Russell Oles Branyan
First a disclaimer . . . In the course of drafting this post, I discovered for the first time, that Russell Branyan does in fact have a Phillies baseball card! Unbeknownst to me until now, Topps included him within their Year in Review insert set in 2008. Please consider this Missing Links card an Uncorrected Error, as Branyan is not in fact a Missing Link. Carry on.
Over the course of his 14-year big league career, Branyan played for 10 teams teams and the Phillies hold the distinction of being his shortest stop. The Indians sold Branyan to the Phillies on August 9th in a move presumably designed with the intention of Branyan being used as a left-handed bat off the bench. The move resulted in one big win for the team as Branyan hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in his first at-bat for the Phillies on August 14th, giving the team a 3-2 win over the Nationals. He'd have one more hit in a Phillies uniform (another home run) and it came during his only start with the team (at third base) on August 19th. On August 27th, Chase Utley was activated from the disabled list and Branyan was designated for assignment. He'd land with the Cardinals on August 31st - his fourth organization of the season.
Branyan's best season was on the horizon, as he hit 31 home runs and drove in 76 with the 2009 Mariners. His last Major League appearance came in 2011 with the Angels, and he played professionally through the 2014 season during his fifth (!) stint within the Indians organization.
Bats: Left Throws: Right Height: 6'4" Weight: 235
Born: December 19, 1975, Warner Robins, GA
Drafted: Drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 7th round of the 1994 amateur draft, June 2, 1994
Major League Teams: Cleveland Indians 1998-2002; Cincinnati Reds 2002-2003; Milwaukee Brewers 2004-2005; Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2006; San Diego Padres 2006-2007; Phillies 2007; St. Louis Cardinals 2007; Milwaukee Brewers 2008; Seattle Mariners 2009; Cleveland Indians 2010; Seattle Mariners 2010; Arizona Diamondbacks 2011; Los Angeles Angels 2011
Professional Affiliations: Cleveland Indians 1998-2002; Cincinnati Reds 2002-2003; Atlanta Braves 2004; Cleveland Indians 2004; Milwaukee Brewers 2004-2005; Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2006; San Diego Padres 2006-2007; Cleveland Indians 2007; Phillies 2007; St. Louis Cardinals 2007; Milwaukee Brewers 2008; Seattle Mariners 2009; Cleveland Indians 2010; Seattle Mariners 2010; Arizona Diamondbacks 2011; Los Angeles Angels 2011; New York Yankees 2012; Toros de Tijuana (Mexico) 2014; Cleveland Indians 2014
7 games, .222 average (2 for 9), 2 home runs, 5 RBIs, 6 strikeouts
Acquired: August 9, 2007 - Purchased from the Cleveland Indians.
Debut: August 14, 2007 - Pinch-hitting for Antonio Alfonseca in the 8th inning in a game the Phillies were trailing 2-1 against the Nationals, hit a home run off Jon Rauch to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead. Brett Myers struck out the side in the 9th to record his 10th save, pulling the Phillies to within 3 games of the Mets in the division.
Final Game: August 25, 2007 - Pinch-hit for Tom Gordon in the 8th and struck out against the Padres' Heath Bell.
Departed: August 31, 2007 - Traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for a player to be named later.
3 Branyan Baseball Cards in My Collection
2007 Topps Heritage #195
2007 Topps Update #US19
2007 Upper Deck #910
2007 Chachi #52
First Mainstream Card: 1996 Bowman #342
First Topps Base Card: 1998 Topps #262 (with Eric Chavez and Russ Johnson)
Last Mainstream Card: 2011 Topps Heritage #364
Other Notable Cards: 1999 Upper Deck #358, 2000 Topps #208, 2001 Topps #599, 2001 Topps Heritage #263, 2002 Topps Traded #T32, 2005 Bowman Heritage #87, 2008 Topps Year in Review #YR134, 2011 Topps #116
Sources: Baseball Reference and The Trading Card Database
Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s
1 Kirk Bullinger
2 Chris Pritchett
3 Bryan Ward
4 Mark Holzemer
5 Turner Ward
6 P.J. Forbes
7 Matt Walbeck
8 Kelly Stinnett
9 Valerio de los Santos
10 Josh Hancock
11 Brian Powell
12 Paul Abbott
13 Todd Jones
14 A.J. Hinch
15 Ramon Martinez
16 Matt Kata
17 Aquilino Lopez
18 Adam Bernero
19 Jose Hernandez
20 Randall Simon
21 Anderson Garcia
22 Russell Branyan
This is a continuing series looking at those players who spent time with the Phillies but possess no baseball card proof of their time in Philadelphia. In some cases, the First and Last Mainstream cards listed above have been subjectively chosen if multiple cards were released in that year.