Sunday, January 5, 2014

2010 Topps Phillies

2010 Topps #590, #334, 2010 Topps Update #US245 and 2010 Topps #23
Why am I having so much trouble starting and finishing the last few posts in my ongoing Topps Phillies series?  I flew through the initial posts a few years ago, churning out a post a week up through the late 1990s.  And then I stalled out.  I dug back in and made my way up through the mid-2000s before stalling out again.  The 2008 and 2009 posts were fun to put together, but I haven't been able to sufficiently motivate myself to wrap up the series with a look at the Topps Phillies cards from 2010, 2011, 2012 and most recently, 2013. 

I think, and this is only a theory, it's because these cards hold no real historical or sentimental interest to me personally, at least not yet.  Maybe in ten or twenty years' time, I'll look back at the 2010 Topps set with a sense of nostalgia, but that's a long ways off.

2010 was the first full year I maintained this here blog.  It was the year we welcomed our second son Benjamin into our lives, and he's been amazing us ever since.  2010 was also the year we began to realize that my Dad's health was failing, and the Phillies and their baseball cards provided a welcome haven from the real world.

The Set
2010 Topps #334 (Back)

Number of cards in the set:  Without counting the short-printed variations and gimmick cards, there are 660 cards in both series one and series two and 331 cards in the update series.  The extra card in the update series is the much sought after (at the time) Stephen Strasburg rookie card.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  I think this is one of my favorite Topps sets from recent years becuase (1) it's so different from any of the other generic, over-modern designs they've used recently and (2) the team logo is just freakin' huge on the fronts of the cards.  Revisiting the set for this post, I'm also struck by how good the photography is on most of the cards.
Notable competition:  This is the first year that Topps held its exclusive license with MLB, and it flaunted it by displaying large team logos on the fronts and backs of its base cards.  Upper Deck attempted to release a set with obscured or non-visible team logos on the photos, but it just wasn't an attractive or popular set.

2010 Topps #122, #300, #403 and #630
2010 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies were flat-out awesome in 2010, and it was fun to watch them play every day.  They won their fourth consecutive N.L. East pennant, going 97-65 and finishing six games ahead of the Braves.  They swept the Reds in the N.L.D.S. only to have the Giants put an unceremonious end to their run in Game 6 of the N.L.C.S.  The card I created to memorialize the Game 6 loss is one of the most depressing cards in the entire Chachi series.  Why didn't Ryan Howard at least swing the bat?

Key players:  Despite his let-down in the N.L.C.S., Howard enjoyed a fantastic regular season.  He led the team with 108 RBIs and 31 home runs while hitting .276.  He was manager Charlie Manuel's choice as the starting designated hitter for the N.L. All-Star squad.  The outfield trio of Raul Ibanez (.275, 16, 83), Shane Victorino (.259, 18, 69, 34 stolen bases) and Jayson Werth (.296, 27, 85) could run circles around what the team plans to field in 2014.  Returning third baseman Placido Polanco and catcher Carlos Ruiz stabilized an already strong line-up and provided steady defense in the field.

The newly acquired Roy Halladay delivered one of the most dominant seasons by a Phillies pitcher in their franchise history.  On the way to winning the N.L. Cy Young Award, Halladay went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA and 219 strikeouts.  Cole Hamels pitched much better than his 12-11 record, striking out 211 and compiling a 3.06 ERA.  On June 29th, the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt and he went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in his 13 games with the club.  Brad Lidge bounced back from an awful 2009 with 27 saves and Ryan Madson continued to impress as one of the best set-up men in baseball.

2010 Topps #486, #134 and 2010 Topps Update #US100
Key events:  Following the 2009 season, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. orchestrated two blockbuster trades, bringing in Halladay from the Blue Jays and inexplicably trading away Cliff Lee to the Mariners.  Lee would return to the organization via free agency following the 2010 season.  Halladay announced his arrival to the National League by pitching the 20th perfect game in Major League history on May 29th.  A few weeks earlier, on May 7th, Jamie Moyer became the oldest player in history to throw a complete game shutout.  And of course, Halladay started off the 2010 postseason by hurling a no-hitter against the Reds in Game 1 of the N.L.D.S.  (See below for links to all the 2010 postseason Chachi cards.)

2010 Phillies in 2010 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 20 Phillies cards in the base set and another seven Phillies cards in the update series.  There are also three veteran variation cards for Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton and Robin Roberts.
Who's in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#122 Carlos Ruiz (c), #590 Ryan Howard (1b), #300 Chase Utley (2b), #403 Jimmy Rollins (ss), #US245 Placido Polanco (3b), #486 Raul Ibanez (lf), #23 Shane Victorino (cf), #334 Jayson Werth (rf)

Topps has a nice little streak going at this point, as the last time they didn't include all regular eight starting position players was with its 2001 set.  That was the year starting catcher Johnny Estrada was completely overlooked by Topps.

2010 Topps #70, #474, #188 and 2010 Topps Update #US95
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 5 cards
#US100 Roy Halladay, #70 Cole Hamels, #474 Kyle Kendrick, #188 Joe Blanton, #US95 Jamie Moyer
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 2010 - 7 cards
#89 J.A. Happ, #424 David Herndon, #500 Brad Lidge, #630 Ben Francisco, #655 Ryan Madson, #US21 Roy Oswalt, #US318 Domonic Brown
  • Base cards of players who did not play with the Phillies in 2010 - 2 cards
#132 Cliff Lee, #154 Pedro Feliz
  • 2009 National League Leaders card - 1 card, #42 Ryan Howard (RBIs)
  • Franchise History card - 1 card, #372 Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels
This was a nice little subset added by Topps in its 2010 set.  The front of the card features Howard and Hamels following the conclusion of the 2008 World Series and the back of the card contains a listing of the franchise's all-time, active and prior season leaders in various statistical categories.
  • 2010 National League All-Star cards - 2 cards, #US30 Roy Halladay and #US265 Ryan Howard
  • Team/Manager card - 1 card, #134 Victorino, Rollins, Utley and Howard on front, Charlie Manuel on back
2010 Topps #500, #655, 2010 Topps Phillies #PHI17 and 2010 Topps Update #US21
Who's out:  The bench guys were largely ignored in the set - Wilson Valdez, Greg Dobbs, Brian Schneider and Ross Gload.  Key bullpen cogs Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero and Danys Baez were also omitted, although Romero received a card in the Topps Phillies retail set.

2010 Topps #372
Phillies on other teams:  There's a bunch of these given all the moves made by the Phillies during the offseason and within the regular season.  Halladay (#200, Blue Jays), Polanco (#263, Tigers) and Oswalt (#586, Astros) would appear on Phillies cards within the Update set.  Short timers Nate Robertson (#84, Tigers) and Mike Sweeney (#157, Mariners) would not ever appear on a (non-virtual) Phillies baseball card.
What's he doing here:  I guess it's a little puzzling that Feliz was given a Phillies card in series one, as he became a free agent on November 9, 2009 and signed with the Astros in early December.  By then, the Phils had tabbed Polanco to be their new starting third baseman.

Cards that never were candidates:  If you want a team set featuring the 25-man postseason roster, cards are needed for Gload, Sweeney, Valdez, Schneider, Durbin, Contreras and Antonio Bastardo.
Favorite Phillies card:  It's a tie between the Franchise History card with Hamels and Howard, and the team card featuring key Phillies players following one of their many wins from this era.

2010 Topps #200, 2010 Topps Opening Day #89, 2010 Topps Phillies #PHI7 and 2010 Topps Phillies Factory Set Bonus #PHI1
Other Stuff
Recycled:  This was the year of the Halladay #32/#34 debacle.  Once Halladay was acquired from the Blue Jays in December 2009, the graphic guys at Topps went to work transforming the photo used on his series one card into a Phillies card for their Opening Day set.  Except they neglected to look up that Halladay's #32 was retired by the Phillies thanks to Hall of Famer Carlton's stellar career.  They remedied the issue with a third card found within the Topps Phillies retail set.  Finally, here's a handy little reference to the different 2010 Topps-related Phillies variations available across four different sets and the bonus five-card set found within the special Phillies-themed factory set.  Any variation from the card appearing in the flagship set is noted.


Updates to the Above Chart:  The Halladay factory set bonus card actually features a vertical photograph, unlike his base card.  Brown also has a 2010 Topps-style card in the Red Hot Rookie Redemptions set, featuring a different photo than his base card.

Memory Lane:  After each and every postseason game, I created a Chachi card (complete with backs!) and posted a game summary.

N.L.D.S. Game 1 - Phillies 4, Reds 0 - Doctober Begins with No-Hitter
N.L.D.S. Game 2 - Phillies 7, Reds 4 - Reds Deliver Gift-Wrapped Win to Phils
N.L.D.S. Game 3 - Phillies 2, Reds 0 - Hamels Shuts Down the Reds
N.L.D.S. Clincher

N.L.C.S. Game 1 - Giants 4, Phillies 3 - Phils Undone by Lincecum, Ross & Burrell
N.L.C.S. Game 2 - Phillies 6, Giants 1 - Phils Even Up Series Behind Oswalt & Rollins
N.L.C.S. Game 3 - Giants 3, Phillies 0 - Phils Offense Goes AWOL
N.L.C.S. Game 4 - Giants 6, Phillies 5 - Phillies Fall Short in Game 4
N.L.C.S. Game 5 - Phillies 4, Giants 2 - Doc Gives the Giants Their Medicine
N.L.C.S. Game 6 - Giants 3, Phillies 2 - Giants Stun Phillies

No comments: