Sunday, June 9, 2019

Anniversary 60 Years ago: Rocky Colavito 4 Home Run Day

June 10th marks the 60th anniversary of an historic game between the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles. That Day Rocky Colavito became the 6th major league player to record a 4 Home Run game.

1964 Topps Jumbo #9 Rocky Colavito

The Indians won that game 11-8 with Colavito accounting for 6 RBI. Notice that the above card features Rocky as an Athletic not an Indian. Well that is because of the back of the card...

1959 Topps Jumbo #9 Rocky's Hot Bat (b-side)

As we can see the headline on this card is all about the 4 Homer game which is described in the cards first coupe sentences. The remainder of the text discusses Colavito's home run legacy all the way back to his minor league days.

Rocky Colavito's four home run game is also featured on the back of a 1964 Topps base card, #109. Colavito, however, does not appear on the front of that card, to find out more click here.

Sloppy Topps
The photo on the b-side of the card is also not with the Indians. Colavito wore three different numbers with Cleveland 6, 21 and 38 but never 7. The two squads for which he donned #7 were the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City A's. I am thinking that this photo is with the Tigers as Rocky Colavito didn't join the Athletics until 1964. The front appears to be an Airbrushed Tigers photo as well. 

1964 Topps Jumbo
I love this set and I have it on the back burner to build. They are referred to Jumbo or Giant cards because they are oversized at just over 3"x5". I go with Jumbo because when you search on "1964 Topps Giant" you get a bunch of Willy Mays cards, but not necessarily Jumbos. 

Colavito's Four Home Run Game
Baseball-Ref Box
1964 Topps #109 (Rusty Staub)

Sources and Links
Game Dated Cards Index
1964 Topps Jumbo Index
Cardboard Connection

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

1944 June 6: D-Day and Baseball

This week marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day. To commemorate the event in a baseball related way I wanted to pass on a bit of the sports history from the era.

The pending Allied Invasion had been rumored for some time prior to D-Day and major league baseball made plans to postpone any games on the date if possible.  This possibility was discussed in the June 1 1944 issue of the Sporting News - issued just days prior to D-Day.


1944 JUN 01 The Sporting News pg 1

There were two MLB games scheduled for June 6 1944 and indeed neither were played. I am assuming the time difference between Europe and the States allowed for proper scheduling changes. Those rescheduling of those games was mentioned in the June 7 1944 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Horse Racing was the sport of kings in the era so you need to go a few paragraphs down to see a mention of the two games.

1944 JUN 07 Philadelphia Inquirer Pg 24

If you want to see a modern representation of the postponed games you can look to the terrific archive of baseball statistic history, Baseball-Reference.

Baseball-Ref Scores from Tuesday June 6 1944

Notice that when you do a search for games played on D-Day Baseball-Reference notes

"No Games Were or Have Yet Been Played on This Date"


Sources and Links 


Philadelphia Inquirer (1944 06 07)

The Sporting News (1944 06 01)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Wall of Fame: Bobby Abreu (2019)

The Phillies recently announced that this years Wall of Fame inductee is Bobby Abreu. An interesting selection, on paper he is one of the organizations great players, however on the field he represents the long lean period between the 1993 Wheeze Kids and the Late 2000s championship squads.

2002 Fleer Authentix #56 Bobby Abreu

Abreu is often derided for his mediocre defense and to be honest I cannot remember him crashing a wall. Perhaps one of the effects if his tentative approach in the field is that he rarely missed a game. During his eight full seasons with the Phillies Abreu played at least 150 games every year.  An All-Star player never missing game can accumulate some impressive numbers, and Abreu did just that. As a Phillie Abreu tallied 195 Home Runs and 254 steals (7th in team history). His .928 OPS ranks 2nd in club history behind only Hall of Famer Chuck Klein. The component numbers (.416 OBP, .513 SLG) are top 10 as well. Advanced stats really don’t back up the no-defense critique, Abreu’s dWAR in Philadelphia was -1.5, below average but not really noteworthy especially when spread across 8+ season. Related note: during his gold glove 2005 campaign had a dWAR of -1.5.

2002 Fleer Authentix #56 Bobby Abreu (b-side)

Kind of a neat idea here. The player photos are on a facsimile tickets of their teams Home Opener. In the game represented here the Phillies defeated the Marlins 6-2. The tickets are purely representative – there is no mentioning of the game on either side of the card, nor the games results or how the player performed. 

Fortunately for that we have Baseball-Reference. 

And it was a good day for Bobby Abreu who went 4 for 4 with a couple of a doubles and a Home Run producing 3 RBI and scoring a pair of runs. Likely one of the best days of his career. 

Team Phungo has been to a lot of Phillies Home Openers and this happens is one of those games. Happy to be adding this one to cards that rep Phungo Games. 

2002 Fleer Authentix
Two years ago we profiled Scott Rolen's card for this set, that column can be found here

Bobby Abreu Index
1998 Topps #351: First Phillies Card, Bob vs Bobby Abreu 2011 #60YoT match
1999 Topps Stadium Club #39: Group Break, Cameo Mickey Morandini as a Cub. Named "Bob"
2000 Topps #38: Asian Zodiac Year og the Tiger (2010). Named as "Bob"
2000 Topps #38: Phillies All-Decade Team 
2002 Topps Opening Day #13: Snapshot of Topps Opening Day cards
2003 Bowman Heritage (Nachos Grande Swag)
2005 Topps Update #UH218 (2005 07 11 Home Run Derby Detroit)
2008 Topps Heritage Bat Relic: Hobby Box Break (w/ Yankees)
2009 Phungo BFI: Portrait (w/ Yankees)
2010 Topps #15: First Pack (w/ Angels)

Sources and Links

Sunday, May 26, 2019

1964 Topps Jumbo Index

This is an Index for our posting covering the 1964 Topps Jumbo Set

1964 Topps Jumbo #14 Tony Gonzalez

#7 Whitey Ford (Wins 10th World Series Game)
#9 Rocky Colavito (4 Home Run Game 1959 06 10)

Friday, March 8, 2019

ANNIVERSARY: A Decade Ago the Netherlands WBC Triumph

Sunday March 10th marks the 10th anniversary of the night the Netherlands pulled off one of the biggest upsets in international baseball history. The game was celebrated on an Allen & Ginter's cabinet card.

2009 Allen & Ginter's Box Topper / Cabinet #CB1 Team Netherlands

I challenge you to find the major leaguers in the Netherlands lineup.

Yet this line up beat a Dominican team with a roster that included Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes, Moises Alou, Hanley Ramirez, Migquel Tejada, Nelson Cruz and was led by David Ortiz. The lead pitchers for the game were Ubaldo Jimenez and Pedro Martinez. 

However the Netherland no-name pitching staff matched Jimenez for the entire game which was scoreless through 10. The Dominicans took a 1-0 lead in the 11th when Jose Reyes scored on an Netherlands error by Greg Kingsale. Kingsale then redeemed himself in the bottom of the inning by with a game tying single. He then came around to score on a Yurendell de Caster grounder that was misplayed by Dominican first baseman Willy Aybar. Note that Kingsale and de Caster are the two players named on the A&G cabinet card. 

Crazy Game and Team Phungo was there. This was right after the Phillies won the World Series and was definitely near a high point in my baseball fandom. I loved going to the WBC has both a baseball vacation and a spring break vaca in beautiful pre-Hurricane Puerto Rico.     

The ticket above is actually from the previous game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican - notice above where it says "General Admission" you can see the date 9 de marzo de 2009 or 9th of March 2009. I have the 3/10 tix somewhere but due to laziness, I didn't bother trying to find it for this posting. The signature on the tix is Sidney Ponson.

To read a 2009 column on my WBC experience click here.

Sloppy Topps
Unfortunately there is a minor timing infraction on Topps part with the photo used on this card. Netherlands upset the Dominican twice in the WBC and I believe the image here is from the first of the two games. The Netherlands wore white unis the night they clinched. The dark jerseys were worn for the first meeting.

I don't think that either of the players the card honors, de Caster or Kingsale is prominent in the picture.  Longtime Detroit Tiger Randall Simon is the happy guy wearing #35.

Greg Halman
In the not fun fact column we have Greg Halman who is prominently featured on the above cabinet card. Halman was stabbed to death by his brother Jason in 2011. The brother was acquitted due to  being in a state of psychosis when the stabbing occurred.

10 Years Later
Couple of fun facts beyond the historic nature of this game. Big Papi played in the field despite the WBC using a DH. Turns out the Dominican team roster had THREE shortstops Reyes, Ramirez, and Tejada. The only way to get them all in the lineup was to use one to DH (Hanley) and one at 3rd Base (Tejada). So yeah here you have the rare game where Hanley Ramirez is the DH while David Ortiz played first base. Also notice that the game ending error was made by Papi's defensive replacement Willy Aybar.

My second fun box score note is related to the Netherlands catcher - go ahead check the box above. Yes it is that Kenley Jansen, the LA Dodgers closer before he was converted to pitcher.

2009 A&G Cabinets
There are 5 cards in the 2009 A&G Cabinets set. Among the prominent players represented on the boxtoppers are Ichiro, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brian Roberts and David Wright.

Sources and Links
Phungo Game Dated Cards
CBS Sports
Baseball-ref/BR Bullpen

Monday, February 25, 2019

ANNIVERSARY: 50 Years ago a strike ended!

But nobody knew about it.

 The only person on strike was Jim Bouton.

"Ball Four" - Jim Bouton pg 12

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the season Bouton chronicled in his iconic book "Ball Four". There is a preamble from the previous November prior to the excerpt above, however,  The day that Jim Bouton reported to spring training was February 26th.

I bring this up now as a heads up to anyone who wishes to follow along with the 50th anniversary of the book - It is time to crack open "Ball Four" and start enjoying the inaugural and only season of the Seattle Pilots.

As far as the strike, Bouton discusses on the following page how a younger player on the Pilots roster was holding out on going to spring training. Jim Bouton staged a personal strike as a show of support. The younger player turned out to be Lou Piniella

Links and Sources
Jim Bouton Index

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Frank Robinson 1934-2019

I have covered Frank Robinson a few times on this blog but not nearly enough. While I never got to see him play, I did get to see an historic game in which he was involved.

2005 Topps Update Nationals Inaugural Lineup #NI-TEAM

The April 2005 game was so historic that Topps honored it with a trading card - It was the first game in the history of the Nationals.

Robinson appears prominently on the card twice. First in the top photo he is at the center to the left of home plate, while the Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel guards the other. The inset photo on the bottom left features Frank Robinson even more prominently. The two images are clearly from different games - note that the smaller picture features the Nats in their Home uniforms at RFK.

The Phillies won the game 8-4 you can read more about the game at the SABR Baseball Game project.

I go into this card more in depth here, but at the time I didn't mention Frank Robinson. 

SABR BB Card Blog
1960s Baseball Card Blog 
Fresh Air - Terry Gross Terrific interview (13 mins audio & text) includes Robinson's views on integration/segregation.

Links and Sources
Frank Robinson HOF Index
2005 0404 Nationals inaugural game at Phillies
SABR games project

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions