Sunday, September 22, 2019

Game 152 - 2019 Topps Total #270 Nick Vincent

Indians 5Phillies 2
Game 152 - Friday Night, September 20th in Cleveland
Record - 78-74, 4th place, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies couldn't solve Shane Bieber and the Tribe won, 5-2.

What It Means:  I'm getting tired of these game summary posts following a Phillies loss and I could use a break.  It's still mathematically possible for the Phillies to win a Wild Card spot, but the probability of that happening is fading quickly.

What Happened:  Starter Drew Smyly was chased in the third inning and the hodge podge Phillies bullpen did a great job of not letting the game get out of hand.  The only two runs for the Phillies scored on Maikel Franco's RBI double in the fifth.

Featured Card:  Cast-off by other teams, Nick Vincent, Blake Parker, Mike Morin and Jared Hughes have at least given the Phillies a fighting chance when their starting pitchers can't go more than a few innings.  Vincent threw two scoreless innings in this game.  Since he was on the mound for back-to-back walk-off losses in early September, he's made six appearances and thrown eight scoreless innings with one walk, four hits and 13 strikeouts.

Despite pitching in the Majors for eight seasons, Vincent finally received his first mainstream baseball card release this year in the Topps Total set.  Vincent was a member of the Giants' bullpen until early August when he was released and then signed by the Phillies a week later.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Game 151 - 2019 Topps Big League #232 Cesar Hernandez

Braves 5Phillies 4
Game 151 - Thursday Afternoon, September 19th in Atlanta
Record - 78-73, 4th place, 14 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies battled, but they couldn't overcome another shaky outing from Aaron Nola in this 5-4 loss to the Braves.

What It Means:  The Phillies have lost all six of Nola's last six starts.  In a playoff race, with every game crucial, they should be winning these games with their ace on the mound.  Instead, Nola has a 4.84 ERA over this stretch and the Phillies are 0-6.

What Happened:  Nola went five innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, including two home runs.  The offense did go 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position with Adam Haseley (RBI double in the fifth) and Jean Segura (RBI single in the sixth) adding clutch hits, but it wasn't enough.

Featured Card:  Cesar Hernandez, who could be playing in his final week with the Phillies, continues to hit.  He had three hits in this game to raise his team-leading average to .285.  Hernandez is the longest tenured current Phillies player, having made his debut on May 29, 2013.  Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon were the pitchers that day for the Phillies and Domonic Brown hit two home runs.

Game 150 - 2019 Topps Total #381 Zach Eflin

Phillies 4Braves 1
Game 150 - Wednesday Night, September 18th in Atlanta
Record - 78-72, Tied for 3rd place, 13 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Zach Eflin pitched one of the best games of his season as the Phillies defeated the Braves, 4-1.

What It Means:  The win meant the Braves wouldn't be able to clinch the N.L. division pennant while the Phillies looked on from the visiting dugout.  (The Braves would eventually clinch on Friday night.)

What Happened:  Bryce Harper put the Phillies ahead for good with a two-run home run (32) in the fourth.  Cesar Hernandez added a solo home run (12) in the sixth and Jean Segura walked with the bases loaded to plate the Phillies' final run.

Featured Card:  Eflin threw seven innings of five-hit ball, striking out four.  Arguably the team's most reliable relievers this season, Jose Alvarez and Hector Neris, pitched the final two scoreless innings.  This is Eflin's most recent card, from the resurrected, and now online-only release of Topps Total.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Indians: September 20th to September 22nd

2019 Chachi 1971 Topps Missing Links #4
1971 Topps #397
Friday and Saturday 7:10, Sunday 6:37
Progressive Field - Cleveland, OH

Phillies 78-73, 4th place in the N.L. East, 14 1/2 games behind the Braves
Indians 90-63, 2nd place in the A.L. Central, 4 games behind the Twins

Phillies Probables:  Drew Smyly (3-1, 4.14), Jason Vargas (0-3, 5.48), Vince Velasquez (7-7, 4.89)
Indians Probables:  Shane Bieber (14-7, 3.26), Zach Plesac (8-6, 3.64), Adam Plutko (7-4, 4.34)

At the Ballpark:  Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night at the field formerly known as Jacobs and all fans will receive a 2020 Indians schedule poster.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .285
Runs:  Bryce Harper - 92
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 32
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 104
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 14

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.75
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 220
Saves:  Hector Neris - 28

Indians Leaders
Average:  Francisco Lindor - .292
Runs:  Carlos Santana - 106
Home Runs:  Carlos Santana - 34
RBIs:  Carlos Santana - 91
Stolen Bases:  Jose Ramirez - 24

Wins:  Shane Bieber - 14
ERA:  Shane Bieber - 3.26
Strikeouts:  Shane Bieber - 245
Saves:  Brad Hand - 34

1956 Topps #63 Roger Craig

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

Roger Lee Craig
Brooklyn Dodgers

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'4"  Weight:  190
Born:  February 17, 1930, Durham, NC
Signed:  Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent before 1950 season
Major League Teams:  Brooklyn Dodgers 1955-1957; Los Angeles Dodgers 1958-1961; New York Mets 1962-1963; St. Louis Cardinals 1964; Cincinnati Reds 1965; Philadelphia Phillies 1966
As a Manager:  San Diego Padres 1978-1979; San Francisco Giants 1985-1992

A few decades before he was a successful manager for the Giants, Roger Craig pitched in parts of 12 seasons, experiencing the move of the Dodgers to the West Coast and suffering through the futility of the first fews years of the Mets' existence.  Craig went to six World Series (four as a player), winning rings with the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, the 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers, the 1964 Cardinals and as a coach with the 1984 Tigers.  Spending equal time as a starter and a reliever, Craig went 74-98 in 368 career appearances and owned a 3.83 career ERA.  He lost 46 games over two seasons with the expansion Mets.

Following his playing days, Craig taught his signature pitch, the split-finger fastball, to several pitchers including Jack Morris, Mike Scott and Milt Wilcox.  He served as a pitching coach for the Padres (1969-1972), Astros (1974-1975), Padres again (1976-1977) and Tigers (1980-1984).  In 1985, he was named manager of the Giants and he led the 1989 Giants to their first World Series appearance in 27 years.  Craig's leadership and unique rallying cry, "Humm Baby" weren't enough to defeat the Athletics in the 1989 series interrupted by 10 days as a result of the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake.

My family visited San Francisco for the Phillies series in early August, and the Giants celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1989 team with a pre-game ceremony.  Craig, now 89, was on hand to celebrate with his former team and he took the field to a standing ovation with current Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Building the Set
October 7, 2007 from Dad's eBay purchases - Card #307
This is one of five cards I received from my Dad for my 34th birthday, with each card being a fairly major card needed for our set.  Along with this Craig card, I received Bill Bruton (#185), Bob Feller (#200), Don Newcombe (#235) and Don Larsen (#332).  My Dad never told me how much he had paid for the cards.

The Card
This is Craig's rookie card and what looked to me initially to be a #10 on the back of his jersey is actually #40.  Craig wore that number for the first four seasons of his Dodgers career before switching to #38 for the 1959 season.  His birth year is off a year on the back of his card, as he was actually born in 1930.

The final panel on the back of the card celebrates Craig's performance in Game 5 of the 1955 World Series.  With the series tied at two, manager Walter Alston (#8) handed the ball to Craig.  I'm fairly certain he wasn't carried off the field, but Craig pitched six strong innings, allowing four hits including a solo home run from Bob Cerv (#288) in the seventh that chased him from the game.  Reliever Clem Labine (#295) held down the Yankees for the final three innings, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 advantage in the Series they'd ultimately win in seven games.

1956 Season
In his first full season with the Dodgers, Craig appeared in 35 games (32 starts) pitching to a 12-11 record and a 3.71 ERA.  He led all pitchers with a 1.000 fielding percentage, not committing an error in 32 chances.  Craig was the second top starting pitcher in the Dodgers rotation in 1956, following Newcombe and coming in ahead of both Sal Maglie and Carl Erskine (#233).

Phillies Career
On April 11, 1966, Craig was released by the Cincinnati Reds at the end of spring training, signing with the Phillies that very same day.  Craig made his first appearance for the Phillies on opening day against the Cardinals, coming on to relieve Chris Short in the 10th after Short had pitched 9 2/3 innings.  Craig pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings and was the recipient of the win when John Herrnstein singled home Dick Allen with the eventual winning run in the 12th.

Used solely as a reliever, Craig appeared in 14 games for the Phillies, going 2-1 with a 5.56 ERA.  The 36-year-old Craig was released by the club on July 23rd, ending his big league career.  Craig received a Phillies card in the 1966 Topps set, but the photo used is the exact same photo used for Craig's 1962 Topps card, when he was with the Mets.  Craig signed reprinted versions of his 1966 Topps card for inclusion in the 2015 Topps Heritage set.

1958 Topps #194
1963 Fleer #47
1966 Topps #543
1974 Topps #31
1989 Topps #744
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1956 Topps #63
First Topps Card:  1956 Topps #63
Representative Phillies Card:  1966 Topps #543
Last Topps Card (as a player):  1966 Topps #543
First Topps Card (as a manager):  1979 Topps #479
Last Topps Card (as a manager):  1992 Topps #109
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2015 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-RC

140 - Craig non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 8/30/19.

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.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Game 149 - 2019 Topps National Baseball Card Day SGA #PHI-2 Rhys Hoskins

Phillies 5Braves 4
Game 149 - Tuesday Night, September 17th in Atlanta
Record - 77-72, Tied for 3rd place, 14 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies rode a five-run fourth inning, including home runs from Rhys Hoskins and Jose Pirela, to a 5-4 win over the Braves.

What It Means:  With 12 games remaining, the Phillies still have a faint heartbeat and they're tied with the Mets at four games behind the Cubs and Brewers.

What Happened:  Vince Velasquez recovered from a rough bottom of the first to battle through five innings and allow two runs while striking out eight.  Hector Neris allowed a ninth inning home run to Adam Duvall, but escaped the ninth to record his 27th save.  The offense did all their work in the fourth inning against Dallas Keuchel, with the following progression - Bryce Harper infield single/probably more accurately an error by Josh Donaldson, Hoskins home run (29), Scott Kingery infield single, Sean Rodriguez single, Cesar Hernandez ground out to score Kingery, Pirela home run (1).

Featured Card:  Hoskins now has 29 home runs and 83 RBIs, but his average is still a much too low .239.  The Phillies will need Hoskins and the rest of the Phillies offense to go on a complete tear if there's any hope of playing October baseball.  It's getting late very quickly at this point.

