Sunday, May 31, 2009

2009 Chachi #37 Jamie Moyer HL

The Phils beat the Nationals today, 4-2, behind Jamie Moyer's 250th career victory. Jamie pitched 6 strong innings, scattering 3 hits and allowing only one earned run. Even after his milestone win, Jamie continued to put the team first: "I was looking for some consistency. I wasn't concerned with the win beside my name as much as the win beside the Phillies' name."

By my unofficial count, Jamie became just the 3rd pitcher to win his 250th game wearing a Phillies uniform, following Jim Kaat (1977) and Steve Carlton (1981). (Grover Cleveland Alexander won his 250th as a member of the Chicago Cubs in 1921 and Robin Roberts won his 250th as a member of the Baltimore Orioles in 1963).

Congratulations Jamie!

1987 Fleer #642 Doubles & Triples

I still miss the Expos.

This 1987 Fleer card celebrates the 1986 battle between the Expos' Tim Raines and the Phils' Juan Samuel for the triples title. (I don't particularly remember this battle). In an unexpected development, the Expos' Mitch Webster hit 3 triples in the final week of the season to top the NL with 13. Sammy finished the season with 12 and Raines finished with 11.

So why is the card called "Doubles & Triples", and why isn't poor Mitch Webster featured on the front of the card? Almost obligated to explain this oversight, Fleer added the following last line on the back of the card: "Raines and Samuel finished in the top 5 in both doubles and triples." Mitch Webster did not finish in the top 5 in doubles, therefore his exclusion from this "Super StarSpecial" is justified. And now you know.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

2008 Topps #100 Ryan Howard

475 feet! That's how far Ryan Howard's 3rd inning grand slam travelled tonight before landing in the first row of the third deck at Citizens Bank Park. The slam was Ryan's 3rd of the year and the 8th of his career, breaking Mike Schmidt's all-time Phillies record.

Behind Ryan's 5 RBI (and the Nationals' 3 errors), the Phils were able to win the game, 9-6. Cole Hamels struggled at times, seeming to disagree with the home plate umpire's small strike zone throughout his 6 innings in the game. Brad Lidge, helped out by a spectacular double play from Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins, pitched to 3 batters in the 9th to clinch his 11th save.

And this was just announced on Phillies Post Game Live: Antonio Bastardo is taking Brett Myers' spot in the rotation, and will start against the Padres on Tuesday night. Antonio will be card #38 in the 2009 Chachi set.

1993 Donruss #304 Wes Chamberlain

1993 Phillies - The Bench

Uniform Numbers: 31 (1990-1991) and 44 (1991-1994)
1993 Stats: In 96 games, Wes hit .282 with 12 home runs and 45 RBI. He led the Phils with 10 outfield assists. In the NLCS, Wes was the team's leading hitter, batting .364 (4 for 11).
1993 Notable: Wes formed part of the right-field platoon with fellow outfielder Jim Eisenreich. Nearly half of Wes' hits during the year were extra base hits.
How Acquired: Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates with Julio Peguero and Tony Longmire for Carmelo Martinez, August 30, 1990.
Phillies Career: 1990-1994
How Departed: Traded to the Boston Red Sox with Mike Sullivan for Billy Hatcher and Paul Quantrill, May 31, 1994

1991 was by far Wes Chamberlain's best season, as he hit career highs in nearly every offensive category. After playing 70 games with the Red Sox in 1994 and 1995, Wes bounced around the Royals', Blue Jays', Pirates' and Mets' organizations, but never made it back to the Majors. He played briefly in Japan (1996) and spent time playing in the independent Northern League where he was named an All-Star in 2000 and 2003.

Did You Know?: Wes was traded by the Red Sox to the Royals for former Phillie Chris James on August 14, 1995

1964 Topps #347 Bobby Wine

Bobby Wine spent over two decades in the Phillies' organization - first as a player from 1960 until 1968 and then as a coach from 1972 until 1983. The 1963 Gold Glove winner at shortstop, Bobby was definitely known more for his fielding than for his hitting. In 1,164 games with the Phils, Wino hit .215 with 30 home runs. He spent most of the '60s competing with Ruben Amaro, Sr. for the Phils' starting shortstop job.

For every single game Bobby Wine played in the Majors, Gene Mauch was his manager. Mauch and Wino were both part of the expansion Montreal Expos' inaugural season in 1969. After 4 seasons with the Expos, Bobby returned to the Phils as a coach. Throughout the '70s and early '80s, he would manage the team whenever Danny Ozark, Dallas Green or Pat Corrales was ejected from the game - which I seem to recall happened quite frequently.

Bobby coached with the Braves from 1985 until 1990, serving as the team's interim manager for the latter part of the '85 season. He also coached with the Mets from 1993 until 1996 with his old friend Dallas Green who was then serving (doing time?) as the Mets' manager. After that, Bobby returned to the Braves where he's been, and still is, one of their advanced scouts, reporting directly to Braves' manager Bobby Cox.

Friday, May 29, 2009

2005 Chachi #49 Shane Victorino

The Phils left 13 men on base tonight, but the 5 runs they did push across were enough to beat the Nationals, 5-4. Shane Victorino went 4 for 5 in the winning effort, and Brad Lidge pitched a 1-2-3 9th inning to capture his 10th save.

Jimmy Rollins (2 doubles), Raul Ibañez, Jayson Werth, Pedro Feliz (triple) and Carlos Ruiz (2 doubles) each contributed 2 hits a piece. J.A. Happ pitched into the 6th inning, allowing only 3 runs, and earning his 3rd win of the year. This was the Phillies' 8th win in 10 games against the Nationals so far this year. Even better, no one hurt his hip in tonight's game.

1994 Ultra #252 Ben Rivera

1993 Phillies - Starting Rotation

Uniform Number: 34
1993 Stats: Ben managed a 5.02 ERA and a 13-9 record in 30 games with the Phils, 28 of which he started.
1993 Notable: On August 31st against Chicago, Big Ben threw his first career shutout, striking out a career high 9 Cubbies. He pitched 3.1 innings in relief in the Postseason, yielding 5 runs.
How Acquired: Acquired from the Atlanta Braves for Donnie Elliott, May 28, 1992
Phillies Career: 1992-1994
How Departed: Granted free agency, December 23, 1994 (Signed with the Montreal Expos' organization)

Ben's best stretch as a Phillie came in late 1992 after his acquisition from the Braves, when he went 7-3 with a 2.82 ERA. Unfortunately, he never recaptured that kind of effectiveness during the remainder of his Phillies tenure. Ben played a few seasons in Japan (1998-1999) and more recently (2005), attempted a comeback in the Mexican League.

1989 Fleer Update #U-131 Mike Schmidt

It was 20 years ago today . . . Mike Schmidt tearfully announced his retirement at a hastily called press conference in San Diego. 20 years already? Hard to believe Harry.

"Some 18 years ago, I left Dayton, Ohio, with two very bad knees and a dream to become a major-league baseball player," Mike said during the press conference. "I thank God the dream came true."

When I purchased the 1989 Fleer Update set (probably at the Ocean City card show), I was happy to see this tribute card included.

Nationals at Phillies: May 29th through May 31st

Friday & Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:35

Records: Nationals 13-33, Last Place in NL East (13 games behind the Mets); Phillies 25-20, 2nd Place in NL East (½ game behind the Mets)
Played their entire careers with just the Phillies and the Expos: Tony Barron, Bobby Wine and Floyd Youmans
The Phillies Room Repeating the Obvious: The Phils need to take this series. The Nationals are the worst team in the Majors, by far.
Nationals Probables: Ross Detwiler, Shairon Martis, John Lannan
Phillies Probables: J.A. Happ, Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer

Thursday, May 28, 2009

2008 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #37 Antonio Bastardo

The Phillies Room Special Report: Myers' Hip Watch '09 (Part 2)

Jayson Stark posted his latest Rumblings & Grumblings today, which included this interesting comparison: "Then there's a left-hander who is climbing everybody's charts, Antonio Bastardo, who has a 50-9 strikeout-walk ratio between Double-A and Triple-A. The Phillies dangled Bastardo in July for Rockies reliever Brian Fuentes. But a year later, he is actually drawing some Johan Santana comparisons, and might have passed [Carlos] Carrasco as their No. 1 pitching prospect."

As we're now 2 months away from the non-waiver trade deadline, Stark's column lists 11 starting pitchers possibly on the Phillies' radar: Roy Oswalt, Jake Peavy, Brandon Webb, Roy Halladay, Doug Davis, Erik Bedard, Cliff Lee, Aaron Harang, Brad Penny, Chris Young and Jason Marquis. He mentions catcher Lou Marson, infielder Jason Donald, pitcher Carlos Carrasco, catcher Travis D'Arnaud, shortstop Freddy Galvis, pitcher Kyle Drabek and outfielder Dominic Brown as possible trade bait.

Stark's article also includes an insightful summary of the current Jamie Moyer situation.

2000 Stadium Club #236 Brett Myers

The Phillies Room Special Report: Myers' Hip Watch '09 (Part 1)

As feared, the news on Brett Myers' right hip is not good. Todd Zolecki is now reporting hip surgery is "likely" for the pitcher, which could end his season, which could mean he's thrown his last pitch in a Phillies uniform. (Brett is a free agent after the '09 season). In a telephone interview, Brett used confusing medical jargon to explain the situation: "They told me that my hip is [messed] up."

The Phillies released the following official statement: "It is possible that Brett will not make his next start. That decision as well as any decision on a possible DL stint or surgery will be determined at a later date." In other words, please check back tomorrow and we're as nervous as the rest of you.

Brett, then only 19 years old, was the Phillies first round draft pick in June 1999. Topps inserted "rookie cards" of Brett in most of its 2000 products, including this one from its Stadium Club set. Only Jimmy Rollins has been with the Phils longer than Brett Myers.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

2008 Chachi #50 Matt Stairs

Not much to report tonight, as the Phillies looked completely flat against the Marlins in a 6-2 loss. Brett Myers pitched well until the 6th, when he had to leave the game with right hip inflammation. The Phils are now 9-14 at home, which doesn't really make any sense, and they've dropped out of 1st place.

Matt Stairs is featured as the card for this post thanks to his 444-foot pinch-hit home run tonight which sailed far over my head as I enjoyed the game from Section 103. Tomorrow is an off day, with a weekend series against the Nationals on deck.

1993 Pacific Spanish #230 Kim Batiste

1993 Phillies - The Bench

Uniform Numbers: 7 (1991) and 5 (1992-1994)
1993 Stats: Kim made it into 79 games with the '93 Phils, hitting .282 with 5 homers and 29 RBI. He hit .349 against left-handed pitchers and .311 with runners in scoring position.
1993 Notable: Kim hit a game-winning grand slam against the Mets on August 13th.
How Acquired: Drafted in the 3rd round of the June 1987 draft.
Phillies Career: 1991-1994
How Departed: Released, May 15, 1995 (Signed with the Baltimore Orioles' organization)

Kim was the team's back-up shortstop (or jardinero corto) and third baseman, often entering the game in the late innings to replace Dave Hollins at third. Such was the case in NLCS Game 1, when Kim entered the game at third and promptly committed a 9th inning error allowing the Braves to tie the game. In the bottom of the 10th, Kim atoned for the error with the game-winning single, scoring John Kruk from 2nd base.

2007 Chachi #38 Brian Sanches

Brian Sanches appeared briefly with the Phillies in 2006 and 2007, pitching in 30 games and compiling a 5.75 ERA. He's now a member of the Marlins' bullpen, where he's pitched in 4 games so far without allowing a run. (I honestly didn't realize Brian was with the Marlins until he started warming up in the bullpen late in Tuesday night's game).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

2008 Sweet Spot #56 Joe Blanton

Playing in a steady mist, the Phils and Shane Victorino bounced back against the Marlins tonight, winning the game, 5-3. The Flyin' Hawaiian went 4 for 5 with a run scored and 2 doubles. Pedro Feliz added 2 hits and 2 RBI.

The big story of the night was Joe Blanton's impressive pitching performance. Joe the Lumber pitched 7 solid innings, scattering 5 hits and 2 walks, while striking out a career-high 11. His season ERA dropped almost a run, from 7.11 to 6.14. Brad Lidge saved his 9th game as the bullpen decided to make the game interesting in the 9th.

The Phils and Brett Myers go for the series win tomorrow night.

1993 Topps #585 Ricky Jordan

1993 Phillies - The Bench

Uniform Number: 17
1993 Stats: As the club's primary pinch-hitter and John Kruk's back-up at 1st base, Ricky played in 90 games, and had a .289 average with 5 home runs and 18 RBI.
1993 Notable: His 16 pinch hits led the club. One of his pinch hits was a game-winning, 10th inning RBI single against the Cardinals on May 8th. Ricky was the Phils' starting DH in Games 1 and 2 of the World Series.
How Acquired: Drafted in the 1st round of the June 1983 draft.
Phillies Career: 1988-1994
How Departed: Granted free agency, October 17, 1994 (Signed with the California Angels)

Only Darren Daulton had been with the Phillies longer than Ricky Jordan when the team won the '93 NL pennant. Although some thought he would never make it, Ricky played 8 seasons in the Majors, and had a lifetime .281 average. In 2007, Ricky was inducted into the Reading Phillies Hall of Fame.

1997 Circa #143 Darren Daulton

There's a lot going on with this card. We've got Darren Daulton swinging his mighty hammer, exploding out of a thunderclap of purple and red. The heat from the resulting lightning has apparently started to melt the "A" and "U" in Darren's last name. We've got a motivational quote from the man himself. Finally, we've got the silver-stamped, dynamic "Circa '97" logo, identifying the source of this classic example of a mid-to-late-'90s baseball card.

Hobbled by bum knees, Darren would play in 84 games in the first half of the '97 season with the Phils, either as the team's first baseman or right fielder. On July 21, 1997, he was traded to the Florida Marlins for prospect Billy McMillon. His stats with the Marlins were respectable, but it was his undeniable clubhouse leadership that assisted in bringing the Marlins their first World Championship.

Monday, May 25, 2009

2009 Upper Deck #290 Ryan Howard

One of these nights, I'll get to add a highlight card to the 2009 Chachi set celebrating Jamie Moyer's 250th career victory. But not tonight.

Ryan Howard hit 2 home runs tonight (the first one was a BOMB), but the Phils lost to the Marlins, 5-3. The big blow came in the 4th inning, courtesy of ex-Phillie Wes Helms' 3-run home run. Jamie appeared to have struck out Wes on the pitch before the home run, but the home plate umpire disagreed. Wes finished the night 3 for 5 with 4 RBI. Sorta ex-Phillie Ronny Paulino knocked in the other Marlins' run.

Two other mistakes tonight: No way should Shane Victorino have been trying to steal in the bottom of the 9th with Matt Stairs up to bat as the potential tying run. Paulino threw out Shane at 2nd. And I should have waited in line for Chickie & Pete's crab fries. The fries would have nicely complimented the 2 dogs. Live and learn.

1994 Score #237 Larry Andersen

1993 Phillies - The Bullpen

Uniform Number: 47
1993 Stats: Pitching in 64 games, Larry compiled a 2.92 ERA, with a record of 3-2.
1993 Notable: David West was the lefty set-up man, and Larry was the righty set-up man. Like David West, Larry had a stellar season, holding right-handers to a .199 average and surrendering only 21 walks in 61.2 innings. Also like David West, Larry struggled in the Postseason, giving up 9 runs in 6 innings.
How Acquired: First stint - Purchased from the Seattle Mariners, July 29, 1983; Second stint - Signed as a free agent formerly with the San Diego Padres, December 18, 1992
Phillies Career: As a player - 1983-1986, 1993-1994; As a pitching coach with AA Reading and AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre - 1995-1997; As a broadcaster - 1998-current
How Departed: First stint - Released, May 13, 1986 (Signed with the Houston Astros); Second stint - Granted free agency and retired, October 28, 1994

As each year goes by, Larry is cementing his place in Phillies lore as one of the most important (and most popular) figures in the history of the organization.

Marlins at Phillies: May 25th through May 27th

Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday 7:05

Records: Marlins 20-25, 4th Place in NL East; Phillies 24-18, 1st Place in NL East (1 ½ games ahead of the Mets)
Played with the Marlins and the Phillies: Per Baseball, 23 players have played for both the Marlins and the Phillies, including: Antonio Alfonseca, Jeff Conine, Darren Daulton, Jim Eisenreich and Benito Santiago
The Phillies Room Stating the Obvious: The Phils need to keep up their winning ways and hopefully get Brad Lidge back on track. The team went 8-2 on its recently completed road trip.
Notable: I will be limiting my dog intake to 2 during tonight's Dollar Dog Night. I hope to make room for Chickie & Pete's crab fries.
Marlins Probables: Chris Volstad, Andrew Miller, Hayden Penn
Phillies Probables: Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton, Brett Myers

2002 Studio Spirit of the Game #SG-22 Brandon Duckworth

Happy Memorial Day! May your day be filled with family, baseball, hamburgers and Brandon Duckworth.

Wearing #56 (in 2001 and 2002) and #31 (in 2003), Brandon pitched in 65 games for the Phils, mostly as a starter, and had an overall record of 15-18. In his short time in Philly, Brandon developed a fan group at Veterans Stadium - The Duck Pond.

Brandon was traded to the Houston Astros in November 2003 in the Billy Wagner deal. He's since bounced from the Astros to the Pirates to the Royals, and he's currently pitching with the Royals' AAA team in Omaha.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

2008 Chachi #22 Clay Condrey

Jenna thought Clay Condrey deserved his own post for the excellent job he did out of the bullpen today. Clay pitched a scoreless 10th and 11th innings against the Yankees this afternoon, winning his 4th game of the season. The 4 wins tie him with Brett Myers for the team lead.

Clay was an important part of the Phillies' bullpen last year, and he's pitching in more crucial spots of games so far this year.

2009 Topps Phillies #PHI14 Carlos Ruiz

Carlos Ruiz did it all today. Chooch hit an RBI double in the 11th to plate the game-winning run, as the Phils beat the Yankees, 4-3. He prevented Johnny Damon from scoring in the 3rd on a play in which he smothered the plate and positioned himself perfectly to catch Jayson Werth's throw from left field. He threw out two would-be base stealers. And he grilled several delicious hamburgers and hot dogs to perfection for the family. (Oh wait, that was me).

Clay Condrey and Cole Hamels get honorable mentions today for their fine pitching performances.

As for Brad Lidge, who blew his 2nd save in as many days, Charlie Manuel had this to say after the game: "He's got a lot of talent. He's got a big fastball and a good slider. You know what he needs? Just to get 'em out one more time. That's what he needs. He's fine."

1993 Leaf #460 David West

1993 Phillies - The Bullpen

Uniform Number: 40
1993 Stats: In 76 games, David went 6-4 with a 2.92 ERA and 3 saves.
1993 Notable: David led the Phillies' bullpen in wins, appearances, innings pitched and strikeouts. He went 2-0 in July, with a 0.87 ERA in 15 appearances. Unfortunately, he didn't fare as well in the Postseason, giving up 8 runs in 3.2 innings.
How Acquired: Acquired from the Minnesota Twins for Mike Hartley, December 5, 1992
Phillies Career: 1993-1996
How Departed: Granted free agency, October 31, 1996 (Signed with the Cincinnati Reds)

Amazingly, 1993 was David's first full year in the bullpen, after primarily being a starting pitcher for the first 5 seasons of his career. David is a fine example of a cast-off from another team (acquired by GM Lee Thomas) coming to the Phils with no fanfare and little to no expectations.

1981 Fleer Star Stickers #91 Sparky Lyle

In the late '70s and early '80s, two prominent relief pitchers were sporting amazing handle-bar mustaches. One was Rollie Fingers, and the other was Sparky Lyle, who pitched for the Phillies from 1980 until 1982.

Of course, Sparky gained his fame as the Yankees' closer and situational lefty reliever throughout the '70s. He won the Cy Young Award in 1977, compiling a record of 13-5 (all in relief!), an ERA of 2.17 and saving 26 games. He pitched in the Postseason for the Yankees in 1976, 1977 and 1978.

In September 1980, looking for bullpen help for the final few weeks of the season, the Phils acquired Sparky from the Texas Rangers. He'd pitch parts of 3 seasons with the Phils, going 12-9 with a 4.37 ERA in 92 games. In August 1982, Sparky was sold to the Chicago White Sox, where he would pitch 11 games before calling it a career. Sparky Lyle has been the manager of the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League since 1998.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

2007 Topps 52 #145 J.A. Happ

OK. So that didn't go exactly as planned. The Phillies led the Yankees this afternoon, 4-2, going into the bottom of the 9th. Brad Lidge surrendered 3 runs in the 9th and the bad guys won, 5-4. And that's all I'm going to say about that. Cole Hamels takes the hill tomorrow to try to win the rubber match of the series.

Some positives from today:
- J.A. Happ: In his first start of the year, J. allowed only 2 runs over 6 innings, striking out 4.
- John Mayberry, Jr.: Starting in right field, John homered and doubled in his Major League debut.
- Raul Ibañez: Raul hit his Major League leading 17th home run. Is this guy for real?

Some negatives from today:
- Brad Lidge: See above. Brad is now 0-2 with 3 blown saves and a 9.16 ERA.
- Fox: After John Mayberry, Jr. hit his first career home run, the cameras located John Mayberry, Sr. in the stands and focused on his reaction after the home run and over the next few innings. Except it wasn't actually John Mayberry, Sr. It was a random dude in the stands. Fox later found the real John Mayberry, Sr., interviewed him, and apologized to the viewers for its earlier mistake.

1992 Medford Phillies #46 Johnny Podres CO

1993 Phillies - The Coaches

Johnny Podres was the Phillies' pitching coach from 1991 until 1996. However "Pods" is best remembered for his role in helping the Brooklyn Dodgers win a World Championship in 1955. In Game 7, Johnny pitched a shutout against the Yankees, securing the title for the team, and the World Series MVP trophy for himself.

By all accounts, Curt Schilling was a struggling, mediocre pitcher until his career was resurrected in the early '90s by Johnny Podres. Upon Johnny's passing in early 2008, Curt paid his respects: "Outside of the Lord, my wife and my father, there was no person who impacted my life more than Johnny Podres. A true man's man if there ever was one....Johnny made me realize that being a man wasn’t about the macho cool stuff we think men are supposed to be, but rather compassion, care, commitment, loyalty, integrity and drive....MLB, the Dodgers and players everywhere lost a very good and kind man today."

1983 Topps Traded #72T Larry Milbourne

Larry Milbourne enjoyed a 11-year Major League career playing for the Astros (1974-1976), Mariners (1977-1980, 1984), Yankees (1981-1982, 1983), Twins (1982), Indians (1982) and Phillies (1983). He was a member of the 1981 AL Champion New York Yankee team, collecting 3 RBI in the 1981 World Series against the Dodgers. Larry played in 41 games for the 1983 Phillies, hitting .242, before the Phils sold him back to the Yankees in July.

In the late '60s, Larry played baseball at my high school in Millville, NJ, where my Dad was a guidance counselor. I seem to remember meeting Larry on a few occasions when I was younger, and I think I accompanied my Dad once to pick him up from the Millville airport. (I'll rely on my Dad to correct any factual errors in this post).

Friday, May 22, 2009

2009 Chachi #36 John Mayberry, Jr.

The Phils optioned Sergio Escalona to AAA Lehigh Valley after tonight's game and recalled outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. John is expected to serve as the DH against the Yankees on Saturday and Sunday.

Phillies debut: May 23, 2009
How acquired: Acquired from the Texas Rangers for Greg Golson, November 20, 2008
Pictured: February 28, 2009 - Spring Training action

Did You Know?: John was the first player acquired by GM Ruben Amaro, Jr.

2007 Chachi #9 Brett Myers

Brett Myers was dealing tonight against the Bronx Bombers. He pitched 8 strong innings in New Yankee Stadium, striking out 5, as the Phils won, 7-3. Brett made a few mistakes in the 8th inning, allowing a pair of home runs, but the offense had already provided him with plenty of cushion.

In the first, Jimmy Rollins hit the first pitch he saw from A.J. Burnett into the bleachers for a 1-0 lead. Carlos Ruiz, Jayson Werth and Raul Ibañez each followed up with home runs of their own. Chooch finished the night 3 for 4.

Fox game tomorrow, which means I'll be listening to L.A. and Scott Franzke on the radio.

And one more thing . . . Rumors swirling in Philly tonight saying the Phils are involved in talks with the San Diego Padres for Jake Peavy. Peavy previously turned down a deal to the White Sox, so I'm not sure why he'd approve a deal to the Phils. In Ruben we trust.

1993 Pinnacle #598 Todd Pratt

1993 Phillies - The Bench

Uniform Numbers: 23 (1992-1993); 3 (1994, 2001-2005), 6 (1994 - switched from #3 due to the arrival of Billy Hatcher)
1993 Stats: As Darren Daulton's back-up, Todd appeared in 33 games, batting .287 with 5 home runs and 13 RBI.
1993 Notable: He had his first career 2-homer game against the Pirates, August 1. Todd made only one Postseason appearance, catching the 9th inning of NLCS Game 2, a game the Phils lost 14-3.
How Acquired: First stint - Selected from the Baltimore Orioles in the annual Rule 5 draft, December 9, 1991; Second stint - Acquired from the New York Mets for Gary Bennett, July 23, 2001
Phillies Career: 1992-1994, 2001-2005
How Departed: First stint - Granted free agency, December 23, 1994 (Signed with the Chicago Cubs); Second stint - Granted free agency, November 1, 2005 (Signed with the Atlanta Braves)

Along with Joe Carter, fan favorite Todd "Tank" Pratt is one of 8 players in Major League history to hit a walk-off home run to end a Postseason series. Todd did it in 1999 while playing with the Mets, when he hit a walk-off home run in the 10th inning of NLDS Game 4 against the Diamondbacks.

2004 Topps Fall Classic Covers #FC1950 1950 World Series

Unsolicited Phillies Room Rant: Put me in the camp of those who officially oppose Interleague play. When the concept was introduced for the 1997 season, I will admit I was a bit giddy. The thought of the Phils playing the Yankees in a game that mattered for the first time since 1950 seemed to have monumental historic importance. It was a tremendous way to boost the popularity of a sport still trying to come back from the 1994 strike.

That was then . . . Major League Baseball needs to go back to balanced schedules. I want to see more games with the Pirates, the Cardinals and the Dodgers, and less games with the Blue Jays and the Orioles. When the Phillies play the Blue Jays in the World Series this year (yes, that just happened) I wish the announcers could refer to October 1993 as the last time the two teams had faced each other, and not to a few months ago during Interleague play. A part of the mystique of the World Series has been tainted since Interleague play began over a decade ago, and now it's time to begin reclaiming that mystique.

Phillies at Yankees: May 22nd through May 24th

Friday 7:05, Saturday 4:10, Sunday 1:05

Records: Phillies 22-17, 1st Place in NL East (1 ½ games ahead of the Mets); Yankees 24-17, 3rd Place in AL East (2 games behind the Blue Jays)
Former Phillies with the Yankees: Since Bobby Abreu departed for the Los Angeles Angels - none.
Played with the Yankees and the Phillies: Per Baseball, 145 players have played for both the Yankees and the Phillies, including: Johnny Callison, Sal Fasano, Oscar Gamble, Tom Gordon, Charlie Hayes, Jim Konstanty, Ricky Ledee, Sparky Lyle, Larry Milbourne, Terry Mulholland and Shane Rawley.
Notable: I'm not as excited about Interleague play as I used to be (more on that later), but I am excited about Sunday's pitching match-up.
Phillies Probables: Brett Myers, J.A. Happ, Cole Hamels
Yankees Probables: A.J. Burnett, Andy Pettitte, CC Sabathia

Thursday, May 21, 2009

2009 Upper Deck Goudey #154 Jimmy Rollins

Welcome back Jimmy! Jimmy Rollins went 4 for 6 today, collecting his 1,500th career hit and his 300th career stolen base. The Phils won the game 12-5, taking 2 of the 3 games against the Reds. Since May 12th (the day we returned from vacation . . . coincidence?), Jimmy is hitting .341. Chase Utley went 3 for 4 with 4 RBI and finished the game a triple shy of the cycle.

Triple Crown Watch: Raul Ibañez went 2 for 5 today, hitting his 15th home run and knocking in 3. Raul is tied for the NL lead in home runs, he leads the NL with 40 RBI, and is 6th in the NL with a .349 average. Is Ruben Amaro, Jr. a genius?

1994 Fleer #595 Roger Mason

1993 Phillies - The Bullpen

Uniform Number: 48
1993 Stats: 5-5 record with a 4.89 ERA in 34 games.
1993 Notable: Roger combined on pitching two shutouts in 1993 - on July 21 with Tommy Greene and on August 29 with Danny Jackson.
How Acquired: Acquired from the San Diego Padres for Tim Mauser, July 3, 1993
Phillies Career: 1993-1994
How Departed: Sold to the New York Mets, April 29, 1994

Roger pitched 3 scoreless innings in 2 NLCS appearances against the Braves. In 4 World Series games against the Blue Jays, Roger allowed just one earned run, striking out 7 in 7.2 innings pitched.

1994 Flair #413 Billy Hatcher

Current Reds' first base coach Billy Hatcher played 43 games for the 1994 Phillies, blue hats and all, hitting just .246. Billy is a hero in Cincinnati, having gone 9 for 12 in the 1990 World Series, helping the Reds win it all against the highly favored Oakland Athletics.

Billy was acquired (with Paul Quantrill) from the Boston Red Sox in May 1994 for Wes Chamberlain. The departure of Wes Chamberlain represented the 3rd major trade of key Phillies from the 1993 team, following the trade of Mitch Williams to the Astros in December 1993, and the trade of Terry Mulholland to the Yankees in February 1994.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

2007 Bowman Heritage #119 Jamie Moyer

He's getting there . . . Jamie Moyer looked better tonight, but the Phils still lost to the Reds, 5-1. Jamie will have to wait once again for his 250th career victory. Jamie pitched 6 innings, surrendering only 3 runs but allowing way too many baserunners.

The offense looked sluggish as Aaron Harang limited the team to just 4 hits over 7 innings. The sole bright spot was Raul's Ibañez' 14th home run, putting him one behind the Padres' Adrian Gonzalez for the NL lead.

The Phils and Reds close out the 3-game series tomorrow at 12:35, which means I will have to do my best to follow the game over the internet while trying to appear productive at work. (Go Dodgers!)

1994 Stadium Club #394 Tony Longmire

1993 Phillies - The Bench

Uniform Number: 16
1993 Stats: In 11 games, Tony hit just .231. The last addition to the Postseason roster, Tony made it into only one game, striking out in Game 2 of the NLCS against the Braves.
1993 Notable: Tony hit .305 with AAA Scranton, leading the International League with 36 doubles.
How Acquired: Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates (as the player to be named later) with Wes Chamberlain and Julio Peguero for Carmelo Martinez, August 30, 1990
Phillies Career: 1993-1995
How Departed: After missing the 1996 season due to injury, Tony was granted free agency at some point during the 1997 season.

I just don't know about the 1994 Stadium Club design. It seems as if it's trying too hard to be cool, instead of just letting it happen naturally.

1976 SSPC #467 Greg Luzinski

Flipping through an album of my older Phillies cards on Sunday, my Dad came across a set he hadn't seen before. I explained it was the 1976 SSPC Phillies team set and that not a lot of people knew about it since the set was pulled from circulation as a result of legal problems. "That would make a good post for the blog," he said. Agreed.

The 630-card set was produced in 1975 by the Sport Star Publishing Company, but not released until 1976. The cards were numbered by team, with the Phillies comprising cards 456 through 476. (A few Phillies prospects show up at the end of the set). One card I don't have from this set, that I'd like to eventually track down: card #622 features former Phillie Dick Sisler as a coach for the San Diego Padres.

Did You Know?: According to Beckett's 16th Baseball Card Price Guide, "The card backs were edited by Keith Olbermann, prior to his ESPN broadcasting days."

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

1972 Topps #520 Larry Bowa

I've been reading a lot about fellow bloggers' discovery and appreciation of the 1972 Topps set, so I thought I'd chime in. I began collecting the 1972 Topps set in June 1992 when I purchased the Harmon Killebrew card for $2 at the Ocean City Baseball Card Show. I completed the set in October 2007 when a decent Bobby Murcer card was finally tracked down at the Philadelphia Sports Card Show (which was actually held in Reading, PA).

Yes, the set took a while to complete. No, I wasn't in any hurry. I collect a set like the tortoise runs his race - slow and steady. The cards from my '72 set came from all over the country - Kit Young Cards, Winston-Salem, New Hampshire, Millville, multiple eBay wins, Cooperstown and Ft. Washington, PA, just to name a few locations. This Larry Bowa card was purchased at Raleigh's Sports Card & NASCAR Collectibles Show in January 1999.

I started collecting the 1971 Topps set in December 1998, and I'm 272 cards away from completing it. One day I'll get there, slow and steady.

1994 Donruss #273 Bobby Thigpen

1993 Phillies - The Bullpen

Uniform Number: 37
1993 Stats: In 17 games with the Phils, Bobby went 3-1 with a 6.05 ERA.
1993 Notable: Bobby won games in his first and third appearances with the Phillies. He pitched 2.2 scoreless innings in the 1993 World Series.
How Acquired: Acquired from the Chicago White Sox for Jose DeLeon, August 10, 1993
How Departed: Granted free agency, November 1, 1993 (Signed with the Seattle Mariners)

In 1990, Bobby set the single-season save record with 57, a record that stood until last year when the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez saved 62 games.

2006 Chachi #24 Arthur Rhodes

Why couldn't he have had the surgery a few years earlier?

2006 Phillies - 0-5 with a 5.32 ERA and 3 very, very painful blown saves over 55 appearances
2007 Mariners - Missed the entire season following Tommy John surgery
2008 Mariners & Marlins - 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA in 61 games, no home runs allowed
2009 Reds (through Sunday) - 0-0 with a 0.75 ERA through 16 games

Here's hoping Raul and Ryan help Arthur have a few flashbacks to '06.

Phillies at Reds: May 19th through May 21st

Tuesday & Wednesday 7:10, Thursday 12:35

Records: Phillies 20-16, Tied for 1st place in NL East; Reds 20-17, 4th place in NL Central (Each team's standings gives you an idea as to how mediocre the NL East has been so far this year).
Former Phillies with the Reds: Unbelievably, current Reds' reliever Arthur Rhodes (2006) has a 0.75 ERA in 16 appearances this year. First base coach Billy Hatcher (1994), and broadcaster Jeff Brantley (1999-2000) both spent time with the Phils.
The Phillies Room Keys to the Games: The Phillies need to continue the momentum started with the 4-game sweep of the Nationals. I'm looking forward to tonight's match-up of Hamels vs. Cueto.
Phillies Probables: Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton
Reds Probables: Johnny Cueto, Micah Owings, Aaron Harang

Monday, May 18, 2009

1984 Fleer #636 Reds Reunited

I'll admit, before I pulled this card from a pack of Fleer cards in the summer of 1984, I had never heard of the Big Red Machine. I knew both Joe Morgan and Tony Perez had had impressive careers, since the ubiquitous Active Leaders cards at the end of the 1984 Topps set told me as much. And I had known about Charlie Hustle since the summer of '79.

The trio reunited in 1983 to form part of the group known as the Wheeze Kids. The core of the '83 Phils were aging veterans looking for one last trip to the Postseason - and they got there. They won the NL East, defeated the Dodgers in the NLCS, but lost to the Orioles in the World Series.

And for the record, I don't mind listening to Joe Morgan during ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. (Although I wish he and his broadcast partners had actually discussed the Giants-Mets game on Sunday night and not just the Mets' ongoing soap opera saga).

2004 Topps #695 South Philly Sluggers

Current White Sox DH Jim Thome hit his 548th home run today, tying him with Mike Schmidt for 13th place on the all-time home run list.

The picture on this Topps card was taken on September 28, 2003, during the post-game closing ceremonies for Veterans Stadium. Mike Schmidt had just taken one last ceremonial run around the bases, touching home plate at The Vet for the last time. Spontaneously, Mike grabbed Jim Thome from amongst the current roster of Phillies watching from the sidelines. He brought Jim back to home plate with him and both received a standing ovation.

We were there, and we stood and cheered along with the other 60,000+ in attendance.

In other ex-Phillies news, here's hoping the Rays' Pat Burrell recovers soon from the strained neck that landed him on the 15-day DL today.

1993 Stadium Club Phillies #25 Jose DeLeon

1993 Phillies - Supporting Cast

Uniform Number: 50
1993 Stats: Pitched in 24 games (starting 3), compiling a 3-0 record with a 3.26 ERA.
1993 Notable: On the Phils' opening day roster, Jose pitched sparingly throughout the first 4 months of the season before his trade to the White Sox in early August.
How Acquired: Signed as a free agent formerly with the St. Louis Cardinals, September 9, 1992
Phillies Career: 1992-1993
How Departed: Traded to the Chicago White Sox for Bobby Thigpen, August 10, 1993

From 1984 through 1988, I'm fairly certain that every single pack of baseball cards I opened contained at least one Jose DeLeon card.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2008 Chachi #45 Scott Eyre

How much longer will Chan Ho Park remain in the Phillies' starting rotation? He lasted just 1.1 innings today, surrendering 5 hits, 4 walks and 5 runs. His ERA stands at 7.08.

The biggest contributing factor to the Phils' win this afternoon (and resulting 4-game sweep of the Nationals) was the 7.2 innings pitched by the bullpen, in which only 1 run was surrendered. Sergio Escalona walked away with his first Major League win in his big-league debut.

Scott Eyre served as the set-up man today and Brad Lidge saved his 2nd game in as many days. Off day tomorrow and then 3 with the Reds . . .

1994 Topps #447 Mike Williams

1993 Phillies - Supporting Cast

Uniform Number: 41
1993 Stats: Pitched in 17 games (4 as a starter and 13 as a reliever), with a 1-2 record and a 5.29 ERA.
1993 Notable: His only win came against the Dodgers on July 7th, pitching the final 6 innings of a 20-inning game. (Jim Eisenreich scored on Lenny Dykstra's ground rule double in the bottom of the 20th).
How Acquired: First stint - Drafted by the Phillies in the 14th round of the June 1990 draft; Second stint - Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for Frank Brooks, July 21, 2003
Phillies Career: 1992-1996; 2003
How Departed: First stint - Granted free agency, December 20, 1996 (Signed with the Boston Red Sox); Second stint - Granted free agency, October 14, 2003 (Signed with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' organization)

Mike was thisclose to making the Phils' 1993 Postseason roster, but they decided to go with outfielder Tony Longmire instead. His 2nd stint with the Phillies was undeniably a disaster, as he went 0-4 with a 5.96 ERA during the 2003 stretch run.

2009 Chachi #35 Sergio Escalona

So much for Andrew Carpenter's roster spot . . . After his start last night, Andrew was optioned back down to AAA Lehigh and pitcher Sergio Escalona was recalled from AA Reading. The move means the Phils are carrying 13 pitchers on their roster and only 4 bench players. I'd expect Sergio to stick around through the next series with the Reds and then the Phils will recall another bat to help during upcoming Interleague play.

Phillies debut: May 17, 2009
How acquired: Signed by the Phillies as an amateur free agent, May 25, 2004
Pictured: For now, this is the picture from Sergio's 2008 Lakewood BlueClaws' card.

UPDATE, May 22, 2009: The new picture for Sergio is from May 17, 2009, following the Phillies' 8-6 victory over the Nationals.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

2009 Topps Heritage #31 Raul Ibañez

RAUUUUUUUL! Mr. Ibañez is completely and totally owning the Nationals this series. At this point, I think it's safe to assume Raul will be travelling to St. Louis with Charlie Manuel for the All-Star Game in July.

Game 1 (Friday night) - 4 for 6, 2 runs scored, 3 RBI, stolen base
Game 2 (Saturday afternoon) - 3 for 5, 3 runs scored, 4 RBI, 2 home runs
Game 3 (Saturday night, called after 5 innings because of rain) - 2 for 3, 1 run scored, 3 RBI (3 run home run)
Game 4 (Sunday afternoon) - ?

Brad Lidge saved a game, Jimmy Rollins is getting hits, Brett Myers pitched well, everything is starting to make sense again. If only Greg Dobbs' long foul ball had been a few inches to the left . . .