Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Reliever Bradley Headlines Trio of Phillies Additions

2021 Chachi New Additions #6
2021 Chachi New Additions #7
2021 Chachi New Additions #5

It may appear The Phillies Room has been dormant over the past few weeks, but behind the scenes we've started stretching, playing some long toss and dusting off our custom baseball card creation software in preparation of the 2021 baseball season.  Despite the best efforts of a worldwide pandemic and continued national unrest, we're getting closer to pitchers and catchers reporting to Clearwater in mid-February.

Admittedly, I've not been excited by the Phillies offseason and it seems as if player moves have been infrequent and inconsequential.  But on Monday morning, the first player move to cause a flicker of excitement at Phillies Room HQ was officially announced.  The Phillies signed free-agent relief pitcher Archie Bradley to a one-year deal, with Bradley expected to fill a key back of the bullpen role, potentially serving as the team's closer.  In 16 games last season, Bradley was 2-0 with a 2.95 ERA and 6 saves for the Diamondbacks and Reds.  To make room on the 40-man roster, outfielder Kyle Garlick was designated for assignment.

Bradley's first baseball card appearance came in the 2011 Bowman Draft set, and he began appearing in the Topps flagship sets in 2015.  Last year, he had readily available cards in Topps flagship, Topps Chrome, Topps Gypsy Queen and Topps Heritage.

* * *

As Bradley was being introduced via a Zoom press conference, the Phillies announced they had acquired infielder C.J. Chatham from the Red Sox for a player to be named later.  Chatham is expected to provide some much needed infield depth in 2021.  Reliever Victor Arano was designated for assignment to make room for Chatham on the 40-man roster.

Chatham was a 2nd round selection by the Red Sox in 2016, and he last played for their Double-A team in Portland in 2019.  His most recent mainstream card can be found in the 2020 Topps Heritage Minor League set.

* * *

Way back on January 9th, the Phillies acquired reliever Sam Coonrod from the Giants for pitching prospect Carson Ragsdale.  Ragsdale was the Phillies' 4th round pick in the 2020 draft and he had yet to play at any level officially within their minor league system.  Coonrod went 0-2 with a 9.82 ERA in 18 games last season with the Giants.  His latest mainstream card can be found in the 2020 Topps Heritage set, and he made his Topps flagship set debut on a multi-player rookie card in 2019 Topps Update.

* * *

Finally, the Phillies announced their full coaching staff for 2021 back on January 11th.  Jim Gott is officially out as the bullpen coach with David Lundquist sliding over to the bullpen from the assistant pitching coach role he filled last season.  In lieu of a new assistant pitching coach in 2021, the Phillies have named Mike Calitri their Quality Assurance Coach, and if I told you I knew what that meant, I'd be lying.

Departures - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Deolis Guerra - rhp (10/14/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Jose Alvarez - lhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Jake Arrieta - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Jay Bruce - of (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • J.T. Realmuto - c (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Brandon Workman - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • Heath Hembree - rhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • Adam Morgan - lhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • Blake Parker - rhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • David Phelps - rhp (10/30/20) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • David Robertson - rhp (10/30/20) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Reggie McClain - rhp (12/10/20) - Selected by the Yankees in the minor league portion of the annual rule 5 draft.
  • Trevor Kelley - rhp (12/14/20) - Signed a minor league contract with the Chicao Cubs.
  • Garrett Cleavinger - lhp (12/29/20) - Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers with the Phillies receiving Jose Alvarado in exchange from the Tampa Bay Rays.
Coming Back - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Ronald Torreyes - inf (10/15/20) - Elected free agency, re-signed with the Phillies as a minor league free agent (1/4/21).
New Additions - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Johan Quezada - rhp (10/30/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Miami Marlins.
  • Ian Hamilton - rhp (12/7/20) Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • Kyle Holder - inf (12/10/20) - Selected from the Yankees in the annual rule 5 draft.
  • Jose Alvarado - lhp (12/29/20) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays with the Dodgers receiving Garrett Cleavinger in exchange.
  • Sam Coonrod - rhp (1/9/21) - Acquired from the San Francisco Giants for Carson Ragsdale.
  • Archie Bradley - rhp (1/18/21) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Cincinnati Reds.
  • C.J. Chatham - inf (1/18/21) - Acquired from the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later.

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

First Four Non-Roster Invitees Announced

2019 Topps Heritage #642
2016 Topps Heritage #221
2016 Topps Heritage #632
2012 Topps Heritage #143

If and when spring training happens in a few months, the Phillies will have at least four non-roster invitees suiting up in Clearwater.  That number is sure to grow, but it's always a good sign when non-roster invitee news starts to hit.  The Phillies announced these four names on Monday, a few weeks behind the pace of prior years.  For comparison purposes, the first four non-roster invitees were announced last year on December 20th.

Ronald Torreyes is the only returning Phillies player from 2020, for now, although Christian Bethancourt was in Clearwater with the club last spring before seemingly disappearing.  Neftali Feliz is a nine-year veteran, making the All-Star team and winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2010 while with the Rangers.  He last pitched in the majors in 2017 with the Royals.  The 6'7" Michael Ynoa also last pitched in the majors in 2017, when he appeared in 22 games for the White Sox.

Player (position) - 2020 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Christian Bethancourt (c) - N/A - 2017 Topps #697 (Padres)
2.  Ronald Torreyes (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Topps #537 (Twins)
3.  Michael Ynoa (rhp) - N/A - 2016 Topps Heritage High Numbers #632 (White Sox)
4.  Neftali Feliz (rhp) - N/A - 2017 Topps Update #US117 (Royals)

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Phils Complete First Deal of Dombrowski/Fuld Era

2020 Chachi #56
2021 Chachi New Additions #4
2021 Chachi Departures #17
2021 Chachi Departures #16
2021 Chachi Departures #15

On December 22nd, the Phillies named Sam Fuld their new general manager, and the 39-year-old will attempt to deliver what former GM Matt Klentak could not - a postseason appearance.  Fuld has been with the organization since November 2017, and his title heading into the 2020 season had been "Director, Integrative Baseball Performance."  With president of baseball operations' Dave Dombrowski's oversight, Fuld will be tasked with hopefully re-signing free agent catcher J.T. Realmuto and rebuilding a bullpen that was historically bad in 2020.

Fuld played between 2007 and 2015 with the Cubs, Rays, Athletics and Twins and had a lifetime .227 average over 598 games.  His rookie card can be found in the 2008 Topps set, and oddly enough his former role with the Phillies resulted in two photo cards in both team-issued sets in 2019.  As part of the remade front office, Jorge Velandia was promoted to assistant general manager and Terry Ryan was given the title assistant to the general manager.  Ryan has been with the organization since 2016 and had previously served for 19 years as the general manager of the Twins.

* * *

Related to this news, the Dombrowski/Fuld tandem executed their first trade on Tuesday afternoon, acquiring reliever Jose Alvarado from the Rays.  It was a three-team deal with the Phillies sending pitcher Garrett Cleavinger to the Dodgers and the Rays receiving Dillon Paulson and a player to be named later from the Dodgers.  In four seasons with the Rays, Alvarado was 2-15 with a 3.46 ERA over 132 2/3 innings.  He has 161 career strikeouts to just 71 walks, and he's a hard-throwing lefty who could immediately fill a hole at the back end of the Phillies bullpen.  Shoulder problems limited him to only 9 appearances in 2020 for the A.L. Champions.

His first Topps flagship card can be found in the 2017 Topps Update set and most recently he was in the 2020 Topps Total set.

Cleavinger departs having appeared in just one game for the Phillies, back on September 17th.  He pitched 2/3 of an inning and surrendered a two-run home run to Robinson Cano in one of the many Phillies bullpen meltdown sessions from 2020.

And speaking of bullpen meltdown sessions, two other former Phillies relievers recently found new homes.  Trevor Kelley (4 games, 10.80 ERA) signed a minor league contract with the Cubs on December 14th and Reggie McClain (5 games, 5.06 ERA) was claimed by the Yankees on December 10th in the minor league portion of the annual rule 5 draft.

Departures - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Deolis Guerra - rhp (10/14/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Ronald Torreyes - inf (10/15/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Jose Alvarez - lhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Jake Arrieta - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Jay Bruce - of (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • J.T. Realmuto - c (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Brandon Workman - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • Heath Hembree - rhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • Adam Morgan - lhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • Blake Parker - rhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • David Phelps - rhp (10/30/20) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • David Robertson - rhp (10/30/20) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Reggie McClain - rhp (12/10/20) - Selected by the Yankees in the minor league portion of the annual rule 5 draft.
  • Trevor Kelley - rhp (12/14/20) - Signed a minor league contract with the Chicao Cubs.
  • Garrett Cleavinger - lhp (12/29/20) - Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers with the Phillies receiving Jose Alvarado in exchange from the Tampa Bay Rays.
New Additions - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Johan Quezada - rhp (10/30/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Miami Marlins.
  • Ian Hamilton - rhp (12/7/20) Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • Kyle Holder - inf (12/10/20) - Selected from the Yankees in the annual rule 5 draft.
  • Jose Alvarado - lhp (12/29/20) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays with the Dodgers receiving Garrett Cleavinger in exchange.
* * *

And finally, barring a major trade over the next few days, that's going to do it for another year of blogging at The Phillies Room.  I thought it fitting that the last card posted for 2020 should be a checklist.  Thanks for following along and I'll see you next year!

2020 Chachi #57

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Ending 2020 on a High Note (#SBWTMABCTJ)


I've always prided myself in trying to live in the moment and to not spend too much time looking forward to what comes next.  With that being said, I'm more than ready to turn the page on 2020 and I'm hopeful for a safe, healthy and less anxiety-filled 2021.  I'm extremely grateful my family made it through this year with our health and clinging to a few annual traditions that mean a lot to us.  Selfishly, one of those annual traditions I look forward to is the opening of presents at my Mom's house the day after Christmas.  The gathering was in doubt this year, but with everyone masked up, spread out as much as we could and with hand sanitizers readily available, we did it.  Dr. Fauci would have been proud.  The gathering was shorter than usual, with less hugs and less eating, but it still meant a lot.  We gathered for a quick family selfie at the end of the evening, which was really the only time we all briefly came together.

The last present I opened yesterday contained eight individually wrapped gifts in the exact shape and size of baseball cards.  If you've read this blog each December for the past 10 years, you're now familiar with the annual event of Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim.  Thanks largely to my Mom, it's actually getting harder to populate my Most Wanted - Vintage list on this blog's sidebar, and I may need to change up my tactics for 2021's installment.  From this year's haul, the 10th Annual SBWTMABCTJ:

1949 Bowman #228 Jackie Mayo - The addition of this Mayo card, since jail-breaked from its slab, means I'm only one card away from a 1949 Bowman Phillies team set.  The Richie Ashburn rookie card is going to need to wait a little bit longer.

1952 Topps #13 Johnny Wyrostek - Wyrostek is on the Reds here, but he played with the Phillies in 1952 which means he fits into my definition of belonging in my 1950s Phillies binder.  The only remaining 1952 Topps Phillies cards I need now are from the pricey high-number series.

1953 Bowman Black & White #47 Jack Lohrke - Compared to their Color counterparts, the 1953 Bowman Black & White set often gets overlooked.  For a complete run of Bowman Phillies cards, I'm down to needing three cards - the '49 Ashburn rookie, along with Wyrostek and Andy Hansen from this 1953 Bowman set.

1956 Topps #114 Jim Owens and #274 Frank Baumholtz - I already own these cards in our 1956 Topps set, and I'm selfishly adding second copies of each for my 1950s Phillies binder.

1966 Topps #543 Roger Craig - This card gets me one card away from a complete run of Phillies cards from the 1960s Topps sets.  I'm down to needing just the Gary Sutherland card (shared with the Mets' Don Shaw) from the tough 1967 Topps high-number series.  The only cards standing in the way of my having a complete run of Topps Phillies team sets from 1951 to 2020 are four cards from the 1952 Topps high-number series, two cards from the 1956 Topps set and the Sutherland Rookie Stars card.

1971 Topps #664 Ken Reynolds and #692 Wayne Twitchell - These two cards wrap up my complete run of 1970s Topps Phillies team sets.  Again, Twitchell is with the Brewers here but since he played with the Phillies in 1971, it's worthy of a spot in my team set.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and your families!  Stay safe, mask up and go wash your hands.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

My Topps Baseball Card Set Collecting Journey

1956 Topps #220
1975 Topps #242
1981 Topps #540
1974 Topps #255
1976 Topps #455

I'm primarily a collector of Phillies baseball cards, but the team's disappointing play in the abbreviated 2020 season led me to turn my attention back to my first collecting priority - complete sets.  It's always been in my nature to take notes and keep records of major baseball card purchases and I've tried to keep those notes together with my baseball card sets in their binders.  My memories about when and where my Dad and I started or finished complete Topps sets is getting a little hazy so I decided to document here my personal set collecting journey.

I'm going to focus solely on Topps flagship sets with this post.  There are other sets I've enjoyed collecting (1982 Donruss, 1985 Fleer, 1988 Score and various Topps Heritage sets) but my primary focus has always been on the annual Topps flagship set release.  The chart below shows each Topps flagship set for 1956, 1965, and 1970 through 2020 and how it entered my collection, either through hand-collation (blue) or purchasing the set all at once (green).


The 1980s
Sets started:  1956, 1970, 1973-1976, 1981-1989
Sets completed:  1974-1976, 1981-1989
Sets purchased:  1977-1980

This is where it all began.  I first started gathering baseball cards in the late 1970s after reveling in the glory of my cousin Cindy's small collection of cards and when a big Friday night out to Burger King meant adding a few cellophane-wrapped Phillies cards.  I wasn't all about baseball cards at this point, and I still have stacks of Star Wars, Superman and E.T. cards squirreled away in a large box.

The first Topps set my Dad and I decided to collect together was the wonderfully colorful 1975 set, and I remember thinking he had lost his mind when he paid close to $20 for the George Brett rookie card at a baseball card show at some point in either 1984 or 1985.  This was at the height of the rookie card craze in the hobby.  As we came closer to completing the 1975 set, we ambitiously started collecting both the 1974 and 1976 sets at the same time.  While chasing both those sets, we also began a 20-year journey of collecting the wonderful 1956 set - a journey I'm currently documenting here at my 1956 Topps blog.

While all of this was going on, complete sets from between 1977 and 1980 were added as birthday or Christmas presents.  I'm guessing my Dad had figured out it was easier (and cheaper) to buy complete sets from those years rather than collect each card one at a time.  I was also building each year's Topps flagship set released between 1981 and 1989 with packs purchased frequently from Wawa by either my Dad or my Pop-Pop.

Christmas 1988 marked an important milestone as we finished up both the 1974 and 1976 sets with Santa bringing a 1973 starter set.  As we neared completion of the 1973 set, I chose 1970 as our next mission, daunted by the challenge and high prices of the 1971 and 1972 Topps cards.

1970 Topps #324
1973 Topps #300
1990 Topps #469
1999 Topps #159
1972 Topps #112

The 1990s
Sets started:  1971-1972, 1990-1994, 1997, 1999
Sets completed:  1970, 1973, 1990-1994, 1997, 1999
Sets purchased:  1995-1996, 1998

We slowed down quite a bit in the '90s as there were college bills to pay and other life events got in the way of collecting complete baseball card sets.  We bookended the decade by completing the 1973 set in 1990 and the 1970 set in 1999.  We were also adding cards every year to our growing 1956 set.

1995 saw the end to my long-run of hand-collating the current year's flagship set as I broke down and purchased a Topps factory set for the first time.

The 2000s
Sets started:  2000-2001
Sets completed:  1956, 1972, 2000-2001
Sets purchased:  2002-2009

This decade saw almost a complete stop to our set building, save for the 1956 set which was completed after a 20-year odyssey a few days after Christmas in 2007.  The 1972 set, started way back in 1992, was somewhat unceremoniously and finally completed at an October 2007 baseball card show held in Reading, PA.  My first son was born in 2006, with a second son on the way in early 2010, and my Dad's health was starting to fail.  As I turned my collecting attention towards Phillies cards, and with less of a budget to spend on opening packs, factory sets were purchased every year between 2002 and 2009 and I've not hand-collated the current year's Topps flagship set since.

2000 Topps #166
2008 Topps #460
2010 Topps #23
1971 Topps #49
1965 Topps #296

The 2010s
Sets started:  1965
Sets completed:  1971
Sets purchased:  2010-2019

Which brings us pretty much up to today.  I started my 1956 Topps blog in 2015 and after sputtering out a little a few years later, I've since enjoyed the weekly exercise of writing about the cards in that set and how each of them came into our collection.  In 2019, with the long-awaited completion of the 1971 set, I took stock of where my Topps flagship set collection stood, having completed every set dating back to 1970, with the 1956 set thrown in for good measure.  I decided to start going backwards.

The 1965 set is my favorite from the decade before I was born, so I decided to start there.  Originally, I envisioned collecting the 1965 set with my oldest son Doug the same way my Dad and I had collected sets in the 1980s but admittedly it's turned more into an exercise of me adding cards and showing him what we've added.  He knows it's "his" set one way or the other, and the occasional eBay hunt during a pandemic-stricken year has made me happy and provided a welcome distraction.  I'm writing about "our" quest for the complete 1965 set on my spin-off blog here.

The 2020s
Sets started:  Most likely 1959, 1966, 1969
Sets completed:  Hopefully 1965 and one of two of the others listed above
Sets purchased:  Most likely 2020-2029

What's next?  The 1965 set will keep me busy for a while, but I'm always looking towards the future . . . or back in time as the case here may be.  In terms of Topps flagship sets from yesteryear, the three sets I could see myself collecting next are from 1959, 1966 and 1969.  1959 because it's an awesome set and I've always loved its design, 1966 since I already own the Mickey Mantle card from the set and 1969 since it would add to the run of sets I own beginning in 1970.

From a non-Topps perspective, the 1955 Bowman set has always fascinated me.  My Dad told me often that "he had them all" as a kid growing up on Oak Street in Millville and I don't doubt he's exaggerating.  I'd like to recreate that set, unceremoniously thrown out by my Mom-Mom in the mid-1960s when my Dad departed for college.  The only surviving card from his collection was one half of the Mantle card from the set, and I wrote about that here.  How awesome would it be to re-collect that complete set at some point in honor of my Dad's long-lost collection?

1955 Bowman #171
1959 Topps #300
1966 Topps #230
1969 Topps #350

* * *

[Post-credits scene]

Finally, a few weeks ago, I was caught off-guard by my sudden fascination and determination to collect a complete pre-war set.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of collecting the 1965 set is getting to research, read and learn about the subject of each card and writing about players I had heard of but never really knew anything about.  The thought of going back to a set released nearly 100 years ago and learning about players from that era really intrigued me.  I knew this was a project I wanted to undertake, but I didn't know how to start or what set to start with.

As luck would have it, I had recently subscribed to Beckett Vintage Collector and my December 2020/January 2021 issue arrived as I was trying to decide if I really wanted to collect another old set or not.  It was within that issue I devoured the article by Anson Whaley on the 1934-1936 Diamond Stars set and late one night decided - that's it . . . that's my next set.  Within minutes of making that decision, I purchased my first Diamond Stars card and I was off on my next journey!

So with that decision made and coming soon . . . I present my 1934-1936 Diamond Stars blog, where I'll chronicle my process of very slowly collecting all 108 cards in the set, some of the notable variations and the three extension sets issued years after the original cards were first found in packs of chewing gum.  And here we go.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like the Offseason

2020 Chachi #55

2021 Chachi
New Additions #2
2021 Chachi
New Additions #3

After a flurry of activity updating some outdated posts on Phillies team-issued photo card sets, this blog went into semi-hibernation mode as we approached Christmas.  It very well may go back into semi-hibernation until there are more transactions to announce, but I first wanted to update my running list of offseason acquisitions and departures.  Unfortunately, there's not much to report . . . yet.

On December 7th, the Phillies claimed Ian Hamilton (RHP) off waivers from the Mariners.  Hamilton had been claimed by the Mariners from the White Sox on September 25th, and with the White Sox in 2020 he appeared in four games.  He has 14 major league appearances to his name (in 2018 and 2020) and he could provide bullpen depth in 2021.  Other than some minor league team set appearances, Hamilton's first and only mainstream card can be found in 2020 Topps Total set.

On December 10th, the day of the annual rule 5 draft, the Phillies selected Kyle Holder (INF) from the Yankees.  Holder has to stay on the big league roster throughout 2021 or be offered back to the Yankees.  With a lack of infield depth in the high levels of the farm system, he's got a good chance to stick around.  Holder's first mainstream card can be found in the 2015 Bowman Draft set and most recently he's appeared in the 2017 Topps Holiday Bowman set, which is a set I've honestly never heard of.

In a offseason so far filled with bad news (apparent lack of interest in re-signing J.T. Realmuto, widespread staff lay-offs, news of a dire financial situation for the club) the Phillies gave us some good news with the hiring of Dave Dombrowski on December 11th as their President of Baseball Operations.  The move signifies the official end of the failed Matt Klentak/Andy MacPhail era and ushers in the Dombrowski era and hopefully a return to the postseason.  Dombrowski was the general manager for two World Champions (Marlins in 1997 and Red Sox in 2018) and his Tigers won A.L. pennants in 2006 and 2012.  The hope here is that owner John Middleton opens up his wallet enough to let Dombrowski make some key signings, but also that Dombrowski executes enough savvy trades to get the Phillies out of the second division of the National League.

Departures - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Deolis Guerra - rhp (10/14/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Ronald Torreyes - inf (10/15/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Jose Alvarez - lhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Jake Arrieta - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Jay Bruce - of (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • J.T. Realmuto - c (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Brandon Workman - rhp (10/28/20) - Elected free agency.
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • Heath Hembree - rhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • Adam Morgan - lhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • Blake Parker - rhp (10/30/20) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency.
  • David Phelps - rhp (10/30/20) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • David Robertson - rhp (10/30/20) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
New Additions - 2020-2021 Offseason
  • Johan Quezada - rhp (10/30/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Miami Marlins.
  • Ian Hamilton - rhp (12/7/20) Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • Kyle Holder - inf (12/10/20) - Selected from the Yankees in the annual rule 5 draft.

Friday, December 11, 2020

Happy Birthday Doug!


Throughout this entire crazy and challenging year, our son Doug's resiliency, helpfulness and occasional silliness has been impressive . . . most impressive.  The picture used here for his limited edition birthday release is from summer baseball action, right around the time he decided to let his hair grow out.  We continue to be amazed by this kid/teen, even though being inside most of the year meant he had more time to hone his skills as his little brother's personal tormentor.  

We're so proud of him.

Memory Lane
2006 to 2008 - Pre-The Phillies Room years
2009 - Doug turns 3
2010 - Took the year off . . . bad father!
2011 - A Shane Victorino card for Doug
2012 - Doug with the Phanatic, turns 6
2013 - Doug on the Braves, turns 7
2014 - Doug on the Marlins, turns 8
2015 - Doug on the Diamondbacks, turns 9
2016 - Doug and Pete Mackanin
2017 - Warming up with the Braves
2018 - On the mound for the Phillies
2019 - With All-Star Baseball and White Sox
2020 - Pandemic era baseball action

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Remembering Dick Allen (1942-2020)

This post, featuring 1965 Topps #460, was originally published on my Collecting 1965 Topps blog in October.  As a result of the pandemic, the Golden Days Committee postponed its Hall of Fame vote until next year.
 

Richard Anthony Allen
Philadelphia Phillies
Third Base


Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'11"  Weight:  187
Born:  March 8, 1942, Wampum, PA
Signed:  Signed as an amateur free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies before the 1960 season
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Phillies 1963-1969; St. Louis Cardinals 1970; Los Angeles Dodgers 1971; Chicago White Sox 1972-1974; Philadelphia Phillies 1975-1976; Oakland Athletics 1977

2006 Toyota Phillies Wall of Fame Postcards
A seven-time All-Star and the A.L. MVP in 1972, Dick Allen was one of the most feared sluggers of the '60s and '70s.  He won Rookie of the Year honors in 1964, hitting .318 and leading the league in runs scored (125) and triples (13) the year the Phillies heartbreakingly collapsed down the stretch.  The first black superstar for the Phillies, he dealt with racism throughout his climb up the team's minor league system and experienced a tense relationship with the media and fanbase during his years with the club.  Still, he was a prolific power hitter, landing in the top ten for home runs in National League in five seasons with the Phillies between 1964 and 1969.

