Thursday, February 28, 2013

1995 Topps Traded #162T Lenny Dykstra & Kirby Puckett AS

Twins 12, Phillies 5
Spring Training Game 5 - Wednesday Afternoon, February 27th in Fort Myers
Record - 1-3-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils lost again behind more shaky defense and an even shakier bullpen.

What It Means:  The mantra heading into this season is that the Phils will compete if:  1.) They're healthy, 2.) They play solid defense and 3.) Their bullpen is stronger than last year.  So far, the latter two must be giving Charlie Manuel indigestion.

What Went Wrong:  Three errors led to three unearned runs in the fourth.  Relievers Justin De Fratus and B.J. Rosenberg gave up three runs each in back to back innings.

On the plus side, John Lannan looked decent in his spring debut and Carlos Ruiz went 2 for 2 with 3 RBIs.  Ben Revere, facing his former team for the first time, went 2 for 4 with 2 stolen bases.

Featured Card:  I listened to the first few innings of the game on the Twins radio broadcast yesterday, and the Twins announcers were absolutely gushing about Revere.  The announcers talked about how seeing Revere in a Phillies uniform was weird, and how much the organization is going to miss him.  They also compared his energy and overall positive clubhouse demeanor to that of a young Kirby Puckett.  These are all good things for the Phils, as one of the things the team seemed to be missing last year (especially after the trade of Shane Victorino) was a lot of positive energy.  While the announcers were discussing Revere's aggressiveness on the base paths, he stole his first base on queue.

This is one of two Puckett cards in my Phillies collection.  The other features him along with Mike Schmidt and Brewers pitcher Juan Nieves on a 1988 Sportflics card.  I have no idea what Puckett, Schmidt and Nieves could possibly have in common.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

2012 Topps Heritage Red #32 Domonic Brown

Phillies 4, Yankees 3
Spring Training Game 4 - Tuesday Afternoon, February 26th in Clearwater
Record - 1-2-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies claimed their first victory of the spring, courtesy of seventh inning home runs from Domonic Brown and Tommy Joseph.

What It Means:  That's more like it!  The bats were quiet again for the majority of the game, but a win's a win.

What Went Right:  Fourth starter Kyle Kendrick allowed a run in his one inning of work.  Kevin Frandsen started the scoring with an RBI-double in the sixth.  Brown hit a monster shot over the batter's eye in dead center field and Joseph followed a few batters later with a two-run home run to the tiki bar in left.

Featured Card:  Joseph's home run won the game, but Brown's was more impressive.  For that reason, and because he gave me little reason to feature his cards last year, I decided to go with Brown's 2012 Topps Heritage card.  This is the red-bordered variation available in packs from Target.

Speaking of Topps Heritage . . . we're less than a week away from the release of the 2013 Topps Heritage set, which borrows the design of the 1964 Topps set.  Jenna and I collected the Topps Heritage sets from 2002 through 2008 and then stopped once the short-prints got to be too difficult and too pricey to track down.  We were talking the other day about how much fun it was to buy a box and collate the set together.  I've never cared for the 1964 Topps design, but I love the 1965 Topps design.  That being said, if Topps Heritage returns in 2014 (and why wouldn't it?) I think we're going to have a go at putting together another set.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2008 Topps #58 RBI Leaders - Holliday, Howard & Cabrera

Tigers 10, Phillies 1
Spring Training Game 3 - Monday Afternoon, February 25th in Clearwater
Record - 0-2-1

One Sentence Summary:  The offense is still hibernating and Jonathan Papelbon got clobbered in his spring debut as the Tigers won easily, 9-1.

What It Means:  It's only the third game of the exhibition season, but it sure would be nice to notch  a win at this point.

What Went Wrong:  Papelbon had to be removed from the game after giving up 6 runs (including 2 home runs) in two-thirds of an inning.  In short, he looked awful.  Michael Stutes didn't fare much better in his spring debut giving up two runs in his inning of work.

On the plus side, Cliff Lee pitched two scoreless innings in his first start of the spring.  Ryan Howard added two hits to raise his three-game average to an even .500.

Featured Card:  Last year's American League Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera crushed a home run off Papelbon that has yet to come down.  This is the sole Cabrera card in my Phillies collection, as he shared space with Howard on this League Leaders card.

Field Report:  My Mom made her Clearwater debut yesterday, taking in her first ever Spring Training game.  I'm hopeful that a February/March trip to Florida becomes an annual tradition for her and I'm looking forward to one day joining her in Clearwater.  For those of us stuck in the dreary northeast, here are some pictures taken in the sunshine, courtesy of my Mom.

Monday, February 25, 2013

2013 Topps The Greats #TG-28 Roy Halladay

Phillies 5, Tigers 5 (10 Innings)
Spring Training Game 2 - Sunday Afternoon, February 24th in Lakeland
Record - 0-1-1

One Sentence Summary:  Roy Halladay and Ryan Howard shined in the second game of Grapefuit League action.

What It Means:  It's all about knocking off the rust and gearing up for the season at this point.  Thankfully, the Phillies played better than they did in the exhibition season opener on Saturday.

What Went Right:  Halladay was sharp in his first outing, with the sole blemish being a second inning home run to Victor Martinez.  Howard doubled twice and knocked in a run.  Kevin Frandsen and Domonic Brown added home runs for the Phils.

Featured Card:  The most important thing to happen in Lakeland yesterday was that Halladay threw 22 pitches over his two innings of work and according to Tigers new right fielder Torii Hunter, he looked "filthy."  Hunter added, "[If] he gets better from here, it's scary."  So that's a very good report.

The card featured here is from Topps' 30-card insert set included within packs of Series One.  The back of the card tabs Halladay as "One of the greatest . . . strike-throwers."  It's as thick as three baseball cards, and despite the Triple Threads/Tier One vibe, it's a nice looking card.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

2002 Topps Phillies

2002 Topps #545, #13, #610 and #164
Two weeks in a row for a Topps Phillies post!  My motivation for getting through these difficult years is the knowledge that better years are coming up.

2002 Topps #221 (Back)
The Set
Number of cards in the set:  There are 718 cards in the base set - 364 cards in series one and 354 in series 2.  Card #365 commemorates Barry Bonds' record breaking 73 home runs in 2001, with a different card for each home run.  There are 275 cards in the Traded & Rookies set.  The total tally of 993 cards falls a little short of the prior year's 1,055 cards.  The Traded & Rookies set is especially difficult to track down as Topps (perhaps mistakenly?) short-printed the 110 traded players and managers in the set.  I only recently added this team set to my collection after realizing I'd have to pay more than I was willing in order to cross it off my list.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  For the third time in five years, Topps went with a full gold border.  I don't mind this set, but before digging through my 2002 Topps cards for this post I would have been hard pressed to picture in my mind what the 2002 Topps base cards looked like.  (I can't picture the 2003 Topps cards in my head right now either.)  One of the things I noticed about these cards when scanning them in groups - the gold border on the cards isn't always an exact color match.  Weird.
Notable competition:  Collectors had a ton of different sets from which to choose from in 2002.  Pacific was gone, but Fleer, Playoff and Upper Deck put out dozens of sets.  Collectors had a few more years of this flooded landscape before only Topps remained as the sole baseball card manufacturer.  I definitely miss the other card companies, but I don't miss the hundreds of different sets that used to be released.

2002 Topps #367, #199, #269 and #577
2002 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies took a step back in 2002, finishing a game under .500 (80-81) and in third place behind the Braves.  They never recovered from a poor April, in which they went 9-18.
Key players:  Pat Burrell had a terrific season, hitting .282 with 37 home runs and 116 RBIs.  Bobby Abreu (.308, 20 home runs, 85 RBIs) was solid again, as was Scott Rolen (.259, 17 home runs, 66 RBIs) before he demanded to be traded.  Jimmy Rollins joined Rolen as a starter in the All-Star Game and led the league with 10 triples.  Converted reliever Vicente Padilla led the pitching staff with 14 wins and Randy Wolf enjoyed another nice season, going 11-9 with a 3.20 ERA.  Jose Mesa set a franchise record with 45 saves, but most of us remember his painful 9 blown saves.
Key events:  The biggest event of the season was the ongoing Rolen saga.  After making it clear that he wanted out of Philadelphia, Rolen was traded to the Cardinals on July 29th for Placido Polanco, Mike Timlin and Bud Smith.  Jeremy Giambi joined the team in May and became the first Phillie in history to hit two home runs in his first two at-bats.  Robert Person had a disappointing season on the mound, but on June 2nd he hit two home runs (including a grand slam) while driving in 7.

2002 Phillies in 2002 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 24 Phillies cards in the base set and another 16 in the prospect-heavy Traded and Rookies set.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#367 Mike Lieberthal (c), #199 Travis Lee (1b), #269 Marlon Anderson (2b), #164 Jimmy Rollins (ss), #610 Scott Rolen (3b), #545 Pat Burrell (lf), #577 Doug Glanville (cf), #13 Bobby Abreu (rf)

For the first time since 1994, the entire starting line-up received Phillies cards within the base Topps set.

2002 Topps #221, 2002 Topps Traded #T83, 2002 Topps #578 and #394
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 5 cards
#221 Randy Wolf, #T83 Vicente Padilla, #578 Brandon Duckworth, #394 Robert Person, #524 Terry Adams

So not only do we have cards of the entire starting line-up, the top five starting pitchers also have cards.  This marks the first year since 1991 that Topps went 13 for 13 in this department.  Nice going, Topps.
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 2002 - 7 cards
#83 Ricky Bottalico, #184 Jose Mesa, #594 Ricky Ledee, #T16 Dan Plesac, #T31 Mike Timlin, #T62 Placido Polanco, #T77 Jeremy Giambi
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 2002 - 2 cards

Daal was traded to the Dodgers in November 2001 and Wendell spent the entire 2002 season on the disabled list.
  • Base cards of players appearing on Prospects cards - 13 cards
#311 Marlon Byrd, #675 Taylor Buchholz, #680 Nate Espy, #T122 Mark Outlaw, #T124 Michael Floyd, #T126 Pete Zamora, #T130 Gavin Floyd, #T136 Elio Serrano, #T166 Carlos Cabrera, #T189 Josh Cisneros, #T228 Ezequiel Astacio, #T235 Jorge Padilla, #T259 Travis Chapman

This is where I have a problem with the 2002 Topps Traded & Rookies set.  I mean no offense to any of these minor leaguers, but there was absolutely no reason for the majority of these players to have a Topps baseball card in 2002.  Byrd was the only "Prospect" to actually see time with the Phils in 2002.  Gavin Floyd and Chapman both eventually played briefly with the Phils.
  • 2001 Gold Glove Award Winner card - 1 card, #709 Scott Rolen
  • Phillies cards in Who Would Have Thought subset - 1 card, #T271 Curt Schilling
This subset was an insert with the 2001 traded series, but Topps decided to include it within the main set in 2002.
  • America: United We Stand subset - 1 card, #359 Braves vs. Phillies
  • Team card - 1 card, #662
  • Manager card - 1 card, #294 Larry Bowa
2002 Topps #184, 2002 Topps Traded #T62 and #T77 and 2002 Topps #524
Who’s out:  The bench got largely ignored, with Tomas Perez (again), Todd Pratt and Jason Michaels deserving of cards.  Rookie Brett Myers (started 11 games) and Joe Roa (started 11 games) would have been good candidates for the traded series.  Pitchers Carlos Silva (68 games), Rheal Cormier (54 games), Jose Santiago (42 games) and David Coggin (38 games) all got ignored by Topps.
Phillies on other teams:  Giambi (#236 with the Athletics) and Polanco (#268 with the Cardinals) are in the first series with their former teams.
What’s he doing here:  Overall, Topps did a great job with player selection for the Phillies with this set.  Daal and Wendell weren't around in 2002, but it makes sense why they'd have Phillies cards.  I'll award this to the 10 minor leaguers appearing on Prospects cards who never actually played with the Phillies.
Cards that never were candidates:  I'm trying to cut down the number of candidates for this set, so I'll go with the six most deserving again - Perez, Pratt, Michaels, Myers, Silva and Cormier.
Favorite Phillies card:  By far the most meaningful Phillies card in the set is featured within the America: United We Stand subset.  I spotlighted the card in a post last week.

2002 Topps Traded #T166
Other Stuff
Recycled:  The 2002 Topps Chrome set used the same design, just with shiny silver borders and the 2002 Topps Opening Day set went with the same basic design, except with silver foil for the nameplates.
Blogs/Websites:  I'm fresh out of ideas here when it comes to the Topps sets from the 2000s.  Unless I'm missing something, there just isn't a good reason for a blog dedicated to the 2002 Topps set.
Did You Know?:  One of the Phillies minor leaguers included within the Prospects subset in the Traded & Rookies set was right-handed pitcher and 1999 free agent signee, Carlos Cabrera.  In June 2003, it was discovered that Cabrera had lied about his age (he was actually almost two years older) and his real name was Alfredo Simon.  The Phils sent him to the Giants in July 2004 as part of the Ricky Ledee/Felix Rodrgiuez deal and he played in the Giants and Orioles systems until making his big league debut with the O's in September 2008.  He's had an eventful past few years after he was arrested in the Dominican Republic as a suspect in a fatal shooting incident.  He was eventually cleared of all charges and bounced back in 2012 to have a great season with the Reds as a late/middle inning reliever.  So if you're trying to track down an Alfredo Simon rookie card - you'll need to start your search with the pitcher formerly known as Carlos Cabrera.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

2011 Topps Heritage Minor League #89 Jarred Cosart

Astros 8, Phillies 3
Spring Training Game 1 - Saturday Afternoon, February 23rd in Clearwater
Record - 0-1

One Sentence Summary:  Sweet glory hallelujah, baseball is back!

What It Means:  See the One Sentence Summary above.  Also, it was the first game for the new American League Houston Astros.

What Went Wrong:  The gloves (four errors) and the bullpen looked a little rusty.  On a positive note, Cole Hamels pitched two scoreless innings, Chase Utley played his first Spring Training game since 2010 and collected an RBI-single and Ben Revere looked good on the base paths.  Pete Orr hit the team's first home run of the spring with a solo shot in the eighth.

Featured Card:  Former Phillies prospects Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid (traded away in the Hunter Pence deal) and Jonathan Villar (part of the Roy Oswalt deal) appeared in the game for the Astros.  Cosart pitched two perfect innings and there's a good chance he'll head to Houston to start the season.  He received a handful of Phillies cards in various 2010 and 2011 Topps and Bowman minor league sets.

Camp Head Count:  61 minus 3 = 58.

A few weeks ago, I put together a post listing the 20 non-roster invitees scheduled to be in camp this spring with the Phillies.  Two of those 20 players are already gone.

Right-handed reliever Juan Cruz was the first to go, and he never even made it to camp.  Following the signing of Chad Durbin, Cruz had second thoughts about his chances to make the team's 25-man roster and he opted out of his contract.  (Some reports indicated that he had never finalized his contract.)

2013 Chachi
Transactions #17
Yesterday, infielder Andres Blanco was released.  Seems odd to invite a guy to spring training in December and then release him before the first game of the spring, but such was Blanco's fate.

This afternoon, the team parted ways with reliever Michael Schwimer.  Schwimer was traded to the Blue Jays for first base prospect Art Charles.  The righty reliever twice earned the ire of Phillies brass last season.  The first time came when he tweeted a few transactions early in the season that had yet to be made public.  The second time came when he refused to report to Triple-A Lehigh Valley following a demotion, insisting he was injured.  Schwimer had Phillies cards in both team-issued releases last year as well as a card in Topps Series 2.

Charles' first card came within last season's Bowman Chrome release.  He was a 2010 draft pick by the Blue Jays and he has yet to play about Low A.

(And in case you're wondering, I went with option #2 from my last post in order to create Schwimer's Chachi Transactions card.)

The Phillies Room Dell Dimension 8400 (2004-2013)

2005 Chachi #4
Catastrophe struck the Chachi set world headquarters, aka The Actual Phillies Room, on Thursday.

My trusty Dell Dimension 8400, my old PC running on Windows XP and containing the wonderful Microsoft Picture It! graphic design software, completely crapped out.  It completely and totally, 100% crapped out.

I attempted a bit of basic resuscitation by successfully locating and replacing the lithium battery contained within the PC's motherboard.  I got a faint green light on the motherboard, but nothing else.  No juice at all.

What does the death of my PC mean?  It means I'm going to have to find another way to create the 2013 Chachi set.  It also means I may need to break down and learn a new software application.  When I switched over to a Mac a few years ago, I removed everything from the PC with the exception of all the templates I had created to make my custom Topps cards.  I wrote then about my trepidation in switching to a new software application.  I managed to squeeze out two more years of Chachi sets with my old PC set up dutifully in a back corner of The Phillies Room.  A third year wasn't in the cards.  Pun intended.

I really look forward to making the Chachi cards each year, so discontinuing the set is not an option.  The way I see it, I have three choices with the latter two being the most likely:

1.  Keep pressing the power button on my old PC in the hopes that it will somehow miraculously turn back on.
2.  I have my Dad's old Dell Dimension 8300.  It's got its own issues, but I could load Microsoft Picture It! onto that and recreate my old templates.  For starters, I would just create the 1973 Topps template for this year's Chachi set.
3.  Learn something new.  I've messed around with Pixelmator a little, but it still feels so foreign to me.  I think if I just dove in and spent a solid day or two with it, I could figure it out.  But finding the time to do that would be tricky.

I welcome your suggestions, words of encouragement and advice.  I'd also welcome your tips on how to jump start a dead Dell Dimension 8400, if at all possible.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Who Would Have Thought?

2001 Topps Who Would Have Thought #WWHT4 and #WWHT16, 2002 Topps Traded #T271
Topps came up with a clever idea for an insert set in 2001, producing 20 cards with two photos of each subject.  The first picture showed the player on his original team and the second photo showed the player on his new, somewhat surprising team.  The concept and the insert set was titled, "Who Would Have Thought".

Steve Carlton and Dale Murphy are featured within the original 2001 insert set.  While I wasn't alive at the time of the Carlton deal, I can agree it was surprising when the Phils acquired Murphy.  And who knows - I may have even remarked, "Who would have thought?" back on the night in August 1990 when Murphy first donned the maroon pinstripes.

Topps went back to the well with a 9-card subset included within its 2002 Traded & Rookies set.  Curt Schilling is the sole Phillie represented in the 2002 version of the set.  Which got me thinking - if Topps had continued this series of cards each year, who would have been the Phillies representatives?

Here's a small list of the subjects I came up with.  Who else am I missing?

Scott Rolen - Phillies to Cardinals
Jim Thome - Indians to Phillies
Bobby Abreu - Phillies to Yankees
Larry Bowa - Phillies manager to Yankees coach
Pat Burrell - Phillies to Rays
Cliff Lee - Indians to Phillies
Pedro Martinez - Mets to Phillies
Roy Halladay - Blue Jays to Phillies
Cliff Lee - Mariners/Rangers to Phillies
Jonathan Papelbon - Red Sox to Phillies
Shane Victorino - Phillies to Dodgers/Red Sox
Michael Young - Rangers to Phillies

Thursday, February 21, 2013

2005 Upper Deck Flyball #174 Pat Burrell

Tom over at the fantastic The Angels, In Order blog took me up on my recent statement that I'd gladly give a good home to any unwanted 2005 Phillies baseball cards.  I received a nice little package this week of several Phillies cards from 2005, including the Pat Burrell card featured here.  Until receiving this card, I had no idea a 2005 Upper Deck Flyball set existed.

But it does, and now I have one of the six Phillies cards found in that set.  Tom also sent along some Phillies cards I needed for my 1970s Phillies binder, including the 1979 Topps Mike Schmidt card.

Please contact Tom if you have any of the Angels cards listed on his want lists or please help in out in adding to his Tim Salmon collection.

Thanks again Tom!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

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

2010 Upper Deck
Portraits #SE-67
The American League West boasts three members of the 2009 National League Champion Phillies team - Joe Blanton, Ryan Madson and Raul Ibanez.

Houston Astros
Pitcher Sergio Escalona* (2009)

Los Angeles Angels
Pitchers Joe Blanton (2008-2012) and Ryan Madson (2003-2011)

Oakland Athletics
Infielder Brandon Moss (2011)

Seattle Mariners
Catching Coordinator John Stearns (1974), Outfielder Raul Ibanez (2009-2011)

Texas Rangers
Pitching Coach Mike Maddux (1986-1989), Pitchers Josh Lindblom (2012) and Nate Robertson* (2010)

*Non-Roster Invitee

2013 Where the Ex-Phillies Are

2012 Where the Ex-Phillies Are

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

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

2004 Topps Clubhouse
Relics #BM
It looks as if the Indians have "won" the title of having the most ex-Phillies in camp this year.  New Indians manager Terry Francona plans to use former Phillies pitcher Brett Myers as a starting pitcher - a role he hasn't had since 2011 with the Astros.

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

Cleveland Indians
Manager Terry Francona (Manager 1997-2000), Third Base Coach Brad Mills (Coach 1997-2000), Pitcher Brett Myers (2002-2009), Catcher Lou Marson (2008), Outfielders Michael Bourn (2006-2007) and Ben Francisco* (2009-2011)

Detroit Tigers

Kansas City Royals
Pitcher Bruce Chen (2000-2001), Pitcher Brian Sanches* (2006, 2012), Outfielder Endy Chavez* (2005)

Minnesota Twins
Pitcher Vance Worley (2010-2012)

*Non-Roster Invitee

2013 Where the Ex-Phillies Are

2012 Where the Ex-Phillies Are

Monday, February 18, 2013

2002 Topps #359 United We Stand: Braves-Phillies

I went back through my 2001 and 2002 Topps sets while putting together the recently published 2001 Topps Phillies post and the (hopefully) soon to be published 2002 Topps Phillies post.  In my opinion, one of the best subsets Topps has ever included within its flagship set is the 8-card "America: United We Stand" subset featuring iconic images from the first baseball games following the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Found in series one of the 2002 Topps set, the cards served as a poignant reminder of how much baseball meant to our country (and selfishly me) following the attacks.  I didn't remember this until looking up the set's entry at, but the cards were in packs of series one as early as November 2001.

Members of the 2001 Phillies team are featured on card #359, standing solemnly along the first base line at Veterans Stadium, listening to the National Anthem prior to their game against the Braves on September 17th.  A few years ago, when scanning the card for an old post, I really started to look at the players featured on the card and I realized they had probably never been properly identified.  There are 11 Phillies players featured in profile on the card - some of which who would never have a proper Topps card or a proper Phillies baseball card.

Using the team's 2002 Media Guide and 2001 transactions listing, I pieced together the active Phillies roster as of September 17, 2001.  With the recent roster expansions, the Phillies were carrying 32 active players with two more players on the disabled list.  I tried to find video of the pre-game ceremony on-line, to no avail.  So based on my recollection of the team at the time, I think the players featured on the card are as follows, from left to right:

1.  Eddie Oropesa
2.  P.J. Forbes (not Nick Punto as originally believed - see update below)
3.  David Coggin
4.  Doug Nickle - I wasn't sure about this one, but according to Baseball Reference, Nickle's height is 6'4", the same height as Coggin who is standing next to him.
5.  Turk Wendell (not Jose Santiago as originally believed - see update below)
6.  Felipe Crespo - Crespo was acquired from the Giants in late July.  This marks his first and only appearance as a Phillie on a baseball card.
7.  Randy Wolf - I remember Wolf dyed his hair a garish blonde for some inexplicable reason during the summer of 2001.
8.  Brian L. Hunter
9.  Eric Valent
10.  Rheal Cormier
11.  Perhaps Jimmy Rollins?  This one is just too hard to tell.  (UPDATE - I'm going with Steve F. in thinking that this is actually Bobby Abreu.)

Granted, the identification of these players is something that might only be interesting to me but I'm glad I can now (mostly) identify the Phillies featured on one of the more meaningful baseball cards Topps has ever produced.

UPDATE (4/16/15) - I recently received an e-mail from former Phillies pitcher Doug Nickle who confirmed it was indeed him in the photo standing next to David Coggin.  Doug was kind enough to point out that the players to either side of him are P.J. Forbes (and not Nick Punto) and Turk Wendell (not Jose Santiago).  According to the team's 2002 Media Guide, Forbes had his contract purchased from Scranton on September 17th, prior to the this game.  I've updated the listing above to reflect this information.

Thanks again Doug for the e-mail and I'm happy there's now an official record of the Phillies appearing on this important baseball card.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

2001 Topps Phillies

2001 Topps #487, #478, 2001 Topps Traded #T66 and 2001 Topps #144
This post has been sitting in my draft folder for the better part of 9 months.  I started the Topps Phillies series of posts in January 2011 with a look at the 1951 Topps Red and Blue Backs sets.  The next 49 posts focusing on the Topps Phillies cards from 1952 to 2000 came together quickly and easily as it was genuinely fun and interesting for me to revisit those years in Phillies history.

And then I hit 2001.  And I fizzled out.

2001 is divided very clearly in my mind into two distinct parts - before 9/11 and after 9/11.  The entire year was fraught with turmoil for me personally, and it's not a year that I'm necessarily keen to revisit at this point.  But for the sake of the ongoing Topps Phillies project, I'll soldier on.

The Set
2001 Topps #487 (Back)
Number of cards in the set:  The set comes in at a whopping 790 cards - 405 from series one and 385 from series two.  There's another 265 cards available in the Traded set, meaning there are a total of 1,055 base cards available - by far the largest tally for a Topps flagship set to this point in time.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  The set uses an all-green border, which works surprisingly well.  There's a little too much foil for my taste, but I can say that for just about every Topps set released from 1995 through the present day.  Topps acknowledges its 50 years in the baseball card racket with a tasteful "Topps 50 Years" gold rectangle logo on the front of each card.  The backs of the cards are nicely done, carrying over the green theme to the back borders and using the front photo as a watermark behind the player's statistics.  Honest to goodness team cards return for the first time since 1981 and manager cards are present for the first time since 1993.
Notable competition:  The scientific term for the amount of baseball cards released in 2001 is crap-ton.  By my very unofficial count, the card manufacturers released 74 different sets as follows - Fleer (16), Pacific in its last year (2), Playoff (11), Topps (23) and Upper Deck (22).  Perhaps the biggest competitor to the Topps flagship set was the Topps Heritage set, which used the design of the classic 1952 Topps set.

2001 Topps #124, #523, #574 and #592
2001 Phillies
Record and finish:  Larry Bowa brought some excitement to the club in his first year as manager, and the Phillies put together a winning season (86-76) for the first time since 1993.  They entered the All-Star break in first place, but they ultimately finished just two games behind the Braves in the N.L. East.  Bowa was named the National League Manager of the Year for his efforts.
Key players:  Right fielder Bobby Abreu contributed his third straight stellar season, leading the club in home runs (31) and RBIs (110) while hitting .289.  He became the first player in club history to have 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season.  Shortstop Jimmy Rollins, playing in his first full season, made the All-Star team, led the league in triples with 12 and tied for the league lead with 46 stolen bases.  Third baseman Scott Rolen (.289, 25, 107), left fielder Pat Burrell (.258, 27, 89) and first baseman Travis Lee (.258, 20, 90) also enjoyed strong seasons at the plate.  Robert Person (15-7, 4.19) and Omar Daal (13-7, 4.46) led the pitching staff while new closer Jose Mesa notched 42 saves.
Key events:  All-Star catcher Mike Lieberthal missed most of the season after tearing up his right knee in May.  Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Phillies and Braves helped the nation try to return to a sense of normalcy with an emotional game on September 17th.  Topps would commemorate the game with a card within its 2002 set.

2001 Phillies in 2001 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 23 Phillies within series one and two, and another 8 Phillies base cards within the traded set.  The 31 total cards are the most since there were 39 cards in the 1995 Topps base and traded sets.
Who’s in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 7 cards
#124 Travis Lee (1b), #523 Marlon Anderson (2b), #T66 Jimmy Rollins (ss), #478 Scott Rolen (3b), #144 Pat Burrell (lf), #574 Doug Glanville (cf), #487 Bobby Abreu (rf)

Only starting catcher Johnny Estrada got left out.  Fleer, Playoff and Upper Deck all managed to include Estrada in a few late season releases, but Topps neglected to include the rookie in their Traded set or any other set.

2001 Topps #676, #236, #131 and 2001 Topps Traded #T24
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 3 cards
#676 Robert Person, #236 Omar Daal, #131 Randy Wolf

Dave Coggin (17 starts), Bruce Chen (16 starts) and Amaury Telemaco (14 starts) were left out by Topps.  Coggin and Chen were featured in the other manufactuer's sets.
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 2001 - 10 cards
#172 Kevin Jordan, #194 Rob Ducey, #563 Nelson Figueroa, #592 Mike Lieberthal, #639 Wayne Gomes, #656 Paul Byrd, #T12 Rheal Cormier, #T24 Jose Mesa, #T40 Ricky Bottalico, #T50 Brian L. Hunter
  • Base cards of players who didn't play with the Phillies in 2001 - 6 cards
#13 Brian R. Hunter, #182 Mike Jackson, #274 Jeff Brantley, #539 Kevin Sefcik, #T159 Carlos Silva, #T229 Ryan Madson

Jackson, Brantley and Sefcik were with other organizations by the time this set was released.  It seems particularly odd that Sefcik received a card in series two since he signed with the Rockies in early January.  Hunter made it through Spring Training with the Phillies in 2001 before getting released.  Silva made his Phillies debut in 2002 and Madson followed with his debut in 2003.
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player Prospects cards - 1 card, #733 Eric Valent
  • Phillies appearing on multi-player Draft Picks cards - 1 card, #751 Keith Bucktrot
After what seemed like dozens of appearances on prospect and future stars cards, Valent finally made his debut with the Phils in June 2001.  He'd play in 29 games for the team in 2001 and 2002, hitting .118.  He eventually found some success with the Mets in 2004, hitting .267 in 130 games.  Bucktrot never made it to the Majors, but the player he shares this card with - Reds catching prospect Dane Sardinha - played in 18 games with the Phillies in 2010 and 2011.
  • Manager cards - 2 cards, #347 Terry Francona and #T146 Larry Bowa
  • Team card - 1 card, #773
2001 Topps Traded #T146, #T40, #T12 and 2001 Topps #199
Who’s out:  The biggest omission is the eventual starting catcher - Estrada.  He hit .228 in 89 games after taking over for the injured Lieberthal.  Tomas Perez was a valuable utility player, hitting .304 mostly as a pinch-hitter and late inning defensive replacement.  As mentioned above, three of the main starting pitchers were left out, as was reliever Jose Santiago, who appeared in 53 games.
Phillies on other teams:  There are quite a few here.  Brian L. Hunter (the actual one) appears with the Reds on card #199 while Ricky Bottalico appears with the Royals on card #283.  Both would have Phillies cards in the traded set.  Or would they?  (See the Did You Know? section below for an explanation.)  Other 2001 Phillies appearing on cards with their former teams are - #23 Todd Pratt (Mets), #156 Dennis Cook (Mets), #168 Turk Wendell (Mets), #309 Matt Walbeck (Angels), #589 Turner Ward (Diamondbacks) and #590 Felipe Crespo (Giants).
2001 Topps #773
What’s he doing here:  For the second year in a row, both Jackson and Bucktrot share the honors.  Jackson missed the entire 2000 season due to injury, was granted free agency immediately following the season, and signed with the Astros.
Cards that never were candidates:  I'll go with just six, although the number could easily reach a dozen - Estrada, Perez, Coggin, Chen, Telemaco and Santiago.
Favorite Phillies card:  The photography used for the cards continued to improve, but there really aren't any Phillies cards that stand out from the others.  I'll pick Rollins' card as my favorite as it was his first base Topps card.

Other Stuff
Recycled:  The Topps Opening Day set from 2001 uses the same design and photos, but with a navy blue border instead of green.  Maybe it's just because I'm used to the green borders by now, but the navy blue borders look odd.
Blogs/Websites:  Topps produced a novel insert set in 2001 called Through the Years, featuring reprints of key cards from its 50 year run.  It was a cool idea back then, but Topps has sort of run the idea into the ground with seemingly a new reprint set every year since then.  bdj610's Topps Baseball Card Blog ran a post several years ago featuring a gallery of the 50 cards included in the original Through the Years insert set.
Did You Know?:  Brian L. Hunter appears in the 2001 Topps Traded set as a Phillie in name only.  I wrote a couple of posts a few years ago explaining this conundrum and celebrating the fact that at least Brian L. Hunter received a team-issued Phillies card for his efforts.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

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

2009 O-Pee-Chee
Award Show #AW7
Shane Victorino takes his energy and scrappiness to Boston for the 2013 season, where he'll reunite with former teammate and new "Special Assistant to the General Manager" Pedro Martinez.

Baltimore Orioles
Bench Coach John Russell (1984-1988), Outfielder Jason Pridie* (2012)

Boston Red Sox
Bench Coach Torey Lovullo (1999), Special Assistant to the General Manager Pedro Martinez (2009), Outfielder Shane Victorino (2005-2012)

New York Yankees
Pitcher David Herndon* (2010-2012)

Tampa Bay Rays
Third Base Coach Tom Foley (1985-1986), Catching Coordinator Paul Hoover (2009), Infielder Mike Fontenot* (2012)

Toronto Blue Jays
First Base Coach Dwayne Murphy (1989), Pitchers J.A. Happ (2007-2010) and Juan Perez* (2011)

*Non-Roster Invitee

2013 Where the Ex-Phillies Are

2012 Where the Ex-Phillies Are