games for the Phillies, he can be found within the Giants retail team set (#SF7).

2012 Topps #280b
What's he doing here:  I don't share the same venom towards Martinez as other Phillies fans, but I do find in a little strange that a utility infielder who struggled to sniff the Mendoza Line received Topps cards two years in a row.  Frandsen, a Phillies Room Favorite, got robbed.
Cards that never were candidates:  Frandsen, Galvis, Kratz, Horst and reliever Raul Valdes over Qualls.

Favorite Phillies card:  I love the short-printed Howard variation card, but since I'm not counting that as part of the regular team set, I'll go with Polanco's card featuring him at the bat rack.  The card definitely makes me think of Tony Taylor's 1970 Topps card.

Other Stuff
Variations:  After several years of quirky and interesting variations to be found in the Opening Day, Chrome or retail team sets, there were only two minor variations within the 2012 Topps family of products.  I'm not sure if this is a symptom of the Phillies becoming a mediocre team or if this was widespread for all teams.

In any event, the only variations to be found are the cards of Kendrick and Mayberry within the retail team set which feature the same photos as their flagship cards, but more tightly cropped.  Oswalt, who parted ways with the Phillies in October 2011, has a Phillies card in the Opening Day set.
Memory Lane:  I took a stab at drafting a working checklist for the set back in January 2012.  I'm still waiting to hear from Topps on this.  

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Final Look at 2013-2014 Phillies Transactions

2014 Chachi Almost #6
For some odd reason, I wanted to take a look back one more time at the moves made between the end of 2013 season and through the end of the 2014 season.  Read it and weep.

One of the players not appearing on this list is pitcher Jason Marquis, who probably would have joined the club in mid-August if not for the impressive performance from Jerome Williams.  The former All-Star signed with the Phillies in early June.  With the IronPigs, Marquis went 3-1 with a 4.63 ERA in eight starts.  Having not made the big club by the end of August, he requested and was granted his release.

Moving On
Steven Lerud (10/1/13) - Elected free agency.  (Signed as a minor league free agent with the Atlanta Braves, 11/23/13.)
Raul Valdes (10/2/13) - Claimed off waivers by the Houston Astros.
Tyler Cloyd (10/2/13) - Claimed off waivers by the Cleveland Indians.
Michael Martinez (10/7/13) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed as a minor league free agent with the Pittsburgh Pirates, 12/18/13.)
Zach Miner (10/7/13) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed as a minor league free agent with the Seattle Mariners, 2/11/14.)
Pete Orr (10/7/13) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed as a minor league free agent with the Milwaukee Brewers, 1/27/14.)
Roger Bernadina (10/17/13) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed as a minor league free agent with the Cincinnati Reds, 1/31/14.)
J.C. Ramirez (10/17/13) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed as a minor league free agent with the Cleveland Indians, 11/1/13.)
Casper Wells (10/17/13) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed as a minor league free agent with the Chicago Cubs, 11/23/13.)
John Lannan (10/17/13) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed as a minor league free agent with the New York Mets, 1/18/14.)
Roy Halladay (10/31/13) - Elected free agency.  (Signed by the Toronto Blue Jays and announced his retirement, 12/9/13.)
Mauricio Robles (11/5/13) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and became a minor league free agent.  (Signed as a minor league free agent with the Chicago White Sox, 11/24/13.)
Erik Kratz (12/3/13) - Traded with Rob Rasmussen to the Toronto Blue Jays for Brad Lincoln.
Joe Savery (2/16/14) - Designated for assignment and claimed off waivers by the Oakland Athletics.
Kevin Frandsen (3/23/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and signed with the Washington Nationals as a free agent, 3/26/14.

Coming Back
Cesar Jimenez (11/15/13) - Signed to a minor league contract and invited to spring training.
Carlos Ruiz (11/21/13) - Resigned by the Phillies to a three-year contract with a club option for a fourth year.

New Additions
Shawn Camp (11/11/13) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Chicago Cubs.
Marlon Byrd (11/12/13) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Reid Brignac (11/17/13) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
Jeff Manship (12/2/13) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Colorado Rockies.
Brad Lincoln (12/3/13) - Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for Erik Kratz and Rob Rasmussen.
Wil Nieves (12/5/13) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Sean O'Sullivan (12/17/13) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the San Diego Padres.
Roberto Hernandez (12/18/13) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Tony Gwynn, Jr. (12/22/23) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ronny Cedeno (1/12/14) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the San Diego Padres.
A.J. Burnett (2/16/14) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Koyie Hill (3/17/14) - Acquired from the Washington Nationals for a player to be named later or cash.
Jayson Nix (3/28/14) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for cash.

Departed During the Season
Jayson Nix (5/12/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.)
Ronny Cedeno (6/29/14) - Traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for catcher Raywilly Gomez.
Steve Susdorf (7/10/14) - Released by the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.
Roberto Hernandez (8/7/14) - Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for two players to be named later or cash.  (Phillies would later receive Jesmuel Valentin and Victor Arano.)
John Mayberry, Jr. (8/31/14) - Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Gustavo Pierre

Arrived During the Season
Grady Sizemore (6/24/14) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Boston Red Sox.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The First Moves of the 2014-2015 Offseason

2014 Chachi Almost #7
I'm the guy who gets an alert from MLB Trade Rumors titled "Minor League Free Agents" and I immediately stop what I'm doing to check it out.  Three Phillies were on the list of new free agents, and another pitcher joined the ranks of ex-Phillies a few days later.

Presented below are your first Ex-Phillies of the offseason.

2014 Phillies Team Issue 2 #17
Moving On
Reid Brignac (10/2/14) - Elected free agency.
Jeremy Horst (10/2/14) - Elected free agency.
Jeff Manship (10/2/14) - Elected free agency.
Sean O'Sullivan (10/6/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and released.

Horst spent the entire season in Triple-A, earning him the final Chachi Almost card of 2014.  He had an impressive 2012 campaign, pitching to a 1.15 ERA in 32 games.  But everything seemed to fall apart for him in 2013 (0-2, 6.23 ERA in 28 games) and he hasn't been heard from since.  Horst appeared in three Phillies team issued sets - the 2012 second series set, and both 2013 sets.

Brignac and Manship both appeared in the 2014 second series set, marking their only appearances on Phillies cardboard.  O'Sullivan had a card in the 2014 Lehigh Valley IronPigs set and will join the ranks of Missing Links - Phillies players with no Phillies baseball cards.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

2011 Topps Phillies

2011 Topps #300, 2011 Topps Update #US100, 2011 Topps #460 and #174
Trying to stay awake during the Phillies-less postseason gives me a good reason to look back to the last year the Phillies kept me up late at night in prior Octobers.  I'm going to try to get through my look back at the 2012 and 2013 Topps Phillies cards during this postseason so that this series is finally current.  I'll take a look at the 2014 Topps Phillies cards following the release of this year's update set.

The Set
2011 Topps #300 (Back)

Number of cards in the set:  Omitting any short-print or gimmick cards, series one, series two and the update series all contained 330 cards, for a whopping 990 cards for the complete 2011 Topps set.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  The set has a nice, clean design allowing for plenty of room for the photography to take center stage.  As I wrote back in February 2011 after I had opened my first packs of 2011 Topps, the full team name circling the baseball in the lower right doesn't need to be there twice.  Other than that, it's hard to find fault with the design or this set in general.
Notable competition:  None to speak of, and this is the last post in which I'll even list this as a sub-category.  Upper Deck issued a logo-less set in 2010 and Panini would come along in a few years with more logo-less products.

2011 Topps #420, #219, #495 and #89
2011 Phillies
Record and finish:  For the fifth and final year in a row, the Phillies won the N.L. East, finishing with a franchise high 102 wins to just 60 losses.  The second place Braves finished 13 games back.  Unfortunately, the postseason ended prematurely as the Phils were defeated in five games by the eventual World Champion Cardinals.

Key players:  Pitching was the emphasis in 2011 as the Four Aces - Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels and Roy Oswalt - came together to open the season.  Lee had been traded away following the 2009 season, but he re-signed with the Phillies prior to the 2011 season.  The four starters would finish with a combined record of 59-33 and a 2.71 ERA.  Halladay and Lee led the way with 19 and 17 wins respectively, and Halladay started the All-Star Game for the National League.  Ryan Madson assumed the closer's role with Brad Lidge missing significant time due to injuries.  Madson ended up saving 32 games and Antonio Bastardo recorded eight saves.

2011 Topps #656, 2011 Topps Update #US92 and 2011 Topps #638
Ryan Howard turned in another solid season, driving in 116 and hitting 33 home runs.  Unfortunately, his bat really hasn't been heard from since.  Raul Ibanez drove in 84 runs and Carlos Ruiz hit .283 while the rest of the offense had relatively mediocre years.  Hunter Pence provided a spark following his acquisition from the Astros in July.  In 54 games with the Phils, Pence hit .324 with 11 home runs.  Placido Polanco provided steady defense, winning his third Gold Glove and his first as a third baseman.

2011 Topps #359
Key events:  The key takeaway from the regular season is that the Phillies absolutely dominated the competition throughout the year.  However, it's hard to appreciate and look back fondly on their play during the 162 regular season games given their quick exit in the playoffs.  Halladay and the Cardinals' Chris Carpenter battled throughout the decisive N.L.D.S. Game 5, with the Cardinals emerging with a 1-0 victory.  In a play that's still hard to watch, Howard grounded out to end the game, rupturing his Achilles on the way to first.

