Wednesday, March 6, 2013

1985 Cigna Phillies #1 Juan Samuel

Dominican Republic 15, Phillies 2
Spring Exhibition Game - Tuesday Afternoon, March 5th in Clearwater

One Sentence Summary:  Cole Hamels and three pitching prospects served as a batting practice pitchers for the Dominican team as they prepared for the World Baseball Classic.

What It Means:  Hopefully this is the most brutal loss of the spring.  It was definitely brutal.  Apparently, however, this is a true exhibition game in every sense of the word as the results and the statistics don't count in the overall Spring Training numbers.

What Went Wrong:  The Dominican team banged out 28 hits - 12 coming off Hamels in his 2 2/3 innings of work.  Laynce Nix drove in both runs for the Phils with a home run in the second and an RBI-single in the ninth.

Featured Card:  Current Phillies first base coach Juan Samuel is serving as a coach with the Dominican Republic during the WBC.  This is Samuel's card from the odd-sized and oddball Cigna Phillies set, sponsored by Cigna Corporation and distributed in 1985 by various local Philadelphia police departments.


Steve F. said...

No good place for this, so I'll mention it here. I had an exciting find at the Philly Show this past weekend.

So I have long had in my collection the 1993 team issue photocard set. My version of it had 40 cards, but obviously it either (a) was a second edition, (b) only came out later in the season, or (c) was an early edition and was supplemented with an update set. Why do I say that? Because my set of 40 included the 35 cards listed on Beckett for the set ( plus:
- Jeff Manto (called up June 21)
- Roger Mason (arrived on July 4 via trade--after pitching against the Phils in both games of that 4:41 am doubleheader two days earlier)
- Kevin Stocker (called up July 7)
- Mike Williams (made an appearance May 14 but called up to stay on July 2), and
- All-Star group photo (Mulholland, Daulton, Fregosi, Kruk and Hollins—game was July 13).

I have no record of having bought those on eBay, so I suspect they are from the Vet in 1993.

Since then I have seen on eBay a Mickey Morandini card with a green background that didn’t match my 1993 Morandini, so I’ve been on the lookout for that set to see why there was a variation. On Saturday at the show, I saw a 1993 set with the Phanatic card on top, signed. The pack was taped shut but I opened it to see whether other cards were signed, and sure enough there was that green-background Morandini card, so I bought the set for $8.

At home I opened it to find 36 cards (1 more than the main Beckett list) and compared it to mine, and I found the following differences:
- Daulton, Greene, Morandini, and Mitch Williams all had different photos (the first three against a bright green background, seemingly the dugout, and Mitch against a bright background)
- The 36th card was Bobby Thigpen; note that he isn't on the Beckett list or in my 1993 set—and also note that Thigpen came to the Phils in an August 10 trade for Jose DeLeon—after all the other guys.

So that makes 45 cards available—the original 35, plus the 5 updates from between June 21 and July 13, plus the 4 variations, plus Thigpen.

I’m uncertain of how these cards were distributed though. The up-and-coming (and quite good already) site doesn’t list a photocard giveaway date (and I went to 41 games that year and don’t remember one either). The 36 cards that I just bought had a different printing feel to them than the 40 cards I previously had, and they were consistent with each other (and consistently slightly brighter than my existing set), so I do think they were purchased as a complete set that way—and obviously some time after mid-August, with the Thigpen card. Strangely they also included DeLeon, who was traded for Thigpen, so his card wasn’t pulled. Also, in June Bob Ayrault and Juan Bell were waived and traded, respectively, but their cards remained in that set as well.

Here’s my best guess: The Phils sold a 35-card set. Then after the pickups in June and July, they printed a supplemental 5-card set in late July or early August, which they probably sold for $1 (something they did a few times in the 1980s). Then, after landing the then-all-time save leader in a trade, and realizing that they were selling 50,000 or so seats for every game in August and September, they decided to issue a Series 2 set with Thigpen—and they updated photos on four of the team’s stars to make it more attractive to buyers. (I’m not sure why they left in DeLeon, Ayrault and Bell in there—maybe it didn’t cost any more to print 36 cards than it did 33.) But since the 5-card supplement was already printed, they decided just to keep selling those separately and not add them to the team set.

If my theory is right, then there is a 1993 first series, followed by a 1993 supplemental series, followed by a 1993 second series that didn’t duplicate the supplemental series—so to have all 45 cards, you needed to buy all three issuances.

Any thoughts on this?

Jim said...

Thanks Steve! This kind of stuff fascinates me.

I want to go back through my 1993 Phillies binder . . . This is definitely worthy of a future post.

Steve F. said...

I'd love to hear what you have in your binder among these cards. I'm responsible for that Jon Zuber card being on your Eight Most Wanted List--maybe this will add a few more!

Jim said...

Post on 1993 Medford Phillies cards coming tomorrow . . .