Friday, January 31, 2014

2013 Quarry Unlimited - Ben Revere

In case you missed it, Cards from the Quarry recently wrapped up its trek through the 2013 Quarry Unlimited set, featuring virtual cards of every single player to suit up with a Major League team during the past season.  In the case of players who appeared with multiple teams (I'm looking at you Casper Wells and John McDonald), multiple cards were created to commemorate the players' time with each team.

I can't imagine the hours this project must have taken, and I eagerly followed along with each and every post as each team's cards were revealed.  Obviously, my favorite cards in the set were the Phillies cards found here and here.

Please head over and check out these extremely impressive creations, and submit your vote for your favorite cards by 9am this morning.  Be sure to set aside some time to go through the whole set!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

1988 Fleer Phillies Stickers - Rejected

This has been the slowest January of posting since I started this blog, which is somewhat tied to my lack of enthusiasm towards the Phillies offseason moves.  As January nears its end, I've been slowly emerging from a relatively quiet winter on the blog to start preparing for the 2014 season.  At this point every year, I start stretching out my throwing arm a little bit more each day, eventually working my way up to long toss.  By the time actual spring training games start in late February, I hope to be up to my usual daily(ish) posting and I'll be gearing up for the regular season.

One of the usual features on this here blog is a post that arrives an hour before the beginning of each Phillies series.  These posts don't contain any ground breaking content, but they're fun for me to put together.  Similar to what I've done in the past, the series preview posts will contain cards from this season's featured set (1988 Topps) somehow connected to the Phillies and their opponent.  They will also contain Fleer-inspired "stickers" featuring the two teams poised to face off.

If I were to stay consistent with my 1988 theme, the sticker shown at the top would be used as the basis for the series preview post stickers.  Or I could use the single sticker shown at the right to spotlight the two teams.  Both these stickers came with my 1988 Fleer factory set.

But I don't really like the design of these stickers, and I've decided to stick with the 1973ish-style logos for one more season.  So the virtual stickers seen here will be back for the 2014 season, with a few small tweaks to account for a couple of teams changing their primary logos.

While it may seen that the blog has been quiet lately, rest assured these are the types of profound and momentous decisions I've been wrestling with behind the scenes.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Even Newer Uniform Numbers Have Arrived!

2006 SPx #70
The recent signing of Bobby Abreu and a few other veteran non-roster invitees necessitated a re-shuffling of some uniform numbers.  This post serves as an addendum to my original post from a few weeks ago.

New Players
#7 Ronny Cedeno - I had originally hoped that prospect Maikel Franco would be assigned #7 as a sign of confidence in the young infielder.  Alas, the number went to veteran infielder Cedeno who joins his seventh club with the Phillies.  Cedeno has never before worn #7 in the Majors, and the number was most recently worn by fan favorite Michael Martinez.  (I'm kidding of course about the fan favorite bit.)
#53 Bobby Abreu - In a move that wasn't too surprising, Abreu reclaimed his old number from reliever B.J. Rosenberg.  I wonder if there was any bartering involved, or if Abreu just played his All Veterans Stadium Team member card and took his number back?
#57 Chad Gaudin - Gaudin has worn #57 for most of his 11-year career, so he swiped the number from relative newcomer Luis Garcia.

New Numbers
#39 B.J. Rosenberg - Rosenberg assumes #39 after Abreu claimed his old #53.  Steven Lerud wore the number the past two seasons, and the last pitchers to wear the number were Michael Schwimer in 2011 and Brett Myers from 2003 to 2009.
#43 Luis Garcia - Do you think they even bothered to ask Garcia if he wanted #43, or do you think the clubhouse guys just made an executive decision?

Other Stuff
- Not that anyone will ever care, but let the official record show that outfielder Dave Sappelt was once assigned #67 during his one month stint as property of the Phillies.  Sappelt was removed from the non-roster invitee list following the signing of Abreu.

- With the latest round of number assignments, the following non-retired numbers between 1 and 60 are still officially available - #34, #41 and #46.  #34 and #41 are definitely being held back as an unofficial tribute to Roy Halladay and Charlie Manuel, respectively.  I can't say the same for #46, which was last worn by reliever Raul Valdes.

Memory Lane

Monday, January 27, 2014

1955 Bowman #209 Smoky Burgess

My Dad would have turned 70 today.  He passed away in October 2011 and it's hard for me to grasp that he's been gone for over two years.  I still hear his voice on a daily basis and I'd like to think that it was at his urging that I recently bought a few vintage cards from Kit Young.  Always one to love a good deal, he would have appreciated that I bought the cards during one of Kit Young's recent sales.

January has always been my least favorite month of the year, and I annually struggle to make it through the month in tact and still smiling.  The passing of our dog Chachi last week has made that more of a struggle this year.  Baseball cards have always had a way of cheering me up, and the recent additions to my collection are no different.

So as we trudge through what's left of this crappy January, I'm glad I now have this 1955 Bowman card of Forrest "Smoky" Burgess in my collection.  We're getting closer to pitchers and catchers reporting, the days are getting longer and it will be springtime before we know it.

Just like Smoky here, things are starting to look up.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Return of Bobby Abreu

2006 Chachi #3
What in the name of Amaury Telemaco is going on around here?

Last week, the Phillies unexpectedly announced the signing of outfielder Bobby Abreu to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training.  You may remember Abreu as one of the outfielders on the 2005 All Veterans Stadium team.  The soon-to-be 40-year-old patrolled right field for the Phillies between 1998 and 2006 before being unceremoniously dealt to the Yankees for a handful of prospects that never went anywhere.  Ironically enough, Abreu's departure marked a turning point for the organization, as the young core of Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Jimmy Rollins took over and led the team to five straight division titles.

And now Abreu is back.  It's unclear how he fits into the Phillies plans right now, but his red hot run in the Venezuelan Winter League (.322 with 28 RBIs) was enough for the Phillies to bring in Abreu for a try-out.  After leaving the Phillies, Abreu played with the Yankees, Angels and Dodgers up through the 2012 season.  He sat out all of last year, which makes the team's decision to bring him back even more puzzling.  Soon after Abreu was signed, I noticed that outfielder Dave Sappelt had been removed from the list of non-roster invitees on the team's website.  My guess is that Abreu's arrival made Sappelt's chances of making the team even more difficult, and so he and the team parted ways.

Prior to the Abreu signing, infielder Ronny Cedeno was invited to spring training as well.  The nine-year veteran split time with the Astros and Padres last season, hitting .242 in 89 games.

Also brought into the fold was pitcher Chad Gaudin.  The right-handed pitcher appeared in 30 games last season with the Giants, starting 12 of those games.  He went 5-2 with a 3.06 ERA and he's expected to compete for the fifth spot in the Phillies' 2014 pitching rotation.

Player (position) - 2013 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Shawn Camp (rhp) - Cubs/Diamondbacks - 2012 Topps Update #US238 (Cubs)
2.  Leandro Castro (of) - Phillies - 2010 Topps Pro Debut #84 (Phillies)
3.  Cesar Jimenez (lhp) - Phillies - 2009 Upper Deck #857 (Mariners)
4.  Clete Thomas (of) - Twins - 2010 Topps #441 (Tigers)
5.  Reid Brignac (inf) - Yankees/Rockies - 2013 Topps Update #US206
6.  Andres Blanco (inf) - N/A - 2007 Topps #659 (Royals)
7.  Jeff Manship (rhp) - Rockies - 2010 Finest #141 (Twins)
8.  Tony Gwynn, Jr. (of) - Dodgers - 2012 Topps #284 (Dodgers)
9.  Lou Marson (c) - Indians - 2013 Topps #443 (Indians)
10.  Sean O'Sullivan (rhp) - Padres - 2011 Topps Update #US89 (Royals)
11.  Dave Sappelt (of) - Cubs - 2012 Topps #657 (Cubs)
11.  Jesse Biddle (lhp) - Phillies - 2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects #TP-6 (Phillies)
12.  Maikel Franco (3b) - Phillies - 2013 Topps Heritage Minors #158 (Phillies)
13.  Ken Giles (rhp) - Phillies - None
14.  Mario Hollands (lhp) - Phillies - None
15.  Sebastian Valle (c) - Phillies - 2012 Topps Heritage Minors #144 (Phillies)
16.  Ronny Cedeno (inf) - Astros/Padres - 2011 Topps Heritage #270 (Pirates)
17.  Chad Gaudin (rhp) - Giants - 2013 Topps Update #US86 (Giants)
18.  Bobby Abreu (of) - None - 2012 Topps Heritage #H669 (Dodgers)

Memory Lane

Sunday, January 19, 2014


Early Saturday morning, our wonderful dog Chachi Nacho Passaro passed away after being part of our happy little family for almost 10 years.  We’ll miss his companionship, his playfulness and his barking at squirrels, mail carriers and passing motorcycles.  He was a good boy.

I had never known a pet as long as I had known Chachi, and it's going to be strange not having him here.  We haven't stopped reminiscing about him and sharing stories of funny things he used to do.  Anyone who has ever had a pet knows that they quickly become part of your every day lives and not having him around has left a sad void for us and our two boys.

Chachi was the first addition to our family in the summer of 2004 before we had kids, and before we were even married.  We lived in a noisy townhouse development and that's where Chachi first developed his dislike of loud neighbors and motorcycles.  We moved into our house in the spring of 2006 and welcomed Doug into our family that winter.  Chachi cautiously sniffed the newcomer and then decided he'd watch guard over the sleeping infant.  Chachi was especially distrustful of the dozens of squirrels who made their homes in our front and back yard trees.

Ben joined us in 2010 and Chachi again dutifully took up the responsibility of watching over and protecting the new addition from all neighborhood menaces.  He had his favorite spots (in front of our open front door, our carpeted staircase, the afternoon sun in the kitchen, the back of our couch) and he had his favorite plush toys (purple bone, pheasant, whale) and he liked nothing more than curling up in Jenna's lap to watch television in the evening.  He was little, he was intelligent and he was very furry.

He'll be missed greatly and I'm glad he was part of our family.

* * *

So what does this have to do with the Phillies or their baseball cards?  Not much really, but it was therapeutic for me to write about Chachi for a little bit.  2014 will mark the tenth year I've produced my own set of virtual Philllies cards, known affectionately as "Chachi" cards.  I'll continue this practice and the name will carry on as a lasting tribute to my late great friend.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Biddle, Franco, 3 Others Going to Clearwater

2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects #TP-6, 2013 Topps Heritage Minor Leagues #158,
2013 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #21 and 2012 Multi-Ad Lakewood Blueclaws #11
Last week, the Phillies most likely completed handing out their invitations to Spring Training by asking five more prospects to join camp.  The big names on the list are left-handed pitcher Jesse Biddle and third baseman Maikel Franco, who have been ranked as the top two prospects in the organization.  Biddle is expected to open the season with Triple-A Lehigh Valley, but Franco could actually compete with Cody Asche for the starting third baseman's job.  With High-A Clearwater and Double-A Reading, Franco hit .320 with 31 home runs in 103 RBIs in just 134 games.

I don't know much about right-handed pitcher Ken Giles or left-handed pitcher Mario Hollands other than that they both had decent years for Clearwater.  Oddly enough, Giles completely missed out on any 2013 Phillies minor league cards as a result of the significant time he missed due to injury.

Catcher Sebastain Valle was dropped from the 40-man roster in mid-December to make room for free agent pitcher Roberto Hernandez.  Once considered the top catching prospect in the organization, he's probably now sixth on the team's depth chart behind Carlos Ruiz, Wil Nieves, Tommy Joseph, Cameron Rupp and Lou Marson.

Player (position) - 2013 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Shawn Camp (rhp) - Cubs/Diamondbacks - 2012 Topps Update #US238 (Cubs)
2.  Leandro Castro (of) - Phillies - 2010 Topps Pro Debut #84 (Phillies)
3.  Cesar Jimenez (lhp) - Phillies - 2009 Upper Deck #857 (Mariners)
4.  Clete Thomas (of) - Twins - 2010 Topps #441 (Tigers)
5.  Reid Brignac (inf) - Yankees/Rockies - 2013 Topps Update #US206
6.  Andres Blanco (inf) - N/A - 2007 Topps #659 (Royals)
7.  Jeff Manship (rhp) - Rockies - 2010 Finest #141 (Twins)
8.  Tony Gwynn, Jr. (of) - Dodgers - 2012 Topps #284 (Dodgers)
9.  Lou Marson (c) - Indians - 2013 Topps #443 (Indians)
10.  Sean O'Sullivan (rhp) - Padres - 2011 Topps Update #US89 (Royals)
11.  Dave Sappelt (of) - Cubs - 2012 Topps #657 (Cubs)
12.  Jesse Biddle (lhp) - Phillies - 2013 Bowman Draft Top Prospects #TP-6 (Phillies)
13.  Maikel Franco (3b) - Phillies - 2013 Topps Heritage Minors #158 (Phillies)
14.  Ken Giles (rhp) - Phillies - None
15.  Mario Hollands (lhp) - Phillies - None
16.  Sebastian Valle (c) - Phillies - 2012 Topps Heritage Minors #144 (Phillies)

Memory Lane

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Hall of Fame Class of 2014 - Phillies Cards

2001 Topps Heritage
Then and Now #TH9
I'm one of the biggest baseball fans I know.  Which is why my complete lack of interest in the most recent Hall of Fame voting surprises me a little bit.  Maybe it's because I've joined Twitter in the past year and I spent the months and weeks leading up to the Hall of Fame announcement reading everyone's opinion on who should be in, who shouldn't be in and whether or not the steroid guys should ever grace plaques in the hallowed hall.  And isn't it time Pete Rose's lifetime ban was lifted?

But I digress.

Two years ago, I went through the fun little exercise of seeing if I had any "Phillies" baseball cards for 2012 Hall of Fame inductee Barry Larkin.  I found an insert card from 1992 Pinnacle featuring former Phillies third baseman Kim Batiste and his boyhood idol, Larkin.  I skipped this exercise last year given that the writers casting ballots decided not to vote anyone in with the 2013 vote.  

I thought I'd take this opportunity to review both the 2013 and 2014 voting and list where the new and potentially future Hall of Famers can be found within my Phillies collection.  If no card is listed, it means these all time greats have not yet breached any of my Phillies binders.

2013 Players (At Least 50% of Vote) - "Phillies" Card
Craig Biggio (68.2%)
Jack Morris (67.7%) - 1984 Topps #136 - Strikeout Leaders with Steve Carlton
Jeff Bagwell (59.6%) - 2001 Fleer Triple Crown Glamour Boys #3 - with Scott Rolen and Bernie Williams
Mike Piazza (57.8%) - 1995 Donruss Dominators #2 - with Ivan Rodriguez and Darren Daulton
Tim Raines (52.2%) - 1987 Fleer #642 - Super Star Special with Juan Samuel

Piazza also appears on a few 2003 Topps 205 Triple Folder cards with Bobby Abreu while Raines also appears on a few Topps Rub-Down/Tattoo cards (from 1984 and 1985) with Mike Schmidt.

2013 Veterans Committee (At Least 60% of Vote) - "Phillies" Card
Hank O'Day, umpire (93.8%)
Jacob Ruppert, executive (93.8%)
Deacon White, player (87.5%)
Bill Dahlen, player (62.5%)

O'Day, Ruppert and White were the only inductees into the Hall of Fame in 2013.

1995 Donruss Dominators #2
2014 Players (At Least 50% of Vote) - "Phillies" Card
Greg Maddux (97.2%) - 2001 Topps Heritage Then and Now #TH9 - with Robin Roberts
Tom Glavine (91.9%)
Frank Thomas (83.7%)
Craig Biggio (74.8%)
Mike Piazza (62.2%) - 1995 Donruss Dominators #2 - with Ivan Rodriguez and Darren Daulton
Jack Morris (61.5%) - 1984 Topps #136 - Strikeout Leaders with Steve Carlton
Jeff Bagwell (54.3%) - 2001 Fleer Triple Crown Glamour Boys #3 - with Scott Rolen and Bernie Williams

2014 Veterans Committee (At Least 60% of Vote) - "Phillies" Card
Bobby Cox (100%)
Tony LaRussa (100%)
Joe Torre (100%) - Joe's brother Frank has Phillies cards within the 1962 and 1963 Topps sets.

Monday, January 13, 2014

1975 Topps #70 Mike Schmidt

I was the recent recipient of a small stack of Phillies cards from reader Mark.  Mark had contacted me right after the holidays with the promise to help me out with some of the cards on my 1970s Phillies Want Lists.  In exchange, he asked if I had any Red Sox cards I could send along.  I wrote back to Mark and honestly let him know that my Red Sox cards get set aside and sent to Ron, who sits in Section 36.  As much as I'd love to set up a trade, I unfortunately didn't have much to offer in return.

This didn't deter Mark and he still sent along a nice assortment of early 1970s Topps Phillies cards, including an awesome 1975 Topps Mike Schmidt card.

In appreciation of the gesture, I'm going to start setting aside some newer Red Sox cards for Mark as I figure there's plenty of Sox cards to keep both him and the good folks from Section 36 happy.  If you'd like to set up a trade with Mark and if you have some newer Red Sox cards to spare, please send him an e-mail at markhoyle913 at yahoo dot com.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Uniform Numbers Have Arrived!

2003 E-X Behind the Numbers #BTNGU-MB
The slow offseason has had one positive effect for the Phillies, as they've been able to assign out new uniform numbers much sooner than in the prior two offseasons.  It's the little things, right?

Yesterday, I noticed that all new players, coaches and non-roster invitees (with the exception of the latest round of additions) had been assigned uniform numbers on the official Phillies website.  This is usually the final offseason hurdle to clear before the team packs up its trucks and heads down to Clearwater.

Similar to what I've done the past two seasons, here's this year's handy guide to new players, new numbers and a few other trivial observations:

New Players
#3 Marlon Byrd - Byrd was assigned #3 almost immediately after being signed, assuming the number worn by both Delmon Young and Roger Bernadina in 2013.  Byrd wore #29 during his first stint with the Phillies, and it's surprising that he couldn't coerce that number from its current owner, third string catcher Cameron Rupp.
#4 Lou Marson - It's strange to see a non-roster invitee with a number in the single digits, but Marson has been assigned John McDonald's #4.  Marson wore #3 during his short time with the Phillies in 2008 and 2009.
2008 Topps Opening Day #146
#17 Reid Brignac -  Like Marson, non-roster invitees Brignac, Tony Gwynn, Jr. and Clete Thomas have all received relatively low uniform numbers.  Departed catching coach Mick Billmeyer wore #17 last season.
#19 Tony Gwynn, Jr. - The younger Gwynn has never before worn (in the Majors) the number his father made famous with twenty Hall of Fame seasons in San Diego.  Laynce Nix was #19 the previously two seasons.
#21 Wil Nieves - Assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner wore this number last year.
#24 Clete Thomas - Strangely enough, #24 wasn't worn at all last season.  Ty Wigginton last wore the number in 2012.
#27 Roberto Hernandez - The pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona will wear John Lannan's #27.
#31 Brad Lincoln - The new righty reliever wore #49 as a member of the Blue Jays last season, but Ethan Martin has that number with the Phillies.  Lincoln will assume the number of the player for whom he was acquired, wearing Erik Kratz's old #31.
#52 Kevin Munson - The Rule 5 pick assumes the number last worn by reliever Jose Contreras in 2012.
#75 Miguel Gonzalez -  Cuban born Gonzalez could become the second player in franchise history to wear #75, after Jim Crowell briefly wore the number during the 2004 season.

New Coaches
1996 Phillies Team Issue #2

#10 Larry Bowa - There's no way Bowa could don a Phillies uniform and wear anything other than #10 . . . although he did at one point.  As a coach in the late '80s and early '90s, Bowa wore #2 while Darren Daulton kept his regular #10 warm.  Michael Young wore the number last season.
#12 John Mizerock -  Both Humbero Quintero and Pete Orr wore this number in 2013.  Hopefully, Mizerock finds more success with it.
#22 Bob McClure -  The new pitching coach assumes the number last worn by outfielder/pitcher Casper Wells.
#45 Pete Mackanin -  Chad Durbin and Zach Miner both spent time with #45 in 2013.  During his first stint as a Phillies coach, Mackanin wore #45 in 2009 (before Pedro Martinez took it over), #22 in 2010 and 2011 and #5 in 2012.  Hitting coach Steve Henderson currently owns #5, so Mackanin went back to his 2009 number.

New Numbers
#30 Justin De Fratus - There's just no telling what number De Fratus is going to wear from year to year.  He began his career as #37 but then surrendered that number prior to the 2012 season to Antonio Bastardo and strangely assumed #79.  His new #30 was last worn by former pitching coach Rich Dubee.  Maybe this is some sort of tribute to Dubee?

2010 Phillies Fan Appreciation
Day Postcards #4
Other Stuff
- For the second year in a row, outfield prospect Zach Collier wins the prize for the highest number with his #80.

- From 1 to 60, the following non-retired numbers are still officially up for grabs - #7, #34, #39, #41, #43 and #46.  I wouldn't be shocked if the team has unofficially retired #34 and #41, at least for the next few seasons, out of respect for Roy Halladay and Charlie Manuel.  I seriously doubt they're doing the same thing for #7 (Michael Martinez), #39 (Steven Lerud), #43 (Steve Susdorf) or #46 (Raul Valdes).  I'd expect some or all of those numbers to go to the remaining four non-roster invitees still in need.  Hot prospect Maikel Franco would make an excellent #7.

Memory Lane
2012 New Numbers
2013 New Numbers

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Farewell Wheels

2013 Phillies Team Issue 2
I recently returned from an out-of-town work trip to Nashville, so my post on the dismissal of long-time broadcaster Chris Wheeler and former player, turned broadcaster Gary "Sarge" Matthews is a little late.  While I've never been a huge fan of Wheeler, I do think the way he was shown the door was a little cold.

By all accounts, the decision was made by Comcast as a result of the mega-deal just entered into between the media giant and the Phillies.  Comcast felt that change was needed (and it probably was) and their new stake in the team's media revenue gave it the clout to make the call.  In the pre-Comcast contract era, if the Phillies felt a change was needed in the broadcast booth, Wheeler would have been given the option to broadcast a final, farewell season and then gracefully ride into the sunset.  He wasn't given that option, and it's kind of a shame.

Growing up, the adult voices I heard the most were my parents, my grandparents, a few adult family friends and then Harry, Whitey, Andy Musser and Wheels.  There were some extra guys in there at times (Kent Tekulve, Jim Barniak and Todd Kalas to name a few) but the steady foursome of Harry, Whitey, Andy Musser and Wheels provided the soundtrack to my Millville and Sea Isle summer nights.  The former three have since entered the great broadcast booth in the sky, and now Wheeler has had his microphone taken away.

Potential replacements for Wheeler are rumored to be Ricky Bottalico, Brad Lidge or Doug Glanville.  Sarge won't be replaced and all of this won't affect the way I enjoy the games at home at all.  Thankfully, the radio team of Scott Franzke, Larry Andersen and Jim Jackson will remain together and I'll continue to mute the TV and listen to that trio call the game.

So farewell to Chris Wheeler.  He knew and respected the game and his departure marks yet another milestone on my personal journey to "Man am I getting old."

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

1989 Phillies - The Missing Links

1987 Donruss #583, 1989 Topps #338, 1990 ProCards #608 and 1989 Fleer #106
When I started to put together this post, I wanted to start with a few sentences summarizing the 1989 Phillies season.  I stumbled around a little and then decided to just cut and paste what I had written about that team in my 1989 Topps Phillies post:
The 1989 season was a hot mess for the Phillies.  Mike Schmidt tearfully announced his retirement, fan favorites Chris JamesSteve Bedrosian and Juan Samuel were all sent packing, and the team continued to underwhelm with another last place finish.
Nick Leyva's squad fielded 48 different players during the long 1989 season, which at the time was one short of the all-time high 49 players used by the 1946 Phillies.  As you'll see below, four of those 48 players have never graced a Phillies baseball card.  If not for the 1989 Tastykake Phillies set, that number would have jumped to nine players.

3 Cards or More
38 Players

Outfielder Keith Miller just makes the 3 Cards or More list.  Miller had solo cards in the 1989 Topps set, as well as the 1989 Score Hottest 100 Rookies set.  He's also featured on the multi-prospest card within the 1988 Tastykake Phillies set and a solo card (which I don't have yet) within the 1988 Tastykake Phillies Update set.

1989 Topps #268, 1987 Topps #196, 1987 Donruss Opening Day #220 and 1990 Fleer #569
2 Cards
Dwayne Murphy (98 games in 1989) - 1989 Tastykake Phillies #6 and 1990 Fleer #569

Veteran Murphy wrapped up his 12-year career with 98 games for the Phillies in 1989.  He hit .218 with 9 home runs and 27 RBIs, and was released following the season.  Thankfully, Fleer saw fit to include a "final tribute" card to Murphy with its 1990 release.

1 Card
Mark Ryal (29 games in 1989) - 1989 Tastykake Phillies #31
Tom Nieto (11 games in 1989 and 17 games in 1990) - 1989 Tastykake Phillies #24
Randy O'Neal (20 games in 1989) - 1989 Tastykake Phillies #27
Jim Adduci (13 games in 1989) - 1989 Tastykake Phillies Update #37
Eric Bullock (6 games in 1989) - 1989 Tastykake Phillies Update #38

1989 Tastykake Phillies #31 and #27
If you can actually recall any of the five players above suiting up for the Phillies, I'll tip my cap to you.  For some odd reason, there was actually a period during the 1989 season when Ryal was my favorite Phillies player.  He was only with the team from opening day to mid-June, hitting .242 in his 29 games, but I seem to remember he had a few big late-inning hits.  Checking the official record, it appears as if my memory is shoddy.  Perhaps I just liked rooting for an underdog.

Nieto was the back-up to Steve Lake, who was the back-up to Darren Daulton.  He hit .160 in his 28 games with the Phillies.

O'Neal stuck around for 20 games, and he made an emergency start for the Phillies in mid-August.  He was released following the season after compiling a 6.23 ERA in 39 innings.  Prior to landing with the Phillies, O'Neal had been a semi-reliable reliever with the Tigers in the mid-'80s.

Adduci appeared in 13 July games for the Phillies when the newly acquired John Kruk landed on the disabled list.  Once Kruk was healthy, Adduci headed back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  He wrapped up his 11-year professional career in 1990 with another full season as a Red Baron.

In October 1988, the Phillies traded starting pitcher Shane Rawley to the Twins for starting second baseman Tommy Herr, back-up catcher Nieto and outfielder Bullock.  Bullock earned a very brief call-up by the Phillies in late June, going 0 for 4 in his six games as either a late inning outfield defensive replacement or as a pinch-hitter.  Bullock was one of the five lucky recipients of a 1989 Topps Card That Never Was that I posted two years ago.  To date, I haven't yet made the other 14 cards needed to complete this series.

1989 CMC Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons #12, #4, #7 and #21
0 Cards
Steve Stanicek (9 games in 1989)
Bob Sebra (3 games in 1988 and 6 games in 1989)
Gordon Dillard (5 games in 1989)
Al Pardo (2 games in 1988 and 1 game in 1989)

Stanicek was a first round draft pick by the Giants in 1982.  He earned a brief call-up with the Brewers in 1987 and the Phillies signed him as a minor league free agent prior to the 1989 season.  After spending the season with the Red Barons, Stanicek was a September call-up appearing solely as a pinch-hitter in nine games.  He went 1 for 9 during his brief stay and was released immediately following the season.

Dillard, a lefty, came over to the Phillies from the Orioles in the Phil Bradley deal in December 1988.  He had his contract purchased in May and appeared in a total of five games with the Phillies.  He finished up the season in Scranton and bounced to the Pirates organization following the season.  He pitched briefly for the independent Salinas Spurs in 1991 before calling it a career.

I wrote about Sebra's and Pardo's time with the Phillies in my 1988 Missing Links post.

Past Missing Link Posts

Sunday, January 5, 2014

2010 Topps Phillies

2010 Topps #590, #334, 2010 Topps Update #US245 and 2010 Topps #23
Why am I having so much trouble starting and finishing the last few posts in my ongoing Topps Phillies series?  I flew through the initial posts a few years ago, churning out a post a week up through the late 1990s.  And then I stalled out.  I dug back in and made my way up through the mid-2000s before stalling out again.  The 2008 and 2009 posts were fun to put together, but I haven't been able to sufficiently motivate myself to wrap up the series with a look at the Topps Phillies cards from 2010, 2011, 2012 and most recently, 2013. 

I think, and this is only a theory, it's because these cards hold no real historical or sentimental interest to me personally, at least not yet.  Maybe in ten or twenty years' time, I'll look back at the 2010 Topps set with a sense of nostalgia, but that's a long ways off.

2010 was the first full year I maintained this here blog.  It was the year we welcomed our second son Benjamin into our lives, and he's been amazing us ever since.  2010 was also the year we began to realize that my Dad's health was failing, and the Phillies and their baseball cards provided a welcome haven from the real world.

The Set
2010 Topps #334 (Back)

Number of cards in the set:  Without counting the short-printed variations and gimmick cards, there are 660 cards in both series one and series two and 331 cards in the update series.  The extra card in the update series is the much sought after (at the time) Stephen Strasburg rookie card.
My very brief thoughts on the set:  I think this is one of my favorite Topps sets from recent years becuase (1) it's so different from any of the other generic, over-modern designs they've used recently and (2) the team logo is just freakin' huge on the fronts of the cards.  Revisiting the set for this post, I'm also struck by how good the photography is on most of the cards.
Notable competition:  This is the first year that Topps held its exclusive license with MLB, and it flaunted it by displaying large team logos on the fronts and backs of its base cards.  Upper Deck attempted to release a set with obscured or non-visible team logos on the photos, but it just wasn't an attractive or popular set.

2010 Topps #122, #300, #403 and #630
2010 Phillies
Record and finish:  The Phillies were flat-out awesome in 2010, and it was fun to watch them play every day.  They won their fourth consecutive N.L. East pennant, going 97-65 and finishing six games ahead of the Braves.  They swept the Reds in the N.L.D.S. only to have the Giants put an unceremonious end to their run in Game 6 of the N.L.C.S.  The card I created to memorialize the Game 6 loss is one of the most depressing cards in the entire Chachi series.  Why didn't Ryan Howard at least swing the bat?

Key players:  Despite his let-down in the N.L.C.S., Howard enjoyed a fantastic regular season.  He led the team with 108 RBIs and 31 home runs while hitting .276.  He was manager Charlie Manuel's choice as the starting designated hitter for the N.L. All-Star squad.  The outfield trio of Raul Ibanez (.275, 16, 83), Shane Victorino (.259, 18, 69, 34 stolen bases) and Jayson Werth (.296, 27, 85) could run circles around what the team plans to field in 2014.  Returning third baseman Placido Polanco and catcher Carlos Ruiz stabilized an already strong line-up and provided steady defense in the field.

The newly acquired Roy Halladay delivered one of the most dominant seasons by a Phillies pitcher in their franchise history.  On the way to winning the N.L. Cy Young Award, Halladay went 21-10 with a 2.44 ERA and 219 strikeouts.  Cole Hamels pitched much better than his 12-11 record, striking out 211 and compiling a 3.06 ERA.  On June 29th, the Phillies acquired Roy Oswalt and he went 7-1 with a 1.74 ERA in his 13 games with the club.  Brad Lidge bounced back from an awful 2009 with 27 saves and Ryan Madson continued to impress as one of the best set-up men in baseball.

2010 Topps #486, #134 and 2010 Topps Update #US100
Key events:  Following the 2009 season, general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. orchestrated two blockbuster trades, bringing in Halladay from the Blue Jays and inexplicably trading away Cliff Lee to the Mariners.  Lee would return to the organization via free agency following the 2010 season.  Halladay announced his arrival to the National League by pitching the 20th perfect game in Major League history on May 29th.  A few weeks earlier, on May 7th, Jamie Moyer became the oldest player in history to throw a complete game shutout.  And of course, Halladay started off the 2010 postseason by hurling a no-hitter against the Reds in Game 1 of the N.L.D.S.  (See below for links to all the 2010 postseason Chachi cards.)

2010 Phillies in 2010 Topps
Cards needed for a complete team set:  There are 20 Phillies cards in the base set and another seven Phillies cards in the update series.  There are also three veteran variation cards for Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton and Robin Roberts.
Who's in:
  • Cards of the eight starting position players - 8 cards
#122 Carlos Ruiz (c), #590 Ryan Howard (1b), #300 Chase Utley (2b), #403 Jimmy Rollins (ss), #US245 Placido Polanco (3b), #486 Raul Ibanez (lf), #23 Shane Victorino (cf), #334 Jayson Werth (rf)

Topps has a nice little streak going at this point, as the last time they didn't include all regular eight starting position players was with its 2001 set.  That was the year starting catcher Johnny Estrada was completely overlooked by Topps.

2010 Topps #70, #474, #188 and 2010 Topps Update #US95
  • Cards of the starting pitching rotation - 5 cards
#US100 Roy Halladay, #70 Cole Hamels, #474 Kyle Kendrick, #188 Joe Blanton, #US95 Jamie Moyer
  • Base cards of players who played with the Phillies in 2010 - 7 cards
#89 J.A. Happ, #424 David Herndon, #500 Brad Lidge, #630 Ben Francisco, #655 Ryan Madson, #US21 Roy Oswalt, #US318 Domonic Brown
  • Base cards of players who did not play with the Phillies in 2010 - 2 cards
#132 Cliff Lee, #154 Pedro Feliz
  • 2009 National League Leaders card - 1 card, #42 Ryan Howard (RBIs)
  • Franchise History card - 1 card, #372 Ryan Howard and Cole Hamels
This was a nice little subset added by Topps in its 2010 set.  The front of the card features Howard and Hamels following the conclusion of the 2008 World Series and the back of the card contains a listing of the franchise's all-time, active and prior season leaders in various statistical categories.
  • 2010 National League All-Star cards - 2 cards, #US30 Roy Halladay and #US265 Ryan Howard
  • Team/Manager card - 1 card, #134 Victorino, Rollins, Utley and Howard on front, Charlie Manuel on back
2010 Topps #500, #655, 2010 Topps Phillies #PHI17 and 2010 Topps Update #US21
Who's out:  The bench guys were largely ignored in the set - Wilson Valdez, Greg Dobbs, Brian Schneider and Ross Gload.  Key bullpen cogs Chad Durbin, Jose Contreras, J.C. Romero and Danys Baez were also omitted, although Romero received a card in the Topps Phillies retail set.

2010 Topps #372
Phillies on other teams:  There's a bunch of these given all the moves made by the Phillies during the offseason and within the regular season.  Halladay (#200, Blue Jays), Polanco (#263, Tigers) and Oswalt (#586, Astros) would appear on Phillies cards within the Update set.  Short timers Nate Robertson (#84, Tigers) and Mike Sweeney (#157, Mariners) would not ever appear on a (non-virtual) Phillies baseball card.
What's he doing here:  I guess it's a little puzzling that Feliz was given a Phillies card in series one, as he became a free agent on November 9, 2009 and signed with the Astros in early December.  By then, the Phils had tabbed Polanco to be their new starting third baseman.

Cards that never were candidates:  If you want a team set featuring the 25-man postseason roster, cards are needed for Gload, Sweeney, Valdez, Schneider, Durbin, Contreras and Antonio Bastardo.
Favorite Phillies card:  It's a tie between the Franchise History card with Hamels and Howard, and the team card featuring key Phillies players following one of their many wins from this era.

2010 Topps #200, 2010 Topps Opening Day #89, 2010 Topps Phillies #PHI7 and 2010 Topps Phillies Factory Set Bonus #PHI1
Other Stuff
Recycled:  This was the year of the Halladay #32/#34 debacle.  Once Halladay was acquired from the Blue Jays in December 2009, the graphic guys at Topps went to work transforming the photo used on his series one card into a Phillies card for their Opening Day set.  Except they neglected to look up that Halladay's #32 was retired by the Phillies thanks to Hall of Famer Carlton's stellar career.  They remedied the issue with a third card found within the Topps Phillies retail set.  Finally, here's a handy little reference to the different 2010 Topps-related Phillies variations available across four different sets and the bonus five-card set found within the special Phillies-themed factory set.  Any variation from the card appearing in the flagship set is noted.

Updates to the Above Chart:  The Halladay factory set bonus card actually features a vertical photograph, unlike his base card.  Brown also has a 2010 Topps-style card in the Red Hot Rookie Redemptions set, featuring a different photo than his base card.

Memory Lane:  After each and every postseason game, I created a Chachi card (complete with backs!) and posted a game summary.

N.L.D.S. Game 1 - Phillies 4, Reds 0 - Doctober Begins with No-Hitter
N.L.D.S. Game 2 - Phillies 7, Reds 4 - Reds Deliver Gift-Wrapped Win to Phils
N.L.D.S. Game 3 - Phillies 2, Reds 0 - Hamels Shuts Down the Reds
N.L.D.S. Clincher

N.L.C.S. Game 1 - Giants 4, Phillies 3 - Phils Undone by Lincecum, Ross & Burrell
N.L.C.S. Game 2 - Phillies 6, Giants 1 - Phils Even Up Series Behind Oswalt & Rollins
N.L.C.S. Game 3 - Giants 3, Phillies 0 - Phils Offense Goes AWOL
N.L.C.S. Game 4 - Giants 6, Phillies 5 - Phillies Fall Short in Game 4
N.L.C.S. Game 5 - Phillies 4, Giants 2 - Doc Gives the Giants Their Medicine
N.L.C.S. Game 6 - Giants 3, Phillies 2 - Giants Stun Phillies