Transactions:  Corey Dickerson was placed on the 60-day injured list with a broken left foot, ending his season and possibly his Phillies tenure.  In 34 games with the Phillies, Dickerson hit .293 with 8 home runs and 34 RBIs.  Edubray Ramos was activated from the 60-day IL, and if he enters a game it will be his first appearance since July 15th.

Getting Closer to T206 Phillies Team Set

My big splurge at the recent Valley Forge baseball card show was the purchase of three Phillies cards from the 1909-11 T206 tobacco card set.  I found a dealer selling very old baseball cards, found three Phillies cards I wanted/needed and then made what I felt was a fair offer for the three-card bundle.  The dealer accepted my offer and these three 110-year-old cards joined my collection.

There are 13 unique Phillies cards in the T206 set, not including back variations, and I now have seven of them.  I'm more than half way there to a Phillies team set.  These three cards are fairly beat up with rounded corners, but there's no paper wear and the fronts and backs of each card are clean.  The Fred Jacklitsch card has a Sweet Caporal Cigarettes back, while both the Kitty Bransfield and John Titus cards have Piedmont backs.

Bransfield played 12 years in the Majors, with seven of those years with the Phillies between 1905 and 1910 when he was their primary first baseman.  He was a career .270 hitter and he briefly served as an umpire following his retirement as a player.  His 1911 Turkey Red card features the same posed position as this T206 card, and he also appears in the 1911 T205 set with the Phillies.

Catcher Fred Jacklitsch was with the Phillies between 1907 and 1910, appearing in 231 games and hitting .222 while serving as a back-up to regular catcher Red Dooin.  He also appears in the 1911 T205 set as a Phillie, as well as the somewhat rare 1909 E92 set with either a Croft's Cocoa or Nadja Caramels advertisement on the back.

The dealer had the John Titus card in a sleeve with a "Mustache Man" sticker on it.  Of all the subjects in the 524-card T206 set, Titus is the only player featured with a mustache and as a result his card is a little more popular among casual collectors of tobacco cards.  Primarily a right fielder, Titus played for the Phillies between 1903 and 1912, hitting .278 over 1219 games.  He also had a Phillies card in the 1911 T205 set, but he appears in that set without a mustache.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Braves: September 17th to September 19th

2019 Chachi 1971 Topps Missing Links #17
1971 Topps #306
Tuesday and Wednesday 7:20, Thursday 12:10
SunTrust Park - Atlanta, GA

Phillies 76-72, Tied for 3rd place in the N.L. East, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves
Braves 93-58, 1st place in the N.L. East, 10 games ahead of the Nationals

Phillies Probables:  Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.95), Zach Eflin (8-12, 4.20), Aaron Nola (12-5, 3.62)
Braves Probables:  Dallas Keuchel (8-5, 3.35), Julio Teheran (10-9, 3.50), Mike Soroka (12-4, 2.57)

At the Ballpark:  The first 15,000 fans tonight will receive a Hank Aaron bobble head and there's also a cool Dale Murphy t-shirt available with the purchase of a t-shirt ticket package.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .284
Runs:  Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto - 89
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 31
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 102
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 13

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.62
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 216
Saves:  Hector Neris - 26

Braves Leaders
Average:  Freddie Freeman - .300
Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 121
Home Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 39
RBIs:  Freddie Freeman - 117
Stolen Bases:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 36

Wins:  Max Fried - 16
ERA:  Mike Soroka - 2.57
Strikeouts:  Max Fried - 166
Saves:  Luke Jackson - 18

2019 Chachi #67 Jose Pirela

Jose Manuel Pirela

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  220
Opening Day Age:  29
Born:  November 21, 1989, Valera, Venezuela
Signed:  Signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent, July 2, 2006
Teams:  New York Yankees 2014-2015; San Diego Padres 2016-2019; Phillies 2019
Acquired:  Purchased from the San Diego Padres, July 27, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2019

2015 Topps #594
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2015 Topps #594
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A
First Phillies Minor League Card:  N/A
First Topps Phillies Flagship Base Card:  N/A
Newest Card Added:  N/A

0 - Pirela baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 9/15/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi #67

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

Game 148 - 1992 Donruss Rookies #1 Kyle Abbott

Red Sox 6Phillies 3
Game 148 - Sunday Afternoon, September 15th in Philadelphia
Record - 76-72, 4th place, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies continued their slow walk towards the offseason with this lazy 6-3 loss.

What It Means:  The Phillies currently trail the Cubs for the second Wild Card by 4 1/2 games with 14 games remaining.  They'll need to go 6-8 to finish the season with a winning record.  I'm thinking that payment I made to the Phillies for postseason tickets will either be refunded or applied toward my 2020 partial season ticket plan.  Either way, they got an interest free loan from me.

What Happened:  As Jim Salisbury bleakly Tweeted, the Phillies scored four runs in the two-game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox and they struck out 25 times.  Rhys Hoskins hit his 28th home run to tie the game at 1-1 in the second.  Cesar Hernandez and Jean Segura would later add RBI singles, but it wouldn't be enough.

Bryce Harper and Gabe Kapler were ejected in the fourth inning while Harper was complaining about a poor strike call from the home plate umpire.

Featured Card:  Jason Vargas has made nine starts for the Phillies and has won none of them.  As Jayson Stark Tweeted, the last Phillies pitcher with no wins in his first nine starts with the club was Kyle Abbott back in 1992.  Vargas threw away a double play ball in the first that eventually led to the Red Sox' first run and then he surrendered a grand slam to Christian Vazquez in the third.  We probably will need to endure two more Vargas starts this season.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Game 147 - 2019 Stadium Club #152 Aaron Nola

Red Sox 2Phillies 1
Game 147 - Friday Night, September 14th in Philadelphia
Record - 76-71, 4th place, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola was brilliant, but the Phillies offense went quiet against Eduardo Rodriguez in this 2-1 loss to the Red Sox.

