Monday, October 31, 2011

Moving On - Madson and Rollins (Maybe), Ibanez, Gload & Schneider (Definitely)

2011 Topps Heritage
Black #C77
Five Phillies became free agents over the weekend following the conclusion of the 2011 World Series.  For now, that means five names join the list of players Moving On.  My hope, however, is that two of these players will be back in red pinstripes in 2012.

Three of the five are not likely to return.  Raul Ibanez has been the team's starting left fielder for the past three seasons, after spending the first 13 seasons in the American League with the Mariners and Royals.  Raul's tenure will best be remembered for his periods of extreme streakiness.  He was either white hot at the plate or ice cold, with really no middle ground.  Over his three seasons with the Phils, he hit .264 while averaging a little over 23 home runs and 87 RBIs per season.  By all accounts, Raul is one of the nicest people in the game.  But the Phillies will cut ties with 39-year-old and go with either Domonic Brown or John Mayberry, Jr. in left in 2012.
2011 Topps
Allen & Ginter #31

Ross Gload and Brian Schneider filled the roles of left-handed bat off the bench and back-up catcher, respectively, over the past two seasons.  Gload was severely slowed this year with a bad hip, but he still was one of the team's best pinch-hitting options.  In total, Gload went 33 for 140 (.236) as a pinch-hitter with the Phils  with 3 home runs and 11 RBIs.  He was used sparingly in the field, starting just 24 games over his two seasons with the club - 15 at first and 9 in right.

2011 Topps Phillies
#PHI14
Schneider killed the Phillies during his years with the Expos, Nationals and Mets, so I was thrilled when they signed him, if for no other reason than the Phils wouldn't have to face him for a few years.  However, had I known he would hit just .208 over two seasons with just 6 home runs, I probably wouldn't have been as thrilled.  Schneider started in 73 games for the Phils over the past two years, and you could usually pencil him into your score card for most day games following night games.

I hope Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Madson are back in 2012.  I've gone into this before, but I think (I hope) Rollins could be had for three years with an option for a fourth.  He's on the record as wanting five years, but I just don't know if that kind of market exists for him.  He's the heart of the team and I believe (I hope) that he has another two to three productive years in him at short.

Madson needs to be brought back.  Without him, the team's closing prospects get murky and I'm not enamored with any of the other free agent closers on the market.  (Heath Bell?  Francisco Rodriguez?  Joe Nathan?)  The only name that intrigues me is Jonathan Papelbon, but I imagine he's heading back to the Sox.  Madson is only 31, and the money the team is saving by not bringing back Brad Lidge or Roy Oswalt should go towards bringing back the team's (I hope) 2012 closer.

Moving On
Dane Sardinha (10-11) 10/10/11 - Filed for free agency
Brandon Moss (11) 10/17/11 - Outrighted to Lehigh Valley and filed for free agency
Pete Orr (11) 10/17/11 - Outrighted to Lehigh Valley and filed for free agency
Brad Lidge (08-11) 10/24/11 - Team option declined
Roy Oswalt (10-11) 10/24/11 - Team option declined
Ross Gload (10-11) 10/30/11 - Filed for free agency
Raul Ibanez (09-11) 10/30/11 - Filed for free agency
Ryan Madson (03-11) 10/30/11 - Filed for free agency
Jimmy Rollins (00-11) 10/30/11 - Filed for free agency
Brian Schneider (10-11) 10/30/11 - Filed for free agency

2011 Phillies Team Issue 2 #7 and #23

Sunday, October 30, 2011

1983 Topps Phillies

1983 Topps #300, #615, 1983 Topps Traded #77T and 1983 Topps #175
Topps won back my lawn mowing money in the summer of 1983 for a few reasons.  First, there were two pictures on the front of every base card.  As a nine-year-old, I thought this was really cool.  Second, the Super Veteran cards were amazing.  For the first time ever, I could have cards in my collection showing Pete Rose as a Red or Tug McGraw as a Met or Mike Schmidt without a mustache.  Third, I was disappointed with the 1983 Donruss set.  They couldn't fool us - Donruss just took its 1982 design, flipped the direction of the bat on the front of the card and substituted a glove for a baseball.  Finally, the 1983 Topps Phillies cards used colors (red and blue) that actually approximated the actual team colors.

1983 Topps #43 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  Same as 1982, there were 792 cards in the set and an additional 132 cards in the Traded set.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  I loved this set.  I wasn't that familiar with the 1963 Topps set at the time, so two pictures on the front of the card was something I considered to be ground-breaking.
Notable competition:  Donruss and Fleer were back for a third round.  Honestly, I don't remember Fleer cards being readily available at our Wawa so I mostly opened packs of Topps, Topps Stickers and Donruss.

1983 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies finished first in the East with a record of 90-72.  They defeated the Dodgers in the N.L.C.S., three games to one, but the Orioles overtook them in the World Series, four games to one.  And thus began a decade-long stretch of under performing, frustrating Phillies teams that severely tried my fandom.
Key players:  As was now the norm, third baseman Schmidt again powered the offense, hitting 40 home runs and driving in 109 while hitting .255.  After Schmidt, everyone else's power numbers and batting averages fell off a cliff, but center fielder Garry Maddox (.265), catcher Bo Diaz (15 home runs, 64 RBIs) and second baseman Joe Morgan (16 home runs, 59 RBIs) attempted to provide some punch.  For the first time in his Phillies career, Steve Carlton (15-16, 3.11) played second fiddle to another pitcher.  John Denny compiled a 19-6 record with a 2.37 ERA on his way to winning the Cy Young Award.  Al Holland, "Mr. T," saved 25 games while pitching to a 2.25 ERA.
Key events:  In December 1982, hopeful superstar-to-be Von Hayes was acquired from the Indians for five players.  Hayes had a sub-superstar year with the club, hitting .265 with 6 home runs and 32 RBIs.  The Phils reunited three members of the Big Red Machine when they acquired Morgan and Tony Perez to join Rose.  The club was quickly nicknamed "The Wheeze Kids" by the local media.  Manager Pat Corrales was fired mid-season, with the team in first place, and replaced by Paul Owens.

1983 Topps #100, #587, #780 and 1983 Topps Traded #40T
1983 Phillies in 1983 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 40 Phillies cards in the base set and another 8 Phillies cards in the Traded set, surpassing the prior year tally by two cards and setting a new high.  (And I'm not counting Fergie Jenkins' Super Veteran card in the count, using the same logic that excluded Sparky Anderson's 1978 Topps manager card.)
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#175 Bo Diaz (c), #100 Pete Rose (1b), #77T Joe Morgan (2b), #587 Ivan DeJesus (ss), #300 Mike Schmidt (3b), #780 Gary Matthews (lf), #615 Garry Maddox (cf), #40T Von Hayes (rf)
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 3 cards
#211 John Denny, #70 Steve Carlton, #199 Marty Bystrom

Charles Hudson and Kevin Gross would have to wait for the 1984 sets to make their baseball card debuts.
1983 Topps #211, #70, #199 and 1983 Topps Traded #46T
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1983 - 20 cards
#43 Bob Dernier, #252 Luis Aguayo, #279 Greg Gross, #357 Len Matuszek, #383 Ozzie Virgil, #432 Porfi Altamirano, #459 Ed Farmer, #484 Dick Ruthven, #510 Tug McGraw, #564 Sid Monge, #664 Bob Molinaro, #668 Larry Christenson, #728 Ron Reed, #754 Bill Robinson, #36T Kiko Garcia, #45T Willie Hernandez, #46T Al Holland, #61T Joe Lefebvre, #72T Larry Milbourne, #85T Tony Perez
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1983 - 4 cards (with new teams listed)
#16 George Vukovich (Indians), #148 Dave Roberts, #331 Mike Krukow (Giants), #535 Manny Trillo (Indians)
  • Phillies appearing on 1982 Record Breaker cards - 1 card, #5 Manny Trillo
  • Phillies appearing on Super Veteran cards - 4 cards
#71 Steve Carlton, #101 Pete Rose, #301 Mike Schmidt, #511 Tug McGraw
  • Phillies 1982 Batting and Pitching Leaders - 1 card, #229 with Bo Diaz and Steve Carlton
  • Phillies appearing on National League All Star cards - 4 cards
#397 Pete Rose, #398 Manny Trillo, #399 Mike Schmidt, #406 Steve Carlton
  • Phillies appearing on 1982 Leaders cards - 2 cards
#705 Victory Leaders - Steve Carlton and LaMarr Hoyt (White Sox), #706 Strikeout Leaders - Steve Carlton and Floyd Bannister (Mariners)
  • Manager card - 1 card, #637 Pat Corrales
1983 Topps Traded #61T, #85T, 1983 Topps #279 and #43
Who’s out:  Hudson and Kevin Gross bolstered an injury-depleted rotation, but they're not in the 1983 Topps set.  Manager Paul Owens took control too late in the season to be included in the Traded set.
Phillies on other teams:  First, here are the eight players who eventually ended up with Phillies cards in the Traded set - #58 Al Holland (Giants), #91 Larry Milbourne (Indians), #198 Kiko Garcia (Astros), #325 Von Hayes (Indians), #568 Willie Hernandez (Cubs), #603 Joe Morgan (Giants), #644 Joe Lefebvre (Padres), #715 Tony Perez (Red Sox).  And there are three other players who didn't get Phillies cards in the Traded set - #234 Larry Andersen (Mariners), #353 Steve Comer (Rangers), #455 Sixto Lezcano (Padres)
What’s he doing here:  Infield stalwart Aguayo appeared in just two games with the 1983 Phillies, but he has a card in the set.  His 50 games with the club in 1982 earned him a card.
Cards that never were candidates:  Hudson, Kevin Gross and Owens should all have cards.  Lezcano and Andersen are in the set with other clubs, but they should have Phillies cards.  (Here is the card I made for Lezcano and a few other missing links.)  I'd also have rookie cards for three players who would come to define late '80s Phillies baseball, for better or for worse.  Darren Daulton, Juan Samuel and Steve Jeltz all made their debuts with the Phils in '83.
Favorite Phillies card:  The card we really wanted in our collection was the first Phillies card of old five-for-one, Von Hayes.

Other Stuff
Recycled:  Matthews has a card in the 2004 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set that uses the 1983 design.  And I used the 1983 Topps template for my 2011 Chachi set.
Blogs/Websites:  The 1983 Topps Blog launched at the beginning of the month, and it's off to a great start.  Also, the 83F Project is attempting to collect an autographed version of every card in the 1983 Fleer set.
Did You Know?:  Reserve outfielder Bob Molinaro appears with the Phillies on his 1983 Topps and Fleer cards, but with the Cubs on his 1983 Donruss card.  Molinaro was acquired from the Cubs on September 1, 1982, a fact noted on the back of his Donruss card.  It always bugged me that the Donruss people couldn't have at least changed the script "Cubs" on the front of Molinaro's card to a script "Phillies."
1983 Topps #101, #301 and #511

Saturday, October 29, 2011

2011 Chachi #59 RBI Leaders - Ryan Howard & Raul Ibanez

For the sixth season in a row, Ryan Howard drove in over 100 runs, joining Mike Schmidt (9 times), Del Ennis (6 times), Ed Delahanty (7 times) and Sam Thompson (7 times) as the only sluggers to reach that plateau at least six times in franchise history.

The last person not named Ryan Howard to lead the team in RBIs was Pat Burrell with 117 in 2005.  Howard's ruptured Achilles tendon, suffered on the final pitch of the team's season, could jeopardize his streak in 2012.

Here's the team's top ten in runs batted in for 2011:

1.  Ryan Howard - 116
2.  Raul Ibanez - 84
3.  Jimmy Rollins - 63
4.  Shane Victorino - 61
5.  Placido Polanco - 50
6.  John Mayberry, Jr. - 49
7.  Chase Utley - 44
8.  Carlos Ruiz - 40
9.  Hunter Pence - 35
10.  Ben Francisco - 34

Friday, October 28, 2011

2002 Upper Deck #47 Nick Punto

Crap.

Yep, still bitter.

2011 Chachi #63 ERA Leaders - Roy Halladay & Cliff Lee

For the second year in a row, Roy Halladay led the team with the lowest ERA with an impressive 2.35 mark.  Cliff Lee was close behind Halladay with a 2.40 ERA.  They became the first Phillies duo with a 2.40 ERA or lower since Jim Bunning (2.29) and Chris Short (2.39) performed the feat back in 1967.  Prior to that, you have to go back to 1917 for the last time two Phillies pitched to such a low ERA when Grover Cleveland Alexander (1.86) and Eppa Rixey (2.27) performed the feat.

Pitchers qualify for an ERA title by pitching in at least one inning per team game played.  I've sorted the starters and relievers into their own sub-categories:

Starters - ERA (IP)
1.  Roy Halladay - 2.35 (233.2)
2.  Cliff Lee - 2.40 (232.2)
3.  Cole Hamels - 2.79 (216.0)
4.  Vance Worley - 3.01 (131.2)
5.  Roy Oswalt - 3.69 (139.0)

Relievers
1.  Ryan Madson - 2.37 (60.2)
2.  Antonio Bastardo - 2.64 (58.0)
3.  Kyle Kendrick - 3.22* (114.2)
4.  David Herndon - 3.32 (57.0)
5.  Michael Stutes - 3.63 (62.0)

*Kendrick started 15 games and relieved in 19.  This is his combined ERA for the year.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

2006 Chachi #23 Rheal Cormier

Maybe it's his Canadian heritage, or perhaps it's his unusual first name.  Whatever the reason, left-handed reliever Rheal Cormier is one of my wife's all-time favorite Phillies.  Last night, I asked her if she could chose a baseball card of any player to be posted today, for her birthday, whose would it be?

"Rheal," was her one word response.  And so I have obliged.

Happy birthday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

2011 Chachi #62 Strikeout Leaders - Cliff Lee & Roy Halladay

Over the upcoming cruel, long winter, I'll map out in my head the team's 2012 opening day roster and I'll undoubtedly re-hash what went wrong in the division series against the Cardinals.  The ice cold offense in Games 2 through 5 is perhaps the biggest reason why the team didn't advance to face-off against the Brewers in the N.L.C.S., but Cliff Lee's inability to hold a four-run lead in Game 2 stings even more than Ryan Howard's disappearing act at the plate.

In the months ahead, Lee's poor postseason performance will continue to overshadow the wonderful regular season he enjoyed.

Lee and Roy Halladay's strikeout totals were the most for a Phillies pitcher since Curt Schilling struck out exactly 300 in 1998.  Had Cole Hamels struck out just six more batters, the Lee-Halladay-Hamels trio would have become the first trio in Phillies history with over 200 strikeouts in a season.  As it is, Halladay and Lee become the third duo to reach the 200-K plateau.  Jim Bunning (268) and Chris Short (237) did it in 1965 and Halladay (219) and Hamels (211) did it in 2010.

Here's the 2011 top ten:

1.  Cliff Lee - 238
2.  Roy Halladay - 220
3.  Cole Hamels - 194
4.  Vance Worley - 119
5.  Roy Oswalt - 93
7.  Ryan Madson - 62
8.  Kyle Kendrick - 59
9.  Michael Stutes - 58
10.  David Herndon - 39

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Moving On - Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt

2011 Topps Heritage Black #C22 and #C41
As expected, the Phillies declined their options on the 2012 contracts of pitchers Brad Lidge and Roy Oswalt yesterday.  I've added both their names to the Moving On listing at the bottom of this post, but the Phillies expect to at least try to bring back both pitchers albeit at lesser salaries.

If this is the end of Lidge's Phillie tenure, he'll forever be celebrated for his perfect 2008 season in which he converted 48 saves in 48 opportunities - 41 in the regular season and 7 in the postseason.  Through the 2011 season, Lidge has exactly 100 saves with the Phillies, placing him in fourth place on the team's all-time list behind Jose Mesa (112), Steve Bedrosian (103) and Mitch Williams (102).  He recovered nicely from off-season rotator cuff surgery and lingering elbow problems to post a 1.40 ERA over 19.1 innings this past season.

Oswalt, who was hampered by back injuries most of this year, started to show his old form later in the 2011 season.  He came to the Phillies via a trade with the Astros late last July and compiled a 16-11 record and a 2.96 ERA in 35 starts with the Phils.  In five postseason games, Oswalt was 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA.  The Phillies opted to pay Oswalt a $2 million buy-out in lieu of the $16 million he was scheduled to receive in 2012.

Moving On
Dane Sardinha 10/10/11 - Elected free agency
Brandon Moss 10/17/11 - Outrighted to Lehigh Valley and elected free agency
Pete Orr 10/17/11 - Outrighted to Lehigh Valley and elected free agency
Brad Lidge 10/24/11 - Team option declined
Roy Oswalt 10/24/11 - Team option declined

Monday, October 24, 2011

2011 Chachi #64 Leading Firemen - Ryan Madson & Antonio Bastardo

A few weeks ago, General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. made it clear that if the Phillies could not re-sign free agent-to-be Ryan Madson, he would search outside the organization for the team's 2012 closer.  It was essentially a vote of no confidence for closer-in-waiting Antonio Bastardo.  It was also a statement with regards to the severity of Jose Contreras' elbow injury.  Contreras enters 2012 in the final year of his contract.  He had surgery in early September to repair a tendon in his pitching elbow, and his recovery time is expected to be four to six months.

There were five pitchers who saved games for the Phillies in 2011:

1.  Ryan Madson - 32 saves
2.  Antonio Bastardo - 8 saves
3.  Jose Contreras - 5 saves
4.  David Herndon - 1 save
5.  Brad Lidge - 1 save

The club holds an option on Lidge's contract for the 2012 season, and it's very much expected that they'll decline it.  If they decide to pick it up, the Phillies will be on the hook for Lidge's 2012 salary of $12.5 million.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

1982 Topps Phillies

1982 Topps #100, #680, #780 and 1982 Topps Traded #29T
I don't have much love for the 1982 Topps set.  In just its second year of producing baseball cards, Donruss won me over with its 1982 set.  The colors were brighter, the pictures were more interesting and as a nine-year-old collector, I preferred getting a puzzle piece with my cards rather than a stick of gum.  Sealing the deal for 1982 Donruss was the 26-card Diamond King set, featuring actual paintings of the day's stars, one per team.  Once I saw the Diamond Kings, the 1982 Topps set never even had a chance.

1982 Topps #220 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  A complete set jumped to 792 cards in 1982, and this was the magic number of cards in a complete Topps set throughout the first golden age of my collecting youth.  Topps once again tacked on a 132-card Traded series, this time re-starting the numbering with a "T" suffix for each of the red-backed cards.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  Looking at the cards now, I can't help but feel nostalgic about the set, despite the pink and orange used for the Phillies cards and the olive green backs.  Back in the day, we thought the In Action cards were pretty cool, and I remember my disappointment at the realization there weren't team cards, with a team photo, in the set.
Notable competition:  As already mentioned, Donruss won over my lawn mowing money.  I still collected Topps, but I actually had more 1982 Topps Stickers in my collection than baseball cards from the flagship set.  Fleer was an afterthought for me.  Even then, I could tell it was a crappy set.  (Although we all thought the color team logo on the back of each card was pretty radical.)

1982 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies compiled a respectable record of 89-73, but they finished three games behind the Cardinals in the East.
Key players:  The offense was led once again by Mike Schmidt (.280, 35 home runs, 87 RBIs) and Gary Matthews (.281, 19 home runs, 83 RBIs).  Bo Diaz, acquired in an unpopular off-season trade in exchange for Lonnie Smith, hit .288 with 18 home runs and 85 RBIs as he slowly won over the fans.  Rookie Bob Dernier was handed the starting center fielder job, but his low average eventually led to Garry Maddox reclaiming the position.  Steve Carlton turned in another 20-win season, going 23-11 with a 3.10 ERA and 286 strikeouts on his way to his fourth (and final) Cy Young Award.
Key events:  Former Phillie Pat Corrales replaced Dallas Green as the team's skipper, as Green was hired by the Cubs to be their new General Manager.  The Phils made two major trades prior to the start of the season.  First, in November 1981, they sent Smith and a player to be named later to the Cardinals as part of a three-team trade in which the Phils netted Diaz from the Indians.  Then, in January, they traded long-time shortstop Larry Bowa along with a prospect to the Cubs for new shortstop Ivan DeJesus.  The prospect that Green acquired as the "throw-in" in the trade was infielder Ryne Sandberg.

1982 Topps #220, 1982 Topps Traded #27T, 1982 Topps #20 and #389
1982 Phillies in 1982 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  All told, with subset cards included, there are 39 Phillies cards in the 1982 Topps base set.  Add the seven Phillies cards from the Traded set, and that's 46 total Phillies cards - the new high-water mark.  (Running tally - 115 Topps Phillies cards from the '80s and 873 cards overall.)
Who’s in:

  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#29T Bo Diaz (c), #780 Pete Rose (1b), #220 Manny Trillo (2b), #27T Ivan DeJesus (ss), #100 Mike Schmidt (3b), #680 Gary Matthews (lf), #20 Garry Maddox (cf), #389 George Vukovich (rf)
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 5 cards
#480 Steve Carlton, #544 Larry Christenson, #59T Mike Krukow, #317 Dick Ruthven, #416 Marty Bystrom

1982 Topps #480, #544, 1982 Topps Traded #59T and 1982 Topps #317
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1982 - 12 cards
#53 Greg Gross, #250 Tug McGraw, #285 Sparky Lyle, #352 Dick Davis, #449 Luis Aguayo, #581 Ron Reed, #647 Warren Brusstar, #713 Del Unser, #28T Bob Dernier, #32T Ed Farmer, #73T Sid Monge, #100T Bill Robinson
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player "Future Stars" cards - 1 card
#231 Mark Davis, Bob Dernier and Ozzie Virgil

Dernier and Virgil spent time with the club in 1982, while Davis spent the entire season in the minors.
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1982 - 8 cards (with new teams listed)
#127 Lonnie Smith (Cardinals), #152 Ramon Aviles (Rangers), #183 Mike Proly (Cubs), #384 Keith Moreland (Cubs), #515 Larry Bowa (Cubs), #530 Dickie Noles (Cubs), #615 Bob Boone (Angels), #745 Bake McBride (Indians)

Look at all those Cubbies!
  • Phillies appearing on 1981 Highlight cards - 2 cards
#1 Steve Carlton, #4 Pete Rose
  • Phillies appearing on 1981 Leaders cards - 2 cards
#162 Home Run Leaders - Mike Schmidt with Tony Armas (Athletics), Dwight Evans (Red Sox), Bobby Grich (Angels) and Eddie Murray (Orioles), #163 RBI Leaders - Mike Schmidt with Eddie Murray (Orioles)
  • Phillies appearing on National League All Star cards - 2 cards
#337 Pete Rose, #339 Mike Schmidt
  • Phillies appearing on In Action cards - 5 cards
#101 Mike Schmidt, #481 Steve Carlton, #516 Larry Bowa, #616 Bob Boone, #781 Pete Rose
  • Phillies 1981 Batting and Pitching Leaders - 1 card, #636 with Pete Rose and Steve Carlton, replacing the team photo card
1982 Topps Traded #28T, 1982 Topps #53, #581 and 1982 Topps Traded #32T
Who’s out:  Both Len Matuszek (25 games) and Dave Roberts (28 games) were omitted from the Traded set.  Porfi Altamirano (29 games in relief) would have also been a good candidate for the Traded set.
Phillies on other teams:  There are eleven cards featuring players who appeared with the Phillies in 1982, but are featured with other teams within the 1982 Topps set.  First, there are six players who would eventually get Phillies cards in the Traded set - #215 Mike Krukow (Cubs), #258 Bo Diaz (Indians), #328 Ed Farmer (White Sox), #484 Ivan DeJesus (Cubs), #543 Bill Robinson (Pirates) and #601 Sid Monge (Indians).  And here are other five - #131 Stan Bahnsen (Expos), #218 Dave Roberts (Astros), #363 Bob Molinaro (White Sox), #458 Willie Montanez (Pirates), and #773 John Denny (Indians).
1982 Topps #636
What’s he doing here:  Aviles was traded to the Rangers on October 20, 1981, yet he still made it into the set with the Phillies.  At some point, he made his way back to the Phils as he appeared in 88 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City in 1982.
Cards that never were candidates:  Matuszek, Roberts and Altamirano should have cards, as should rookie Julio Franco, who made his Major League debut and appeared in 16 games with the Phillies.  There were no manager cards in the 1982 Topps set, but I'd make a card for new manager Corrales.  I've previously published my cards for Altamirano and Roberts, as well as the card that should have been for Franco.
Favorite Phillies card:  Bob Dernier's Traded card is by far my favorite.  Bobby D. excited us all with his 42 stolen bases during the season, and I had the opportunity to play catch with him during a pre-game batting practice at The Vet.  (That's a good story for a future post.)

Other Stuff
Recycled:  Topps uses the 1982 Topps design for Dernier's card in the 2005 Topps All-Time Fan Favorites set.  It uses it again for Ryan Howard's 2008 Topps Trading Card History card.  Steve Carlton's card is reprinted (albeit as a "no black ink" variation) in the 2010 Topps The Cards Your Mom Threw Out insert set.
Blogs/Websites:  It's on hiatus now, but My First Cards is making its way through the 1982 Topps set.  I also need to point out the Donruss 1982 blog which covers (in my opinion) the best baseball card set from '82.
Did You Know?:  When it came to Mike Schmidt's appearances in the 1982 Topps line of releases, the photographer definitely got a little lazy.

1982 Topps #1, #481, #101 and #4

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Newest Ex-Phillies

2011 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #20, 2011 Choice Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs Series 2 #20 and #19
and 2011 Multi-Ad Reading Phillies #25
Three players and a minor league manager joined the ranks of "Ex-Phillies" since the Phillies season ended.

Catcher Dane Sardinha elected free agency, according to Baseball America's minor league transactions for October 4th through 10th.  Sardinha appeared in 13 games with the Phillies in 2010 and in 15 games in 2011.  He hit .211 in 71 at-bats.  It was evident his tenure with the club had run its course when Erik Kratz was added in September as the team's third catcher instead of Sardinha.

Infielder Pete Orr and outfielder Brandon Moss were outrighted off the team's 40-man roster and both elected free agency.  Orr made it into 46 games with the Phillies, starting 22 games at second and two games at third.  He hit .219 with four RBIs.

Moss was a September call-up who made it into just five games with the Phils.  He went 0 for 6 with two strikeouts in his very brief time with the club.  With Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Moss hit .275 with a team-leading 23 home runs and 80 RBIs.

Former catcher Mark Parent spent the past two season managing in the Phillies minor league system.  He led the Class-A Lakewood BlueClaws to the South Atlantic League Championship in 2010 and he managed the Double-A Reading Phillies to a 74-68 record in 2011.  Parent was recently named the bench coach for the Chicago White Sox under new manager Robin Ventura.

Moving On
Dane Sardinha 10/10/11 - Elected free agency
Brandon Moss 10/17/11 - Outrighted to Lehigh Valley and elected free agency
Pete Orr 10/17/11 - Outrighted to Lehigh Valley and elected free agency

Friday, October 21, 2011

2011 Chachi #58 Home Run Leaders - Ryan Howard & Raul Ibanez

While Ryan Howard's team-leading 33 home runs aren't necessarily bad, we're used to seeing a little better from The Big Piece.  Or are his 33 home runs becoming the new norm?  Consider his plate appearances and home run totals from the past six seasons, starting with his MVP campaign in 2006:

Year - Plate Appearances/Home Runs (Percentage)
2006 - 704/58 (8.24%)
2007 - 648/47 (7.25%)
2008 - 700/48 (6.86%)
2009 - 703/45 (6.40%)
2010 - 620/31 (5.00%)
2011 - 644/33 (5.12%)

That's not a pretty trend when you consider Howard is pencilled in as the team's main source of power until at least the 2016 season.  (His contract has a club option for 2017.)  Factor in that he'll be recovering from a ruptured achilles' tendon for at least the first part of 2012, and there's definitely some cause for concern.

The power numbers just weren't there in 2011, as evidenced by the team's top eleven in home runs:

1.  Ryan Howard - 33
2.  Raul Ibanez - 20
3.  Shane Victorino - 17
4.  Jimmy Rollins - 16
5.  John Mayberry, Jr. - 15
6.  Chase Utley - 11
6.  Hunter Pence - 11
8.  Carlos Ruiz - 6
8.  Ben Francisco - 6
10.  Placido Polanco - 5
10.  Domonic Brown - 5

We should see increases in Pence's and Mayberry's totals in 2012 as both should be with the club for the entire season.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

1952 Bowman #35 Granny Hamner

One of my Dad's earliest lessons to me was, "If you fall off that bike, get back up and keep going.  Steer, peddle, keep your balance."

Semi-regular posting will return tomorrow.

Friday, October 14, 2011

1950 Bowman #119 Dick Sisler

My Dad passed away this morning after a very lengthy illness.  He was one of the good guys.

I was blessed to have had a father who did not let a day go by without telling me that he loved me or that he was proud of me.  And he was blessed to have had such a loving family and many, many wonderful and caring friends.

* * *

When I started this blog a few years ago, my very first reader and frequent commenter was my Dad.  He would start his day by reading whatever I had posted the night before and then he'd call me at work to talk about what I had written or what the Phillies were doing or just to get an update on his grandson, Doug.  The blog was an additional means of connecting with my Dad as I re-told stories via my earliest posts about collecting the 1956 Topps set with him or attending baseball card shows with him.

I spent some time this afternoon going back and reading some of his earlier comments.  My Father's Day tribute to him from a few years ago sums up my gratitude and it's still one of my favorite all-time posts.

* * *

We spent close to every waking hour by his side over the past three weeks.  A few nights ago, while he was sound asleep, I headed over to eBay and clicked Buy It Now on the card featured here.  Dick Sisler was one of my Dad's favorite Phillies (along with Del Ennis) and it felt good to purchase this card in the presence of my Dad.  It's fitting the card arrived in our mail this afternoon.

You were a good man, sir.  And you'll be missed. 

September 27, 2003 - Veterans Stadium

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2011 Topps Stickers Wantlist

2011 Topps Stickers #169 to #177
If you live in South Jersey and you find that none of the area Target stores are carrying packs of 2011 Topps Stickers, I would like to apologize to you.  I mentioned I was trying to collect the complete set of stickers to my Mom and my sister, Carol.  Knowing that I was desparately in need of a baseball-related distraction, they canvased the area Targets and bought every single pack of 2011 Topps Stickers they could find.  All told, I think I ended up with two full boxes worth and I spent the last few games of the NLDS-that-should-not-be-mentioned peeling the backs off stickers and placing them in their sticker album.  It was indeed a welcome distraction and I'm grateful to my Mom and sister for the gesture.

(My Mom was happy to continue the tradition started by my grandfather almost thirty years ago - see here for reference.)

The stickers listed below are what I'm missing for a complete album.  I have a ton of stickers to trade, so please let me know if you'd be interested in setting up a sticker-for-sticker swap, or if we could work out something else.

Needed:
12 J.D. Drew
13 Kevin Youklis
16 Adrian Gonzalez
34 Casey Kotchman
50 Alexei Ramirez
62 Carlos Santana
106 Daric Barton
107 Kurt Suzuki
112 Chone Figgins
119 Julio Borbon
130/303 Indians/Phillies
138/301 Brewers/Rangers
141/304 Padres/Cubs
143 Nate McLouth
144 Jason Heyward
153 Mike Stanton
207 Hunter Pence
208 Chris Johnson
225 Garrett Jones
228 Neil Walker
239 Yadier Molina

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Chachi Almost #4 Freddy Galvis

Could Freddy Galvis possibly be the Phillies starting shortstop on Opening Day 2012?  With Jimmy Rollins hitting free agency following the World Series and expected to seek a five-year deal, it's possible the Phillies could have an opening in the middle infield for the first time since the early 2000's.

Galvis, 21, started 2011 with Double-A Reading but made the jump to Triple-A Lehigh Valley in August.  He was named the Phillies Minor League Player of the Month in August and he was recently awarded the 2011 Paul Owens Award as the best position player in the Phillies minor league system.  Between both levels in the minors, he hit .278 with 28 doubles, 5 triples and 8 home runs.  He stole 23 bases and scored 78 runs in 137 total games.

Signed as an amateur free agent in July 2006, Galvis is originally from Venezuela.  Phuture Phillies, the source for all things related to the Phillies minor league system, ranked Galvis as the team's 14th best prospect following the 2010 season.  I'd expect to see Galvis climb up the rankings in 2011's list, and he'll undoubtedly get a lengthy look in March in Clearwater.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

2011 Chachi #41 Placido Polanco AS

All-Star third baseman Placido Polanco had a brutal division series, managing just two hits in 19 at-bats for a .105 average.  It's fairly evident that his sports hernia hampered him throughout the last few months of the season, so it was no surprise when the team announced he'd be having an MRI before most likely going through with off-season surgery.

All NLDS-related post-mortems are depressing, but by far the most depressing was Matt Gelb's "stream of consciousness" report posted to Philly.com.  Gelb ponders the notion that the Phillies could have different opening day starters from Game 5 at first, shortstop, third and left field.  Ryan Howard's ruptured achilles could cause the slugger to miss the beginning of the 2012 season, and the Phillies have got to have real concerns about Polanco's ability to rebound from the series of injuries that limited his playing time in 2011.  Is he still a viable option at third going forward?

Gelb goes on to list the 10 players from the postseason roster that could be wearing a different uniform in 2012:

Free agents (5) - Raul Ibanez, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Madson, Brian Schneider and Ross Gload
Club option (2) - Roy Oswalt and Brad Lidge
Could be non-tendered (3) - Kyle Kendrick, Ben Francisco and Wilson Valdez

Amazingly, of everyone on that list, back-up infielder (and late, late inning reliever) Valdez is the most likely to return next year.  Any way you cut it, the 2012 Phillies are going to be a very different team.  Given the craptastic way the 2011 season ended, that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Monday, October 10, 2011

2011 Chachi Lineage #3 Jimmy Rollins

I start thinking about which Topps baseball card design to use for the next year's Chachi set at some point over the summer.  I'll weigh the pros and cons of each unused design usually while I'm mowing the lawn or walking from my parking garage to my office or just staring into space.  A few months ago, I had settled on using one of four designs:

1.  1971 Topps - One of my favorite sets from the '70s and a fairly easy design to reproduce.
2.  1984 Topps - This seemed to be the natural next step after using the 1983 Topps design this year.  It's hard for me to think of the '83 Topps set without my mind instantly going to its inferior sequel, the '84 Topps set.
3.  1985 Topps - I keep coming back to this design.  It's simple and I think I'd tweak the team banner color from maroon to today's more modern red.
4.  1988 Topps - I keep coming back to this one too.  If I ever get over the fact there are no player positions on the fronts of the cards, I'll definitely use this design one year.

And then, a few weeks ago, it hit me.  The 1979 Topps design was the perfect set to use for the 2012 Chachi set.  I've been feeling rather nostalgic lately, and flipping through my binder of the 1979 Topps set while preparing the 1979 Topps Phillies post brought back a flood of memories and emotions. 

1979 reminds me of my Dad.  He took me to my first Phillies game in 1979.  1979 reminds me of riding my Big Wheel and sitting on my red shag carpet back on 12th Street.  It reminds me of camping with my Dad, playing catch in our backyard and riding around in his red Pontiac Thunderbird.  It reminds me of sideburns and John Denver on the radio and back when our old house was still blue, before the gray siding was added.  It reminds me of Legos and Star Wars men.

The 1979 Topps set is very simple and very basic.  It reminds me of the good old days and it makes me happy to think I'll get to revisit a simpler time whenever I create a 2012 Chachi card.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

2012 World Series Preview - Phillies vs. Red Sox

1987 Classic #62, 2011 Topps Chrome X-Fractor #40,
2001 Topps #592 (No Gold Stamping) and 2009 Bowman Gold #75
The baseball season is over.  I'm still wrestling with that realization and it's going to take a little while for it to sink in.  When the season started, I honestly thought the Phillies would be meeting the Red Sox in the 2011 World Series, as (on paper) those two teams were the best teams in either league.  Obviously, it didn't work out that way.

I spent most of the day yesterday in a funk.  There's a lot on my mind these days and the unceremonious, albeit deserving elimination of the Phillies from the play-offs certainly isn't helping my overall mood.

As has been the case in the past, receiving a surprise package of baseball cards in the mail helped snapped me out of it.  (My wonderful wife and my two awesome sons get most of the credit for cheering me up, but getting Phillies cards in the mail certainly helps out too.)

The cards were from from Ron from Section 36.  As a Sox fan, Ron started his off-season of angst a little sooner than I did.  He enclosed a note with the package that said, "I always assumed that when the Red Sox met the Phillies in the World Series this year we'd set up a wager of some sort.  Since the Sox didn't exactly keep up their end, I'm sending along your 'winnings.'  Hopefully, you can find a use for at least some of these."

Thanks Ron.  There's always next year.  In the meantime, since the Phillies didn't exactly keep up their end of the bargain either, I guess I'll round up your "winnings" as well.  Let's talk about that wager next October.

Friday, October 7, 2011

2011 Topps #300 Roy Halladay

It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone. You count on it, rely on it to buffer the passage of time, to keep the memory of sunshine and high skies alive, and then just when the days are all twilight, when you need it most, it stops.

- A. Bartlett Giamatti

Opening day is Thursday, April 5, 2012.

Cardinals at Phillies: October 7th

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Friday 8:37

NLDS Tied 2-2

Cardinals 90-72, National League Wild Card
Phillies 102-60, National Leage East Champions

Random Notes:  This is the first time the Phillies have played in an NLDS Game 5 since the 1981 player's strike forced a division series pitting the first-half winner against the second-half winner.  Steve Rogers and the Expos bested Steve Carlton, 3-0, to advance to the NLCS.  Here's hoping for a better outcome this time . . . Jimmy Rollins, who is a free agent following the season, is hitting .563 (9 for 16) out of the lead-off spot . . . On the other end of the spectrum, Ryan Howard is 0 for his last 11 with six strikeouts . . . Cliff Lee (and everyone else) is available out of the bullpen in Game 5 . . . We have tickets to NLCS Game 1 on Sunday, and I want very badly to be able to use them.


Phillies Probable: Roy Halladay (1-0, 3.38)
Cardinals Probable: Chris Carpenter (0-0, 12.00)

Go Phils!

2011 Chachi #68 NLDS Game 4 - Roy Oswalt & Ryan Howard

Cardinals 5, Phillies 3
NLDS Game 4 - Wednesday Night, October 5th in St. Louis

One Sentence Summary:  After an exciting first inning, the Phillies just couldn't get anything else going as the Cardinals got to Roy Oswalt and forced a Game 5.

What It Means:  It means tensions are high in The Phillies Room as the series is now tied 2-2.  The good news is that Roy Halladay will be on the mound tonight for the decisive Game 5.  The bad news is that the Phillies offense has been shut down by a less than suspect Cardinals pitching staff.

What Went Wrong:  I'm not going to dwell on this game, so I'll make this quick.  Oswalt (0-1) lasted six innings and allowed five runs on six hits.  The big blow was a two-run home run from David Freese in the sixth inning.  David Freakin' Freese.

For more on the Phillies short-comings during this game, please refer to the quick reference card prepared by Dick Allen Hall of Fame.

Featured Card:  To date, this is my least favorite card in the entire 2011 Chachi set.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

1952 Bowman #76 Del Ennis

If nothing else, this series with the Cardinals has provided five nights of distraction as my Dad's health continues to decline.  He wasn't doing well this time last year, but we were at least able to talk about the Phillies as they made quick work of the Reds in the first round of the playoffs and shockingly succumbed to the Giants in the N.L.C.S.  This year, he's too tired to stay up and watch the games and when I try to bring up the Phillies in conversation, I'm met with an optimistic but distant, "That sounds great."  He started home hospice care a few weeks ago and his days consist of mostly sleeping and spending time with his very loving family during the few hours each day he's awake.

With all the hospital visits and doctor's appointments and just the overall feeling of helplessness that comes when a parent is sick, there have been many, many difficult and painful moments to endure over the past year.  But selfishly, one of the toughest things in all of this for me is that I miss talking about the Phillies with my Dad.  He introduced me to baseball, the Phillies and baseball cards, in that order, and it's tough for me to accept that I can't talk to him about Roy Halladay or Charlie Manuel's decisions or even crazy squirrels because he's too sick and too tired to think about the Phils.

I know he'd like nothing more than to be pacing the floor and shouting at the TV (with the rest of us Phillies fans) as we watch the Cardinals fringe players dismantle our starting pitching or as Ryan Howard whiffs at another off-speed pitch in the dirt.  I know he'd clap and cheer with the rest of us if Halladay is able to shut down the Cardinals and allow the Phillies to play at least a few more games this year.  With that in mind, I'll be watching the game from home tomorrow night, waving my rally towel for me and on behalf of my Dad.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

2011 Chachi #67 NLDS Game 3 - Ben Francisco & Ryan Madson

Phillies 3, Cardinals 2
NLDS Game 3 - Tuesday Night, October 4th in St. Louis

One Sentence Summary:  Ben Francisco's pinch-hit three-run home run in the seventh and gutsy pitching from Cole Hamels and Ryan Madson led to the Game 3 victory.

What It Means:  The Phillies are up two games to one with Roy Oswalt taking the mound tomorrow night. Also, and make no mistake about this, I did not enjoy watching this game as the entire three hours and thirteen minutes was way too tense for me.  I would prefer a nice little Phillies blow-out tomorrow.  I'd love to see the Phils score seven or eight runs in the first few innings while Oswalt is working on a shutout.

What Went Right:  Hamels (1-0) ran a lot of deep counts and he had runners on in every inning, but he managed to shut out the Cardinals through six innings.  He struck out eight while walking three and allowing five hits.

The offense was sputtering along until the seventh when Shane Victorino singled to start the inning.  A passed ball moved Victorino to second, but Cardinals starter Jaime Garcia retired the next two batters.  Manager Tony LaRussa opted to intentionally walk Carlos Ruiz and have Garcia go after pinch-hitter Francisco.  Francisco slammed a 1-0 fastball into the Phillies bullpen in left to break the scoreless tie and give the Phils a 3-0 lead.

In the eighth, with the bases loaded and one out, Madson was called upon to preserve the Phillies 3-1 lead and record a five-out save.  He induced an inning-ending double play and then survived an anxiety-filled ninth inning to secure the victory.

Featured Card:  I knew Francisco had to be featured on one of the panels.  His dramatic home run brought to mind the blast from Matt Stairs in Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS.  As much as I wanted to feature Hamels, I thought Madson's performance earned him a spot on the card as well.

Francisco opened the season as the team's regular right fielder, but a very slow start forced him back to the bench.  Phillies radio play-by-play announcer Scott Franzke has often referred to him as the "forgotten Phillie."  So it was great to see him come through and earn his place in Phillies lore.

Quote of the Game:  From Francisco, courtesy of MLB.com's Todd Zolecki - "When you get to the postseason you can change your season . . . That's what I tried to do."

Phillies at Cardinals: October 4th through October 5th

Busch Stadium - St. Louis, MO
Tuesday 5:07 and Wednesday 6:07

NLDS Tied 1-1

Cardinals 90-72, National League Wild Card
Phillies 102-60, National Leage East Champions

Just win.  Go Phils!

Phillies Probables: Cole Hamels (0-0, 0.00), Roy Oswalt (0-0, 0.00)
Cardinals Probables: Jaime Garcia (0-0, 0.00), Edwin Jackson (0-0, 0.00)

Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 Chachi #66 NLDS Game 2 - Cliff Lee & Carlos Ruiz

Cardinals 5, Phillies 4
NLDS Game 2 - Sunday Night, October 2nd in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Spotted a 4-0 lead, Cliff Lee allowed five unanswered Cardinals runs as the bats fell asleep after the second inning.

What It Means:  The series is tied up and Cole Hamels will take the mound in St. Louis for Game 3 on Tuesday afternoon.

What Went Wrong:  Following the second inning of last night's game, all was well.  It seemed inevitable the Phillies were going to take a 2-0 series lead as they had posted four runs to the Cardinals none and they had Lee (0-1) on the mound.  But Lee faltered in the fourth, allowing three runs.  The Cardinals would have tied it up then and there, if not for an outfield assist from Raul Ibanez that nailed Jon Jay at the plate.  Carlos Ruiz was run over, but still managed to hang on to the ball.

The Cards tied it in the sixth and took the lead in the seventh when Allen Craig led off with a triple that probably should have been caught by Shane Victorino.  Albert Pujols singled to bring Craig home with the eventual winning run.  Although he struck out nine, Lee allowed a career high twelve hits in his six innings of work.

After jumping on starter Chris Carpenter, the Phils were shut down by the entire Cardinals bullpen.  They put together an 0 for 15 stretch between the end of the second and the bottom of the seventh.

Featured Card:  It's not fun making these cards following a loss.