Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1977 Hostess Phillies

With the bicentennial celebration in the past, Hostess removed the red, white and blue stripes from its 1976 release and went with a more toned-down design in 1977.  I originally wasn't going to feature this particular team set during Gallery Week, but when an opportunity presents itself to feature four Phillies stars all sporting far-out '70s mustaches, you don't let it pass you by.

The 1977 Hostess Phillies team set swaps out Dave Cash for Steve Carlton.


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Giants at Phillies: July 30th to August 1st

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

At the Ballpark:  Tonight is Italian Heritage Night, with special Italian celebrations happening throughout the ballpark.  (I'm not sure what that actually entails.)  On Thursday night, former closer and 2008 hero Brad Lidge will officially retire from baseball as a member of the Phillies.  There will be a pre-game ceremony and all fans will receive a Brad Lidge print.  I'm sure it will be a classy ceremony for a classy guy.

1973 Topps #121 and #454
1973 Topps Flashback:  We're digging into the depths of past obscure Phillies players with tonight's flashback, both of whom have connections to Bob Boone.  Dave Rader came up with the Giants in 1971 and was their primary starting catcher between 1972 and 1976.  He bounced from the Cardinals to the Cubs before arriving in Philadelphia as part of the massive eight-player Greg Gross/Manny Trillo deal with Chicago.  In 1979, he appeared in 31 games with the Phils, backing up Boone and hitting just .204.  He played in 50 games for the 1980 Red Sox before calling it a career.

Tom Haller's Phillies career was even shorter than Rader's, as he never even suited up with the team.  Haller played with the Giants from 1961 to 1967, where he was a member of two All-Star teams.  He was an All-Star again with the Dodgers in 1968.  After four successful seasons in L.A., Haller was traded to Detroit for the 1972 season.  In October 1972, the Phillies purchased him from the Tigers to mentor a young Boone, but he opted not to report to the team.  (Hat tip to Jim from Downingtown and his comments on this post.)

No pitching probables or Phillies team leaders in this game summary post, as I'm currently away from The Phillies Room HQ (again) and the blog is on auto-pilot.

1976 Hostess Phillies

From 1975 to 1979, Hostess included baseball cards on the boxes of their snack cakes.  Growing up in South Jersey, our family was loyal to the Tastykake brand and their products, so discovering these Hostess cards for the first time in the collection of one of my friends was truly a mind-blowing experience.

My reaction was probably somewhere along the lines of, "Wait . . . there are three baseball cards on these boxes, and you just cut them out with scissors and then you get to eat a delicious Twinkie?  Why isn't there anything on our boxes of our Butterscotch Krimpets!  This is outrageous!"  Maybe it wasn't that dramatic, but you get the point.

I'm still looking for the 1975 Hostess Dave Cash card to complete that set, so here's the first completed Hostess Phillies team set in my collection from 1976.  Kudos to the Mom or Dad who originally cut these off the boxes.  Well done.


Monday, July 29, 2013

1971 Arco Phillies

With all of the vintage baseball card designs Topps has recylced over the years, I'm surprised they haven't used the clean, classic design of the 1971 Arco cards.  In 1971, 8" x 10" cards were produced for four different teams to be given away at Arco gas stations serving those team's markets.  The Red Sox, Yankees, Pirates and Phillies each participated in the promotion, and the 13 Phillies cards are featured here.

Click on any card below to enlarge.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The 2nd Phillies Team Set Gallery Week

Welcome to another Gallery Week, otherwise known as the week of auto-pilot posts since I'm on vacation and doing my best to stay electronic-device free.  Please refer to this post from just prior to my last vacation for a primer on what to expect this week.  I've enjoyed putting these gallery posts together, even though the scanning did tend to get slightly monotonous.  Between now and my vacations next summer, my goal is to track down the remaining cards needed to finish off a few older oddball sets so that I can continue the Gallery Week tradition next year.

First up is the 1963 Fleer Phillies set, from Fleer's first ever set of current baseball players.  The cards were sold in packs with a cookie in an attempt to get past Topps' exclusive right to sell baseball cards accompanied by gum.  Only one series of 66 cards was released before a court order forced Fleer to cease and desist.  Fleer wouldn't return with a set of current baseball players until 1981.

1963 Fleer #50
1963 Fleer #51
1963 Fleer #52
1963 Fleer #53
1963 Fleer #54

Saturday, July 27, 2013

1987 Fleer #188 Rick Schu

Tigers 2, Phillies 1
Game 103 - Friday Night, July 26th in Detroit
Record - 49-54, 3rd Place, 9 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies dropped their sixth in a row, as Doug Fister and the Tigers easily contained the reeling team, 2-1.

What It Means:  Following the Phillies this year has gone from frustrating to just flat out depressing.  Never mind the fact that the team sleepwalked through another loss last night, the news that truly made me a little nauseous was that Cliff Lee was scratched from tonight's start with a "stiff neck."  This revelation came shortly after ESPN reported that the Phils were now listening to offers on Lee.  I get that baseball is a business and that the team is probably going nowhere in 2013, but trading Lee would mean the team doesn't really expect to go anywhere in 2014 either.

This all makes me want to take some time off from the blog, head to the shore and run a week's worth of pre-scheduled Gallery Week posts.  I just hope nothing major happens with the Phillies while I'm gone . . .

What Went Wrong:  The offense was held to four singles by Fister and Tigers closer Joaquin Benoit.  Cole Hamels dropped to 4-13, but pitched seven strong innings allowing just two runs on six hits.

Featured Card:  I have 18 different Rick Schu Phillies cards in my collection.  I'm not going to stop featuring his cards until the Phillies win again.

P.S.  I'll do a massive, one-day game summary post catch-up upon returning from vacation.  I sure hope I'm not featuring seven more Schu cards.

P.P.S.  Maybe by next week, I'll need to create a Chachi card for new Phillies pitcher, Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.  Who saw that coming?

1986 Fleer #451 Rick Schu

Cardinals 3, Phillies 1
Game 102 - Thursday Night, July 25th in St. Louis
Record - 49-53, Tied for 2nd Place, 8 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies fell 3-1 to the Cardinals with barely a whimper.

What It Means:  This was the team's fifth loss in a row, and they were completely over matched by the Cardinals throughout the entire series.  During their losing streak, they've hit .224 as a team and .118 with runners in scoring position.

What Went Wrong:  Kyle Kendrick allowed three runs on five hits in his six innings of work.  Jimmy Rollins doubled to lead off the game, and the Phillies offense managed just six singles for the rest of the night.

2013 Choice Lehigh Valley
IronPigs #25
Featured Cards:  Along with the requisite Rick Schu card (see here for reference), I wanted to acknowledge the Major League debut of Steve Susdorf in Thursday night's game.  Susdorf got the call when Domonic Brown was placed on the relatively new seven-day disabled list, available specifically for players with concussion-like symptoms.

Susdorf pinch-hit for Kendrick in the seventh inning and promptly grounded into an inning-ending double play.  Welcome to the team, Steve - you'll fit right in!

But seriously folks . . . It's nice to see Susdorf get his shot after parts of six seasons in the minors.  Drafted by the Phillies in 2008, Susdorf was hitting .335 in Lehigh Valley this season.  He hasn't appeared on any mainstream baseball cards yet in his career, but I have five minor league cards of his in my collection.  Unless Topps decides to include him a set, he'll mostly likely join Ezequiel Carrera, John McDonald and Luis Garcia as members of the 2013 Phillies without a Phillies baseball card.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Phillies at Tigers: July 26th to July 28th

Friday and Saturday 7:08, Sunday 1:08
Comerica Park - Detroit, MI

Phillies 49-53, Tied for 2nd Place in the N.L. East, 8 games behind the Braves
Tigers 56-45, 1st Place in the A.L. Central, 3 games ahead of the Indians

Phillies Probables:  Cole Hamels (4-12, 4.16), Cliff Lee (10-4, 3.05), Jonathan Pettibone (5-4, 3.97)
Tigers Probables:  Doug Fister (8-5, 3.90), Max Scherzer (14-1, 3.14), Rick Porcello (7-6, 4.49)

At the Ballpark:  The first 10,000 fans will receive a Tigers rally towel tonight, and there will be fireworks after the ballgame.  There's also fireworks following Saturday's game and all kids will receive a Baseball Card Magnet Frame on Sunday.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .305
Runs:  Domonic Brown - 51
Home Runs:  Domonic Brown - 24
RBIs:  Domonic Brown - 69
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 22

Wins:  Cliff Lee - 10
ERA:  Cliff Lee - 3.05
Strikeouts:  Cliff Lee - 131
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 20
1973 Topps #29 and #146

1973 Topps Flashback:  Second baseman Tony Taylor spent 11 1/2 seasons in Philadelphia before getting dealt to the Tigers in June 1971 for pitching prospects Carl Cavanaugh and Mike Fremuth.  (Neither ever made it to the Majors with the Phillies.)  Then Tigers manager Billy Martin was happy to have Taylor join the Tigers, saying at the time that he was going to use Taylor around the infield and as an occasional fill-in for regular first baseman Norm Cash.

Taylor wasn't thrilled about leaving the Phillies or his home and he was immediately dejected when told of the trade by Phillies manager Frank Lucchesi.  Taylor would play three seasons in Detroit, batting .269 in 217 games, before returning to the Phillies for good following the 1973 season.

His former teammate Woodie Fryman joined him in Detroit in August 1972 after being waived by the Phillies.  Fryman had spent parts of five seasons with the Phils between 1968 and 1972, going 46-52 with a 3.76 ERA in 157 games.  Fryman pitched for the Tigers for 2 1/2 seasons before getting dealt to the Expos in December 1974.

2013 Chachi Almost #4 Carlos Zambrano

We interrupt this week of Rick Schu cards to bring you a non-official Chachi card, featuring Carlos Zambrano.  The wacky and unpredictable Big Z was released by the Phillies yesterday, and General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. confessed that the pitcher's recent shoulder strain would be too much to overcome this season.  For his efforts, and because I'm thankful he didn't actually pitch for the Phils this year, the right hander now graces a Chachi Almost card.

Surprisingly, Zambrano had a decent showing for the team's minor league affiliates, going a combined 3-0 in seven starts with a 2.04 ERA.  He left his last start in late June with the shoulder pain and he hasn't pitched since.

And this just in with regards to the 2013 Phillies:  It's not going well.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

1988 Score #448 Rick Schu

Cardinals 11, Phillies 3
Game 101 - Wednesday Night, July 24th in St. Louis
Record - 49-52, 2nd Place, 8 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were completely blown out by the Cardinals in a deflating and dismal 11-3 loss.

What It Means:  This was the fourth loss in a row, and the team will try to salvage the series tonight.

What Went Wrong:  John Lannan walked the pitcher, Jake Westbrook, with two outs in the bottom of the 4th.  Westbrook stole second and came around to score on a single.  The Cardinals plated five in the 5th, with three of those runs coming when center fielder John Mayberry, Jr. dove for a ball but missed by a solid five feet.

Featured Card:  Like a lot of you, I'm suffering from mid-summer fatigue related to a number of baseball and Phillies issues right now.  I'm tired of watching the Phillies.  I'm tired of Ryan Braun and I'm tired of seeing his smug face on the front of every sports-related website.  I'm tired of trying to figure out if the Phillies are going to be buyers or sellers.  I'm tired of listening to Ruben Amaro, Jr. tell me nothing.  I'm tired of seeing Delmon Young in a Phillies uniform, even though he's currently hitting in the .280s and he really hasn't been all that bad.  I'm tired of Laynce Nix and the entire Phillies bullpen.

I don't want to know how awesome Jared Cosart and Jonathan Villar look during their first games with the Astros.  I don't want to ever have to root for Brian Wilson or Carlos Zambrano and I don't want to have to make Chachi cards for either of them.  I'm grumpy and a little cranky, and perhaps a smidge ornery.

And I may just post Rick Schu cards until the Phillies win again.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

1987 Donruss #509 Rick Schu

Cardinals 4, Phillies 1
Game 100 - Tuesday Night, July 23rd in St. Louis
Record - 49-51, 2nd Place, 7 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils never even really had a chance in this game as Shelby Miller and the Cardinals bullpen easily handled the offense on the way to a 4-1 Cardinals win.

What It Means:  After looking so promising the first game back after the All-Star break, the Phillies have now dropped three in a row.  The phrase "slipping away" comes to mind.

What Went Wrong:  The offense managed three hits through the first six innings and went 0 for 6 overall with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  Entering tonight's game, three N.L. East teams were fighting for last place in team batting average - the Nationals (.239), Mets (.236) and Marlins (.231).  The Phillies are surprisingly 5th in the league in team batting average (.257), but not surprisingly 11th in the league in runs scored.

The Nationals decided to try to shake up their stagnant offense by firing hitting coach Rick Eckstein, and hiring Phillies Room (and Shlabotnik Report) favorite, Rick Schu.  Schu had previously served as a Major League hitting coach with the Diamondbacks in 2004 and from mid-2007 to mid-2009.

The Phils tried a similar tack in July 2010 when they fired hitting coach Milt Thompson and brought back Greg Gross in an attempt to jump start the offense.  It didn't really work, as there wasn't much of a difference in the team's offense pre and post Thompson.  Gross was let go after last season's dismal performance and the Phils decided to go with two hitting coaches - Steve Henderson and his "assistant," Wally Joyner for 2013.

So who knows if this move will work for the Nationals?  I do know that as much as I'd like to see Schu succeed professionally, I'd prefer he find success in a division other than the N.L. East.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Phillies at Cardinals: July 23rd to July 25th

Tuesday and Wednesday 8:15, Thursday 7:15
Busch Stadium - St. Louis, MO

Phillies 49-50, 2nd Place in the N.L. East, 7 games behind the Braves
Cardinals 59-37, 1st Place in the N.L. Central, 1 1/2 games ahead of the Pirates

Phillies Probables:  Jonathan Pettibone (5-3, 3.89), John Lannan (2-3, 3.76), Kyle Kendrick (9-6, 3.94)
Cardinals Probables:  Shelby Miller (9-6, 2.92), Jake Westbrook (6-4, 2.88), Lance Lynn (11-5, 4.13)

At the Ballpark:  Before Thursday night's game, the Cardinals will give out 150 tickets (each) to get an autograph from either Allen Craig or Matt Carpenter.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .305
Runs:  Domonic Brown - 51
Home Runs:  Domonic Brown - 24
RBIs:  Domonic Brown - 69
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 22

Wins:  Cliff Lee - 10
ERA:  Cliff Lee - 3.05
Strikeouts:  Cliff Lee - 131
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 20

1973 Topps #128 and #269
1973 Topps Flashback:  Today's flashback features two players who were teammates with the Cardinals in the mid-'70s and again with the Phillies in the late-'70s.

Ted Sizemore came to the Cardinals in October 1970 in the trade that sent Dick Allen to the Dodgers.  He was the Cards' regular second baseman for five seasons with his best year coming in 1973 when he hit .282.  He returned to the Dodgers for a season in 1976 before beginning his two-year stint with the Phils.  I wrote about Sizemore during a 1979 Topps Flashback last season.

Ah yes, Tim McCarver.  The long-time player and announcer is retiring at the end of this season, and I lasted through six innings of his broadcast with Joe Buck during this year's All-Star Game before muting my television.  McCarver spent parts of his first ten seasons with the Cardinals before joining the Phillies in 1970 and 1971.  He played for the Expos in 1972 before returning to St. Louis prior to the 1973 season.  As the "STL" logo on McCarver's hat isn't airbrushed on his 1973 Topps card, that would mean Topps dug into its archives and used a four year old picture for this card.  McCarver came back to the Phillies in 1975, joining Sizemore as members of the 1977 and 1978 N.L. Champs.

Monday, July 22, 2013

1997 Pacific Prisms Gems of the Diamond #GD-180 Ruben Amaro, Jr.

Mets 5, Phillies 0
Game 99 - Sunday Afternoon, July 21st in Flushing
Record - 49-50, 2nd Place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were completely baffled by Mets pitcher Matt Harvey, getting shut out in a 5-0 loss.

What It Means:  It means the team is back below .500, and they'll start a six-game road trip against the first place Cardinals and the first place Tigers, beginning on Tuesday night.

What Went Wrong:  The Phillies were held to four hits by Harvey and reliever Scott Atchison.  Cliff Lee surrendered all five Mets runs, with all the runs resulting from Mets home runs.  Marlon Byrd hit the most impressive of the three home runs, with a second deck bomb to left in the first.

Featured Card:  So are the Phillies buyers or sellers at this point?  Asked on almost an hourly basis to try to explain his plans for the next ten days, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., has been consistent in maintaining that the Phillies are in fact buyers.  But he's been quick to add that his stance could change depending on how the team plays.

I'd love to see the Phils go on a tear and creep back into the Wild Card picture, but my brain tells me that what I've watched on the field isn't really a playoff-worthy team.  Then again, my heart reminds me that anything is possible and wouldn't it be fun to watch this team shock everyone with a late season run.  Maybe all this team needs is a boost from the return of Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay from the disabled list.  Maybe they could trade Michael Young for a more reliable late-inning reliever.  Maybe we're enjoying a parade in October, marveling at the moves that were made in the last week of July to put the team over the top and deliver yet another pennant . . .

Maybe I should just sit back and hope that Amaro has this all figured out.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

2003 Topps Traded Future Phenoms #FP-MB Marlon Byrd

Mets 5, Phillies 4
Game 98 - Saturday Afternoon, July 20th in Flushing
Record - 49-49, 2nd Place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Cole Hamels' struggles continued, as the former ace couldn't contain the Mets and the bad guys won, 5-4.

What It Means:  It's back to .500 for the Phils and they'll go for the series win tomorrow afternoon.  Sunday's game should be a pitcher's duel, with Cliff Lee facing off against Matt Harvey.

What Went Wrong:  En route to this 12th loss of the season, Hamels allowed four runs on seven hits in his five innings of work.  The offense went 1 for 10 with runners in scoring position.  Although Delmon Young had three hits on the day, his strike out with the bases loaded in the fifth was the at-bat I'll remember most.

Jimmy Rollins homered to start the ballgame, and Chase Utley homered in the ninth to bring the Phils to within a run.

Featured Card:  With the Phillies seeking center field help, one of the players that could be available this month is current Mets outfielder Marlon Byrd.  Byrd had two hits in this game to raise his average to .274, and he's a very strong candidate for N.L. Comeback Player of the Year honors.  Byrd appeared in 47 games last year for the Cubs and Red Sox, hitting .210 with one home run.  In 80 games this year, he has 16 home runs and 55 RBIs.

It's doubtful Byrd will be reunited with the Phils however, as intra-division trades are few and far between, and because the Mets are said to be seeking a boatload of prospects for Byrd.  Don't do it, Ruben.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

2009 Topps 206 #116B Chase Utley

Phillies 13, Mets 8
Game 97 - Friday Night, July 19th in Flushing
Record - 49-48, 2nd Place, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The offense awoke from its All-Star break slumber, pounding out 15 hits and defeating the Mets, 13-8.

What It Means:  It means the Phillies started the second half off right, and they're now in sole possession of second place.

What Went Right:  Chase Utley tripled and homered, driving in three runs.  Domonic Brown had three hits, including a solo home run to begin the seven-run third inning.  Michael Young also contributed a three-run home run in the third.

Featured Card:  With the way the Phillies have played the last few weeks, and considering their offensive output last night against the Mets, it's looking more and more likely as if the team won't hold a sell-off this month.  That's good news if, like me, you're an Utley fan.  I went back to 2009 for this Utley card, which is the short-printed version of his 2009 Topps 206 base card.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Phillies at Mets: July 19th to July 21st

Friday 7:10, Saturday and Sunday 1:10
Citi Field - Flushing, NY

Phillies 48-48, 3rd Place in the N.L. East, 6 1/2 games behind the Braves
Mets 41-50, 4th Place in the N.L. East, 11 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables:  Kyle Kendrick (8-6, 3.68), Cole Hamels (4-11, 4.05), Cliff Lee (10-3, 2.86)
Mets Probables:  Jeremy Hefner (4-6, 3.33), Zack Wheeler (3-1, 3.54), Matt Harvey (7-2, 2.35)

At the Ballpark:  The first 15,000 fans will receive a Mets toy truck on Saturday afternoon.  On Sunday, the first 25,000 fans will receive a Dwight Gooden All-Star bobble head.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Ben Revere - .305
Runs:  Domonic Brown - 49
Home Runs:  Domonic Brown - 23
RBIs:  Domonic Brown - 67
Stolen Bases:  Ben Revere - 22

Wins:  Cliff Lee - 10
1973 Topps #184
ERA:  Cliff Lee - 2.86
Strikeouts:  Cliff Lee - 125
Saves:  Jonathan Papelbon - 20

1973 Topps Flashback:  When a guy who went 6-4 with a 4.62 ERA in 18 starts in 1985 is your Diamond King representative in the 1986 Donruss set, your team has issues.  What's worse, is that by the time the 1986 Donruss set was released, Jerry Koosman was long gone, having been released by the Phillies in December 1985.  This is the kind of stuff that really bugged me as a young collector.  

I wrote more about Koosman's career during a 1979 Topps Flashback post last year.