Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
My Dad added this 1951 Bowman Eddie Waitkus card to my collection for Christmas. With the addition of this card, we're down to needing just five more cards to complete the '51 Bowman Phillies team set.
Eddie Waitkus debuted with the Chicago Cubs in 1941, but he missed the next four seasons while serving in World War II. Following the 1948 season, the Cubs traded him to the Phillies with Hank Borowy for Monk Dubiel and Dutch Leonard.
Eddie played first base with the Phillies from 1949 through 1953 and again in 1955, but he's known mostly for an off field incident in which a deranged female fan shot him in a Chicago hotel. The shooting took place on June 14, 1949, and Eddie needed five operations to miraculously overcome his wounds. The crime shocked the baseball world, and he was named an honorary All-Star in 1949. The incident was the inspiration for a similar event in Bernard Malamud's 1952 novel, The Natural, which was later made into the classic 1984 baseball movie starring Robert Redford.
Wearing #4, Eddie returned to the Phils in 1950, hitting .284 in 154 games as a member of the National League Champion Whiz Kids. He was the team's lead-off hitter in the 1950 World Series, hitting ahead of Richie Ashburn, and he won the National League Comeback Player of the Year Award. Eddie was known for his fine defense at first base, and he manned that position for the Phils again in 1951 and 1952. Following the 1953 season, in which he served as a reserve, he was sold to the Baltimore Orioles. He spent one season with the Orioles before returning to the Phillies in 1955 for his final season.
Solid Gold: My Dad also gave me several gold Phillies baseball cards from the 2008 World Championship set, as issued by The Danbury Mint. The cards are gorgeous in person, but sadly do not scan very well at all.
Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Friday, December 25, 2009
Thursday, December 24, 2009
Bob Dernier - Any carol sung by Karen Carpenter; Kangaroo leather baseball glove and ejector James Bond car
Ricky Jordan - "Little Drummer Boy"; Tyco electric race car set
Mickey Morandini - "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"; Baseball glove
Mike Schmidt - "O Come All Ye Faithful"; Fanner 50 cap gun
Kent Tekulve - "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays"; Bicycle
They didn’t ask me, but here are my responses to the two questions -
“What Can You Get a Wookiee for Christmas (When He Already Owns a Comb)”; Star Wars Death Star Space Station tied with baseball cards from any year (but mostly 1956)
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
And is it me, or does John Wockenfuss sort of look like a young Santa Claus here? Maybe it's just me.
Quote of the Day: Upon first seeing the snow outside this morning, our 3-year-old son Doug asked, "Does this mean Ho Ho is coming?"
Friday, December 18, 2009
Non-Roster Invitees: The Phillies recently announced they had invited seven minor-league free agents to Spring Training. The seven invitees, with their 2009 organization in parenthesis: outfielder Chris Duffy (Brewers), catcher Paul Hoover (Phillies), infielder Cody Ransom (Yankees), first baseman Andy Tracy (Phillies), infielder Wilson Valdez (Mets), lefty pitcher Bill White (out of baseball in 2009, last pitched with the Rangers organization in 2008), and outfielder DeWayne Wise (White Sox). Cody Ransom is an interesting name. He was the opening day third baseman for the Yankees, as Alex Rodriguez was recovering from hip surgery at the time.
Thursday, December 17, 2009
I featured catcher Travis d'Arnaud in a post back in September, celebrating the Lakewood BlueClaws' advance to the Sally Championship Series. Known more for his defense than his offense, d'Arnaud was ranked ahead of Lou Marson in terms of catching depth in some scouting reports last year. Marson, of course, was part of the package that netted now Seattle Mariner Cliff Lee from the Indians in July.
Best of luck to all three and I'll be paying a little closer attention this year to the Blue Jays, A's and Mariners.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
He said all the right things at his introductory press conference, including his desire to not only win in 2010, but to win in 2011 and 2012:
"This is a dream come true. The longer you play in your carer theHalladay is a 6-time All-Star and a former Cy Young Award winner, having won the award in 2003. In the last four seasons, he's finished in the top five in the American League Cy Young voting, but he's never pitched in a Postseason game. We both hope that changes this year. Pitchers and catchers report February 18th.
more important (winning) becomes. I've been able to establish myself, achieve things. The more I play, the more I realize how important that is for me. To see a team do it in back-to-back years and have that success says a lot about the players in the clubhouse and people that are putting the team together. It's not an accident. I want to be a part of that. I've heard great things about the people and great things about the organization. That is big for me. The biggest thing is having a chance to win and hopefully do it a couple of times. For me, that was the biggest factor."
140 days after he arrived in town as the new ace of the Phillies beleaguered starting rotation, Cliff Lee is on the move again. In a deal designed to free up salary, Lee was officially sent to the Seattle Mariners today for prospects Phillippe Aumont, Tyson Gillies and Juan Ramirez. In a second trade, the Phillies acquired pitcher Roy Halladay and cash from the Toronto Blue Jays for top prospects Kyle Drabek, Michael Taylor and Travis D'Arnaud.
I'm torn here . . . On one hand I'm ecstatic to have Doc Halladay as the ace of the Phillies pitching staff for the next 4, perhaps 5 years. On the other hand, it's tough to see Cliff Lee and Kyle Drabek move on. Cliff was a class act, a professional.
It's cliché, but only time will tell if Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. is a genius or if he got completely fleeced on these deals. When do pitchers and catchers report?
Other Stuff: The Phils play a 3-game series against the Blue Jays the last weekend of June. The last trade between the Phillies and the Mariners occurred in August 2006 when the Phils acquired Jamie Moyer for prospects Andrew Baldwin and Andrew Barb.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
1991 Baseball Cards Magazine Repli-Cards - #4 Len Dykstra, #26 1991 Phillies Rookie Stars, #28 Dale Murphy
In 1991, for the third year in a row, Baseball Cards Magazine produced a 72-card set inserted six to a panel within each issue. The cards used the style of the 1966 Topps set and featured three Phillies cards - Lenny Dykstra, Dale Murphy and a combo rookies card of Mickey Morandini and Wes Chamberlain.
The Dale Murphy card works particularly well as the popular slugger's away jersey matches up nicely with the card's design. The back of this card notes, "It's still tough to see a picture - not to mention a baseball card - of Dale Murphy wearing a Philadelphia uniform." The Lenny Dykstra card pictures the Phillies center fielder with his ubiquitous chaw, looking slightly befuddled. A few years later, Dykstra, Chamberlain and Morandini would play key roles for the Phils as they won the 1993 National League Championship.
I had to rearrange my 1989, 1990 and 1991 Phillies binders in order to accommodate these new additions. I arrange my Phillies cards alphabetically by set within each years' binder, so these cards pushed the Bowman cards down a few slots. It's nice to finally have these cards where they belong and not stuck in a box on a shelf.
A sobering thought from David Murphy's blog for the Philadelphia Daily News: "Since the Phillies are trading Cliff Lee and his $9 million salary to the Mariners to help accommodate Roy Halladay's salary, it is worth noting that the one thing standing in the way of one year of Halladay-Lee-Hamels might have been the two-year contract that Jamie Moyer signed last offseason that guarantees him $8 million this season."
Best Breakdown: Phuture Phillies has the most thorough (and slightly depressing) analysis I've seen yet of all the prospects involved in the proposed two trades. How does this guy know this much, especially about the Mariners prospects?
Best Quote: Old sage Bill Conlin puts the whole thing in perspective as only he can, observing, "Look at us . . . Quibbling over which Cy Young winner goes and which one comes aboard."
Don't get me wrong - I won't be upset when the trade goes down, but greedily, I would have loved to have had Halladay and Lee in the same rotation in 2010 even if Lee left following the season. And I'm always worried when the Phils trade off their top prospects, but I'm a little more apprehensive this time with the dealing away of the highly regarded Kyle Drabek.
The expert analysts all say the deals could take a few more days to get done, but here's where it stands as of right now:
Phillies get - Pitcher Phillippe Aumont, outfielder Tyson Gillies and pitcher Juan Ramirez
Mariners get - Pitcher Cliff Lee
Phillies get - Pitcher Roy Halladay and cash
Blue Jays get - Pitcher Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor, catcher Travis D'Arnaud
Monday, December 14, 2009
Sunday, December 13, 2009
Saturday, December 12, 2009
Friday, December 11, 2009
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Pedro Feliz (2008-2009) - Signed a 1-year deal with the Houston Astros.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
I didn't obtain any of these when they were first released, save for a single panel of three cards I acquired (probably from the Card Doctor in Millville) in the summer of '81. I don't think we bought the panel - it contains Fred Lynn, Tom Paciorek and Ken Landreaux - so I'm guessing the Card Doctor threw it into our bag as a bonus after one of our frequent visits.
I don't remember these being for sale at Wawa, and if they were, I probably would have passed them over for the standard Topps cards, the 5 x 7 Super Topps cards, the '81 Topps Stickers or packs of '81 Fleer. (For whatever reason, I don't recall the Wawa closest to us carrying packs of '81 Donruss, and I have very few "original" '81 Donruss cards in my collection.)
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I'm confident some of the cards will fill holes in my Phillies collection, especially the 2002-2005 cards. I'll need to pull together a nice lot of Cubs baseball cards to send back to Chris to show my gratitude.
For any readers with spare Cubs cards, please check out On Card Autos and set up a trade. Chris is also collecting Nomar Garciaparra, Dan Haren, Jeff Samardzija and Roger Maris cards. Thanks again Chris!
Monday, December 7, 2009
Pat the Met?: Another rumor which appears to have been shot down involved a proposed three team trade in which Milton Bradley would go to the Rays, Pat Burrell would go to the Mets and Luis Castillo would go to the Cubs.
Odds and Ends: Geoff Jenkins has been working out and would like to make a 2010 comeback . . . Just about every Phillies rumor I've read so far involves Tigers relief pitcher Brandon Lyon. Lyon saved 26 games in 2008 with the Diamondbacks . . . Talks with free agent relief pitchers Chan Ho Park and Scott Eyre are going very slowly . . . The Phillies were named by Baseball America as the 2009 Organization of the Year. Very cool.
Sunday, December 6, 2009
He's a brief summary of how the righty has spent his last three years:
June 2006: Recalled from AA Reading for a few spot starts with the Phillies.
September 2006: Underwent Tommy John surgery #1.
September 2007: Had ulnar nerve surgery on his right arm.
2008: Underwent Tommy John surgery #2 and missed the entire season.
2009: In 22 games in the Phils' minor league system, went 4-0 with an 0.84 ERA and 34 strikeouts in 32.1 innings.
Fall 2009: Performed well enough in the Arizona Fall League to be added to the team's 40-man roster.
Mathieson is still only 25 years old, so this could be a great "find" for the Phillies if he's able to stay healthy and make it all the way back to the Majors in 2010.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
The festivities this weekend featured an appearance from Phanta Claus, a book signing by announcer Chris Wheeler and the tree lighting in front of the ballpark. We haven't been to this event for a few years, but it has been decidedly different since the Phillies vacated Veterans Stadium and moved across the street to Citizens Bank Park.
Back in the day, the Holiday Fair at the Vet was a mandatory annual pilgrimage for my Dad and me (and later Jenna.) The old Holiday Fair had a more festive feel to it, and members of the Phillies front office went out of their way to greet fans and thank them for their support. The concession stands around the Vet sold the game-day giveaways from the prior season at a deep discount, and free hot chocolate and Tastykakes were available. The old Holiday Fair also featured Q&A sessions with the front office, coaches, scouts and/or a variety of players.
One of the constants at the old Holiday Fair was Paul Richardson. Paul was the Phillies' organist from 1970 until 2005 and he was always at the holiday fair playing his heart out and smiling from ear to ear. You couldn't help but smile yourself when you passed by Paul as he played a variety of Christmas favorites. I'm fairly certain Paul was never featured on a baseball card, even though he owns a 1980 World Series ring and he witnessed over 3,000 Phillies games. I'd like to correct that oversight here.
Paul retired prior to the 2006 season and sadly, he passed away later that year. For further reading, please check out the wonderful tribute to Paul on the Phillies website.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
The Phils brought Polanco back today (3 years, $18 million) to play 3rd base - the position he played briefly for the team following his acquisition from the Cardinals in the July 2002 Scott Rolen deal. Placido was the odd man out in 2005, blocked at 2nd by Chase Utley and at 3rd by David Bell. In June 2005, he was dealt to the Tigers where's he's played successfully for the past 3½ years. During his time in Detroit, Placido's been an All-Star (2007), won two Gold Gloves at 2nd base (2007 and 2009) and played in a World Series. (Although I'm guessing Placido would prefer to forget his first World Series appearance - he went 0 for 17 as the Cardinals easily defeated his Tigers in 2006.)
Is he an upgrade over Pedro Feliz? Only time will tell, but I love his quote from today's press conference: "I always wanted to be here. I never wanted to leave." Welcome back Placido!
I recently received a package from the proprietor of Section 36, one of the best places to visit if you're a Sox fan, a baseball fan, or if you just generally despise the Yankees. Section 36 was cleaning out his 2000 baseball cards to make room for the 2010s, and he was kind enough to send along an assortment of Phillies cards from the beginning of the decade.
