Thursday, March 26, 2020

Phillies, Fans Spend #OpeningDayAtHome

2020 Topps Rhys Hoskins #RH-2
In an attempt to make the best of having no baseball on what should have been opening day, Rhys Hoskins took on the Marlins' Miguel Rojas in a live stream of MLB The Show.  Hoskins' Phillies beat Rojas' Marlins by a score of 2-0 after several false starts and some technical difficulties.  Doug and I watched the first 20 minutes or so of the stream and it was fun to hear Hoskins and Rojas banter back and forth.  Doug considers himself a pro at MLB The Show, so he was a little critical of some of the plays made by Hoskins and Rojas.

Camp Head Count:  58 - 6 = 52.  The Phillies optioned six players to Lehigh Valley on Thursday afternoon.  The season is not close to starting up yet, but the moves were made to allow the Phillies to call up players sooner (without the requisite waiting period) when the season eventually does resume.

Outfielders Kyle Garlick and Nick Williams, along with right-handed pitchers Edgar Garcia and Reggie McClain and left-handed pitchers Austin Davis and Cole Irvin were all optioned.

* * *

The video embedded below is fantastic and kudos to the MLB marketing department for putting this together and realizing Mike Trout had to narrate it.  I hope everyone is staying positive, safe, hopeful and healthy.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

1965 Topps #22 Charlie Smith

While the 2020 baseball season and The Phillies Room have paused and are currently practicing responsible social distancing, I'm still regularly posting on my 1956 Topps and 1965 Topps blogs.  New 1956 Topps posts are scheduled for every Friday morning, while I'll be posting new cards added to our 1965 Topps set on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday mornings.  My 1965 Topps blog took a look at short-time Phillies player Charlie (or Charley) Smith.  Stay safe everyone!


Charles William Smith
New York Mets
Third Base-Outfield

Bats:  Right  Throws:  Right  Height:  6'1"  Weight:  170
Born:  September 15, 1937, Charleston, SC
Signed:  Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent before 1957 season
Major League Teams:  Los Angeles Dodgers 1960-1961; Philadelphia Phillies 1961; Chicago White Sox 1962-1964; New York Mets 1964-1965; St. Louis Cardinals 1966; New York Yankees 1967-1968; Chicago Cubs 1969
Died:  November 29, 1994, Reno, NV (age 57)

Charlie Smith, or Charley Smith per most reference sources, played for 10 years in the Majors mostly in a utility infielder role.  Primarily a third baseman, he appeared in over 120 games in a season five different times with the Dodgers and Phillies in 1961, the White Sox and Mets in 1964, the Mets again in 1965, the Cardinals in 1966 and the Yankees in 1967.  Smith was sent to the Yankees in December 1966 in the deal that saw Roger Maris (#155) head to St. Louis.

In 771 career games, Smith hit .239 with 69 home runs and 281 RBIs, finishing three years in the top 10 for strikeouts.

Building the Set
January 25, 2020 from Los Angeles, CA - Card #39
Some January days are longer than others, and on a particularly long January day at work a few months ago, I decided I needed a few more 1965 Topps cards for our set.  I've been familiar with Greg Morris Cards for a while now, as I've been using a lot of the images of old Topps cards scanned for their eBay auction listings in these posts and within the posts over at my 1956 Topps blog.  The images are always centered and clear and for all the help Greg Morris has indirectly provided me, I thought I'd browse his eBay store.

Given the vast inventory available, I figured there had to be at least a few 1965 Topps cards up for auction, and I was correct.  I stumbled upon a set break and I set about finding auctions with no current bidders and cards graded at least EX-MT.  I bid on a total of 20 auctions, winning 10 of them, including this Smith card.  I was the first and sole bidder on the Smith card and the first Mets card for our set was on its way to us from Los Angeles for a winning bid of $0.79.

The Card
This card gives us a fantastic look at the New York World's Fair patch the Mets wore on their sleeves during the 1964 season.  Smith appeared in every Topps set between 1962 and 1969, and he's Charlie on his cards for every year except 1963 and 1967 when Topps went with Charley.  This is his only Topps card to refer to him as a part-time outfielder, as Smith had played 13 games in left field for the Mets in 1964.  For his career, Smith appeared on the field in 698 games with 623 of those appearances coming at third base.

His 20 home runs in 1964 were indeed tops on the Mets, with Joe Christopher (#495) and his 16 home runs finishing second on the team.

Mets Team Set

1965 Season
This would be Smith's best season in the Majors.  As the everyday first baseman for the Mets, Smith hit .244 over 135 games with 16 home runs and a career high 62 RBIs.  Following the season, the Mets traded Smith to the Cardinals with Al Jackson (#381) for Ken Boyer (#100).

1961 Sports Service Phillies
Set B
Phillies Career
On May 4, 1961, the Phillies traded Turk Farrell (#80) and Joe Koppe to the Dodgers for Smith and Don Demeter (#429).  The Dodgers were in need of a closer having lost Ed Roebuck (#52) to a shoulder injury and the Phillies were looking to rebuild following a 95-loss season in 1960.  Demeter was the key return for the Phillies with the 23-year-old Smith seemingly included as a throw-in.  Smith immediately took over the starting third baseman's job from the platoon of Bobby Malkmus and Bob Sadowski (#156).

In 112 games for the Phillies, Smith hit .248 with 9 home runs and 47 RBIs.  His defense was shaky as he finished in fourth place for the highest number of errors committed in the N.L. with 28.  Following the season, Smith was on the move again, traded to the White Sox on November 28th with John Buzhardt (#458) for Roy Sievers (#574).

Smith appeared on a few oddball issuances as a Phillie, but there's no mainstream baseball cards to mark his one season with the club.

1962 Topps #283
1963 Topps #424
1966 Topps #358
1968 Topps #596
1969 Topps #538
Other Notable Baseball Cards
First Mainstream Card:  1962 Topps #283
Topps Flagship Set Appearances (8):  1962-1969
Most Recent Mainstream Card:  1978 TCMA 1960s I #289

33 - Smith non-parallel baseball cards in the Beckett online database as of 1/26/20.

Sources:  
Baseball Reference
Beckett Database
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, March 13, 2020

Grapefruit Game 20 - Baseball Hits Pause

2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #24
Phillies 8, Rays 4
Spring Training Game 20 - Thursday Afternoon, March 12th in Port Charlotte
Record - 14-5-1

One Sentence Summary:  The offense supplied four home runs and Jake Arrieta had a decent outing before leaving with an injury in this 8-4 win over the Rays.

What It Means:  In the grand scheme of things, and with everything going on in the world right now due to the coronavirus pandemic, this game didn't mean much.  After the Phillies and Rays had started play on Thursday afternoon, Major League Baseball put out a press release cancelling the remainder of spring training and pushing back the start of the regular season by at least two weeks.  It was a little odd to listen to a portion of this game, knowing it would be the last baseball played for a while. 

As disappointed as I am to be without baseball for the foreseeable future, the decision by MLB makes complete sense and it was a necessary move in order to slow and attempt to contain the spread of the virus.  These are unusual times and the absence of baseball (and all other sporting events) is going to be tough.  But I'm confident and optimistic we'll be back to normal soon.  Be kind, be patient and be supportive.  Listen to the scientists and reputable news sources.  Stay safe everyone.

What Happened:  Josh Harrison, Roman Quinn, Neil Walker and Phil Gosselin all homered for the Phillies.  All but Quinn are presumably battling for a roster spot when baseball returns.  Arrieta pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on three hits.  He left the game in the fourth inning with stiffness in his right shoulder.

It was also announced that Seranthony Dominguez had suffered a setback in his road to recovery and Tommy John surgery may be the next step for the young pitcher.

Featured Card:  At 4:30 on Thursday afternoon, I took a screenshot of my phone to capture the last baseball action for a little while.  All other games other than the Phillies-Rays game were either over with by then or already cancelled.  Pitching prospect Jonathan Hennigan was on the mound for the final outs of the game and after he retired Ruben Cardenas on a strikeout looking, baseball went on hiatus.

Camp Head Count:  58 - And that's where it will stand for at least the next few weeks.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Grapefruit Game 19 - 2019 Topps Pro Debut #53 Spencer Howard

Phillies 5Twins 1
Spring Training Game 19 - Tuesday Afternoon, March 10th in Clearwater
Record - 13-5-1

One Sentence Summary:  Zack Wheeler looked great and the offense kept plugging along in this 5-1 win over the Twins.

What It Means:  Bryce Harper exited the game in the first after being hit in the foot on a pitch from Twins starting pitcher Sean Poppen.  Harper would later say he was just fine.

What Happened:  Wheeler went four innings, allowing a run on four hits while striking out six.  Top pitching prospect Spencer Howard made his spring debut and pitched a scoreless inning of relief.  Didi Gregorius had an RBI-single in the first, snapping his 0 for 22 streak.  J.T. Realmuto would later add a two-run home run and Logan Forsythe hit a home run to left that might still be in the air.

Featured Card:  Howard will most likely open the season in the rotation for the Triple-A IronPigs, but I have to think we'll see him pitching in Philly at some point in 2020.

Camp Head Count:  61 - 3 = 58.  LHP Garrett Cleavinger and RHP Mauricio Llovera were optioned to Lehigh Valley while 1B Darrick Hall was reassigned to minor league camp.
2020 Chachi New Additions #2
2020 Chachi New Additions #3

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Grapefruit Game 18 - 2019 Grandstand Reading Fightin Phils #54 Ramon Rosso

Phillies 3Yankees 1
Spring Training Game 18 - Monday Afternoon, March 9th in Clearwater
Record - 12-5-1

One Sentence Summary:  An eighth inning home run from Christian Bethancourt broke a 1-1 tie and sent the Phillies to a 3-1 win over the Yankees.

What It Means:  Aaron Nola was supposed to start this game, but he was a late scratch as the presumed opening day starter has the flu.

What Happened:  Ramon Rosso got the emergency start and allowed a run on two hits in his two innings of work.  Six relievers shut down the Yankees after that, with Mauricio Llovera throwing two scoreless innings.  Bryce Harper had three more hits and Mikie Mahtook hit a third inning solo home run.

Featured Card:  Rosso has emerged as a potential bullpen candidate, and he certainly didn't hurt his chances with his outing on Monday.

Camp Head Count:  64 - 3 = 61.  Prior to the game, the Phillies optioned catcher Deivy Grullon to Lehigh Valley and infielder Arquimedes Gamboa to Reading, while re-assigning Austin Listi to minor league camp.  The Grullon move seems to indicate Andrew Knapp will once again open the season as the back-up to J.T. Realmuto.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Grapefruit Game 17 - 2019 Topps Heritage #302 Seranthony Dominguez

Blue Jays 9, Phillies 0
Spring Training Game 17 - Sunday Afternoon, March 8th in Dunedin
Record - 11-5-1

One Sentence Summary:  The offense had only three hits and Vince Velasquez looked shaky in this 9-0 drubbing from the Blue Jays.

What It Means:  At this point, I would think Velasquez ends up in the bullpen and the fifth starter's job either goes to Nick Pivetta or Ranger Suarez, the dark horse candidate.

What Happened:  Velasquez labored through 2 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on two hits and three walks.  Both hits allowed were home runs.  Deolis Guerra and Seranthony Dominguez each threw a scoreless inning of relief.

Featured Card:  If Dominguez is healthy to start the season, that would be huge for the Phillies bullpen.  This was his second appearance and while he's only thrown 10 pitches, he hasn't allowed a hit and he's struck out two while his fastball has been in the low to mid 90s.

Camp Head Count:  64

Sunday, March 8, 2020

Grapefruit Game 16 - Quartet of Pitching Prospects

2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #14
2020 Chachi New Additions #4
 
2020 Chachi New Additions #5
 
2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #21
Phillies 10Red Sox 2
Spring Training Game 16 - Saturday Afternoon, March 7th in Clearwater
Record - 11-4-1

One Sentence Summary:  Offense, pitching, defense and baserunning all looked good in this 10-2 win over the Red Sox.

What It Means:  This is the final match-up between these two teams until the 2021 World Series.  The Red Sox are re-building this year so I figure they'll be in the 2021 World Series when the Phillies are going for their second title in a row.

What Happened:  The keys to the Phillies offense all doubled - Bryce Harper, J.T. Realmuto and Rhys Hoskins.  Harper stole a pair of bases for good measure.  Ranger Suarez allowed two runs in his three innings of work and pitching prospect Jeff Singer impressed with a perfect inning, striking out the side.

Featured Cards:  Featuring a quartet of pitching prospects today - Singer for his awesome performance in this game and Adonis Medina, JoJo Romero and Cristopher Sanchez for the note below.

Camp Head Count:  70 - 6 = 64.  In the first headcount cut of the spring, Romero and Medina were optioned to Lehigh Valley while Sanchez was optioned to Reading.  Pitchers Kyle Dohy, Damon Jones and Zach Warren were reassigned to minor league camp.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Grapefruit Game 15 - 2019 Choice Medusas de Lakewood #8 Abrahan Gutierrez

Phillies 9, Tigers 0
Spring Training Game 15 - Friday Afternoon, March 6th in Lakeland
Record - 0-0

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies scored seven times in the final three innings in this lopsided 9-0 victory over the Tigers.

What It Means:  I keep thinking I've missed the announcement of any roster moves, but the camp head count still stands at 70.  The Phillies made their first cuts of the spring last year following their 16th game.  So perhaps there's a round of transactions coming after Saturday's matinee.

What Happened:  The pitching staff, led by Jake Arrieta, held the Tigers to two hits.  Arrieta pitched four shutout innings, but he did walk four so all was not perfect.  Nick Martini went 2 for 2 with 3 RBIs, including a solo home run as he bids to make the team as a bench player.

Featured Card:  Catcher Abrahan Gutierrez, one of the daily minor league additions, hit an eighth inning grand slam scoring Arquimedes Gamboa, Mickey Moniak and Austin Listi.

Camp Head Count:  70

Grapefruit Game 14 - 2019 Topps Heritage #534 Bryce Harper

Phillies 5, Blue Jays 3
Spring Training Game 14 - Thursday Afternoon, March 5th in Clearwater
Record - 9-4-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies scored all their runs via the long ball in this 5-3 win over the Blue Jays.

What It Means:  Bryce Harper appears to be locked in at this point, as he hit his third home run in two days in this game.

What Happened:  Roman Quinn, Rhys Hoskins and Austin Listi also homered.  Listi went 2 for 3 to raise his average to .368.  Zack Wheeler allowed two runs in 2 1/3 innings and Cole Irvin contributed two shutout innings of relief.

Featured Card:  In his first year with the Phillies, I added 38 different Harper cards to my Phillies collection and I suspect that number will grow as I fill in some remaining 2019 want lists.  This is Harper's card from last year's Topps Heritage High Numbers set, released in mid-August.

Camp Head Count:  70

Grapefruit Games 12 & 13 - 2019 Topps Now All-MLB 1st Team #1T-1 J.T. Realmuto

Phillies 9, Pirates 7
Spring Training Game 12 - Wednesday Afternoon, March 4th in Clearwater

Yankees 3Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 13 - Wednesday Night, March 4th in Tampa
Record - 8-4-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies again split their squad and again came away with a win and a loss in this rare day-night spring training double header.

What It Means:  I'm ready for the season to start.

What Happened:  In Clearwater, J.T. Realmuto led off and went 3 for 3 with a solo home run while Bryce Harper hit two home runs, including an absolute bomb in the fourth inning that may have hit the highway outside the ballpark.  Harper's blast came off Pirates reliever, and former Phillie, Yacksel Rios.  Aaron Nola went four innings and gave up a pair of runs.

In Tampa, the Phillies had only six hits including a two-run home run from Jay Bruce.  Nick Pivetta gave up three runs in 3 1/3 innings.

Featured Card:  Realmuto earned the catcher's spot on the All-MLB 1st Team All-Stars this past offseason, and he's poised for yet another season as the best catcher in the game.

Camp Head Count:  70

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Grapefruit Game 11 - 2017 Topps #697 Christian Bethancourt

Phillies 6Braves 4
Spring Training Game 11 - Monday Night, March 2nd in North Port
Record - 7-3-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies scored four times in the ninth inning to complete the comeback and notch a 6-4 win.

What It Means:  Since 1997, the Braves had called Walt Disney World their spring training home until they moved to North Port last year.  This was their first night game at CoolToday Park, and several people in attendance (including some players) noted how dark the field seemed.

What Happened:  Starter Zach Eflin was working on some stuff, and struggled in his 1 2/3 innings of work allowing 3 runs on 4 hits and 3 walks.  Vince Velasquez fared better in his 3 innings of relief, allowing a run on 4 hits.  Luke Williams had two more hits to raise his spring average to .467.

Featured Card:  With Andrew Knapp potentially starting the season on the injured list, Christian Bethancourt could find himself on the team's opening day roster as one of two backup catchers along with Deivy Grullon.  Bethancourt hit two solo home runs in this game.

Camp Head Count:  70

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Grapefruit Game 10 - 2019 Topps Heritage #8 Josh Harrison

Orioles 3Phillies 2
Spring Training Game 10 - Sunday Afternoon, March 1st in Clearwater
Record - 6-3-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies were held to three hits in this 3-2 loss to the Orioles.

What It Means:  I was bummed this game wasn't televised.  There appears to be a lot less televised Phillies spring training games this year compared to recent years.

What Happened:  Ranger Suarez is emerging as a dark horse candidate for the fifth starter's job.  He pitched three innings in this game, giving up an unearned run on three hits while striking out three.

Featured Card:  Josh Harrison hit a solo home run in the sixth and played solid defense at second base.  His versatility, bat and veteran presence have given him an inside track on one of the 26 spots on the team's opening day roster.

Camp Head Count:  70

1919-1921 W514 #71 Pickles Dillhoefer

Back in 2009, the first year of The Phillies Room, I decided to design a template to create original custom baseball cards.  My Chachi series of cards are entirely based on vintage Topps flagship set designs, and this was an exercise to create my own, non-Topps design.  For whatever reason, I landed on Pickles Dillhoefer as the subject for my first ever Chachi Originals card.  I posted the card, my Dad commented on the post (sarcastically) that Dillhoefer was his favorite ex-Phillie, and I added the elusive W514 card to my want list.  The Chachi Originals set must not have interested me that much as I produced a grand total of four cards using this custom template:  Dillhoefer, Pedro Martinez, former Phillies ballpark organist Paul Richardson and Harry Wolverton.  I still like the design, and maybe this is a project I'll revisit some day.

But back to Pickles. 

Dillhoefer was a catcher who played for parts of five seasons between 1917 and 1921 with the Cubs, Phillies and Cardinals.  The bulk of his career was spent with the Cardinals, where as a backup catcher for three seasons he hit .245 over 197 games.  Dillhoefer appeared in only 8 games for the 1918 Phillies, hitting .091 (1 for 11) as a catcher and pinch-hitter.  His sole Phillies hit came on May 18, 1918 in the ninth inning of an eventual 7-1 loss to the Cubs, off pitcher Claude Hendrix.

The W514 strip card is the only baseball card to ever feature Dillhoefer and back in 2009 I wrote that it would one day be mine.  11 years later, this past weekend, I saw the card for the first time ever at the Philadelphia Sportscard & Memorabilia Show.  In fact, I saw six versions of this card from the dealer I bought the card from as he had a whole binder of these strip cards.  I spent a while studying each of the Dillhoefer cards available for sale, eventually picking the one I thought was in the best shape.  I didn't pay a ridiculous price for the card either, which makes it even better, as I probably would have paid at least twice what the dealer was asking given I had never once seen the card in my 11 years of looking.

Cross another white whale off this collector's list!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Philly Baseball Card Show Report - J Roll, Lieby, Kitty, Pickles, 1965 Topps

2020 Chachi Friendly Encounters #1
2020 Chachi Friendly Encounters #3
2020 Chachi Friendly Encounters #2
I spent the latter part of this past week trying to recover from a nasty sinus infection but I rallied on Saturday to take Doug to the latest Philadelphia Sportscard & Memorabilia Show held in Valley Forge.  I was a bit out of sorts as I forgot my vintage Phillies want list at home, but I still managed to track down some great additions to my collection.  Doug mainly focused on what interests him the most these days - autograph and relic cards of current Phillies and Phillies prospects.

Once again, there was a ton of autograph guests and we opted for autographs from former Phillies Jimmy Rollins and Mike Lieberthal.  Doug had his Jimmy Rollins Retirement Ceremony ball signed with Lieberthal signing his Wall of Fame print.  Doug also stood in line with me as we got Jim Kaat to sign his 1965 Topps card which is now part of our growing set.  (In the coming weeks, I'll have a full run down of the 1965 Topps cards we added over at my 1965 Topps blog.)

For my Phillies collection, I added a personal white whale with the 1919-21 W514 strip card of Pickles Dillhoefer.  This deserves its own post, and I'll show that card off then.  From the same dealer I also bought the 1934-36 Diamond Stars card of Ethan Allen, and I already showed that card off in this post.  Also added were 1963 and 1964 photo packs featuring Phillies players from those seasons.  I've not yet developed want lists for these photo pack cards, but I should work on that soon.

We added 23 total cards to our 1965 Topps set, with the big purchases being the Ernie Banks, Willie McCovey and Brooks Robinson cards along with the Tug McGraw rookie card.

It was a tiring day, but there's nothing like buying a bunch of old baseball cards to help with a bad cold.


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
Valley Forge 10 - December 2019 - Finishing 1971 Topps set, Starting 1965 Topps set, adding key autographs from Ryan Howard and Brad Lidge
Valley Forge 11 - February 2020 - More 1965 Topps cards, Jimmy Rollins, Mike Lieberthal and Jim Kaat

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Grapefruit Game 9 -1934-36 Diamond Stars #92 Ethan Allen

Blue Jays 6Phillies 5
Spring Training Game 9 - Saturday Afternoon, February 29th in Dunedin
Record - 6-2-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies bullpen couldn't keep the Blue Jays off the board in the late innings as they lost, 6-5.

What It Means:  Blake Parker and Ramon Rosso allowed three runs in the eighth and ninth innings to give the Blue Jays the win.

What Happened:  Nick Martini and Logan Forsythe homered for the Phils and Deivy Grullon had a two-run single in the sixth to give the team a temporary lead.  Austin Listi had a pair of hits and an RBI.  Zack Wheeler made his spring debut and gave up a two-run home run in his two innings of work.

Featured Card:  Doug and I attended the Valley Forge baseball card show on Saturday and I'll have a full post on our outing and our haul from the day posted soon.  I only added a few Phillies cards to my collection, including this Ethan Allen card from the 1934-36 Diamond Stars (R327) set.  I was thrilled to find this card at a reasonable price and I'm now just one card away from a complete seven-card team set from this mid-1930s release.

Most of my allowance money went towards purchasing cards for our 1965 Topps set, and you can follow along with our progress as we build that set at my other blog.

Camp Head Count:  70

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Grapefruit Game 8 - 2019 Topps Heritage #702 Andrew McCutchen

Phillies 6Braves 5
Spring Training Game 8 - Friday Afternoon, February 28th in Clearwater
Record - 6-1-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phils won on a quirky walk-off error set in motion on a ground ball to second off the bat of top prospect Bryson Stott.

What It Means:  The late February strep throat virus has struck our household and I followed along with this game as I fell in and out of naps.

What Happened:  Bryce Harper just missed a grand slam in the fifth and instead had to settle for a bases-clearing double.  Aaron Nola allowed a pair of runs in his two innings of work.

Featured Card:  At some point on Friday, the Phillies admitted that their presumed starting left fielder, Andrew McCutchen, wouldn't be ready by opening day as he's still recovering from his gruesome knee injury from last season.

Camp Head Count:  70

Grapefruit Game 7 - 2019 Topps Now #348 Nick Pivetta

Phillies 12Red Sox 5
Spring Training Game 7 - Thursday Afternoon, February 27th in Fort Myers
Record - 5-1-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies offense banged out 12 runs on 20 hits in this decisive victory over the Red Sox.

What It Means:  Probably not much, other than we're almost through the first week of spring training games.

What Happened:  Scott Kingery and Deivy Grullon homered for the Phils.  Simon Muzziotti had three hits and two RBIs.  Nick Pivetta had a decent outing, lasting 2 2/3 innings and allowing a run on one hit while striking out five.

Featured Card:  Manager Joe Girardi has made it clear the fifth starter's job is going to be a battle between Pivetta and Vince Velasquez, and it seems like the third or fourth year now this battle has been ongoing.  I'd give the early edge to Pivetta as I think Velasquez would make a more effective reliever.

Camp Head Count:  70

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Grapefruit Game 6 - 2019 Choice Medusas de Lakewood #14 Rafael Marchan

Phillies 5Twins 4
Spring Training Game 6 - Wednesday Afternoon, February 26th in Fort Myers
Record - 4-1-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies scored three late runs to mount an impressive comeback victory in this 5-4 win over the Twins.

What It Means:  On the strength of these first six meaningless games in spring training, I'm now convinced the Phillies will win the 2020 World Series.

What Happened:  Zach Eflin started and pitched two scoreless innings.  The late inning rally started when Mickey Moniak tripled home Ali Castillo in the eighth.  Nick Maton's single scored Moniak and tied the game.  Arquimedes Gamboa hit a solo home run in the ninth to complete the comeback and Adonis Medina pitched a scoreless bottom of the ninth for the save.

Featured Card:  Both manager Joe Girardi and bench coach Rob Thomson have praised the work of catcher Rafael Marchan who has been a frequent guest invited to the big league games despite the team already having 70 players in camp.  Marchan has been solid behind the plate and he added two more hits in this game to raise his early spring average to .750.  He spent time in 2019 with both Low-A Lakewood and High-A Clearwater.

Camp Head Count:  70

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Grapefruit Games 4 and 5 - 2016 Bowman Platinum Top Prospects #TP-JO Jhailyn Ortiz

Blue Jays 13, Phillies 6
Spring Training Game 4 - Tuesday Afternoon, February 25th in Clearwater

Phillies 6Pirates 2
Spring Training Game 5 - Tuesday Afternoon, February 25th in Bradenton
Record - 3-1-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies split their squad, losing badly against the Blue Jays and winning against the Pirates.

What It Means:  Four days into spring training games, and I'm once again asking myself how come I didn't plan a trip to Clearwater.  My chosen profession would make a trip tough, but surely I could get away for a few days without everything falling apart.  Right?

What Happened:  In Clearwater, Bryce Harper and Jake Arrieta made their spring debuts.  Harper walked, struck out and had a sacrifice fly while Arrieta was hit hard in his two innings of work.  J.T. Realmuto had a double and a triple.  In Bradenton, Ranger Suarez started and threw two scoreless innings.  Jose Gomez had three RBIs, including a 2-run triple in the seventh.

Featured Card:  Prospect Jhailyn Ortiz hit an opposite field grand slam bomb in Clearwater in the seventh inning.  The Phillies signed Ortiz for a $4 million bonus in 2016, and he's struggled in his four years in the minors so far.  With High-A Clearwater last season, Ortiz hit .200 with 19 home runs and 65 RBIs.  He's still only 21, and if he can figure things out he'd be a huge help in the Phillies line-up at some point.

Camp Head Count:  70

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Grapefruit Game 3 - 2018 Topps Heritage #68 Mikie Mahtook

Phillies 8Orioles 7
Spring Training Game 3 - Monday Afternoon, February 24th in Clearwater
Record - 2-0-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies held on to beat the Orioles on a walk-off error from a ground ball hit by Luke Williams that scored Ali Castillo.

What It Means:  It's still way early, but 13 hits from the Phillies offense is a good sign as are the two scoreless innings from Vince Velasquez.

What Happened:  In his spring debut, Velasquez allowed a hit and a walk while striking out one in his efficient outing.  Pitching prospects Ramon Rosso and Zach Warren were impressive in their scoreless innings of work.  Warren struck out the side in a perfect ninth.

Mikie Mahtook, Luke Williams, Logan Forsythe and Nick Maton all homered for the Phillies. 

Featured Card:  Mahtook's three-run home run in the fourth marked the first long ball of the spring for the Phils.  Probably a long-shot to make the club, he'll most likely serve as outfield depth this season with the Triple-A IronPigs. 

Camp Head Count:  70

Monday, February 24, 2020

Grapefruit Game 2 - Phillie Phanatic Evolution

2020 Chachi Preview #10

2001 Nabisco Phillies
 
1992 Donruss Triple Play #133
 
2019 Topps Opening Day
Mascots #M-21
Phillies 4, Pirates 3 (10 Innings)
Spring Training Game 2 - Sunday Afternoon, February 23rd in Clearwater
Record - 1-0-1

One Sentence Summary:  Jay Bruce's two-run double in the first paced the offense and Aaron Nola pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut.

What It Means:  Everything stopped on Sunday afternoon as my family and I gathered around the TV and watched the first few innings of the game - the first of many games we'll watch together in 2020.

What Happened:  The Phillies enjoyed a four-run first inning and made the lead stand the rest of the game.  Jean Segura and Kyle Garlick accounted for the other two Phillies runs with RBI singles.  Nola allowed three hits and struck out a batter in his outing.

Featured Card:  It was exciting to watch the Phillies on TV again, but the big news for the club was the "evolution" of the team's mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, who debuted his new look.  For the record, I'm fine with this.  He looks strange for now, but our kids seemed to shrug off the changes and fans will get used to the new look over time.  There's a copyright lawsuit going on now between the Phillies and the original creators of the Phanatic (Harrison/Erickson) and the tweaks to the Phanatic's appearance are mostly, if not entirely, due to that.

The new look Phanatic has actual hands, some sort of scalloped wings on his arms and star shapes around his eyes.  His eyes are now surrounded by bushier blue fuzz.  He appears to be skinnier with a blue tail feather and he's wearing blue socks with red shoes.  His snout is also shorter.  Shown above are a few cards tracking the evolution of the best mascot in baseball over the years.

Camp Head Count:  70

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Grapefruit Game 1 - 2019 Bowman Heritage #53P-49 Alec Bohm

Phillies 8Tigers 8 (10 Innings)
Spring Training Game 1 - Saturday Afternoon, February 22nd in Lakeland
Record - 0-0-1

One Sentence Summary:  The Phillies opened their spring schedule playing to a tie against the Tigers in Lakeland.

What It Means:  And here we go.

What Happened:  By the time the semi-regulars were out of this game, the Phillies were trailing 5-2 heading into the eighth inning.  The team's prospects plated six runs in the eighth, started by an Alec Bohm RBI single.  Big hits followed from Arquimedes Gamboa (RBI single), Nick Maton (2-run double), Mickey Moniak (RBI double) and Darick Hall (RBI triple).

Nick Pivetta got the start.  He looked good in the first but had a rough second inning with a couple of bloop hits falling in and a misplayed ball in the outfield contributing to his three runs allowed.

Featured Card:  Bohm, the team's top draft pick in 2018, could be up in the majors at some point this season.  A third baseman for now, Bohm had a pair of hits in the game, including the one that started the team's eighth inning rally.  He's already had his share of baseball card appearances, including this one in the Bowman Heritage set released in December.

Camp Head Count:  71 - 1 = 70 - Officially, the spring opened with 71 players on the roster but David Robertson was placed on the 60-day injured list on the first day of camp.  By comparison, there were 61 players in camp for the first spring game in 2019. 

Nick Martini was designated for assignment on February 15th and after he passed through waivers, the Phillies brought him back as a non-roster invitee on February 21st.  Here's a final (?) list of Phillies 2020 non-roster invitees, adding Martini and subtracting Tyler Gilbert who was traded to the Dodgers.