In other news, utility infielder Wilson Valdez earned the victory in a 19-inning game against the Reds in May.  Valdez came in to pitch the 19th, holding the Reds scoreless and earning his own Chachi Highlight card to commemorate his feat.

2011 Phillies in 2011 Topps
There are 25 Phillies cards to be found within the base set, and another six within the update series for a total of 31 cards.  There are also veteran variation cards for Mike Schmidt and Robin Roberts.
Who's in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#219 Carlos Ruiz (c), #420 Ryan Howard (1b), #214 Chase Utley (2b), #199 Jimmy Rollins (ss), #89 Placido Polanco (3b), #656 Raul Ibanez (lf), #495 Shane Victorino (cf), #US92 Hunter Pence (rf)

2011 Topps #214, #199, 2011 Topps Update #US189 and 2011 Topps #341
  • Cards of the starting pitcher rotation - 4 cards
#300 Roy Halladay, #US100 Cliff Lee, #460 Cole Hamels, #174 Roy Oswalt

The Four Aces are all represented and Joe Blanton (who was limited to eight starts because of injuries) has a card, but rookie Vance Worley who spent the majority of the season as the team's fifth starter, was omitted.  Worley's sole mainstream 2011 baseball card can be found in the Topps Heritage set.
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 2011 - 10 cards
#242 Brad Lidge, #267 Jose Contreras, #341 Kyle Kendrick, #379 Ben Francisco, #421 Domonic Brown, #469 Joe Blanton, #524 Michael Martinez, #638 Ryan Madson, #US117 Michael Stutes, #US189 Wilson Valdez
    2011 Topps #232
  • Base cards of players who did not play with the Phillies in 2011 - 2 cards
#232 Jamie Moyer and #325 Jayson Werth

Moyer missed the entire 2011 season due to Tommy John surgery, and he'd come back in 2013 to pitch with the Colorado Rockies at the age of 49.  Werth signed his mega-contract with the Nationals following the 2010 season, locking him up through the 2017 season.
  • 2010 National League Leaders cards - 2 cards
#11 Roy Halladay (Wins) and #82 Roy Halladay (ERA)
  • 2010 National League Award Winners cards - 1 card, #146 Roy Halladay (Cy Young)
  • 2010 Highlights/checklist cards - 1 card, #359 Roy Halladay & Carlos Ruiz (Postseason no-hitter)
  • Team card - 1 card, #511 Jimmy Rollins (Walk-off celebration from June 23, 2010)
  • 2011 National League All-Star cards - 2 cards, #US85 Roy Halladay and #US154 Cliff Lee
Polanco, Hamels and Victorino, who also made the All-Star team in 2011, got left out of the update series.

Who's out:  There are three position players (John Mayberry, Jr., Brian Schneider and Ross Gload) and three pitchers (Worley, Bastardo and David Herndon) who were big parts of the 2011 team, but there wasn't enough room within the Topps checklist for their inclusion.

2011 Topps #511
Phillies on other teams:  Pence (#45) and Lee (#103) are featured with the Astros and Rangers respectively within the first series.  Pence has a Phillies card in the update series, but he also appears with the Astros on his 2011 N.L. All-Star card (#US304).
What's he doing here:  I can't fault Topps for including Moyer and Werth in the first series.  Although they may have wanted to hold off on Werth as it wasn't a guarantee he'd be back with the Phillies for 2011.  Werth's series one card was photoshopped to show him with the Nationals for the Topps Chrome release.

Cards that never were candidates:  I'll go with the six players I listed above under the Who's out section.  A case could also be made for a rookie card for pitcher Justin De Fratus who made his debut in 2011 and appeared in five games.

Favorite Phillies card:  The team card showing Rollins and a group of jubilant Phillies celebrating at home plate is cool, but my favorite Phillies card from this set is the card celebrating Halladay's no-hitter against the Reds in game one of the 2010 N.L.D.S.

Other Stuff
2011 Topps Silk Collection
Variations:  I liked the format I used for the 2010 Topps Phillies post, showing in chart form the different card variations to be found throughout the flagship, Chrome, Opening Day and Retail set, along with any variations to be found within the annual factory set.  Here's the 2011 chart, and it's interesting to note that Lee's cards in everything other than the flagship set most likely feature a photo from his first stint with the club in 2009.

Also of interest is the fact that Mayberry had a card within the Silk Collection insert set, which is his only card featuring him with the 2011 Topps design.  Why Topps decided to produce a silk card for Mayberry, but omit him from all other offerings is a mystery.

Memory Lane:  Here's a fun little post I did back in January 2012 showing Utley's various 2011 Topps cards all featuring photos taken within seconds of each other at Fenway Park in 2010.