Sunday, March 4, 2012

1997 Phillies - The Missing Links

1997 Score #448, 1997 Ultra #344, #438 and 1998 Pacific Online #576
My post on the 1997 Topps Phillies cards is still a work in progress and I hope to publish it next Sunday.  It's been a rough week in the coal mine, and there's been little to no time for spending time with the 1997 Topps set.  That being said, I still managed to find time to put together the next Missing Links post, this time looking at the short-timers from the unfortunate 1997 season.

With 46 players appearing with the Phillies in 1997, I honestly thought this post was going to feature a very long list of names.  I'm as surprised as you are that there are only two players from this team with no cardboard proof of their time in red pinstripes.

1997 Phillies Team Issue #40 and #41
3 Cards or More
38 Players

Perhaps more shocking than the two guys without Phillies baseball cards is the fact that these guys actually have three or more Phillies baseball cards - Midre Cummings, Derrick May, Rex Hudler, Billy McMillon, Jerry Spradlin, Scott Ruffcorn and Billy Brewer.  And by my unofficial tally, Danny Tartabull, who broke his foot in his third game with the Phillies never to play Major League baseball again, is featured on five different Phillies baseball cards.  The mind boggles.

2 Cards
Darrin Winston (7 games in 1997 and 27 games in 1998) - 1998 Pacific Online #576 and 1998 Phillies Team Issue #58

Not to be confused with Darrin Chapin, Winston appeared in 34 games with the Phils, compiling a 4-2 record with a 5.84 ERA.  Sadly, while researching this post, I learned that Winston passed away back in 2008.  I found this article featuring a nice tribute to the former Phillie who left us way too soon.

1 Card
Tony Barron (57 games in 1997) - 1998 Collector's Choice #202
Reggie Harris (50 games in 1997) - 1997 Phillies Team Issue #40
Erik Plantenberg (35 games in 1997) - 1997 Phillies Team Issue #41
Ryan Karp (1 game in 1995 and 15 games in 1997) - 1994 Bowman #552
Edgar Ramos (4 games in 1997) - 1997 Fleer #649

I could have sworn Barron played in more than just 57 games with the Phillies.  It seems as if every game I watched that summer somehow featured Barron.  His tenure with the Phils resulted in just one lone baseball card.  The Phillies Team Issue set comes through again with the only cards of relievers Harris and Plantenberg.  Karp was previously featured on the 1994 Missing Links post.

1998 Collector's Choice #202, 1997 Fleer #649,
1997 Best Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons #9 and #18
0 Cards
Rob Butler (43 games in 1997)
Mike Robertson (22 games in 1997)

Butler actually came to the Phillies organization in December 1994, and he appeared in over 200 games with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons before getting the call to the big club in mid-April 1997.  He was the guy who replaced Tartabull on the roster after the former slugger broke his foot.  Had he cracked the team's opening day roster, he would have presumably at least had a card within the team issued set available at The Vet.

Robertson was acquired from the White Sox in January 1997 for Gene Schall.  His decent numbers with the Red Barons (.298, 12 home runs, 72 RBIs in 121 games) led to a late August call-up, which was too late for him to be featured as a Phillie in any late season baseball card releases.

Past Missing Link Posts


Jim from Downingtown said...

Midre Cummings, Derrick May, Rex Hudler, Billy McMillon, Jerry Spradlin, Scott Ruffcorn and Billy Brewer?

Aargh! I'm going to hide until you get to 2004.


Jim said...

I don't blame you! And part of me is tempted to just skip to 2004.

Kevin said...

I would like to make an ultimate set checklist in this time set seems to have all of the players.

Problem is, what sets were out at this time? There seems to many to keep track of.

Also, as I said a few posts back...too much trying to put in as many photoshop features as possible on each card. As I didn't collect during this period, I am seeing some of these sets for the first time.

Jim said...

These years were a complete mess - for Phillies fans and baseball card collectors. So you were really in trouble if you were both!

Kevin said...

Just looking at this post, I see Topps, Score, Fleer, Upper Deck and Pacific (Pacific?) all were out at this time...and Ultra was like the luxury set from Fleer and Collector's Choice was the luxury set for Upper Deck...there had to have been 30 sets out a year about this time.

No wonder they all went out of business, who had the money to support all of these sets.

I actually find these '90s posts the most interesting as I did not collect in this time frame, and it is easy to see where and why the hobby disappeared from the youths.

Kevin said...

Also, as a Tigers fan, this was a black hole in our history as well...we were in the heart of the Randy Smith years in 1997.

Jim said...

Now this is totally unofficial, but I put the count at 39 different baseball card sets released in 1997 from Donruss, Fleer, Pacific, Pinnacle, Topps and Upper Deck. Collector's Choice was actually the "basic" set from Upper Deck, sort of along the lines of Topps Opening Day today. UD's premium sets were SP and SPx.

Still - 39 sets? That's about 29 to 35 too many for me.