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Phil Gosselin (inf) - Phillies - 2017 Topps Heritage #135 (Diamondbacks)
2.  Josh Harrison (inf) - Tigers - 2019 Topps Heritage #552 (Tigers)
3.  Mikie Mahtook (of) - Tigers - 2019 Topps #477 (Tigers)
4.  Matt Szczur (of) - Diamondbacks - 2018 Topps Heritage #528 (Padres)
5.  Christian Bethancourt (c) - NC Dinos (Korea) - 2017 Topps #697 (Padres)
6.  Ronald Torreyes (inf) - Twins - 2019 Topps #537 (Twins)
7.  Francisco Liriano (lhp) - Pirates - 2019 Topps Update #US61 (Pirates)
8.  Bud Norris (rhp) - Blue Jays - 2018 Topps #686 (Cardinals)
9.  Drew Storen (rhp) - Royals - 2017 Topps Heritage #573 (Reds)
10.  Neil Walker (inf) - Marlins - 2019 Topps Update #US132 (Marlins)
11.  Logan Forsythe (inf) - Rangers - 2019 Topps Heritage #635 (Rangers)
12.  Blake Parker (rhp) - Twins/Phillies - 2020 Topps #286 (Phillies)
13.  Anthony Swarzak (rhp) - Mariners/Braves - 2019 Topps Total #387 (Braves)
14.  Trevor Kelley (rhp) - Red Sox - N/A
15.  Nick Martini (of) - Athletics - 2019 Topps Big League #281 (Athletics)

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Card Added to Collection
16.  Alec Bohm (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #1
17.  Connor Brogdon (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #44
18.  Kyle Dohy (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25 Prospects #5
18.  Tyler Gilbert (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #10
19.  Darick Hall (1b) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #7
20.  Spencer Howard (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League #27
21.  Damon Jones (lhp) - Phillies - 2018 Choice Lakewood BlueClaws #13
22.  Henri Lartigue (c) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #12
23.  Austin Listi (1b-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #13
24.  Nick Maton (ss) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #6
25.  Mickey Moniak (of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #15
26.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #19
27.  Addison Russ (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #20
28.  Zach Warren (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #33
29.  Luke Williams (inf-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #23
30.  JD Hammer (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #8

Saturday, February 15, 2020

Garlick Added; Martini Dropped

2020 Chachi New Additions #12
 
2018 Grandstand Reading
Fightin Phils #13
It appears the roster tinkering isn't quite over yet, as the Phillies acquired outfielder Kyle Garlick from the Dodgers on Saturday for left-handed pitching prospect Tyler Gilbert.  Gilbert had been a non-roster invitee to spring training this season and last, and he's pitched for five seasons in the Phillies minor league system.  In 36 relief appearances last year for the IronPigs, he went 2-4 with a 2.83 ERA over 47 2/3 innings.

Garlick had been designated for assignment by the Dodgers on February 11th to make room on the 40-man roster following the Mookie Betts deal.  He appeared in 30 games last season with Los Angeles, hitting .250 with 3 home runs.  In Triple-A last season, he hit .314 with 23 home runs.

To make room for Garlick on the 40-man roster, Nick Martini was designated for assignment.  Martini had been claimed off waivers from the Reds in January.

Moving On - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Rob Brantly - c (9/30/19) - Elected free agency, signed the San Francisco Giants (1/18/20).
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Miami Marlins (1/7/20).
  • Brad Miller - inf (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals (2/12/20).
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/9/20).
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Texas Rangers (1/22/20).
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (1/16/20).
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (2/9/20).
  • Jose Pirela - of (11/1/19) - Released, signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Japan) (11/2/19).
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jerad Eickhoff - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the San Diego Padres (12/27/19).
  • Mike Morin - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/31/20).
  • Edubray Ramos - rhp - (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1/8/20).
  • Mitch Walding - 3b (11/4/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Maikel Franco - 3b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Kansas City Royals (12/27/19).
  • Cesar Hernandez - 2b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Cleveland Indians (12/29/19).
Coming Back - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (12/20/19).
  • Blake Parker - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (2/5/20).
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (2/12/20).
New Arrivals - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Robert Stock - rhp (10/30/19) - Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
  • Cristopher Sanchez - lhp (11/20/19) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for Curtis Mead.
  • Zack Wheeler - rhp (12/9/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Mets.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (12/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
  • Reggie McClain - rhp (1/31/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • Deolis Guerra - rhp (2/5/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • Kyle Garlick - of (2/15/20) - Acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers for Tyler Gilbert.

Friday, February 14, 2020

Hammer Returns; Non-Roster Invitees Up to 30

2019 Choice Reading
Fightin Phils #8
For the sake of completeness, I wanted to post the most up to date listing of non-roster invitees currently in camp with the Phillies.  Reliever JD Hammer had been designated for assignment on February 5th to make room on the 40-man roster for free agent signing Deolis Guerra.  Hammer cleared waivers, was outrighted to Lehigh Valley and returned to the club as their 30th (!) non-roster invitee.  The 71 players currently in camp (72 if you count Odubel Herrera) has got to be a franchise record.

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Major Baseball Card Appearance
1.  Phil Gosselin (inf) - Phillies - 2017 Topps Heritage #135 (Diamondbacks)
2.  Josh Harrison (inf) - Tigers - 2019 Topps Heritage #552 (Tigers)
3.  Mikie Mahtook (of) - Tigers - 2019 Topps #477 (Tigers)
4.  Matt Szczur (of) - Diamondbacks - 2018 Topps Heritage #528 (Padres)
5.  Christian Bethancourt (c) - NC Dinos (Korea) - 2017 Topps #697 (Padres)
6.  Ronald Torreyes (inf) - Twins - 2019 Topps #537 (Twins)
7.  Francisco Liriano (lhp) - Pirates - 2019 Topps Update #US61 (Pirates)
8.  Bud Norris (rhp) - Blue Jays - 2018 Topps #686 (Cardinals)
9.  Drew Storen (rhp) - Royals - 2017 Topps Heritage #573 (Reds)
10.  Neil Walker (inf) - Marlins - 2019 Topps Update #US132 (Marlins)
11.  Logan Forsythe (inf) - Rangers - 2019 Topps Heritage #635 (Rangers)
12.  Blake Parker (rhp) - Twins/Phillies - 2020 Topps #286 (Phillies)
13.  Anthony Swarzak (rhp) - Mariners/Braves - 2019 Topps Total #387 (Braves)
14.  Trevor Kelley (rhp) - Red Sox - N/A

Player (position) - 2019 Organization - Last Card Added to Collection
15.  Alec Bohm (inf) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #1
16.  Connor Brogdon (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #44
17.  Kyle Dohy (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 R-Phils Phillies Top 25 Prospects #5
18.  Tyler Gilbert (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Lehigh Valley IronPigs #10
19.  Darick Hall (1b) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #7
20.  Spencer Howard (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Topps Heritage Minor League #27
21.  Damon Jones (lhp) - Phillies - 2018 Choice Lakewood BlueClaws #13
22.  Henri Lartigue (c) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #12
23.  Austin Listi (1b-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #13
24.  Nick Maton (ss) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #6
25.  Mickey Moniak (of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #15
26.  Ramon Rosso (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #19
27.  Addison Russ (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #20
28.  Zach Warren (lhp) - Phillies - 2019 Grandstand Clearwater Threshers #33
29.  Luke Williams (inf-of) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #23
30.  JD Hammer (rhp) - Phillies - 2019 Choice Reading Fightin Phils #8

Hunter Returns; Updated List of Offseason Moves

2019 Topps #619
2020 Chachi Departures #12
2020 Chachi Departures #11
2020 Chachi Departures #6
On Wednesday, the Phillies brought back reliever Tommy Hunter on a one-year deal and moved David Robertson to the 60-day disabled list.  Robertson is recovering from Tommy John surgery and at best he could be back with the team in the second half of the season.  Hunter was limited to 5 1/3 innings last season for the Phillies and missed most of the year with an elbow injury.

Listed below is a look at an updated list of comings and goings for the Phillies, and by my unofficial tally there are still a few ex-Phillies out there looking for new homes as spring training gets started:  RHP Jared Hughes, Pat Neshek and Fernando Salas, LHP Pat Neshek and third baseman Mitch Walding.  Sean Rodriguez reportedly signed with the Marlins, although that deal has yet to be officially announced.

I'm bummed that Phillies Room favorite Brad Miller won't be coming back.  He was one of the sole bright spots last year in an otherwise disappointing season.

Moving On - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Rob Brantly - c (9/30/19) - Elected free agency, signed the San Francisco Giants (1/18/20).
  • Fernando Salas - rhp (9/30/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Corey Dickerson - of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Miami Marlins (1/7/20).
  • Brad Miller - inf (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the St. Louis Cardinals (2/12/20).
  • Logan Morrison - 1b (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/9/20).
  • Juan Nicasio - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Texas Rangers (1/22/20).
  • Sean Rodriguez - inf-of (10/31/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Drew Smyly - lhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (1/16/20).
  • Nick Vincent - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the San Francisco Giants (2/9/20).
  • Jose Pirela - of (11/1/19) - Released, signed with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp (Japan) (11/2/19).
  • Jared Hughes - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Pat Neshek - rhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jason Vargas - lhp (11/4/19) - Club option declined, elected free agency.
  • Jerad Eickhoff - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the San Diego Padres (12/27/19).
  • Mike Morin - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Milwaukee Brewers (1/31/20).
  • Edubray Ramos - rhp - (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1/8/20).
  • Mitch Walding - 3b (11/4/19) - Elected free agency.
  • Maikel Franco - 3b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Kansas City Royals (12/27/19).
  • Cesar Hernandez - 2b (12/2/19) - Non-tendered, elected free agency, signed with the Cleveland Indians (12/29/19).
Coming Back - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Phil Gosselin - inf (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (12/20/19).
  • Blake Parker - rhp (11/4/19) - Outrighted, elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (2/5/20).
  • Tommy Hunter - rhp (10/31/19) - Elected free agency, signed with the Phillies (2/12/20).
New Arrivals - 2019-2020 Offseason
  • Robert Stock - rhp (10/30/19) - Claimed off waivers from the San Diego Padres.
  • Cristopher Sanchez - lhp (11/20/19) - Acquired from the Tampa Bay Rays for Curtis Mead.
  • Zack Wheeler - rhp (12/9/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Mets.
  • Didi Gregorius - ss (12/13/19) - Signed as a free agent formerly with the New York Yankees.
  • Nick Martini - of (1/14/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
  • Reggie McClain - rhp (1/31/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Seattle Mariners.
  • Deolis Guerra - rhp (2/5/20) - Claimed off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers.