Tuesday, September 8, 2020

ANNIVERSARY - Ryan Howard: 2011 Topps Heritage Baseball Highlight Sketches #BHS-10

Ten years ago Ryan Howard became the quickest player to reach 250 Home Runs. On September 8th 2010 playing in his 855th game Howard homered to deep left field. 

Topps commemorated the event with an insert in the 2011 Heritage set. 

2011 Topps Heritage Baseball Highlight Sketches #BHS-10 Ryan Howard 

Highlight Sketches was a 25 card insert set with artwork by Southern California based artist Dave Hobrecht. The set also includes a card dedicated to Roy Halladay's 2011 No-Hitter. 

Howard's Home Runs was part of a 10-6 Phillies victory over the Florida Marlns. It was the 28th of 31 Home Runs that Howard would hit in 2010 - good enough for 8th in the league. 


2011 Topps Heritage Baseball Highlight Sketches #BHS-10 Ryan Howard  (b-side)

The caption details Howard's Home Run pace and also mentions the record holder Ralph Kiner. 

Kiner's 250th Home Run occurred in 1951 during a Pirates 5-4 loss versus the Boston Braves. 

2010 Ryan Howard at the Crossroads

In 2010 was basically mid-career - the 7th of 13 seasons. He had 855 games in the books and 717 remaining. Unfortunately the bottom half of his career did not match the promise of Howard's start. After averaging 46 Home Runs a season from 2006-2010, Howard would hit 33 in 2011 and then never post more than 25 again. The downward turn due to a combination of a devastating injury that occurred at the end of 2011 NLDS and the rigors of age. 

Ryan Howard's final 717 games would yield 132 Home Runs - Not terrible, but roughly half the pace of those record setting first 250 Home Runs.

Sources and Links

Ryan Howard Index

Game Dated Cards


Dave Hobrecht


Sports Card Radio

Thursday, September 3, 2020

1974 Topps #80 Tom Seaver (1944-2020)

I learned a lot about Tom Seaver while researching “The Andy Warhol Triple Play”. My focus was Warhol but I learned a lot about his subjects, one of which was Tom Seaver.

The more you learn about Seaver the more interesting he becomes. He was more than a ballplayer, He was a devoted family man, a vintner, and a connoisseur of the arts.

One of his many interests popped up recently when I saw the cartoon on the back of Tom Seaver’s 1974 Topps card. 

1974 Topps #80 Tom Seaver (b-side)

Tom Enjoys Playing Bridge. Mildly interesting… Then last night while re-reading my notes from the Warhol Project I came across an enjoyable blog posting written by Phillip Richter, a schoolmate of Tom and Nancy’s daughter Sarah. An excerpt from the column read:

While walking and talking and tending to the vineyards, Tom made the comment that pitching is like playing bridge. To be a really successful pitcher you have to get inside the mind of the batter. Is he having a good day? Will he wait for a fat pitch or just aggressively strike at anything served to him? What are his goals? How consistent a player is he? Your goal as a pitcher is to control the outcome. Tom said that it was his job to control where the ball was going to go should the batter connect with the ball and make a hit.  I know next to nothing about baseball but Tom’s complex and astute thesis was logical and so well articulated. It made all the sense in the world. I would never have seen parallels between the game of bridge and the art of throwing a baseball at high speed. Tom knows that I’m not a crazed baseball fanatic but I have always had huge admiration and respect for his many incredible accomplishments. Back in the day I was around for a lot of his career highlights–like when he got his 300th win in 1985. 

Tom Seaver just doesn’t play bridge, he plays bridge the way he pitches or pitches the way he plays cards. The article was written in 2016, Seaver would have been 71 years of age – 30 years removed from his final pitch, yet here he is making parallels between two games he loves. 

1974 Topps

1974 Topps #80 Tom Seaver

I have always loved this card, great action shot of an absolute legend - good use of the landscape format in the mainly portrait style 1974T set. 

The card re-drew my attention earlier this summer as part of a Project2020 inspired activity spearheaded by @_gritz_ of Project 62.  Gritz posted a randomish page of 9 noteworthy trading cards. Similar to Project2020 the assignment to the world of amateur artists was to redesign the card – Project2020 for the common folks.

One of the cards posted was the 1974T Seaver. 1974 has the best -toons and I had to flip the card over. That is where I spotted the comic. Once I saw it I knew that was the route I was going:

 Phungo Original: 1974T Tom Seaver

In creating my own Tom Seaver card I kept the 1974T design – in a simplified format. The original comic is more portrait – I have changed it to Landscape format which necessitated moving the copy. I added a touch of color to the lines – keeping the Mets 1974T flavors. My biggest remaining modification was identifying the card being pitched by Seaver as the Ace of Diamonds – which he truly is.   

It was a fun card to do and I think of Tom Seaver as a happy individual who was able to pass that joy on to those around him, I hope this Phungo Original captures that vibe.

In Memoriam

Links to other folks that have Tom Seaver Memorial Postings:

1960s Baseball (1968T)

Cards that Never Were (1968T Seaver LHP w/ Bob Gibson LHP)

Starting Nine (41 Scans for #41)

Sources and Links

Andy Warhol: Tom Seaver

Phungo Tom Seaver HOF Index

Turtle Garage


Project 62



Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe: T201 Mecca Double Folder

Recently my sketches have been focused on the players of the Negro Leagues. Today we featured Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe who got his nickname from pitching one end of a double header followed by catching the other.  

 I was interested in a way to capture this idea on a baseball card. 

1911 T201 Mecca Double Folder Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe

The T201 Double Folder was the perfect solution. Unfolded/Open features Radcliffe pitching, while the folder version shows him catching. 

While the video is fun, I kind of think it is easier to see the images in stills.

1911 T201 Mecca Double Folder Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe (pitching)

 For the pitching image I put in Radcliffe in pinstripes and on a basically clear field.

1911 T201 Mecca Double Folder Ted "Double Duty" Radcliffe (catching)

As a catcher I made Radcliffe a catcher for the Birmingham Black Barons. whom he played for from 1942-46. I went with an industrial background here - typical of many Negro League stadium. 


The card is a bit of an anachronism. Radcliffe's career spanned 1928-50 so 1911 predates that period a bit, but the double folder was to good an idea to pass up.

Sources and Links

Phungo Originals

Phungo Negro Leagues


Negro League Baseball eMuseum 

Cardboard Connection

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

1964T Phil Linz Phungo Variation

Thursday August 20th is an important Anniversary of one of the most significant events in the Storied History of the New York Yankees.

It is the 56th Anniversary of the Harmonica Incident

If you are not familiar with the Harmonica Incident click the link above for a more detailed account, for our purposes the important facts are that Yankees Infielder Phil Linz was playing Harmonica on the team bus following a loss. This upset manager Yogi Berra, yelled "Shove that harmonica up your..." towards the back of the bus. Here is where it gets interesting...

Linz did not hear Yogi and asked Mickey Mantle what he said and Mickey said:


Which Phil Linz proceeded to do. This let to a confrontation between Berra and Linz including the harmonica being used as a projectile.

I original heard the story years ago when I first read "Ball Four" and was reminded of it reading Mitch Nathanson's outstanding biography "Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original" 

This got the crew at Phungo HQ thinking, this story needs a baseball card.

 Phungo Variation

1964T Phil Linz Phungo Variation

I went with 1964T as the canvas as that was the year the incident occurred. To capture the humor of the event I went with the comic approach. The comic is not really original - I stole it from the back of Ed Sadowski's 1960 Topps Card

1960 Topps #403 Ed Sadowski (b-side)

Pretty happy with the reproduction of the -toon on my part. I love to envision Phil Linz being in as care free a mood as this comic right before being yelled at by Yogi Berra. 

I sort of kept the colors and lettering from the original 1960 comic. I went with an orange interior border to reflect the creamsicle backs of 1964 Topps.  To match the original Phil Linz card the comic extends out of frame into the team name area which matches the Red/Orange color from 1964T. I did change the player position from INF-OF to SS-3B to better reflect Phil Linz 1964 playing time.

Ed Sadowski was a backup catcher who spent the bulk of his 5 year career with the LA Angels. I did some minor digging and was unable to find more info on Sadowski's musical talents. Regardless his cartoon was good enough for me. 

In a sad note Ed Sadowski's bio revealed that he died in 1993 from Lou Gehrig's Disease. 

Sources and Links

Phungo Original Index

Bob Nightengale USA TODAY

Mitch Nathanson - Bouton: The Life of a Baseball Original

Topps Baseball Card DB


Ed Sadowski SABR BioClayton Trutor

Sunday, August 9, 2020

1974 Topps #47 Dick Ruthven

Dick Ruthven was drafted three times: 1969 (20th round Orioles) 1972 (Twins 1st rd / 8th pick) and finally by the Phillies (1973 Winter #1 overall)

1974 Topps #47 Dick Ruthven

As a highly touted prospect Dick Ruthven made his pro debut at the Major League level. This means no multiplayer RC - Ruthven's first card is the above 1974T and it's a solo. 

It was not a straight line for Ruthven and the Phillies to the World Series. There were a series of trades involving Ruthven which are worthy of their own discussion but the important result was that Ruthven ended up in the rotation for the 1980 Phillies. 

1980 Phillies 
Yes Dick Ruthven was an important member of the 1980 Phillies pitching staff - he was 2nd on the staff (behind Steve Carlton of course) in Wins, Starts, Complete Games, and Innings, however..... I will always remember him for a relief appearance.

Game 5 of the 1980 NLCS

The deciding game of the series saw Phillies closer Tug McGraw blow a save. Dallas Green had already gone through four other pitchers. The staff was shot when Dick Ruthven was called into the 9th inning of the Winner Take All game.  And what does Ruthven do in his only relief appearance of 1980?

Six up Six Down, Phillies Win 8-7.

Ruthven did that on 18 pitches - 2 innings on 18 pitches, including a six pitch inning.

Phungo Original

Phungo Original :1974T Dick Ruthven

I chose this card for our 1980 WSC Phillies sketch for two reasons. 1) it is significant to Dick Ruthven as it is his RC 2) We are clearly focuses on his NLCS Game 5 relief appearance and this shot clearly shows the bullpen in the background. 
To further illustrate Ruthven's 1980 NLCS contributions we have made a few minor modifications. The first is adding "RELIEF" to Ruthven's "PITCHER" position. The other change is a fun one, we have added a Bullpen Cart to the image.  The cart is also a nod to a different 1974T card - of a very prominent Phillies Player, Mike Schmidt

Dick Ruthven Index
1975 Topps (2008 Game 5 prep)
1975 Topps Mini (2010 Philly Show Swag: mini w/ 1959T Robin Roberts)

Sources and links
1980 Phillies

Sunday, August 2, 2020

1980 World Champions: Manny Trillo 1983 Topps #5 Record Breaker

One of the casualties of Fan-less Baseball Games is the Phillies Alumni weekend.  I have been to several of these events over the years and they are always enjoyable.

Typically Alumni weekend occurs in early August and have a theme including the honoring of a player on the clubs Wall of Fame. This year the Phillies were scheduled to honor the 1980 Phillies with Manny Trillo getting added to the Wall.

1983 Topps #5 Record Breaker Manny Trillo

It is a shame that the Phillies are unable to honor Trillo this year. I have been to a several Alumni weekends, and don't recall Trillo participating and was looking forward to his 2020 induction.

1983 Topps RB
To rep Trillo in our 1980 Phillies Series I have chosen his 1983 Topps Record Breaker. The card honors Manny setting the record for consecutive chances fielded for a second baseman. Trillo's achievement occured during a 98 game stretch in 1982.  The streak began on April 9th during a Phillies 2-0 victory vs the Expos. It ended during another 2-0 victory, this time versus the Cubs. The beneficiary of the Trillo miscue was Bill Buckner - Who would make his own error a few years later.


1983 Topps #5 Record Breaker Manny Trillo

The blurb is written as a newspaper byline from the day the streak ended. It also goes on to mention the previous record holder Jerry Adair. As expected Adair was also a very good in the field. It isn't as specific date wise but Adair's 1967T card has a 2 panel cartoon that notes the streak.

1967 Topps #484 Jerry Adair (detail/comic)

In that 2nd shot I guess he is carrying a basket full of error free games

Phungo Original Jesus Trillo
For my Manny Trillo Phungo sketch I took the 1983 RB card and turned it to landscape format.

 1980T RB Jesus Manny Trillo

I noticed that the borders for the 1983 Record Breaker Card are Blue Red and Yellow. Those match the colors of the flag of Manny Trillo's native of Venezuela. This was the genesis of the idea to go with a flag motif for the card. In the bottom left I modified the 1982 Record Breaker logo to reflect this years Phungo series 1980 World Champs. The various scorebook tags listed on the card are the 33 fielding plays that Trillo made during that series.

Now I direct you to the bottom of the card - Jesus Manny Trillo. This isn't Trillo's given name - but it is closer than just Manny. His first name really is Jesus but through typical Phillies ignorance the organization messed up both his first and last names. Read more about it in his SABR Bio here.

Finally I direct you to the 4 stars that arc through the card/flag. The Venezuelan Flag has 8 stars representing the countries 8 provinces. Here I have chosen to feature four stars as a nod to the 4 times that Manny Trillo made the All-Star team.

Peanut Gallery
For a bit more on this card and a progressive record of the Error-less streak check out the 1983 Topps Blog.

Manny Trillo Links
1983 Fleer #631 Pride of Valenzuela
1983 Topps Blog

Sources & Links
1980 Phillies
Phillies Wall of Fame
SABR - Leonte Landino
Encyclopedia Britannica

Thursday, July 30, 2020

ANNIVESARY: 1980 Topps #270 Mike Schmidt - Hall of Fame Induction

25 years ago today (July 30 1995) Five baseball legends were inducted into the Hall of Fame. Among them were Richie Ashburn, Leon Day, Vic Willis and 19th century Executive William Hulbert.

The fifth inductee is the one we will discuss tonight. The only one to have played his entire career with the Philadelphia Phillies.

1980 Topps #270 Mike Schmidt

This is the first Mike Schmidt card tagged with an All-Star flair, honoring his first ever start for the NL squad in the mid-summer classic.

If your curious as to how well Mike fared in that game all you need to do is flip over the card.

1980 Topps #270 Mike Schmidt (b-side)

The Triple was in the first inning off of another Haller Nolan Ryan.  The hit plated Steve Garvey for the NLs first run in a 7-6 victory.

Schmidt made 12 All-Star teams and was named a starter 7 times.

1980 World Champions 
It is obvious I am not going to dedicate as much ink to the 1980 Phillies as I would like, but I am still trying to highlight as many players as possible.  For more of these postings see the link below.

Sources and Links
1980 World Series Champions Index 
Mike Schmidt Index
Baseball Card Database
Baseball Hall of Fame

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions