Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Non-Roster Invitee List - 21 and Done?

2017 Topps Heritage #99
2017 Topps Heritage #694
In early January, various Twitter reports announced the signings of catcher Christian Bethancourt and infielder Ronald Torreyes to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training.  As the Phillies website just recently added these two players to their official Transactions listing and the Non-Roster section of the team's roster, I wanted to give them their due here as well.

Bethancourt is a veteran of five big league seasons, having last appeared in 2017 with the Padres.  He'll be the fourth potential backup catcher in camp along with Andrew Knapp, Deivy Grullon and Henri Lartigue.  Torreyes has also played in parts of five seasons in the Majors, and he appeared in seven games last year with the Twins.  He appeared in 108 games for the Yankees in 2017, hitting .292.

With the start of spring training now 3 weeks away, and barring a trade, the Phillies' roster seems set with 61 players scheduled to suit up in Clearwater.

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Phil Gosselin (inf) - Phillies - 2017 Topps Heritage #135 (Diamondbacks)
2.  Josh Harrison (inf) - Tigers - 2019 Topps Heritage #552 (Tigers)
3.  Mikie Mahtook (of) - Tigers - 2019 Topps #477 (Tigers)
4.  Matt Szczur (of) - Diamondbacks - 2018 Topps Heritage #528 (Padres)
5.  Christian Bethancourt (c) - NC Dinos (Korea) - 2017 Topps #697 (Padres)
6.  Ronald Torreyes (inf) - Twins - 2019 Topps #537 (Twins)

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Card Added to Collection
7.  Alec Bohm (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #1
8.  Connor Brogdon (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #44
9.  Kyle Dohy (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25 Prospects #5
10.  Tyler Gilbert (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #10
11.  Darick Hall (1b) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #7
12.  Spencer Howard (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League #27
13.  Damon Jones (lhp) - Phillies - 2018 Choice Lakewood BlueClaws #13
14.  Henri Lartigue (c) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #12
15.  Austin Listi (1b-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #13
16.  Nick Maton (ss) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #6
17.  Mickey Moniak (of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #15
18.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #19
19.  Addison Russ (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #20
20.  Zach Warren (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #33
21.  Luke Williams (inf-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #23

Monday, January 20, 2020

Phillies Photo Cards: The White Whales

1996 Phillies Team Issue #26
1989 Tastykake Phillies Update #11
As a lifelong Phillies baseball card collector, one of my favorite sets has always been the team-issued photo card sets.  These are oversized cards produced by the Phillies and sold at the ballpark annually for a reasonable price - $5 a set in recent years.  The sets feature players, coaches, the manager, occasionally the announcers and usually a card for the Phanatic.  The photography is consistently excellent and my favorite part of the set is it's usually where a number of short-time Phillies players receive their one and only Phillies baseball card appearance.

I began a project a few years' back to catalog and checklist these sets, and I've created a page to serve as a table of contents for all of the team-issued sets dating back to the 1950s.  When I started the project, I was confident I had every Phillies photo card issued since at least 1983 as I had diligently tracked down a set or two each year at the Vet or later, Citizens Bank Park. 

I was wrong.  I had nowhere near every card. 

Fellow collectors Rick and Steve, along with a few other helpful fans, educated me on the team's practice of issuing cards for their annual ALS Phestival, or producing cards solely for players to honor autograph requests, be it through the mail or at scheduled appearances.  There were late season update sets I didn't know existed and variations of cards featuring different photos.  The Phillies' marketing department has been haphazard in its approach to producing these cards over the years, so knowing what I know now, I'm on high alert for variations or the possibility of a new card appearing in seemingly random situations.  I have many White Whales listed in my want lists, particularly in my want list of Phillies photo cards issued since 2000.

I can go months or years without seeing any of these cards available for sale at shows or in eBay auctions, and then as was the case last week, I found two a few days apart.  In 1996, the Phillies issued a 36-card team set that included a card of new outfielder Lee Tinsley, but featuring a picture of another new outfielder, Glenn Murray.  The card was pulled from the set, and I when I bought my set mid-summer at the Vet, it wasn't included and I only had 35 cards.  I've searched for this card for years and then a few weeks ago, two separate auctions from different buyers popped up on eBay for the 36-card team-issued photo card set from 1996.  I finally have my Tinsley/Murray card.

In 1989, a 9-card update set was released featuring the many players the Phillies had added over the summer.  I've never seen the set sold together, and I've added individual cards from the set over the years with the John Kruk card eluding me.  I finally found it via an eBay auction shortly after the two 1996 sets were listed.  That's two cards down in a decades' long hunt, and I've listed below a few other White Whales.  If you have any of these, I'd be happy to give them a good home.
  • 1996 Glenn Murray - Murray did ultimately receive his own card, issued late in the 1996 season.
  • 1998 Yorkis Perez - I have the Jon Zuber and Mike Welch cards issued at the team's annual ALS Phestival, but I haven't found Perez's card yet.
  • 2000 11-Card Update Set - I've never seen these cards for sale, either together or individually.  Travis Lee, Marlon Anderson, Omar Daal and Vicente Padilla are included in this set.
  • 2001 7-Card Update Set - Features the only Phillies baseball card for Felipe Crespo.
  • 2004 Lou Collier - A late season addition?  This is the only Phillies card for Collier.
  • 2012 Broadcasters - From the first edition set, there's a broadcasters card in some sets, but most sets for sale don't include this card.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Outfield Shuffle: Herrera DFA'd; Martini Claimed

2020 Chachi New Additions #9
On Tuesday afternoon, the Phillies began the official process of moving on from the Odubel Herrera era by designating the outfielder for assignment.  He has two years remaining on his contract and he's owed $19.5 million by the Phillies, but there was little to no chance Herrera would return to the Phillies after serving an 85-game suspension for his arrest on domestic violence charges.  At one time one of the most popular players and a fan favorite, Herrera's off field problems ultimately led to his departure but he had been struggling on the field as well.  An All-Star in 2016, Herrera hit just .222 in 2019 and had been maddeningly inconsistent at the plate for the past few seasons.  The Phillies now have a week to trade, release or reassign him to minor league camp, so there's a possibility he's in Clearwater with the club in the spring.  But if that's the case he'd clearly be on the outside looking in.

Herrera's DFA was necessitated by the claiming of outfielder Nick Martini off waivers from the Reds.  The Reds had previously claimed him off waivers from the Padres in November, and the Padres had done the same in August from the Athletics.  In 32 games with the A's and Padres last season, Martini hit .226.  Martini's first baseball cards can be found in the 2011 Bowman Draft set and last season he appeared in a bunch of sets including Topps, Topps Heritage and Topps Big League.

Moving On - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Rob Brantly - c (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Miami Marlins (1/7/20).
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Brad Miller - inf (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/9/20).
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Jose Pirela - of (11/1/19) - Released.
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jerad Eickhoff - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Mike Morin - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Blake Parker - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Edubray Ramos - rhp - (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Maikel Franco - 3b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Kansas City Royals (12/27/19).
  • Cesar Hernandez - 2b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Cleveland Indians (12/29/19).
Coming Back - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (12/20/19).
New Arrivals - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Robert Stock - rhp (10/30/19) - Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
  • Cristopher Sanchez - lhp (11/20/19) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for Curtis Mead.
  • Trevor Kelley - rhp (12/2/19) - Claimed off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.
  • Zack Wheeler - rhp (12/9/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Mets.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (12/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
  • Nick Martini - of (1/14/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Catching Up on Offseason Moves . . . More to Come?

2020 Chachi Departures #21
2020 Chachi Departures #22
2020 Chachi Departures #4
2020 Chachi Departures #7
While most of the former 2019 Phillies listed below are still looking for jobs, a few former players have already found new homes, including half the 2019 infield.  Both Maikel Franco (Royals) and Cesar Hernandez (Indians) will be spending their time in the A.L. Central in 2020.

Here's a refreshed look at the comings and goings so far this offseason, with under a month to go until pitchers and catchers report to spring training.  Also, the cards presented above are the "New Team" variations from the 2020 Chachi Departures insert set.

Moving On - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Rob Brantly - c (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Miami Marlins (1/7/20).
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Brad Miller - inf (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/9/20).
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Jose Pirela - of (11/1/19) - Released.
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jerad Eickhoff - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Mike Morin - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Blake Parker - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Edubray Ramos - rhp - (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Maikel Franco - 3b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Kansas City Royals (12/27/19).
  • Cesar Hernandez - 2b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Cleveland Indians (12/29/19).
Coming Back - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (12/20/19).
New Arrivals - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Robert Stock - rhp (10/30/19) - Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
  • Cristopher Sanchez - lhp (11/20/19) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for Curtis Mead.
  • Trevor Kelley - rhp (12/2/19) - Claimed off waivers from the Boston Red Sox.
  • Zack Wheeler - rhp (12/9/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Mets.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (12/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.

15 Prospects Coming to Camp as Non-Roster Invitees

2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #1
2019 Grandstand Reading
Fightin Phils #10
2019 R-Phils Phillies
Top 25 Prospects #5
2019 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #10
2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #7

Right on schedule, the Phillies released a list of 15 prospects invited to camp as non-roster invitees.  These 15 join the list of the prior four (officially) announced invitees.  For this next batch, instead of listing out their last major baseball card appearance, I've listed their most recent card added to my collection as most of these guys are still waiting for their first major baseball card appearance.

For me, the two most interesting names on this list are Alec Bohm and Spencer Howard, as both have a realistic chance of contributing to the 2020 Phillies.  Bohm could be the team's regular third baseman at some point this upcoming season while Howard could find himself in the starting pitching rotation.

2019 Topps Heritage
Minor League #27
2018 Choice Lakewood
BlueClaws #13
2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #12
2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #13
2019 Grandstand
Clearwater Threshers #6

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Phil Gosselin (inf) - Phillies - 2017 Topps Heritage #135 (Diamondbacks)
2.  Josh Harrison (inf) - Tigers - 2019 Topps Heritage #552 (Tigers)
3.  Mikie Mahtook (of) - Tigers - 2019 Topps #477 (Tigers)
4.  Matt Szczur (of) - Diamondbacks - 2018 Topps Heritage #528 (Padres)

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Card Added to Collection
5.  Alec Bohm (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #1
6.  Connor Brogdon (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #44
7.  Kyle Dohy (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25 Prospects #5
8.  Tyler Gilbert (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #10
9.  Darick Hall (1b) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #7
10.  Spencer Howard (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League #27
11.  Damon Jones (lhp) - Phillies - 2018 Choice Lakewood BlueClaws #13
12.  Henri Lartigue (c) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #12
13.  Austin Listi (1b-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #13
14.  Nick Maton (ss) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #6
15.  Mickey Moniak (of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #15
16.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #19
17.  Addison Russ (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #20
18.  Zach Warren (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #33
19.  Luke Williams (inf-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #23

2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #15
2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #19
2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #20
2019 Grandstand
Clearwater Threshers #33
2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #23

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Phillies Finalize 2020 Coaching Staff

2019 Choice Williamsport
Crosscutters #37
1986 Topps #379
 
2013 Grandstand Clearwater
Threshers #25
On Monday, in the first new Phillies news of 2020, the team Tweeted out the graphic below listing its extremely crowded coaching staff.  Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, I got used to a set number of coaches - bench, first base, third base, hitting, pitching, bullpen.  Six seemed like the right amount of coaches needed, and this is after most teams only had two or three coaches in earlier decades.

In 2020, the Phillies will be suiting up with double that amount as 12 coaches will be on their official staff.  We have the "traditional" six as listed above, and then there's infield, assistant hitting, assistant pitching, two bullpen catcher/catching coaches and the mysterious coaching assistant.  Paco Figuera, Jim Gott, Pedro Guerrero, Dave Lundquist, Bob Stumpo, Rob Thomson and Dusty Wathan are all holdovers from the Gabe Kapler regime.  I've previously posted about the additions of Juan Castro, Joe Dillon and Bryan Price.


Greg Brodzinski and Bobby Meacham are new to this list.  Brodzinski will assist Stumpo with bullpen catching and catching coach duties, a position previously occupied by Craig Driver.  He had spent the past two seasons as a coach with the Rookie-A Williamsport Crosscutters, and his baseball cards can be found in the 2017 Reading Fightin Phils and 2019 Crosscutters team sets.  He played in the Phillies minor league system in 2015 and 2016.

Meacham steps into the new coaching assistant role, and it's his third stint with manager Joe Girardi.  Meacham had been Girardi's third base coach with the Marlins in 2006 and the Yankees in 2008.  He was also a coach with the Crosscutters back in 2009.  Meacham should be no stranger to baseball card collectors, as he appeared in every Topps flagship set with the Yankees between 1984 and 1989.

I've added this list of a dozen coaches to the linked list on the sidebar, and now the big decision is do I create 2020 Chachi cards for all 12 coaches, or do I draw the line with the "Traditional 6?"

Sunday, December 29, 2019

A Look at What Santa Brought . . . with Help from My Mom (#SBWTMABCTJ)


This is a post I look forward to writing all year.  We're on the other side of another Christmas, and our family continued our tradition of turning Christmas into a 3-day event.  We celebrate in our house on Christmas day, at my Mom's house the day after Christmas and with my wife's family a few days after that.  It's a fun three days that leave me happy, slightly tired and stuffed with food.

At my Mom's house, I anxiously unwrapped a present to find a box of Fralinger's Salt Water Taffy.  There wasn't any salt water taffy inside the box, but instead I found the first card needed from my (now outdated) Ten Most Wanted list and a clue to the location of more cards.  With the help of my sons and my nieces, the clue was solved and my boyhood teddy bear was found holding a package with the rest of the cards shown in the photo above.  Once again, my Mom had made a Ten Most Wanted list obsolete!  It was another successful installment of Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim, and the hauls from past Christmases are linked below.

Here's a list of the treasures added in the 2019 Edition of #SBWTMABCTJ:

1949 Bowman #216 Schoolboy Rowe
1952 Topps #185 Bill Nicholson
1953 Topps #10 Smoky Burgess
1956 Topps #296 Andy Seminick
1957 Topps #314 Ed Bouchee
1965 Topps #474 Cookie Rojas
1966 Topps #585 Tony Taylor
1967 Topps #242 RBI Leaders
1970 Topps #645 Don Money
1972 Topps #690 Willie Montanez

These ten most wanted lists are going to be tougher to put together as I'm getting closer and closer to a complete run of Bowman and Topps cards throughout the 1950s and 1960s.  The 1965 Topps Cookie Rojas card completed my Phillies team set from that year, and I now have the pleasure of tracking down those Phillies cards all over again for our 1965 Topps set.

An unexpected surprise was the addition of the 1966 Phillies Yearbook and a Sports Illustrated from 1958 with outfielding and base running tips from Richie Ashburn.  My Mom once again did an amazing job and she already knows how much she means to me.

2011 Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim
Part 1 - Continuing a Tradition
Part 2 - 1971 Topps Set - 13 More Down
Part 3 - 1952 Topps Phillies
Part 4 - 1951 Bowman Phillies
Part 5 - Curt Simmons - Two New Bowman Cards
Part 6 - 1955 Bowman and Topps Phillies

2012 Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim
Part 1 - 1941 Double Play Litwhiler & May
Part 2 - 1963 Topps John Herrnstein rookie card (featuring Willie Stargell)
Part 3 - 1940 Play Ball Phillies - Part 1
Part 4 - 1940 Play Ball Phillies - Part 2
Part 5 - 1950 Bowman Del Ennis

2013 Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim
Part 1 - 1998 Upper Deck Scott Rolen
Part 2 - 1968 Topps Phillies Team Card
Part 3 - 1966 Topps Bob Uecker
Part 4 - 1955 Bowman Robin Roberts
Part 5 - 1965 Topps Johnny Callison
Part 6 - 1954 Bowman Richie Ashburn

2014 Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim
Part 1 - 1952 Bowman and 1953 Bowman Color Richie Ashburn
Part 2 - 1950 Bowman Roberts, 1951 Topps Blue Backs Jones, 1955 Bowman Wyrostek
Part 3 - 1995 Collector's Choice Hayes and 1999 Fleer Mystique Burrell

2015 Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim
Seven Phillies Cards from the 1950s Crossed Off the List

2016 Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim
Part 1 - 10 vintage Phillies cards added to the collection
Part 2 - 2 modern oddball Phillies cards find a new home

2017 Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim
Vintage cards crossed off the list, 1959 Topps Phillies team set completed!

2018 Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim
8th annual haul completes 1953 Bowman Color Phillies team set

2019 Santa Brings Way Too Many Awesome Baseball Cards to Jim
1965 Topps team set completed, getting closer to most 1950s team sets

Friday, December 27, 2019

1956 Topps #77 Harvey Haddix

This a crossover post from my other blog, chronicling each card in the wonderful 1956 Topps set. Today's post features former Phillies pitcher Harvey Haddix.  Please click on over there for all of the posts to date, including a look at all the Phillies Alumni featured in the set.



Harvey Haddix
St. Louis Cardinals
Pitcher


Bats:  Left  Throws:  Left  Height:  5'9"  Weight:  170
Born:  September 18, 1925, Medway, OH
Signed:  Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent before 1947 season
Major League Teams:  St. Louis Cardinals 1952-1956; Philadelphia Phillies 1956-1957; Cincinnati Reds 1958; Pittsburgh Pirates 1959-1963; Baltimore Orioles 1964-1965
Died:  January 8, 1994, Springfield, OH (age 68)

1961 Topps #410
A three-time All-Star and a three-time Gold Glove winner, Harvey Haddix enjoyed a successful 14-year career in the big leagues, winning 136 games and a World Series ring with the 1960 Pirates.  His most famous feat was pitching a 12-inning perfect game against the Braves on May 26, 1959, a game he ultimately lost when the Braves scored an unearned run in the 13th inning.

Haddix was a 20-game winner in 1953, the first of his three years in a row to make the N.L. All-Star team.  That was his best season, as he went 20-9 with a 3.06 ERA, including 19 complete games and six shutouts.  He won at least 10 games in nine different seasons.  Given the nickname "Kitty" in part because of his fielding prowess on the mound, Haddix went the entire 1959 season without committing an error.  Some sources have him earning the nickname "The Kitten" due to his resemblance to Harry "The Cat" Brecheen (#229), while other sources note he had the nickname before ever becoming a teammate of Brecheen's.

In the 1960 World Series, Haddix started and won Game 5 and was the winning pitcher in Game 7 when Bill Mazeroski hit his game-winning home run against the Yankees' Ralph Terry.  Following his playing career, Haddix went on to coach for the Mets, Reds, Red Sox, Indians and Pirates.

Building the Set
December 11, 1996 from Winston-Salem, NC - Card #147
1982 Donruss #651
I was obsessed with the 1982 Donruss set when it came out.  I think it was a combination of the cards being much brighter than their 1982 Topps counterparts, more readily available than packs of 1982 Fleer and the addition of Diamond Kings cards.  The Babe Ruth puzzle didn't hurt either.  Cards of coaches were also a novelty to me, as I had never had any coach cards in my collection.  Haddix shows up in the 1982 Donruss set as a coach for the Pirates, and it struck me as odd to see someone who had to be at least 90 years old (a) in a baseball card set and (b) wearing the garish yellow jerseys of the Pirates, complete with black pillbox hat.  (Haddix was actually only 56 in 1981.)  Upon pulling the card from a pack, I assumed it had to be worth a small fortune.

I remember asking my Dad about Haddix and wanting to know more about the 12-inning perfect game he had thrown in 1959, only to have the Pirates ultimately lose the game.  My Dad had a vivid memory of that game and after he told me all about it, that 1982 Donruss card of an old coach became one of the most prized cards in my growing collection.

I have a vague memory of buying this card back in 1996 right before heading home from college for my winter break.  I paid $7 for the card from Tommy's Collectibles and I would have slipped it into my Dad's Christmas stocking as a Christmas present for "his collection."  When I could, I enjoyed tracking down cards of players that would have had some meaning to my Dad and me, and Haddix fit the bill.

The Card
It's strange to see an action shot of a pitcher as he appears to circle third, having lost his hat, and heading home.  Or is he beating out a play at first base?

Haddix had 1,575 career strikeouts, hitting the 150 strikeout plateau in five different seasons.  His fine 1953 season earned him second place in the N.L. Rookie of the Year voting behind the Dodgers' Jim Gilliam.  I believe this is the first appearance of a cartoon cat on the back of a 1956 Topps card.

1956 Season/Phillies Career
On May 11th, Haddix was traded with Ben Flowers and Stu Miller (#293) to the Phillies for Murry Dickson (#211) and Herm Wehmeier (#78).  Even though he originally didn't want to go to the Phillies, Haddix had a good season, compiling a record of 12-8 after tweaking his mechanics with the help of pitching coach Whit Wyatt.  He would have had 16 wins if not for four blown saves by the Phillies bullpen.  Following the season, and according to his SABR biography, manager Mayo Smith (#60) said the acquisition of Haddix had been the "year's most pleasant surprise."

Haddix was back in the Phillies starting rotation in 1957, appearing in 27 games and going 10-13 with a 4.06 ERA.  His inconsistency landed him in the bullpen for part of the season, but his best game came in July when he threw an 11-inning complete game shutout against the Cubs.  Haddix was dealt to the Reds following the 1957 season for outfielder Wally Post (#158).

Haddix appears in the 1957 Topps set with the Phillies, and a few years back I modified his original 1956 Topps card to update it for his actual team that season.

1953 Topps #273
1957 Topps #265
1959 Topps #184
1961 Topps #100
1965 Topps #67
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1953 Topps #273
First Topps Card:  1953 Topps #273
Representative Phillies Card:  1957 Topps #265
Last Topps Card:  1965 Topps #67
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2014 Panini Golden Age #74

108 - Haddix non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 11/23/19.

Sources:  
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Phillies Room
SABR
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.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

1949 Bowman #46 Robin Roberts


I wanted to take a brief break from family time and eating way too much to show off my big present from my wife Jenna this Christmas.  Jenna got me this Robin Roberts rookie card and I'm thrilled to finally have this card in my collection.  This would have been one of those cards I had seen over and over again as a young(er) collector in magazines or in books or at baseball card shows, and I never imagined I'd actually own one.  I'm just a little bummed the offer for an Official Baseball Ring, as advertised on the back, expired 70 years ago.  The next major Phillies card I need to track down after this is the Richie Ashburn rookie card, also found within the 1949 Bowman set.

There were a few other baseball card related gifts under our tree, including a 2019 Topps factory set for me, some new Topps cards for Doug, and a 1965 Topps League Leaders card for our 1965 Topps set.  Ben was happy to load a bunch of games onto his new iPad.

I hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and here's to a fantastic 2020!

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Merry Christmas from The Phillies Room!

2019 Chachi #68
Happy holidays from our team to your team!  All the best for 2020, and here's hoping you're still in your team's photo this time next year.  😀🎄

Monday, December 23, 2019

1965 Topps #15 Robin Roberts

I'm trying to get the word out that I've started a new blog and here's a crossover post from it, chronicling each card we add to our new 1965 Topps set.  We started collecting the set this month and I'll be taking a deep dive look at each card we add.  Please click on over there for all of the posts to date, including a look at the Phillies Alumni featured so far.


Robin Evan Roberts
Baltimore Orioles
Pitcher

Bats:  Both  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  190
Born:  September 30, 1926, Springfield, IL
Signed:  Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies as an amateur free agent before 1948 season
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Phillies 1948-1961; Baltimore Orioles 1962-1965; Houston Astros 1965-1966; Chicago Cubs 1966
Hall of Fame Induction:  1976
Died:  May 6, 2010, Temple Terrace, FL (age 83)

Hall of Famer Robin Roberts was one of the most dominant right-handed pitchers of the 1950s, leading the National League in wins for four straight seasons between 1952 and 1955 and earning seven straight All-Star Game appearances.  A work horse for the Phillies, his 20-win season in 1950 led the Phillies to the World Series and made him the first pitcher to win at least 20 games for the club since Grover Cleveland Alexander did it in 1917.  Straddling the 1952 and 1953 seasons, he pitched 28 complete games in a row with his appearance on September 6, 1952 lasting 17 innings.  He led the league in strikeouts in 1953 and 1954, and was named The Sporting News pitcher of the year in both 1952 and 1955.

After departing the Phillies, Roberts bounced from the Yankees, Orioles, Astros and Cubs, pitching a total of 19 seasons and retiring at the age of 39.  He finished with a career record of 286-245 with a 3.41 ERA and exactly half of his 609 starts resulted in complete games (305).  His 609 games started currently rank 20th on the all-time list.  He was the first Phillies player to have his number retired in 1962 and the first player inducted into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1978.

Building the Set
December 7, 2019 from King of Prussia, PA - Card #8
Doug and I attended the Philadelphia Sportscard & Memorabilia Show held inside the Valley Forge Casino.  After meeting Benito Santiago, Brad Lidge and Ryan Howard and having secured the first five cards for our 1965 Topps set, I continued scanning tables for the final two cards I needed to complete my 1971 Topps set.

I found a dealer with organized binders of vintage Topps cards, and I dug in.  Quickly finding the last two cards I needed from 1971 - #662 Mike Hedlund and #715 Horace Clarke,  both in great shape - I started browsing through binders from other years, in search of cards for my 1960s Phillies team sets.  I added five cards (all high numbers) for those sets and then decided to look through the 1965 Topps binder, figuring Doug wouldn't mind if I added a few more cards to our set.  I found four more sharp cards for our set, featuring players who all had some meaning for me personally.  This Roberts card was the first of those four cards along with Jim Fregosi (#210), Juan Pizarro (#125) and Harvey Haddix (#67).  For all 11 cards, the dealer gave me a price of $62, which I felt was fair given I had calculated a price of $75 in my head for the lot.  I snapped a quick picture of his table before moving along.

The Card
2006 Toyota Phillies Wall of Fame Postcards
This is Roberts' third and final Topps card showing him with the Orioles, as he previously appeared with the team in the 1963 and 1964 Topps sets.  It's still odd seeing Roberts in anything other than red pinstripes.  It's also odd that Roberts wore #38 with the Orioles instead of his familiar #36.  Darrell Johnson wore #36 for the Orioles in 1962, Roberts first year with the club, and he only appeared in six games.  No one wore #36 for the Orioles during Roberts' remaining time with the club.

With the palm tree visible over Roberts' right shoulder, it would appear this photo was taken during spring training.

1965 Season
At the start of the 1965 season, Roberts was relegated to the Orioles bullpen as the team already had set its starting pitching rotation with Steve Barber (#113), Dave McNally (#249), Wally Bunker (#290) and Milt Pappas (#270).  With Pappas missing a few games in May, Roberts got his shot and pitched four straight complete games.  But he struggled after that, going 1-7 over his final eight starts with the club and the Orioles released him on July 31st.

The Astros picked him up a week later, and he immediately rewarded them with two shutouts in first two starts.  His first Astros start came against the Phillies, and he allowed just four hits while striking out six.  In total, Roberts started 25 games for both teams, going a combined 10-9 with a 2.78 ERA.

Phillies Career
Roberts signed with the Phillies as an amateur free agent before the 1948 season and he was sold to the Yankees on October 16, 1961.  In the decade-plus in between, he established himself as the best right-handed pitcher in franchise history.  He still ranks first in franchise history in games (529), complete games (272), and innings pitched (3,739 1/3), and is second only to Steve Carlton in games started (472), wins (234) and strikeouts (1,871).

Following his big league career, and after a partial season with the Reading Phillies in 1967 attempting a comeback, Roberts' later crossed paths with the Phillies when he served as a color commentary on Phillies broadcasts for games between 1974 and 1976.  Along with his induction into the Phillies Wall of Fame in 1978, he was also named to their Centennial Team in 1983.  His statute sits outside the first base gate of Citizens Bank Park, and when he passed away in 2010 the Phillies wore a black #36 patch on their uniforms and hung a Roberts jersey in their dugout during each game.

1949 Bowman #46
1952 Topps #59
1956 Topps #180
1959 Topps #352
1966 Topps #530
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1949 Bowman #46
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (12):  1952, 1956-1966
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2019 Topps Archives #212

483 - Roberts non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 12/14/19.

Sources:  
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
National Baseball Hall of Fame
The Phillies Room
SABR
The Trading Card Database

Doug in the Hall of Fame Club at Citizens Bank Park in 2015
Photo shows the four greatest Phillies players together in Cooperstown
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.