Thursday, October 31, 2019

Phils Name Joe Girardi as New Manager

2019 Chachi #69
On Thursday, October 24th, the news broke that the Phillies would be hiring Joe Girardi to manage the team in 2020.  He's the 55th manager in franchise history and he was signed to a three-year contract with a club option for 2023.  He's the fifth manager for the Phillies in the 6 years and 3 months since Charlie Manuel was dismissed in August 2013.  Phillies fans will best remember Girardi for leading the 2009 Yankees to a World Series victory againsts Manuel's club who were looking to repeat.  I found it interesting that the last time the Phillies hired a manager who had already won a World Series was 1952 when they brought in Steve O'Neill.  O'Neill managed the Tigers in 1945 when they won it all.

1991 Topps Archives 1953 #307
Wearing #25, which means reliever Jared Hughes will need a new number if he returns, Girardi said all the right things during his introductory press conference on Monday afternoon.  He's here to win now and to provide more structure in the clubhouse than his predecessor Gabe Kapler was able to provide.  His first order of business will be to find a hitting coach and a pitching coach, and then the club will turn their attention to luring one (or two or three) high profile free agents.

During his half-hour press conference, Girardi name dropped Larry Bowa, Gary Matthews, John Vukovich, Charlie Manuel, John Kruk and The Phillies Room favorite Bob Dernier.  Dernier was Girardi's first victim in the caught stealing department when the speedy outfielder tried to steal second in the 1989 season opener at Wrigley Field.

Looking at Girardi's baseball card history, his rookie cards can be found in the 1989 Donruss Rookies, Fleer, Score Rookie & Traded and Upper Deck sets.  His first Topps card can be found in the 1990 set, and he'd go on to appear in most every Topps flagship set until 2003 with the Cubs, Rockies, Yankees, Cubs again and Cardinals.  (He was omitted from the 1999 set.)  He's appeared on manager cards in sets since 2008 with his most recent mainstream card found in the 2016 Topps Heritage set.

Personally, I'm a big fan of this hiring and I feel way more optimistic than I did following Kapler's hiring in November 2017.  Girardi has a proven track record and he brings instant credibility to the job.  Hopefully he'll also bring a few more World Series trophies along the way as well.

Pitchers and catchers report to Clearwater in 107 days.

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Final Look at 2018-2019 Phillies Player Moves

2020 Chachi Preview #6
2020 Chachi Preview #8
2020 Chachi Preview #7
2020 Chachi Preview #5
2020 Chachi Preview #4
The World Series is underway, the Nationals seem to be unstoppable and the Phillies may be naming their new manager as soon as Thursday.  Before we get too far into the Phillies' offseason, here's a look at all the major league players who joined and left the organization during the past year.

The "New Arrivals - 2018-2019 Offseason" gave us cause for optimism but then things fell apart once we got to the "Arrived During the 2019 Season" section.

Moving On - 2018-2019 Offseason
  • Jose Bautista - of (10/29/18) - Elected free agency.
  • Asdrubal Cabrera - inf (10/29/18) - Elected free agency, signed with the Texas Rangers on 1/24/19.
  • Aaron Loup - lhp (10/29/18) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Diego Padres on 2/16/19.
  • Wilson Ramos - c (10/29/18) - Elected free agency, signed with the New York Mets on 12/18/18.
  • Pedro Beato - rhp (11/2/18) - Elected free agency, signed with the Diablos Rojas del Mexico of the Mexican League.
  • Jesmuel Valentin - inf (11/2/18) - Elected free agency, signed with the Baltimore Orioles on 4/11/19.
  • Pedro Florimon - inf/of (11/3/18) - Outrighted off 40-man roster, elected free agency and signed as a minor league free agent with the Atlanta Braves, 11/22/18.
  • Luis Avilan - lhp (11/30/18) - Non-tendered, becoming a free agent, signed as a minor league free agent with the New York Mets on 1/10/19.
  • Justin Bour - 1b (11/30/18) - Non-tendered, becoming a free agent, signed with the Los Angeles Angels on 12/15/18.
  • Carlos Santana - 1b and J.P. Crawford - ss (12/3/18) - Traded to the Seattle Mariners for James Pazos, Juan Nicasio and Jean Segura.
  • Luis Garcia - rhp (12/6/18) - Traded to the Los Angeles Angels for Jose Alvarez.
  • Jorge Alfaro - c (2/7/19) - Traded with Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart (with cash) to the Miami Marlins for J.T. Realmuto.
  • Trevor Plouffe - inf (3/21/19) - Released.
New Arrivals - 2018-2019 Offseason
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp and Jean Segura - ss (12/3/18) - Acquired from the Seattle Mariners with James Pazos for J.P. Crawford and Carlos Santana.
  • Jose Alvarez - lhp (12/6/18) - Acquired from the Los Angeles Angels for Luis Garcia.
  • Andrew McCutchen - of (12/12/18) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
  • Rob Brantly - c (12/21/18) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Cleveland Indians organization.
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (12/21/18) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Atlanta Braves organization.
  • David Robertson - rhp (1/3/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
  • J.T. Realmuto - c (2/7/19) - Acquired from the Miami Marlins for Jorge Alfaro, Sixto Sanchez, Will Stewart and cash.
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (2/8/19) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Bryce Harper - of (3/1/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Washington Nationals.
Arrived During the 2019 Season
  • Jay Bruce - of (6/2/19) - Acquired from the Seattle Mariners with cash considerations for Jake Scheiner.
  • Brad Miller - inf (6/13/19) - Purchased from the New York Yankees.
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (6/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Acereros de Monclova of the Mexican League.
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (7/15/19) - Signed as a minor league free agent formerly with the New York Yankees organization.
  • Mike Morin - rhp (7/20/19) - Acquired from the Minnesota Twins for cash considerations.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (7/21/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
  • Jose Pirela - of (7/27/19) - Purchased from the San Diego Padres.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (7/29/19) - Acquired with cash from the New York Mets for Austin Bossart.
  • Blake Parker - rhp (7/30/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the Minnesota Twins.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (7/31/19) - Acquired from the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later and international bonus money.
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (8/10/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the San Francisco Giants.
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (8/15/19) - Claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
Departed During the 2019 Season
  • Aaron Altherr - of (5/12/19) - Selected off waivers by the San Francisco Giants.
  • Dylan Cozens - of (8/1/19) - Released and signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Rays, 8/9/19.
  • Yacksel Rios - rhp (8/3/19) - Selected off waivers by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • Drew Anderson - rhp (9/2/19) - Released.

Friday, October 18, 2019

1956 Topps #67 Vic Power

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

Victor Pellot Power
Kansas City Athletics
First Base

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'0"  Weight:  186
Born:  November 1, 1927, Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Acquired:  Purchased by the New York Yankees from Drummondville (Provincial) before 1951 season
Major League Teams:  Philadelphia Athletics 1954; Kansas City Athletics 1955-1958; Cleveland Indians 1958-1961; Minnesota Twins 1962-1964; Los Angeles Angels 1964; Philadelphia Phillies 1964; California Angels 1965
Died:  November 29, 2005, Bayamon, Puerto Rico (age 78)

Vic Power, who assumed that name for American baseball but used his actual name of Vic Pellot when playing in Puerto Rico, played for 12 years in the Majors, making the All-Star team in four seasons and winning seven consecutive Gold Gloves for his defense at first base.  Traded by the Yankees to the Philadelphia A's in December 1953, he was the first player of Puerto Rican descent to play for the club.  Despite the rampant racial discrimination he experienced during his early playing days, Power became a star with the A's and later the Indians, second only to Roberto Clemente (#33) in popularity back in his native Puerto Rico.

Power accumulated 126 career home runs and 658 RBIs while hitting .284, finishing in the top ten for hits in the American League in five different seasons.  Power never played in the postseason, getting closest to winning pennants with the 1959 Indians, the 1962 Twins and the 1964 Phillies, all teams that finished in second place.  He retired at the age of 37 following the 1965 season in which he hit .259 over 124 games for the Angels.

Building the Set
October 3, 1999 in Raleigh, NC - Card #183
We bought this card on October 3rd at the Raleigh Sports Card Show, and it ended up being part of a birthday present to me from my Dad.  I was still living in Raleigh in late 1999, and my parents made the trip south to visit me for my birthday.  We bought 8 cards that day (that I knew about) paying $5 for seven of the cards, including this Power card, and $2 for the Grady Hatton (#26) card.  Unbeknownst to me, my Dad also purchased the Sandy Koufax card (#79) but squirreled that one away until Christmas morning 1999.

The Card
Power appears to be out at a play at the plate, and my best guess at the catcher is Sammy White (#168) who wore #22 and was the primary catcher for the Red Sox in 1955.  The Tigers' Frank House (#32) is also a possibility as he wore #2.  The head shot of Power is the same used on his 1954 and 1955 Topps cards, and it appears as if the photo features him in a Yankees uniform with the blue pinstripes still visible.

On the back of the card, Topps skims four years off Power's age, stating he was born in 1931 while all other current sources show his birth year as 1927.

1956 Season
Power enjoyed his second All-Star season in 1956, hitting .319 with 14 home runs and 63 RBIs. 
Despite an impressive line-up consisting of Power, third baseman Hector Lopez (#16) and right fielder Harry Simpson (#239), the A's finished in last place in the American League with a record of 52-102.

Phillies Career
On September 9, 1964, the Phillies acquired Power from the Angels for a player to be named later and cash.  The Phillies would send pitcher Marcelino Lopez to the Angels a month later to complete the deal.  The Phillies' regular first baseman, Frank Thomas (#153), had broken his thumb and Power was seen as a right-handed hitting compliment at the position to the left-handed hitting John Herrnstein.

Power became the second player in Phillies franchise history to wear #62, as the number had been worn earlier in the season by rookie pitcher Rick Wise.  Relief pitchers Ken Roberts and Patrick Schuster wore the number for the Phillies in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Power's month with the Phillies allowed him to witness one of the worst collapses in professional sports history as the team had a 6 1/2 game lead over the Cardinals on September 20th, but ended up finishing the season in second place.  Power hit .208 (10 for 48) over 18 games with four doubles and three RBIs, starting 11 of those games at first base.  Following the season, the Phillies sold Power back to the Angels.

He has one Phillies "baseball card" to his name, having appeared within the 1964 Philadelphia Bulletin Phillies Album series.

1954 Topps #52
1957 Topps #167
1959 Topps #229
1963 Topps #40
1966 Topps #192
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1954 Topps #52
First Topps Card:  1954 Topps #52
Representative Phillies Card:  1964 Philadelphia Bulletin Phillies Album
Last Topps Card:  1966 Topps #192
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1994 Topps Archives 1954 #52

77 - Power non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 9/15/19.

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.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Kapler Fired; Hunt for New Manager Begins

On Thursday morning, 11 days after the end of the regular season, Gabe Kapler was relieved of his duties as manager of the Phillies.  Kapler managed for two seasons, failing to make the postseason both years, and compiling a record of 161-163.  He lasted slightly longer than Ryne Sandberg (278 games from 2013 to 2015) but not quite as long as Nick Leyva (338 games from 1989 to 1991).  By most accounts popular with the players, Kapler never quite gelled with the Philadelphia fanbase and ultimately his lack of winning and two straight seasons of brutal September finishes were his downfalls.

The Phillies could now turn to a more experienced manager with Buck Showalter, Joe Girardi, Joe Maddon and John Farrell being mentioned as potential candidates.  Other names out there are Dusty Baker and Mike Scioscia, or the Phillies could go with someone already in the system such as third base coach Dusty Wathan, bench coach Rob Thomson or the team's current player
Pitching coaches since 1970
information coordinator, Sam Fuld.  If I had to guess, I'd say either Showalter or Maddon is managing the team when pitchers and catchers report in mid-February.

Wathan, Thomson and five other Phillies coaches were all offered contracts for the 2020 season and the choice is theirs as to whether or not they return.  Pitching coach Chris Young was dismissed after one season in that position, making him the first pitching coach to last just one season . . . since Rick Kranitz the season before him.  (Jim Wright was an interim pitching coach in 1996 filling in for an ill Johnny Podres.)  Interim hitting coach Charlie Manuel returned to his senior advisor position in the front office, meaning the Phillies have to fill the roles of manager, pitching coach and hitting coach this offseason.  Hopefully the positions are filled soon so that the new skipper can help recruit free agents Anthony Rendon and Gerrit Cole.

Gabe Kapler - Complete Chachi Checklist
2017 Chachi #65
2018 Chachi #26
2018 Chachi Friendly Encounters #8
2019 Chachi #26
2019 Chachi Phillies Phestival #5

Chris Young - Complete Chachi Checklist
2018 Chachi #28 (with Dusty Wathan, Pedro Guerrero and Jim Gott)
2019 Chachi #27 (with Rob Thomson and John Mallee)

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Game 162 - Fan Appreciation Day; Long Offseason Begins

Marlins 4, Phillies 3
Game 162 - Sunday Afternoon, September 29th in Philadelphia
Record - 81-81, 4th place, 16 games behind the Braves

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies missed out on their first winning season since 2011, dropping the 2019 season finale by a 4-3 score to the last place Marlins.

What It Means:  Was this manager Gabe Kapler's final Phillies game at the helm?

What Happened:  With Maikel Franco representing the tying run on second base in the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Knapp struck out swinging on a ball out of the zone to end the game and the Phillies extremely disappointing season.  Bryce Harper and Adam Haseley had a pair of hits.  The offense went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position, leaving 13 men on base.  A bullpen game from the start, the Marlins jumped on starting pitcher Blake Parker for three runs early.

Featured Card:  Brad Miller hit two more home runs (13) and went 4 for 5 overall with three RBIs.  Matt Breen Tweeted Miller is the first player in Phillies history with three multi-home run games in a nine-game span and Corey Seidman added Miller's 12 home runs and 16 extra-base hits were both the most by any Phillies player ever with 130 or fewer plate appearances in a  season.

Field Report:  My family arrived to the ballpark early, as we've now made it a tradition to attend the final game of the year and enjoy Fan Appreciation Day.  While Jenna, Ben and I decided to eat first (Jenna and Ben at Pass and Stow and me at Bull's BBQ), Doug took off as soon as the gates opened for a prime spot down the first base line to hopefully add a few last autographs to his collection.  Fellow collector Rick kept him company and both were featured in the Phillies' Instagram story of the day.

Doug added autographs from Miller, Jared Eickhoff, Zach Eflin and Scott Kingery and Rick passed along a Phil Gosselin Chachi Photo Card he had signed for us.  Doug was bummed Bryce Harper didn't make his way over to the waiting crowd to sign any autographs.  In between eating his pizza, Ben and I got pictures with Jared Hughes and Edgar Garcia, and we caught part of the broadcast team - Larry Andersen, Scott Franzke, Ben Davis and Gregg Murphy as they were leaving the Diamond Club entrance lobby.

Once at our seats, we noticed Aaron Nola talking to a small group of people and the ace of the staff posed for a quick picture with Ben.  We didn't come away with any prizes or other souvenirs, but we had a great day and we're already anxious for Opening Day 2020.

Memory Lane - Game 162
This is my 11th season of posting on this blog and I truly enjoy and appreciate the outlet this has provided for me to share my love of baseball, baseball cards and (occasionally) the Phillies.  Unlike some of the Phillies current coaching staff, I'll be back in 2020 and I sincerely thank you for following along, commenting and sharing your Phillies stories.

October 4, 2009 - Catcher Paul Hoover singled in the winning run in the 10th in a 7-6 win over the Marlins.
October 3, 2010 - The Phillies lost 8-7 to the Braves in their final tune-up before facing the Reds in the NLDS.
September 28, 2011 - The Phillies closed out the 2011 regular season with a 13-inning victory against the Braves, setting a franchise record with their 102nd regular season win.
October 3, 2012 - The Phillies closed out their 2012 season with a lethargic 5-1 loss to the N.L. East Champion Nationals.
September 29, 2013 - Zach Miner got the ball for the Phillies and lasted 2 1/3 innings in a 12-5 loss to the Braves.
September 28, 2014 - Cole Hamels pitched another fine game and suffered through another outing with minimal run support.
October 4, 2015 - Phillies avoid 100 losses and Ichiro makes his pitching debut in a 7-2 victory.
October 2, 2016 - Phillies bid an emotional farewell to franchise icon Ryan Howard.
October 1, 2017 - Phils clobber Mets in Pete Mackanin's final game as manager.
September 30, 2018 - Lame duck Phillies win season finale in Gabe Kapler's frustrating debut season.
September 29, 2019 - Phillies miss postseason for 8th year in a row, Brad Miller finishes the season red hot.

Want to revisit every game of the 2019 season?  My handy game summary index can be found here.