Looking through the cards reminded me just how far the Phils have come since the lean Terry Francona years. In 2000, Tito was in his final year of service with the club, piloting them to a last-place finish with a 65-97 record. He ran out a woeful line-up littered with the likes of Desi Relaford and Ron Gant and Alex Arias. Bobby Abreu, Scott Rolen and Doug Glanville provided a few highlights here and there, but the team just wasn't very good. Featured here are two guys who, in my mind, epitomize the Phillies' struggles of the early 2000s. Both Robert Person and Paul Byrd at some point early this decade served as the team's "ace." We've come a long way.
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Pacific Trading Cards featured some of the most creative insert sets of the late '90s and early '00s. Even though some of their products were difficult on the eyes, the company always attempted to give the collector something different. Pacific first included an Ornaments insert set within packs of its 2000 set, and I'll feature the Scott Rolen card from this set as we get closer to the happiest day of the year.
In late 2000, Pacific again included Ornament inserts within select packs of its 2001 flagship set. Pat Burrell is the lone Phillie featured in that year's 24-card set. Pacific went so far as to include a perforated hole at the top of the card, perfect for inserting a hook and hanging on the tree.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Saturday, November 28, 2009
Friday, November 27, 2009
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Today I'm thankful for my family, our family's (improving) health, friends, our jobs, the 2008 and 2009 Phillies, baseball cards, the remastered White Album, Doug's toys and Peter Pan's Flight in the Magic Kingdom.
May you and yours have a wonderful day and enjoy the turkey!
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
The New Bruntlett: Juan Castro, who played with the Dodgers last year, has agreed to a contract with the Phils to serve as the team's back-up infielder in 2010, pending a physical. The 15-year veteran hit .277 in 57 games in 2009. In Game 2 of the NLCS, Juan pinch-ran for Jim Thome in the 8th inning. Unlike his predecessor, Juan Castro does not sport an impressive beard.
Minor Matters: The Phils signed outfielder DeWayne Wise, formerly with the White Sox, and infielder Wilson Valdez, formerly with the Mets, to minor league contracts today with invitations to Spring Training. Wise is best known for his leaping catch to preserve Mark Buehrle’s perfect game in July.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Then I read this blurb from Bill Conlin's article in the Philadelphia Daily News this afternoon:
Wait a minute. Pedro led the team with a .336 average with runners in scoring position? And 82 RBIs is actually pretty darn good for a guy hitting behind Ryan Howard, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibañez. Should the Phils have hung on to this guy?
There are 16 free-agent third basemen. The most topical for Phillies purposes is Pedro Feliz, who showed up in Charlie Manuel's starting lineup in 158 of 162 regular season games coming off back surgery. The rocket-armed veteran gave Ryan Howard letter-high throws at first and was the most productive No. 7 hitter in the NL with 82 RBI while leading the Phillies with a .336 average when batting with runners in scoring position. [Phillies GM Ruben] Amaro set off a lively debate among his front-office advisers when he declined to pick up Pedro's $5 million option for 2010. For a few days, I thought Ruben was crazy like a fox. With the glut of free agents at the position, it seemed unlikely Feliz would be offered a starting job for that kind of money. I envisioned a scenario where Amaro would sign good-fit 3B/utility jack-of-most-positions Mark DeRosa. Then he might be able to re-sign Feliz to play third and late innings for a lower number when DeRosa is plugging other holes. However, I'm told Feliz was so hurt by being dumped after playing for two World Series teams he would not consider returning.
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Friday, November 20, 2009
Swish played the final five seasons (1949-1953) of his 16-season career with the Phillies, serving mainly as a left-handed power bat off the bench. He gained his nickname due to his penchant for seemingly either striking out or hitting a home run each time at-bat. Swish wore #12 during his days with the Phils - the number most recently worn by another Phillie, also a left-handed power bat off the bench, with a penchant for strike outs and home runs.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
During Nana's first summer, the 1920 Phillies were not a very good team. With a record of 62 and 91, the Phils finished last in the National League, 30½ games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers.
One of the bright spots on the '20 Phillies was center fielder Cy Williams. Cy led the NL in home runs with 15 (that's right - 15), and finished fifth in the league with a .325 average. He played 19 seasons in the big leagues - 13 of those seasons with the Phillies from 1918 until 1930. In 1986, he was inducted posthumously into the Phillies Wall of Fame.
Other Cool Stuff: He attended Notre Dame and played football with Knute Rockne . . . Cy was the first National League player to reach the 200 home run plateau . . . Entering the 2008 season, Cy appears on the Phillies all-time top 10 lists for hits, RBIs, home runs and slugging percentage . . . His 41 home runs and 114 RBIs in 1923 are still the top marks in a season for a Phillies center fielder.