Sunday, March 1, 2015

Happy Anniversary "The Sound of Music"

50 Years ago this week the film "The Sound of Music" was released.

2014 Topps Heritage Flashback - The Sound of Music

Last year Topps commemorated teh event as part of the Heritage Flashback Subset.

Much more than I wan to get into here, but I will just mention that this film and musical was a large part of the entertainment world in the team Phungo household when I was a kid.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Swag from Night Owl Cards

Tonight we have another Swag post featuring a couple of highlights from a recent batch of cards that arrived from Night Owl Cards

1988 Fleer Superstars #33 of 44 Mike Schmidt

Mike Schmidt standing in the batter's box wearing the Phillies powder blue road uni evokes his 1987 Base Card. The pix are not from the same session, the above Fleer card appears to be at Wrigley field in Chicago, while the 1987T card appears to be at Montreal.

The 1988 Fleer Superstars was a 44 card set distributed a McCrory's a department store chain (based in York PA) that went out of business in 2001.

2013 Topps #309 Domonic Brown (Green Parallel)

I refer to the Green Topps Instagrams A Christmas cards, especially for the Red teams like the Phillies Reds and Cardinals.

1981 Donruss #284 Sparky Lyle

Sparky Lyle was one of the original hipsters.

At one time Lyle was the manager of the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League, he is still involved with the team but in a a more ceremonial role.

1962 Topps #303 Frank Torre

Ok it has some flaws but it is a 1962 Topps of Joe Torre's brother.

There were plenty of other goodies, I just wanted to hit a cross section of the cards sent over by NOC. Not only one of my favorite card writers but a great trader as well.

Sources & Links
Mike Schmidt HoF Index
Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards (Bob Lemke)
Somerset Patriots
Open checklist
Dayton Business Journal

Friday, February 27, 2015

Swag from Paul's Random Stuff

Social Media outlets can suck up a lot of time and for a procrastinator like myself they are quite dangerous. .

However, occasionally something pops on Twitter that gets my attention in a good way.

2015 Topps #302 Martin Prado (Gatorade Variation)

Paul of Paul's Random Stuff was tweeting some 2015T cards and he posted the above card. There are so many variations in 2015T I did not know this one existed. But I am glad the card exists.  

Now one may ask, what does Team Phungo want with a 2015T New York Yankees card of a player that only wore the uniform for about a week.

Well this card, which is a variation of Prado's 2015 base card, is going into my very special Phungo Games Colleciton.

Last September Team Phungo made a special trek up to the Stadium to see Derek Jeter play in his home park one last time. For more details on that game click here.  The Captain had an uneventful night (1-5) but Martin Prado had a terrific game 2-5 with 3 RBI including a game winning single - which led to the Gatorade Bath above.

A Big thanks to Paul for adding this card to my favorite collection!

2015 Topps
I am picking a nit here but as a Yankee Martin Prado played more second base than third. This card is a "Special" card featuring a photo from a specific game in which Prado played second. In Topps defense the bulk of Prado's time with  the D-Backs was spent at third. 

Sources and Links
Index of Phungo Games 
2015 Topps

Thursday, February 26, 2015

2012 Timeless Talents Andy Pettitte Cliff Lee

Last week the New York Yankees announced that they are retiring the numbers of Bernie Williams Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte.

2012 Topps Timeless Talents #TT12 Andy Pettitte Cliff Lee

This generated some discussion among Baseball Nerds. First there is a the sheer gluttony - the Yankees have 17 Retired Numbers (for 18 players - 8 is retired for both Yogi and Bill Dickey). Secondly Andy Pettitte's name raised some eyebrows.

Pettitte admitted to HGH use after being named in the Mitchell Report. It should be noted that according to Pettitte the PED use occurred in 2002 prior to the banning of HGH.

Andy Pettitte's borderline HoF resume is largely based upon his incredible postseason numbers. The Mitchell Report may tip the scales against him.

I believe a large part of the Yankees motivation for retiring Pettitte's number now is to ease the return of Alex Rodriguez from his PED suspension. 

Timeless Talents
Andy Pettitte's partner on the 2012 Timeless Talents card is the Phillies Cliff Lee. The players are partnered as lefty aces that have big-game reputations.  

Lets take a closer look at the flip o the card that has some comparatives of the two players.

2012 Timeless Talents Andy Pettitte Cliff Lee (b-side)

Stats are interesting with one Lee at mid career while Pettitte was (at the time retired)

There is also a bit of a lazy Topps here - despite being released in 2012 the copy ignores the 2011 postseason. Cliff Lee took an L in his only 2011 playoff start - his record would have been 7-3 with a 2.52 ERA when this card was released.

Cliff Lee 2015
Today we find Lee 24 wins and 500 strikeouts down the road and 3 years older.  Last year was the worst season for Lee since 2007. He pitched only 13 games, 81+ innings with a mediocre 102 ERA+, all good for a replacement level +0.8 WAR.

Cliff Lee is now 36. From what I understand Lee is healthy after opting for rehab and recovery over surgery that would have cost him the 2015 season. Only 3 of Lee's top 10 comps made significant contributions at 36+, 2 never pitched again - including #1 comp Roy Oswalt. However miserable of a memory Oswalt may be for Phils fans, I am going to bring up one that distresses them more.

2011 Chris Carpenter

Yes Carpenter's age 36 season was the one where he dominated the 2011 postseason which included eliminating the Phillies in a 1-0 NLDS game 5.

In 2011 Carpenter was good for a 3.5 WAR, which is where I will target Cliff Lee. Not great, but not bad, and if he mimics 2011 Carpenter there is that World Series victory.

Sources and Links
Phillies WAR Projections 2015
Cardboard Connection
New York Yankees

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2015 Heritage the Originals: League Leaders Cards Sonny Siebert - Mysterious Extra

The League Leaders subset returned in 1966 Topps, but it was moved away from the top of the set where it had lived in the past three releases. 

The 12 cards were numbered from 215-226 and represented the same six categories (for each league) that were present in 1965: Batting, HR, RBI, ERA, Pitching, Ks 

There is at least one oddity in the subset

1966 Topps #226 LL AL Strikeouts

All of the other League Leaders cards are of the triple variety, the logical explanation here would have been that McLain and Siebert had tied in strikeouts. But they did not.

1966 Topps #226 LL AL Strikeouts (b-side)

This opens the door for King Felix to get on the 2015 Heritage League Leaders card. In 2014 he finished 4th behind David Price, Corey Kluber and Matt Scherzer.

And YES the Topps Heritage checker came out recently - check it out card #226 has 4 players on the card. Max Scherzer had a legit claim on the #3 spot in AL Strikeouts (252), but he will share his podium spot with Felix Hernandez (248)

Nice attention to detail Topps. 

Sources and Links
1966 Topps Blog
2015 Heritage/1966 Topps Index
cardboard connection
Topps Database

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Sitting 20 feet from Eddie Cicotte Pt 2

A few weeks ago Team Phungo took in some culture in the form of Local Theater. We checked out a production of Anton Checkov's "The Cherry Orchard" at the People's Light Theater in Malvern PA. 

I have seen four productions at the People's Light and this was my least favorite. Following the play I read some background on the play and it is mentioned that directors struggle with the works balance of farce and tragedy.

I think this may have been the issue with the People's Light production of "The Cherry Orchard". The downbeats out paced the fun parts and the strongest character,  Lopakhin, was also the least likable.

My other issue was that several times in the play the dialogue between the characters came to a complete stop. I think this was to allow the audience to think about the action, these dramatic pauses were too frequent for my taste.

Regardless I was glad that I saw the show. Mrs Phungo does a great deal of work in Russian Studies and through her I have learned a lot about Checkovian theater. We have seen several Checkov influenced productions but this is the first time I saw one of the original plays.

1988 Orion Pictures "Eight Men Out" #6 David Strathairn as Eddie Cicotte

The plays lead roles featured a pair of actors with significant resumes for suburban theater, Mary McDonnell and David Straithairn

McDonnell is the star of the TNT drama series "Major Crimes" a spinoff of "the Closer". She has won and Obie and been nominated for several Oscars including Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Stands With A Fist in "Dances With Wolves". McDonnell's Daughter, Olivia Mell. also appeared in the Cherry Orchard. 

The lead male role of Leonid was played by David Straithairn who is familiar to baseball film fans as the actor who portrayed Eddie Cicotte in Eight Men Out

David Straithairn must be a fan of not just the theater, but Theater in Philadelphia. Back in 2010 we Strathairn in the Vaclav Havel play "Leaving" which is Checkov influenced. To see our review of that show click here.

It is pretty cool to see noted stars in a tiny theater in a small town like Malvern. People's Light always puts together quality plays, and despite my reservations presented at the top of the article I am glad that I got to see their production of "the Cherry Orchard"

Sources & Links
People's Light Theater
Eldritch Press

Monday, February 23, 2015

WAR Stories Phillies 2015 Jonathan Papelbon and 2015T Phils Checker

Today we take a look at Jonathan Papelbon's 2015 WAR projection.

2015 Topps #143 Jonathan Papelbon

Papelbon is not one of my favorite Phils and I am not going to spend a lot of time over-analyzing his upcoming season.

He is coming off his best season as the Phillies closer. He is 34 and seems to pitch better when the stakes are higher. The stakes for the 2015 Phils don't look to be in Papelbon's preferred stratosphere. I am seeing some regression and will give him a 1.7 WAR for 2015.

2015 Topps Series 1 Phillies Checker 

10 Cole Hamels 
51 Ryan Howard
118 Domonic Brown
123 Ben Revere 
143 Jonathan Papelbon 
163 Chase Utley
187 Marlon Byrd
212 Cliff Lee
218 David Buchanan 
222 Antonio Bastardo
233 Carlos Ruiz 
309 Maikel Franco (RC)

There are a dozen Phillies on the 2015T S1 checker, of course as of press time two of those players are already gone (Byrd and Bastardo). Hamels or Lee may be gone prior to the beginning of the season. If they both remain healthy at least one will likely be dealt by the deadline.

The 12 players chosen don't leave much for S2. Among the players we can look forward to seeing are Ken Giles, Cody Asche, Darin Ruf, Aaron Harang, Chad Billingsley, Grady Sizemore, Freddy Galvis and whatever other Shortstop the Phillies can pick up in  the next month plus the team card. 

Sources and Links
Phillies 2015+
2015 Topps
Cardboard Connection


a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions