Sunday, September 29, 2019

Game 161 - 2019 Phillies Team Issue 2 #56 Zach Eflin

Phillies 9Marlins 3
Game 161 - Saturday Night, September 28th in Philadelphia
Record - 81-80, 4th place, 16 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Zach Eflin closed out his season with a terrific start and the offense showed signs of life in this 9-3 win.

What It Means:  The Phillies will not have a losing season for the first time since 2012, when they finished 81-81, and if they're able to win Sunday they'll have a winning record for the first time since 2011.  Not exactly the ending we were hoping for, but it's a very small consolation prize.

What Happened:  Eflin went 7 2/3 innings and exited the game after allowing a two-run home run to Neil Walker.  Before that, he had allowed a run on five hits while striking out six.  Bryce Harper hit a three-run home run in the sixth, his 35th of the year.  Cesar Hernandez (14) and Maikel Franco (17) also homered.  Adam Haseley had three hits and a pair of RBIs, and Deivy Grullon collected his first big league hit - an RBI double in the third.

Featured Card:  I'm hoping Eflin can find more consistency in 2020, as he's nearly unhittable when he's got his good stuff working for him.  He signed this photo card for me at this season's ALS Phestival.

Transactions:  In need of a fresh arm, Enyel De Los Santos was recalled and joined the bullpen, giving the Phillies 36 players on their active roster.  De Los Santos had been keeping warm down in Clearwater.

Game 160 - 2019 Topps Now #220 Cole Irvin

Phillies 5Marlins 4 (15)
Game 160 - Friday Night, September 27th in Philadelphia
Record - 80-80, 4th place, 17 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies outlasted the Marlins, winning 5-4 in 15 innings on a walk-off ground ball from Adam Haseley booted by shortstop Miguel Rojas to allow the winning run to score.

What It Means:  The Phillies need to win their final two games of the season to finish with a winning record for the first time since 2011.

What Happened:  RBIs from Bryce Harper (first inning triple, fifth inning sacrifice fly), Rhys Hoskins (first inning sacrifice fly) and Adam Haseley (fourth inning single) led to a 4-4 tie from the 5th through the 15th innings.  Haseley grounded out to Rojas in the 15th with the bases loaded, but Rojas was unable to handle the ball as Hoskins scored the winning run.

Featured Card:  Cole Irvin and Ranger Suarez combined for six innings of scoreless relief, with Suarez ultimately picking up the win.  Irvin earned a Topps Now card following his strong outing in his big league debut back on Mother's Day.  Since his September call-up, Irvin has appeared in eight games and he owns a 0.73 ERA.  In 12 1/3 innings this month, he's struck out seven and allowed only one earned run.

Field Report:  And we were there!  Granted, we didn't make it through all 15 innings, but we still lasted fairly late into the night.  Ben and I arrived early and enjoyed the views from our seats in the Diamond Club with a few hundred other loyal fans.  Doug and Jenna arrived following Doug's baseball practice.  It was a gorgeous night for baseball, and our final night game until the 2020 season.

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Game 159 - 1980 Phillies Photocards Dickie Noles

Nationals 6, Phillies 3
Game 159 - Thursday Afternoon, September 26th in Washington
Record - 79-80, 4th place, 18 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The late season swoon continued for the Phillies, as they lost their final road game of the year, 6-3, and the Nationals completed the five-game series sweep.

What It Means:  After a weekend series at home against the last place Marlins, the Phillies head into the 2019-2020 offseason with a lot of questions and lingering disappointment.

What Happened:  Stephen Strasburg struck out 10 Phillies in his six innings of work.  All Phillies runs came from long balls - Cesar Hernandez (13) with a solo shot in the fourth and Andrew Knapp (2) with a two-run home run in the eighth.  Jason Vargas closed out his season by getting chased in the fifth inning, having allowed five runs on six hits and three walks.

Featured Card:  Todd Zolecki Tweeted the last time the Phillies were swept in a five-game series was back in August 1979 against the Pirates.  Dickie Noles took the loss for the Phillies in the final game of that series sweep on August 5, 1979.

Game 158 - 2019 Panini Chronicles Score #14 Bryce Harper

Nationals 5Phillies 2
Game 158 - Wednesday Night, September 25th in Washington
Record - 79-79, 4th place, 17 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Nationals scored four late runs to win this ballgame, 5-2.

What It Means:  The Phillies have lost five in a row and they'll need to finish the season with three wins in their remaining four games to secure a winning record.  For the second season in a row under manager Gabe Kapler, the team is limping into a long offseason with more questions than answers.

What Happened:  Drew Smyly pitched one of his best games of the year, allowing a pair of runs on four hits while striking out 10 in 6 1/3 innings.  Mike Morin and Jose Alvarez couldn't keep the Nationals off the scoreboard in the seventh and eighth.  Rhys Hoskins singled in the fourth to break an 0 for 26 streak, scoring Bryce Harper who had hustled his way to a double.  Brad Miller homered again (11) in the seventh.

Featured Card:  Despite having an "off" season, Harper has reached a career high in RBIs with 109 and he's hit 34 home runs heading into the final weekend of the season.  He was taunted relentlessly by the Nationals fans in right field during this game, leading his postgame comments in which he said he couldn't wait to get back to Philly.  So at least we have that going for us.

Transactions:  Not an official transaction, but the Phillies announced that J.T. Realmuto's season was over as he'll have a procedure on Friday to clean up his right knee.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Series Preview - Marlins at Phillies: September 27th to September 29th

2019 Chachi Fan Favorites #20
2012 Topps Archives #51
Friday 7:05, Saturday 6:05 and Sunday 3:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

Marlins 56-103, 5th place in the N.L. East, 41 games behind the Braves
Phillies 79-80, 4th place in the N.L. East, 18 games behind the Braves

Marlins Probables:  Vince Velasquez (7-8, 4.76), Zach Eflin (9-13, 4.16), TBA
Phillies Probables:  Pablo Lopez (5-8, 4.96), Caleb Smith (10-10, 4.31), Sandy Alcantara (5-14, 3.95)

At the Ballpark:  Sunday is Fan Appreciation Day with all fans receiving a 2020 schedule Fathead and a few months of rest.

Marlins Leaders
Average:  Miguel Rojas - .279
Runs:  Starlin Castro - 66
Home Runs:  Starlin Castro - 21
RBIs:  Starlin Castro - 83
Stolen Bases:  Jon Berti - 16

Wins:  Caleb Smith - 10
ERA:  Sandy Alcantara - 3.95
Strikeouts:  Caleb Smith - 167
Saves:  Sergio Romo - 17

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .280
Runs:  Bryce Harper - 96
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 34
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 109
Stolen Bases:  Scott Kingery - 15

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.87
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 229
Saves:  Hector Neris - 28

Game 157 - 2019 Topps #620 Jared Hughes

Nationals 6Phillies 5 (Game 2)
Game 157 - Tuesday Night, September 24th in Washington
Record - 79-78, 4th place, 17 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  A sixth inning grand slam from Trea Turner ultimately sent the Nationals to a 6-5 win and the N.L. Wild Card.

What It Means:  Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto were all out of the line-up in this game that didn't matter, spelled by Logan Morrison, Adam Haseley and Andrew Knapp.

What Happened:  A questionable ball four call from the home plate umpire in the sixth to Howie Kendrick loaded the bases and ended Aaron Nola's season.  Jared Hughes sprinted to the mound next and on the second pitch he threw to Turner, the Nationals took a 6-4 lead.  Brad Miller had another two-homer game (9 and 10) while Bryce Harper homered in the seventh (34).  The ball hit by Harper went 442 feet with an exit velocity of 116.4 mph, the hardest hit ball by a Phillies player this season.  (Per Jim Salisbury Tweet.)

Nola, who most likely will not pitch again in 2019, finished the season having started 34 games and thrown 202 1/3 innings.  He earned a record of 12-7 with a 3.87 ERA.

Featured Card:  Having featured cards this past week of Nick Vincent and Blake Parker, I thought it fitting that Hughes should get into the act as well.  Hughes has been somewhat of a workhorse during his time with the Phillies since mid-August, appearing in 23 games.  He appears with the Reds in the 2019 Topps Heritage and Topps flagship sets.

Game 156 - 2019 Topps Total #74 Blake Parker

Nationals 4Phillies 1 (Game 1)
Game 156 - Tuesday Afternoon, September 24th in Washington
Record - 79-77, 4th place, 16 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Facing elimination, manager Gabe Kapler opted to go with a bullpen game, and while the bullpen pitched respectively well, the Phillies still lost, 4-1.

What It Means:  This is the loss that officially knocked the Phillies out of the postseason hunt for the eighth season in a row.  We had no idea how good we had it between 2007 and 2011.

What Happened:  The Phillies scored a first inning run when Jean Segura singled home Cesar Hernandez, but then the offense shut it down for the rest of the game.  Nick Vincent took the loss, giving up a pair of runs in the sixth.

Featured Card:  Blake Parker got the start and pitched two perfect innings, striking out two.  Parker, who started the season as the closer for the Twins, has yet to appear on a Phillies baseball card and he may be one of the many Phillies players this season to be the subject of Missing Links custom cards.

Transactions:  Juan Nicasio was activated from the injured list, giving the Phillies 35 players on their active roster.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Game 155 - 2018 Topps Update #US116 Asdrubal Cabrera

Nationals 7Phillies 2
Game 155 - Monday Night, September 23rd in Washington
Record - 79-76, 4th place, 16 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Zach Eflin surrendered three home runs and Patrick Corbin easily handled the Phillies offense in this 7-2 loss.

What It Means:  This latest loss put the Phillies on the brink of play-off elimination with their magic number to elimination down to one.

What Happened:  Eflin has been inconsistent all season, and in this outing he gave up eight hits and four walks while allowing five runs.  The Phillies didn't have a chance against Corbin, and the offense went 0 for 9 on the night with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  Short-term Phillie Asdrubal Cabrera was signed by the Nationals in early August after being released by the Rangers.  He's currently hitting .305 with five home runs in 35 games so far with the Nationals, and he'll head into the postseason with the team.

Field Report:  I attended the Diamondbacks-Cardinals game on Monday night, and it was refreshing to take a break from the Phillies.  In the photo below, you can see the out of town scoreboard in the upper left-hand corner, showing the Phillies on their way to another loss.

Game 154 - 2019 Topps 1984 Topps Baseball #T84-6 Carlos Santana

Indians 10Phillies 1
Game 154 - Sunday Night, September 22nd in Cleveland
Record - 79-75, 4th place, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  A nightmare seventh inning and a quiet Phillies offense resulted in a 10-1 loss to the Indians.

What It Means:  Following this loss, the Phillies headed to Washington for what was deemed at the time to be a crucial series for their dwindling play-off hopes.  It didn't go well.

What Happened:  Back-to-back errors in the fifth by Jean Segura and Vince Velasquez followed by a three-run home run from Oscar Mercado, put the Indians up 4-1 with three of the four runs unearned.  In the seventh, Mike Morin, Cole Irvin and Edubray Ramos combined to allow six runs on a single, a pair of doubles, a walk, a hit batter and a two-run home run from Franmil Reyes.

Featured Card:  Carlos Santana is having a career year after his one-year stint with the Phillies in 2018.  He's set or tied career highs in RBIs (93) and home runs (34) and he's on pace to eclipse his career high in walks (113), all while hitting .284 for an Indians team still in the Wild Card hunt.  A few Phillies cards for him snuck into some 2019 Topps releases, including the card shown here.

Game 153 - 2019 Topps Total #477 Brad Miller

Phillies 9Indians 4
Game 153 - Saturday Night, September 21st in Cleveland
Record - 79-74, 4th place, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Home runs from Bryce Harper and Jay Bruce along with a pair of home runs from Brad Miller led to this 9-4 win over the Indians.

What It Means:  I was in Phoenix for a work conference for most of this past week, and as I'm writing this (on Thursday) this is the last game the Phillies have won.  They've since been eliminated from the postseason and dropped five in a row to fall to .500 on the season.

What Happened:  Jason Vargas had a decent outing, pitching 6 2/3 innings and allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out eight.  Harper had a four-RBI game with his three-run home run (33) in the fifth and a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Featured Card:  Brad Miller has been pushed into starting duties at the end of this season, and he's done fairly well with the bat.  In September, and through Wednesday night's game against the Nationals, he's hitting .273 (12 for 44) with two doubles, six home runs and eight RBIs.  To date, this is his only Phillies baseball card, released in limited quantities in the Topps Total set, available only for purchase online.  And is that departed hitting coach John Mallee making a blurry cameo appearance in the background?

Monday, September 23, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Nationals: September 23rd to September 26th

2019 Chachi 1971 Topps Missing Links #5
1971 Topps #94
Monday 7:05, Tuesday 1:05 and 7:05, Wednesday 7:05 and Thursday 4:05
Nationals Park - Washington, DC

Phillies 79-75, 4th place in the N.L. East, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves
Nationals 85-69, 2nd place in the N.L. East, 9 1/2 games behind the Braves

Phillies Probables:  Zach Eflin (9-12, 4.00), TBA, Aaron Nola (12-6, 3.75), Drew Smyly (3-2, 4.63), Jason Vargas (1-3, 5.12)
Nationals Probables:  Patrick Corbin (13-7, 3.10), TBA, Max Scherzer (10-7, 2.81), Anibal Sanchez (10-8, 3.91), Stephen Strasburg (17-6, 3.37)

At the Ballpark:  The Nationals have a bunch of special themed tickets available for this series, but no general give-aways.  The double header on Tuesday is a result of the game rained out back on June 18th.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .282
Runs:  Bryce Harper - 93
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 33
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 108
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 14

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.75
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 220
Saves:  Hector Neris - 28

Nationals Leaders
Average:  Anthony Rendon - .325
Runs:  Anthony Rendon - 114
Home Runs:  Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto - 34
RBIs:  Anthony Rendon - 120
Stolen Bases:  Trea Turner - 34

Wins:  Stephen Strasburg - 17
ERA:  Max Scherzer - 2.81
Strikeouts:  Stephen Strasburg - 241
Saves:  Sean Doolittle - 28

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Game 152 - 2019 Topps Total #270 Nick Vincent

Indians 5Phillies 2
Game 152 - Friday Night, September 20th in Cleveland
Record - 78-74, 4th place, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies couldn't solve Shane Bieber and the Tribe won, 5-2.

What It Means:  I'm getting tired of these game summary posts following a Phillies loss and I could use a break.  It's still mathematically possible for the Phillies to win a Wild Card spot, but the probability of that happening is fading quickly.

What Happened:  Starter Drew Smyly was chased in the third inning and the hodge podge Phillies bullpen did a great job of not letting the game get out of hand.  The only two runs for the Phillies scored on Maikel Franco's RBI double in the fifth.

Featured Card:  Cast-off by other teams, Nick Vincent, Blake Parker, Mike Morin and Jared Hughes have at least given the Phillies a fighting chance when their starting pitchers can't go more than a few innings.  Vincent threw two scoreless innings in this game.  Since he was on the mound for back-to-back walk-off losses in early September, he's made six appearances and thrown eight scoreless innings with one walk, four hits and 13 strikeouts.

Despite pitching in the Majors for eight seasons, Vincent finally received his first mainstream baseball card release this year in the Topps Total set.  Vincent was a member of the Giants' bullpen until early August when he was released and then signed by the Phillies a week later.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Game 151 - 2019 Topps Big League #232 Cesar Hernandez

Braves 5Phillies 4
Game 151 - Thursday Afternoon, September 19th in Atlanta
Record - 78-73, 4th place, 14 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies battled, but they couldn't overcome another shaky outing from Aaron Nola in this 5-4 loss to the Braves.

What It Means:  The Phillies have lost all six of Nola's last six starts.  In a playoff race, with every game crucial, they should be winning these games with their ace on the mound.  Instead, Nola has a 4.84 ERA over this stretch and the Phillies are 0-6.

What Happened:  Nola went five innings, allowing five runs on nine hits, including two home runs.  The offense did go 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position with Adam Haseley (RBI double in the fifth) and Jean Segura (RBI single in the sixth) adding clutch hits, but it wasn't enough.

Featured Card:  Cesar Hernandez, who could be playing in his final week with the Phillies, continues to hit.  He had three hits in this game to raise his team-leading average to .285.  Hernandez is the longest tenured current Phillies player, having made his debut on May 29, 2013.  Kyle Kendrick, Antonio Bastardo, Mike Adams and Jonathan Papelbon were the pitchers that day for the Phillies and Domonic Brown hit two home runs.

Game 150 - 2019 Topps Total #381 Zach Eflin

Phillies 4Braves 1
Game 150 - Wednesday Night, September 18th in Atlanta
Record - 78-72, Tied for 3rd place, 13 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Zach Eflin pitched one of the best games of his season as the Phillies defeated the Braves, 4-1.

What It Means:  The win meant the Braves wouldn't be able to clinch the N.L. division pennant while the Phillies looked on from the visiting dugout.  (The Braves would eventually clinch on Friday night.)

What Happened:  Bryce Harper put the Phillies ahead for good with a two-run home run (32) in the fourth.  Cesar Hernandez added a solo home run (12) in the sixth and Jean Segura walked with the bases loaded to plate the Phillies' final run.

Featured Card:  Eflin threw seven innings of five-hit ball, striking out four.  Arguably the team's most reliable relievers this season, Jose Alvarez and Hector Neris, pitched the final two scoreless innings.  This is Eflin's most recent card, from the resurrected, and now online-only release of Topps Total.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Indians: September 20th to September 22nd

2019 Chachi 1971 Topps Missing Links #4
1971 Topps #397
Friday and Saturday 7:10, Sunday 6:37
Progressive Field - Cleveland, OH

Phillies 78-73, 4th place in the N.L. East, 14 1/2 games behind the Braves
Indians 90-63, 2nd place in the A.L. Central, 4 games behind the Twins

Phillies Probables:  Drew Smyly (3-1, 4.14), Jason Vargas (0-3, 5.48), Vince Velasquez (7-7, 4.89)
Indians Probables:  Shane Bieber (14-7, 3.26), Zach Plesac (8-6, 3.64), Adam Plutko (7-4, 4.34)

At the Ballpark:  Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night at the field formerly known as Jacobs and all fans will receive a 2020 Indians schedule poster.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .285
Runs:  Bryce Harper - 92
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 32
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 104
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 14

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.75
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 220
Saves:  Hector Neris - 28

Indians Leaders
Average:  Francisco Lindor - .292
Runs:  Carlos Santana - 106
Home Runs:  Carlos Santana - 34
RBIs:  Carlos Santana - 91
Stolen Bases:  Jose Ramirez - 24

Wins:  Shane Bieber - 14
ERA:  Shane Bieber - 3.26
Strikeouts:  Shane Bieber - 245
Saves:  Brad Hand - 34

1956 Topps #63 Roger Craig

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

Roger Lee Craig
Brooklyn Dodgers

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'4"  Weight:  190
Born:  February 17, 1930, Durham, NC
Signed:  Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent before 1950 season
Major League Teams:  Brooklyn Dodgers 1955-1957; Los Angeles Dodgers 1958-1961; New York Mets 1962-1963; St. Louis Cardinals 1964; Cincinnati Reds 1965; Philadelphia Phillies 1966
As a Manager:  San Diego Padres 1978-1979; San Francisco Giants 1985-1992

A few decades before he was a successful manager for the Giants, Roger Craig pitched in parts of 12 seasons, experiencing the move of the Dodgers to the West Coast and suffering through the futility of the first fews years of the Mets' existence.  Craig went to six World Series (four as a player), winning rings with the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers, the 1959 Los Angeles Dodgers, the 1964 Cardinals and as a coach with the 1984 Tigers.  Spending equal time as a starter and a reliever, Craig went 74-98 in 368 career appearances and owned a 3.83 career ERA.  He lost 46 games over two seasons with the expansion Mets.

Following his playing days, Craig taught his signature pitch, the split-finger fastball, to several pitchers including Jack Morris, Mike Scott and Milt Wilcox.  He served as a pitching coach for the Padres (1969-1972), Astros (1974-1975), Padres again (1976-1977) and Tigers (1980-1984).  In 1985, he was named manager of the Giants and he led the 1989 Giants to their first World Series appearance in 27 years.  Craig's leadership and unique rallying cry, "Humm Baby" weren't enough to defeat the Athletics in the 1989 series interrupted by 10 days as a result of the devastating Loma Prieta earthquake.

My family visited San Francisco for the Phillies series in early August, and the Giants celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1989 team with a pre-game ceremony.  Craig, now 89, was on hand to celebrate with his former team and he took the field to a standing ovation with current Giants manager Bruce Bochy.

Building the Set
October 7, 2007 from Dad's eBay purchases - Card #307
This is one of five cards I received from my Dad for my 34th birthday, with each card being a fairly major card needed for our set.  Along with this Craig card, I received Bill Bruton (#185), Bob Feller (#200), Don Newcombe (#235) and Don Larsen (#332).  My Dad never told me how much he had paid for the cards.

The Card
This is Craig's rookie card and what looked to me initially to be a #10 on the back of his jersey is actually #40.  Craig wore that number for the first four seasons of his Dodgers career before switching to #38 for the 1959 season.  His birth year is off a year on the back of his card, as he was actually born in 1930.

The final panel on the back of the card celebrates Craig's performance in Game 5 of the 1955 World Series.  With the series tied at two, manager Walter Alston (#8) handed the ball to Craig.  I'm fairly certain he wasn't carried off the field, but Craig pitched six strong innings, allowing four hits including a solo home run from Bob Cerv (#288) in the seventh that chased him from the game.  Reliever Clem Labine (#295) held down the Yankees for the final three innings, giving the Dodgers a 3-2 advantage in the Series they'd ultimately win in seven games.

1956 Season
In his first full season with the Dodgers, Craig appeared in 35 games (32 starts) pitching to a 12-11 record and a 3.71 ERA.  He led all pitchers with a 1.000 fielding percentage, not committing an error in 32 chances.  Craig was the second top starting pitcher in the Dodgers rotation in 1956, following Newcombe and coming in ahead of both Sal Maglie and Carl Erskine (#233).

Phillies Career
On April 11, 1966, Craig was released by the Cincinnati Reds at the end of spring training, signing with the Phillies that very same day.  Craig made his first appearance for the Phillies on opening day against the Cardinals, coming on to relieve Chris Short in the 10th after Short had pitched 9 2/3 innings.  Craig pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings and was the recipient of the win when John Herrnstein singled home Dick Allen with the eventual winning run in the 12th.

Used solely as a reliever, Craig appeared in 14 games for the Phillies, going 2-1 with a 5.56 ERA.  The 36-year-old Craig was released by the club on July 23rd, ending his big league career.  Craig received a Phillies card in the 1966 Topps set, but the photo used is the exact same photo used for Craig's 1962 Topps card, when he was with the Mets.  Craig signed reprinted versions of his 1966 Topps card for inclusion in the 2015 Topps Heritage set.

1958 Topps #194
1963 Fleer #47
1966 Topps #543
1974 Topps #31
1989 Topps #744
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1956 Topps #63
First Topps Card:  1956 Topps #63
Representative Phillies Card:  1966 Topps #543
Last Topps Card (as a player):  1966 Topps #543
First Topps Card (as a manager):  1979 Topps #479
Last Topps Card (as a manager):  1992 Topps #109
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  2015 Topps Heritage Real One Autographs #ROA-RC

140 - Craig non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 8/30/19.

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.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Game 149 - 2019 Topps National Baseball Card Day SGA #PHI-2 Rhys Hoskins

Phillies 5Braves 4
Game 149 - Tuesday Night, September 17th in Atlanta
Record - 77-72, Tied for 3rd place, 14 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies rode a five-run fourth inning, including home runs from Rhys Hoskins and Jose Pirela, to a 5-4 win over the Braves.

What It Means:  With 12 games remaining, the Phillies still have a faint heartbeat and they're tied with the Mets at four games behind the Cubs and Brewers.

What Happened:  Vince Velasquez recovered from a rough bottom of the first to battle through five innings and allow two runs while striking out eight.  Hector Neris allowed a ninth inning home run to Adam Duvall, but escaped the ninth to record his 27th save.  The offense did all their work in the fourth inning against Dallas Keuchel, with the following progression - Bryce Harper infield single/probably more accurately an error by Josh Donaldson, Hoskins home run (29), Scott Kingery infield single, Sean Rodriguez single, Cesar Hernandez ground out to score Kingery, Pirela home run (1).

Featured Card:  Hoskins now has 29 home runs and 83 RBIs, but his average is still a much too low .239.  The Phillies will need Hoskins and the rest of the Phillies offense to go on a complete tear if there's any hope of playing October baseball.  It's getting late very quickly at this point.

Transactions:  Corey Dickerson was placed on the 60-day injured list with a broken left foot, ending his season and possibly his Phillies tenure.  In 34 games with the Phillies, Dickerson hit .293 with 8 home runs and 34 RBIs.  Edubray Ramos was activated from the 60-day IL, and if he enters a game it will be his first appearance since July 15th.

Getting Closer to T206 Phillies Team Set

My big splurge at the recent Valley Forge baseball card show was the purchase of three Phillies cards from the 1909-11 T206 tobacco card set.  I found a dealer selling very old baseball cards, found three Phillies cards I wanted/needed and then made what I felt was a fair offer for the three-card bundle.  The dealer accepted my offer and these three 110-year-old cards joined my collection.

There are 13 unique Phillies cards in the T206 set, not including back variations, and I now have seven of them.  I'm more than half way there to a Phillies team set.  These three cards are fairly beat up with rounded corners, but there's no paper wear and the fronts and backs of each card are clean.  The Fred Jacklitsch card has a Sweet Caporal Cigarettes back, while both the Kitty Bransfield and John Titus cards have Piedmont backs.

Bransfield played 12 years in the Majors, with seven of those years with the Phillies between 1905 and 1910 when he was their primary first baseman.  He was a career .270 hitter and he briefly served as an umpire following his retirement as a player.  His 1911 Turkey Red card features the same posed position as this T206 card, and he also appears in the 1911 T205 set with the Phillies.

Catcher Fred Jacklitsch was with the Phillies between 1907 and 1910, appearing in 231 games and hitting .222 while serving as a back-up to regular catcher Red Dooin.  He also appears in the 1911 T205 set as a Phillie, as well as the somewhat rare 1909 E92 set with either a Croft's Cocoa or Nadja Caramels advertisement on the back.

The dealer had the John Titus card in a sleeve with a "Mustache Man" sticker on it.  Of all the subjects in the 524-card T206 set, Titus is the only player featured with a mustache and as a result his card is a little more popular among casual collectors of tobacco cards.  Primarily a right fielder, Titus played for the Phillies between 1903 and 1912, hitting .278 over 1219 games.  He also had a Phillies card in the 1911 T205 set, but he appears in that set without a mustache.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Series Preview - Phillies at Braves: September 17th to September 19th

2019 Chachi 1971 Topps Missing Links #17
1971 Topps #306
Tuesday and Wednesday 7:20, Thursday 12:10
SunTrust Park - Atlanta, GA

Phillies 76-72, Tied for 3rd place in the N.L. East, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves
Braves 93-58, 1st place in the N.L. East, 10 games ahead of the Nationals

Phillies Probables:  Vince Velasquez (6-7, 4.95), Zach Eflin (8-12, 4.20), Aaron Nola (12-5, 3.62)
Braves Probables:  Dallas Keuchel (8-5, 3.35), Julio Teheran (10-9, 3.50), Mike Soroka (12-4, 2.57)

At the Ballpark:  The first 15,000 fans tonight will receive a Hank Aaron bobble head and there's also a cool Dale Murphy t-shirt available with the purchase of a t-shirt ticket package.

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Cesar Hernandez - .284
Runs:  Bryce Harper and J.T. Realmuto - 89
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 31
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 102
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 13

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.62
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 216
Saves:  Hector Neris - 26

Braves Leaders
Average:  Freddie Freeman - .300
Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 121
Home Runs:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 39
RBIs:  Freddie Freeman - 117
Stolen Bases:  Ronald Acuna, Jr. - 36

Wins:  Max Fried - 16
ERA:  Mike Soroka - 2.57
Strikeouts:  Max Fried - 166
Saves:  Luke Jackson - 18

2019 Chachi #67 Jose Pirela

Jose Manuel Pirela

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  220
Opening Day Age:  29
Born:  November 21, 1989, Valera, Venezuela
Signed:  Signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent, July 2, 2006
Teams:  New York Yankees 2014-2015; San Diego Padres 2016-2019; Phillies 2019
Acquired:  Purchased from the San Diego Padres, July 27, 2019
Contract Status:  Signed through 2019

2015 Topps #594
First Topps Flagship Base Card:  2015 Topps #594
First Phillies Card:  N/A
First Phillies Team Issued Card:  N/A
First Phillies Minor League Card:  N/A
First Topps Phillies Flagship Base Card:  N/A
Newest Card Added:  N/A

0 - Pirela baseball cards in my collection per The Phillies Room Checklist as of 9/15/19.

Complete Chachi Checklist
2019 Chachi #67

2019 Chachi Set Checklist
Virtual Phillies Wall - Featuring Current Active Roster

Monday, September 16, 2019

Game 148 - 1992 Donruss Rookies #1 Kyle Abbott

Red Sox 6Phillies 3
Game 148 - Sunday Afternoon, September 15th in Philadelphia
Record - 76-72, 4th place, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies continued their slow walk towards the offseason with this lazy 6-3 loss.

What It Means:  The Phillies currently trail the Cubs for the second Wild Card by 4 1/2 games with 14 games remaining.  They'll need to go 6-8 to finish the season with a winning record.  I'm thinking that payment I made to the Phillies for postseason tickets will either be refunded or applied toward my 2020 partial season ticket plan.  Either way, they got an interest free loan from me.

What Happened:  As Jim Salisbury bleakly Tweeted, the Phillies scored four runs in the two-game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox and they struck out 25 times.  Rhys Hoskins hit his 28th home run to tie the game at 1-1 in the second.  Cesar Hernandez and Jean Segura would later add RBI singles, but it wouldn't be enough.

Bryce Harper and Gabe Kapler were ejected in the fourth inning while Harper was complaining about a poor strike call from the home plate umpire.

Featured Card:  Jason Vargas has made nine starts for the Phillies and has won none of them.  As Jayson Stark Tweeted, the last Phillies pitcher with no wins in his first nine starts with the club was Kyle Abbott back in 1992.  Vargas threw away a double play ball in the first that eventually led to the Red Sox' first run and then he surrendered a grand slam to Christian Vazquez in the third.  We probably will need to endure two more Vargas starts this season.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Game 147 - 2019 Stadium Club #152 Aaron Nola

Red Sox 2Phillies 1
Game 147 - Friday Night, September 14th in Philadelphia
Record - 76-71, 4th place, 15 1/2 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Aaron Nola was brilliant, but the Phillies offense went quiet against Eduardo Rodriguez in this 2-1 loss to the Red Sox.

What It Means:  The Phillies have lost the last five games Nola has started, which isn't ideal with your ace on the mound while in the hunt for a postseason berth.

What Happened:  Nola left the game with the scored tied at one after seven innings, having struck out nine and allowing four hits.  His sole blemish was an RBI double to Christian Vazquez in his final inning.  Hector Neris allowed the eventual winning run to score in the ninth on a sacrifice fly.  The only Phillies run scored when Maikel Franco walked in the bottom of the seventh with the bases loaded.

Featured Card:  It was another loss, but Nola still gets the card.

Philly Baseball Card Show Report - Closer to a 1971 Topps Set, Meeting Cutch

Doug and I had to skip the Valley Forge baseball card show last September (we couldn't remember if it was because of my work schedule, his baseball schedule or both) but we wanted to get to the September show this year.  After an unusual amount of Saturday morning traffic, we arrived to an absolutely packed convention hall.  There were a huge amount of autograph guests, including Phillies greats, Eagles greats and boxing legends Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfied.  The large crowd meant it was harder to navigate the tables, but Doug and I still managed to pick up quite a bit for our collections.

Having already secured autographs for most of the current and former Phillies players attending, we limited our autograph ticket purchases to just one for Andrew McCutchen.  Cutch looked good and he told us he felt good too.
The haul
Too many autograph guests?
Doug spent his allowance money on a giant stack of current Phillies cards, with his favorite additions being game-used jersey and patch cards for Aaron Nola, Rhys Hoskins and Bryce Harper.  He also found a nice Harper plaque to hang somewhere on his bedroom wall, although he's quickly running out of space.  I'm getting really close to finishing off my 1971 Topps set, so I was determined to cross a few more of those cards off my list.  Here's what I picked up as seen in the photo above:
  • A signed McCutchen photo card and the perfect photo for a new Chachi insert card, complete with a Tyson cameo in the right corner!
  • A Rich Allen photo card from the early 1960s needed for my Phillies photo card collection.
  • Topps Phillies cards from the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s for my Phillies team sets.  I'm closing in on a complete run of Topps Phillies cards, needing a bunch of cards from the 1952 Topps set and quite a few tough high numbers.
  • 16 cards for my 1971 Topps set, placing me only 6 cards away from a complete set.  If we get to the Valley Forge show in December, I'll plan on polishing off the set then.
  • And my personal highlight . . . 3 Phillies cards from the T206 set, including the card of the infamous Mustache Man, which will be featured in its own upcoming post.
Memory Lane
Valley Forge 1 - September 2010 - Thinking of my Dad
Valley Forge 2 - October 2012 - Doug's first baseball card show
Valley Forge 3 - September 2014 - Meeting Darren Daulton
Oaks 1 - October 2015 - Meeting Pete Rose and Steve Carlton
Valley Forge 4 - September 2016 - Phillies acquisitions and 4 Phillies Legends
Valley Forge 5 - December 2016 - Meeting Don Money
Valley Forge 6 - September 2017 - Doug's big day
Valley Forge 7 - December 2017 - Ben's first baseball card show with Mike Schmidt and Rhys Hoskins!
Oaks 2 - December 2018 - Meeting Matt Stairs and Cole Hamels
Valley Forge 8 - March 2019 - 5 Phillies Autographs and Vintage Phillies Additions
Valley Forge 9 - September 2019 - Closing in on 1971 Topps set and Andrew McCutchen

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Series Preview - Red Sox at Phillies: September 14th to September 15th

1971 Topps #649
1971 Topps #92
Saturday 7:05 and Sunday 1:05
Citizens Bank Park - Philadelphia, PA

I haven't researched this, but I can't remember the last time the Phillies started a series on a Saturday after a Friday off day.  It has to be at least 15 years or more.

Red Sox 77-70, 3rd place in the A.L. East, 19 games behind the Yankees
Phillies 76-70, 3rd place in the N.L. East, 14 1/2 games behind the Braves

Red Sox Probables:  Eduardo Rodriguez (17-6, 3.73), Rick Porcello (12-12, 5.83)
Phillies Probables:  Aaron Nola (12-5, 3.70), Jason Vargas (0-2, 5.01)

At the Ballpark:  It's Childhood Cancer Awareness night at the ballpark tonight.  Tomorrow, all kids will receive the annual Phillies W.B. Mason collectible truck.

Red Sox Leaders
Average:  Rafael Devers - .314
Runs:  Mookie Betts - 131
Home Runs:  J.D. Martinez - 35
RBIs:  Rafael Devers - 107
Stolen Bases:  Mookie Betts - 15

Wins:  Eduardo Rodriguez - 17
ERA:  Eduardo Rodriguez - 3.73
Strikeouts:  Chris Sale - 218
Saves:  Brandon Workman - 12

Phillies Leaders
Average:  Jean Segura - .284
Runs:  J.T. Realmuto - 89
Home Runs:  Bryce Harper - 31
RBIs:  Bryce Harper - 102
Stolen Bases:  Bryce Harper - 13

Wins:  Aaron Nola - 12
ERA:  Aaron Nola - 3.70
Strikeouts:  Aaron Nola - 207
Saves:  Hector Neris - 26

Game 146 - 2019 Chachi Photo Cards #40 Adam Haseley

Phillies 9Braves 5
Game 146 - Thursday Night, September 12th in Philadelphia
Record - 76-70, Tied for 3rd place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Paced by four home runs, the offense came to life in this 9-5 win.

What It Means:  The Phillies are still somehow hanging around the Wild Card race and after a rare Friday off day, they'll open a quick two game series at home on Saturday night against the Red Sox.

What Happened:  Cesar Hernandez (11), Adam Haseley (5), Jean Segura (12) and J.T. Realmuto (25) all homered.  Hernandez added an RBI single in the sixth and Sean Rodriguez cushioned the lead with an RBI double in the eighth.  The hodge podge bullpen did its job again once starter Drew Smyly departed after four innings.  Jared Hughes pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings and picked up the win while Hector Neris recorded the final four outs for his 26th save.

Featured Card:  It was Haseley's home run in the second that put the Phillies ahead for good, and he also made another impressive catch in center field.  Since the Phillies didn't create a photo card for Haseley this year, I took matters into my own hands and created the card shown here.  Fellow collector Rick was then gracious enough to have it signed for me (along with one for himself) and I'm very happy to have this autographed card of the young Phillies outfield in my collection.

Field Report:  Doug and I attended this game and we were thrilled to be able to go down on the field for a pregame ceremony to recognize the sponsors at this year's ALS Phestival.  This is the third year in a row we've been able to do this, and I hope the streak continues for many more years.  The highlight for Doug was fist-bumping Neris as we were leaving the field, and he also got a few "what's up buddy" from Edgar Garcia, coach Dusty Wathan and Brad Miller.

Game 145 - 1990 Phillies ALS Phestival Dallas Green

Braves 3Phillies 1
Game 145 - Wednesday Night, September 11th in Philadelphia
Record - 75-70, Tied for 3rd place, 15 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  Dallas Keuchel and three Braves relievers held the Phillies to five hits in this 3-1 loss.

What It Means:  In his post-game interview, Keuchel indicated the Phillies had never even come calling when the then free agent was looking for employment before the Braves signed him in early June.  Instead, the Phillies have relied on a steady stream of starting pitchers who can't seem to get past the fourth inning or have ERAs over 5.  In 16 starts with the Braves, Keuchel is 8-5 with a 3.35 ERA and 81 strikeouts in 96 2/3 innings pitched.

What Happened:  All three runs for the Braves were unearned and scored in the fourth inning after a costly Jean Segura error.  The five Phillies hits were all singles and they went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position.

Featured Card:  Here's a card of a Dallas who did play for the Phillies - Dallas Green - as well as lead the team to their first World Championship title in 1980.  After a multi-year eBay search, I recently added this card to my collection, signed by Green at the 1990 ALS Phestival as part of the 10th anniversary celebration of that 1980 Phillies team.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Game 144 - 2019 Phillies Team Issue 2 #4 Scott Kingery

Phillies 6Braves 5
Game 144 - Tuesday Night, September 10th in Philadelphia
Record - 75-69, 3rd place, 14 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were firing on all cylinders for this 6-5 win, with steady defense, five home runs and an impressive bullpen performance.

What It Means:  The Cubs lost, putting the Brewers a game behind and the Phillies two games behind for the second Wild Card.

What Happened:  The Phillies received first inning home runs from J.T. Realmuto (24), Bryce Harper (31) and Corey Dickerson (11), with Dickerson adding his second home run (12) of the game in the sixth.  It was the first time three Phillies had homered in the first inning since Shane Victorino, Greg Dobbs and Chase Utley did it back on July 6, 2009.  (Per Meghan Montemurro Tweet.)

On defense, Harper threw out Ozzie Albies at third to limit further damage in the third inning and Realmuto threw out yet another baserunner, his 42nd on the year.

Starter Jason Vargas lasted three innings, but five Phillies relievers held the Braves to only one more run for the rest of the game.  Blake Parker turned in two scoreless innings, striking out four, and Hector Neris recorded his 25th save.

Featured Card:  Dickerson hitting two home runs would normally be enough to earn featured card honors, but Scott Kingery was the star of this game.  With the bases loaded in the third and the Phillies hanging on to a 4-3 lead, Kingery made a diving catch to save at least a few runs.  In the bottom of the third, he circled the bases for an inside-the-park home run after Ronald Acuna, Jr. leaped, caught the ball to bring it back from over the fence, but then dropped the ball mid-celebration.

2002 Topps #359 United We Stand: Braves-Phillies

This post was originally published in February 2013.

I went back through my 2001 and 2002 Topps sets while putting together the recently published 2001 Topps Phillies post and the (hopefully) soon to be published 2002 Topps Phillies post.  In my opinion, one of the best subsets Topps has ever included within its flagship set is the 8-card "America: United We Stand" subset featuring iconic images from the first baseball games following the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Found in series one of the 2002 Topps set, the cards served as a poignant reminder of how much baseball meant to our country (and selfishly me) following the attacks.  I didn't remember this until looking up the set's entry at, but the cards were in packs of series one as early as November 2001.

Members of the 2001 Phillies team are featured on card #359, standing solemnly along the first base line at Veterans Stadium, listening to the National Anthem prior to their game against the Braves on September 17th.  A few years ago, when scanning the card for an old post, I really started to look at the players featured on the card and I realized they had probably never been properly identified.  There are 11 Phillies players featured in profile on the card - some of which who would never have a proper Topps card or a proper Phillies baseball card.

Using the team's 2002 Media Guide and 2001 transactions listing, I pieced together the active Phillies roster as of September 17, 2001.  With the recent roster expansions, the Phillies were carrying 32 active players with two more players on the disabled list.  I tried to find video of the pre-game ceremony on-line, to no avail.  So based on my recollection of the team at the time, I think the players featured on the card are as follows, from left to right:

1.  Eddie Oropesa
2.  P.J. Forbes (not Nick Punto as originally believed - see update below)
3.  David Coggin
4.  Doug Nickle - I wasn't sure about this one, but according to Baseball Reference, Nickle's height is 6'4", the same height as Coggin who is standing next to him.
5.  Turk Wendell (not Jose Santiago as originally believed - see update below)
6.  Felipe Crespo - Crespo was acquired from the Giants in late July.
7.  Randy Wolf - I remember Wolf dyed his hair a garish blonde for some inexplicable reason during the summer of 2001.
8.  Brian L. Hunter
9.  Eric Valent
10.  Rheal Cormier
11.  Perhaps Jimmy Rollins?  This one is just too hard to tell.  (UPDATE - I'm going with Steve F. in thinking that this is actually Bobby Abreu.)

Granted, the identification of these players is something that might only be interesting to me but I'm glad I can now (mostly) identify the Phillies featured on one of the more meaningful baseball cards Topps has ever produced.

UPDATE (9/11/15) - Back in April, I received an e-mail from former Phillies pitcher Doug Nickle who confirmed it was indeed him in the photo standing next to David Coggin.  Doug was kind enough to point out that the players to either side of him are P.J. Forbes (and not Nick Punto) and Turk Wendell (not Jose Santiago).  According to the team's 2002 Media Guide, Forbes had his contract purchased from Scranton on September 17th, prior to the this game.  I've updated the listing above to reflect this information.

Thanks again Doug for the e-mail and I'm happy there's now an official record of the Phillies appearing on this important baseball card.