Sunday, May 29, 2011

1969 Topps Phillies

1969 Topps #350, #297, #133 and #369
Man walked on the moon, the Beatles recorded and released Abbey Road, but Topps still couldn't find pictures of Woodie Fryman or Rick Joseph in Phillies uniforms.  (And is it Woodie or Woody?)

The Set
1969 Topps #188 (Back)
Number of cards in the set:  The set is numbered to 664, but there are quite a few variations available, pushing the number of cards in a master set closer to 700.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  I've never been a huge fan of this set, as it looks as if the Topps design team took the year off.  They took the team name from the top of the '67 set and moved it to the bottom of the card.  They took the gray circle from the '68 set and bumped it to the top of the card.  Fortunately, a new decade was right around the corner and things were about to get interesting again.
Notable competition:  Topps was still a few years away from any type of notable competition (with the 1976 SSPC set), but there were a few oddball sets out there (Transogram statues and cards, Citgo Coins) featuring Phillies players.

1969 Phillies
Record and finish:  The tailspin that started in 1968 continued in 1969.  The team's record of 63-99 was their worst record since 1961 and fortunately, that loss total hasn't been matched since.  Only the expansion Montreal Expos kept the Phillies from the cellar of the newly formed National League East division.
Key players:  First baseman Dick Allen (.288, 32 home runs, 89 RBIs), center fielder Larry Hisle (.266, 20 home runs, 56 RBIs) and left fielder Deron Johnson (.255, 17 home runs, 80 RBIs) paced the offense.  In his final season with the club, right fielder Johnny Callison (.265, 16 home runs, 64 RBIs) also enjoyed a fine season.  The pitching staff was suspect with the top three starters - Grant Jackson, Fryman and Rick Wise - putting up the best numbers for the struggling club.  Jackson was the team's lone All-Star Game representative.
Key events:  The Dick Allen saga culminated with the slugger missing team flights, moving out of the team's locker room and scrawling messages in the dirt around the first base area.  Manager Bob Skinner was fired in August and coach George Myatt once again took over on an interim basis to finish out the season.

1969 Topps #28, #507, #108 and #73
1969 Phillies in 1969 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are just 25 cards in a complete 1969 Topps Phillies team set, if you count the Clay Dalrymple variation (#151) featuring the catcher with the Phillies.  The "normal" Dalrymple card, and the one more readily available, features him as a hatless Oriole.  There are 295 cards in a complete run of Topps Phillies cards between 1960 and 1969.  Overall, there are 468 Topps Phillies cards between 1951 and 1969.  That would make for a very cool album of baseball cards.  (I'm working on it.)
Who’s in:  Here's how the 24 shake out -
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 6 cards
#28 Mike Ryan (c), #350 Dick Allen (1b), #507 Cookie Rojas (2b), #108 Tony Taylor (3b), #297 Deron Johnson (lf), #133 Johnny Callison (rf)

The regular shortstop (Don Money) and center fielder (Hisle) had to share their cards - see below.
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 4 cards
#174 Grant Jackson, #51 Woodie Fryman, #188 Rick Wise, #253 Jerry Johnson

1969 Topps #174, #51, #188 and #253
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1969 - 8 cards
#73 John Briggs, #229 Don Lock, #276 Gary Wagner, #329 Rick Joseph, #395 Chris Short, #477 Jeff James, #531 Turk Farrell, #599 John Boozer
  • Base cards of players who did not play with the Phillies in 1969 - 1 card for Clay Dalrymple, #151
  • 1969 Rookie Stars cards - 4 cards
#206 Larry Hisle/Barry Lersch, #454 Larry Colton/Don Money, #576 Ron Stone/Bill Wilson and #624 Terry Harmon with the Mets' Duffy Dyer and the Reds' Darrel Chaney.  The Harmon card is just weird - Chaney looks as if he's ducking to avoid the blue "National League" circle, Dyer's head is huge and Harmon better be careful or he's going to catch some flies.
  • League Leader card - 1 card, #6 Home Run Leaders with Allen, Willie McCovey and Ernie Banks
  • Manager card - 1 card, #369 Bob Skinner
Who’s out:  Back-up catcher Dave Watkins was omitted, despite appearing in 69 games.  Pitchers Bill Champion (20 starts, 5-10 record), Lowell Palmer (26 games, 9 starts, 5.20 ERA) and Al Raffo (45 games, 4.10 ERA) were also left out.
Phillies on other teams:  Catcher Vic Roznovsky (#368) was acquired from the Orioles in April.
What’s he doing here:  After sharing a card in 1968 with Dick Thoenen, Larry Colton again makes an appearance, this time sharing a card with Money.  Colton pitched in one game for the Phillies in 1968, lasting two innings.
Cards that never were candidates:  Money and Hisle deserve their own cards, and Myatt would have received a manager card had there been a 1969 Topps Traded set.  Watkins and Champion were also deserving of cards.
Favorite Phillies card:  Don Lock's card?  I'll go with a tie for Allen and Callison's last Phillies cards.

1969 Topps #454, #206 and #624
Other Stuff
Recycled:  Other than a few repli-cards in 1990 issues of Baseball Cards Magazine, I'm not aware of any Phillies cards that recycle the 1969 Topps design.
Blogs/Websites:  It's been quiet for a while, but there's a 1969 Topps Baseball blog out there.
Did You Know?:  The last page of the 1969 Phillies Yearbook features an artist's rendering of "The New Phillies Stadium," to be located at Broad and Pattison.  A caption with the rendering notes that construction workers were rushing toward the planned Spring 1970 deadline.  Bad weather and a bad budget would conspire to push the opening of Veterans Stadium back a year to 1971.


Anonymous said...

Looks like the Skinner card has him in a Cards uni. The 69 set DOES have two Senators managers in it, Jim Lemon and Ted Williams, so they could have put a Myatt card in. Did Lock ever have a picture taken in a Phillies uniform? Topps must have loved his hatless head.

Jim from Downingtown said...


The difference is Skinner was fired in early August. Ted Williams replaced Jim Lemon before the season started, so (surprisingly) there was time for Topps to add a Williams card.

They did the same in 1966 with the Astros' manager cards. Luman Harris was fired in December 1965 (who waits until December to decide if the manager should be fired?), and his card even makes a mention of it. Topps added a Grady Hatton card in a later series.

Jim from Downingtown said...

Not only did Topps' design team take the year off, but their photographers were particularly lazy. These players are hatless for multiple seasons:

Woodie Fryman (same picture as '68)
Mike Ryan
Rick Joseph (same picture as '68)
Turk Farrell
Don Lock (for the 3rd season!)

Oddly enough, Dick Hall was acquired by the Phillies in December 1966, but his '67 and '68 cards both show him in a Phillies uniform.

Anonymous said...

Topps also had a second Williams card "Ted Shows How" with Mike Epstein I think.

One of the 1969 cards has Mel Nelson with the Cardinals, in a picture from 1960....

Jim from Downingtown said...

Seems like Topps should have worked backup catcher Dave Watkins into the later series of cards, since after switching Clay Dalrymple from the Phillies to the Orioles, Topps left the Phillies with only 1 catcher.

Al Raffo was a key contributor in the bullpen, in his only major-league season. He was in triple-A for awhile, so I wonder why Topps didn;t have him on a rookie card?

Good thing fellow blogger John Hogan created an Al Raffo/Lowell Palmer 1969 Phillies Rookie Stars card (that never was)!