Monday, November 25, 2019

Phillies Missing Links of the 2000s - #33 Steven Register

Steven Craig Register
Relief Pitcher

When Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco arrived in Philadelphia on July 29th in a blockbuster trade with the Indians, John Mayberry, Jr. and Steven Register were optioned back to the IronPigs to clear two roster spots.  Register had been recalled on July 25th, appearing in that night's game for a pair of innings, and his demotion four days later ended his big league career.

Register's promotion to the Phillies was necessitated by a rash of bullpen injuries in mid-2009 that saw Clay Condrey, Chad Durbin and J.C. Romero all on the disabled list.  His two-inning Phillies career came during an eventual 14-6 blowout win over the Cardinals with Register pitching the final two frames after relieving Chan Ho Park who in turn had relieved Rodrigo Lopez.  I'm fairly certain the photo used for this Missing Links card is a photo I took of my television screen from one of those innings as photos of Register in a Phillies uniform are fairly scarce.

Prior to his short Phillies career, Register pitched in the Rockies system and appeared with them for 10 games in 2008.

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  180
Born:  May 16, 1983, Columbus, GA
Drafted:  Drafted by the Colorado Rockies in the 3rd round of the 2004 amateur draft, June 7, 2004
Major League Teams:  Colorado Rockies 2008; Phillies 2009

Phillies Career
1 game, 2 innings, 1 run on 3 hits, 11 batters faced
Acquired:  May 20, 2009 - Selected off waivers from the Colorado Rockies
Debut:  July 25, 2009 - Relieved Chan Ho Park in the eighth inning of a 14-5 game against the Cardinals.  Allowed one run and recorded one strikeout against former Phillie Joe Thurston.
Final Game:  July 25, 2009
Departed:  October 5, 2009 - Granted free agency and signed with the Toronto Blue Jays' organization, January 19, 2010

0 Register Baseball Cards in My Collection

Complete Chachi Checklist
2009 Chachi #51

2003 Upper Deck Finite
Stars and Stripes #USA-3
2004 Bowman Draft Picks &
Prospects #BDP45
2008 Bowman Signs of the Future
2009 Chachi #51
Other Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  2004 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects #BDP45
First Topps Base Card:  N/A
Last Mainstream Card:  2008 Bowman Signs of the Future #SOF-SR
Other Notable Cards:  2003 Upper Deck Finite Stars and Stripes #USA-3, 2009 Multi-Ad Colorado Springs Sky Sox #28

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.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Phils Hire Joe Dillon to be Girardi's Hitting Coach

2001 Bowman's Best #188
On Thursday, the Phillies officially named Joe Dillon the team's new hitting coach, completing the hiring for new manager Joe Girardi's coaching staff.  Bryan Price (pitching coach) and Juan Castro (infield coach) had been previously added.

Dillon was with the Nationals in 2018 and 2019, working as the assistant to hitting coach Kevin Long.  Long had previously coached with Girardi for the Yankees between 2008 and 2014, and Long apparently personally recommend Dillon to Girardi.  Dillon also served as the Marlins minor league hitting coordinator in 2016 and 2017.  He played in parts of four seasons in the Majors with the Marlins (2005), Brewers (2007-2008) and Rays (2009) hitting .263 over 217 at-bats.

His sole mainstream baseball card seems to be his 2001 Bowman's Best card, featuring him as a prospect in the Royals' system.  Other than that appearance, he's appeared in numerous minor league team sets dating back to 1998.

Here's a look at the club's hitting coaches dating back to 1970:

  • Billy DeMars 1969-1981 - DeMars also served as first base coach (1969-1972) and third base coach (1972-1979).
  • Deron Johnson 1982-1984 - Johnson also served as first base coach during his coaching tenure.
  • Del Unser 1985-1988 - Unser also served as first base coach (1985-1987).
  • Denis Menke 1989-1996
  • Hal McRae 1997-2000
  • Richie Hebner 2001
  • Greg Gross 2002-2004; 2011-2012
  • Milt Thompson 2005-2011
  • Steve Henderson 2013-2016
  • Matt Stairs 2017
  • John Mallee 2018-2019
  • Charlie Manuel 2019
  • Joe Dillon 2020

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Four Pitching Prospects Added to 40-Man Roster

2019 Grandstand Reading
Fightin Phils Update #37
2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25
Prospects #13
2019 Bowman Prospects
2018 Grandstand Princeton
Rays #29
A sure sign we're getting closer to Thanksgiving is the addition of prospects to the Phillies' 40-man roster.  On Wednesday evening, four prospects were added and here's a quick summary of their 2019 season and their baseball card appearances to date.  The 40-man roster currently has 39 players on it.

Garrett Cleavinger (lhp) - Acquired from the Orioles in the Jeremy Hellickson trade, Cleavinger spent all last season in Reading appearing in 34 games in relief.  In 51 2/3 innings, he struck out 83 while walking 34 and had a 3.66 ERA.  Cleavinger has appeared in four Reading Fightin Phils team sets since 2017.

Mauricio Llovera (rhp) - Llovera also spent all of 2019 with Reading, appearing in 14 games and making 12 starts.  He could be a potential bullpen arm for the Phillies in 2020, and his make-up has already been compared to Ranger Suarez's.  He's had several appearances in Phillies minor league team sets dating back to 2017.

JoJo Romero (lhp) - The franchise's #10 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, Romero made 24 starts for the Fightin Phils and Triple-A IronPigs in 2019, going 7-9 with a 5.82 ERA.  I've somehow already accumulated 17 different cards for Romero between minor league team sets and Bowman issues.

Cristopher Sanchez (lhp) - Sanchez was acquired from the Rays on Wednesday for minor league infielder Curtis Mead.  He appeared in 24 games across three minor league teams for the Rays in 2019, going 4-1 with a 2.26 ERA.  It looks as if Sanchez's baseball card appearances to date have been limited to Rays minor league team sets.

It's always interesting to look back on the prospects added to the 40-man roster each November, and the listing below shows that most of these players eventually made it to the Majors.

Memory Lane
2009 Additions - Quintin Berry, Yohan Flande and Jesus Sanchez
2010 Additions - Cesar Hernandez, Matt Rizzotti, Harold Garcia, Freddy Galvis and Justin De Fratus
2011 Additions - Phillippe Aumont, Jake Diekman, Tyson Gillies and Sebastian Valle
2012 Additions - Zach Collier, Ethan Martin, Trevor May and Jonathan Pettibone
2013 Additions - Aaron Altherr, Kelly Dugan, Tommy Joseph and Rob Rasmussen
2014 Additions - Jesse Biddle, Adam Morgan and Nefi Ogando
2015 Additions - Jimmy Cordero, Roman Quinn and Edubray Ramos
2016 Additions - 11 prospects
2017 Additions - Seranthony Dominguez, Franklyn Kilome, Ranger Suarez, Jose Taveras, Engelb Vielma
2018 Additions - Arquimedes Gamboa, Edgar Garcia and Adonis Medina
2019 Additions - Garrett Cleavinger, Mauricio Llovera, JoJo Romero and Cristopher Sanchez

Friday, November 22, 2019

1956 Topps #72 Phillies Team Card

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

Topps included full team photos in its baseball card set for the first time in 1956, having previously experimented with team cards in a limited edition 1951 stand-alone set.

46th Street in Sea Isle - August 2018
Building the Set
July 12, 1989 in Sea Isle City, NJ - Card #78
My grandparents' beach house was located on 37th Street in Sea Isle City, right behind the giant white concrete monstrosity of the Spinnaker condominiums.  On lazy summer afternoons, after a morning at the beach and equipped with my lawn mowing money, or money given to me from my parents or my Nana, I would either exchange dollar bills for quarters to play Rolling Thunder at the arcade on the Sea Isle Promenade, or I'd walk nine blocks to 46th Street where there was a baseball card store.  I never knew the name of that baseball card store, but on any given day throughout the summer there would be bikes piled up outside by the front door and there'd be two to three baseball card collectors hovering over completely unorganized boxes of cards on any given day.

The store was never empty.  Looking for the building now on Google Maps, what had been a nameless baseball card store in the late 1980s now appears to be a deli.

I built most of our 1973 Topps set at that store, as the proprietor had an 800-count box of cards from the 1970s in relatively decent shape and at extremely affordable prices.  I remember walking away with a stack of 30 to 40 commons from the 1973 set for no more than $5 or $6 a pop.  This Phillies team card from the 1956 Topps set was in the main display case of the store, and I'm fairly certain it was the oldest card for sale.  There would have the usual suspects of the day in that case - a few Ryne Sandberg rookie cards, maybe a Mark McGwire card from the 1985 Topps set and a few Dwight Gooden cards.  But this card always stood out, and I looked at it several times over several visits before finally asking the dealer to see the card.

I paid $14 for it, which was probably too much at the time, and it was definitely the most I had ever paid for a single card with "my" money up to that point.  Consistent with my tracking of purchases at the time, I cut the price tag away from the protective sleeve for safe-keeping.  Is it any wonder I'd go on to choose accounting as my professional career?

The Card
I took a deep dive look at this card over at The Phillies Room back in 2011.  Here are the subjects featured on the card, including a listing of their 1956 Topps card if they had one.  The uncredited batboy sitting in front is long-time Phillies employee Kenny Bush.  Jack Meyer is listed as "Meyers" on the card's front.  The photo had to have been taken before June 15, 1955, as that's the day Earl Torgeson, featured all the way to the right in the back row, was sold to the Tigers.

  • Front Row
  • Granny Hamner (#197)
  • Marv Blaylock
  • Coach Benny Bengough
  • Coach Wally Moses
  • Manager Mayo Smith (#60)
  • Coach Whit Wyatt
  • Richie Ashburn
  • Bob Miller (#334)
  • Bobby Morgan (#337)
  • Peanuts Lowrey
  • Traveling Secretary John Wise
  • 2nd Row
  • Trainer Frank Weichec
  • Ron Mrozinski
  • Jim Owens (#114)
  • Jim Greengrass (#275)
  • Thornton Kipper
  • Jack Meyer (#269)
  • Lynn Lovenguth
  • Gus Niarhos
  • Willie Jones (#127)
  • Herm Wehmeier (#78)
  • Lou Ortiz
  • Tom Qualters
  • Jack Spring
  • Del Ennis (#220)
  • Back Row
  • Murry Dickson (#211)
  • Stan Lopata (#183)
  • Coach Maje McDonnell
  • Mel Clark
  • Roy Smalley
  • Andy Seminick (#296)
  • Dave Cole
  • Curt Simmons (#290)
  • Robin Roberts (#180)
  • Glen Gorbus (#174)
  • Earl Torgeson (#147 with Tigers)
Flipping over to the back of the card, Topps lists Shibe Park as the club's home field even though the ballpark's name had been changed to Connie Mack Stadium for the 1953 season.  Here the other categories that need to be updated:

Most Home Runs - 224 in 2009
Most Double Plays - 179 in 1961 and 1973
Most Games Won - 102 in 2011
Most Consecutive Games Won - 13 in 1977 and 1991
Most Runs Scored in One Game - 26 in 1985
Additional Pennant Winning Teams - 1976, 1977, 1978, 1980, 1983, 1993, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011
World Championship Teams - 1980, 2008

No Year, Team Name Centered
1955 Variation
The Phillies team card, along with team cards for the Cubs and Indians, is available in three variations.  There's a version with the 1955 date, and then two versions without the year with the team name either centered or to the left.  I have the version with the team name to the left in our set.

1956 Season
With manager Mayo Smith at the helm, the Phillies finished in fifth place in the National League with
a record of 71-83, 22 games behind the pennant winning Brooklyn Dodgers.  The team hit their high water mark only four games into the season when they were 3-1.  They'd quickly drop to under .500 where they stayed the rest of the year.  Their top hitters were Ashburn, Lopata and Jones while Roberts, Harvey Haddix and Simmons were the top three starting pitchers in their rotation.  Lopata and Roberts represented the Phillies at the 1956 All-Star Game but neither appeared in the game.

Phillies Cards That Never Were
There are a few options here for 1956 Topps cards that never were:
  • Marv Blaylock (first base) - The team's starting first baseman in 1956 appeared in the 1955 Bowman and 1957 Topps sets, but he was omitted from this set.
  • Ted Kazanski (second base) - Similarly, Kazanski was the Phillies' starting second baseman in 1956, but Topps omitted him from the set.  He appeared in the 1954, 1955, 1957, 1958 and 1959 Topps sets, so his omission this year is notable.
  • Roy Smalley (shortstop) - Smalley played in a combined 157 games for the Phillies in 1955 and 1956, but he wouldn't receive his first and only Topps Phillies card until 1957.
  • Solly Hemus (second base) - A bench player with Smalley, Hemus was acquired from the Cardinals in May and appeared in 78 games.
  • Ben Flowers (relief pitcher) - Flowers pitched in 32 games for the Phillies - all in relief.  He never appeared on a Phillies baseball card.
  • Maje McDonnell (coach) - McDonnell was a coach for the Phillies in 1956, and he spent time with the club between 1947 and 1960, then again between 1973 and 2009, as a batting practice pitcher, coach, scout, ticket seller, tour guide and overall goodwill ambassador for the franchise.
Haddix, Stu Miller and Elmer Valo would be excellent candidates to receive Phillies cards had their been a 1956 Topps Update set.  Haddix and Miller appear in the 1956 Topps set with the Cardinals while Valo appears with the Kansas City A's.

Baseball Reference
2019 Philadelphia Phillies Media Guide
The Phillies Room - 1956 Topps Phillies
The Phillies Room - 1956 Topps Phillies Gallery

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.