Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Phillies Name Pedro Guerrero Assistant Hitting Coach

1986 Sportflics #148
I have two Pedro Guerrero baseball cards in my Phillies collection.  This lenticular card from the 1986 Sportflics set featuring Guerrero, Mike Schmidt and Darrel Porter is one of those cards.  That's Guerrero's leg poking through behind Schmidt.  The former slugger also appears on the back of Pete Rose's card from the 1983 Topps Foldouts set.

The Phillies' new assistant hitting coach, also named Pedro Guerrero, apparently is no relation to the former big leaguer who was a five-time All-Star and played for 15 seasons with the Dodgers and Cardinals.  The Phillies' Pedro Guerrero is a 28-year-old who played eight seasons in the Dodgers' minor league organization and served as their Rookie-level bench coach for the Ogden Raptors the past two seasons.  He worked with new Phillies manager Gabe Kapler during Kapler's time with the Dodgers' organization.  The younger Guerrero's only baseball card appearances to date can be found within Dodgers' minor league team sets.

Guerrero's hiring leaves just two vacant coaching spots on the Phillies' staff - bench coach and first base coach.  It would appear as if Rick Kranitz will serve as the team's pitching coach in 2018, although the team has yet to make this official.

To be perfectly honest, I'm having a tough time getting even remotely excited about the Phillies' field staff hirings this offseason.  The more I think about the Kapler hiring, the more I wish Pete Mackanin was coming back next season.  Only time will tell if these appointments are genius or lunacy.

And on that note . . . Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

40-Man Roster Additions/Subtractions

2017 Grandstand
Clearwater Threshers #8
2017 Bowman
Prospects #BP41
2017 Choice
Lakewood BlueClaws #26
2017 Topps
Pro Debut #91
On Monday, all 30 teams worked to set their 40-man rosters in advance of next month's Rule 5 draft.  The Phillies completely overhauled their roster a year ago, dropping three players and adding 11.  There wasn't that much activity this year as the team dropped three players and added five.  Here's a look at the players involved in the roster shuffling along with some baseball card notes for the new additions.

Dropped from 40-Man Roster
  • Mark Appel (rhp) - Former 1st round pick of the Astros and acquired as part of the Ken Giles trade.  Appel has had his prior two seasons ended prematurely due to arm injuries.
  • Elniery Garcia (lhp) - Garcia sticks with the organization, as he was simply outrighted to the IronPigs.
  • Alberto Tirado (rhp) - Part of the return in the Ben Revere deal.
Added to 40-Man Roster
  • Seranthony Dominguez (rhp) - Has appeared in the 2016 Crosscutters and 2017 Threshers minor league team sets.
  • Franklyn Kilome (rhp) - One of the organization's top pitching prospects, I already have 11 of his cards in my collection from various Bowman and Topps releases.
  • Ranger Suarez (lhp) - Appears in the 2016 Crosscutters and the 2017 BlueClaws minor league team sets.
  • Jose Taveras (rhp) - Along with cards in the Phillies minor league team sets, Taveras appeared in the Topps Pro Debut and Topps Heritage Minor League sets this past season.  He also already has a Chachi card to his name, having appeared in the 2016 Chachi BlueClaws Signing Autographs limited edition set.
  • Engelb Vielma (inf) - The Phillies claimed Vielma off waivers from the Giants on Monday afternoon.  Primarily a shortstop, Vielma spent the past six seasons in the Twins organization and to date he's only appeared in Twins minor league team sets.
2018 Chachi New Additions #1
With his addition to the 40-man roster, Vielma becomes the first card in the 2018 Chachi New Additions set.  This insert set, released between now and opening day, will feature players new to the organization and added to the 40-man roster throughout the winter/early spring.

Memory Lane
2009 Additions - Quintin Berry, Yohan Flande and Jesus Sanchez
2010 Additions - Cesar Hernandez, Matt Rizzotti, Harold Garcia, Freddy Galvis and Justin De Fratus*
2011 Additions - Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman, Tyson Gillies and Sebastian Valle
2012 Additions - Zach Collier, Ethan Martin, Trevor May and Jonathan Pettibone
2013 Additions - Aaron Altherr, Kelly Dugan, Tommy Joseph and Rob Rasmussen
2014 Additions - Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan and Nefi Ogando
2015 Additions - Jimmy Cordero, Roman Quinn and Edubray Ramos
2016 Additions - 11 prospects
2017 Additions - Seranthony Dominguez, Franklyn Kilome, Ranger Suarez, Jose Taveras, Engelb Vielma

*Somehow I skipped doing a post for the 2010 40-man roster additions.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s - #5 Turner Ward

Turner Max Ward
Pinch Hitter

During the final season of his 12-year big league career, Turner Ward walked to the plate 17 times for the Phillies but never spent an inning in the field playing defense.  Manager Larry Bowa used Ward to pinch-hit 17 times in 2001, and Ward came through in a handful of those at bats, tallying a double, four hits and a walk.  A non-roster invitee to spring training, Ward began the season with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons but was recalled in mid-June.  In his first at-bat, he contributed a two-run single off Orioles reliever Buddy Groom and those were to be his only two RBIs as a Phillie.  Ward was sent back down in early July, earned a quick two-game return back in late July and was designated for assignment on July 27th ending his time with the Phillies.

Prior to his short Phillies career, Ward was a prospect in the Yankees organization before being shipped to the Indians in the March 1989 Joel Skinner/Mel Hall deal.  Ward's best seasons were with the 1994 Brewers (9 home runs, 45 RBIs) and the 1998 Pirates (9 home runs, 46 RBIs).

Bats:  Both  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  200
Born:  April 11, 1965, Orlando, FL
Drafted:  Drafted by the New York Yankees in the 18th round of the 1986 amateur player draft.
Major League Teams:  Cleveland Indians 1990-1991; Toronto Blue Jays 1991-1993; Milwaukee Brewers 1994-1996; Pittsburgh Pirates 1997-1999; Arizona Diamondbacks 1999-2000; Phillies 2001
Professional Affiliations:  New York Yankees 1986-1988; Cleveland Indians 1989-1991; Toronto Blue Jays 1991-1993; Milwaukee Brewers 1994-1996; Pittsburgh Pirates 1997-1999; Arizona Diamondbacks 1999-2000; Phillies 2001

Phillies Career
17 games - all as a pinch-hitter, 4 for 15 (.267) with a double, 2 RBIs
Acquired:  Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, December 20, 2000.
Debut:  June 17, 2001 - Pinch hit for Rheal Cormier in the eighth inning, singled to center and drove home Johnny Estrada and Marlon Anderson.
Final Game:  July 27, 2001 - Pinch hit for Cliff Politte and was hit by a pitch by Mets pitcher Steve Trachsel.
Departed:  October 8, 2001 - Granted free agency.

1991 Topps #555
1999 Fleer Tradition #547
2001 Topps #589
2001 Choice Scranton/
Wilkes-Barre Red Barons #28
2 Ward Baseball Card in My Collection
2001 Choice Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons #28
2001 Topps #589

Other Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1991 Bowman #76
First Topps Base Card:  1991 Topps #555
Last Mainstream Card:  2001 Topps Chrome #451
Other Notable Cards:  1988 CMC Columbus Clippers #19, 1993 Donruss #293, 1994 Stadium Club #550, 1999 Fleer Tradition #547

Sources:  Baseball Reference and The Trading Card Database

Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s
1 Kirk Bullinger
2 Chris Pritchett
3 Bryan Ward
4 Mark Holzemer
5 Turner Ward

This is a continuing series looking at those players who spent time with the Phillies but possess no baseball card proof of their time in Philadelphia.  In some cases, the First and Last Mainstream cards listed above have been subjectively chosen if multiple cards were released in that year.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

New Williams Team-Issued Card Surfaces

Of interest to probably just a few of us collectors (I'm looking at you, Rick and Steve), I recently (and surprisingly) added a new Nick Williams team-issued photo card to my collection.  The card is in the style of the regular 2017 team-issued photo card set but with a blank back.  Williams was not included in the early season release of the original 40-card set, but he'd appear in the late season 14-card update set.  This update set used a completely different design from the 40-card set.

We already knew of the existence of cards for Zach Eflin, Mark Leiter Jr. and Nick Pivetta bearing this design, as these cards were made available at the Phillies Phestival held in May.  But now I can add the Williams card to the list of set rarities as well.

So how did this card come into my collection?  My wife and I recently attended the 40th Anniversary Gala of the Philadelphia ALS Association.  The Phillies are a huge sponsor for this terrific organization, and the team had contributed several items to the silent and live auctions that were part of the event.  We were fortunate to bid on and win a Phillies prize package thanks to the astute bidding skills of my wife Jenna.  One of the items we won was an autographed bat from Nick Williams.  The bat was shipped to our house last week and this card was included within the box, seemingly to help the winner identify the signer of the bat.

I had to negotiate with our older son Doug to keep this card in my collection, and he agreed in exchange for getting to display the Williams bat in his room.  Our younger son Ben found a place of prominence in his room for the autographed Rhys Hoskins baseball, and I'm trying to figure out how to display the autographed catcher's mitt.  (The mitt is autographed by Cameron Rupp and not Jorge Alfaro.)

The moral of the story is when you support an amazing charitable organization, doing great work for ALS patients and their families in the Philadelphia region, you may end up inadvertently adding a rare Phillies team-issued photo card to your collection!

