Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2010 Bowman Draft Picks #BDP28 Vance Worley

Phillies 2, Red Sox 1
Game 81 - Wednesday Night, June 29th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  The pitching trio of Vance Worley, Michael Stutes and Antonio Bastardo shut down the Sox, Raul Ibanez suddently remembered how to hit and the Phillies took Game 2, 2-1.

What It Means:  Seriously - Worley to Stutes to Bastardo?  Who would have thought that trio would be a crucial part of the Phillies pitching staff at the mathematical half-way point of the season?  The Phillies are now 51-30 and they'll go for the sweep of the Sox tomorrow afternoon behind Cole Hamels.  I've been able to stick to the unwinding portion of my plan to unplug and unwind this week, but these games have been too enjoyable to completely unplug.  Enjoyable for a Phillies fan, at least.

What Went Right:  Worley (3-1) pitched seven strong innings allowing just an RBI-double to Red Sox starting pitcher John Lackey (5-7).  He handed the ball over to Stutes, who pitched a perfect eighth and then Bastardo, who pitched a perfect ninth for his third save of the season.

Ibanez went 3 for 3 and fell a triple short of the cycle.  He knocked in the first run with an RBI-single in the second and he broke the one-all tie with a solo home run in the seventh.  It was his ninth home run and his first in the month of June.

Featured Card:  To date, Worley has only been featured in the 2011 Topps Heritage set and the 2010 Bowman Draft Picks set.  A few more performances like the one he turned in tonight and he should start popping up in many more releases.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2011 Topps Tribute #94 Cliff Lee

Phillies 5, Red Sox 0
Game 80 - Tuesday Night, June 28th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Cliff Lee pitched brilliantly against the Red Sox, limiting them to just two hits in his complete game shutout.

What It Means:  The Phils took game one of what a lot of folks are hoping is a 2011 World Series preview.  Their record now stands at 50-30 and their lead in the East is back up to five games, pending the outcome of the Braves late-night game in Seattle.

What Went Right:  Cliff Lee (9-5) pitched.  He became the first Phillies pitcher to throw three consecutive complete game shutouts since Robin Roberts did it in 1950 and his 32-inning scoreless streak now ranks fifth in Phillies history.  He didn't allow a hit until Marco Scutaro singled to start the sixth, and he cruised through one of the most potent offenses in baseball.

The Phillies benefited from two, two-run home runs off Boston starter Josh Beckett (6-3) - Domonic Brown's in the second and Shane Victorino's in the sixth.  Lee helped his own cause with a sac fly in the fifth to score Brown.

Featured Card:  I'm away from my scanner, but I can't help but post something after this exciting win against the Red Sox.  I borrowed this image of Lee's 2011 Topps Tribute card from the internet, and it just so happens to look exactly like the one currently in my collection.  I'm still searching for Lee's first 2011 baseball card featuring him in the Phillies home jersey.

Transaction:  Prior to the game, closer Ryan Madson was placed on the DL with a bruised pitching hand and righty Andrew Carpenter was recalled to take his place on the roster.  Madson joins former closers Jose Contreras and Brad Lidge on the DL, which means the closing duties are to be temporarily handled by either lefty Antonio Bastardo or righty Michael Stutes.

Red Sox at Phillies: June 28th through June 30th

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Tuesday and Wednesday 7:05, Thursday 1:05

Red Sox 45-32, 2nd Place in A.L. East, 1/2 game behind the Yankees
Phillies 49-30, 1st Place in N.L. East, 4 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

First Game: The first time these two franchises squared off was back in Game 1 of the 1915 World Series on October 8, 1915. Grover Alexander pitched a complete game for the win, besting Ernie Shore and the Red Sox. The Red Sox would win the next four games to win the Series.  I'm sincerely hoping the Phils get a chance to even the score this October.

Meet the Sox: Manager - Terry Francona has been the Red Sox manager since the 2004 season. Prior to that, he had four rather unsuccessful seasons as the Phillies manager from 1997 through 2000.
Starters - Jarrod Saltalamacchia (c), Adrian Gonzalez (1b), Dustin Pedroia (2b), Kevin Youkilis (3b), Marco Scutaro (ss), Josh Reddick (lf), Jacoby Ellsbury (cf), J.D. Drew (rf), David Ortiz (dh)
Rotation - Josh Beckett (rhp), John Lackey (rhp), Jon Lester (lhp), Tim Wakefield (rhp), Andrew Miller (lhp)
Bench - Jason Varitek (c), Drew Sutton (inf), Mike Cameron (of), Darnell McDonald (of)
Closer - Jonathan Papelbon (rhp)
Bullpen - Alfredo Aceves (rhp), Matt Albers (rhp), Scott Atchison (rhp), Daniel Bard (rhp), Tommy Hottovy (lhp), Dan Wheeler (rhp)
Disabled List - Clay Buchholz (rhp), Rich Hill (lhp), Bobby Jenks (rhp), Daisuke Matsuzaka (rhp), Franklin Morales (lhp), Jed Lowrie (ss), Carl Crawford (lf)

At the Ballpark: It's going to be electric at the ballpark over the next few days, which is worth more than any freebie or promotion. Nevertheless, all kids will receive a W.B. Mason/Phillies collectible truck on Wednesday night.

Red Sox Probables: Josh Beckett (6-2, 1.86), John Lackey (5-6, 7.36), Jon Lester (9-4, 3.66)
Phillies Probables: Cliff Lee (8-5, 2.87), Vance Worley (2-1, 2.83), Cole Hamels (9-4, 2.49)

Monday, June 27, 2011

What Are These Phillies Mystery Cards?

1987 Action Superstars Mike Schmidt, 1987 Rob Broder Rookies #16 Bruce Ruffin and
1988? The Press Box Mike Schmidt
Any ideas?  It's my new goal to eventually input my entire Phillies baseball card collection over at Zistle so that I can respond to the question, "Exactly how many Bruce Ruffin cards do you have?" without hesitation or doubt.  I hit a small road bump when I encountered these three cards in my 1987 and 1988 Phillies binders.  I believe the Action Superstars Schmidt card was sent to me in a trade with a fellow blogger a few years ago.  The other two cards were added to my collection from a dime bin from some long ago baseball card show.

My initial inclination is that they aren't legitimate issues.  Perhaps they were just printed up as promos for Rob Broder and his photography business or The Press Box, once and possibly still located in Grand Rapids.  So if that's the case, I'd have trouble adding them in good faith to the Zistle database. 

They're each printed on what I'd describe as playing card-stock, so they're thicker than normal paper, but not quite as thick as your normal baseball card.  The Ruffin card and the Schmidt Press Box card have rounded corners.  They're professionally done, to be sure, but they still feel a bit bootleg-ish to me.  Am I the proud owner of a mega-rare bootleg Bruce Ruffin card?  Is my eldest son's college education all but paid for?  The mind boggles.

In all seriousness, any clues as to what these are would be appreciated.

2011 Chachi Super Veteran #2 Bob Dernier

Robert Eugene Dernier
Cubs First Base Coach

Bats: Right  Throws: Right  Height: 6'0"  Weight: 160
Born: January 5, 1957, Kansas City, MO
Signed: By the Phillies as an amateur free agent, August 5, 1977
Teams:  Phillies 1980-1983, Chicago Cubs 1984-1987, Phillies 1988-1989

Complete Topps Base Set Checklist:
1982 Topps #231 - Phillies - Future Stars (with Mark Davis and Ozzie Virgil)
1982 Topps Traded #28T - Phillies
1983 Topps #43 - Phillies
1984 Topps #358 - Phillies
1984 Topps Traded #31T - Cubs
1985 Topps #589 - Cubs
1986 Topps #188 - Cubs
1987 Topps #715 - Cubs
1988 Topps #642 - Cubs
1989 Topps #418 - Phillies
1990 Topps #204 - Phillies

Sunday, June 26, 2011

2010 Topps Heritage #399 Roy Halladay AS

Phillies 3, Athletics 1
Game 79 - Sunday Afternoon, June 26th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Roy Halladay notched a complete game victory and Jimmy Rollins went four for four as the Phils defeated the A's, 3-1.

What It Means:  The Phils took the series from the A's and they head into the off-day tomorrow with a 49-30 record and a five game lead in the East.  On Tuesday, they open one of the most anticipated series of the season against the Boston Red Sox.

What Went Right:  I listened to this game on the radio while sitting on the beach this afternoon.  It's cool the Phillies won and all, but the biggest "what went right" of the game was . . . I listened to this game on the radio while sitting on the beach this afternoon.

Featured Card:  I wanted to feature a card with a smiling Halladay (10-3) for this post, and this card fits the bill.  This is his 1962-style Topps Heritage All-Star card.

1971 Topps Wantlist

1971 Topps #414
Completed 12/7/19.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

2010 Chachi #46 Greg Gross CO

Athletics 4, Phillies 1
Game 78 - Saturday Night, June 25th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  A lack of offense doomed the Phils against the A's, 4-1. 

What It Means:  Yet another loss that can be summed up with dreaded four words - "A lack of offense."  Their record fell to 48-30 and if the Braves hang on to win tonight in San Diego, they'll have a four game lead in the East.

What Went Wrong:  The Phils tallied four hits - two singles and two doubles - in a losing effort against the A's.  Cole Hamels (9-4) missed out on another opportunity to secure his 10th win of the season based on a complete lack of offensive support.  Hamels took the hard luck loss despite pitching eight solid innings and allowing just two runs on eight hits.  The A's tacked on a few insurance runs against reliever Michael Stutes in the ninth.

Trevor Cahill (8-5) and Andrew Bailey (5th save) combined to handcuff the scuffling offense.

Featured Card: You're not going to win many games when you score only one run, as the Phillies have the past two nights. At the end of July last season, with the offense unable to produce to everyone's expectations, the Phillies fired hitting coach Milt Thompson and brought in former Phillie and pinch-hitter extraordinaire Greg Gross to assume the hitting coach duties. (This is Gross' first official Chachi card, unseen by the masses, or at least the nineteen of you reading this, until now.)  The official word from the club was that the offense just needed a new perspective in order to snap out of a season long funk. By all accounts, Gross didn't make any wholesale changes, but he did tinker with a few guys. I'm not going to go back through the offensive splits before and after the Thompson era ended, but it seemed as if the offense was just a bit more productive under Gross' watch.

Now here we almost a year later, and the offense again is not performing to anyone's expectations. It's certainly not the fault of Gross, but I just can't help the feeling that the offense just needs a good old-fashioned kick in their collective keisters.

2011 Chachi #39 Juan Perez

Juan P. Perez
Relief Pitcher

Bats: Right  Throws: Left  Height: 6'0"  Weight: 176
Born: September 3, 1978, Villa Rivas, DR
Home: Villa Rivas, DR
Signed: Signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent, September 2, 1998
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates 2006-2007, Phillies 2011-
Acquired: Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Los Angeles Dodgers' organization, November 22, 2010

Complete Topps Base Set Checklist:
2007 Topps #633 - Pirates

Friday, June 24, 2011

2011 Topps Phillies #PHI12 Ben Francisco

Phillies 1, Athletics 0
Game 77 - Friday Night, June 24th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Offense was at a premium for both teams tonight as Ben Francisco's game-winning hit in the ninth gave the Phils the victory, 1-0.

What It Means:  The Phillies improve to 48-29 and they currently have a 4 1/2 game lead over the Braves.

What Went Right:  I don't know if you can call just four singles from the Phils "right," but fortunately the A's offense was even more anemic with only two hits.  Both starting pitchers took no-hitters into the sixth inning.  The A's entered the hit column with two outs in the top of the sixth when old nemesis Hideki Matsui doubled to left off starter Vance Worley.  The Phils added their first hit with one out in the bottom of the inning when Placido Polanco broke up Guillermo Moscoso's no-hitter.

Worley labored (again) through his six innings, striking out four and walking four.  Michael Stutes (3-0) pitched a scoreless ninth for the win.

The Phils put a couple of baserunners on in the ninth against Brian Fuentes (1-8), setting up Francisco's second game-winning RBI this week.

Featured Card:  Here's Francisco's card from the Topps Phillies team set, which appears to show him whiffing on a pitch in Atlanta.

Transactions:  Reliever Scott Mathieson and catcher Brian Schneider rejoined the team this afternoon, taking the roster spots of the disabled Roy Oswalt and catcher Dane Sardinha.

Programming Note:  Posting will be sporadic to non-existent this weekend and throughout the week as I plan to unplug and unwind.  That means you'll have to wait until next week for me to post game summaries from the upcoming Phillies sweep of the Red Sox.

2002 Upper Deck #419 Tomas Perez

Cardinals 12, Phillies 2
Game 76 - Thursday Night, June 23rd in St. Louis

One Sentence Summary:  In one of the ugliest games of the season for the Phils, starting pitcher Roy Oswalt left after two innings with a potential career-threatening back injury.

What It Means:  Bummer.  I'm writing this the day after the dreadful events in St. Louis, and all reports are that Oswalt's back is pretty bad.  In his post-game interview he seemed resigned to the fact that his baseball career could be over.  The Phillies placed him on the DL today and we'll wait and see if the Four Aces will ride again.  The loss dropped the Phils to 47-29.

What Went Wrong:  Oswalt (4-6) lasted just two innings, giving up four runs on five hits.  Danys Baez imploded in the eigth, allowing six Cardinals runs.  His ERA jumped from 3.98 to 5.51.  The Phils managed seven hits, including a meaningless ninth inning home run from Carlos Ruiz.

Featured Card:  The Juan Perez era began last night, as the lefty made his Phillies pitching debut in the seventh inning.  Perez had his contract purchased from Triple-A Lehigh Valley when Jose Contreras ended up on the disabled list with a strained forearm.  He became the fourth player with the Perez surname to wear Phillies pinstripes, joining Tony Perez (1983), Yorkis Perez (1998-2000) and Tomas Perez (2000-2006).  Before Juan's scoreless inning, the last Perez to pitch for the Phils was Tomas, and not Yorkis.  Tomas recorded the final out in the eighth inning of a 17-3 thrashing by the Astros back on May 13, 2002.

Athletics at Phillies: June 24th through June 26th

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Friday and Saturday 7:05, Sunday 1:35

Athletics 34-42, 4th Place in A.L. West, 6 games behind the Rangers
Phillies 47-29, 1st Place in N.L. East, 4 games ahead of the Braves

First Game:  I believe I've read where the old Philadelphia Athletics would occasionally scrimmage against the Phillies in exhibition games, but maybe I've made that up in my head.

The first time these two teams officially squared off was back on June 6, 2003, when the A's defeated the Phils, 7-4.  Brett Myers was roughed up for five runs in four innings for the loss.  Jimmy Rollins had three hits for the Phils and Placido Polanco hit a solo home run in the ninth.  Overall, the Phillies are 4-5 against the A's.

Meet the A's: Manager - Bob Melvin took over the team on June 9th, following the dismissal of Bob Geren
Starters - Kurt Suzuki (c), Conor Jackson (1b), Jemile Weeks (2b), Scott Sizemore (3b), Cliff Pennington (ss), Ryan Sweeney (lf), Coco Crisp (cf), David DeJesus (rf), Hideki Matsui (dh)
Rotation - Gio Gonzalez (lhp), Graham Godfrey (rhp), Guillermo Moscoso (rhp), Trevor Cahill (rhp), Josh Outman (lhp)
Bench - Landon Powell (c), Mark Ellis (inf), Adam Rosales (inf), Chris Carter (of)
Closer - Brian Fuentes (lhp)
Bullpen - Andrew Bailey (rhp), Grant Balfour (rhp), Craig Breslow (lhp), Joey Devine (rhp), Michael Wuertz (rhp), Brad Ziegler (rhp)
Disabled List - Brett Anderson (lhp), Dallas Braden (lhp), Rich Harden (rhp), Brandon McCarthy (rhp), Tyson Ross (rhp), Josh Willingham (lf)

At the Ballpark:  There's a pre-game Sound of Philadelphia concert scheduled tonight.  On Sunday, former Philadelphia Athletic (and Phillie) Bobby Shantz will throw out the first pitch and all kids will receive a Four Aces beach towel.

Athletics Probables: Guillermo Moscoso (2-3, 3.30), Trevor Cahill (7-5, 3.24), Josh Outman (3-1, 2.86)
Phillies Probables: Vance Worley (2-1, 3.41), Cole Hamels (9-3, 2.51), Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.51)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Minis

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini #162, #47 and #12
Phillies 4, Cardinals 0
Game 75 - Wednesday Night, June 22nd in St. Louis

One Sentence Summary:  Cliff Lee tossed his second consecutive complete game shutout as the Phillies used the long ball to defeat the Cardinals, 4-0.

What It Means:  They'll go for the sweep tomorrow night behind Roy Oswalt.  With the win, their record improves to 47-28 and they maintain a 4 1/2 game lead over the Braves.

What Went Right:  I used the word "dominant" to describe Lee's pitching performance against the Marlins last week and that word applies again tonight.  Lee (8-5) gave up six hits and he needed 126 pitches to shut down the potent (albeit Albert Pujols-less) Cardinals offense.

Kyle Lohse (7-4) pitched a good ballgame too, with the exception of the fourth inning.  In the fourth he allowed a solo home run to Jimmy Rollins, his 7th, and a two-run home run to Ryan Howard, his 16th.  Shane Victorino tripled and scored on a Chase Utley sac fly in the ninth for the fourth and final run.

Featured Card:  How is it I'm already running out of 2011 Cliff Lee baseball cards to post?  I know there are additional Lee cards in Topps Series 2, so I may need to do a little internet shopping later.  Rather than posting Lee's 2011 Bowman card* or his 2011 Topps Attax card, I decided to go with three mini cards featuring the game's heroes.

Mini cards have grown on me recently, and I'm trying to track down the last few Gypsy Queen mini short-prints to round out the Phillies team set.  I can't say I understand the appeal of tracking down these mini cards with all the various backs available, but they sure do look nice lined up together in a top-loader page.

*For the record, Lee's 2011 Bowman card is one of the worst Phillies cards of the year.  It's a very non-flattering picture of the pitcher, making it look as if he's been caught between taking a squat and moon walking.  Out of respect for Lee, I'm going to avoid posting it for as long as possible.

2011 Topps #379 Ben Francisco

Phillies 10, Cardinals 2
Game 74 - Tuesday Night, June 21st in St. Louis

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies piled on nine runs in the eighth to stun the Cardinals and win the ballgame, 10-2.

What It Means:  The Phillies have a 4 1/2 game lead over the Braves in the division, and their record improved to 46-28.

What Went Right:  It wasn't pretty, but we'll take it.  The bats were fairly quiet throughout the first seven innings and they really didn't do all that much in the eighth, but the Phils capitalized on the Cardinal bullpen's meltdown to rally from behind.  The offense victimized five different Cardinals relievers in the inning on five singles, four walks and two hit batters.  Three of the runs scored on two bases-loaded walks and a hit batter.

Before the deluge, the big hit came from pinch-hitter Ben Francisco, who lined a single to left to give the Phillies a 3-2 lead.  After that, things got sloppy and per the team's official Twitter feed, the top of the eigth took 43 minutes and 26 seconds.

Carlos Ruiz was on base all night, going four for four with a walk.

Roy Halladay was lifted in the seventh for a pinch-hitter.  In his abbreviated (for him) start, he gave up a run on four hits while walking two and striking out five. 

Featured Card:  My Phillies cards from Topps Series 2 are sitting in front of me in a small pile waiting to be checklist'd and added to Zistle.  One of those cards is this Ben Francisco card, which features a different pose from Francisco's card found in the Topps Phillies team set.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Phillies at Cardinals: June 21st through June 23rd

Busch Stadium - St. Louis, MO
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8:15

Phillies 45-28, 1st Place in N.L. East, 4 1/2 games ahead of the Braves
Cardinals 40-33, 1st Place in N.L. Central, 1/2 game ahead of the Brewers

So Far in 2011:  The Phils didn't fare well in a quick two-game series in St. Louis a month ago, dropping both games.

Meet the Cardinals: Manager - Tony LaRussa
Starters - Yadier Molina (c), Lance Berkman (1b), Skip Schumaker (2b), Daniel Descalso (3b), Ryan Theriot (ss), Matt Holliday (lf), Colby Rasmus (cf), Jon Jay (rf)
Rotation - Kyle Lohse (rhp), Chris Carpenter (rhp), Jake Westbrook (rhp), Jaime Garcia (lhp), Kyle McClellan (rhp)
Bench - Tony Cruz (c), Mark Hamilton (1b), Pete Kozma (inf), Andrew Brown (of)
Closer - Fernando Salas (rhp)
Bullpen - Miguel Batista (rhp), Mitchell Boggs (rhp), Maikel Cleto (rhp), Ryan Franklin (rhp), Trever Miller (lhp), Jason Motte (rhp), Brian Tallet (lhp)
Disabled List - Brian Augenstein (rhp), Eduardo Sanchez (rhp), Adam Wainwright (rhp), Gearld Laird (c), David Freese (3b), Albert Pujols (1b), Nick Punto (2b), Allen Craig (of)

The Phils missed Josh Hamilton when they played the Rangers, Josh Johnson when they played the Marlins, and now they'll miss Albert Pujols who will miss about six weeks with a broken left wrist.

At the Ballpark:  Thursday is Backpack night at the ballpark, with the first 25,000 fans receiving a Delta Airlines Sling Backpack.

Phillies Probabels: Roy Halladay (9-3, 2.56), Cliff Lee (7-5, 3.12), Roy Oswalt (4-5, 3.38)
Cardinals Probables: Kyle McClellan (6-3, 3.96), Kyle Lohse (7-3, 2.88), Chris Carpenter (1-7, 4.47)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

2011 Chachi #38 Cole Hamels HL

Mariners 2, Phillies 0
Game 73 - Sunday Afternoon, June 19th in Seattle

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies managed just three singles off Jason Vargas, falling to the Mariners, 2-0.

What It Means:  The Phillies dropped the series and their record fell to 45-28.  They'll take a five-game lead over the Braves into the off day tomorrow before opening a series against the Cardinals in St. Louis on Tuesday.

What Went Wrong:  It was just a poor offensive performance all around.  Vargas (5-4), struck out six in his complete game shutout, allowing two hits to Ryan Howard and one hit to Ben Francisco.  The Mariners scored both of their two runs on bloop hits to left.  Cole Hamels (9-3) was the hard-luck loser, the victim of low run support from the offense yet again.

Featured Card:  Hamels struck out Miguel Olivo in the fourth inning for his 1,000th career strikeout, joining an impressive list of former Phillies in the 1,000-strikeout club.  (Although he's got a little ways to go before he catches up to Lefty.)  Here's the list of pitchers with 1,000 or more strikeouts in the franchise's history:

  1. Steve Carlton - 3,031
  2. Robin Roberts - 1,871
  3. Chris Short - 1,585
  4. Curt Schilling - 1,554
  5. Grover Alexander - 1,409
  6. Jim Bunning - 1,197
  7. Curt Simmons - 1,052
  8. Cole Hamels - 1,000

2011 Topps Gypsy Queen #346 Shane Victorino

Phillies 5, Mariners 1
Game 72 - Late Saturday Night, June 18th in Seattle

One Sentence Summary:  Shane Victorino provided the offense in a late night defeat of the Mariners and King Felix, 5-1.

What It Means:  The Phillies improved to 45-27 and increased their lead in the division to six games over the Braves.  It also meant I was very tired on Sunday morning as I stayed up to watch this game.  Fortunately, as it was Father's Day, my kind wife got up with our boys allowing me to sleep in a bit.

What Went Right:  Victorino went 3 for 4 with 4 RBIs including the games two big hits - his two-run double in the seventh to give the Phillies the lead, and his two-run home run in the ninth to pad the lead.  Victorino has been red hot, hitting .474 with eight RBIs in his last nine games.  Jimmy Rollins also enjoyed a three-hit night.  The offense did well in their first look at Felix Hernandez (7-6), scoring three runs on eight hits.

Vance Worley battled through five innings, allowing the lone Mariners run on five hits.  Michael Stutes (1-0) pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings to pick up the win in relief.

Featured Card:  I was surprised when I checked that I hadn't yet included any 2011 Victorino baseball cards in my game summary posts following a Phillies victory.  This is his card from the Topps Gypsy Queen issue - a dreaded short-print.

1971 Topps Phillies

1971 Topps #490, #233, #23 and #138
I have about 70% of the 1971 Topps set in my possession.  I'm exactly 226 cards away from a complete set, and I'm sad to say I haven't added a new card to the set in over a year.  I haven't even posted my wantlist to this blog, which I plan to remedy shortly.  Those 226 cards are the only thing standing between me and a complete run of Topps sets from 1970 to 2010.  On Christmas morning, 1998, Santa left a starter set of 50 cards under the Christmas tree and I chipped away at the set little by little for the next few years.  Since the mid-2000's, my baseball card collecting focus has shifted to the point where I'm mostly collecting Phillies cards at this point.  But I haven't forgotten about this black-bordered beauty from '71.

The Set
1971 Topps #490 (Back)
Number of cards in the set:  Topps added 32 more cards from the previous year's set, coming in at 752 total cards.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  It's awesome.  The black borders scared me off for a long time because I wanted to be able to put together a condition-sensitive set, heavy with mint to near-mint cards.  I'm wiser now, and I've realized condition isn't really that important.  I'm not looking to get these things graded to sell them at a profit.  I'm looking to enjoy the process of collecting the set and getting to one day flip through the binder housing the entire 752-card run.
Notable competition:  There was a 13-card Phillies set released by Arco gas stations in 1971, and there are three Phillies to be found in the second ever Kellogg's set.

1971 Phillies
Record and finish:  Any progress that was made in 1970 was erased in 1971 as the team went 67-95, finishing dead last in the division and 30 games behind the Pirates.
Key players:  They didn't hit for average, but first baseman Deron Johnson (.265, 34 home runs, 95 RBIs) and rookie center fielder Willie Montanez (.255, 30 home runs, 99 RBIs) provided the power.  Most of the other regulars hovered around the as yet unnamed Mendoza line and regular third baseman John Vukovich finished well below the line with a .166 average.  Rick Wise (17-14, 2.88 ERA) had another stellar year but every other regular starting pitcher finished with a losing record.  With Wise as the only dependable starter, there's no way the Phillies would dare trade him following the season.  (That's foreshadowing right there.  I sometimes like to use literary techniques on the blog.)
Key events:  Veterans Stadium opened its doors (or more accurately, its ramps) on April 10, 1971.  On June 8th, the Phillies selected Mike Schmidt, a shortstop from Ohio University, in the second round of the June Amateur Draft.  Schmidt was the 30th overall pick in the draft and he signed a contract with the Phillies three days later.

1971 Topps #465, #49, #246 and #616
1971 Phillies in 1971 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 31 cards in a complete 1971 Topps Phillies team set.  That's 60 cards so far from the '70s and 528 Topps Phillies cards overall since 1951.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 5 cards
#465 Tim McCarver (c), #490 Deron Johnson (1b), #352 Denny Doyle (2b), #233 Larry Bowa (ss), #23 Oscar Gamble (lf)

Shortstop Vukovich was omitted completely, center fielder Montanez had to share his card (see below) and new right fielder Roger Freed is pictured with the Orioles.
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 4 cards
#598 Rick Wise, #739 Barry Lersch, #511 Chris Short, #574 Jim Bunning

1971 Topps #598, #511, #574 and #166
  • Base cards of other players who played with the Phillies in 1971 - 14 cards
#49 Don Money, #166 Joe Hoerner, #192 Bill Wilson, #246 Tony Taylor, #297 John Briggs, #323 Bill Champion, #366 Ron Stone, #414 Woodie Fryman, #533 Mike Ryan, #554 Lowell Palmer, #616 Larry Hisle, #659 Byron Browne, #682 Terry Harmon, #705 Dick Selma
  • 1971 Rookie Stars cards - 4 cards
#138 Joe Lis/Willie Montanez, #439 Greg Luzinski/Scott Reid, #664 Ken Reynolds with Archie Reynolds (Angels) and Bob Reynolds (Expos), #728 Wayne Redmond with Keith Lampard (Astros) and Bernie Williams (Giants)
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1971 - 2 cards
#77 Mike Compton, #92 Fred Wenz
2001 Topps Archives #66
Who’s out:  As mentioned above, Vukovich was left out of the set completely as were utility player Bobby Pfeil (44 games, .271 average) and reliever Darrell "Bucky" Brandon (6-6 in 52 games).
Phillies on other teams:  Freed (#362) appears with the Orioles on a Rookie Stars card with pitcher Mike Adamson.  Future All-Star Wayne Twitchell (#692) appears with the Brewers on a Rookie Stars card, as does catcher Pete Koegel (#633).
What’s he doing here:  Redmond appeared in the final series on a multi-player Rookie Stars card, but I have no idea how he came into the Phillies organization.  He played in 4 games with the Tigers in 1965 and 5 games with the Tigers in 1969, but he never played for the Phillies.  His minor league stats over at Baseball Reference don't show him as having appeared in a game within the Phillies' system.  It's a mystery.
Cards that never were candidates:  Vukovich should have a card, while both Montanez and Reynolds deserve their own cards.  Freed should have a Phillies card and it would be cool to see a Schmidt draft pick card.
Favorite Phillies card:  There are a lot of great cards to choose from here, including Bowa's first solo card with the Topps All-Star Rookie trophy, and Lowell Palmer striking a pose in his shades.  But I'm torn between Gamble's and Short's cards which both display the new Phillies unis with old Connie Mack Stadium lurking in the background.  It's Gamble by a hair.

1971 Topps #533, #554, #297 and 2002 Upper Deck Vintage #235
Other Stuff
Recycled:  The 2002 Upper Deck Vintage set borrowed from used the classic design, moving the team name to the bottom of the card.
Blogs/Websites:  Is there seriously not a blog for this set?  How is that possible?  If there's one out there and I've just missed it, please let me know.  In the mean time, there's a set quest going on over at Heartbreaking Cards of Staggering Genius.
Did You Know?:  Going strictly numerical, the first Phillie ever to appear on a Topps baseball card wearing the new '70s and '80s-era Phillies uniforms was Gamble on card #23 in the set.  In case you were wondering, the last Phillie to ever wear this uniform in a Topps set was Danny Cox, card #791 in the 1992 Topps Set.  And now you know.

And one more thing - Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

1997 Best Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons #12 Eric Wedge

Mariners 4, Phillies 2
Game 71 - Late Friday Night, June 17th in Seattle

One Sentence Summary:  The Mariners snapped the Phillies 7-game winning streak, behind Michael Pineda's fine pitching performance, 7-4.

What It Means:  The Phils fell to 44-27, but they still have a five game lead in the division.

What Went Wrong:  Roy Oswalt (4-5) continues to look mediocre, as he's now 1-5 with a 4.17 ERA in his last eight starts.  He lasted 6 1/3 innings this outing, giving up all four Mariners runs on eight hits, including a solo home run from Phillie-killer Miguel Olivo in the fourth.

Pineda (7-4) didn't allow a hit until Shane Victorino singled to right with two outs in the sixth inning.

Featured Card: Current Mariners manager Eric Wedge appeared as a player in 39 games between 1991 and 1994 with the Red Sox and Rockies.  However, he wrapped up his playing career with 47 games for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, the Phillies Triple-A team, in 1997.  He retired following the '97 season and began his managerial career with the Single-A Columbus RedStixx, an affiliate of the Cleveland Indians.  He worked his way up through the minors to eventually manage the Indians between 2003 and 2009, taking the team to the ALCS in 2007 where they fell to the Red Sox.  This is his first year managing the Mariners.

This is most likely Wedge's final card as a player, from the Red Barons team set I purchased from Lackawanna County Stadium back in the summer of '97.  There's no way to predict from looking at this card that Wedge would one day develop one of the best mustaches in professional baseball.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Oddballs and Zistle

1968 Topps Game #20 and #23
As I patiently wait for the Phillies' late start tonight, I wanted to feature a few recent additions to my collection and plug Zistle one more time.

1964 Topps Coins #35
Thanks to the kindness of a few fellow Phillies fans, I recently crossed three "cards" off my Phillies Oddball wantlists.  Jim from Downingtown, he of the many wonderful set blogs, had doubles of the two Phillies featured in the 1968 Topps Game set - Richie Allen and Tony Gonzalez.  This set is the grand-daddy of the modern-day Topps Attax set.  In return, Jim asked for a few custom Chachi cards featuring Phillies who should have had cards in the late '60s.  I'm striking out finding a good color picture to use for a 1968 Topps Roberto Pena card, so please contact me if you think you can help with this little project.

Brad, who is trying to track down the 1991, 1994 and 2002 Phillie Phanatic cards from the team issued sets, had a duplicate Ray Culp coin from the 1964 Topps Coins set.  This is the first "coin" in my collection and I sincerely appreciate Brad's generosity.

Finally, I've been hard at work adding my Phillies baseball card collection to the Zistle database.  As of this writing, I've entered my collection through the 1986 TCMA All-Time Phillies set.  Apparently, one of the cards I added yesterday was the one millionth card* added to their database, as noted in their recent blog post.  Pretty cool.  For the record, I can now tell you I have 10 Johnny Wockenfuss cards in my collection.  That's the kind of hard core knowledge completely unavailable to me until my recent Zistle adventure.

*I originally featured the one millionth card in a Scrapbook Sunday feature.

Phillies at Mariners: June 17th through June 19th

Safeco Field - Seattle, WA
Friday and Saturday 10:10, Sunday 4:10

Phillies 44-26, 1st Place in N.L. East, 5 1/2 games ahead of the Braves
Mariners 35-34, 2nd Place in the A.L. West, 1/2 game behind the Rangers

First Game:  This is the third series these two teams have played since the utter blasphemy of Interleague play was introduced.  The Mariners swept the Phillies at The Vet back in 2003 and they took two out of three when the two teams met in Seattle back in 2005.

On June 3, 2003, old friend Jamie Moyer shut down his future team through seven innings as the Mariners won, 4-0.  Bret Boone went 3 for 4 for the M's, driving in two runs.

Meet the Mariners: Manager - Eric Wedge, in his first season as manager of the team
Starters - Miguel Olivo (c), Justin Smoak (1b), Adam Kennedy (2b), Chone Figgins (3b), Brendan Ryan (ss), Carlos Peguero (lf), Franklin Gutierrez (cf), Ichiro Suzuki (rf), Jack Cust (dh)
Rotation - Felix Hernandez (rhp), Jason Vargas (lhp), Doug Fister (rhp), Erik Bedard (lhp), Michael Pineda (rhp)
Bench - Chris Gimenez (c), Dustin Ackley (inf), Jack Wilson (inf), Mike Carp (of), Greg Halman (of)
Closer - Brandon League (rhp)
Bullpen - Jeff Gray (rhp), Aaron Laffey (lhp), David Pauley (rhp), Chris Ray (rhp), Jamey Wright (rhp)
Disabled List - David Aardsma (rhp), Shawn Kelley (rhp), Adam Moore (c)

At the Ballpark:  There's all kinds of stuff going on at Safeco this weekend.  Fans tonight will receive a replica green Ichiro jersey and tomorrow night is King Felix knit cap night.  For Father's Day on Sunday, Dads will receive a set of Mariners coasters.

Phillies Probables: Roy Oswalt (4-4, 3.14), Vance Worley (2-1, 3.75), Cole Hamels (9-2, 2.49)
Mariners Probables: Michael Pineda (6-4, 2.72), Felix Hernandez (7-5, 3.30), Jason Vargas (4-4, 4.13)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

2011 Topps Black Diamond Redemptions #1 Cliff Lee

Phillies 3, Marlins 0
Game 70 - Thursday Afternoon, June 16th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Cliff Lee did it all - hit, pitch, run - in a dominant performance against the Marlins.

What It Means:  The Phillies now have a seven-game winning streak as they swept the Marlins right out of town.  Their record is 44-26 as they board the team plane for Seattle (wait . . . Seattle?) for a weekend series against the Mariners.  I loathe Interleague play.

What Went Right:  Lee (7-5) allowed just two singles in his complete game shutout while striking out four. He was perfect until Mike Stanton's single with two outs in the fifth.  He also started the scoring for the Phillies with an RBI-double in the fourth.

Ryan Howard's 15th home run in the fifth and Jimmy Rollins' RBI-double in the sixth padded the lead.

Featured Card:  I thought Lee's incredibly impressive performance deserved a sparkly, fancy card, so I scanned this 2011 Topps Black Diamond card.  Collectors receive five of these cards from Topps upon mailing in 36 wrappers from a box of Series 1.  This practice harks back to the day when we could get a bunch of glossy all-star cards when we mailed in Topps wrappers.  I like that they brought this back.

It's not a great picture of Lee, but it's a cool card nevertheless.

Transaction:  The J.C. Romero era came to an end this afternoon as the lefty was designated for assignment.  Vance Worley, who will start on Saturday in Seattle takes his place on the roster.  Romero was an extremely effective reliever in his first few years in Philly, having been signed as a minor league free agent in June 2007.  He earned a World Championship ring in 2008, but his inability to locate the strike zone over the past few seasons earned him his walking papers.  Pun intended.

2011 Topps Opening Day Toppstown #TTOD-22 Carlos Ruiz

Phillies 5, Marlins 4 (Game 2 - 10 Innings)
Game 69 - Wednesday Night, June 15th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils received clutch hits from Shane Victorino in the ninth and Carlos Ruiz in the tenth to deliver the come-from-behind victory, 5-4.

What It Means:  It's was the sixth win in a row for the Phillies, who improved their record to 43-26.  They'll go for the four-game sweep this afternoon against the floundering Fish, who are now four games below .500 and 10 1/2 games out of first place.

What Went Right:  The Phillies were down to their last out in the ninth, down 4-2.  With runners on second and third, Victorino lined a single into center to tie the game.  Again with two outs in the tenth, Ruiz lined a single through the middle to score Ryan Howard with the winning run.  Chooch's heroics were made possible when Howard was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Domonic Brown worked a walk.  The team's first two runs scored on RBIs from Chase Utley, who had a double and triple in the game.

Roy Halladay didn't have his best stuff, giving up four runs on six hits in his seven innings of work.

Featured Card:  This Toppstown card can be found as an insert in the 2011 Topps Opening Day set, continuing the insert set originally found in packs of 2011 Topps Series 1.  In situations like these, I go back and forth as to whether or not I should include the Ruiz card with the other Opening Day cards, or if I should put all The Toppstown cards together on a page.  I try not to let it keep me up at night.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

2011 Topps #199 Jimmy Rollins

Phillies 8, Marlins 1 (Game 1)
Game 68 - Wednesday Afternoon, June 15th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Riding a six-run third inning and a fine performance from Kyle Kendrick, the Phillies blasted the Marlins for the second game in a row, 8-1.

What It Means:  Hooray for the offense!  The Phillies are now 42-26.

What Went Right:  Jimmy Rollins and Wilson Valdez enjoyed big days at the plate.  Rollins finished with four RBIs, including his three-run home run in the third.  Rollins' big hit followed Valdez' bases-clearing triple a few batters earlier.

Kendrick (4-4), who may be heading back to the bullpen following this start, pitched seven strong innings, allowing just a run on five hits while striking out five.

Featured Card:  I still need to find some time to update my Topps Series 2 wantlists . . . This is Rollins' base card featured in Series 1 from way back in February.  Rollins is wearing the alternate day uniform the team wore this afternoon, before changing into their normal home white pinstriped uniforms for tonight's game.

2011 Topps Heritage #104 Domonic Brown

Phillies 9, Marlins 1
Game 67 - Tuesday Night, June 14th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies hit five home runs (two from Domonic Brown) and Cole Hamels pitched a gem in the 9-1 victory.

What It Means:  Could the bats be waking up?  The win improved the Phillies' record to 41-26 as the Marlins continued their downward spiral.

What Went Right:  Hamels (9-2) pitched seven solid innings, giving up just the lone Marlins run on three hits.  He left in the eighth with "middle-back stiffness," but all reports are that he's just fine.  Five of the team's eleven hits were home runs, including two impressive shots from Brown.  Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins also joined the home run parade.

Featured Card:  I haven't featured many of Brown's 2011 cards so far this season, simply because he really hasn't had the chance to shine yet.  He looked great in this game, enjoying his first ever multi-home run game.

Field Report:  My place of business held its annual Phillies outing, so I was there to witness the offensive barrage in person.  The Phils are 7-3 in games I've attended this year.  Upcoming vacations and July's road trips mean I won't be attending another game in person until late July.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Marlins at Phillies: June 14th through June 16th

Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA
Tuesday 7:05, Wednesday 1:05 and 7:05, Thursday 1:05

Marlins 32-33, 3rd Place in N.L. East, 7 1/2 games behind the Phillies
Phillies 40-26, 1st Place in N.L. East, 2 1/2 games ahead of the Braves

So Far in 2011:  The Phillies have won three out of five so far this season.

Meet the Marlins: Manager - Edwin Rodriguez
Starters - John Buck (c), Gaby Sanchez (1b), Omar Infante (2b), Greg Dobbs (3b), Emilio Bonifacio (ss), Logan Morrison (lf), Chris Coghlan (cf), Mike Stanton (rf)
Rotation - Anibal Sanchez (rhp), Javier Vazquez (rhp), Brad Hand (lhp), Ricky Nolasco (rhp), Chris Volstad (rhp)
Bench - Brett Hayes (c), Wes Helms (inf), Osvaldo Martinez (rhp), Scott Cousins (of)
Closer - Leo Nunez (rhp)
Bullpen - Burke Badenhop (rhp), Randy Choate (lhp), Steve Cishek (rhp), Michael Dunn (lhp), Edward Mujica (rhp), Brian Sanches (rhp), Ryan Webb (rhp)
Disabled List - Clay Hensley (rhp), Josh Johnson (rhp), John Baker (c), Donnie Murphy (inf), Hanley Ramirez (ss)

At the Ballpark:  Wednesday afternoon's game is a make-up of the game rained out on April 16th.

Marlins Probables: Chris Volstad (2-6, 5.51), TBD, Anibal Sanchez (6-1, 3.06), Javier Vazquez (3-6, 7.09)
Phillies Probables: Cole Hamels (8-2, 2.58), Kyle Kendrick (3-4, 3.47), Roy Halladay (9-3 2.39), Cliff Lee (6-5, 3.41)

Monday, June 13, 2011

1941 Play Ball #28 "Joe" Marty

I've always been very envious whenever I read a blog post by someone who can provide the exact number of a certain player's baseball cards he owns in his collection.  There are a few bloggers out there who can tell you, at any given time, exactly how many cards they have in their collection including the player and/or team break-down.  I think these bloggers use some combination of Excel spreadsheets or home-made databases to accomplish this, and I've seriously considered trying this approach myself.  However, as someone who works with Excel spreadsheets on a daily basis in my chosen profession, the thought of coming home after a long day in the coal mine and relaxing in front of another Excel spreadsheet just seemed depressing.

Sure, I've got detailed checklists, and I can tell you exactly what cards I have and what cards I need, but I have absolutely no idea how many cards are currently housed within the actual Phillies Room from where I'm typing this now.

So I've joined Zistle.  Zistle has been around for a while, but it recently re-launched with (I'm assuming) a more user-friendly approach. Its tagline is simple, "Organizing your collection online couldn't be easier. Zistle actually makes organizing your collection online, dare we say, fun!" And, dare I say it, I agree.

I started adding cards in my collection to my new account over the weekend.  I started with the few Phillies cards I have from the '30s and I've worked my way forward up through the 1981 Donruss set.  I'm going to stick to only including my Phillies cards as this is now the main focus of my collection.  Said another way, I'm more interested in knowing how many Putsy Caballero cards are in my collection (currently one) than knowing how many 1992 Donruss doubles I have.

One of the cool things about Zistle is the ability to add sets, teams, and photos to their ever expanding inventory.  Shortly after posting this, I'll upload front and back scans of this 1941 Play Ball card to the database, as there's currently no image available for this card on Zistle.

There are also trading and wantlist tools available that I have yet to explore.  And once I've input my collection, I have the ability to download the whole mess to an exportable file whenever I want.  I like this.  It's free, and they say they'll never charge for their service, but I like the idea of being able to take my Phillies collection data with me, especially after the time investment it's going to take to get everything in there.

So look for me on Zistle (Ringo73), where as of this writing, I have 756 Phillies-related baseball cards in my collection from the 1934 Diamond Stars Blondy Ryan card through the 1981 Donruss Greg Gross card.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

2011 Phillies Team Issue 2 #6 Ryan Howard

Phillies 4, Cubs 3
Game 66 - Sunday Afternoon, June 12th in Philadelphia

One Sentence Summary:  Ryan Howard's two-run single in the seventh gave the Phils the come-from-behind victory, 4-3.

What It Means:  It means the Phillies head into tomorrow's off-day having taken three out of four from the Cubs.  They're 40-26 with a two game lead over the Braves in the division.  On Tuesday, they'll open a four-game in three-day series with the Marlins, who have fallen to seven back after losing nine of their last ten.

What Went Right:  The Phillies had a few opportunities to blow this thing wide open against Doug Davis and the Cubs, but they had to wait for a late rally to secure the win.  Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Howard's single scored Shane Victorino and Chase Utley with the tying and go-ahead runs.  The hit gave Howard three RBIs on the day, as he had doubled in the first to bring home Victorino.

Roy Oswalt (4-4) dug an early hole, allowing three first inning runs.  Fortunately, that was the only scoring from the Cubs today and Oswalt bounced back to pitch scoreless ball through the seventh.  Michael Stutes and Ryan Madson shut down the Cubs in the eighth and ninth.  With two outs in the ninth, Carlos Pena scared the crap out of me (and Madson) when he hit a ball out of the ballpark that was just foul.  On the next pitch, he popped out to Utley, who made a running, over the shoulder catch, for the last out of the game.

Featured Card:  I was fairly surprised last year when the Phillies released a "2nd series" for their team-issued postcard-sized baseball card set.  So I was even more surprised when I recently found a new 2011 team set for sale at the ballpark and we're not even through June.

The new 40-card set features pictures from 2011 game action as opposed to the Spring Training photos found in the original 36-card set.  This is Ryan Howard's card from the new set, and I like the design much better than the first series.  The player selection between the two sets differs as follows:

Who's out - Domonic Brown (surprisingly), Delwyn Young
Who's in - Dane Sardinha, Pete Orr, Michael Stutes, Vance Worley, David Herndon, Mike Zagurski

Does this open the door for a third series late in the season?