Tuesday, June 18, 2019

2019 Chachi #48 Brad Miller

Bradley Austin Miller

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'2"  Weight:  215
Opening Day Age:  29
Born:  October 18, 1989, Orlando, FL
Drafted:  Selected by the Texas Rangers in the 39th round of the June 2008 draft
Teams:  Seattle Mariners 2013-2015; Tampa Bay Rays 2016-2018; Milwaukee Brewers 2018; Cleveland Indians 2019; Phillies 2019
Acquired:  Purchased from the New York Yankees, April 22, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2019

2013 Topps Update #US224
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2013 Topps Update #US224
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A
First Topps Phillies Flagship Base Card:  N/A
Newest Card Added:  N/A

0 - Miller baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 6/17/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi #48

2019 Chachi Set Checklist
Virtual Phillies Wall - Featuring Current Active Roster

Monday, June 17, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Nationals: June 17th to June 20th

1971 Topps #659
1971 Topps #628
Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 7:05
Nationals Park - Washington, DC

Phillies 39-32, 2nd place in the N.L. East, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves
Nationals 33-38, 4th place in the N.L. East, 8 1/2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables:  Jake Arrieta (6-5, 4.31), Zach Eflin (6-6, 2.81), Nick Pivetta (4-1, 5.00), Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.89)
Nationals Probables:  Patrick Corbin (5-5, 4.11), Erick Fedde (1-1, 3.68), Max Scherzer (5-5, 2.81), Stephen Strasburg (7-4, 3.75)

At the Ballpark:  There are theme nights scheduled for each of these games, requiring a special ticket, but otherwise there are no giveaways for this series.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  J.T. Realmuto - .277
Runs:  Andrew McCutchen - 45
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 15
RBIs:  Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins - 49
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez and Jean Segura - 4

Wins:  Three tied with - 6
ERA:  Zach Eflin - 2.81
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 90
Saves:  Hector Neris - 15

Nationals Leaders
Average:  Anthony Rendon - .321
Runs:  Anthony Rendon - 52
Home Runs:  Anthony Rendon - 16
RBIs:  Anthony Rendon - 50
Stolen Bases:  Trea Turner - 11

Wins:  Stephen Strasburg - 7
ERA:  Max Scherzer - 2.81
Strikeouts:  Max Scherzer - 136
Saves:  Sean Doolittle - 14

Game 71 - Father's Day at the IronPigs; Phillies Game Skipped

2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #17
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #11
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #15
While Jenna took Ben to a family graduation party in Quakertown, Doug and I travelled a little further north to take in an IronPigs game in Allentown.  The rain held out until after the game was over, and it was a wonderful way to spend Father's Day.  Doug continued his minor league ballpark tradition of (a) getting many autographs and (b) getting a ball tossed to him at some point during the game.

Unfortunately, starting pitcher Enyel De Los Santos gave up a trio of home runs (two to Bobby Bradley) and the Clippers, the top affiliate for the Indians, won the game 3-1.  Following the game, the IronPigs opened up the outfield for a Father's Day catch on the field, which was the highlight of the afternoon for both of us.  The afternoon outing merited another 10 cards in the growing Ballpark Visits insert set.  Our next stop is scheduled for Lakewood in July to take in a BlueClaws game.

2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #8
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #10
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #13
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #16
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #9
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #12
2019 Chachi Ballpark Visits #14
Meanwhile in Atlanta, the Phillies had a very bad day.

Braves 15Phillies 1
Game 71 - Sunday Afternoon, June 16th in Atlanta
Record - 39-32, 2nd place, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The bullpen game concept completely backfired as the Braves demolished each Phillies pitcher presented to them.

What It Means:  With J.T. Realmuto and Jay Bruce out of the line-up with minor injuries, and no reliable fifth starter in sight, this was a massacre of a ballgame.  Moves will need to be made if the Phillies hope to catch the Braves, and they'll enter the week looking up and two and half games back.

What Happened:  Only utility player Sean Rodriguez, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning, escaped without allowing a Braves run.  Vince Velasquez (2 1/3 innings, 4 runs), Cole Irvin (3 2/3 innings, 6 runs) and Jerad Eickhoff (1 inning, 5 runs) were all torched.

Transactions:  Pat Neshek was activated from the Injured List and Irvin was recalled from the IronPigs.  Ranger Suarez and Edgar Garcia were sent back down, but neither arrived in Allentown in time for Sunday's IronPigs game.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Game 70 - 2019 Topps #331 Cesar Hernandez

Phillies 6Braves 5
Game 70 - Friday Night, June 15th in Atlanta
Record - 39-31, 2nd place, 1 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  In a much needed win, Cesar Hernandez came through with a clutch two-run single in the ninth to send the Phillies to a 6-5 victory.

What It Means:  The Phillies would try to go for the series win on Sunday afternoon.  (Spoiler alert:  It didn't go well.)

What Happened:  The Braves took a 5-4 lead in the fifth on a three-run home from Josh Donaldson that chased Aaron Nola from the game.  Nola's struggles continue, and he lasted only 4 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on six hits.  In the ninth, Scott Kingery started the rally with a single and Sean Rodriguez laid down a nice sacrifice bunt that was thrown into right field by pitcher Luke Jackson.  With Kingery at third and Rodriguez at second, Hernandez delivered his big hit.

Hector Neris redeemed himself with a scoreless ninth inning, recording his 15th save.

Featured Card:  Hernandez also hit his 7th home run in the fourth to give the Phillies, at the time, a 4-2 lead.

Game 69 - 1983 Fleer #169 Ron Reed

Braves 9Phillies 8
Game 69 - Thursday Night, June 14th in Atlanta
Record - 38-31, 2nd place, 2 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Leading by a score of 7-2 heading to the bottom of the seventh, the Phillies bullpen allowed seven Braves runs in the final three innings, losing the game in horrendously painful fashion, 9-8.

What It Means:  So much for a series sweep.

What Happened:  Everything was right with the world as the Phillies had home runs from Bryce Harper (12), Scott Kingery (8) and Rhys Hoskins (15).  Nick Pivetta was on the mound and cruising towards a victory and then everything fell apart.  Brian McCann did the most late damage, homering in the seventh and then hitting the bloop single in the ninth that would score the tying and winning runs.

2018 Topps #478
Hector Neris had been fairly dependable so far this season, but he could only retire two batters in the ninth before the Braves scored the three runs they needed to win the game.

Featured Card:  I was surprised to hear this was Neris' first blown save of the season, as I would have sworn he had been tagged with a few other blown saves.  That started me wondering - who has the most blown saves in franchise history, at least since the stat became official?  I was surprised to find out that Ron Reed holds the record with 31 blown saves.  Neris is fairly far down on the list with 11, and the list shown below presents every Phillies reliever with at least 10 blown saves.

Transactions:  On Thursday afternoon, the Phillies acquired utilityman Brad Miller from the Yankees for cash considerations and he was activated prior to this game.  I'm not that familiar with Miller and looking at his career statistics, I was surprised to see he had hit 30 home runs for the Rays in 2016.  He's a career .240 hitter over seven seasons with the Mariners, Rays, Brewers and Indians.

Miller appeared in a decent amount of 2018 baseball card releases, but it doesn't look as if he's made it into any 2019 sets yet.

Highlights from the 2019 Phillies Phestival (Part 2) #StrikeOutALS

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #20
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #24
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #25
Yesterday, I include a summary of our time at this year's Phillies Phestival benefitting the ALS Association.  The first half of the cards I created to commemorate our day were included in that post, and this post gathers the remaining cards.

We're already anxiously awaiting next year's event!

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #12
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #13
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #15
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #17
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #18
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #21
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #22
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #23
Phillies Phestival Memory Lane
2017 Part 1 and Part 2
2018 Part 1 and Part 2
2019 Part 1 and Part 2

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Highlights from the 2019 Phillies Phestival (Part 1) #StrikeOutALS

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #1
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #19
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #16
On Thursday afternoon, we attended the annual Phillies Phestival, which raises money in the fight against ALS.  One of my collecting regrets (and a regret as a lifelong Phillies fan) is that we never even considered going to this event until three years ago.  As rookies in 2017, we meandered through the ballpark using our pre-assigned autograph tickets and paying cash for autographs when the lines died down.  In 2018, I attended the event on behalf of my employer, which unbeknownst to me, had been a long-time sponsor of the Phestival.  I became involved with the Philadelphia ALS Chapter over the past few years partly in tribute to our friend Bob who passed away in January 2019 after a courageous battle with the disease.  I'm looking forward to continuing (and increasing) my involvement in the coming years.

This year, we again attended as sponsors and it's the first year we were fully prepared to collect autographs as efficiently as possible while still having fun.  Sponsors are given a button to wear, which allows us to stand in any autograph line.  Within the sponsors packet were explicit instructions informing us we couldn't go to the front of any line, which makes complete sense, and that we couldn't go to the Bryce Harper photo booth.

2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #2
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #5
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #7
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #8
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #14
Similar to the past two years, I created a special set of Chachi cards to commemorate our day and the autographs we hunted down.  Here's a summary of what and how we did:
  • The sponsors assemble in the Diamond Club and my company's name was called around 2:45.  We made our way down to the field to meet with Phil Gosselin and Jay Bruce who would be signing autographs at our designated station.  I let Bruce know it was great not to boo him this season, and my son Doug talked to Gosselin about their mutual history with the All-Star Baseball Academy.  Gosselin is an alumni and Doug is currently on one of their travel teams.
  • 2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #3
    2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #4
    2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #6
  • We had a plan.  Doug and I took the left side of the ballpark while Jenna and Ben took the right side.  Doug and I started in the Hall of Fame Club, where the lines were very short to start and some of the tables had no lines.  We walked right into the suite where Gabe Kapler was signing and had two people in front of us.  Kapler's a fascinating guy.  Very intense, very polite, very engaging and he made his hat work.

  • Jenna and Ben made Aaron Nola their first target, so they had a longer wait to get started.  Doug and I had cleared four tables by the time they were getting Nola's autographs.
  • All the players were engaging and friendly, and even though there was a loose "no posed photographs" policy in place this year, pretty much everyone stopped to look and smile while we were taking pictures.  Rhys Hoskins said he remembered being in our Christmas card, although he may have just been being polite.
  • Ben's highlight was getting Maikel Franco to sign the back of his favorite Franco t-shirt.  He also talked to the broadcast team for awhile.  When he asked why they didn't have any cards to sign, Scott Franzke said it was because the Phillies couldn't get them all together at the same time.  He was then invited by Ben Davis to sign their table cloth, and he obliged.
  • Larry Andersen had run out of photo cards by the time we got to his station (with John Kruk and Mickey Morandini) so he offered Doug a cookie instead of an autograph.  Doug took him up on the offer.
  • I was bummed that none of the newer Phillies players had any photo cards produced for them to sign.  I had come prepared with a list of potential exclusive photo cards - Bruce, Edgar Garcia, JD Hammer, Adam Haseley and Ranger Suarez - but there were no new cards to be had.  Bruce and Gosselin had what looked like regular paper at their station with their names printed at the top.
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #9
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #10
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #11
  • When the autograph session time expired, we had visited all but three tables - J.T. Realmuto (by choice since we had already received his autographs in May), Charlie Manual (since we forgot to bring anything for him to sign) and Pat Neshek/Jim Gott.  The Neshek/Gott omission was a symptom of simply running out of time.  The only table we doubled up on was Scott Kingery's as we both had time to visit with him as the clock was ticking down.
  • We met up with fellow collector Steve and his son in time to stand in line for our mystery grab bags.  Our five bag haul was decent, with baseballs signed by Roman Quinn (two), Nick Pivetta, and Hector Neris.  We received a pair of Raul Ibanez bobble heads, three solar Liberty Bells, a Jimmy Rollins World Series ring and Jenna got her Mother's Day fleece she had wanted from the May giveaway.
We had a blast, the Phillies raised over $768,000 to aid in the fight against ALS, and we're already making our plans for next year's Phestival!  I've share Part 2 with the rest of the cards from the event in a post coming soon.

The almost completed checklist
Our grab bag haul
Phillies Phestival Memory Lane
2017 Part 1 and Part 2
2018 Part 1 and Part 2
2019 Part 1 and Part 2

Friday, June 14, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Braves: June 14th to June 16th

2019 Chachi Fan Favorites #8
2019 Chachi Fan Favorites #9
Friday and Saturday 7:20, Sunday 1:20
SunTrust Park - Atlanta, GA

Phillies 38-30, 2nd place in the N.L. East, 1 1/2 games behind the Braves
Braves 40-29, 1st place in the N.L. East, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Phillies

Phillies Probables:  Nick Pivetta (4-1, 4.93), Aaron Nola (6-1, 4.58), TBA
Braves Probables:  Max Fried (7-3, 3.75), Sean Newcomb (1-0, 2.59), Mike Foltynewicz (1-5, 6.02)

At the Ballpark:  On Sunday, the first 5,000 kids will receive a Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies growth chart.  Also, Braves alumni will be signing for an hour prior to the game as part of the Alumni Sunday series.  Bob Horner, Sonny Jackson, Chris Hammond and Craig Skok are scheduled to appear.  This is definitely something I wish the Phillies would introduce into their promotional calendar.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .284
Runs:  Andrew McCutchen - 45
Home Runs:  Rhys Hoskins - 14
RBIs:  Rhys Hoskins - 47
Stolen Bases:  Cesar Hernandez and Jean Segura - 4

Wins:  Three tied with - 6
ERA:  Zach Eflin - 2.81
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 86
Saves:  Hector Neris - 14

Braves Leaders
Average:  Freddie Freeman - .311
Runs:  Freddie Freeman - 49
Home Runs:  Freddie Freeman - 18
RBIs:  Freddie Freeman - 46
Stolen Bases:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 9

Wins:  Max Fried and Mike Soroka - 7
ERA:  Mike Soroka - 1.92
Strikeouts:  Julio Teheran - 76
Saves:  Luke Jackson - 10

1956 Topps #49 Pedro Ramos

I'm considering this a crossover post as I've recently dusted off my other blog, chronicling each card in the wonderful 1956 Topps set. I hope to maintain a regular posting schedule and today's post features former Phillies player Pedro Ramos.  Please click on over there for all of the posts to date, including a look at all the Phillies Alumni featured in the set.

Pedro Ramos
Washington Nationals

Bats:  Both  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  175
Born:  April 28, 1935, Pinar del Rio, Cuba
Signed:  Signed by the Washington Senators as an amateur free agent before 1953 season
Major League Teams:  Washington Senators 1955-1960; Minnesota Twins 1961; Cleveland Indians 1962-1964; New York Yankees 1964-1966; Philadelphia Phillies 1967; Pittsburgh Pirates 1969; Cincinnati Reds 1969; Washington Senators 1970

Playing for some awful Senators teams in the mid to late 1950s, Pedro Ramos held the dubious distinction in often leading the American League in losses, hits allowed, and home runs allowed.  He reached the 200-innings pitched plateau six years in a row between 1957 and 1962 and was an All-Star for the Senators in 1959.  Playing in parts of 15 seasons, Ramos was primarily a starter the first part of his career, but then he switched to full time relieving and occasional closing.  He was a crucial member of the Yankees bullpen late in the 1964 season, acquired in a September deal with the Indians.  In his 13 appearances that September with the Yankees, he saved eight games, helping the team clinch the American League pennant.  As the Yankees closer in 1965, Ramos appeared in 65 games and recorded 18 saves.

He was the last pitcher to start a game for the old Washington Senators in 1960, and the first to start a game in 1961 after the team had relocated to Minnesota and re-branded themselves as the Twins.  As a batter, he accumulated 15 career home runs and owned two multi-home run games.

Building the Set
Summer of 1983 or 1984 in Millville, NJ - Card #2
It's been over three years since this story was told in post for Chuck Diering's (#19) card, so I'll repeat myself here.  This Ramos card was one of the Original 44.

Technically speaking, my Dad and I actually began collecting the set in the summer of 1987, but this card (along with the other Original 44) first entered my collection three or four years before that.

