Saturday, October 3, 2020

1996 Phillies Team-Issued Photo Cards

Number of Cards:  36
Card Size:  4" x 6"
Description:  The Phillies got wild and crazy with the design of their 1996 set, doing away with the red band and white lettering used since 1989 and instead using "scruffy" white lettering as described by the set's entry in the 2001 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards.  The card backs feature biographical information along with complete career statistics, and the 1996 All-Star Game logo.

How Distributed:  The original 36-card set was available for sale at Veterans Stadium throughout the season.  The Catalog notes the set was sold for $9, which seems high given that recent team-issued photo card sets have sold for $5.  For the second year in a row, there was no update set issued.

The Tinsley card is a rarity as it actually features a photo of outfielder Glenn Murray.  The Phillies realized their error early in the season, pulling the Tinsley/Murray card from the set.  When I bought my photo card set in the summer of 1996 at the Vet, my set had only 35 cards and was missing the Tinsley/Murray card.  I finally tracked my copy of this card down in January 2020 after searching for it for over 23 years.  I've indicated below that the Tinsley/Murray card should be considered a short-print.

Complete Standard Checklist (Unnumbered, presented here alphabetically with uniform number on back of cards): 

1. Howard Battle (#34)
2. Mike Benjamin (#5)
3. Toby Borland (#42)
4. Ricky Bottalico (#52)
5. Larry Bowa CO (#2)
6. Dave Cash CO (#30)
7. Carlos Crawford (#54)
8. Darren Daulton (#10)
9. Lenny Dykstra (#4)
10. Jim Eisenreich (#8)
11. Sid Fernandez (#50)
12. Jim Fregosi MG (#11)        

13. Steve Frey (#37)
14. Mike Grace (#44)
15. Tyler Green (#28)
16. Pete Incaviglia (#9)
17. Gregg Jefferies (#25)
18. Kevin Jordan (#23)
19. Dave Leiper (#43)
20. Mike Lieberthal (#24)
21. Denis Menke CO (#14)
22. Michael Mimbs (#47)
23. Mickey Morandini (#12)    
24. Terry Mulholland (#45)

25. Johnny Podres CO (#46)        
26 Joe Rigoli CO (#59)
27. Ken Ryan (#51)
28. Benito Santiago (#18)
29. Russ Springer (#33)
30. Kevin Stocker (#19)
31. Lee Tinsley SP (#26)
32. John Vukovich CO (#3)
33. Mark Whiten (#22)
34. Mike Williams (#41)
35. Todd Zeile (#27)
36. Phillie Phanatic

One and Only Phillies Baseball Card (4):  Benjamin, Crawford, Frey, Leiper
First Appearance in Phillies Team Issued Set (10):  Battle, Fernandez, Grace, Jordan, Ryan, Santiago, Springer, Tinsley, Whiten, Zeile
Returning Players in Phillies Team Issued Set (14):  Borland, Bottalico, Daulton, Dykstra, Eisenreich, Green, Incaviglia, Jefferies, Lieberthal, Mimbs, Morandini, Mulholland, Stocker, Williams

This is the only place to find Phillies cards for short-timers Benjamin, Crawford, Frey and Leiper.  The back of Frey's card indicates a uniform number of 37, but he had switched to 29 for the start of the regular season.

Manager (1):  Fregosi
Coaches (6):  Bowa, Cash, Menke, Podres, Rigoli, Vukovich
Phillie Phanatic (1):  The Phanatic returns to the set after a one year absence.
Broadcasters (0)
Commemorative Cards (0)

Surprises:  Every member of the opening day roster is in the set with the exception of Kevin Sefcik and Rich Hunter.  Also somewhat surprising is the Phillies had five players start the season on the injured list and only two of them, Benjamin and Green, have cards in the set.  The other three players, Bobby Munoz, Curt Schilling and David West, do not.

Omissions:  Hunter, Murray and Munoz would eventually get cards (see below) but Sefcik, Schilling and West would not.  There are a ton of players who could have received update cards as 53 different players suited up for the 1996 Phillies.  If we just tally up those players on the active roster for 50 games or more, there could have been cards for Ron Blazier, Ruben Amaro Jr., Ricardo Jordan, David  Doster and J.R. Phillips.

Variations/Rarities:  When I originally ran this post almost six years ago, fellow collector Rick provided information on seven cards available outside the standard 36-card set.

ALS Autograph/Auction Party       
1. Bobby Munoz (#35) 

2. Glenn Murray (#56)
3. Ricky Otero (#15)
4. Jim Wright CO (#58)

Late Season Additions
1. Rich Hunter (#39)
2. Desi Relaford (#17)

3. Scott Rolen (#6)

The three players (Munoz, Murray and Otero) and interim coach Jim Wright were all active on June 20th, the date of the annual ALS Autograph/Auction Party in 1996.  Other players active that date that could have cards (maybe?) are Blazier, Doster, Jordan, Phillips, Schilling and Sefcik with West on the disabled list at the time.

Scott Rolen was recalled on August 1st and Desi Relaford was acquired from the Mariners that same day.  Hunter returned from the minors on August 10th.  I have copies of the Rolen and Otero cards in my collection and these are both printed on thicker card stock than the rest of the set.

Also See:  1996 Phillies - The Missing Links1996 Topps Phillies, includes recollections from the 1996 All-Star Game at the Vet.

Resources:  The Trading Card; Phillies collector Rick (@rickphils)

This set was originally featured in a post back in November 2014, and I'm going to slowly go through some of these team issued set posts and update them with new information gleaned (if any) over the past six years.

1995 Phillies Team-Issued Photo Cards / 1997 Phillies Team-Issued Photo Cards

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