Number of Cards: 36
Card Size: 4" x 6"
Description: The 2003 team issued set contained elements celebrating the final season of Veterans Stadium, so it's only fitting that the 2004 team issued set contains the Inaugural Season logo for Citizens Bank Park. The card fronts feature a white border, full color photos and the player's name, position and uniform number in a simple, clean and bright design. The card backs go horizontal for the first time and feature biographical information and complete career statistics.
How Distributed: The 36-card set was available for sale at Citizens Bank Park throughout the season. Similar to the 2003 set, collectors had to wait a few series until the cards were available for sale. All cards feature photos from the first few games to be played at the new ballpark, including the on-deck exhibition series against the Indians prior to the start of the regular season.
Complete Standard Checklist: The cards are unnumbered, but I've presented them below ordered by uniform number.
First Appearances (7): Hernandez, Madson, Milton, Utley, Wagner, Wooten, Worrell
Returning Players (19): Abreu, Bell, Burrell, Byrd, Cormier, Glanville, Ledee, Lieberthal, Michaels, Millwood, Myers, Padilla, Perez, Polanco, Pratt, Rollins, Telemaco, Thome, 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.
Manager (1): Bowa
Coaches (7): Billmeyer, Gross, Henderson, Kerrigan, Thompson, Varsho, Vukovich
Phillie Phanatic (1): The Phanatic is shown atop the Phillies new dugout at Citizens Bank Park.
Broadcasters (1): John Kruk exited and Tom McCarthy joined the broadcast team in 2004. McCarthy is joined on this card by Chris Wheeler, Scott Graham, Larry Andersen and Harry Kalas.
Commemorative Cards (0)
Variations/Rarities: My set actually contains 37 cards, and I'm considering the 37th card to be a variation/rarity . . . for now. The 37th card is numbered to 3,000 and commemorates the back to back to back home runs hit by Abreu, Thome and Burrell on May 18th. I'm not sure if this card was added after the original 36-card set had been made available for sale, or whether the Phillies actually sold more than 3,000 sets, exhausting the print run of this particular card. So for now, I'm leaving it off the standard checklist above.
There was also a card produced for new manager Charlie Manuel, who was hired following the 2004 season. Manuel's card was presumably created so that the new skipper had something to sign during the offseason winter caravan. The same goes for short-time Phillie Lou Collier, who probably had a card created to honor late season autograph requests.
- 41 - Charlie Manuel MG
- 58 - Lou Collier
- Back to Back to Back - Abreu, Thome & Burrell/3000
In his comment below, Rick points out the existence of Burrell, Lieberthal and Thome cards (and perhaps Abreu) with white facsimile autographs. (I can now confirm the existence of an Abreu card with a white facsimile autograph since I recently won this card in an eBay auction. I featured the card in this post.)
Trivia: Beckett.com omits this set from its online database. This set contains the first team issued card for Utley and the last team issued card for long-time player and coach Vukovich. Due to my limited resources and skills when developing the first Chachi set in 2005, a lot of the photos used for this set are duplicated within the initial 2005 Chachi set.
Resources: Phillies collector Rick (@rickphils)