Friday, October 4, 2013

1987 Phillies - No Missing Links

1987 Fleer Update #U-27, 1987 Donruss Opening Day #155, 1987 O-Pee-Chee #135 and 1988 Donruss #604
Thanks entirely to the 1987 Tastykake Phillies set, I've found another season in which every player who suited up for the Phillies received at least one Phillies baseball card.  I've put together posts covering 1980 to 1987, and then 1990 to 2000, and that's something that can be said for only three seasons in that range - 1985, 1987 and 1993.

3 Cards or More
35 Players

I'm going to include Mike Easler in this first category.  Easler only played 33 games with the Phillies before he was traded back to the New York Yankees in early June.  His 1987 Donruss Opening Day card is the sole standard sized card to feature Easler in a Phillies uniform, and he also appears in the 1987 Tastykake Phillies set.  The card that pushes him into this category, in my opinion, is his 1987 O-Pee-Chee card.  The card shows Easler in a Yankees uniform but bears a Phillies logo and the little "Now with Phillies" legend on the front of the card.

1987 Tastykake
Phillies #45
1987 Tastykake
Phillies #51
1987 Tastykake
Phillies #58
1987 Tastykake
Phillies #39A
2 Cards
Ken Dowell (15 games in 1987) - 1987 Fleer Update #U-27 and 1987 Tastykake Phillies #37
Ken Jackson (8 games in 1987) - 1985 Tastykake Phillies #44 (with Francisco Melendez) and 1987 Tastykake Phillies #51
Tom Newell (2 games in 1987) - 1987 Tastykake Phillies #50 and 1988 Donruss #604

I was always excited to receive new cards of Mike Schmidt or even Von Hayes during the mid to late '80s.  But what really got me excited is when the Ken Dowell's of the world appeared in a major card release like Fleer Update.  Dowell's entire Phillies career spanned 15 games between June 24th and July 19th, and that was good enough for the fine folks at Fleer to decide to give the light-hitting shortstop a card in their update set.  Dowell was released by the Phils following the 1987 season and spent three seasons in the Mets and Braves organizations before hanging up his spikes.

Jackson was rewarded for his strong season at Double-A Reading with a September call-up, and he made his Major League debut on September 12th.  In 8 games, Jackson hit .250 (4 for 16) with two doubles.  He spent eight seasons toiling in the minors for the Phils before wrapping up his professional career in 1989 in the Rangers' organization.

If Dowell's inclusion in the 1987 Fleer Update set is curious, then Newell's inclusion in the 1988 Donruss set is flat out crazy mysterious.  Also a September call-up, Newell appeared in two games in which he accumulated one inning pitched and four earned runs for a career ERA of 36.00.  He left the Phillies organization following the 1988 season, missed the 1989 season, and played the next two seasons within the Yankees' organization.  But at least he's forever immortalized within the 1988 Donruss set.

1987 ProCards Maine Guides #16, #9, #2 and #4
1 Card
Greg Jelks (10 games in 1987) - 1987 Tastykake Phillies #45
Greg Legg (11 games in 1986 and 3 games in 1987) - 1987 Tastykake Phillies #11
Doug Bair (11 games in 1987) - 1987 Tastykake Phillies #58
Joe Cowley (5 games in 1987) - 1987 Tastykake Phillies #39

Jelks, who was called up to the Phillies in late August, appeared in 10 games for the Phillies at third base, first base and left field.  He hit .091 (1 for 11) and spent the entire 1988 season back with Triple-A Maine.  According to his Baseball Reference page, Jelks was still playing professional baseball as late as the 2001 season.

I covered Legg in depth with the 1986 Phillies Missing Links post.  Bair pitched in 11 forgettable games for the Phillies toward the tail-end of his 15-year career.  After his short time in Philadelphia, Bair would actually enjoy one of his better seasons with the 1989 Pirates when he posted a 2.27 ERA over 44 relief appearances.

And what to say about Cowley?  Cowley was acquired from the White Sox in late March 1987 for outfielder Gary Redus.  He was supposed to stabilize the rotation, but instead ended up going 0-4 over 5 appearances with a 15.43 ERA.  He pitched in 13 more games for Triple-A Maine, but after going 3-9 with a 7.86 ERA, his Phillies and his Major League Baseball careers were over.  Neither Topps nor Fleer deemed him worthy enough for inclusion within their update sets.

Past Missing Link Posts


Steve F. said...

That's actually a very cool card of Ken Dowell as well!

I have to say, I admire your perseverance in going through these weak years' sets. Thanks for your work on this--very informative!

Unknown said...

Believe it or not Greg Jelks is still in Baseball. He is the hitting coach for the Perth Heat in Australia.

Jim said...

That's awesome Bob! Glad to hear he's still involved with the game.