What It Means:  The Phillies have lost the last five games Nola has started, which isn't ideal with your ace on the mound while in the hunt for a postseason berth.

What Happened:  Nola left the game with the scored tied at one after seven innings, having struck out nine and allowing four hits.  His sole blemish was an RBI double to Christian Vazquez in his final inning.  Hector Neris allowed the eventual winning run to score in the ninth on a sacrifice fly.  The only Phillies run scored when Maikel Franco walked in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded.

Featured Card:  It was another loss, but Nola still gets the card.

Philly Baseball Card Show Report - Closer to a 1971 Topps Set, Meeting Cutch

Doug and I had to skip the Valley Forge baseball card show last September (we couldn't remember if it was because of my work schedule, his baseball schedule or both) but we wanted to get to the September show this year.  After an unusual amount of Saturday morning traffic, we arrived to an absolutely packed convention hall.  There were a huge amount of autograph guests, including Phillies greats, Eagles greats and boxing legends Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfied.  The large crowd meant it was harder to navigate the tables, but Doug and I still managed to pick up quite a bit for our collections.

Having already secured autographs for most of the current and former Phillies players attending, we limited our autograph ticket purchases to just one for Andrew McCutchen.  Cutch looked good and he told us he felt good too.
The haul
Too many autograph guests?
Doug spent his allowance money on a giant stack of current Phillies cards, with his favorite additions being game-used jersey and patch cards for Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper.  He also found a nice Harper plaque to hang somewhere on his bedroom wall, although he's quickly running out of space.  I'm getting really close to finishing off my 1971 Topps set, so I was determined to cross a few more of those cards off my list.  Here's what I picked up as seen in the photo above:
  • A signed McCutchen photo card and the perfect photo for a new Chachi insert card, complete with a Tyson cameo in the right corner!
  • A Rich Allen photo card from the early 1960s needed for my Phillies photo card collection.
  • Topps Phillies cards from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s for my Phillies team sets.  I'm closing in on a complete run of Topps Phillies cards, needing a bunch of cards from the 1952 Topps set and quite a few tough high numbers.
  • 16 cards for my 1971 Topps set, placing me only 6 cards away from a complete set.  If we get to the Valley Forge show in December, I'll plan on polishing off the set then.
  • And my personal highlight . . . 3 Phillies cards from the T206 set, including the card of the infamous Mustache Man, which will be featured in its own upcoming post.
Memory Lane
Valley Forge 1 - September 2010 - Thinking of my Dad
Valley Forge 2 - October 2012 - Doug's first baseball card show
Valley Forge 3 - September 2014 - Meeting Darren Daulton
Oaks 1 - October 2015 - Meeting Pete Rose and Steve Carlton
Valley Forge 4 - September 2016 - Phillies acquisitions and 4 Phillies Legends
Valley Forge 5 - December 2016 - Meeting Don Money
Valley Forge 6 - September 2017 - Doug's big day
Valley Forge 7 - December 2017 - Ben's first baseball card show with Mike Schmidt and Rhys Hoskins!
Oaks 2 - December 2018 - Meeting Matt Stairs and Cole Hamels
Valley Forge 8 - March 2019 - 5 Phillies Autographs and Vintage Phillies Additions
Valley Forge 9 - September 2019 - Closing in on 1971 Topps set and Andrew McCutchen

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Series Preview - Red Sox at Phillies: September 14th to September 15th

1971 Topps #649
1971 Topps #92
Saturday 7:05 and Sunday 1:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

I haven't researched this, but I can't remember the last time the Phillies started a series on a Saturday after a Friday off day.  It has to be at least 15 years or more.

Red Sox 77-70, 3rd place in the A.L. East, 19 games behind the Yankees
Phillies 76-70, 3rd place in the N.L. East, 14 1/2 games behind the Braves

Red Sox Probables:  Eduardo Rodriguez (17-6, 3.73), Rick Porcello (12-12, 5.83)
Phillies Probables:  Aaron Nola (12-5, 3.70), Jason Vargas (0-2, 5.01)

At the Ballpark:  It's Childhood Cancer Awareness night at the ballpark tonight.  Tomorrow, all kids will receive the annual Phillies W.B. Mason collectible truck.

Red Sox Leaders
Average:  Rafael Devers - .314
Runs:  Mookie Betts - 131
Home Runs:  J.D. Martinez - 35
RBIs:  Rafael Devers - 107
Stolen Bases:  Mookie Betts - 15

Wins:  Eduardo Rodriguez - 17
ERA:  Eduardo Rodriguez - 3.73
Strikeouts:  Chris Sale - 218
Saves:  Brandon Workman - 12

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .284
Runs:  J.T. Realmuto - 89
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 31
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 102
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 13

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.70
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 207
Saves:  Hector Neris - 26

Game 146 - 2019 Chachi Photo Cards #40 Adam Haseley

Phillies 9Braves 5
Game 146 - Thursday Night, September 12th in Philadelphia
Record - 76-70, Tied for 3rd place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Paced by four home runs, the offense came to life in this 9-5 win.

What It Means:  The Phillies are still somehow hanging around the Wild Card race and after a rare Friday off day, they'll open a quick two game series at home on Saturday night against the Red Sox.

What Happened:  Cesar Hernandez (11), Adam Haseley (5), Jean Segura (12) and J.T. Realmuto (25) all homered.  Hernandez added an RBI single in the sixth and Sean Rodriguez cushioned the lead with an RBI double in the eighth.  The hodge podge bullpen did its job again once starter Drew Smyly departed after four innings.  Jared Hughes pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and picked up the win while Hector Neris recorded the final four outs for his 26th save.

Featured Card:  It was Haseley's home run in the second that put the Phillies ahead for good, and he also made another impressive catch in center field.  Since the Phillies didn't create a photo card for Haseley this year, I took matters into my own hands and created the card shown here.  Fellow collector Rick was then gracious enough to have it signed for me (along with one for himself) and I'm very happy to have this autographed card of the young Phillies outfield in my collection.

Field Report:  Doug and I attended this game and we were thrilled to be able to go down on the field for a pregame ceremony to recognize the sponsors at this year's ALS Phestival.  This is the third year in a row we've been able to do this, and I hope the streak continues for many more years.  The highlight for Doug was fist-bumping Neris as we were leaving the field, and he also got a few "what's up buddy" from Edgar Garcia, coach Dusty Wathan and Brad Miller.

Game 145 - 1990 Phillies ALS Phestival Dallas Green

Braves 3Phillies 1
Game 145 - Wednesday Night, September 11th in Philadelphia
Record - 75-70, Tied for 3rd place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Dallas Keuchel and three Braves relievers held the Phillies to five hits in this 3-1 loss.

What It Means:  In his post-game interview, Keuchel indicated the Phillies had never even come calling when the then free agent was looking for employment before the Braves signed him in early June.  Instead, the Phillies have relied on a steady stream of starting pitchers who can't seem to get past the fourth inning or have ERAs over 5.  In 16 starts with the Braves, Keuchel is 8-5 with a 3.35 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings pitched.

What Happened:  All three runs for the Braves were unearned and scored in the fourth inning after a costly Jean Segura error.  The five Phillies hits were all singles and they went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  Here's a card of a Dallas who did play for the Phillies - Dallas Green - as well as lead the team to their first World Championship title in 1980.  After a multi-year eBay search, I recently added this card to my collection, signed by Green at the 1990 ALS Phestival as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of that 1980 Phillies team.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Game 144 - 2019 Phillies Team Issue 2 #4 Scott Kingery

Phillies 6Braves 5
Game 144 - Tuesday Night, September 10th in Philadelphia
Record - 75-69, 3rd place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were firing on all cylinders for this 6-5 win, with steady defense, five home runs and an impressive bullpen performance.

What It Means:  The Cubs lost, putting the Brewers a game behind and the Phillies two games behind for the second Wild Card.

What Happened:  The Phillies received first inning home runs from J.T. Realmuto (24), Bryce Harper (31) and Corey Dickerson (11), with Dickerson adding his second home run (12) of the game in the sixth.  It was the first time three Phillies had homered in the first inning since Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs and Chase Utley did it back on July 6, 2009.  (Per Meghan Montemurro Tweet.)

On defense, Harper threw out Ozzie Albies at third to limit further damage in the third inning and Realmuto threw out yet another baserunner, his 42nd on the year.

Starter Jason Vargas lasted three innings, but five Phillies relievers held the Braves to only one more run for the rest of the game.  Blake Parker turned in two scoreless innings, striking out four, and Hector Neris recorded his 25th save.

Featured Card:  Dickerson hitting two home runs would normally be enough to earn featured card honors, but Scott Kingery was the star of this game.  With the bases loaded in the third and the Phillies hanging on to a 4-3 lead, Kingery made a diving catch to save at least a few runs.  In the bottom of the third, he circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run after Ronald Acuna, Jr. leaped, caught the ball to bring it back from over the fence, but then dropped the ball mid-celebration.

2002 Topps #359 United We Stand: Braves-Phillies

This post was originally published in February 2013.

I went back through my 2001 and 2002 Topps sets while putting together the recently published 2001 Topps Phillies post and the (hopefully) soon to be published 2002 Topps Phillies post.  In my opinion, one of the best subsets Topps has ever included within its flagship set is the 8-card "America: United We Stand" subset featuring iconic images from the first baseball games following the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Found in series one of the 2002 Topps set, the cards served as a poignant reminder of how much baseball meant to our country (and selfishly me) following the attacks.  I didn't remember this until looking up the set's entry at, but the cards were in packs of series one as early as November 2001.

Members of the 2001 Phillies team are featured on card #359, standing solemnly along the first base line at Veterans Stadium, listening to the National Anthem prior to their game against the Braves on September 17th.  A few years ago, when scanning the card for an old post, I really started to look at the players featured on the card and I realized they had probably never been properly identified.  There are 11 Phillies players featured in profile on the card - some of which who would never have a proper Topps card or a proper Phillies baseball card.

Using the team's 2002 Media Guide and 2001 transactions listing, I pieced together the active Phillies roster as of September 17, 2001.  With the recent roster expansions, the Phillies were carrying 32 active players with two more players on the disabled list.  I tried to find video of the pre-game ceremony on-line, to no avail.  So based on my recollection of the team at the time, I think the players featured on the card are as follows, from left to right:

1.  Eddie Oropesa
2.  P.J. Forbes (not Nick Punto as originally believed - see update below)
3.  David Coggin
4.  Doug Nickle - I wasn't sure about this one, but according to Baseball Reference, Nickle's height is 6'4", the same height as Coggin who is standing next to him.
5.  Turk Wendell (not Jose Santiago as originally believed - see update below)
6.  Felipe Crespo - Crespo was acquired from the Giants in late July.
7.  Randy Wolf - I remember Wolf dyed his hair a garish blonde for some inexplicable reason during the summer of 2001.
8.  Brian L. Hunter
9.  Eric Valent
10.  Rheal Cormier
11.  Perhaps Jimmy Rollins?  This one is just too hard to tell.  (UPDATE - I'm going with Steve F. in thinking that this is actually Bobby Abreu.)

Granted, the identification of these players is something that might only be interesting to me but I'm glad I can now (mostly) identify the Phillies featured on one of the more meaningful baseball cards Topps has ever produced.

UPDATE (9/11/15) - Back in April, I received an e-mail from former Phillies pitcher Doug Nickle who confirmed it was indeed him in the photo standing next to David Coggin.  Doug was kind enough to point out that the players to either side of him are P.J. Forbes (and not Nick Punto) and Turk Wendell (not Jose Santiago).  According to the team's 2002 Media Guide, Forbes had his contract purchased from Scranton on September 17th, prior to the this game.  I've updated the listing above to reflect this information.

Thanks again Doug for the e-mail and I'm happy there's now an official record of the Phillies appearing on this important baseball card.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Game 143 - 2019 Topps Total #246 Nick Pivetta

Braves 7Phillies 2
Game 143 - Monday Night, September 9th in Philadelphia
Record - 74-69, 3rd place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Braves showed they were a much better team than the Phillies in this 7-2 loss.

What It Means:  The Phillies are three games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card, with the Brewers and Diamondbacks ahead of them.  It's not looking good.

What Happened:  Aaron Nola looked really shaky over the first few innings, allowing four runs in the first two frames.  He'd settle down and pitch six innings before handing the ball over to Nick Pivetta with the score at 4-1.  Pivetta started the seventh with a walk, a single and a three-run home run to Josh Donaldson and the Braves suddenly had a 7-1 lead.

The Phillies offense had five hits, including a few meaningless solo home runs from Corey Dickerson (10) and Cesar Hernandez (10).

Featured Card:  It's been a disappointing season for Pivetta who started the year as the team's number two starter.  He was demoted to the bullpen, spent some time in Triple-A, and finds himself with a 5.52 ERA and no clear role on the Phillies for 2020.

2019 Chachi #66 Nick Vincent

Nicholas James Vincent
Relief Pitcher

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  185
Opening Day Age:  32
Born:  July 12, 1986, Poway, CA
Drafted:  Selected by the San Diego Padres in the 18th round of the June 2008 draft
Teams:  San Diego Padres 2012-2015; Seattle Mariners 2016-2018; San Francisco Giants 2019; Phillies 2019
Acquired:  Signed as a free agent formerly with the San Francisco Giants, August 10, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2019

First Topps Flagship Base Card:  N/A
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A
First Phillies Minor League Card:  N/A
First Topps Phillies Flagship Base Card:  N/A
Newest Card Added:  N/A

0 - Vincent baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 9/8/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi #66

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

Monday, September 9, 2019

Series Preview - Braves at Phillies: September 9th to September 12th

1971 Topps #668
1971 Topps #166
Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 7:15
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Braves 89-55, 1st place in the N.L. East, 9 games ahead of the Nationals
Phillies 74-68, 3rd place in the N.L. East, 14 games behind the Braves

Braves Probables:  Mike Foltynewicz (5-5, 5.28), Max Fried (16-4, 3.86), Dallas Keuchel (7-5, 3.47), Julio Teheran (10-8, 3.31)
Phillies Probables:  Aaron Nola (12-4, 3.63), Jason Vargas (0-2, 4.93), Zach Eflin (8-11, 4.31), Drew Smyly (3-1, 3.93)

At the Ballpark:  Theme nights galore for this series with Phillies Band Night, Mystery Bobblehead Night, First Responders Night and German Heritage Celebration all happening, and in that order.

Braves Leaders
Average:  Freddie Freeman - .299
Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 113
Home Runs:  Freddie Freeman - 38
RBIs:  Freddie Freeman - 115
Stolen Bases:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 34

Wins:  Max Fried - 16
ERA:  Mike Soroka - 2.67
Strikeouts:  Max Fried - 159
Saves:  Luke Jackson - 18

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .288
Runs:  J.T. Realmuto - 87
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 30
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 101
Stolen Bases:  Scott Kingery - 12

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.63
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 200
Saves:  Hector Neris - 24

Game 142 - 2019 Topps Archives #112 Maikel Franco

Phillies 10Mets 7
Game 142 - Sunday Afternoon, September 8th in Queens
Record - 74-68, 3rd place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies battled back and hung on to defeat the Mets, thanks in part to a pinch-hit bloop single from Phil Gosselin and a two-run home run from Maikel Franco.

What It Means:  The Phillies and Brewers are two games behind the Cubs for the second N.L. Wild Card and the Diamondbacks are 1 1/2 games back.  The Braves will come to Philadelphia for a crucial four-game series beginning Monday night.

What Happened:  With the score tied 4-4 in the sixth, Gosselin singled home Rhys Hoskins with the go-ahead run and then Franco hit his big blast (16) off Luis Avilan.  Adam Haseley (4) and Scott Kingery (18) also homered with Corey Dickerson adding a two-run single in the fifth.

Nick Vincent began to redeem himself with a scoreless eighth inning and Hector Neris escaped trouble in the ninth to record his 24th save.

And it wasn't pretty.  As Meghan Montemurro Tweeted, this was the second longest 9-inning game in Phillies history, a minute shy of the 4 hour, 30 minute marathon last season in Pittsburgh.  The Phillies and Mets combined to use 16 pitchers and 390 pitches were thrown.

Featured Card:  Mostly exiled to the bench or Lehigh Valley for the bulk of the season, Franco came through in a big way with his home run.  Here's his 1975 Topps-inspired card from the recently released Topps Archives set.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Game 141 - 2019 Topps Rangers #TR-14 Drew Smyly

Phillies 5Mets 0
Game 141 - Saturday Night, September 7th in Queens
Record - 73-68, 3rd place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Drew Smyly threw seven shutout innings and Cesar Hernandez, J.T. Realmuto and Corey Dickerson paced the offense in this 5-0 win.

What It Means:  The Phillies are now looking up at the Diamondbacks ahead of them in the race for the second N.L. Wild Card.  They're tied with the Brewers at three games behind the Cubs, while Arizona is only 1 1/2 games back.

What Happened:  Hernandez led off the game with a home run (9), and he'd score the second run of the game in the fourth with an RBI single.  Realmuto followed that with an RBI single of his own before Dickerson brought them both home with an RBI double.

Featured Card:  Smyly allowed four hits and struck out six in his winning effort.  Smyly may not ever receive a Phillies baseball card, and to date his only 2019 baseball card can be found in the Topps Rangers retail team set.

Game 140 - 2019 Topps Heritage High Numbers Chrome #THC-535 J.T. Realmuto

Mets 5Phillies 4
Game 140 - Friday Night, September 6th in Queens
Record - 72-68, Tied for 3rd place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Nick Vincent surrendered a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth to send the Mets to a 5-4 victory.

What It Means:  For the second game in a row, Vincent, a September call-up and a reliever cast off by the Giants in early August, was on the mound when the opposing team walked off with the win.

What Happened:  With the exception of J.T. Realmuto, once again the offense couldn't come up with a big hit to give the Phillies a comfortable lead.  Maikel Franco, making his first start since returning to the club, tied the game in the sixth at 2-2 with an RBI single.  Blake Parker and Hector Neris (who didn't appear to be completely warmed up when he was waved in) allowed the Mets to take a 4-2 lead in the eighth.

Bryce Harper left the game in the third when a Steven Matz fastball caught him flush on his hand.

Featured Card:  Realmuto had an RBI double in the fifth and a huge, two-run home run (23) in the top of the ninth to tie the game.  It seems as if he's been almost single-handedly carrying the Phillies recenlty.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Mets: September 6th to September 8th

1971 Topps #705
1971 Topps #335
Friday and Saturday 7:10, Sunday 1:10
Citi Field - Queens, NY

Phillies 72-67, 3rd place in the N.L. East, 13 games behind the Braves
Mets 71-68, 4th place in the N.L. East, 15 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables:  Zach Eflin (8-11, 4.33), Drew Smyly (2-1, 4.57), Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.80)
Mets Probables:  Steven Matz (9-8, 4.04), Marcus Stroman (1-1, 4.55), Noah Syndergaard (10-7, 3.97)

At the Ballpark:  Tonight is Free Shirt Friday at the ballpark with all fans receiving a Mets t-shirt.  On Saturday, the first 15,000 fans will receive a pair of Mets mittens and kids will receive a Mets W.B. Mason truck on Sunday afternoon.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .283
Runs:  Bryce Harper - 86
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 30
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 100
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper and Scott Kingery - 11

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.63
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 200
Saves:  Hector Neris - 23

Mets Leaders
Average:  Jeff McNeil - .324
Runs:  Pete Alonso - 86
Home Runs:  Pete Alonso - 45
RBIs:  Pete Alonso - 105
Stolen Bases:  Amed Rosario - 16

Wins:  Noah Syndergaard and Zack Wheeler - 10
ERA:  Jacob deGrom - 2.76
Strikeouts:  Jacob deGrom - 220
Saves:  Edwin Diaz - 25

Game 139 - 2004 Donruss #323 David Bell

Reds 4Phillies 3 (11)
Game 139 - Thursday Afternoon, September 5th in Cincinnati
Record - 72-66, 3rd place, 13 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Phillip Ervin hit a walk-off winning home run off Nick Vincent to send the Phillies to an extra-inning 4-3 loss.

What It Means:  What a disappointing series.  The Phillies could have come away having won three out of four, or even sweeping, but they come away with a series split.  They'll head to Citi Field next for a weekend series against the Mets, who remain a game behind them in the standings.

What Happened:  J.T. Realmuto hit a solo home run in the eighth to tie the game at 3-3.  The Phillies offense went 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position, with a big clutch hit eluding them for most of the afternoon.

Featured Card:  There are 22 games remaining, I'm frustrated by the Phillies and I'm running out of steam.  Here's a card of current Reds manager David Bell.

Transactions:  Maikel Franco was recalled from Lehigh Valley, bringing the active roster to 34 players.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Game 138 - 2019 Grandstand Reading Fightin Phils Update #17 Adam Haseley

Reds 8Phillies 5
Game 138 - Wednesday Night, September 4th in Cincinnati
Record - 72-66, 3rd place, 13 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola had an uncharacteristically shaky outing and the Phillies couldn't completely overcome an early deficit in this 8-5 loss.

What It Means:  With 25 games remaining in the regular seasons, every game presents a must-win situation.  The Phillies couldn't get the job done on Wednesday night, even with their ace on the mound.

What Happened:  Nola lasted four innings and left having given up five runs on five hits and three walks.  Home runs from Logan Morrison (2), J.T. Realmuto (21) and Jay Bruce (25) resulted in the game being tied, 5-5, heading to the bottom of the seventh.  But Jose Alvarez allowed a solo home run to Jose Iglesias to untie the game and then Blake Parker surrendered a two-run home run to relief pitcher Michael Lorenzen in the eighth.

Featured Card:  It could have been worse if not for an over-the-wall catch made by Adam Haseley in the eighth to bring back a home run off the bat of Freddy Galvis.  It was an amazing catch, completely downplayed by the low-key Haseley.  We'll be seeing that play on highlight reels for years, and I just wish the catch could have come during a game the Phillies won.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Game 137 - 2019 Topps Archives #200 Bryce Harper

Phillies 6Reds 2
Game 137 - Tuesday Night, September 3rd in Cincinnati
Record - 72-65, 3rd place, 12 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  A productive offense and a reliable bullpen combined to send the Phillies to a 6-2 win over the Reds.

What It Means:  For the first time since mid-June, the Phillies are seven games over .500.

What Happened:  Vince Velasquez lasted only three innings, but six relievers combined to allow one Reds run on two hits over the final six innings.  Hector Neris struck out the side in the ninth.

The Phillies' first four runs came courtesy of sacrifice flies or singles.  Scott Kingery homered (17) in the ninth and Corey Dickerson added an RBI double.

Featured Card:  In the fifth, Bryce Harper singled home Dickerson, giving the right fielder 100 RBIs for the season.  He's the first Phillies player to the century mark for RBIs since Ryan Howard in 2011, and the first Phillies outfielder to do it since Pat Burrell in 2005.

2018 Topps Heritage #500
Transactions:  Pitcher Nick Pivetta and outfielder Jose Pirela were recalled from Lehigh Valley, giving the Phillies 33 active players.  Pirela was purchased from the Padres in late July and he's played in parts of six seasons with the Yankees and Padres.

Pirela first appeared in a few Bowman sets in 2011, and his most recent cards can be found in 2018 Topps, 2018 Topps Heritage and 2018 Topps Update.

Arrived During the 2019 Season
  • Jay Bruce - of (6/2/19) - Acquired from the Seattle Mariners with cash considerations for Jake Scheiner.
  • Brad Miller - inf (6/13/19) - Purchased from the New York Yankees.
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (6/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League.
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (7/15/19) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the New York Yankees organization.
  • Mike Morin - rhp (7/20/19) - Acquired from the Minnesota Twins for cash considerations.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (7/21/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
  • Jose Pirela - of (7/27/19) - Purchased from the San Diego Padres.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (7/29/19) - Acquired with cash from the New York Mets for Austin Bossart.
  • Blake Parker - rhp (7/30/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Minnesota Twins.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (7/31/19) - Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later and international bonus money.
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (8/10/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the San Francisco Giants.
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (8/15/19) - Claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
Departed During the 2019 Season
  • Aaron Altherr - of (5/12/19) - Selected off waivers by the San Francisco Giants.
  • Dylan Cozens - of (8/1/19) - Released and signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays, 8/9/19.
  • Yacksel Rios - rhp (8/3/19) - Selected off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Drew Anderson - rhp (9/2/19) - Released.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Game 136 - Harper, Hoskins, Kingery all Homer; Remembering Chace Numata

Phillies 7Reds 1
Game 136 - Monday Afternoon, September 2nd in Cincinnati
Record - 71-65, 3rd place, 12 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Scott Kingery, Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins (twice) all homered for the Phillies in this 7-1 series opening win.

What It Means:  The win kept the Phillies at 2 1/2 games behind the Cubs for the second Wild Card.

What Happened:  Four of the Phillies' six hits were of the home run variety, accounting for all seven runs.  Drew Smyly and Jared Hughes combined for seven innings of one run ball with Smyly striking out eight.  Nick Vincent recorded the final three outs in his Phillies debut.

Featured Card:  I'm hoping these two have many, many multi-home run games together and that leads to many more combo baseball cards.  I believe this is Hoskins and Harper's fourth baseball card together as they've appeared on two Topps Now cards (one from the 2018 Home Run Derby and one from this season in July), a Throwback Thursday online exclusive card in the style of 1970 Topps, and this Combo card inserted into packs of Topps Heritage High Numbers.

2017 Choice Reading Fightin
Phils Theme Night #2
Transactions:  Nick Williams joined the team in Cincinnati, giving them 31 active players.  With the IronPigs season ending on Monday, more bench and bullpen reinforcements could be on the way.

* * *

I also wanted to pay tribute to catcher Chace Numata who passed away on Monday after succumbing to injuries sustained in a skateboarding accident.  Numata, who was playing for the Tigers' Double-A team this season, spent his first eight professional seasons in the Phillies organization between 2010 and 2017.  He was one of the first players to ever sign a card for my son Doug back in 2013 at our first Lakewood BlueClaws game.  Based on the tributes pouring in over social media, Numata was a wonderful person and a tremendous teammate.  My sincere condolences go out to his family.  #ForNumi