Tuesday, June 5, 2018

WWII Hero and NFL Hall of Famer Emlen Tunnell Honored in Radnor PA

On Saturday June 2nd Radnor township where team Phungo resides honored WWII Hero, NFL Hall of Famer, and Radnor HS Alum Emlen Tunnell with a statue at the local township building.

Emlen Statue Unveiled 2018 June 2

The Statue stands at local the township buildings entrance which also houses the Sports Hall of Fame for Delaware County.

Jennifer Frudakis-Petry 

The sculptor for the project was local artist Jennifer Frudakis-Petry who was on hand for the ceremony. Frudakis-Petry has done a number of Portrait Sculptures (busts) and Bas Reliefs including several sports artworks.

Her baseball commissions include a Bronze Bas-Relief at Atlantic City's Pop Lloyd Stadium that celebrates the history of the Negro Leagues

And Notable to Phillies fans she has worked as an assistant to Zenos Frudakis on the four Hall of Fame statues at Citizen's Bank Park (Schmidt, Ashburn, Robin Roberts, and Carlton).

Alongside the statue is a plaque summarizing Tunnell's career accomplishments.

Ceremony Speakers
The dedication featured a US Coast Guard Honor Guard with Coast Guard Commander William McKinstry as a featured speaker. McKinstry discussed Tunnell's tenure with the Coast Guard and how he saved lives of fellow Guardsmen on two different occasions. To read more about the ceremony please check Linda Stein's Delco Times column here.

Billy "White Shoes" Johnson

Sportswise the big name speaker was Billy "White Shoes" Johnson. And Yes..

He Still wears the White Shoes!

Other sports figures present included NFL former Vikings and Jets D-Coordinator Ted Cottrell, New York Giant Don Clune and Wisconsin Basketball Coach Bo Ryan.

The day was very well done with ceremonies lasting about 90 minutes. In addition to the Honor Guard presentation there was a terrific rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Vanessa Howard. All the sports related folks gave great speeches with Ted Cottrell being particularly effective. He noted that many of today's players are "knuckleheads" and proposed that the NFL retired the #45 league-wide to honor the memory of Emlen Tunnell as both a hero and pioneer on and off the field.

Jim Vankoski is one of the driving figures behind the Sports Legends of Delaware County Museum and deserves recognition for dedication for creating a great space and putting together a terrific day to honor a legend.

Sources and Links
Delco Times - Linda Stein
Jennifer Frudakis
Sports Legends of Delaware County Museum


Thursday, May 10, 2018

ANNIVERSARY: 1993 May 10 - Phillies Win on Dauton Slam, Push record to 23-7

Today marks the 25th Anniversary of the first Grand Slam that I saw in person. This is a re-issue of a posting published here 5 years ago:

I had always been a baseball fan but in 1993 it reached another level. The 93 Phils is where my fascination with baseball as an adult began.

And if I was to point to a single game where this all happened it would have been the Pirates @ Phillies game on May 10th 1993.

1993 05 10 Game Ticket - Pirates 1 @ Phillies 5

The Phillies were coming off a big comeback win where Mariano Duncan had hit an 8th inning Grand Slam off of Lee Arther Smith.  Smith was one of the most dominating closers of the late 80s and The game completed a 3 game sweep of the St Louis Cardinals.

The next afternoon a colleague popped into my office and asked if I wanted to go down to the game.  It was the first time I had ever considered going to a Phils game on a whim - and I am glad I did.

The Pirates and Phils were knotted at 1 in the 7th inning, Lenny Dykstra reached with a one out single Mickey Morandini reached on a 2 base error and John Kruk was intentionally walked to load the basesDave Hollins grounded into a force at home setting up a bases loaded 2 out AB for team leader Darren Daulton.  And Daulton delivered - One day after Mariano Duncan hit a go-ahead slame Daulton had one of his own.  The Philllies had won 4 in a row and ran their record to 23-7 16 games over .500.  They would not look back going all the way to the World Series.

1994 Topps Black Gold #28 Darren Daulton

It was the first time I ever saw a Grand Slam in person and it was the first time I ever really understood what it was like to be watching a great baseball team. To this day it remains one of the greatest games I have ever been to.

Friday marks the 20th anniversary of that game - This year I plan on focussing on commemorating the 1983 Phillies NL Pennant but there will definitely be a few nods to the 1993 Clubs as well.

 Go Phightins!  

Sources and Links
1993 Phillies Index
Darren Daulton Index

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

ANNIVERSARY: 1993 Apr 9 - Opening Day

Ok the busy/lazy blogger that I am missed an Anniversary. 25 Years ago the Phillies held the home opener for their 1993 Pennant Winning season. 

The 1993 Phillies opened at Houston and took all 3 games from the Astros. The Phillies returned home hosting the Cubs in front of 60,985 - the largest opening day in club history - and Team Phungo was there for the game.

As one can tell in 1993 I was not very picky about taking card of my souvenirs. This is the first major league ticket that I ever had with a play photograph. It was pretty special for the era. Oddly since then we have gone through a period when almost all tickets had pictures to the current situation where we don't use hard tickets at all. 

Regardless, I loved it at the time and I still love the tix today. Note that below the photo the card err I mean ticket honors Darren Daulton by mentioning his 1992 RBI crown. Well on his Ticket Photo day, he had a helluva day which included 5 RBI on a pair of Home Runs. So we have our star player on the tix, and the tix mentions RBIs and he piles on 5 RBI. Well Done Dutch!

Unfortunately that was not enough as the Phillies lost to the Cubs 11-7. The Phillies fell to second place a half game behind the 3-0 Pirates - It was the only day the 1993 Phillies fell out of first place. 
Sources and Links
Macho Row - William C Kashatus

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

1959 Topps All-Star #553 Orlando Cepeda - and a BIG cartoon

Last month Orlando Cepeda had to be rushed to the hospital to be treated for a "cardiac incident". Thankfully, according to a SF Gate article the Hall of Fame first baseman has made significant progress towards recovery. 

The scary news got me to check and I realized that I had not yet dedicated a column to Cepeda. Tonight we rectify this issue. 

1959 Topps All-Star #553 Orlando Cepeda

In 1959 Orlando Cepeda made the first of eleven All-Star teams that he would be part of during his 17 year career. 1959 began a four year run that featured two all-star games. Cepeda made all 8 of those teams. Cepeda only appeared in the first of the two 1959 games, with the NL winning the contest 5-4 despite the fact that Cepeda went 0-4.

In addition to the 11 ASG Orlando Cepeda's accolades include a World Champion, four postseason appearances,  an MVP (1967) award and a Rookie of the Year (1958).

And oh yeah that Hall of Fame plaque awarded by the Veterans Committee in 1999.  

The 1959 Topps All-Star cards close the set and were the last to be released for the year. The nice thing about this is that it allows Topps to put out an All-Star set representing the current years game, unfortunately they made some dubious choices in selection.

Orlando Cepeda would appear on two other All-Star cards, 1962 and 1968. In addition to being included in the 1968 ASG set Cepeda was also the subject of that years NL All-Star puzzle.

1959 Topps All-Star #553 Orlando Cepeda (b-side)

I like the backs of the 1959 Topps All-Stars, The full-size cartoon and fun-fact are nicely done. I also like the Bazooka ad at the bottom.

BIG Cartoon
1959 Topps #535 Orlando Cepeda also happens to be a landmark card. I believe 1959 Topps All-Stars are the first subset to include the full-size cartoon. There are actually 2 cards that precede Cepeda in the 1959 ASG Subset, but those are both managers, The first of which is Fred Haney who is the first oversized cartoon back. However since he is not a player, and neither is #534 Casey Stengel that makes today's featured guest Orlando Cepeda the first player to have an oversized cartoon back - PIONEER! Thanks to Fuji for getting my wheels rolling in this direction.

Other Voices
CommishBob covers this over at his 1959 Topps Blog

Orlando Cepeda Index
1975 Topps  #205 1967 MVP  (with Carl Yastrzemski)

Sources and Links
1959 Topps All-Stars Index 
1968 Topps Blog
1959 Topps 1 f/g card at a time
SF Gate

2018 0321 - Added Big Cartoon Paragraph, Thanks Fuji

Thursday, March 1, 2018

1959 Topps All-Star Index

This is an index of our postings related to the 1959 All-Star Subset. It is the second All-Star set produced by Topps.

1959 Topps All-Star #553 Orlando Cepeda

American League

552 Casey Stengel Yankes MGR
554 Bill Skowron Yankees 1B
556 Nellie Fox White Sox 2B
558 Frank Malzone Red Sox 3B
560 Luis Aparicio White Sox SS
562 Al Kaline Tigers OF
564 Mickey Mantle Yankees OF
566 Roy Sievers Senators OF
568 Gus Triandos Orioles OF
570 Bob Turley Yankees OF
572 Billy Pierce White Sox OF

National League
551 Fred Haney Braves MGR
553 Orlando Cepeda Giants 1B
555 Bill Mazeroski Pirates 2B
557 Ken Boyer Cardinals 3B
559 Ernie Banks Cubs SS
561 Hank Aaron Braves OF
563 Willie Mays Giants NL OF
565 Wes Covington Braves OF
567 Del Crandall - Braves OF
569 Bob Friend Pirates OF
571 Warren Spahn Braves OF

Sources & Links
1958 Topps All-Stars
1960 Topps All-Stars 
Baseball-Ref: Baseball Cards

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

International Polar Bear Day: Sherry Magee T205

Tuesday February 27th is International Polar Bear Day. The day is dedicated to raising awareness of the plight of the Polar Bear. You can even Adopt a Polar Bear for just $30 - well virtually anyway.

1911 T205 Sherrwood Magee

Sherry Magee is one of those borderline Hall of Famers from the deadball era that I don't know much about. He was traded away from the Phillies prior to their 1915 NL Pennant winning season so he did not get to play for that squad. He did manage to get into a World Series with the 1919 Cincinnati Reds who defeated the ill-fated Joe Jackson / Black Sox team.

In 2003 Magee was added to the Phillies Wall of Fame during an era that included several other early 20th century Phillies such as Gavvy Cravath and the original Billy Hamilton. Magee's best year with the club was 1910 when he led the league in Batting Average, Runs, RBI and Total Bases. In addition to those traditional stats he led the league in OBP, Slugging, OPS, OPS+, and Offensive WAR. That is a Mike Trout type year kids!

T206 may get all the notoriety because of the Honus Wagner card but I much prefer their 1911 predecessor T205 (see below). There is so much more going on with T205, The color, Gold Borders, Facsimile Signature and Team Logo are all things that stand out and then you flip the card over and...

1911 T205 Sherrwood Magee (b-side)

Look at all that text AND Stats. It may only be Games Played, Batting Average, and Fielding Percentage but they are stats. The Final Stat line includes the League Leading batting average mentioned above. The final line in the biography mentions the 263 Total Bases.

Not sure how many issues prior to 1952 Topps contain both a written synopsis and a stat box.

At the bottom of the card we return to todays theme "International Polar Bear Day". T205 were issued for a variety of Tobacco brands, This one just happens to be Polar Bear.

2002 Topps T206 #123 Pat Burrell (mini)

Among the Topps many retro brands are both T205 and T206 cards. This is a 2002 mini, which means it matches the size of the original tobacco cards from the early part of the 20th century.

2002 Topps T206 #123 Pat Burrell (mini / b-sdie)
Flipping over the card we get to see a faux Polar Bear ad, as Topps is not associated with the Tobacco company.
One of my minor collections is Polar Bear cards, both originals and retros. I have no official list, but do enjoy picking up the ones I see. Ideally I would like to have 1 T205 from each team - that would make for a good set for me.
This is all because my High School Mascot was the Polar Bear. It's a funny connection, I suppose it make me feel good when I hear stories about Polar Bears and I think of my younger days.
International Polar Bear Day

Yes it is a real think and if you want to learn more about the plight of the Polar Bear you can check here.

Sources and Links
Phillies Wall of Fame Index
Polar Bears International

Monday, February 26, 2018

Happy Birthday Matt Stairs 2009 Topps #139

Matt Stairs celebrates his 50th Birthday on February 27th. Of course Matt will always be remembered for one of the biggest Home Runs in Phillies history.

Game 4 of the 2008 NLCS Playoffs:

2009 Topps #139 Matt Stairs (image swiped from topps card db)

In the 8th inning of a 5-5 tie Stairs came in to pinch-hit and blasted a 3-1 pitch from Dodgers pitcher Jonathan Broxton deep into the Dodger Stadium bleachers. It is one of the hardest hit balls I have ever seen. The homer capped the scoring as the Phillies won the game 7-5 and took a 3-1 series lead. 

2009 Topps #139 Matt Stairs (b-sides /image swiped from topps card db)

The back of the card has a similar synopsis as we have written above along with the RHE box. Fumy how it is unlabeled bit all baseball fans know what it means. Stairs line for the game consists of his single PH AB - 2 RBI nobody Left on Base!

2008 Oct 13 Matt Stair Home Run in Game 4 of the NLCS

I was able to find the original image but it there is no associated photo credit in the accompanying Philly.com article. Notice that on this 2009 card the umpire has been digitally removed. Of course this meant that something had to be added in the umps absence. It looks like Topps took a crowd from a different game and inserted them in the space vacated by the ump. Check Stairs head then move to the right. The first guy is a match, Kid in orange shirt missing, Blue shirt w/ blue cap and shades over cap also missing. Same thing on row below - matches end with the person in the maroon shirt. ahh The joys of Photoshop.

UPDATE: I have found the source photo, it was taken by Chris Carlson and can be found here.  

Matt Stairs Index
1991 ProCards #259 (Swag)
2007 Topps #UH119 (Gold / Canadian Baseball HOF induction)
2009 Phungo #12

Sources & Links
2008 World Series Champs
Game Dated Cards Index
Topps Card DB
AP Images

2018 0228: AP Image found

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions