Wednesday, February 29, 2012

1996 Phillies - The Missing Links

1994 Bowman #664, 1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs (#159),
1997 Pacific #381 and 1996 Fleer Update #U168
The mostly forgettable last-place 1996 Phillies fielded 54 different players during the season, and all but six of them appeared on a Phillies baseball card at some point.

3 Cards or More
40 Players

Jeff Parrett appeared on no Phillies cards during his second stint with the club in 1996, but I'm invoking the Dickie Noles rule given his appearance on a bunch of Phillies cards between 1989 and 1990.  The same goes for Terry Mulholland, but he actually appears on two cards (1996 Fleer Update and 1996 Phillies Team Issue) during his second stay with the Phils in 1996.

1996 Phillies Team Issue #43 and #54
2 Cards
Russ Springer (14 games in 1995 and 51 games in 1996) - 1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs (#190) and 1996 Phillies Team Issue #33
Larry Mitchell (7 games in 1996) - 1993 Stadium Club Murphy #39 and 1994 Bowman #664

Springer makes the list for the second year in a row, despite having appeared in almost a third of the team's games in 1996.  You'd think he would have somehow snuck into a 1997 Pacific or Score set along the way.

1 Card
Jon Zuber (30 games in 1996 and 38 games in 1998) - 1998 Phillies Team Issue #40 (Special Edition)
Steve Frey (9 games in 1995 and 31 games in 1996) - 1996 Phillies Team Issue #37
Mike Benjamin (35 games in 1996) - 1996 Phillies Team Issue #5
J.R. Phillips (35 games in 1996) - 1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs (#159)

Ricardo Jordan (26 games in 1996) - 1997 Pacific #381

Dave Leiper (26 games in 1996) - 1996 Phillies Team Issue #43
Carlos Crawford (1 game in 1996) - 1996 Phillies Team Issue #54

I've already featured Benjamin's sole Phillies card on the blog, the day after my second son was born.  Phillips had 12 hits during his tenure with the team, and 5 of those hits were home runs.  Former Phillie Ricky Jordan spent the season in the Mariners organization, but the Phils filled their R. Jordan quota by bringing aboard lefty reliever Ricardo Jordan.  Ricardo had a respectable 2-2 record and a 1.80 ERA in his 26 games with the club, but it still doesn't explain why Pacific chose to include him in their 1997 set over Springer.

I don't remember much about Leiper and I remember even less about Crawford.  It appears as if Crawford made an emergency start on June 7th, lasted less than 4 innings, picked up the loss and was optioned back to Scranton a few days later.  He'd never pitch in the Majors again.

1997 Best Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons #20, 1996 Stadium Club #401,
1996 Fleer Excel #203 and 1996 Best Reading Phillies #11
0 Cards
**Glenn Murray (38 games in 1996)
Manny Martinez (13 games in 1996)
Glenn Dishman (4 games in 1996)
Bronson Heflin (3 games in 1996)
Rafael Quirico (1 game in 1996)

How does Jon Zuber not have a Phillies card?  Seriously, did I miss something when reviewing my checklists?  Zuber was drafted by the Phillies in 1992 and he made his Major League debut on April 19, 1996.  In 68 games with the Phillies in 1996 and 1998, he hit .250 with 3 home runs and 16 RBIs.

UPDATE: Zuber has been moved up to the 1 Card section.  See the comment from reader Steve F. within the 1998 Missing Links post.

Not only are there no Phillies baseball cards of Murray and Martinez, but I don't have any Phillies-related baseball cards of either of those guys in my collection.  Murray appears within a 1996 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons team set that I don't have, and Martinez was shut out completely.  I find it interesting that Lee Tinsley played in 7 less games as a Phillie than Murray, yet Tinsley by my count is featured on three Phillies cards (1996 Ultra, 1996 Fleer Update and 1996 Phillies Team Issue).

Dishman was in the Phillies system for less than a month.  On September 12th, he was selected off waivers from the Padres and on October 3rd, he was selected by the Tigers off waivers from the Phils.  And if you could have picked Heflin and Quirico out of list of players who were former Phillies, I am equally impressed and frightened by your deep Phillies knowledge.

**UPDATE 2:  I now know that Murray has a card in the style of the 1996 Phillies Team Issue set that was issued either as a late season update or during the annual ALS Phillies Phestival.  Please see this post for further details.

Past Missing Link Posts

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Where the Ex-Phillies Are - A.L. West

2001 Stadium Club
Lone Star Signatures #LS6
And this concludes my look at the ex-Phillies scattered throughout the Grapefuit and Cactus Leagues this spring.

Bobby Abreu enters his fourth spring with the Angels as a man without a position as a direct result of the Angels signing Albert Pujols.  Pujols will play first which shifts Mark Trumbo to DH and leaves Abreu as the back-up DH or the team's fifth outfielder.  There might not be many regular at-bats to be had for Abreu and the reports are that both parties would prefer to part ways.

Abreu was almost part of a three-way deal this spring that would have landed him back in the Bronx and added A.J. Burnett to the Phillies pitching rotation, but it was not to be.

Los Angeles Angels
Outfielder Bobby Abreu (1998-2006)

Oakland Athletics
Pitcher Fabio Castro* (2006-2007), Outfielder Brandon Moss* (2011)

Seattle Mariners
Catching Coordinator John Stearns (1974), Pitcher Kevin Millwood* (2003-2004)

Texas Rangers
Pitching Coach Mike Maddux (1986-1989), Hitting Coordinator Randy Ready (1989-1991; 1994-1995)

*Non-Roster Invitee

Where the Ex-Phillies Are

Monday, February 27, 2012

Where the Ex-Phillies Are - A.L. Central

2001 Fleer Tradition #225
I love that Bruce Chen is still kicking around the Majors more than ten years after I thought he was washed up.  Chen has put together a nice career (60-58 over 13 seasons) and in November he signed a two-year deal to remain with the Royals through 2013.

Here are the ex-Phillies with A.L. Central teams this spring:

Chicago White Sox
Hitting Coach Jeff Manto (1993), Bench Coach Mark Parent (1997-1998), Pitcher Gavin Floyd (2004-2006)

Cleveland Indians
Third Base Coach Steve Smith (coach 2007-2008), Catcher Lou Marson (2008), Pitcher Robinson Tejeda* (2005)

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals
Pitcher Bruce Chen (2000-2001), Outfielder Greg Golson* (2008)

Minnesota Twins

*Non-Roster Invitee

Where the Ex-Phillies Are

Sunday, February 26, 2012

1996 Topps Phillies

1996 Topps #66, #180, #44 and #370
I've collected baseball cards on a regular basis since 1979.  However, there are three specific years when I only collected baseball cards as a afterthought.  The latter two of these three years were 2002 and 2005 when there were quite a few major changes going on in my life and collecting baseball cards took a back seat.  The first year of those non-collecting years was 1996.  The summer of '96 was the first full summer I lived away from home as I opted to rent an apartment and stay in North Carolina after my spring semester wrapped up.  I clearly remember scrounging up the money needed ($20?) to buy a hand-collated 1996 Topps set that summer for the sole purpose of trying to combat an extreme bout of home-sickness.  Other than that purchase, I didn't add any 1996 Phillies baseball cards to my collection until a few years later.

1996 Topps #44 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  I have nothing to base this on, other than my own personal recollections, but I imagine Topps scaled down their flagship brand to just 440 cards due to lack of interest on the part of baseball fans and baseball card collectors.  At this point, a lot of us were still trying to forgive the players and owners for the 1994 strike and collecting cards of current players wasn't a priority.  The set was released in two series (220 cards each) and for the first time since 1980, there was no traded set.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  I actually don't mind these cards, but I just wish there was more of them.  The set feels like an afterthought.  On the front of the cards, we get the player's name, a team logo and a close-up, smooshed version of the player's face.  It's as if the people at Topps got together in late 1995 and collectively decided, "Well we have to do something.  Let's go ahead and release this thing and see if anyone notices and maybe by 1997 things will have turned around."  (And then someone in the meeting added, "Besides, collectors are just going to go crazy over our new Topps Laser set.  It's a sure thing!")
Notable competition:  In my opinion, Fleer, Donruss and Score put out sets superior to the Topps set in 1996.  The Upper Deck set isn't one of my favorites (too much gold), but their Collector's Choice set from 1996 was very nicely done.  In a nod to the increasing number of premium shiny cards on the market, Topps released its first Chrome set in 1996.  At the time, I dismissed Topps Chrome as just being a shinier version of Topps Tiffany.

1996 Topps #394, #35, #261 and #85
1996 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phils sunk to a record of 67-95 on their way to a last place finish, 29 games behind the Braves.  This would be the final season for manager Jim Fregosi and his coaching staff as the team's brass decided to wipe the slate clean in 1997 with a new regime.  I recall first hearing the dreaded "re-building" word at some point in late 1995 or early 1996, and that re-building would go through several frustrating fits and starts before finally paying off beginning in 2007.
Key players:  Catcher Benito Santiago, signed to a one-year deal to bridge the gap between Darren Daulton and Mike Lieberthal, had a decent year, hitting .264 with 30 home runs and 85 RBIs.  Third baseman Todd Zeile, another short-timer, was having a solid year before his late August trade to the Orioles.  Zeile hit .268 in his 134 games with the club, with 20 home runs and 80 RBIs.  Jim Eisenreich had his season ended prematurely by injuries, but he still hit .361 in 113 games.  Curt Schilling led the pitching staff with just 9 wins, followed by Terry Mulholland's 8 wins.  Mulholland rejoined the Phillis in February before getting shipped to the Mariners in July for Desi Relaford.  Ricky Bottalico assumed the closer's duties, saving 34 games.
Key events:  The Phils stunk.  Other than hosting the All-Star Game in July, there wasn't a whole lot of good baseball being played in Philadelphia.  Injuries limited Lenny Dykstra to 40 games and Daulton to just 5 games.  Scott Rolen made his Major League debut on August 1st, and he'd soon become the face of the franchise, whether he liked it or not.

1996 Phillies in 1996 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are only 18 Phillies cards within the 1996 Topps set, representing the lowest number of Phillies cards in a base Topps set since 1955.  Four of the 18 cards are multi-player Prospects cards, so if you remove those cards from the tally, the count goes down to a mere 14.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 4 cards
#180 Gregg Jefferies (1b), #370 Mickey Morandini (2b), #44 Kevin Stocker (ss), #66 Jim Eisenreich (rf)

Regular catcher Santiago and third baseman Zeile are in the set, but they're featured with their former teams.  Left fielder Pete Incaviglia, who returned to the Phillies after a year in Japan, and center fielder Ricky Otero aren't in the set at all.
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 2 cards
#128 Curt Schilling, #97 Mike Mimbs

Mulholland, Mike Williams and Mike Grace are completely omitted from the set.

1996 Topps #128, #97, #161 and #418
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 1996 - 3 cards
#85 Darren Daulton, #161 Ricky Bottalico, #261 Lenny Dykstra
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1996 - 3 cards (with new teams listed)
#255 Charlie Hayes (Pirates/Yankees), #385 Heathcliff Slocumb (Red Sox), #418 Tyler Green (injured)
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player Prospects cards - 4 cards
#426 Kevin Jordan, #430 Rich Hunter, #431 David Coggin, #434 Scott Rolen

All but Coggin actually played with the Phillies at some point in 1996.  Coggin wouldn't make his Phillies debut until 2000.  Jordan's card also features Relaford, who appeared in 15 games with the Phillies after being acquired from Seattle.
  • Phillies appearing on Star Power cards - 1 card, #11 Heathcliff Slocumb
  • Phillies appearing on Draft Pick cards - 1 card, #240 Reggie Taylor
There was a draft pick card featuring Taylor within the 1995 Topps Traded set, and he pops up again in the 1996 Topps set.

1996 Topps #426, #430 and #434
Who’s out:  The Phillies featured 54 players in 1996, with only 12 receiving Phillies cards within the Topps base set, for a woeful coverage percentage of 22%.
Phillies on other teams:  As mentioned previously, Santiago (#394 - Reds) and Zeile (#35 - Cubs) have cards in the set, as do Lee Tinsley (#359 - Red Sox), Glenn Dishman (#410 - Padres) and Relaford (#426 - Mariners).
What’s he doing here:  Why do we need two draft pick cards featuring Taylor in successive sets?  Scanning the list of other 1995 Phillies draft picks, they could have gone with a card for Marlon Anderson.  Then again, I'm still against the draft pick card concept in general.
Cards that never were candidates:  Given the small amount of Phillies cards in the Topps set, there are a lot of candidates.  Given the lackluster performance of the 1996 team however, there aren't a lot of good candidates.  Here are the Phillies cards I'd potentially add - Santiago, Zeile, Incaviglia, Otero, Mark Whiten, Lieberthal, Williams, Mulholland and Grace.  Relievers Ken Ryan (2.43 ERA and 8 saves in 62 games) and Toby Borland (4.07 ERA in 69 games) should also have cards.
Favorite Phillies card:  There aren't many cards from which to choose a favorite.  But for purposes of at least trying to pick a favorite, I'd go with either Daulton's or Dykstra's card for pure nostalgic reasons.  By 1996, the fan favorites on the 1993 National League Championship team were breaking down or moving on or both.  I've never dealt well with change, and the changes for me personally and for the Phillies over the next five years would be swift and at times painful.

2011 Topps Chrome
Vintage Chrome #VC21
Other Stuff
Recycled:  Topps went back to this design for last year's Vintage Chrome insert set, found within packs of 2011 Topps Chrome.  The recycled versions are fairly close replicas of the originals, other than the lack of embossed features found on the original cards.  Each of the original 1996 Topps Chrome base cards feature a background of small embossed circles, I'm guessing in an attempt to make the cards appear futuristic.
Blogs/Websites:  By the time this posts, a 1996 Topps-style card of Dick Allen may be up over at Dick Allen Hall of Fame.  I've been avidly following along as the blog posts Dick Allen cards for each year using the Topps design from 2012 and years earlier.  He's up to 1997 as of this writing.
Did You Know?:  My Dad and I attended the 1996 All-Star Game at the Vet.  Even though he had a natural aversion to heavy traffic and large crowds, he took one for the team by getting me to the game several hours before first pitch and staying to the bitter end of the game.  I remember it was actually kind of a boring game, with the N.L. All-Stars defeating the A.L. squad by a score of 6-0.  The Phillies sole representative was reliever Bottalico and he pitched a scoreless fifth, retiring Ivan Rodriguez, Cal Ripken, Jr. and Jay Buhner.

The stuff I remember best about that day had nothing to do with the game.  I remember that Kelsey Grammer sang the National Anthem and LL Cool J led the crowd in a pseudo-rap version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" during the seventh-inning stretch.  Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt, Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts and Jim Bunning simultaneously threw out first pitches.  I remember that we booed Joe Carter at every possible opportunity.  And I remember a great night with my Dad.  Team President David Montgomery recently indicated that he'd like to see the Phillies get the All-Star game in 2026 as the country celebrates its Sestercentennial.  (Quarter-Millenial?)  If that's the case, I'll make every effort to be there with my sons.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Where the Ex-Phillies Are - A.L. East

2003 Upper Deck 40-Man #668, #677, #681 and #682
The folks sitting in Section 36 are in for a treat this year, as the Red Sox have decided to stage a mini-reunion of Phillies from the early '00s.  Sadly, the Sox tried to recruit Jose Mesa, Amaury Telemaco and Robert Person, but those pitchers respectfully declined.  Here are the ex-Phillies in camp this spring with the A.L. East teams.

Baltimore Orioles
Bench Coach John Russell (1984-1988), Outfielder Endy Chavez (2005)

Dane Sardinha (2010-2011) had been tentatively signed by the Orioles, but the catcher failed his physical this week and was uninvited from Spring Training.

Boston Red Sox
Infielder Nick Punto (2001-2003), Pitchers Brandon Duckworth* (2001-2003), Vicente Padilla* (2000-2005) and Carlos Silva* (2002-2003)

New York Yankees
Pitcher Freddy Garcia (2007), Infielder Russell Branyan* (2007), Outfielder Raul Ibanez (2009-2011)

Tampa Bay Rays
Third Base Coach Tom Foley (1985-1986)

Toronto Blue Jays
Hitting Coach Dwayne Murphy (1989), First Base Coach Torey Lovullo (1999), Outfielder Ben Francisco (2009-2011), Pitchers Andrew Carpenter* (2008-2010) and Nelson Figueroa* (2001; 2010), Infielder Brian Bocock* (2010)

*Non-Roster Invitee

Where the Ex-Phillies Are

Friday, February 24, 2012

Where the Ex-Phillies Are - N.L. West

2009 Finest #50
The N.L. West is sparsely populated with ex-Phillies this spring, and the one member of this list I'll be following closely is the 49-year-young Jamie Moyer.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Pitcher Mike Zagurski (2007; 2010), Infielder Cody Ransom* (2010)

Colorado Rockies
Pitcher Jamie Moyer* (2006-2010)

Los Angeles Dodgers
First Base Coach Davey Lopes (coach 2007-2010), Bullpen Coach Ken Howell (1989-1990)

San Diego Padres
Bullpen Coach Darrel Akerfelds (1990-1991)

San Francisco Giants

*Non-Roster Invitee

Where the Ex-Phillies Are
N.L. Central

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Where the Ex-Phillies Are - N.L. Central

2002 Bowman #144, #96, #288 and #334
Today I'll take a look at the ex-Phillies in camp with the N.L. Central teams.

Chicago Cubs
Manager Dale Sveum (1992), Defensive Coordinator Bill Dancy (coach 2005-2006), Latin American Field Coordinator Carmelo Martinez (1990), Minor League Outfield/Baserunning Coordinator Lee Tinsley (1996), Outfielder Marlon Byrd (2002-2005), Pitchers Rodrigo Lopez* (2009) and Trever Miller* (2000)

Cincinnati Reds
First Base Coach Billy Hatcher (1994), Baseball Operations Assistant Joe Morgan (1983), Pitcher Ryan Madson (2003-2011), Infielders Miguel Cairo (2009), Scott Rolen (1996-2002) and Wilson Valdez (2010-2011)

Houston Astros
Manager Brad Mills (coach 1997-2000), Pitchers Sergio Escalona (2009), J.A. Happ (2007-2010) and Brett Myers (2002-2009), Infielder Joe Thurston* (2006)

Milwaukee Brewers
Manager Ron Roenicke (1986-1987), Pitchers Randy Wolf (1999-2006) and Juan Perez* (2011)

Pittsburgh Pirates
Third Base Coach Nick Leyva (manager 1989-1991), Catching Coordinator Tom Prince (1999-2000), Catcher Rod Barajas (2007)

St. Louis Cardinals
Assistant Hitting Coach John Mabry (2002), Hitting Coordinator Derrick May (1997), Pitchers Kyle Lohse (2007), J.C. Romero (2007-2011) and R.J. Swindle* (2008)

Where the Ex-Phillies Are
N.L. East

*Non-Roster Invitee

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

2012 Chachi Transactions #12 Raul Ibanez

According to the rumors, if the Yankees had preferred to have Bobby Abreu as their designated hitter in 2012 instead of Raul Ibanez, A.J. Burnett would be in Clearwater right now in red pinstripes and Joe Blanton would be getting to know his new teammate, Albert Pujols.  As further proof that General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. is constantly working the angles, the proposed deal would have shipped Blanton to the Angels for Abreu and then Abreu would have been spun-off to the Yankees for Burnett.  The rationale for the deal is that Burnett would have been cheaper over two years ($13 million) than Blanton over one ($10.5 million).

Instead, Ibanez officially signed with the Yankees yesterday and everyone here in The Phillies Room wishes him nothing but the best.

Moving On
Dane Sardinha (10-11) 10/10/11 - Filed for free agency (Signed a minor league contract with the Baltimore Orioles)
Brandon Moss (11) 10/17/11 - Outrighted to Lehigh Valley and filed for free agency (Signed a minor league contract with the Oakland A's)
Brad Lidge (08-11) 10/24/11 - Team option declined (Signed with the Washington Nationals)
Roy Oswalt (10-11) 10/24/11 - Team option declined
Ross Gload (10-11) 10/30/11 - Filed for free agency
Raul Ibanez (09-11) 10/30/11 - Filed for free agency (Signed with the New York Yankees)
Ryan Madson (03-11) 10/30/11 - Filed for free agency (Signed with the Cincinnati Reds)
Juan Perez (11) 11/2/11 - Became a minor league free agent (Signed a minor league contract with the Milwaukee Brewers)
Scott Mathieson (06, 10-11) 11/29/11 - Released (Signed with the Yomiuri Giants)
Ben Francisco (09-11) 12/12/11 - Traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for pitcher Frank Gailey
John Bowker (11) 1/10/12 - Released
Wilson Valdez (10-11) 1/25/12 - Traded to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Jeremy Horst.

Coming Back
Pete Orr (11) 11/3/11 - Re-signed by the Phillies as a minor league free agent with an invitation to Spring Training
Brian Schneider (10- ) 11/17/11 - Re-signed by the Phillies to a one-year contract
Jimmy Rollins (00- ) 12/19/11 - Re-signed by the Phillies to a three-year contract with a vesting fourth year

New Additions
Jim Thome (03-05) 11/5/11 - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Cleveland Indians
Jonathan Papelbon 11/14/11 - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Boston Red Sox
Ty Wigginton 11/20/11 - Acquired with cash from the Colorado Rockies for a player to be named later or cash
Laynce Nix 12/8/11 - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Washington Nationals
Dontrelle Willis 12/15/11 - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Cincinnati Reds
Chad Qualls 1/31/12 - Signed as a free agent formerly with the San Diego Padres

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Where the Ex-Phillies Are - N.L. East

2008 Upper Deck Phillies World Series Champions #PP-39, #PP-29, #PP-23 and #PP-34

I pay fairly close attention to the transaction wire throughout the off-season, but I still get surprised every spring when I find out where some ex-Phillies have ended up.  One of my rituals of spring is to scan each and every team's 40-man roster and non-roster invitee list and pick out the number of ex-Phillies populating each team's roster.  I used to complete this exercise with the help of The Sporting News or the wonderful, but short-lived Baseball Weekly, but now, through the wonder of technology, I have every team's roster a few clicks away.

I'm going to take a look at each the ex-Phillies warming up this week in Florida and Arizona, starting with the N.L. East.

Atlanta Braves
Pitching Coach Roger McDowell (1989-1991), Special Assistant Lee Elia (coach 1980-1981; 1985-1987 and manager 1987-1988), Outfielder Michael Bourn (2006-2007)

Miami Marlins
Infielder Greg Dobbs (2007-2010), Outfielder Aaron Rowand* (2006-2007)

New York Mets
I noticed a few former Phillies farmhands on the roster, but no ex-Phillies.

Washington Nationals
Manager Davey Johnson (1977-1978), Hitting Coordinator Rick Schu (1984-1987; 1991), Pitchers Brad Lidge (2008-2011) and Chad Durbin* (2008-2010), Outfielders Jayson Werth (2007-2010) and Jason Michaels* (2001-2005)

* Non-Roster Invitee

Monday, February 20, 2012

1995 Phillies - The Missing Links

1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs (#190), 1995 Topps Traded #90T,
1995 Fleer Update #U-120 and 1996 Score #238
This little project of mine really picked up some speed with the rogue's gallery that made up the 1995 Phillies team.  There were 50 players who appeared at some point with the 1995 Phillies, so it's only natural that some of them would never be represented on cardboard as Phillies.  Couple the large number of players with decreased baseball card production in 1995, and there are quite a few missing links.

3 or More Cards
36 Players

1995 Phillies Team Issue #5 and
1996 Phillies Team Issue #37
2 Cards
Russ Springer (14 games in 1995 and 51 games in 1996) - 1996 Leaf Signature Extended Autographs and 1996 Phillies Team Issue #33
Dave Gallagher (62 games in 1995) - 1995 Phillies Team Issue #17 and 1995 Topps Traded #90T
Gene Harris (21 games in 1995) - 1995 Fleer Update #U-120 and 1995 Phillies Team Issue #33

Springer was actually a key contributor to the 1996 squad, but as a middle reliever he was among the first to get cut by the card companies when it came to player selection.  Gallagher wrapped up his 9-year career with a decent season with the Phillies.  He hit .318 as the team's fourth outfielder.  Harris was shipped to the Orioles in June for Andy Van Slyke.  By the time his Fleer Update card was released, he was already an ex-Phillie.

1 Card
Gary Varsho (72 games in 1995) - 1995 Phillies Team Issue #5
Steve Frey (9 games in 1995 and 31 games in 1996) - 1996 Phillies Team Issue #37
Andy Carter (20 games in 1994 and 4 games in 1995) - 1994 Phillies Team Issue Update #50
Kevin Flora (24 games in 1995) - 1996 Score #238
Ryan Karp (1 game in 1995 and 15 games in 1997) - 1994 Bowman #552
Paul Fletcher (1 game in 1993 and 10 games in 1995) - 1993 Bowman #272

Varsho appeared on a number of team-issued cards between 2002 and 2006 during his time as a Phillies coach, but he had only one card with the Phillies as a player.

1994 Bowman #552,
1995 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons Team Issue (#6), (#20) and (#22)
0 Cards
Kevin Elster (26 games in 1995)
Omar Olivares (5 games in 1995)
Chuck Ricci (7 games in 1995)
Dennis Springer (4 games in 1995)
Jim Deshaies (2 games in 1995)

1995 Pacific #410
If you remember Elster and Deshaies playing with the Phillies, than you are truly a die-hard Phillies fan.  Elster came to the Phillies in July after bouncing from the Yankees and Royals organizations in June.  The Beckett database shows that Elster didn't appear on one single baseball card in 1994 or 1995, and by the time he was featured on a few 1996 cards he was already with the Rangers.

The only thing I remember about Olivares' stay with the Phillies is that he wore #00.  Ricci actually won a game with the Phillies, and the only Phillies-related card I have of him doesn't even feature a photo of the guy.  Dennis Springer (no relation to Russ) started his 8-year career with 4 games with the 1995 Phillies.  His claim to fame is that he gave up Barry Bonds' 73rd home run back in 2001.  He's featured in the same all-painting minor league set as Ricci.

Deshaies caught on with the Phillies in a last-ditch effort to keep his career going after 11 seasons spent mostly with the Astros.  He started two games with the club in late July, going 0-1 with a 20.25 ERA in 5 1/3 innings.  He was released on July 31st.

So there were five Phillies from the 1995 season who never appeared on a Phillies baseball card.  I have a feeling that number is about to jump once we hit the dark days of 1996, 1997 and 1998.

Past Missing Link Posts
1991 Phillies - Dave LaPoint

Sunday, February 19, 2012

1995 Topps Phillies

1995 Topps Traded #140T, 1995 Topps #326, 1995 Topps Traded #77T and 1995 Topps #120
I have disliked the 1995 Topps set since I opened my first pack 17 years ago.  I think the traditionalist in me thought the cards were too over the top.  Difficult to read foil script, the jagged border around the picture, the too small and difficult to read number on the backs of the cards, and the inordinate amount of unneeded subsets within the set - it was all too much for me.  I remember thinking that these cards looked like they belonged in an insert set or a Fleer set, but not in a base Topps set.  For these reasons, I probably opened less packs of 1995 Topps than any year before or since.

1995 Topps #2 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  The set size dropped to 660 cards, which was the lowest number of cards in a Topps base set since way back in 1977.  Topps again released the set in two separate series, with 396 cards in series one and only 264 in series two.  Another first, the traded series was not released in set form but rather sold in packs just like the base set.  There are 165 cards in the traded series (essentially series three) and the Standard Catalog officially refers to the set as the 1995 Traded and Rookies set, with the "and Rookies" bit new for 1995.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  All these years later, and I don't know why I had such an intense dislike for this set.  One theory I have is that I was still quite bitter about the whole player's strike and I took my feelings out on anything connected with the current crop of baseball players. 
Notable competition:  I didn't buy many 1995 baseball cards when they were first released, having turned my attention (and what little disposable income I had at the time) to working on my 1970 Topps set. Flipping through my 1995 Phillies binder now, there's not a whole heck of a lot that jumps out at me.  One thing is for certain - the 1995 Fleer set has got to be one of the worst baseball card sets, in terms of design, of all-time.

1995 Topps #477, #586, #533 and #260
1995 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies finished the abbreviated season with a respectable record of 69-75, but they finished 21 games behind the first place Atlanta Braves in the East.  This would be the closest the team would come to a winning season until 2001 when they finished with a record of 86-76.
Key players:  There wasn't much offense, as Charlie Hayes returned to the Phils to lead the team in RBIs (with 85) and tie for the team lead with 11 home runs.  The newly acquired Gregg Jefferies also had 11 home runs and was second on the team in RBIs with 56.  Hard Hittin' Mark Whiten, acquired in late July when Dave Hollins was shipped to the Red Sox, tallied 11 home runs in just 60 games.  Jim Eisenreich had his second straight strong year, hitting .316 with 10 home runs and 55 RBIs.  Injuries hobbled the core of the 1993 team as Darren Daulton (98 games) and Lenny Dykstra (62 games) saw significantly reduced playing time.  The pitching was even less spectacular.  Paul Quantrill led the staff with 11 wins (but possessed a 4.67 ERA) while Tyler Green (8-9, 5.31 ERA) and Mike Mimbs (9-7, 4.15 ERA) were inserted into the rotation following injuries to Curt Schilling, Bobby Munoz and Tommy GreeneHeathcliff Slocumb had a wonderful season out of the bullpen, saving 32 games and earning the win in the All-Star Game.  And rookie Ricky Bottalico appeared in 62 games while pitching to an impressive 2.46 ERA.
Key events:  There wasn't much to get excited about on the field, but in July, both Mike Schmidt and Richie Ashburn were elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.

1995 Topps Traded #127T, #152T, #19T and 1995 Topps #297
1995 Phillies in 1995 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 28 Phillies cards in the base set and another 11 Phillies cards in the traded set, for a total of 39 Phillies cards.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 7 cards
#477 Darren Daulton (c), #586 Dave Hollins (1b), #2 Mickey Morandini (2b), #533 Kevin Stocker (ss), #140T Charlie Hayes (3b), #77T Gregg Jefferies (lf), #326 Jim Eisenreich (rf)

Andy Van Slyke is deemed to be the team's regular center fielder by a hair, having started in one more game in center (53) than Dykstra (52).
    1995 Topps #2
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 4 cards
#127T Paul Quantrill, #152T Tyler Green, #19T Mike Mimbs, #297 Curt Schilling

You know it's been a long year when your three top starting pitchers appear for the first time on Phillies cards in the traded set.  Sid Fernandez started 11 games for the Phillies, but he wouldn't make it into the traded set.
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 1995 - 11 cards
#31 David West, #59 Ricky Bottalico, #88 Heathcliff Slocumb, #103 Mariano Duncan, #120 Lenny Dykstra, #144 Tommy Greene, #351 Mike Williams, #458 Bobby Munoz, #554 Mike Lieberthal, #608 Tony Longmire, #90T Dave Gallagher

Bottalico's card is part of the "Star Track" subset which features a completely different design than the normal base cards.
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 1995 - 7 cards (with new teams listed)
#173 Kim Batiste (minors with the Phillies and Orioles), #239 Ben Rivera (out of baseball), #269 Ricky Jordan (minors with the Angels), #383 Billy Hatcher (Rangers and minors with the Royals), #420 Danny Jackson (Cardinals), #495 Doug Jones (Orioles), #572 John Kruk (White Sox)

Kruk signed with the White Sox in mid-May and primarily served as the team's DH before his abrupt retirement on July 30th.  Kruk singled in the first inning that day and upon returning to the dugout informed manager Ozzie Guillen and his teammates that he was officially retired.  Frank Thomas pinch-hit for him in the third inning and Kruk's 10-year career was over.

1995 Topps #88, #59, #507 and #351
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player 1995 Prospects cards - 3 cards
#79 Gene Schall (with Scott Talanoa, Harold Williams and Ray Brown), #237 Shane Pullen (with Brian L. Hunter, Jose Malave and Karim Garcia), #88T Larry Wimberly (with Pat Ahearne, Gary Rath and Robbie Bell)

Schall had previously appeared on a Coming Attractions card within the 1994 Topps set and he actually played 24 games with the 1995 Phillies.  Pullen played in parts of three seasons within the Phillies minor league system from 1994 to 1996, and he made it as high as Class A Clearwater.  Wimberly was shipped to the Red Sox in January 1996 as part of the six-player deal that sent Slocumb to Boston for Ken Ryan, Glenn Murray and Lee Tinsley.  He bounced around the minor league systems of the Red Sox and Pirates until 2002, never making it to the Majors.
  • Phillies appearing on 1994 Topps All Stars cards - 1 card, #393 Danny Jackson (with Jimmy Key)
  • Phillies appearing on Draft Pick cards - 2 cards
#421 Ryan Nye, #108T Reggie Taylor

1995 Topps #79
Nye, the team's second pick in the June 1994 draft, eventually played with the Phillies in 5 games in 1997 and 1998.  Taylor, the team's #1 pick in the June 1995 draft, played in 14 games with the Phils in 2000 and 2001.  The team's #1 pick from the June 1994 draft, Carlton Loewer, got completely left out of the set.
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player On Deck cards - 2 cards
#654 Wayne Gomes and Kevin Jordan, #107T Rob Grable with Glenn Dishman (Padres)

Jordan made it into 24 games with the 1995 club and Gomes made his Phillies debut in June 1997.  Grable enjoyed a break-out season with Reading in 1995 (.300, 16 home runs, 67 RBIs), but he never made it to the Majors.  Ironically, his counterpart on the card did play for the Phillies at one point, as Dishman appeared in 4 games for the 1996 Phillies.
  • Phillies appearing on '95 Rookie Year Candidates cards - 1 card, #131T Tyler Green
  • Phillies appearing on Mid All-Star cards - 1 card, #162T Lenny Dykstra with Kirby Puckett (Twins)
Who’s out:  The case could be made for both Tom Marsh (43 games, .294) and Gary Varsho (72 games) being deserving of cards.  And pitchers Jeff Juden (10 starts), Toby Borland (50 games, 6 saves), Norm Charlton (25 games) and Gene Harris (21 games) could also have had Phillies cards.  But I won't argue too loudly for anybody but Borland.
Phillies on other teams:  Only Hayes (#81 with the Rockies) and Jefferies (#526 with the Cardinals) made it into the traded series with the Phillies.  Whiten appears on this list twice with the Cardinals (#409) and Red Sox (#102T).  And there are four other members of the 1995 Phillies featured on cards with their former teams - #201 Steve Frey (Giants), #260 Andy Van Slyke (Pirates), #374 Lenny Webster (Expos), and #507 Sid Fernandez (Orioles).
What’s he doing here:  Seeing cards of Pullen, Wimberly and Grable frustrates me when prospects such as Andy Carter and Kevin Sefcik were shut out.
1995 Topps Traded #102T
Cards that never were candidates:  There could be an entire series of cards that never were of the 1995 fringe Phillies, but I've narrowed my selection to five - Van Slyke, Whiten, back-up catcher Webster, fifth starter Fernandez and Varsho.  And if I had my way, I'd make a "normal" card for Bottalico.
Favorite Phillies card:  Morandini's horizontal action shot is cool, but I'll go with Daulton's posed shot at home plate.

Other Stuff
Recycled:  As far as I know, the 1995 Topps design has yet to be revisited by the company.
Blogs/Websites:  Goose Joak has nothing to do with the 1995 Topps set, but for some reason I remember commenting on one of his past posts that 1995 was the "worst Topps base set designs ever."  So while I don't appreciate the 1995 Topps set, I do appreciate Goose Joak's wonderful custom cards.  Check it out and get ready to witness some of the best custom cards around.
Did You Know?:  With the player's strike bumping up against the beginning of Spring Training, teams began filling their rosters with replacement players.  Fortunately, the strike was settled and fans weren't subjected to replacement player baseball in the regular season, but it was still a fairly surreal spring.  I clipped the following from a newspaper article in 2005 following the 10 year anniversary of that bizarre Spring Training.  (Click to enlarge.)  A whopping 92 "Phillies" suited up that spring, including former Phillies Marty Bystrom, Todd Cruz and Jeff Stone.  Bystrom had last appeared in the Majors with the Yankees in 1985,   Cruz hadn't been on a big league roster since 1984 with the Orioles and Stone hadn't played professionally since 1992.  It was quaint at first, but then the novelty of it all quickly wore off.

Blogger's labeling limitations are causing Mike Williams and Gene Schall to not be tagged in this post.  It's probably for the best.