Allen requested and received a trade following the 1969 season, and he played for two seasons with the Cardinals and Dodgers before landing with the White Sox in 1972 and experiencing another power surge.  He hit .308 for the 1972 White Sox and led the league in home runs (37) and RBIs (113) en route to winning the league's MVP honors.  Allen was coaxed out of retirement following the 1974 season and re-joined the Phillies in 1975.  He saw his first and only postseason action with the club in 1976, teaming with Mike Schmidt and Greg Luzinski to form a formidable middle of the line-up.

Over 15 big league seasons, Allen hit .292 with 351 home runs and 1,119 RBIs, and he's widely acknowledged as one of the best players in the history of the game not yet in the Hall of Fame.  He'll get another shot at the Hall in December when The Golden Days Committee is scheduled to vote again.  On August 13, 2020, the Phillies announced they would be retiring Allen's #15, reversing a long-time policy of the club not to retire the number of any player not yet in the Hall of Fame.

Building the Set
August 18, 2020 from Morton Grove, IL - Card #140
I went searching on eBay for this card the day the Phillies announced they would be retiring Allen's #15 during a September 3rd ceremony, marking the 53rd anniversary of Allen's big league debut.  This is the fourth time I've decided to purchase a card no matter what, given the circumstances of a specific day.  Here's the list so far:
  • Don Larsen (#389) - Purchased on New Year's Day 2020 after the pitcher's passing.
  • Jim Kaat (#62) - Purchased in February at the Philly Show as the pitcher was one of the show's autograph guests.  I wanted to buy the card there and have Kaat sign it.
  • Al Kaline (#130) - Bought on April 6th after the Hall of Famer had passed away.
  • Richie Allen (#460) - Shopped for and purchased on August 13th, the day of the Phillies' announcement.
I honestly didn't expect the Allen card to be as pricey as it ended up being, but this continues the recent trend of prices going up for these vintage Topps cards.  I still suspect the pandemic has had the unexpected side effect of bringing people to or back into the hobby.  I looked through quite a few cards and took my time with my decision before settling on a card for sale from the exotically named eBay seller, psychedelicart69.

The Card / Phillies Team Set
This is a beautiful baseball card with the golden All-Star Rookie trophy perfectly positioned.  Flipping to the back, Allen's two home run day came on October 4th, after the Phillies had already completed their collapse.  Topps then summarizes the highlights of Allen's stellar rookie year.

While not a reprint, Allen received a card in the style of the 1965 Topps set in the 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set.

1965 Season
Allen again served as the team's regular third baseman, starting 160 of the team's 162 games.  He hit .302 with 20 home runs and 85 RBIs, with his numbers dipping slightly from the prior year.  He originally refused to report to spring training, requesting a hefty raise following his rookie campaign and eventually coming to terms with then general manager John Quinn for $20,000.  Allen hit the first ever regular season home run at the Astrodome on April 12th and hit a home run that reportedly went 510 feet off the Cubs' Larry Jackson (#420) on May 29th.

Prior to the game on July 3rd and according to various accounts, Frank Thomas (#123) and Allen got into a fight.  Different reports have Thomas using racial slurs or swinging a bat in Allen's direction after Allen had taken a swing at him.  Whatever truly happened marked the end of Thomas' Phillies career as he was put on waivers following the game and sold to the Astros on July 10th.  There's a great article, linked here and authored by Frank Fitzpatrick, that appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the fight.

At the All-Star Game on July 13th, Allen was the starting N.L. third baseman and went 1 for 3 with a single off Pete Richert (#252).

Phillies Career
In his nine seasons with the Phillies, Allen hit .290 with 204 home runs and 655 RBIs.  He currently ranks second in club history with a .530 slugging percentage (behind Chuck Klien's .553) and 10th on the team's all-time home run list.  He was inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1994.

He also joined the team's front office in 1994 as a fan representative and the 2020 Phillies Media Guide lists his current official title as Club Ambassador.

1964 Topps #243
1966 Topps #80
1968 Topps #225
1975 Topps #400
1976 Topps #455
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1964 Topps #243
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (13):  1964-1976
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2009 Upper Deck Goodwin Champions #15

226 - Allen non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 8/17/20.

Sources:  
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Phillies Room
SABR
The Trading Card Database