Phils Get Gott

1989 Topps #752
The Phillies filled another coaching position on Friday afternoon, adding former pitcher Jim Gott as their new bullpen coach for the 2018 season.  Gott replaces John McLaren, who was let go following the season.

Gott spent the past five season as the Angels' minor league pitching coordinator and he served as the Angels pitching coach from 2010 to 2012.  He enjoyed a 14 year playing career with the Blue Jays (1982-1984), Giants (1985-1987), Pirates (1987-1989, 1995) and Dodgers (1990-1994).  He saved 34 games for the Pirates in 1988, at the time breaking Kent Tekulve's single season save tally for the franchise.

Gott appears in every Topps flagship set between 1983 and 1995.  I chose his 1989 Topps card for this post, as I'm pretty sure I pulled no less than a dozen of this particular card from packs I opened during the spring/summer of '89.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Malle, Wathan Join Coaching Staff; Kranitz Returns

1991 Classic Best
Martinsville Phillies #8
2007 Choice
Ottawa Lynx #24
New manager Gabe Kapler officially added three coaches to his staff on Friday.  Rick Kranitz, who was the bullpen coach in 2016 and the assistant pitching coach in 2017, is to date the sole holdover from Pete Mackanin's staff.  His role has yet to be determined, but it was confirmed that he'll return in 2018.

John Mallee returns to the Phillies organization after a 25-year absence.  Mallee was originally drafted by the Phillies in the 12th round of the June 1991 amateur player draft.  He played in parts of two seasons with the Martinsville (rookie) and Spartanburg (Low A) Phillies teams, appearing in 115 games and hitting .208.  More recently, Mallee served as the hitting coach for the Marlins (2010-2011), Astros (2013-2014) and Cubs (2015-2017).  Mallee was let go by the Cubs following their loss to the Dodgers in the playoffs.  He replaces Matt Stairs, who left the Phillies to fill the hitting coach position with the Padres.

Dusty Wathan was who I hoped would be the next Phillies manager.  Instead, he'll serve as Kapler's third base coach.  He's managed in the Phillies minor league system for the past 10 seasons, so he knows all the younger players well.

Mallee has a number of minor league baseball cards to his name, including the 1991 Classic card shown here.  Wathan has been appearing in Phillies minor league sets since 2006, first as a player and then as a manager.  The card featured here is from the Phillies' one year relationship with the Ottawa Lynx back in 2007.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Phillies Minor League Free Agents & Chachi Almost Cards

2017 Chachi Almost #18
2017 Chachi Almost #20
2017 Topps Update #US171
On Tuesday, Baseball America published a list of 572 new minor league free agents and the list included 16 players from the Phillies organization.  Players in red below saw time with the Phillies over the past few seasons.

RHP:  Michael Mariot, Colton Murray, Miguel Nunez, Jesen Therrien
LHP:  Cesar Ramos
RHP/LHP:  Pat Venditte
C:  Wilson Garcia, Chace Numata, Nick Rickles
1B:  Jake Fox, Brock Stassi
2B:  Angelo Mora
3B:  Harold Martinez
SS:  Hector Gomez
OF:  Christian Marrero, Herlis Rodriguez

Both Mariot and Murray spent time in the Phillies bullpen during the 2016 season, but neither got the call all season long in 2017.  Stassi provided a feel-good story coming out of spring training, as the 27-year-old rookie made the Phillies' opening day roster.  In 51 games, he hit .167 with a pair of home runs and he earned baseball cards in the Topps Heritage High Numbers and Topps Update sets for his efforts.

Moving On - 2017-2018 Offseason
  • Henderson Alvarez - rhp (10/4/17) - Outrighted off 40-man roster and elected free agency.
  • Ty Kelly - 2b-of (10/4/17) - Outrighted off 40-man roster and elected free agency.
  • Kevin Siegrist - lhp (10/4/17) - Outrighted off 40-man roster and elected free agency.
  • Pedro Beato - rhp (10/13/17) - Elected free agency.
  • Andres Blanco - inf (11/2/17) - Elected free agency.
  • Clay Buchholz - rhp (11/2/17) - Elected free agency.
  • Hyun Soo Kim - of (11/2/17) - Elected free agency.
  • Daniel Nava - of (11/2/17) - Elected free agency.
  • Pedro Florimon - inf-of (11/6/17) - Outrighted off 40-man roster and elected free agency.
  • Jesen Therrien - rhp (11/6/17) - Outrighted off 40-man roster and elected free agency.
  • Michael Mariot - rhp (11/6/17) - Elected free agency.
  • Colton Murray - rhp (11/6/17) - Elected free agency.
  • Brock Stassi - 1b (11/6/17) - Elected free agency.
2017 Chachi Almost #16
2017 Chachi Almost #21
2017 Chachi Almost #24
I also wanted to clear out my draft folder of a bunch of Chachi Almost cards.  I make cards during spring training of every player on the 40-man roster as well as each non-roster invitee if a good photo becomes available.  These cards wait patiently all season to perhaps become official Chachi cards, but if the player doesn't get the call the cards join the Chachi Almost insert set.  Mark Appel, Dylan Cozens, Elniery Garcia, Scott Kingery, Logan Moore, Shane Pullin, Roman Quinn and Alberto Tirado should all be in the mix when the Phillies head to Clearwater in February.

Hector Gomez, Mariot, Murray, Chace Numata and Cesar Ramos will be moving on.

2017 Chachi Almost #13
2017 Chachi Almost #14
2017 Chachi Almost #15
2017 Chachi Almost #17
2017 Chachi Almost #19
2017 Chachi Almost #22
2017 Chachi Almost #23
2017 Chachi Almost #25

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Remembering a Legend - Thanks Doc

2011 Topps Allen & Ginter N43 #N43-RH

This is not a fun post to write, but I feel like I have to write something to mark the tragic and untimely passing of Roy Halladay.  All work stopped on Tuesday afternoon as the first Tweets started showing up that a plane owned by Halladay had crashed in Florida.  A short while later we learned that a person on board the crashed plane had died, and then it was only a matter of time before local law enforcement confirmed the deceased was Halladay.  He was 40 and he leaves behind a wife, two sons and countless fans.

Halladay pitched in Philadelphia for four seasons.  While the last two seasons were mostly forgettable, his first two seasons were pure magic.  He was incredibly fun to watch and it was exciting that such a dominant pitcher and a fierce competitor was pitching for us, for the Phillies.  Acquired from the Blue Jays in December 2009 for three prospects, Halladay threw his first Phillies shutout against the Braves on the day our youngest son Ben was born.  In his 11th start with the Phillies, a little more than a month later, he authored a perfect game in Miami.  Halladay helped lead the team to the postseason where he kicked off the playoffs with a no-hitter against the Reds in Game 1 of the NLDS.

I memorialized what I had said in the 9th inning of that game to our oldest son Doug in a game summary post.  Doug was a few months shy of his fourth birthday:  "Come here Doug.  You have to watch this.  I want you to remember this."

Halladay won the 2010 Cy Young Award, started the 2011 All-Star Game for the National League and he was on the mound on October 7, 2011 when the Phillies played (and lost) their last postseason game as of this writing.  My Dad passed away a week after that game and while he was not responsive during the play-offs, we had enjoyed the 2011 Phillies season, and Halladay's dominance, together.  During the last summer he was alive, my Dad enjoyed watching one of the best teams in franchise history, and Halladay played a huge role in that.

The season after he retired, the Phillies hosted a Roy Halladay bobble-head night and Doug begged to go.  I can't remember why I didn't go, but my wife Jenna agreed to take Doug so that he could get his Halladay bobblehead.  It's now one of his prized possessions in his growing Phillies collection.

We never met Halladay, although by all accounts I really wish we had.  Of course he never knew it, but he played a big part in our family's lives and he provided moments of joy I'll never forget.

12/16/09 - Acquired from the Toronto Blue Jays for three prospects
4/21/10 - Shut-out the Braves, 2-0, on the day our second son Ben was born
5/29/10 - Threw the 20th perfect game in Major League history
10/6/10 - No-hit the Reds in Game 1 of the N.L.D.S.
11/16/10 - Named 2010 Cy Young Award winner
4/2/11 - Received his 2010 Cy Young Award in a pre-game ceremony
7/12/11 - Started the 2011 All-Star Game
10/7/11 - Outdueled by Chris Carpenter as the Phillies lost Game 5 of the N.L.D.S., the team's last postseason game to date
4/6/12 - Combined with Jonathan Papelbon for a 1-0 Opening Day win over the Pirates
4/14/13 - 200th career victory
9/23/13 - The final game
8/8/14 - Now retired, threw out the first pitch on Roy Halladay bobblehead night

2010 Chachi Special Edition #RH
2010 Chachi #9
2010 Chachi #37
2010 Chachi #44
2010 Chachi #52
2010 Chachi #57
2010 Chachi #58
2010 Chachi #59
2010 Chachi #61
2010 Chachi #69
2010 Chachi #72
2011 Chachi #9
2011 Chachi Lineage #1
2011 Chachi #42
2011 Chachi #61
2011 Chachi #62
2011 Chachi #63
2011 Chachi #65
2011 Chachi #69
2012 Chachi #9
2012 Chachi #64
2013 Chachi #16
2013 Chachi #31
2014 Chachi
Transactions #10
2017 Chachi
Fan Favorites #12