Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Phillies at Braves: June 30th through July 2nd

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 7:00

Records: Phillies 39-34, 1st Place in NL East (2½ games ahead of the Marlins); Braves 35-40, 4th Place in NL East (5 games behind the Phillies)
Last Trade Between the Braves and the Phillies: Phillies acquired Kevin Millwood from the Atlanta Braves for Johnny Estrada, December 20, 2002
Welcome Back: Jimmy Rollins. Now snap out of it!
Phillies Probables: Joe Blanton, Cole Hamels, TBD (but most likely Carlos Carrasco or Andrew Carpenter)
Braves Probables: Derek Lowe, Jair Jurrjens, Javier Vazquez

Sunday, June 28, 2009

2006 Chachi #4 Chase Utley

Nothing like listening to the Phillies game on the radio while at the shore . . . Chase Utley's 2-run triple in the 4th inning put the Phils ahead for good, as they hung on to win today against the Blue Jays, 5-4.

Jamie Moyer pitched 5 innings, surrendering only 4 runs, to secure his 252nd career victory. Chan Ho Park, who is quietly emerging as an effective set-up guy, pitched a scoreless 6th and 7th. Brad Lidge wriggled out of trouble in the 9th for his 14th save - his first since returning from the DL.

Off day tomorrow for the Phils . . . and for me.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

2009 Upper Deck Inkredible #INK-JH J.A. Happ AU

A masterful pitching performance this afternoon has improved my mood after the embarrassing Phillies loss on Friday night. The Phils beat the Blue Jays 10-0 today, as J.A. Happ pitched his first career complete game shutout.

The win accomplished several things:
- It's got to improve Happ's confidence and hopefully it gives him some momentum going into his next start.
- It rests an overtaxed bullpen.
- It makes Charlie Manuel look like a managing mastermind since he called a closed-door 20-minute meeting following Friday night's loss. Whatever he said worked.

Jayson Werth was the offensive star of the game, going 4 for 4 with 2 home runs and knocking in 3. Ryan Howard also went 3 for 4 in the winning effort. Jimmy Rollins continues his sabbatical on the bench.

1990 Classic Yellow #T66 Sil Campusano

Sil Campusano is the lesser known of the two players selected by the Phillies in the 1989 Rule 5 draft. (The other better known player being Dave Hollins, whom the Phils' selected from the San Diego Padres). Sil had spent the 1988 and 1989 seasons bouncing around the Toronto Blue Jays' organization, playing 73 games in the Bigs in 1988.

Sil was actually the Phillies Opening Day center fielder in 1990, due to an injury to Lenny Dykstra. In his limited time with the Phils in 1990 and 1991, Sil appeared mostly as a late-inning defensive replacement or as a pinch-hitter.

His one memorable moment as a Phillie came on August 3, 1990, when with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and a 3-2 count, Sil singled off of the Pirates' Doug Drabek to break up his no-hit bid.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Phillies at Blue Jays: June 26th through June 28th

Friday 7:07, Saturday & Sunday 1:07

Records: Phillies 37-33, 1st Place in NL East (½ game ahead of the Mets); Blue Jays 40-34, 3rd Place in AL East (5 games behind the Red Sox)
Played with the Blue Jays and the Phillies: Per Baseball Reference.com, 56 players have played for both the Blue Jays and the Phillies, including - Sil Campusano, Dick Davis, Rob Ducey, Dan Plesac, Scott Rolen, Juan Samuel, Matt Stairs and Dave Stewart.
The Phillies Room Out of Office Response: We're heading to the shore for a little bit, so posts may be sporadic at best or non-existent at worst.
Phillies Probables: Cole Hamels, J.A. Happ, Jamie Moyer
Blue Jays Probables: Ricky Romero, Brad Mills, Brian Tallet

Thursday, June 25, 2009

1986 ProCards Reading Phillies #11 Michael Jackson

Strange days indeed . . . I wanted to pay tribute somehow to Michael Jackson (the King of Pop and not the relief pitcher) and this was the first (and only) Phillies baseball card to come to mind. The person I wanted to call today after I heard the news of his passing was my sister, who had hosted a Michael Jackson themed birthday party back in the day. I think everyone wore their Michael Jackson gear and they watched the Thriller video. It's sad to think that such an icon from our youth is gone.

Say say say what you want, but the Phils' play these days is just Bad. (Sorry, I'll knock it off now). Antonio Bastardo was dreadful tonight, Pedro Feliz looked clueless on the base paths, the bullpen is a shell of its former self, Jimmy Rollins is riding the pine, and Charlie Manuel just looks exacerbated. With the 10-4 loss to the Rays tonight, the Phils have lost 8 of their last 9. The Mets, Marlins and Braves are getting closer and closer in the rear-view mirror.

Perhaps the best thing for the entire team is to get out of the country for a few days.

2008 Chachi #82 World Series Champs!

2008 Chachi #81 World Series Game 5b/Geoff Jenkins & Brad Lidge

World Series Game 5b - October 29, 2008
Phillies 4, Rays 3

From the Phillies.com report of the game: It took three days to complete Game 5, which was suspended due to the rain, but in the end, it was all worth it, because the Phillies defeated the Rays in five games to win the World Series. Cole Hamels, who won Game 1 and started the clincher, was named the Fall Classic MVP.

Geoff Jenkins: "You dream about getting that one big hit to help the team win. Tonight was that night for me."

Chase Utley, who threw out the tying run at the plate: "It was huge. It was big. It kept them from scoring."

Brad Lidge: "I never felt better in my life to get pummeled like that."

Charlie Manuel: "I always thought we could win the World Series. I knew we could beat anybody in our league. I look at what I see in our guys, I see chemistry and attitude and our makeup and how much we like to play and how much the Philadelphia fans back us, I know we can win the World Series. This is for Philadelphia. This is for our fans."

Ryan Howard: "We're winners. Rejoice. Nobody can take that away from the city of Philadelphia."

2008 Chachi #80 World Series Game 5a/Carlos Ruiz

World Series Game 5a - October 27, 2008
Phillies 2, Rays 2

From the Phillies.com report of the game: For the first time in Major League Baseball history, a World Series game has been suspended. Rain halted Game 5 of the Fall Classic in the bottom of the sixth inning on Monday night when the field at Citizens Bank Park was deemed unplayable. The tarp was pulled across the infield at 10:40 p.m., with the Phillies and Rays tied, 2-2.

Jim: "AAAAAaagggggggghhhhh!!!"

Cole Hamels: "It's unfortunate, it truly is. I'm going to have to give it to Mother Nature."

Carlos Ruiz: "It was real bad out there. The worst I've ever played in. It was very hard for Cole to pitch."

Commissioner Bud Selig: "We'll stay here if we have to celebrate Thanksgiving here. [The game] will be resumed when I believe that the weather conditions are appropriate. We are not going to resume until we have decent weather conditions."

Charlie Manuel, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Pat Burrell, and several other prominent Phillies: No comment.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

2006 Chachi #5 Pat Burrell

If you erase the 8th inning train wreck, tonight's game boiled down to a pitcher's dual between the Rays' Matt Garza and the Phillies' Joe Blanton. Blanton pitched 7+ innings, allowing only a 2-run home run to Pat Burrell and striking out 10. Garza pitched 8 innings, scattering 3 hits (one of which was a Jayson Werth solo home run) and striking out 7.

I'm not sure if it would have mattered or not, but Jimmy Rollins made a bone-headed play in the botoom of the 8th, allowing the Rays to pad their 2-1 lead. By electing to try to force the runner at 2nd and not throwing out the incredibly slow Pat Burrell at first, Jimmy failed to secure the final out of the inning and opened the gates for the Rays to score 5 times and eventually win, 7-1.

The Phils have lost 9 of their last 11. And that's all I'm going to say about that.

1993 SP #179 Kevin Stocker

1993 Phillies - Shortstop

Uniform Number: 19
1993 Stats: In 70 games after his July call-up, Kevin hit .324 with 31 RBI.
1993 Notable: Kevin made his Major League debut on July 7th against the Dodgers, playing all 20 innings of the Phils' 7-6 win. He finished 6th in the 1993 NL Rookie of the Year voting (Mike Piazza won), but he struggled in the Postseason, hitting just .182 in the NLCS and .211 in the World Series.
How Acquired: Drafted in the 2nd round of the June 1991 draft.
Phillies Career: 1993-1997
How Departed: Traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for Bobby Abreu, November 18, 1997

After the Juan Bell experiment failed, Kevin Stocker was exactly what the team needed - a more reliable defensive shortstop who contributed at the plate. Kevin served as the club's regular shortstop from 1994 until 1997, but he never quite matched the success he had found in his rookie season. On expansion draft day in November 1997, the Phils shipped him to the Devil Rays for the relatively unknown Bobby Abreu. Kevin was the Devil Rays' regular shortstop for the franchise's dreadful first two years (1998-1999), but the team released him in May 2000. After playing out the duration of the 2000 campaign with the Anaheim Angels, Kevin signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets. In February 2001, before ever donning a Mets' uniform, Kevin Stocker announced his retirement from baseball at the age of 31.

2008 Chachi #79 World Series Game 4/Ryan Howard

World Series Game 4 - October 26, 2008
Phillies 10, Rays 2

From the Phillies.com report of the game: The Phillies are on the verge of winning their first World Series title since 1980 after they beat the Rays in Game 4 behind the arm and bat of Joe Blanton, who became the first pitcher to hit a Fall Classic homer since 1974. In the blowout, Ryan Howard launched two homers, a three-run shot in the fourth and a two-run blast in the eighth.

Joe Blanton: "I'm not a hitter. I'm just going to close my eyes and swing as hard as I can, just in case I make contact."

Ryan Howard: "That's the kind of stuff you dream of when you're a teenager. Getting to the game, obviously, you want to win, but being able to do something like that, and just to help my team win, it's a great feeling."

Charlie Manuel, on Ryan Howard: "He's a carrier. And a carrier is somebody that can take your team and get the big hits and knock in runs, and he can put you on your back and he can carry you. And that's one of my favorite statements."

2008 Chachi #78 World Series Game 3/Carlos Ruiz

World Series Game 3 - October 25, 2008
Phillies 5, Rays 4

Jenna and I attended our first ever World Series game, sitting in Section 103, under cover. We were home by 2:30 AM.

From the Phillies.com report of the game: The start of Game 3 was delayed by rain, but once it started, it was non-stop action until the ninth, when the Phils, who took an early lead on solo homers by Carlos Ruiz, Chase Utley and Ryan Howard, scored the game-winner on Ruiz's single, the first infield walk-off hit in Fall Classic history.

Jamie Moyer: "I didn't really find it difficult, because I didn't have to start and then stop. It was a little tough trying to figure out when we were going to get started. But they gave both teams plenty of advance notice when the game was going to start and I was ready to go, obviously, well before that."

Carlos Ruiz: "I was looking for a pitch to hit. I was thinking I wanted to hit a fly ball to the outfield, but that didn't work out. I'll take the ground ball. It was big. The home run was, too, but the game-winner was very important. It felt good."

Eric Bruntlett: "I saw the ball on the ground and I took off for home plate. I was trying to figure out where I was going to slide. I saw the ball actually flying over my head. I knew it was going to be a tough play."

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

2009 O-Pee-Chee #75 Chase Utley

That's more like it! The Phils threw up crooked numbers tonight scoring 6 in the 1st inning and 4 in the 4th inning to take the Rays, 10-1. Chase Utley went 3 for 5 with 4 RBI, including a 2-run home run, his 16th of the year. Shane Victorino added 2 hits and scored twice and John Mayberry, Jr. contributed a 3-run home run.

Jamie Moyer pitched 6 solid innings, earning his 5th win of the season, and lowering his ERA to below 6. The only downer from the night came from Jimmy Rollins, who went 0 for 5, continuing his season-long slump.

2008 Chachi #77 World Series Game 2/Jayson Werth

World Series Game 2 - October 23, 2008
Rays 4, Phillies 2

From the Phillies.com report of the game: Offensively, the Phillies had their chances to push runs across the plate, but they were denied for the most part by Rays starter James Shields and the bullpen, negating Brett Myers' solid outing. With Philly's Game 2 loss to Tampa Bay, the World Series is even at one game apiece.

Shane Victorino: "We're not doing it. That's the bottom line."

Jimmy Rollins, hit by a David Price pitch in the 9th inning, but was denied his base by home plate umpire Kerwin Danley: "He missed it. That's baseball; that's the beauty of sports. Sometimes they're going to get calls right and sometimes they're going to get calls wrong."

Brett Myers: "They have to deal with our crowd now. We're in front of our people, and we definitely play better at home. We took one here, that's a big deal for us. Our park with our fans, we're not down by any means. We actually feel good."

2008 Chachi #76 World Series Game 1/Cole Hamels

World Series Game 1 - October 22, 2008
Phillies 3, Rays 2

From the Phillies.com report of the game: The Phillies' return to the Fall Classic was an unqualified success, as they edged the Rays in Game 1 behind ace Cole Hamels, who won his fourth start of the 2008 postseason. In the first, Chase Utley became the 34th player in World Series history to homer in his first at-bat.

Charlie Manuel: "Yeah, Cole's pretty good, man. I'm glad he pitches for us. He's been very consistent all year long. How he pitched tonight, that's kind of like a regular game for him. He can be better. He can be bit sharper, but tonight he was very good."

Cole Hamels: "I think going into the game, being somebody else's home turf, the excitement they have with the crowd, you just have to, I guess, take a step back and know that you have a job to do, no matter how loud it gets."

Brad Lidge, who saved his 47th consecutive game: "I'm thinking about we've got a one-run lead and I've got three guys to get out. I'm thinking about who they are and what I need to do. I'm really so focused on that, that at this point, [a streak] doesn't come into play."

Phillies at Rays: June 23rd through June 25th

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday 7:08

Records: Phillies 36-31, 1st Place in NL East (1½ games ahead of the Mets); Rays 37-34, 4th Place in AL East (6 games behind the Red Sox)
Former Phillies with the Rays: Current Rays' DH Pat Burrell (2000-2008) was a huge part of the Phillies 2008 World Championship run. Third base coach Tom Foley (1985-1986) played 85 games for the Phils, all in the middle infield. Current Rays' broadcaster and son of Hall of Famer Harry Kalas, Todd Kalas got his start in broadcasting with the Phils from 1994 until 1996.
Played with the Rays and the Phillies: Per Baseball Reference.com, 21 players have played for both the Rays (the Devil and non-Devil variety) and the Phillies, including - Marlon Anderson, Roberto Hernandez, Travis Lee, Tomas Perez and Kevin Stocker.
Interesting Random Fact: The Phillies have played all 5 teams in the AL East in the World Series - Boston Red Sox (1915), New York Yankees (1950), Baltimore Orioles (1983), Toronto Blue Jays (1993), Tampa Bay Rays (2008).
Rays Probables: David Price, Matt Garza, Anthony Sonnanstine

Monday, June 22, 2009

2007 Topps Heritage #90 Pat Burrell

My Dad and I like to tell the story of our lunch with Pat Burrell. Well, we didn't exactly have lunch with Pat the Bat, but we sat next to him at lunch. For about 90 seconds.

A few years ago, my Dad and I were enjoying lunch at the Marathon Grill at 18th & Market. The tables at Marathon are situated fairly close together, with no more than a few inches separating them. We were seated at a table for two when Pat and his fiancée were seated by the hostess at the table next to ours.

Now I'm not sure if Pat just didn't like the looks of us, or if he wanted to have a semi-private conversation with his lady, but he called the hostess back over and whispered something to her. A few seconds later, they were whisked away to a table in the corner affording a little more privacy. Thus ended our lunch with Pat the Bat.

1951 Bowman #256 Ken Silvestri

My Dad added this 1951 Bowman card to "our" Phillies team set yesterday.

Ken Silvestri served in the U.S. Army from December 1941 until November 1945. From 1949 to 1951, Ken played in only 19 games for the Phillies, hitting just .212 with 5 RBI. Following his playing days, Ken coached with the Phillies in 1952 and 1953. After a 4-year minor league managerial career, Ken returned to the Phils in 1959 where he was a coach with the team for two more seasons.

Did You Know?: Ken's first stop as a minor league manager was in 1955 for the Yankees' affiliate in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

1984 Topps Traded #130T Johnny Wockenfuss

The current state of the Philadelphia Phillies and the their 6-game losing streak calls for something much more powerful than a Kent Tekulve card. In times like these, The Phillies Room feels the need to break out a Johnny Wockenfuss card.

Consider the following, which led to this drastic measure:
- The Phillies finished this current home stand with a record of 1-8. This is one of the worst Phillies home stands in the history of the franchise.
- Saturday's loss was especially devastating as the team rallied to a 5-3 lead on Ryan Howard's pinch-hit 3-run homer, only to lose 6-5 when Ryan Madson couldn't hold the Orioles in the 9th. Madson was 1 strike away from saving the game, but Brian Roberts' 2-run home run stunned Phillies fans everywhere.
- Before his pinch-hit home run, Ryan Howard had spent time in the hospital with a 103+ degree fever. (He had to go back to the hospital following Saturday's game and missed today's finale).
- The Mets keep losing, but the Braves and Marlins are gaining ground in the NL East.

The team has an off-day tomorrow and then they head out on the road to defend their Major League best 23-9 road record.

1976 Topps #67 Father & Son - Ray & Bob Boone

Continuing with today's theme . . .

In 1976 and again in 1985, Topps included a cool little subset within its main set featuring father and son combinations of Major League players. I wish they'd bring this back, as there are a ton of father and son combinations they could include in a set today.

The Boone's (along with the Bell's, the Hairston's and the Schofield/Werth's) are a 3-generation baseball family, as both Bob's sons (Aaron and Bret) made it to the Majors. Currently, the Phillies have several multi-generation Big League family members: GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. (son of Ruben, Sr.); broadcaster Gary Matthews (father of Gary, Jr.); outfielder Jayson Werth (grandson of Ducky Schofield); and outfielder John Mayberry, Jr. (son of John, Sr.)

1951 Bowman #52 Dick Sisler

Happy Father's Day!

There are just a few things I'd like to thank my Dad for on this Father's Day. Thank you for taking me to the Card Doctor's in Millville. Thank you for the trips to Brokell's, Hummell's, the Old Man's and El Slobbo's. Thank you for being crazy enough to buy the 1975 Topps George Brett rookie card back when nobody spent that kind of money on a baseball card. Thank you for the Phillies games at the Vet and thank you for running onto the field to take my picture in 1982 during my batting practice with the team (even though you weren't supposed to). Thank you for the trips to the Ocean City Baseball Card shows, and thank you for the hours spent with Diamond Dust as we tried to complete the '74s or the '75s or the '76s. Thank you for the great times spent at Passaro Stadium in the back yard on 12th Street.

Thank you for the Mickey Mantle's, the Mike Schmidt's and the Enrique Romo's. Thank you for all the packs from the Wa. Thank you for the trips to Cooperstown and Disney World. Thank you for always being there, and thank you for giving me something to aspire to as I'm trying to do for my son everything you did for me.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

1968 Topps #567 Clay Dalrymple

Clay Dalrymple played 12 seasons in the Majors, all with the Phillies (1960-1968) and the Orioles (1969-1971). Clay was the Phils' primary catcher through the '60s, hitting .233 with 50 home runs in 1,006 games. Gene Mauch appreciated Clay as a "thinking catcher," despite his light offensive numbers.

Clay was traded to the Baltimore Orioles following the 1968 season for Ron Stone. In his 3 seasons as the back-up to the back-up (Andy Etchebarren backed up the Orioles' primary catcher, Ellie Hendricks), he played in only 73 games. In the 1969 World Series, Clay pinch-hit twice, going 2 for 2.

1985 Topps Traded #117T Kent Tekulve

The Situation: The Phillies lost their 4th in a row last night, falling to the last place Orioles by a score of 7-2. The Mets won their game, meaning the Phils' lead in the NL East is down to 2 games. Antonio Bastardo pitched effectively, giving up 4 runs and 5 hits over 7 innings. However, the offensive woes continued as the Phils managed only 1 hit in 9 at-bats with runners in scoring position. The Phillies Room is not a happy place to be right now.

The Remedy: Kent Tekulve.

Friday, June 19, 2009

1987 Topps Mini Leaders #29 Juan Samuel

For the majority of the '80s, you could count on seeing Juan Samuel's name in the Phillies' starting line-up. Sammy made his Major League debut on August 24, 1983 and became the team's everyday 2nd baseman in 1984. He was named to his first NL All-Star team that year and was the runner-up to Dwight Gooden in the NL Rookie of the Year voting. His 72 stolen bases in '84 set a rookie record and still stands as the Phillies' single-season modern era record.

Sammy's best year was 1987 when he hit .272 while hitting 28 homers and knocking in an even 100. After a brief center field experiment, Sammy was part of the Phils' 1989 dismantling when he was traded to the Mets in June for Lenny Dykstra and Roger McDowell.

His defense was iffy and he struck out a little too much, but he was always popular with the Phillies fans. Despite his relatively short tenure with the team, Sammy appears on the top 10 Phillies career leader board in triples (71), strikeouts (825) and stolen bases (249). In a ceremony occurring in the pouring rain, he was named the 2nd baseman on the Phillies' All-Veterans Stadium team in 2003. Sammy was inducted onto the Phillies Wall of Fame last season on August 8, 2008, a fitting date for man who wore #8 for most of his Phillies career.

Orioles at Phillies: June 19th through June 21st

Friday & Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:35

Records: Orioles 29-37, Last Place in the AL East (11 games behind the Red Sox); Phillies 36-28, 1st Place in NL East (3 games ahead of the Mets)
Former Phillies with the Orioles: Third base coach Juan Samuel (1983-1989) was, and still is, hugely popular in Philadelphia. He was named the 2nd baseman on the franchise's All-Veterans Stadium team in 2003.
Played with the Orioles and the Phillies: Per Baseball Reference.com, 159 players have played for both the Orioles (in Baltimore and previously as the St. Louis Browns) and the Phillies, including - Juan Bell, Jeff Conine, Clay Dalrymple, Todd Frohwirth, Kiko Garcia, Davey Johnson, Jamie Moyer, Johnny Oates, Robin Roberts, Rick Schu, Gus Triandos and Eddie Waitkus.
Do I Even Need to Say It?: The Phillies need to start winning at home. C'mon now! (That should do it).
Orioles Probables: Rich Hill, Brad Bergesen, Mark Guthrie
Phillies Probables: Antonio Bastardo, J.A. Happ, Cole Hamels

Thursday, June 18, 2009

2009 Topps Turkey Red #TR65 Jimmy Rollins

The current weather in Philadelphia (dreary, rainy, yucky) mirrors how I'm feeling about the Blue Jays' 3-game sweep of the Phillies. The Phils tried to come back yet again today, only to lose in the 9th, 8-7, on a Rod Barajas home run.

Blue Jays runners twice took 2nd base during the game on sloppy play by the Phils, and the team stranded 9 base runners. (It seemed like a lot more). For the pitching, it was the same old story - starter (this time Joe Blanton) couldn't get out of the 6th inning and relievers (J.C. Romero and Ryan Madson, respectively) couldn't shut the door on the opposition.

The only positives? Jimmy Rollins went 3 for 4 with a 2-run home run. John Mayberry, Jr. went 2 for 5 with a solo home run, and a nice outfield assist to throw out Vernon Wells at home. (Mayberry was recalled prior to the game as Raul Ibañez landed on the DL with a groin issue). The biggest positive? Doug enjoyed a soft pretzel and had a few home runs to cheer.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

2000 Fleer Tradition Grasskickers #2 Scott Rolen

Jamie Moyer couldn't deliver an Anniversary win for us tonight. Jenna seems to be OK with it, but I'm completely grumpy.

Pitching in a steady rain, Jamie allowed 6 runs in 6+ innings. His 2009 ERA now stands at 6.35 . . . which is not good. To make matters worse, Scott Rolen went 2 for 5 tonight with a home run, as the Blue Jays won, 7-1. (Don't get me started on the Rod Barajas solo home run in the 2nd). The Phillies offense struck out 11 times tonight against Jays' starter Scott Richmond. That's right, 11 times.

Why can't the Phils win at home? They're just 13-18 at home and only the lowly Nationals and Rockies have fewer home wins this year in the Majors. Just imagine how much distance they could have right now between themselves and the Mets if they had a half-decent home record. It just doesn't make sense.

2007 Chachi #8 Rod Barajas

Rod Barajas was brought in prior to the 2007 season to serve as the back-up catcher to Carlos Ruiz. A slow start, injuries and the surging Chris Coste led to Rod playing just 48 games with the team during the year. He hit .230 with only 4 home runs and 10 RBI.

The Phils cut their ties with Rod following the '07 season, and he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays.

1990 Phillies Team Issue #16 Nick Leyva MG

Four years ago today, a monumental event occurred. On this day in 2005, this personalized Nick Leyva card from Jenna's collection officially became part of my (excuse me, Our) sprawling Phillies baseball card collection.

Nick managed the Phillies from 1989 until his firing 13 games into the 1991 season, when he was replaced by Jim Fregosi. He was only 35 when he was tabbed to manage the Phils. (35 is a very good age.) The Phillies Encyclopedia sums up Nick's tenure as the team's skipper best, stating his "term as manager of the Phillies was short, not so sweet, and a little bit like a car trying to run without the use of all its cylinders."

At least he took the time to send his best wishes to Jenna. Happy anniversary Jenna - from both Nick and me!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2002 Topps 206 #41 Scott Rolen

In summary: Scott Rolen is a bum and it's very difficult to win a game in which your pitching staff walks 10 batters.

Cole Hamels kept the team in the game, holding the Blue Jays to 2 runs over 6 innings and it appeared as if Jayson Werth's 2-run home run in the 6th would be all the Phils would need to win the game. J.C. Romero managed to load the bases in the 8th, but escaped unscathed as Jays' 3rd base coach Nick Leyva misjudged a fly ball, missing an opportunity to send home Alex Rios with the tying run. However, Leyva's mistake was erased in the 9th when Ryan Madson walked home the tying run after loading the bases. It was Mad Dog's first blown save of the year.
And then the 10th inning happened. Clay Condrey imploded, Scott Rolen knocked in the go-ahead run with a single, the wheels completely came off, Tyler Walker made his Phillies' debut and surrendered a 2-run double to Rod Barajas, I may have cussed a little, and the Jays won, 8-3.

2001 Phillies Team Issue #2 Rob Ducey

The curious case of Rob Ducey, the man once traded for himself:

July 26, 2000: The Phillies trade Rob Ducey to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later ("PTBNL").

July 31, 2000: Blue Jays send John Sneed to the Phillies to complete the deal . . . or did they?

August 5, 2000: Phillies trade Mickey Morandini to the Blue Jays for a PTBNL.

August 7, 2000: Blue Jays send Rob Ducey to the Phillies as the PTBNL in the Morandini deal.

If we condense these deals, the Phillies traded Mickey Morandini and Rob Ducey to the Blue Jays for John Sneed and Rob Ducey. In his 5 games with the Blue Jays, before being reacquired by the Phils, Rob went 2 for 13 (.154). Somehow, the master trade negotiators with the Blue Jays convinced the Phillies to take him back!

In any event, Rob played in parts of 3 seasons with the Phillies (1999-2001) as the team's reserve outfielder and left-handed bat off the bench. In total, he played 13 seasons in the Majors, compiling a career average of .242.

Blue Jays at Phillies: June 16th through June 18th

Tuesday & Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 1:05

Records: Blue Jays 34-31, Tied for 3rd Place in AL East (5 games behind the Red Sox); Phillies 36-25, 1st Place in NL East (4 games ahead of the Mets)
Former Phillies with the Blue Jays: Painful Phillies memories are all over this team! Catcher Rod Barajas (2007) played an unsuccessful season with the Phils. Third baseman Scott Rolen (1996-2002) is a bum. Former Phillies manager Nick Leyva (1989-1991) is the Jays' third base coach, and Dwayne Murphy (1989) is their first base coach. The Jays just signed David Dellucci (2006) to a minor league contract. Darrin Fletcher, aka "The Flatch" (1990-1991), provides color commentary for Blue Jays' telecasts. Finally, Rob Ducey (1999-2001) serves as the team's scouting coordinator for the Pacific Rim.
Extra Phillies Room Excitement: If all goes according to plan, Doug will attend his first Phillies game of the year on Thursday afternoon.
Blue Jays Probables: Ricky Romero, Scott Richmond, Casey Janssen
Phillies Probables: Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Joe Blanton

Monday, June 15, 2009

1998 Ultra #70 Scott Rolen

This post was originally going to be succinct and pithy (in my mind anyway) and was simply going to state, "Scott Rolen is a bum". But since life is about growth and learning from past turmoil, I decided to expand upon my original post and try to reflect upon my feelings toward Scott Rolen.

Scott was easily one of my favorite Phillies from the time of his debut in 1996 and over the following 6+ years. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award in '96 and he won 3 Gold Gloves during his tenure with the Phils. He was the face of the franchise during some fairly lean years, appearing on the team's Yearbooks, Media Guides and numerous giveaway items. In 2002, the last year of his contract, he informed the club he would not be resigning with them. The Phillies were faced with 2 choices - trade the disgruntled star or lose him to free agency and reap a compensatory draft pick.

The Phils chose the former and on July 29, 2002, Scott was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Timlin, Placido Polanco and Bud Smith. To say his departure was bitter would be an understatement. The summer of 2002 was a period of tumult for me personally, and Scott's abrupt and acrimonious departure was a microcosm for some of the challenges I was facing throughout that summer. Being a Phillies fan, just like my real life, had become challenging and confusing and I probably channeled some of my confusion (and anger) towards Scott Rolen. It didn't help that he described his trade to the Cardinals as being just like "heaven," or that he'd go on to win a World Series in 2006.

But I get it now - Scott Rolen did not want to play in Philadelphia. He wanted to play closer to his Midwest roots, and he was not about to sign a long-term contract to remain in the Northeast. If I put aside my Phillies loyalty for a brief moment, I can appreciate Scott Rolen for his hustle, his tenacity on the field and his impressive 14 year (so far) career. I can definitely appreciate his stubbornness to hold out for what he wanted and his refusal to toe the line for the status quo. I completely understand the need to leave an unpleasant situation, and I'm a much, much happier person because of that.

However, if I go back to thinking purely as a non-philosophical Phillies fan . . . Scott Rolen is a bum.

2009 Chachi #42 Tyler Walker

The revolving door to the Phillies' bullpen continues to spin with the addition of Tyler Walker. If you're keeping score at home, the Phils recalled Kyle Kendrick on Friday. Kyle was optioned back to AAA Lehigh after Friday's loss and Sergio Escalona was recalled. Sergio was sent back to Lehigh after Saturday's game and that brings us to #52, Tyler Walker.

Phillies debut: June 16, 2009
Major League debut: July 2, 2002
Former teams: New York Mets 2002, San Francisco Giants 2004-2006, Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2006, San Francisco Giants 2007-2008
How acquired: Signed by the Phillies as a minor league free agent formerly with the Seattle Mariners, April 9, 2009
Pictured: I got nothing. I was hoping for a picture of Tyler in an IronPigs uniform, but to no avail. So instead, we have a shot from Spring Training when Tyler was pitching with the Mariners. I eventually found a decent picture of Jack Taschner, so I'm convinced a good Phillies picture of Tyler will show up at some point.

UPDATE, 10pm - I'm going with the Phillies website mug shot for now.
UPDATE, August 31 - Tyler doesn't appear in the Phillies Team Issue Update set . . . This is the first image that comes up when "Tyler Walker Phillies" is Googled.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

2009 Upper Deck #293 Pedro Feliz

Just when you thought they were down . . . the Phils came back and pulled off an improbable victory today. J.A. Happ struggled early and the Red Sox mounted a 4-1 lead after 2 innings. However, the Phils scored 4 runs in the 5th followed by a monster 6-run 7th inning to take the last game of the 3-game series, 11-6.

Jimmy Rollins got the scoring started in the 7th with a solo home run, breaking an 0 for 16 slide. Pedro Feliz followed with a 2-run double as he finished the day 3 for 5. The Phils' win today (coupled with the Mets' loss) puts the Phils lead in the NL East back to 4 games heading into tomorrow's off day.

1994 Studio #140 Pete Incaviglia

1993 Phillies - The Bench

Uniform Numbers: 22 (1993-1994); 9 (1996)
1993 Stats: In 116 games, Inky hit .274 with 24 home runs and 89 RBI. He put these numbers together in just 368 at-bats, while serving in a left-field platoon with Milt Thompson.
1993 Notable: Inky started in 86 games for the Phils and had 3 two-home run games.
How Acquired: First stint - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Houston Astros, December 8, 1992; Second stint - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese Baseball League, December 13, 1995
Phillies Career: 1993-1994; 1996
How Departed: First stint - Granted free agency, October 18, 1994 (Signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines); Second stint - Traded with Todd Zeile to the Baltimore Orioles for Calvin Maduro and Garrett Stephenson, August 29, 1996

Considered one of the best college sluggers of all-time, Pete made his Major League debut with the Texas Rangers in 1986 without ever playing a minor league game. (His 1986 rookie cards were HUGE when they were first released). Pete put together a 12-year Major League career, finishing with 206 career home runs. Inky is currently the manager of the Grand Prairie AirHogs, a team in the independent American Association league.

2006 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #NNO J.A. Happ

So the first 2 games against the Red Sox haven't gone as hoped. The Phils send J.A. Happ to the mound later today to salvage the series and it's not like they're facing Josh Beckett or anything . . .

Wait, what's that? They are facing Josh Beckett? The Josh Beckett who is 3-1 with a 0.31 ERA in his last 4 starts? This is the guy with 76 strikeouts in 76.1 innings pitched this year? I see.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

1954 Bowman #127 Del Ennis

Random item won from eBay for a reasonable winning bid while trying to stay awake during the recent West Coast road trip . . . This is my second 1954 Bowman Phillies card . . .

Del Ennis looks happy on this card. And why shouldn't he? In 1954, Del was the starting left-fielder for the Phillies. For the season, he hit .261 with 25 home runs and 119 RBI. It was his 5th season with 100+ RBI, and he'd go on to have 2 more (1955 and 1957 with the Cardinals).

Or perhaps he's just happy because he's having his picture taken for a baseball card.

Did You Know?:
The patch on Del's left sleeve is the patch worn by all National League teams in 1951 to commemorate the league's 75th anniversary . . . meaning this picture of Del was three years old when it appeared on his 1954 Bowman card.

1954 Bowman #31 "Smoky" Burgess

Random item won from eBay for a reasonable winning bid while trying to stay awake during the recent West Coast road trip . . . This is my first 1954 Bowman Phillies card . . .

Forrest Harrill "Smoky" Burgess was acquired by the Phillies from the Reds in December 1951 in a 6-player trade that sent Dick Sisler to Cincinnati. He was the Phillies regular catcher in 1952, 1953 and 1954. Smoky had a career year for the Phils in 1954, hitting .368 (although he didn't have enough plate appearances to qualify for the NL title) and attending his first NL All-Star Game. He played 7 games for the Phils in 1955 before getting traded back to the Cincinnati Reds on April 30th. In total, Smoky was named to 6 NL All-Star teams with the Phils, the Reds and the Pirates.

Considered one of the best pinch-hitters of his day, Smoky played 18 seasons in the Majors before retiring after the 1967 season.

Did You Know?: On May 26, 1959, while with the Pirates, Smoky Burgess was the catcher for Harvey Haddix when Kitten threw his 12 perfect innings only to lose in the 13th.

1983 Donruss Hall of Fame Heroes #23 Grover Alexander

I can say with absolute, 100% certainty that my Aunt Edna does not read this blog. In any event, I'd like to wish her a happy 95th birthday, and I'm looking forward to our visit with Aunt Edna this afternoon.

95 years! To put that into perspective, my Aunt Edna was just a 1-year-old when Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander went 31-10 to lead the Phillies to their first World Series appearance in 1915. The Phils lost to the Red Sox (4 games to 1) in that World Series, but Pete won Game 1 at the old Baker Bowl. (It's interesting to note that all 4 games lost by the Phils were by a margin of only one run).

Also interesting - Babe Ruth had only one at-bat during this World Series, as he pinch-hit for Red Sox pitcher Ernie Shore in the 9th inning of Game 1. Pete induced a ground-out to first base by the Babe.

Friday, June 12, 2009

2009 Chachi #41 Kyle Kendrick

Left-handed reliever Scott Eyre was placed on the DL Friday with an apparent calf injury. Kyle Kendrick temporarily ends his exile to Lehigh Valley with a spot on the roster. It's assumed Kyle will pitch as a long-man out of the bullpen.

Phillies debut: June 13, 2007
How acquired: Selected in the 7th round of the June 2003 draft.
2008 Postseason: Kyle was on the Phillies roster for all 162 games last year, but he did not make the team's Postseason roster.
Pictured: June 18, 2008 - Kyle pitches against the Red Sox in action from last year's Interleague play.

UPDATE, 11:15 - Well that didn't go so well. Kyle allowed 3 runs in the top of the 13th as the Phils fell to the Red Sox, 5-2. The Phillies struck out a total of 20 times in the game tonight and had only 5 hits.

2001 Topps #347 Terry Francona MG

Before interviewing for the top job in Boston, Francona interviewed in Baltimore for the Orioles’ post last month, where he admitted that his previous managing experience proved invaluable. "Like you can’t believe," he said. "Having the chance to do it — the people in Philadelphia may not want to hear this — but it’s almost like having a mulligan. I had my chance to make my mistakes, learn from them, and gain confidence. Because of my past, I feel prepared to not just
be the manager, but to be a leader that can be successful."

- Terry Francona, November 21, 2003, prior to being named the manager of the Boston Red Sox

Hey Terry: You're right. The people of Philadelphia didn't want to hear it.

1967 Topps #443 Tito Francona

John Patsy "Tito" Francona played in just 27 games with the 1967 Phillies, hitting .205 as the team's primary first baseman in April and May. In early June, he was sold to the Atlanta Braves. Between 1964 and 1969, Tito was sold to 4 different teams - to the Cardinals by the Indians (December 1964), to the Phillies by the Cardinals (April 1967), to the Braves by the Phillies (June 1967) and to the Athletics by the Braves (August 1969).

He played 15 seasons in the Majors, never making it to the Postseason, and was named to the AL All-Star team in 1961. His best years were with the Cleveland Indians (1959-1964), where in 835 games, Tito hit .284 with 85 home runs and 378 RBI. In 2001, the Indians named him to their "Top 100 Cleveland Indians Roster".

Tito's son Terry would also play in the Majors, and he would eventually go on to manage the Phils.

Red Sox at Phillies: June 12th through June 14th

Friday & Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:35

Records: Red Sox 36-24, 1st Place in AL East (2 games ahead of the Yankees); Phillies 35-23, 1st Place in NL East (4 games ahead of the Mets)
Former Phillies with the Red Sox: The Red Sox have no one currently on their 40-man roster to have spent time with the Phillies. Although they do have someone on their roster who was drafted by the Phillies in 1997, held out for more money, played a year in the Northern League and was eventually signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1998 draft. His name escapes me. Current Red Sox manager Terry Francona managed the Phils for 4 years (1997-2000) with current Red Sox bench coach Brad Mills by his side.
Played with the Red Sox and Phillies: Per Baseball Reference.com, 150 players have played for both the Red Sox and the Phillies, including: Larry Andersen, Wes Chamberlain, Rheal Cormier, Jimmie Foxx, Jamie Moyer, Mike Ryan, Curt Schilling and Rick Wise
The Phillies Room Won't Be the First to Ask: World Series preview?
Red Sox Probables: Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Josh Beckett
Phillies Probables: Joe Blanton, Antonio Bastardo, J.A. Happ

Thursday, June 11, 2009

2009 Finest #104 Raul Ibañez

Welcome to the rivalry Raul!

Raul Ibañez hit a 3-run home run in the top of the 10th inning tonight to lead the Phils over the Mets, 6-3. The win gives the team the series win, a 4 game lead over the Mets in the NL East, and a record of 7-3 on this road trip. Pedro Feliz added 3 hits and scored 2 runs in the winning effort. Jamie Moyer seemed to be in trouble every inning, but he kept the Phils in the game.

Interleague play begins tomorrow night with 3 against the best team in the American League - the Boston Red Sox. We'll be getting there early . . .

1994 Fleer All-Stars #46 Terry Mulholland

1993 Phillies - Starting Rotation

Uniform Number: 45
1993 Stats: Terry went 12-9 during the regular season, with a 3.25 ERA. Having led the NL in complete games in 1992 with 12, Terry threw 7 complete games (2 for shutouts) in 1993.
1993 Notable: Terry was the starting pitcher for the NL in the All-Star Game, having started the season at 9-6 with a 2.72 ERA. In 2 innings of work, he allowed only a solo home run to the Twins' Kirby Puckett. In 3 Postseason starts, Terry struggled, going 1-1 with a 6.89 ERA. (He was the winning pitcher in World Series Game 2).
How Acquired: First stint - Acquired from the San Francisco Giants with Dennis Cook and Charlie Hayes for Steve Bedrosian and Rick Parker, June 18, 1989; Second stint - Signed as a free agent formerly with the San Francisco Giants, February 17, 1996
Phillies Career: 1989-1993; 1996
How Departed: First stint - Traded to the New York Yankees with Jeff Patterson for Kevin Jordan, Ryan Karp and Bobby Munoz, February 9, 1994; Second stint - Traded to the Seattle Mariners for Desi Relaford, July 31, 1996

On August 15, 1990, Terry pitched a no-hitter against the team that had traded him away only a year earlier, the San Francisco Giants. It was the first no-hitter in the history of Veterans Stadium. Terry is one of 5 players in Major League history to have played with at least 11 teams. (Former Phillies Todd Zeile and Kenny Lofton are also on this list). After 20 years in the Majors, Terry called it a career after 5 games with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2006.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2009 Upper Deck Goudey #280 Chase Utley

WOW! Somehow, the Phils came from behind to beat the Mets tonight, 5-4, in 11 innings. The major contributing factors:

- Chase Utley's solo home run to lead off the 11th, his 2nd home run of the game.
- Jayson Werth's full-extension, diving catch to preserve the game in the bottom of the 10th.
- Chan Ho Park pitching a scoreless 9th and 10th.
- Ryan Madson (the new closer) pitching a 1-2-3 11th for his 3rd save of the season.

Did You Know?: Jenna attended two of the events highlighted on the front of this Chase Utley "Head's Up" card - the final game at the Vet and Chase's grand slam for his first Major League hit. (I was working diligently during the grand slam game).

2002 Nabisco Phillies #13 Turk Wendell

Turk Wendell is probably best known for his on-field antics and idiosyncrasies, which he managed to temper (slightly) as his career progressed. This is the guy who: insisted the umpire roll the ball to the mound instead of throwing it to him, crouched down whenever his catcher stood and wore a necklace containing the claws and teeth of animals he had hunted down.

The Phillies acquired Turk from the Mets prior to the 2001 non-waiver trading deadline, in an attempt to bolster the club's depleted bullpen. To date, it's the last trade completed between the two rivals. At the time of the trade, the Phillies were a game out of first place in the NL East. At regular season's end, the club had failed to win the division by 2 games.

Unfortunately, Turk helped ensure the Phillies would not make the playoffs in 2001, as he went 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA in 21 games. He walked 12 and gave up 21 hits in 15.2 innings of work. In short, that's not good. He missed the entire 2002 season due to an elbow injury, but he bounced back in 2003 to pitch in 56 games with the Phils, compiling a decent record of 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA. (Also unfortunate is Cole Hamels' Turk Wendell-like performance tonight against the Mets).

Turk signed as a free agent with the Rockies following the 2003 season, pitching in just 12 games in 2004 before the team released him. His Wikipedia page notes Turk's numerous charitable endeavors, including his trip to Afghanistan in 2006 as part of the "Heroes of the Diamond Tour".

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

2009 Chachi #40 Paul Bako

Ladies and gentlemen, the Phillies 3rd catcher, #23 Paul Bako

Phillies debut: June 10, 2009
Major League debut: April 30, 1998
Former teams: Detroit Tigers 1998, Houston Astros 1999-2000, Florida Marlins 2000, Atlanta Braves 2000-2001, Milwaukee Brewers 2002, Chicago Cubs 2003-2004, Los Angeles Dodgers 2005, Kansas City Royals 2006, Baltimore Orioles 2007, Cincinnati Reds 2008 (Wow! This guy has been busy).
How acquired: Signed by the Phillies as a minor league free agent formerly with the Chicago Cubs, May 18, 2009
Pictured: A shot from 2008 when Paul was with the Reds. I have a feeling it will be difficult to track down a decent picture of Paul with the Phillies. He's essentially the last guy off the bench, and the Phillies' team issued card set and the 2009 Yearbook have already been printed. That being said, if anyone is able to find a picture of Paul in a Phillies uni over the next few weeks - please let me know. (UPDATE, June 10 - I'm using the mug shot from the Phillies website for now).

Paul was not able to help tonight as the Phils lost to the Mets, 6-5.

UPDATE, July 26 - Paul's Chachi card now has a proper picture as I've removed the mug shot and replaced it with an action shot from July 11th.