I think it was either the summer of 1983 or 1984 when a shoebox of vintage baseball cards, football cards and a few non-sports cards arrived into my world.  The box contained about a hundred cards dating between 1950 and 1956, and for the most part, they were all in excellent shape.  A friend of the family was in the process of cleaning up and moving into her new house when she found the old shoebox and she wondered if the only kid she knew who collected baseball cards (me) would be interested in looking through it – maybe even taking the box off her hands.

She dropped the box off to my parents and asked them to have me look through the box and take what I was interested in. Turns out, I was interested in everything.  Up to that point, the oldest cards in my collection were cards from the early '70s I had obtained through trades or cards that my Dad had picked up for me at yard sales or small baseball card shows.  (My Dad had given me a few dog-earred ’59 Topps cards – Juan Pizzaro and Jim Busby – a few years prior, and I completely forget how or why he had purchased these cards for me.)

My parents asked me to pick out a few cards from the box, and then we’d return the rest to the family friend.  Problem was, I wanted them all.  I really wanted them all.  I diligently and meticulously went through one of my price guides and determined the “value” of the treasure chest. I probably used my Sport Americana Baseball Card Price Guide No. 4, edited by Dr. James Beckett, and I had no way to value the football or non-sports cards.  My memory is fuzzy, and I can't find the original tally, but I think I came up with the box being worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $300 to $400, which I knew my parents definitely did not have in their discretionary spending budget.  But they could tell how much I wanted those cards, as I lovingly studied each and every one and handled each as if it were some long-lost artifact.

I don’t know the exact details, but I believe my Dad went back to the friend and told her we’d take the whole box, but only if she let him give her some money for it.  I believe she was genuinely shocked that the box of old cardboard pictures had some value, and that someone was willing to give her cash for it.  My Dad shared the list I had created showing the “book value” of the cards and he mentioned how it was going to be close to impossible to get me to pick and choose which ones I wanted.  When all was said and done, the family friend, who had absolutely no intention of making money on this endeavor, walked away with (I think) something in the neighborhood of $100 for the whole lot.

Ramos' page from the 1967 Phillies Yearbook
Within the spoils were 44 cards from the 1956 Topps set – by far the most cards from any one set.  I studied them, I sorted them, and I pretty much memorized every detail of those 44 cards.  

And so a few years later, in the summer of 1987 while on a family vacation, I was giddy with excitement when we came across a few ’56 Topps cards in the Walker Gallery on the main drag in Cooperstown, New York.  My Dad and I studied the cards for sale and he casually asked me the question, “Why don’t we try to put together the whole set?” We bought four cards that day for $9.25.  Those cards, along with the 44 from the magic shoebox, became the basis for our 1956 Topps set.

The Card
This is Ramos' rookie card and he'd go on to appear in Topps' flagship set every year through 1967.  Ramos is listed as a right-handed batter on his card but he was in fact a switch hitter.

1956 Season
In his second full season, the 21-year-old Ramos went 12-10 with a 5.27 for the 7th place Senators.  He appeared in 37 games, starting 18, and pitched 152 innings.  On May 30th, Ramos and the Senators faced off against the powerhouse Yankees in the first game of a double header.  Ramos drilled his future teammate Mickey Mantle (#135) in his first plate appearance, but in his second at-bat Mantle launched a home run that was hit so hard and so far it almost completely exited Yankee Stadium.

Phillies Career
On December 10, 1966, the Phillies acquired Ramos from the Yankees for Joe Verbanic and cash.  Ramos was used sparingly in late April and throughout the month of May, appearing in six games and tallying eight innings pitched.  The Phillies lost all six games in which he appeared.  On June 5, 1967, Ramos and his 9.00 ERA were released and he spent the remainder of the 1967 season pitching in Vancouver for the Kansas City Athletics' Triple-A team.  Still, his short stint with the club earned him a Phillies card in the 1967 Topps set and I've included his page from the team's 1967 Yearbook above.

1957 Topps #326
1959 Topps #78
1963 Topps #14
1966 Topps #439
1967 Topps #187
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1956 Topps #49
First Topps Card:  1956 Topps #49
Representative Phillies Card:  1967 Topps #187
Last Topps Card:  1967 Topps #187
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1978 TCMA The 1960s I #38

59 - Ramos non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 4/14/19.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Phillies Room
The Trading Card Database

In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year.  Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.