Number of Cards: 35
Card Size: 4" x 6"
Description: The fronts feature full color photos and a bottom border incorporating the logo from the final season of Veterans Stadium with the stadium and Philadelphia skyline in the background. The card backs feature biographical information and complete career statistics. Kevin Millwood's card celebrates his no-hitter from April 27, 2003.
How Distributed: The 35-card set was available for sale at Veterans Stadium throughout the season. Unlike its predecessors, this set wasn't available immediately at the start of the season. Other than the broadcasters' card, the photos used are from early April games at The Vet. Several cards feature players wearing the throw-back 1970s uniforms worn during the team's opening series against the Pirates.
Complete Standard Checklist: The cards are unnumbered, but I've presented them below ordered by uniform number.
First Appearances (11): Bell, Byrd, Houston, Mercado, Michaels, Millwood, Myers, Plesac, Polanco, Roa, Thome
Returning Players (15): Abreu, Adams, Burrell, Cormier, Duckworth, Ledee, Lieberthal, Mesa, Padilla, Perez, Pratt, Rollins, Silva, Wendell, Wolf
The First Appearance designation is for players who have never before appeared within a Phillies team issued set. These players may have already appeared on other Phillies baseball cards. (I'm not counting the relatively rare 2002 Thome card as his official first appearance in these team issued sets.)
Manager (1): Bowa
Coaches (6): Gross, Henderson, Kerrigan, Scott, Varsho, Vukovich
Phillie Phanatic (1): The Phanatic is featured with his predecessor mascot, Phil, who was resurrected for festivities celebrating The Vet's final season. Phil's better half, Phillis, is not featured. Phillies SGA featured a post a few years ago on the fate of Phil and Phillis, and we've visited them several times at Storybook Land.
Broadcasters (1): John Kruk joined the broadcast team in 2003, and he's featured along with Chris Wheeler, Larry Andersen, Harry Kalas and Scott Graham.
Commemorative Cards (0)
Variations/Rarities: The set's listing at Beckett.com mentions that the following cards are available with red facsimile autographs - Abreu, Burrell, Lieberthal, Rollins and Thome.
It's also strange to me that the base set's size dipped down to 35 cards for the first time since 1993. This makes me wonder if a 36th card was produced and pulled prior to the set's release. Dave Hollins went to spring training with the Phillies, opened the season with the Triple-A Red Barons and announced his retirement on May 15th. Could he have been the 36th card? Of course, this is all pure speculation on my part and I've probably been spending too much time recently with these team issued sets.
Also See: Sponsored by Fleer, Tastykake and MAB Paints, a 13-card set was given away to all fans on September 28th featuring the All Vet Team. Please see here for more on this set, courtesy of the 14,000 Phillies Database Project. My post on the 2003 Topps Phillies cards featured several photos from the Final Innings series at The Vet. Other 2003 related posts include a look at 2003 Opening Day and Millwood's no-hitter.
Trivia: The set's listing at Beckett.com omits Wolf's card for some reason.
Resources: Beckett.com; Phillies SGA 2003; 14,000 Phillies