Sunday, January 31, 2010

Scrapbook Sunday: July 13, 1992

1992 Topps Kids #18 John Kruk

For this week's installment of Scrapbook Sunday, I wanted to remember a time when the weather was warmer and there wasn't snow on the ground. Flipping through my 1992 Scrapbook, I came across this page featuring John Kruk in a Braves jersey. The Phils were just awful in '92 and the Braves were at the start of their '90s dynasty, so the "Wishful Thinking?" caption is definitely appropriate.

Most of my 1992 Scrapbook chronicles various disabled list stints and documents grumbling from within the clubhouse as the team flirted with 100 losses on their way to a last-place finish. The tone of the season was one of discontent and denial. I was going through my own personal denial throughout the summer of '92 as my inevitable departure date for college approached. I was about to leave my home town, my family and my friends to study 500 miles away in unfamiliar territory. I've never been a fan of change and frankly, I was terrified.

At the time, little did I know that exciting, memorable, wonderful times were right around the corner, both for myself and for the Phillies.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

2000 Topps Tek #26-5 Scott Rolen

So I've been thinking about the decade of the '00s recently. Where did it go? What did it all mean? How did I get here? Just how many Scott Rolen and Pat Burrell cards do I have from the 2000 baseball card releases? These are all head-scratching questions to be sure, but the only one I've been able to answer is the last question. More on that in a bit.

Throughout various past posts on this blog, I've referred to the early '00s as the Dark Times. The '00s started out OK, bottomed out in 2002, and then got better and better as the decade progressed. (Here’s where I need to pause and thank my lovely wife, Jenna. Thank you, Jenna.) I never stopped collecting baseball cards during the Dark Times, but my collecting habits waxed and waned along with my personal turbulence. I tend to largely ignore the baseball card releases from the early part of the decade, and the astute follower of this blog will be able to see a hole from 1998 to 2005 on my Phillies Wantlists featured on the sidebar. I recently decided to remedy that.

It's time to move on, forget the bad parts of the '00s, and stop the hurtful neglect thrust upon the Phillies baseball cards from this era. Over the next few weeks (months?), time permitting, I'm going to update my Phillies wantlists to include cards I'm seeking from the Dark Times. This means I need to fully organize my Phillies baseball cards from the early '00s. As a result of this, and following in the footsteps of several other baseball card bloggers, I've started the process of cataloguing my Phillies baseball cards, starting with the 2000 releases. Will I ever complete this project? Probably not. Is it a fun distraction at the end of a long day of work? Yes. And just how many different Scott Rolen and Pat Burrell cards do I have from the 2000 baseball card releases? 121 and 84, respectively.

Teknically Speaking: Somehow in my travels, I ended up with all 15 variations of the Scott Rolen and Pat Burrell cards appearing in the 2000 Topps Tek set. I know for a fact I never opened a pack of this product, so these cards must have come from some long forgotten eBay win.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

2010 Topps #122 Carlos Ruiz

I've been back down in the mine this week, only coming up briefly to wish my Dad a happy birthday yesterday. We're getting closer to pitchers and catchers reporting, and there has been a flurry of Phillie (and ex-Phillie) activity over the past week or so.

Chooch and Jose Sign: The Phillies avoided arbitration with catcher Carlos Ruiz, signing him to a 3-year extension for $8.85 million. Chooch came up clutch throughout the 2009 Postseason, and his ability to call a good game far outweighs his offensive shortcomings. Today, the Phillies officially announced the signing of 38-year-old righty Jose Contreras. He’s expected to serve in the long-man, spot starter role this year, similar to the role filled by Chan Ho Park in 2009. On a minor note, the Phils also claimed utility infielder Brian Bocock off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. There’s currently no room on the bench for Bocock, so I expect him to start the season donning an IronPigs uniform.

On the Move: Several former Phillies, including one folk hero, found themselves in new uniforms recently. Each of the following players will be non-roster invitees to their new teams' Spring Training camps.

Tyler Walker (2009) – Signed with the Washington Nationals
Miguel Cairo (2009) – Signed with the Cincinnati Reds
Greg Golson (2008) – Acquired by the New York Yankees after being designated for assignment by the Texas Rangers
Matt Stairs (2008-2009) – Signed with the San Diego Padres
Elizardo Ramirez (2004) – Signed with the Texas Rangers
Steven Register (2009) – Signed with the Toronto Blue Jays
Zack Segovia (2007) – Signed with the New York Yankees

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

2007 Chachi #35 Mike Zagurski

A few birthday wishes today . . .

Happy birthday wishes are in order for Mike Zagurski, born this day in 1983. Zagurski hopes to crack the Phillies bullpen this year and as one of the leftys competing for a spot out of Spring Training, he might just do it. Zagurski pitched in 25 games for the Phils back in 2007, before injuries and surgeries derailed his next few seasons.

Former Phillie luminaries Gavin Floyd and Pete LaForest are also celebrating birthdays today.

Most importantly though, happy birthday to my Dad, without whom none of this would have been possible.

Happy birthday Dad!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

1995 Upper Deck Update Phillies

1995 Upper Deck Update #477 Heathcliff Slocumb & #478 Mark Whiten

Just when I was starting to think 1995 Upper Deck Update cards did not actually exist, I received all four Phillies cards from the set from GCRL, aka Jim, aka the O-Pee-Chee guy. (In addition to the cards featured, Tyler Green and Gregg Jefferies appear in the set.) Similar to the Kevin Stocker insert card I recently featured, the cards themselves aren't all that thrilling. What is thrilling to me about these cards is that I've had them on a wantlist for 15 years . . . and now I can officially cross them off.

1995 was somewhat of a black hole year as far as baseball and baseball card collecting were concerned. The 1994 players' strike was still fresh in my mind, and I lived in North Carolina year-round. Both these factors contributed to a dearth of 1995 Phillies cards in my collection, since the Tar Heel state isn't exactly a hotbed for the Phillies or Phillies baseball cards. In fact, it's safe to say I watched less Phillies baseball in 1995 than any other year I've followed the team.

The 1995 Phillies were a forgettable bunch, finishing 21 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL East. Whiten, Jefferies and Charlie Hayes tied for the team lead in home runs with 11 a piece, and Paul Quantrill led the pitching staff with 11 victories. In retrospect, it appears as if I really wasn't missing much.

Monday, January 25, 2010

1978 O-Pee-Chee Phillies from GCRL

1978 O-Pee-Chee #42 Greg Luzinski & #170 Steve Carlton

Not only did I get to open my first packs of 2010 Topps on Friday, but I also had the pleasure of receiving a jam-packed 400-count box of Phillies cards from the man behind the garvey cey russell lopes blog and the new O-Pee-Chee blog. It was a good day for baseball cards.

The box contained a healthy helping of Phillies base, insert and memorabilia cards from 1978 through 2009. It also included a nice stack of 2009 Upper Deck cards needed to help towards the conclusion of this never-ending set quest. It will take me a while to sort through and fully appreciate the cards, and I'll share a few more of my favorites throughout the week.

Featured here are the first two 1978 O-Pee-Chee Phillies cards in my collection, in all their French glory.

Thanks again Jim and I hope you enjoyed the '71 Topps cards I sent your way!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Scrapbook Sunday: August 3, 1986

1986 Cigna Phillies #10 Mike Schmidt

My Dad and I attended the Phillies game on August 3, 1986, most likely so I could watch Bob Dernier play for the visiting Cubs. We sat in Section 234, behind the visitors' dugout on the 3rd base side. I truly got the best of both worlds out of this game as Dernier collected three hits, but Mike Schmidt won the game with a 3-run home run in the 8th inning.

I love the symbol I used to indicate my presence at the game - a colorful smiley face surrounded by two purple exclamation marks!

By this time, I was subscribing to The Sporting News, and their far superior box scores appear in my scrap book rather than the box scores from the Atlantic City Press.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2010 Topps #300 Chase Utley

The First Phillie . . .

Back in the day, whenever Wawa received its first shipment of the new year's Topps cards, my Dad would bring a few packs home and ceremoniously present them to me. We'd each open packs until one of us came across the "First Phillie" of the year. For some reason, I think my Dad would usually encounter the First Phillie, although it tended to be someone of the Luis Aguayo or Joe Lefebvre ilk, and not a star player.

The First Phillie of 2010 was this Chase Utley card. I opened the newly released packs in our kitchen last night, while Jenna was preparing dinner. Upon finding this card, I announced loudly to the household, "FIRST PHILLIE!" Of course this caused Doug to come running in from the den to check out the commotion. He decided he wanted to see the First Phillie too and then he decided he wanted the First Phillie for his collection. What's a father to do? I let him hold it, and he promptly bent it a little and then smelled it. (Not sure why a 3-year-old felt the need to smell a baseball card, but there you have it.) In any event, Doug was kind enough to let me have the card back long enough to scan and share it here – the First Phillie of 2010.

Friday, January 22, 2010

2010 Topps #23 Shane Victorino

While I was down in the coal mine this week, the Phillies avoided arbitration with Joe Blanton and Shane Victorino, signing both to 3-year deals. The Blanton signing means the Phils now have a core of four starting pitchers locked up through at least the 2012 season - Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Blanton and J.A. Happ. On paper, it appears as if the Phillies opted for three years of Blanton and three Mariners prospects in exchange for one more year of Cliff Lee. I still don't care for the Cliff Lee trade, but I'm starting to see the team's reasoning behind the move.

The Victorino signing means two-thirds of the Phillies outfield will remain in tact for 2011, with all indications pointing towards the team allowing Jayson Werth to test free agency following the 2010 season. (Raul Ibañez is locked up through 2011.)

It was also revealed today the Phillies had reached a tentative agreement with pitcher Jose Contreras. The Cuban All-Star has previously pitched with Yankees, White Sox and Rockies, and he's expected to compete for the 5th starter's job out of Spring Training.

They're Here: I opened my first packs of 2010 Topps this afternoon (thank you Target) and my first impression is - I like them. And I think, just maybe, I like them more than any recent Topps base set offering. I'm a fan of colorful baseball card sets, and this one definitely qualifies in that category. The team script logo on the front is a nice touch, although it bugs me that some of the teams list a city while others do not. The backs are nice and clean with easy to read card numbers and career statistics. The set will undoubtedly look nice once it makes it way into 9-pocket pages. I'm still debating whether to collect the set this year, or just wait for the factory set to become available this summer.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1986 Fleer #455 Kent Tekulve

I'm often asked, "What's the best remedy for a case of January blahs?", especially after a long, hard day's night at work. It's gray outside, Spring seems years away and the days blur together. The daily routine consists of leaving for work in the morning in the dark, driving home in the dark and then doing the whole thing over again tomorrow. So how does one keep it together? What's the best way to turn that frown upside down? What's the remedy?

It's quite simple really. It's Kent Tekulve.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2002 Topps Heritage #73 Brandon Duckworth

Is this the return of The Duck Pond? The Phillies recently announced they had signed right-handed pitcher Brandon Duckworth to a minor league contract. He hasn't been invited to Spring Training, so the move appears to have made solely to bolster the starting rotation at AAA Lehigh Valley. Brandon is most likely this year's Rodrigo Lopez - a somewhat steady, veteran presence at AAA who could be called on in case of injury or if a double header arises.

Arbitration: The Phillies and their four arbitration-eligible players have exchanged salary figures, with the largest gap coming between Joe Blanton's request and the Phillies' offer. Joe the Lumber has requested $10.25 million, while the Phils are countering with $7.5 million. (I had a similar problem this year with my employer.) The Phillies and relief pitcher Chad Durbin avoided arbitration when the two sides agreed to a one-year $2.125 million deal yesterday. The other players hoping to avoid arbitration are Shane Victorino and Carlos Ruiz.

Help Wanted: Closer Brad Lidge had right knee surgery last week, and he might not be ready to return by Opening Day. This could open the door for Ryan Madson or Danys Baez to receive some save opportunities in the early part of the 2010 season.

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Baseball Cards are Here!

Random Acts of Baseball Card Kindness, Part 2

1966 Topps #230 Johnny Callison
2010 Phungo #26 Chase Utley

The 2010 baseball cards have arrived! We're a week away from the estimated release date of 2010 Topps, but the first pack of 2010 Phungo Cards arrived in my mail box over the weekend. The pack's wrapper features the newest Seattle Mariner, Cliff Lee. Inside my pack of Phungo cards, I found several cards from this year's 52-card base set, including the Chase Utley card featured here. I also was lucky enough to pull a Harry Kalas In Memoriam card and a Black Frame Insert card commemorating The Spectrum.

Finally, to my surprise I received three "traditional" Phillies cards from past Topps sets, all of which were cards from my wantlists. Along with the great looking Johnny Callison card featured here, I received the 1970 Topps card of Curt Flood and the Phillies card from the red-bordered 1974 Topps Checklist set.

Thanks Phungo for the great cards and thanks for kicking off the 2010 baseball card season!

2004 Bowman Heritage Signs of Greatness #SGA-GG Greg Golson

Random Acts of Baseball Card Kindness, Part 1

The good folks from Section 36 recently sent an impressive stack of Phillies baseball cards my way, including this wood-grained, on-card autograph card of Greg Golson. The package also contained several older Steve Carlton cards (including his '81 Fleer and Donruss offerings) as well as an impressive array of Mike Schmidt, Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Jimmy Rollins and Mike Lieberthal cards. (The 1997 Topps Adam Eaton card has already found its way into my son's collection. The last I checked, it was losing a battle against the Evil Emperor Zurg.)

As a bonus, I received a custom made Section 36 score card. These custom score cards have appeared in Section 36's semi-regular "I Scored" posts, and I've commented in the past how much I can appreciate a good score card. I hope to use my custom score card to score a 2010 Phillies game, and I'll be sure to share the results in a future post.

Thanks again Section 36, and I hope our relationship remains cordial even after the Phils sweep the Sox in Boston in mid-June.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Scrapbook Sunday: June 16, 1991

1992 Donruss #384 Wes Chamberlain
1992 Topps #456 Pat Combs
1992 Upper Deck #350 Wally Backman
1992 Stadium Club #156 Joe Boever

Turn back the clock games are fairly commonplace now, but that wasn't always the case. In June 1991, the Phillies tried the promotion for the first time, wearing retro uniforms from 1957. It was very, very strange to watch the Phils play a game in something other than their familiar maroon and white uniforms. So strange in fact, I distinctly remember videotaping this game for posterity. (The Phillies announcers did the pre-game opening in vintage '50s gear and the first few minutes of the broadcast was in black and white. I recall Andy Musser looked particularly out of place.)

The retro uniforms didn't help the Phils against the World Champion Reds in this game, as the team lost for the seventh time in eight games. Pat Combs was hammered, Dickie Thon made a crucial error in the 9th inning and Wes Chamberlain's first home run of the year was wasted.

Retro Cards: Pictures of the Phillies wearing these uniforms turned up on several baseball cards in late 1991 and throughout 1992, as follows:

1991 Medford Phillies Update #39 Wally Ritchie
1992 Donruss #384 Wes Chamberlain, #493 Joe Boever, #614 Danny Cox (back), #631 Wally Ritchie (back)
1992 Stadium Club #156 Joe Boever
1992 Topps #331 Steve Lake, #456 Pat Combs, #754 Charlie Hayes
1992 Triple Play #128 Andy Ashby, #220 Mitch Williams
1992 Upper Deck #350 Wally Backman, #402 Joe Boever, #410 Mitch Williams (back), #442 Pat Combs (back), #567 Tommy Greene

Dale Murphy shows up wearing a retro uniform on his 1991 Studio card (#220), but I didn't count that here as it's a staged studio shot. Pitchers Tommy Greene, Wally Ritchie and Mitch Williams show up on cards wearing their retro uniforms, even though they didn't pitch in the game.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

2006 Upper Deck Ovation Apparel #OA-RH Ryan Howard

My chosen profession requires me to work a massive amount (also known as a crapload) of hours in the first few months of every year. I try my best to avoid countdowns, as I don't want to wish away weeks or months, but it's hard not to turn a wistful eye towards the spring when deadlines will have past and the grass is green again.

With that whining out of the way, I'm pleased to announce pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training exactly one month from tomorrow.

On Card Surprise: I received a surprise package of Phillies baseball cards this week courtesy of Chris from the On Card Autos blog. While the 1984 Topps Joe Lefebvre card made me smile, the highlight of the package was this Ryan Howard card, featuring a swatch of a game-used away jersey. Thanks Chris!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

1971 Topps Super #58 Deron Johnson

This is yet another favorite from my recent Checkoutmycards purchase. Prior to obtaining this card, I didn't have any Phillies baseball cards from the numerous oddball and specialty sets produced by Topps throughout the '70s.

The first thing that struck me about this card is just how thick it is. It's printed on very sturdy cardboard, and it's at least twice as thick as a normal baseball card. The second thing that struck me is that the card is slightly miscut - but I don't really mind. The back is just a blown-up version of Deron Johnson's regular 1971 Topps card. There are 63 cards in this set, and scanning the checklist it appears as if the only Phillies in the set are this one and Tim McCarver at #34. So I'm now officially trying to track down the McCarver card.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

1994 Score Boys of Summer #3 Kevin Stocker

This is another card obtained from my recent Checkoutmycards haul. I thought it was appropriate to post, given the deep chill we're currently experiencing. It's never too early to think warm thoughts and to look forward to a day at the beach. We annually rent a house at the Jersey shore (the South Jersey shore, thank you), and our second installment payment recently came due. I keep telling myself it will be here before we know it . . .

I started searching for this card back in college, and it's taken me until now (over 15 years later) to find it. It's not a particularly thrilling card, but the fact it's been on my radar for so long makes its presence in my collection a fulfilling accomplishment.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

2009 Multi-Ad Reading Phillies #11 Tuffy Gosewisch

The Phillies recently announced Spring Training invitations had been extended to 13 more non-roster players. All players listed below played within the Phillies organization in 2009, unless otherwise noted:

Pitcher Phillipe Aumont (Mariners), outfielder Domonic Brown, infielder Ozzie Chavez, infielder Freddy Galvis, outfielder Tyson Gillies (Mariners), catcher Tuffy Gosewisch, catcher Kevin Nelson, pitcher B.J. Rosenberg, catcher Dane Sardinha (Tigers), pitcher Joe Savery, catcher John Suomi (Royals), pitcher Ryan Vogelsong (Japan) and pitcher Ehren Wasserman (White Sox).

Over the past few springs, the Phillies have had a number of non-roster invitees eventually end up with the big club, including Andy Tracy and Paul Hoover last year, Mike Cervenak in 2008 and Chris Coste in 2006. The two former Mariners prospects obtained in the Cliff Lee deal will be interesting to watch. And how can you not root for a minor league catcher named Tuffy Gosewisch?

Monday, January 11, 2010

1999 Bowman's Best Mirror Image #M10 Mark McGwire/Pat Burrell

Like most baseball (and sports) fans, I spent the summer of 1998 following the exploits of Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as they attempted to break Roger Maris' single-season home run record. It was a thrilling and exciting time for the great game of baseball as the daily power display helped bring back a fan base still largely alienated by the 1994 players' strike. But now we have confirmation that Mark McGwire used steroids during that record breaking year. He cheated.

The new Cardinals' hitting coach released a statement this afternoon admitting his steroid usage and he appeared live tonight on the MLB Network in a confessional interview with Bob Costas. By his own admission, using steroids is the worst mistake he's ever made and it's a mistake with which he now has to live.

I'm not shocked by McGwire's admission but I am a little relieved. I'm not one for controversy or confrontation, and I don't take pleasure in others' suffering, even when they've brought on the suffering by their own actions. I love and respect the game of baseball and I'm glad he's come clean, if for no other reason than it allows us, the fans, to start to move on. How ironic is it that the man once credited with saving baseball now has to plead for forgiveness from the game's fans?

Unfortunately, when McGwire first steps out of the Citizens Bank Park visitors' dugout in early May, he'll hear boos and he'll see derogatory signs. He'll receive the same reception in other ballparks around the country. But I won't boo. I'm saddened and a little angered by his past actions, but I won't kick a guy who's come clean and who seems genuinely sorry for the mistakes he's made.

1970s Phillies Hostess & Kellogg's Wantlist

1976 Kellogg's #18
1970-1974 Phillies Want List now here.

1975-1979 Phillies Want List now here.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scrapbook Sunday: April 20, 1985

1985 Fleer Update #U-117 Kent Tekulve

April 20, 1985: The Phillies acquired one of my all-time favorite players, Kent Tekulve. After years of seeing him wear the yellow and black of the Pirates, Kent Tekulve was now going to wear the white and maroon of the Phils. My scrapbook indicates this trade took place on April 21st, but Tek made his Phillies debut that day so the April 20th date (per Baseball Reference) is probably a little more accurate.

X's and O's: Looking back, my game symbols were a little confusing. A blue box indicated a road game while a red box indicated a home game. Within the boxes, a blue minus represented a loss while a red plus sign marked a win. The purple circle represents an extra-inning game. (Not sure why I felt the need to track those separately.)

Arguello Mystery Solved: The mystery player in the April 16th boxscore is actually Luis Aguayo. The 1985 box score editor for the Atlantic City Press has no idea how much angst he caused me when he or she misspelled Aguayo's name. I searched all year for any mention, news or biography of this Arguello fellow, to no avail.

Bobby D.: My personal favorite player, Bob Dernier, did well in the two Cubs boxscores pictured, going 3 for 9. Larry Bowa contributed two doubles in the Cubs extra inning win over the Phils on April 16th, and he also scored the walk-off winning run.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

1978 Kellogg's Phillies

1978 Kellogg's - #1 Steve Carlton, #3 Mike Schmidt

I've read various accounts of fellow bloggers' experiences with, all of which have been extremely positive. Over the Christmas break, I took the plunge and decided to finally check out the Checkout process.

In a nutshell - I'm impressed. The inventory is expansive, the web-based storefront is easy to navigate and fairly intuitive and the prices are very reasonable. You can view high resolution front and back images of all cards, and point and click your purchases into a shopping cart. There's an asking price for the cards, and a feature that allows you to submit a counteroffer if you deem the asking price to be too high. I used this "make an offer" feature a few times, and had all my offers accepted.

I ordered cards from about a dozen different "dealers" and everything came from Checkoutmycards in the same box. The shipping charges seemed a little high for my liking, but that would be my only minor complaint. I was able to find several cards which had been on my wantlists for at least 10 years, including these two 3D beauties.

This is the closest you're going to come to a virtual baseball card show. The real thing is still more fun, but as it gets tougher and tougher for me to make the various shows in my area, I'd gladly spend some more time (and money) shopping here.

2005 Chachi #15 Brett Myers

Three more members of the 2008 World Championship team have moved on:

Brett Myers (2002-2009) signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Houston Astros yesterday, with a mutual option for 2011. It doesn't surprise me to see the Astros current GM, and former Phillies GM, Ed Wade continue to collect former Phillies. The Astros don't visit Philadelphia until late August, and it will be interesting to see what kind of reception Brett receives. He was a good pitcher during his stint in Philly, but the general consensus is that he could have been a great pitcher.

Scott Eyre (2008-2009) announced his retirement after 13 years in the Majors. The Phillies had extended a minor league contract to Scott, with an invitation to Spring Training, but he elected to hang up his spikes. To replace Eyre, the Phils will apparently attempt to go with a lefty tandem of Antonio Bastardo/J.C. Romero in the bullpen.

Clay Condrey (2006-2009) will be pitching in the cold up in the Twins' new (outdoor) ballpark in 2010. The righty reliever, a favorite of The Phillies Room, signed a one-year deal with Minnesota.

Friday, January 8, 2010

1982 O-Pee-Chee #339 Mike Schmidt AS

We interupt this fascinating January for the Phillies to hype a new blog:

Sentez-vous s'il vous plaît libres de quitter ce blog occasionnellement et vérifier la marque nouvelle, canadienne inspiré, "oh mon o-pee-chee! (oh mon o-pee-chee!)" blog. C'est ça, c'est le nom. Le conservateur de parfait garvey cey russell lopes blog se diversifiera pour célébrer toutes les variations O-Pee-Chee à partir de 1971 à 1987.

Please feel free to leave this blog on occasion and check out the brand new, Canadian inspired, "oh my o-pee-chee! (oh mon o-pee-chee!)" blog. That's right, that's it's name. The curator of the fine garvey cey russell lopes blog will be branching out to celebrate all the O-Pee-Chee variations from 1971 through 1987.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

1996 Emotion-XL #251 Todd Zeile

Todd Zeile was not elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame today, falling 405 shorts of the 405 votes needed for election. Also receiving no votes in his first year of eligibility was former Phillie reliever Mike Jackson. Both will be dropped from the voting ballot in 2011.

Zeile may not be a Hall of Famer, but he's the only player in history to hit a home run with 11 different teams. He began 1996 as the Phillies everyday 3rd baseman, but with the team mired in last place he was shipped to the Orioles (with Pete Incaviglia) before the August 31st trading deadline. In his short Phillies tenure, Zeile hit .268 with 20 home runs and 80 RBIs. His home run and RBI marks were good enough for 2nd on the team behind Benito Santiago, who finished '96 with 30 home runs and 85 RBIs.

Congratulations are in order for new Hall of Famer Andre Dawson. In 278 games against the Phils, Hawk hit .280 with 51 home runs and 163 RBIs. Fan favorite and former Phillie Dale Murphy received just 63 votes, falling short of the Hall once again.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

1989 Topps #418 Bob Dernier

Happy birthday Bobby D.!

There was a time, when I was a younger lad, when I would send Bob Dernier a birthday card every year in care of the Phillies (and later the Cubs.) More often than not, he'd send me back a personalized, autographed picture.

I've read quite a few blogs recently about success stories with through the mail autograph requests. If anyone could point me in the direction of a good address to use to send Bob a quick note, and perhaps a few cards to sign, I would appreciate it.

If you're not fully aware of Bob Dernier's career accomplishments, please check out his Baseball Reference page.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Scrapbook Sunday: April 13, 1984

1984 Topps #300 Pete Rose

Along with several 1982 Topps Sticker books with which I was reunited, I recently had the pleasure of adding my original Phillies scrapbooks from the mid-'80s and early-'90s to the Phillies Room shelves. Beginning in 1984, I religiously kept a Phillies scrapbook, consisting of box scores, interesting newspaper articles, current rosters and pictures. I used photo albums to collate the season's events and I made sure my parents didn't throw out any Sports' sections until I had cut out what was needed for my scrapbooks. Scrapbooks followed in 1985 and 1986, and each year's content increased and improved over the last.

I must have gone through a "too cool for scrapbooks" phase between 1987 and 1989, as I stopped putting them together during those three years. I guess Junior High will do that to a guy.

The scrapbooks returned in 1990 and lasted until late July 1992 when I shipped out for college. These latter scrapbooks relied heavily on print-outs of rosters, box scores and statistics from my state of the art Commodore 128.

I view these scrapbooks as precursors to this blog, as I've always enjoyed chronicling the day to day happenings of the Phillies. Every Sunday throughout 2010, if I remember, I'll scan and share a page from one of these scrapbooks, accompanied by a baseball card relevant to the page. In a true stroke of genius and with a keen sense of clever alliteration, I will call these posts Scrapbook Sundays. I've been reluctant to add a running feature to my blog, as I like the freedom of posting whatever and whenever I feel like on any given day. However, I'm thinking this will work as I'll keep the narrative to a minimum in my Scrapbook Sunday posts, and I'll let the pages speak for themselves. (Please click to enlarge.)

Here then, is the first of many (52?) Scrapbook Sunday posts.

April 13, 1984: Pete Rose doubled in the 4th inning off the Phillies Jerry Koosman for his 4,000th career base hit. The box scores are cut from the Atlantic City Press. According to the legend at the front of this scrapbook, red circles and red X's indicate home wins while the blue circle and the blue X represent a road loss.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2001 Phillies Team Issue #54 Eddie Oropesa

The Phillies are expected to announce the signing of right-handed reliever Danys Baez within the next few days, pending the successful passage of his physical. With the signing of Baez, the team's opening day 25-man roster is coming more into focus. (More on that in a future post . . .)

The Cuban born Baez defected to the U.S. from the 1999 Pan American Games in Winnipeg, and he's pitched previously with the Indians, Rays, Dodgers, Braves and Orioles. Quickly scanning the list of Cuban born players from Baseball Reference, I found several former Phillies: Jose Cardenal, Bobby Estalella, Tony Gonzalez, Pancho Herrera, Tony Perez, Cookie Rojas and Tony Taylor.

But the last Cuban born player to don a Phillies uniform was Eddie Oropesa. Eddie made the team's opening day roster in 2001 and made his Major League debut on April 2nd, pitching a third of an inning against the Marlins in Miami. Eddie defected to the U.S. in 1993 and pitched eight seasons in the Dodgers and Giants minor league systems before debuting with the Phillies. Along with Rheal Cormier, he was one of the two lefty relievers the Phils relied upon in '01, pitching in 30 games with a 4.74 ERA. Eddie and the Phillies parted ways following the season, and he'd pitch in parts of three more seasons with the Diamondbacks and Padres. He's bounced around since 2005, pitching most recently in 2007 in the Hoofdklasse Honkbal. (Which of course is the Dutch professional baseball league. Honkbal. I love it.)

Eddie never made it into any of the base Topps, Fleer or Upper Deck sets from the early 2000s. However, he did have a cameo on the 9/11 tribute card featuring the Phillies in the 2002 Topps set. Eddie is the player to the far left on the card, bowing his head.

Friday, January 1, 2010

1991 Topps #186 Rod Booker

I'm proud to report two major accomplishments on this first day of the decade:

1. I finally cleaned out our basement crawl space. Carpet remnants, old PVC piping, unused chair rail and other unmentionable funk was cleaned out and kicked to the curb. I'm happy to have additional storage space and I can finally cross off item number one on my home improvement to-do list from 2006.

2. I joined Facebook. I'm fairly certain the last two people in the world without a Facebook page were my Aunt Edna and me, and I don't put it past Aunt Edna to set something up before her 96th birthday. I immediately received several friend requests from high school and college friends, so I'm looking forward to catching up with people with whom I should have never lost touch.

To anyone who stumbles across this blog via the link from my Facebook page, welcome. I started this humble little blog last March as a way to post and share Phillies baseball cards from my collection. Along the way, I've posted about fond memories of collecting with my Dad, I've shared memories of rooting for the Phils with my Pop-Pop and I've written about the day-to-day adventures of my 3-year-old son Doug. If my Facebook page lies dormant for a day, or a week, or a month, this is where I'll be.

(Get, it? Rod Booker? This would have been much more effective had Roy Face ever played for the Phillies.)

Ex-Phils on the Move II

2010 Chachi Ex-Phillies #X9 Eric Bruntlett

Since early December, the following former Phillies have found new homes. Most of these transactions involve the players signing minor league contracts with invitations to Spring Training:

Marlon Byrd (2002-2005) - Signed with the Chicago Cubs.
Eric Bruntlett (2008-2009) - Signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals.
Jack Taschner (2009) - Signed a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Rodrigo Lopez (2009) - Signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Carlos Silva (2002-2003) - Traded to the Chicago Cubs from the Seattle Mariners for Milton Bradley.
Joe Thurston (2006) - Signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves.
Geoff Geary (2003-2007) - Signed a minor league deal with the Texas Rangers.
R.J. Swindle (2008) - Signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Francisco Rosario (2007) - Signed a minor league deal with the Kansas City Royals.
Mike Cervenak (2008) - Signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets.
T.J. Bohn (2008) - Signed a minor league deal with the Chicago White Sox.

On the heals of the Houston Astros' signing of Pedro Feliz, Eric Bruntlett's departure represents the second player from the 2008 World Championship team to leave Philadelphia so far this offseason.

2009 Topps Heritage #391 The Champs Celebrate

Happy new year! This is one of my favorite baseball cards from 2009, and I'm hoping 2010 delivers us a similar card when the 2011 Topps Heritage set is released. Best wishes for a happy, safe and healthy 2010!