Friday, February 27, 2015

2014 Chachi #67 RBI Leaders - Howard & Byrd


As is often the case, the two players who led the team in home runs last season also led the team in runs batted in.  Ryan Howard fell five RBI short of hitting the century mark, which would have been the first time he's reached that threshold since 2011.  Here's the rest of the team's top nine in RBIs from the 2014 season:

1.  Ryan Howard - 95
2.  Marlon Byrd - 85
3.  Chase Utley - 78
4.  Domonic Brown - 63
5.  Jimmy Rollins - 55
6.  Cody Asche - 46
7.  Carlos Ruiz - 31
8.  Ben Revere - 28
9.  John Mayberry, Jr. - 21

Thursday, February 26, 2015

2014 Chachi #66 Home Run Leaders - Byrd & Howard


Last year's Phillies home run leader, Marlon Byrd, recently started his spring training in Goodyear, Arizona with his new team, the Cincinnati Reds.  He's the Reds biggest offseason acquisition and he hopes to help the team improve upon its fourth place finish in the N.L. Central last year.

Ryan Howard, who was second on the club in home runs last year, hopes to help his current team, still the Phillies, climb out of the cellar in the N.L. East.  Reports out of Clearwater are that Howard looks more "agile" and "quick" so far this spring which hopefully translates into "doesn't swing and miss out the outside junk away" during the regular season.

Here are the team's top nine home run hitters last year, which was the third year in a row the leader had less than 30 home runs.  Jimmy Rollins led the club with 23 home runs in 2012 and Domonic Brown took the honors in 2013 with 27 home runs.

1.  Marlon Byrd - 25
2.  Ryan Howard - 23
3.  Jimmy Rollins - 17
4.  Chase Utley - 11
5.  Cody Asche - 10
5.  Domonic Brown - 10
6.  John Mayberry, Jr. - 6
6.  Carlos Ruiz - 6
7.  Freddy Galvis - 4

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Shaking Off the Cobwebs

2014 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #15
With spring training games starting in a little under a week, I need to get myself back in the habit of regular posting.  The crapping out of my old iMac coupled with a busy few weeks at work have foiled my ability to deliver on any of my Coming Attractions.  I also haven't enjoyed reading the tales of woe coming out of Clearwater.  While the veteran players/trade bait all continue to say the right things, it's been hard for me to get too excited about this upcoming Phillies season.  Still, it will be nice to settle into the rhythm of a nightly baseball game in warmer weather.

Before the exhibition games start, I wanted to have one last look on the non-roster players currently in camp.  18 of the 58 players in Clearwater are non-roster invitees.  The 18th and final player added to this list was Cesar Jimenez, who was designated for assignment to make room for Chad Billingsley, but then resigned to a minor league deal and invited to spring training.

Player (position) - 2014 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Andres Blanco (inf) - Phillies - 2007 Topps #659 (Royals)
2.  Brian Bogusevic (of) - Marlins - 2014 Topps #524 (Marlins)
3.  Russ Canzler (inf) - Yankees/Phillies - N/A
4.  Chase d'Arnaud (inf) - Pirates - 2012 Topps Heritage #323 (Pirates)
5.  Jeff Francoeur (of) - Padres - 2014 Topps Update #US-167 (Padres)
6.  John Hester (c) - Angels - 2010 Upper Deck #31 (Diamondbacks)
7.  Darin Mastroianni (of) - Twins/Blue Jays - 2013 Topps #528 (Twins)
8.  Xavier Paul (of) - Orioles/Diamondbacks - 2013 Topps Update #US-194 (Reds)
9.  Paul Clemens (rhp) - Astros - 2013 Panini Prizm #213 (Astros)
10.  Rene Garcia (c) - Astros - 2009 Bowman Prospects #BP81 (Astros)
11.  Koyie Hill (c) - Phillies - 2011 Topps Update #US13 (Cubs)
12.  Chris Nelson (inf) - Reds/Padres - 2014 Topps #101 (Angels)
13.  Cord Phelps (inf) - Orioles - N/A
14.  Chris McGuiness (1b) - Pirates - 2010 Topps Pro Debut #411 (Rangers)
15.  Sean O'Sullivan (rhp) - Phillies - 2011 Topps Update #US89 (Royals)
16.  Kevin Slowey (rhp) - Marlins - 2012 Topps Update #US94 (Indians)
17.  Jeanmar Gomez (rhp) - Pirates - 2013 Topps Update #US92 (Pirates)
18.  Cesar Jimenez (lhp) - Phillies - 2009 Upper Deck #857 (Mariners)

Memory Lane

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Happy Pitchers & Catchers Reporting Day!

2015 Topps Variations #163
We made it!  Here's hoping the Phillies will surprise us and not lose 100 games.

* * *

In other news, my old iMac is officially dead and my new iMac should be up and running at some point this weekend.  Semi-regular posting to resume shortly.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Coming Attractions & Blaming Kyle Kendrick

1972 Phillies Photocards
I blame Kyle Kendrick.

Shortly after finishing this post displaying a Chachi card with Kendrick on his new team, I shut down my computer and called it a night.  On Monday night, my iMac (four years old this past December) refused to turn back on.  It's with the Apple Store nearest to us now and I'm told it's either (a) partially dead which will be cheap to fix or (b) completely dead which will be expensive to fix.

While my iMac is in the shop, and as pitchers and catchers are getting ready to officially report, I thought I'd share my to-do list for The Phillies Room.

1.  Get all the 2014 Chachi cards out of my draft folder.  I have yet to post all the team leader cards or the final checklist card.  The sooner we can put the 2014 season in the rear-view mirror, the better.

2.  Keep going with my Team Issued posts.  I recently wrapped up my series of posts on the main team issued sets available from the early 1950s through last season.  I've added a list of other team issued sets I'd like to cover at the bottom of this page and I'll slowly get to these throughout the regular season.

I recently added the Steve Carlton card seen here to my collection, and the look on Carlton's face pretty much mirrors the look I had when my iMac refused to turn on.  I believe this is Carlton's first official Phillies card, most likely pre-dating his "Traded" card found within the 1972 Topps set.

3.  I need to update/finish my Missing Links series of posts.  Given what I now know about the team issued sets, a lot of these earlier posts contain inaccuracies that I'd like to correct.

4.  I'd also like to wrap up my look at the Phillies cards in the 2013 and 2014 Topps sets.  I've looked at the Phillies cards to be found in the 1951 through 2012 Topps sets already, and this project seriously stalled out once I got bored with the newer sets.

5.  Finally, I'll once again be posting daily or semi-daily game recaps beginning with the first spring training game on March 1st.  This will be the fifth full season I've done this and as long as it's fun for me (and it still is), I'll keep going.

I still blame Kyle Kendrick.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Happy Trails, Kyle Kendrick

2015 Chachi Departures #10
This past Wednesday, the Colorado Rockies signed pitcher Kyle Kendrick to a one-year, $5.5 million contract with additional incentives available if he reaches certain inning plateaus.  The articles I've read on the signing indicate that the Rockies hope Kendrick can be a back-of-the-rotation innings eater.

In parts of eight seasons with the Phillies between 2007 and 2014, Kendrick appeared in 226 games, going 74-68 with a 4.42 ERA.  He was frustratingly inconsistent, showing signs of brilliance in one start only to follow that up with a completely crappy performance in his next outing.  Kendrick only made one postseason appearance with the Phillies, getting lit up by the Rockies in Game 2 of the N.L.D.S.  Kendrick lasted just 3 2/3 innings before giving way to Kyle Lohse.  That was the first Phillies postseason game I ever attended, and I honestly think I'm still a little bitter about it.

I have 51 different Kendrick baseball cards in my Phillies collection, ranging from his 2004 Batavia Muckdogs card to his final Phillies card (as of right now) in the 2014 team issued second series.  One of my favorite Kendrick cards appeared in the 2008 Chachi set, documenting Kendrick's "trade" to Japan.

* * *
2015 Chachi Departures #9
2015 Chachi Departures #11
Also heading west is back-up catcher Wil Nieves who signed a minor league deal with the Padres.  Nieves hit .254 over 36 games in his one season with the Phillies, earning Phillies baseball cards in both team issued sets and the 2014 Topps Update set.

Finally, reliever B.J. Rosenberg becomes the third ex-Phillie to join the Dodgers this offseason, following Jimmy Rollins and Jeremy Horst.  Rosenberg appeared in 57 games for the Phillies between 2012 and 2014, going 4-2 with a 5.72 ERA.  His only two Phillies baseball cards can be found in the 2012 second edition team issued set and the 2014 first edition team issued set.

Moving On
Reid Brignac (10/2/14) - Elected free agency.  (Signed with the Miami Marlins organization 11/19/14)
Jeremy Horst (10/2/14) - Elected free agency.  (Signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization 1/27/15)
Jeff Manship (10/2/14) - Elected free agency.  (Signed with the Cleveland Indians organization 12/24/14)
Tony Gwynn, Jr. (10/10/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.
B.J. Rosenberg (10/27/14) - Outrighted off the 40-man roster and elected free agency.  (Signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization 2/7/15)
Mike Adams (10/30/14) - Team option declined, making him a free agent.
Kyle Kendrick (10/30/14) - Elected free agency.  (Signed with the Colorado Rockies 2/4/15)
Wil Nieves (10/30/14) - Elected free agency.  (Signed with the San Diego Padres organization 2/3/15)
A.J. Burnett (11/3/14) - Declined option for 2015, elected free agency.  (Signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates 11/14/14)
Brad Lincoln (11/4/14) - Elected free agency.  (Signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization 11/18/14)
Antonio Bastardo (12/10/14) - Traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Joely Rodriguez.
Jimmy Rollins (12/19/14) - Traded with cash to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Tom Windle and Zach Eflin.
Marlon Byrd (12/31/14) - Traded with cash to the Cincinnati Reds for Ben Lively.

Coming Back
Andres Blanco (11/13/14) - Signed to a minor league contract and invited to spring training.
Koyie Hill (11/20/14) - Signed to a minor league contract and invited to spring training.
Sean O'Sullivan (12/16/14) - Signed to a minor league contract and invited to spring training.

New Additions
Elvis Araujo (11/13/14) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Cleveland Indians organization.
Joely Rodriguez (12/10/14) - Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Antonio Bastardo.
Odubel Herrera (12/11/14) - Selected in the annual Rule 5 draft from the Texas Rangers.
Andy Oliver (12/11/14) - Selected in the annual Rule 5 draft from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Aaron Harang (1/5/15) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Atlanta Braves.
Jordan Danks (1/16/15) - Claimed off waivers from the Chicago White Sox.
Chad Billingsley (1/29/15) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

The First Phillie of 2015

2015 Topps #309
I was pleasantly surprised last night to find packs of 2015 Topps Series One on the shelves of our local Target.  I had stopped on my way home from work fully expecting to come home empty handed.  I bought a few of the $9.99 mini blasters and some loose packs for each of my sons to open.  My wife Jenna also participated in the ceremonial opening of the first packs of the new year, and it was she who came across the First Phillie.  Maikel Franco took the honors this year, and he joins the prestigious ranks of those First Phillies who came before him, linked below.

Here are my other initial thoughts on the 2015 Topps set, in no particular order:

- Man, it's going to be hard to come up with a template based on this set's design in order to create custom cards.  I'm sure the more talented graphic designers will pull it off but I'll probably sit this one out.  Topps really decided to mix it up this year with gradients and all kinds of geometric design elements in the background of both the colored bottom borders and the lighter top borders.  I had originally thought the top portion of the card had a white border, but it's actually a light grayish border with splotches in it.

- I really like how easy it is to read everything on the fronts (and backs) of the cards.  The only gold foil to be found is within the Topps logo and I'm OK with that.  Past sets used foil lettering all over the place and you had to turn the card just right in some instances to make out the players' name or team.  The white text for the player's name is also a nice touch.

- The backs put me in mind of a early 2000s Fleer card, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.  "Series One" is clearly indicated over an easy-to-read number.  I don't think this series designation has ever been done before by Topps.

- Bummed that two of the five Phillies we found in our packs are now gone.  Along with Franco's card, we got cards for Cliff Lee, Carlos Ruiz, Marlon Byrd (now with the Reds) and Antonio Bastardo (now with the Pirates).
2015 Topps #300

- Mike Trout's card is fantastic, and I have a feeling this card will eventually disappear from my pile and make its way into my oldest son Doug's collection.

Past First Phillies

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

2014 Phillies Team Issue - 2nd Edition


Number of Cards:  38
Card Size:  4" x 6"
Description:  This is the fourth of four straight team issued sets featuring basically the same design elements.  The player's name, number and position are listed at the bottom of the card in a red and blue design with the Phillies script logo appearing in one of the top corners.  All photos used for this set were taken during 2014 regular season games.  The horizontal card backs feature biographical information and complete career statistics.

How Distributed:  The second series set was available for sale at the ballpark beginning in mid-August.  I purchased my set at the start of the Phillies-Mariners series on August 18th.

Complete Standard Checklist:  The cards are unnumbered, but I've presented them below ordered by uniform number.
One and Done (1):  Manship
First Appearances (4):  Brignac, Buchanan, Giles, Hollands
Returning Players (23):  Adams, Asche, Bastardo, Brown, Burnett, Byrd, De Fratus, Diekman, Gwynn Jr., Hamels, C. Hernandez, R. Hernandez, Howard, Kendrick, Lee, Mayberry Jr., Nieves, Papelbon, Revere, Rollins, Ruf, Ruiz, Utley

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):  Sandberg
Coaches (7):  Bowa, Henderson, Mackanin, McClure, Mizerock, Nichols, Samuel
Phillie Phanatic (1)
Broadcasters (1):  Mike Schmidt returns to the team issued set on the broadcasters card, which also features Gregg Murphy, Scott Franzke, Tom McCarthy, Larry Andersen, Matt Stairs, Jim Jackson and Jamie Moyer.
Commemorative Cards (0)

Variations/Rarities:  I'm not aware of any variations or rarities available with this set, but that doesn't mean there weren't any.  If cards are to made for the likes of Jerome Williams, Grady Sizemore or Aaron Harang prior to the start of the 2015 season, they'll most likely be produced using the design of this set.

Update (December 2016) - An Aaron Harang card has emerged, showing the pitcher in a portrait shot and with a Citizens Bank Park logo on the back.

  • 34 - Aaron Harang

Cards with the Citizens Bank Park logo-backs also exist for Brown, Buchanan, De Fratus and Revere.

Trivia:  I'm still bummed that Sizemore was omitted from this set.
Resources:  This set hasn't made it yet onto any of the mainstream online checklists/databases.

Monday, February 2, 2015

2014 Phillies Team Issue - 1st Edition


Number of Cards:  41
Card Size:  4" x 6"
Description:  This is the third of four straight team issued sets featuring basically the same design elements.  The player's name, number and position are listed at the bottom of the card in a red and blue design with the Phillies script logo appearing in one of the top corners.  All photos used for this set were taken during spring training 2014.  The horizontal card backs feature biographical information and complete career statistics.

How Distributed:  The set was available for sale at the ballpark from the beginning of the season through mid-August when it was replaced with a new second series set.  I purchased my set on April 12th and it contained the apparently rare Bobby Abreu card.  Abreu was with the club throughout spring training but was released 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.
One and Done (1):  Lincoln
First Appearances (7):  Asche, Burnett, Franco, Gwynn Jr., Nieves, R. Hernandez, Martin
Returning Players (23):  Abreu, Adams, Aumont, Bastardo, Brown, Byrd, De Fratus, Diekman, Galvis, Hamels, C. Hernandez, Howard, Kendrick, Lee, Mayberry Jr., Papelbon, Pettibone, Revere, Rollins, Rosenberg, Ruf, Ruiz, Utley

This is the only place to find a Brad Lincoln Phillies card.  The reliever made it into two games with the club, pitching to a 11.57 ERA over 2 1/3 innings.

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):  Sandberg
Coaches (7):  Bowa, Henderson, Mackanin, McClure, Mizerock, Nichols, Samuel
Phillie Phanatic (1)
Broadcasters (1):  Newcomers Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs join Gregg Murphy, Larry Andersen, Tom McCarthy, Scott Franzke and Jim Jackson.
Commemorative Cards (0)

Variations/Rarities:  I'm not aware of any variations or rarities available with this set, but based on collector Steve's experience I know that the Abreu card was pulled shortly after the set was issued.  Apparently most sets available for sale up until the issuance of the second series contain only 40 cards.

Trivia:  Maikel Franco made his Phillies debut on September 2, 2014, wearing #7.  His card in this set contains the #74 he wore as a non-roster invitee during spring training.
Resources:  This set hasn't made it yet onto any of the mainstream online checklists/databases.