Wednesday, December 30, 2009

1982 Topps Stickers Phillies

1982 Topps Stickers - #73 Garry Maddox, #74 Mike Schmidt, #75 Steve Carlton, #76 Manny Trillo, #77 Bob Boone, #78 Pete Rose, #79 Gary Matthews, #80 Larry Bowa

I've spent the last few days in our basement, clearing space for Doug's new Cars GeoTrax metropolis. I finally went through and cleared out several boxes in the corner, which had been gathering dust since my Mom dropped them off over the summer. Slowly but surely, she's "reuniting" me with boxes of toys, drawings and knick knacks from my youth.

One of the boxes contained 4 (yes, four) 1982 Topps Sticker Books, only one of which contained a completed sticker set. In the spring and fall of 1982, my Pop-Pop would pick up my sister and me at the bus stop and take us to 11th Street to wait for Mom to finish work. Upon arriving at Nana and Pop-Pop's, and finishing off our Tastykakes, I'd get a pack of Topps stickers. (Sometimes I'd even get two packs.) Whenever I'd get enough stickers to mostly fill up a book, Pop-Pop would simply buy me a new sticker book and we'd start the process all over again. Much later I found out he would buy complete boxes of the stickers as they came into Wawa. He'd keep the boxes in his bedroom closet in order to always have a steady supply of new stickers for my frequent visits.

Presented here is the complete Phillies page from the 1982 Topps Sticker Book, made possible by my Pop-Pop.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

1951 Bowman #28 Eddie Waitkus

Christmas Recap, Part 4 of 4

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.

2008 Upper Deck Goudey Mini Red Backs #280 Mike Schmidt

We interrupt the Christmas Recap to show appreciation for a recently received package of baseball cards . . .

Just before Christmas, I received a package from Dave of Goose Joak fame containing giant size versions of this Bob Dernier card and this custom Turkey Red Ozzie Smith card. Dave also included several Phillies cards from the last few years, highlighted by this orange and maroon beauty from last year's Goudey set.

Thanks Dave!

Monday, December 28, 2009

2009 Chachi Originals #4 Harry Wolverton

Christmas Recap, Part 3 of 4

My Mom gave me a great Phillies book of photos for Christmas, titled, appropriately enough, Phillies Photos: 100 Years of Philadelphia Phillies Images. Mark Stang's book contains 245 black and white photos of various Phillies players, managers, front office personnel and announcers from 1898 through 2008. (I guess technically the book should be called 110 years of Philadelphia Phillies Images, but I digress.) Each photo is accompanied by a brief, insightful biography of the subject featured.

My favorite photos are those from the early 1900s through the 1930s. I've seen these players' names before, but I've rarely seen pictures of what they actually looked like. In the case of Harry Wolverton, who played with the Phillies from 1900 until 1904, I had never heard of nor seen a picture of him. As the last century began, Wolverton was the Phillies' regular third baseman. He's pictured here in the team's winter wear, and I love the interlocking "PBBC" on his breast pocket. (PBBC standing for Philadelphia Baseball Club, of course.)

I highly recommend tracking down Mr. Stang's Phillies book and the publisher (Orange Frazier Press) has put out similar books for the Indians, Cubs, Cardinals, Senators and Athletics. Chances are, I'll feature additional photos from this book in the form of Chachi Originals in future posts.

(Photo of Harry Wolverton is from the Chicago Historical Society's Chicago Daily News negatives collection.)

2002 Grandstand Clearwater Phillies #5 Mario Delgado

Christmas Recap, Part 2 of 4

I could have gone with Woodie Fryman for Sheriff Woody from Toy Story, but I decided to represent the new Wii we purchased for Christmas with Mario Delgado here. For the past few nights, Jenna and I have been enjoying our new Wii and we're currently (slightly) addicted to Toy Story Mania and the new Super Mario Bros.

I've created Mii's for our family (including Chachi), all the Beatles and various Christmas favorites. So when I'm playing Wii Baseball, my team consists of Chachi, Ringo Starr and Santa, among others.

We haven't purchased the Beatles Rock Band game yet, but I can see that as a possible birthday gift down the road.

And No Luigi Either: Surprisingly, the Phillies have never had anyone named Mario or Luigi make the big club. While there also haven't been any Buzz's, Woodie Fryman pitched with the Phils from 1968 until 1972, and Woody Woodward was general manager in 1988.

Minor Homage: The 2002 Clearwater team set has always been one of my favorite minor league team sets. It looks like a vertical version of the 1960 Topps design and the backs of the cards are also loosely based on the 1960 design.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

2009 Upper Deck #808 Cole Hamels

Christmas Recap, Part 1 of 4

Santa and Santa's elves were very generous again this year, and I've found myself with an abundance of new baseball cards and Phillies stuff to show off. First of all, nothing can beat the look on our three-year-old's face when he first came down the stairs on Christmas morning and surveyed what Santa had brought him. By far, this was my favorite Christmas moment this year. Doug's been very busy over the past few days with his new Cars GeoTrax toys, his new flashlights and his favorite new toy - his M&M fan. Who would have thought something available in the Target check-out line (a little canister of M&M's with a foam fan on top) would be his favorite gift? The wonder of toddlers . . .

Santa's helper (Jenna) stuffed my stocking with packs of Topps Heritage, Upper Deck and O-Pee-Chee cards. I'm pleased to say we're 30 cards closer to the completion of the behemoth 2009 Upper Deck set. I've updated our wantlist, so if you have any spare 2009 Upper Deck cards laying around from our list, please let me know if you're interested in setting up a trade.

Friday, December 25, 2009

2000 Pacific Ornaments #14 Scott Rolen

Merry Christmas!

He's been here . . .
No, not Scott Rolen . . . Santa Claus! I thought for sure I heard jingle bells on our roof last night, and sure enough there were presents under our tree this morning. Santa came through once again!

Merry Christmas to all and may your day be filled with family, fun, laughter, joy, good food and baseball cards.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

1983 Fleer #159 Bob Dernier

The Phillies website recently posted a listing of holiday favorites of several Phillies alumni. Among the notables listing their favorite Christmas carol and favorite toy as a child are:

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

1997 Stadium Club #178 Benito Santiago

Apparently, Gregg Jefferies and the Topps photographer were not alone during their visit to Superman's Fortress of Solitude. Snowed in yesterday, I spent some time with my 1997 Phillies binder and came across proof of Benito Santiago's presence in the Fortress as well.

As evidenced by the last few posts, it's been a quiet few days for the Phillies and their fans. After the Roy Halladay era began, the team exercised Jimmy Rollins' 2011 option, and Spring Training tickets went on sale.

While it's been quiet on the Phillies front, I imagine things are getting very busy up at the North Pole. Rumor has it, Santa has started to pack his sleigh . . .

Sunday, December 20, 2009

1997 Topps Chrome #81 Gregg Jefferies

The Blizzard of '09!

We awoke this morning to mountains of snow outside. Several hours later, thanks to a powerful snow blower and several snow shovels, we've managed to dig ourselves out. Given the massive amount of snow on the ground, and the fact our road hasn't even been properly plowed yet, I can't imagine schools will be open in our area tomorrow.

I don't have any more Phillies cards featuring snow to celebrate this weekend's blizzard, but I do have this card featuring Gregg Jefferies in Superman's Fortress of Solitude. (The Fortress of Solitude is made completely of ice, of course.) The details behind how Jefferies, and the Topps photographer for that matter, made it into Superman's Fortress are a bit sketchy.

Enjoy the snow and stay warm!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

1985 Tastykake Phillies #14 John Wockenfuss

Like much of the Northeast, we're snowed in today. I've spent a lot of time today looking out my windows debating whether I should start shoveling, or wait until the blizzard stops at some point tomorrow morning. For now, the latter option is winning.

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

2010 Chachi Ex-Phillies #X11 Clay Condrey

Almost lost in the shuffle as a result of the Trade of the Decade, The Phillies Room is still sad to bid farewell to relief pitcher Everyday Clay Condrey, who was non-tendered prior to the midnight deadline last Saturday. Essentially, this means the team declined to offer Clay a 2010 contract, making him a free agent. The Phillies still have the ability to re-sign Clay, so this Ex-Phillies card could be a little premature. Clay had been within the Phillies organization since 2004 and he’ll always be remembered for the steady middle-inning relief he provided during the team’s 2008 Championship run.

Dad's Favorite New Phil: Outfielder/first baseman Ross Gload signed a 2-year deal with the Phillies on Tuesday, seemingly finalizing the Phillies bench for 2010. Gload, who turns 34 in April, spent last season with the Marlins where he hit .261 in 125 games, with 6 homers and 30 RBI.

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

The Newest Toronto Blue Jays (and an Oakland Athletic)

2007 Bowman Prospects #BP111 Kyle Drabek
2007 Bowman Draft Picks #BDPP14 Travis d'Arnaud
2007 Bowman Draft Picks #BDPP37 Michael Taylor

The Phillies Room bids farewell to three more prospects, dealt yesterday to acquire Roy Halladay from the Toronto Blue Jays.

Kyle Drabek was the Phillies 1st round selection in the June 2006 draft. The son of former pitcher Doug Drabek, Kyle split 2009 between Class A Clearwater and AA Reading, going 12-3 with a 3.19 ERA. Recovering from a July 2007 Tommy John surgery, Kyle pitched in just 8 games in 2008 but by all accounts made a full and impressive recovery with his 2009 performance.

We were there for Michael Taylor's AAA debut in July and we witnessed his first AAA home run. The Blue Jays have spun Taylor off to the Athletics, where he should compete for the A's starting left fielder job out of Spring Training. A Stanford graduate, Taylor possesses both power and speed and he's been compared to Jermaine Dye.

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

2010 Chachi Special Edition #RH Roy Halladay

The sting of losing Cliff Lee started to fade as soon as I saw Roy Halladay don his new Phillies jersey for the first time. Ironically enough, Roy claimed Lee's #34 as his new number with the Phils. The addition of Halladay bolsters the team's starting rotation and gives us a rock, a stopper, for the next four seasons, quite possibly five.

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 the
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."
Halladay 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.

2010 Chachi Ex-Phillies #X12 Cliff Lee

There has been a deal.

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

Meanwhile, back in the pre-Roy Halladay era . . .

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.

2009 Topps 206 #46 Cliff Lee

Head Spinning II, Lunch Break Edition

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."

2009 Chachi Special Edition #KD Kyle Drabek

I've had a little more time to digest the proposed blockbuster trade that would send Cliff Lee to Seattle and Roy Halladay to Philly. And my reaction (for now) is that I don't like it. Mainly because I'd like to have my cake and eat it too, but also because the Phils are shipping coveted pitching prospect Kyle Drabek to the Blue Jays. As the proposed trade evolved, it went from a 3-team trade to two separate trades with the Halladay deal contingent on the Phillies' ability to shed Cliff Lee's salary. With Lee (reportedly) not willing to talk long-term contract and with the fear he may walk at the end of 2010, the Phillies apparently felt the need to send him packing.

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:

Deal #1
Phillies get - Pitcher Phillippe Aumont, outfielder Tyson Gillies and pitcher Juan Ramirez
Mariners get - Pitcher Cliff Lee

Deal #2
Phillies get - Pitcher Roy Halladay and cash
Blue Jays get - Pitcher Kyle Drabek, outfielder Michael Taylor, catcher Travis D'Arnaud

Lingering Questions: Why were J.A. Happ and Joe Blanton requested to have physicals yesterday? Is Aumont a comparable prospect to Drabek? Is there any way Deal #2 could happen without needing to do Deal #1? What number will Halladay wear with the Phillies, given #32 was retired in honor of Steve Carlton? (Halladay wore #52 in his rookie year of 1998 - a number currently available.) Is it a coincidence the parties involved are the Blue Jays and Mariners, given former GM Pat Gillick's close ties to both teams?

Monday, December 14, 2009

2009 Topps Heritage High Series #592 Cliff Lee

Heads are spinning in The Phillies Room today! Is Cliff Lee the newest member of the Seattle Mariners? Is Roy Halladay on his way to Philly? Why did he and his agent check into a Philadelphia hotel this afternoon? Starting a little after 2pm this afternoon I began the slightly obsessive practice of hitting refresh on the MLB Trade Rumors page every few minutes in order to keep updated with this fast-moving story.

Depending on the source, or whoever's tweets you trust the most, a blockbuster deal is in the works that could cost the Phillies some combination of Cliff Lee, Joe Blanton, J.A. Happ, and/or top prospects Kyle Drabek, Travis D'Arnaud, Michael Taylor or Domonic Brown. The prize in all of this would be Blue Jays ace righty Roy Halladay, who would sign a contract extension with the Phillies possibly through 2013 with an option for 2014. Oh, and the Mariners are most likely involved just to sweeten the deal with additional prospects for the Blue Jays and Phils.

Earlier this evening, the most likely scenario as presented by Jayson Stark, involved the Phils sending Lee to the Mariners with D'Arnaud and another Phillies prospect heading to the Blue Jays. The Phillies would net Halladay and two Mariners prospects. The latest rumor has everyone except Von Hayes taking physicals . . . Well not everyone, but at least Blanton, Happ and Brown.

What does this all mean? Stay tuned . . .

Sunday, December 13, 2009

1990 Baseball Cards Magazine Repli-Cards

1990 Baseball Cards Magazine Repli-Cards - #20 Von Hayes, #32 Pat Combs

Following the pattern established the previous year, Baseball Cards Magazine again included six repli-cards within each issue throughout 1990. For this 72-card set, the magazine used the 1969 Topps design. Only two Phillies made it into the set - outfielder Von Hayes and rookie pitcher Pat Combs.

The back of Von Hayes' card makes mention of the "famous" five-for-one trade which brought him to Philly. It also points out Von is "one of the game's best-kept secrets." I was never a huge Von Hayes fan, but I think this is an awesome card. The 1969 Topps design works well here even though it's obscuring the brim of Von's hat. The Wrigley Field score board in the background is an added bonus.

Injuries would curtail Pat Combs' career and he never quite regained the success he found in 1989 when he jumped from A ball all the way to the Majors. Combs went 4-0 with a 2.09 ERA in his six starts with the Phils in 1989. (Dean Wilkins pitched in 25 games with the Cubs from 1989 to 1991, finishing with a 7.55 career ERA.)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

1971 Topps #49 Don Money

I recently came across the newspaper clipping above while looking through an old photo album and I thought I'd share. The article is now 39 years old and my Dad is pictured at the far right. (Please click to enlarge.)

My favorite quotes from local hero Don Money include his prediction for the Phillies upcoming 1971 season: "We're a young team . . . Things should begin to fall in place now." Money also expressed excitement over the new Veterans Stadium, "if the new stadium is finished in time." (It was.)

Unfortunately, Don and the Phils struggled in 1971. Don played in 121 games for the team, hitting .223 with just 7 home runs. He lost his starting third baseman job to John Vukovich, who hit a woeful .166. The Phillies finished in last place, 30 games behind the first place Pirates.

1989 Baseball Cards Magazine Repli-Cards

1989 Baseball Cards Magazine Repli-Cards - #6 Ricky Jordan, #7 Juan Samuel, #19 Mike Schmidt

After 20-plus years of isolation between the pages of old issues of Baseball Cards Magazine, the Phillies Repli-Cards are now free. With the assistance of my trusty X-Acto 12" Heavy Duty Paper Trimmer, these baseball cards have been precision cut from their former prison.

In January 1989, Baseball Cards Magazine began including 1959 Topps-style baseball cards within each issue, six to a panel. By the end of the year, subscribers to the magazine owned a 72-card set. Three Phillies were included with the inaugural repli-card set - prospect Ricky Jordan, second baseman Juan Samuel and future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

This set's concept of using an old Topps design with modern players predates the first Topps Heritage set by 12 years. At the time, it was somewhat surreal to see Mike Schmidt's image on a 1959 Topps card. It doesn't seem so strange today, but 20 years ago, this was pretty groundbreaking stuff.

Friday, December 11, 2009

New Additions to the 40-Man Roster

2009 Multi-Ad Reading Phillies #3 Quintin Berry
2009 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #51 Yohan Flande
2009 Multi-Ad Lakewood BlueClaws #25 Jesus Sanchez
2009 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #22 Drew Naylor

With the recent flurry of free agent signings (Juan Castro, Brian Schneider, Placido Polanco and Ross Gload - still pending), the Phillies added several established players to their 40-man roster. A few weeks ago, the Phils also added three prospects to their 40-man roster who may have an outside chance of spending some time with the big club in 2010:

Quintin Berry - The speedy 25-year-old Berry was drafted by the Phils in the 5th round of the 2006 draft. He was the starting center fielder for the AA Reading Phillies in 2009, hitting .266 with very little power, but with 48 stolen bases. In 2007, Berry won the Paul Owens Award as the best minor league player in the Phillies organization.

Yohan Flande - Lefty Yohan Flande, 24 in January, went 11-5 between Clearwater and Reading in 2009, striking out 117 and walking 45 in 152.2 innings of work. He pitched an inning in the 2009 Futures Game during the All-Star weekend. Paul Hagen wrote a great piece on Flande for the Philadelphia Daily News back in June.

Jesus Sanchez - Sanchez is the last remaining player obtained in the 2006 Bobby Abreu trade still with the Phillies. Originally a catcher, Sanchez converted to a pitcher last year and started 26 games for the Lakewood BlueClaws. He compiled a record of 10-6, striking out 120 in 136 innings with a 3.44 ERA.

And a bonus prospect . . .

Drew Naylor - Australian Drew Naylor has been on the 40-man roster since last spring. Naylor led all Phillies minor leaguers with 156 strikeouts in 2008. He spent all of 2009 in Clearwater, going 8-11 with a 4.22 ERA. The right-handed Naylor is 23.

2009 Chachi Limited Edition #JDP Doug

Happy birthday Doug!

May your day be filled with cake, Legos, cars and Handy Manny.

Your Dad is very proud of you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ex-Phils on the Move

2001 Topps Heritage #28 Randy Wolf
2006 Topps 52 #63 Fabio Castro

So far this offseason, a lot of former Phillies have been on the move:

Pedro Feliz (2008-2009) - Signed a 1-year deal with the Houston Astros.
Zach Segovia (2007) - Released by the Washington Nationals.
Randy Wolf (1999-2006) - Signed a 3-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers.
Kevin Millwood (2003-2004) - Traded with cash to the Baltimore Orioles for pitcher Chris Ray.
Fabio Castro (2006-2007) - Signed with the Boston Red Sox.
Ryne Sandberg (1981) - Named manager of the Cubs' AAA team in Iowa.
Chris Coste (2006-2009) - Signed with the New York Mets.
Billy Wagner (2004-2005) - Signed with the Atlanta Braves.
Brad Mills (Bench coach, 1997-2000) - Named manager of the Houston Astros.
So Taguchi (2008) - Released by the Chicago Cubs.

And of course, the Phillies brought back a former Phillie with the signing of Placido Polanco.

I have a bad feeling Billy Wagner and Chris Coste will somehow haunt the Phils this year. I'm happy with Polanco over Pedro Feliz at third base, but I'm sure Pedro will make a game-saving, dazzling defensive play against the Phils when the Astros come to town. Best of luck to all the Ex-Phillies in their new homes, except when you're playing the Phillies. Then I hope things go poorly.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

1981 Topps Scratch-Offs

1981 Topps Scratch-Offs - #58 Bake McBride, #60 Mike Schmidt, #62 Pete Rose, #74 Greg Luzinski

Topps produced a 108-card scratch-off set in 1981, featuring five Phillies within the set. (Steve Carlton's card was featured yesterday.) The set's black dots were meant to be scratched off in order to simulate a baseball game. National League players featured green backgrounds, while American League players featured red backgrounds. The cards were found three to a panel with perforations between each card. The Phillies cards I feature here have been separated from the other two cards to which they were originally attached. I'm guessing these came into my collection via some long ago eBay auction.

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.)

I was surprised to find so many of these for sale currently on eBay. As of this posting, there are complete 108-card sets available with buy it now prices ranging from $5.99 t0 $17.95.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Steve Carlton's Batting Helmet

1981 Topps Home Team Photos 5 x 7 Steve Carlton
1981 Topps #202 Steve Carlton RB
1981 Topps Scratch-Offs #104 Steve Carlton

While perusing my favorite baseball card blogs today, I came across what I thought at first to be an error. The 1980 Topps blog featured a post on the 1980 Topps Super Cards - those 5 x 7 giant cards featuring posed head shots of the stars of the day. The post lamented the fact Steve Carlton was not included in the 60-card set . . . but I could have sworn he was. I even remember he wore a batting helmet on his Super card, and the picture was very similar to his Topps Record Breaker card. (Why do I remember stuff like this but I can never remember driving directions or street names?)

Anyway, it turns out the good folks from the 1980 Topps blog were correct (as usual), and Lefty was in fact omitted from the 1980 set. Three Phillies were featured in the 1980 5 x 7 set - Pete Rose, Mike Schmidt and Larry Bowa. Lefty and his helmet had to wait until 1981 to appear within the Topps Home Team Photo 5 x 7 set.

Presented here, in honor of the omission of Steve Carlton from the 1980 Topps Super Cards set, I present the 1981 Topps Steve Carlton in a Helmet Trilogy. Enjoy. (Sadly, Steve is featured without a batting helmet on his 1981 Topps Stickers picture.)

1988 Score #656 Steve Bedrosian

I just received an awesome package from Chris, the proprietor of the new On Card Autos blog. Chris generously sent 300+ Phillies cards ranging from a 1980 Topps Nino Espinosa card all the way up through a 2009 Upper Deck Scott Eyre card. Included in the lot were dozens of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Cole Hamels cards along with seven (yes, seven) copies of this 1988 Score Steve Bedrosian card.

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

2008 Upper Deck World Series Champions #PP-13 Joe Blanton

The Winter Meetings opened today in Indianapolis and a rumor began circulating that the Phillies were dangling starting pitcher Joe Blanton as trade bait. I hope this rumor isn't true. Joe anchored the rotation throughout 2009 when the team needed a steady starter. He took the ball every fifth day and 68% (21 of 31) of his starts last year were quality starts - he pitched at least 6 innings, allowing 3 or fewer runs, leading the team in this category. Since the team's two remaining needs are a 5th starter and bullpen help, I can't imagine why the Phillies would be willing to give up Blanton. Unless of course Blanton is heading to the Blue Jays in a package for Roy Halladay - then I'm intrigued.

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

2006 Topps Phillies Fan Appreciation Day #8 Scott Mathieson

One of the remaining items on general manager Ruben Amaro Jr.'s offseason to-do list is to beef up the bullpen for the 2010 Phillies. Ruben has stated he prefers a low risk, high reward approach to his bullpen shopping, and one of the open spots may be filled by former and current prospect Scott Mathieson.

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

2009 Chachi Originals #3 Paul Richardson

I got an e-mail from the Phillies this week reminding me of their annual Holiday Sale event, and it made me think of their former organist, Paul Richardson. (It's funny how the mind works.)

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

2005 Chachi #2 Placido Polanco

With the additions this week of catcher Brian Schneider, infielder Juan Castro and old friend Placido Polanco, the 2010 Phillies are starting to come together. The way I see it, the team's biggest needs at this point are bullpen help and a 5th starter.

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!

Goodbye 2000's

2000 Upper Deck #461 Robert Person
2000 Upper Deck #462 Paul Byrd

In a few short weeks, we'll bid adieu to the decade of the 2000s (the aught's?) and enter the '10s. It's hard for me to grasp that 10 years have passed since the year 2000. For both me personally and the Phillies, the decade started out rough but it will end with happiness and hope.

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

2001 Pacific Ornaments #16 Pat Burrell

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas . . .

Nothing quite captures the magic and joy of Christmas than a festive Pat Burrell Christmas wreath.

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

2008 Upper Deck World Series Champions #PP-15 Chris Coste

There has been a flurry of recent Phillies and Mets activity involving back-up catchers. First, it was announced Monday evening that fan favorite Chris Coste had signed with the dreaded New York Mets to compete for a roster spot out of Spring Training. This one's tough. I admire Chris Coste, and he'll always be a favorite of mine, but for now he's the enemy.

Today, seemingly out of nowhere, the Phillies announced the signing of catcher (and former Met) Brian Schneider. As a member of the Montreal Expos, Schneider used to kill the Phillies. Apparently he had the chance to sign elsewhere as a starter, but he opted to come to Philly to serve as back-up to Carlos Ruiz in 2010 and 2011. Schneider had a forgettable year with the Mets in 2009, as he was slowed by a bad back. The Phils hope he's an upgrade over the Paul Bako/Coste tandem from last year. He's worn #23 since 2004, and the number is now available given Bako's departure.