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.

No comments: