Monday, November 18, 2019

Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s - #32 Rodrigo Lopez

Rodrigo Lopez
Starting Pitcher

When rookie starting pitcher Antonio Bastardo landed on the disabled list on June 30, 2009 with a left shoulder injury, the Phillies needed to reach down to the minor leagues to fill Bastardo's rotation spot.  Both Carlos Carrasco and Kyle Kendrick were in the mix for the job, but the Phillies ended up selecting the contract of veteran Rodrigo Lopez from the IronPigs.  At the time, Lopez had appeared in parts of seven seasons with the Padres, Orioles and Rockies and he had won at least 14 games three different years.  He made five starts for the Phillies in July, with the team going 4-1 in those games and Lopez turning in a respectable month.

However, the Phillies acquired Cliff Lee from the Indians on July 29th and Lopez was moved to the bullpen for a few weeks to make room for the newly acquired ace.  He was optioned back to the IronPigs on August 10th when Chad Durbin was activated from the disabled list and he wouldn't return to the club again.

2013 Chachi Almost #1
In total, Lopez compiled a lifetime record of 81-89 with a 4.82 ERA over 257 games.  He best season came in 2004 when he went 14-9 for the Orioles.  As a postscript, the Phillies signed Lopez to a minor league deal in January 2013 with an invitation to spring training.  He didn't make the team and was released in late March, ending his big league career.

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  185
Born:  December 14, 1975, Tlalnepantla, Mexico
Acquired:  Purchased by the San Diego Padres from Veracruz (Mexico), March 17, 1995.
Major League Teams:  San Diego Padres 2000; Baltimore Orioles 2002-2006; Colorado Rockies 2007; Phillies 2009; Arizona Diamondbacks 2010; Chicago Cubs 2011-2012

Phillies Career
7 games (5 starts), 3-1, 5.70 ERA over 30 innings, 11 walks, 19 strikeouts
Acquired:  March 5, 2009 - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Atlanta Braves organization.
Debut:  July 3, 2009 - Started and won against the Mets, pitching 6 1/3 innings and allowing two runs on six hits while striking out four.
Final Game:  August 9, 2009 - In his worst outing with the Phillies, allowed six runs on three hits and three walks against the Diamondbacks in 2/3 of an inning.  He entered the game in the seventh, relieving Tyler Walker.
Departed:  September 8, 2009 - Released and signed as a free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks, December 16, 2009.

1 Lopez Baseball Card in My Collection
2009 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #14

Complete Chachi Checklist
2009 Chachi #43
2013 Chachi Almost #1

2000 Fleer Tradition Update #U90
2003 Topps #445
2006 Topps Heritage #352
2007 Topps #348
2009 Chachi #43
Other Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  2000 Fleer Tradition Update #U90
First Topps Base Card:  2003 Topps #445
Last Mainstream Card:  2007 Topps #348
Other Notable Cards:  1996 Idaho Falls Braves #14, 2002 Topps 206 #369, 2004 Topps #81, 2005 Topps #73, 2006 Topps #232

Sources:  Baseball Reference and The Trading Card Database

Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s
Gallery - Cards 1 to 34

This is a continuing series looking at those players who spent time with the Phillies but possess no baseball card proof of their time in Philadelphia.  In some cases, the First and Last Mainstream cards listed above have been subjectively chosen if multiple cards were released in that year.

Friday, November 15, 2019

1956 Topps #71 Frank Sullivan

This a crossover post from my other blog, chronicling each card in the wonderful 1956 Topps set. Today's post features former Phillies closer Frank Sullivan.  Please click on over there for all of the posts to date, including a look at all the Phillies Alumni featured in the set.

Franklin Leal Sullivan
Boston Red Sox

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'6"  Weight:  215
Born:  January 23, 1930, Hollywood, CA
Signed:  Signed by the Boston Red Sox as an amateur free agent before 1948 season
Major League Teams:  Boston Red Sox 1953-1960; Philadelphia Phillies 1961-1962; Minnesota Twins 1962-1963
Died:  January 19, 2016, Lihue, HI (age 85)

Frank Sullivan was a two-time All-Star with the Red Sox, and he was at the height of his playing career when this 1956 Topps card was issued.  Sullivan tallied at least 13 wins in five of his eight seasons playing in Boston, with his best season coming in 1955 when he went 18-13 with a 2.91 ERA over 35 starts and a league-leading 260 innings pitched.  In his 11-year big league career, Sullivan went 97-100 and retired following the 1963 season at the age of 33.

After retiring from baseball, Sullivan moved to Hawaii in 1964 with his good friend and former batterymate Sammy White (#168).  Sullivan had never set foot on the islands before making his big move, and he'd go on to eventually become the head golf pro at Kauai Surf Hotel.  He was inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 2008.

Building the Set
January 8, 2000 in Raleigh, NC - Card #195
Having survived Y2K, this is one of three cards I purchased at the Raleigh Sportscard & Memorabilia Show a week into the new year, along with Alex Grammas (#37) and Dale Long (#37).  My records show I paid $3 for the card.  I would have had to call my Dad to tell him to update his lists, as he was still working in Millville, NJ at the time.

The late 1990s and early 2000s were a very confusing time for me, and those years are all but lost in my memory.  I have little to no recollection as to the apartments or houses in which I was living or the things I was doing on a day to day basis.  Sometimes I feel as if the experiences of those years are something that happened to someone else.

The Card
This is Sullivan's second Topps card, and it uses the same portrait photo as his 1955 Topps rookie card.  It's the third blue-yellow top bar color combination in a row, following Chuck Tanner (#69) and Jim Rivera (#70).  His Baseball Reference height is listed at 6'6", but the back of this Topps card gives him an extra inch and a half.  The back references his service in Korea where he served for two years following the 1950 season, spending 4 1/2 months on the front lines.  He was honorably discharged as a staff sergeant in 1952 having been awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge.

1956 Season
Sullivan was one of the Red Sox' two top starting pitchers in 1956 along with Tom Brewer (#34).  He went 14-7 with a 3.42 ERA over 33 starts and was second only to Brewer in complete games pitched with 12 - Brewer had 15.

1962 Topps #352
On an off-day during the 1956 season, Sullivan, along with his teammates White and Jackie Jensen (#115) were told to take a drive to meet with who they were told was a photographer.  The photographer, who was actually famous painter Norman Rockwell, used the photographs he took that day as the basis of his painting, The Rookie, which appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in March 1957.  Sullivan, who actually wore #18 at the time, is the player with #8 on his back.  In 2014, the original Rockwell painting sold for $22.5 million.  Sullivan and the model for the arriving rookie player, Sherman Safford, posed with the painting at an exhibition at Fenway Park prior to its sale.

Phillies Career
On December 15, 1960, the Red Sox traded Sullivan to the Phillies for Gene Conley (#17).  Conley had refused to end his basketball career to focus on baseball and the Red Sox were looking to upgrade their pitching staff after Sullivan went 6-16 with a 5.10 ERA in 1960.  Two of the tallest pitchers of the era had just been traded for each other.  Crushed to be leaving the only team he had ever known, his new manager Gene Mauch had to talk him out of retiring.  Sullivan was one of the more reliable pitchers on an awful Phillies pitching staff, but he still went 3-18 with a 4.54 ERA in 68 games with the club.

As the closer for the woeful 1961 Phillies team, Sullivan told his SABR biographer, "I shudder whenever I think of that team."  The 1961 Phillies lost five straight games, won one and then lost another 23 consecutive games from late July through most of August.  That team finished the season with a 47-107 record and was one of the worst teams in franchise history.  Sullivan appeared in 19 games for the Phillies early in the 1962 season before being released on July 14th.  He appears in the 1961 and 1962 Topps sets as a Phillie.

1955 Bowman #15
1955 Topps #106
1959 Topps #323
1963 Topps #389
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1955 Bowman #15
First Topps Card:  1955 Topps #106
Representative Phillies Card:  1962 Topps #352
Last Topps Card:  1963 Topps #389
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2012 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-FS

32 - Sullivan non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 10/19/19.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Phillies Room
The Trading Card Database

In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year.  Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Castro Named Infield Coach

Joe Girardi's coaching staff for 2020 continued to come together with the addition of Juan Castro for the role of infield coach.  Castro replaces Bobby Dickerson who spent a year in that position and recently left the club to become the Padres' new bench coach.  As far as I can tell, Castro becomes the fourth coach in team history to hold the exclusive title of infield coach (see list below).  There have been other infield coaches throughout the years, but most of them had additional coaching duties above and beyond working solely with the infielders.

Castro also represents a return to hiring former Phillies players as coaches after a two-year absence of any former Phillies players on Gabe Kapler's staff.  Castro enjoyed a 17-year playing career and spent the first half of 2010 with the Phillies before being released on July 17th.  In 54 games with the club, he hit .198 with 13 RBIs and appeared in both team-issued photo card sets in 2010.

The only coaching staff position remaining to be filled is that of the hitting coach, vacated when interim hitting coach Charlie Manuel returned to his front office position.

Phillies Infield Coaches
Bobby Wine - 1972
Tony Taylor - 1977-1978
Bobby Dickerson - 2019
Juan Castro - 2020

Friday, November 8, 2019

Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s - #31 Tyler Walker

Tyler Lanier Walker
Relief Pitcher

Following their World Series victory in 2008, the Phillies were trying to make it back to the postseason for the third year in a row in 2009.  In mid-June, the Phillies had a modest lead in the division over the Mets, but they had recently placed both Brad Lidge and Scott Eyre on the disabled list and they were searching for some stability in their bullpen.  Sergio Escalona had already been recalled and optioned twice over the first few months of the season and when he was optioned for the third time on June 14th, Tyler Walker was recalled.  Walker had gone to spring training with the Mariners but had been released on March 29th.  Ten days later on April 9th, the Phillies signed him and sent him to the IronPigs until his services were needed in mid-June.

Walker proved to be a somewhat reliable reliever for the Phillies in the second half of 2009, and he was used on several occasions for two-inning stints.  He'd appear in 32 games for the Phillies, making his inclusion on this Missing Links list somewhat surprising.  In 35 1/3 innings, Walker had an impressive ERA of 3.06 and a 2-1 record.  In fact, his ERA had been under 3 for most of his time with the club until two late season appearances in which he didn't retire a batter but allowed four runs.  Walker didn't appear in any postseason games for the Phillies and he was released on November 10th.

I was pleasantly surprised to see him in attendance this past August at the 10-year reunion of the 2009 N.L. pennant winning team.

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'3"  Weight:  260
Born:  May 15, 1976, San Francisco, CA
Drafted:  Drafted by the New York Mets in the 2nd round of the 1997 amateur draft, June 3, 1997.
Major League Teams:  New York Mets 2002; San Francisco Giants 2004-2006; Tampa Bay Devil Rays 2006; San Francisco Giants 2007-2008; Phillies 2009; Washington Nationals 2010

Phillies Career
32 games, 2-1, 3.06 ERA over 35 1/3 innings
Acquired:  April 9, 2009 - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Seattle Mariners organization.
Debut:  June 16, 2009 - Relieved Clay Condrey in the 10th inning of a game the Blue Jays would go on to win, 8-3.  Condrey departed having allowed a pair of runs and with the bases still loaded.  Walker allowed all inherited runners to score before inducing a groundout to end the inning.
Final Game:  October 3, 2009 - Pitched two scoreless innings after relieving Cole Hamels in the fourth.
Departed:  November 10, 2009 - Granted free agency and signed as a free agent by the Washington Nationals, January 25, 2010.

0 Walker Baseball Cards in My Collection

Complete Chachi Checklist
2009 Chachi #42
2010 Chachi Transactions #10
2019 Chachi Alumni Weekend #9 (with Paul Bako)

2001 Upper Deck #289
2003 Fleer Tradition #348
2006 Topps Heritage #185
2007 Upper Deck #217
2009 Chachi #42
Other Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  2001 Upper Deck #289
First Topps Base Card:  N/A
Last Mainstream Card:  2007 Upper Deck #150
Other Notable Cards:  1998 Multi-Ad South Atlantic League Top Prospects #24, 2002 Fleer #529, 2003 Fleer Tradition #348, 2003 Topps Total #294, 2006 Topps Heritage #185

Sources:  Baseball Reference and The Trading Card Database

Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s
Gallery - Cards 1 to 34

This is a continuing series looking at those players who spent time with the Phillies but possess no baseball card proof of their time in Philadelphia.  In some cases, the First and Last Mainstream cards listed above have been subjectively chosen if multiple cards were released in that year.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

New Blog! - Slowly Collecting the 1965 Topps Set

The offseason is when I tend to get my fairly ambitious ideas, as I attempt to fill the void created by a lack of daily Phillies games.  I recently made the joint decision to not only start collecting the 1965 Topps set, but also to chronicle the addition of each new card over at a new blog - Collecting 1965 ToppsAn introduction post can be found here, and today's post features the second card in our set - the rookie card of former Phillies player Joe Morgan.  

Please check it out, give it a follow and spread the word!  As a reminder, my other blog about a 20-year journey collecting the 1956 Topps set is also back and I hope to maintain a weekly posting schedule over there.  Thanks!

Joe Leonard Morgan
Houston Astros
2nd Base

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'7"  Weight:  160
Born:  September 19, 1943, Bonham, TX
Signed:  Signed by the Houston Colt .45s as an amateur free agent, November 1, 1962
Major League Teams:  Houston Colt .45s 1963-1964; Houston Astros 1965-1971; Cincinnati Reds 1972-1979; Houston Astros 1980; San Francisco Giants 1981-1982; Philadelphia Phillies 1983; Oakland Athletics 1984
Hall of Fame Induction:  1990

Roland Thomas Jackson
Houston Astros

Bats:  Left  Throws:  Right  Height:  5'9"  Weight:  150
Born:  July 9, 1944, Washington, DC
Signed:  Signed by the Houston Colt .45s as an amateur free agent before the 1963 season
Major League Teams:  Houston Colt .45s 1963-1964; Houston Astros 1965-1967; Atlanta Braves 1968-1974
Joe Morgan put together a Hall of Fame career, playing 22 seasons and winning the N.L. MVP award in back-to-back years in 1975 and 1976.  He was a ten-time All-Star, winning the All-Star Game MVP honors in 1972.  He won five Gold Gloves and helped lead the Big Red Machine to two World Series titles in 1975 and 1976.  He's currently ranked 11th all-time in stolen bases with 689, and second all-time at games played at second base with 2,527.  Only fellow Hall of Famer Eddie Collins played more games at the position with 2.650.  Morgan was elected into baseball's Hall of Fame in 1990.

Sonny Jackson played in parts of 12 seasons with the Astros and Braves, finishing second in the N.L. Rookie of the Year voting in 1966 behind Tommy Helms.  That was also his best season statistically when he stole 49 bases, and led the league in singles and sacrifice hits.

Building the Set
Acquired Circa 1983 - Card #2
I'm fairly certain I purchased this card at the 1983 Ocean City Baseball Card Show, held inside the Music Pier on the Ocean City Boardwalk.  I would have wanted the card for two reasons - Morgan was on the Phillies roster in the summer of 1983 as part of the Big Red Machine reunion with Pete Rose and Tony Perez.  The so-called Wheeze Kids would go on to lose to the Orioles in the 1983 World Series.  The other reason was I wanted to own a card for a team I had only recently learned even existed - the Houston Colt .45s.  Now technically this is an Astros card since the franchise switched its name prior to the 1965 season, but I still thought it was cool to own a card with the .45s logo on the caps of the players.

This along with the Joe Jay card (#174) are the only two non-Phillies 1965 Topps cards we owned prior to making the decision to collect the entire set.

The Card
I never realized how crooked this card was until I scanned it for this post.  On December 1, 1964, the Houston Colt .45s officially changed their name to the Houston Astros.  This was too little notice for Topps to update their first series cards, and to play it safe Topps used just the "Houston" moniker until they got to the second series.  This is technically the first ever Houston Astros baseball card.

This is also the first multi-player Rookie Stars card in the set.  Topps had introduced the multi-player rookie concept in its 1962 set as a way to squeeze more players into its checklist, a challenge given the expansion teams added that season.

1965 Season - Morgan
1965 was to be Morgan's first full season as he appeared in 157 games for the Astros and led the league with 97 walks.  He earned some MVP votes and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting behind the Dodgers' Jim Lefebvre.

He led the Astros in runs (100), hits (163), and triples (12).  Even with the offensive fire power provided by Morgan and center fielder Jim Wynn, the Astros still finished ninth in the National League, saved from the cellar only by a woeful Mets team.

Phillies Career - Morgan
On December 14, 1982, the Giants traded the 39-year-old Morgan with Al Holland to the Phillies for Mark Davis, Mike Krukow and minor leaguer C.L. Penigar.  Morgan had enjoyed an impressive 1982 season, winning the N.L. Comeback Player of the Year award and a Silver Slugger at second base.  As the regular second baseman for the Phillies, He appeared in 123 games, hitting .230 with 16 home runs, 59 RBIs and 18 stolen bases.

He played in his final postseason games with the Phillies, appearing in all five World Series games and hitting .263 with two home runs.  He homered off the Orioles' Scott McGregor in the sixth inning of Game 1, tying up the game.  The Phillies released Morgan after the World Series and he signed with the A's, where he'd close out his career the following season.
1965 Season - Jackson
Jackson appeared in only 10 games for the Astros in 1965 as a September call-up, hitting .130 (3 for 23).  He spent the majority of the season playing for the Astros' top farm team in the Pacific Coast League - the Oklahoma City 89ers.  In 142 games for the 89ers, Jackson hit .330 and was second in the league with 53 stolen bases.

SI cover, March 14, 1983

1966 Topps #195
1975 Topps #180
1976 Topps #420
1983 Topps Traded #77T
1985 Topps #352
Other Notable Baseball Cards - Morgan
First Mainstream Card:  1965 Topps #16
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (21):  1965-1985
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2019 Topps Update Est 1869 EST6

1,377 - Morgan non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 11/2/19.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
National Baseball Hall of Fame
The Phillies Room
The Trading Card Database
Other Notable Baseball Cards - Jackson
First Mainstream Card:  1965 Topps #16
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (10):  1965-1974
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2003 MLB Showdown Strategy #S6

69 - Jackson non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 11/2/19.

Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
The Trading Card Database
1967 Topps #415
1970 Topps #413
1971 Topps #587
1973 Topps #403
1974 Topps #591

In some cases, the first and last cards listed above are subjective and chosen by me if multiple cards were released within the same year.  Most recent mainstream card may also be subjective and does not include extremely low serial numbered cards, buybacks or cut autograph cards.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Latest Round of Roster Moves - 8 More Free Agents

2020 Chachi Departures #12
2020 Chachi Departures #13
2020 Chachi Departures #14
In a flurry of roster moves on late Monday afternoon, the Phillies parted with eight more players and they now have 35 spots taken on their 40-man roster.

The club declined their options on pitchers Jared Hughes, Pat Neshek and Jason Vargas.  Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta, as expected, exercised his player option for 2020 and he'll attempt to bounce back from two lackluster seasons.

2020 Chachi Departures #15
2020 Chachi Departures #16
2020 Chachi Departures #17
2020 Chachi Departures #18
2020 Chachi Departures #19
Pitchers Jerad Eickhoff, Mike Morin, Blake Parker and Edubray Ramos along with infiedler Phil Gosselin were all outrighted off the 40-man roster and all five elected free agency.  The Morin and Parker moves surprised me a little, as I could see both playing a role in the team's 2020 bullpen.  I assume one or both could come back on minor league deals.  It's also tough to see Phillies Room favorite Gosselin let go.

Finally, pitchers Victor Arano, Arrieta, Seranthony Dominguez, Adam Morgan, David Robertson and Robert Stock along with outfielder Andrew McCutchen were activated from the 60-day IL.

This is a good time to link over to my Virtual Phillies Wall, which has been updated to reflect the current status of the team's 40-man roster.  As players are added, such as Stock, they'll appear on a 2020 Chachi New Additions insert card.  The next date to circle on our calendars is December 2nd, when the Phillies will need to make a decision on tendering contracts to Cesar Hernandez and Maikel Franco in advance of the annual Rule 5 draft.

Moving On - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Rob Brantly - c (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Brad Miller - inf (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Jose Pirela - of (11/1/19) - Released.
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jerad Eickhoff - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Mike Morin - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Blake Parker - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
  • Edubray Ramos - rhp - (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency.
New Arrivals - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Robert Stock - rhp (10/30/19) - Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.

Monday, November 4, 2019

Realmuto Earns First Gold Glove

2019 Chachi #70
On Sunday night, J.T. Realmuto was named the Gold Glove award winner for N.L. catchers, edging out Yadier Molina and Austin Hedges.  Aaron Nola and Bryce Harper were also finalists for Gold Gloves, but they finished behind Zack Greinke and Cody Bellinger, respectively.  Realmuto became the third catcher in franchise history to win the award, following Mike Lieberthal in 1999 and Bob Boone in 1978 and 1979.  No Phillies player had won the award since Jimmy Rollins at shortstop back in 2012.

All that remains now for the All-Star catcher on his offseason to-do list is to sign a long-term contract extension with the Phils.

Chachi Gold Glove Cards
2005 - Bobby Abreu
2007 - Jimmy Rollins & Aaron Rowand
2008 - Jimmy Rollins & Shane Victorino
2009 - Jimmy Rollins & Shane Victorino
2010 - Shane Victorino
2011 - Placido Polanco
2012 - Jimmy Rollins
2019 - J.T. Realmuto
2005 Chachi #60
2007 Chachi #71
2008 Chachi #86