Thursday, August 18, 2016

Bucket or Chuck-It; 2016 Topps Throw Back Thursday Set

Ahh time to return to a feature that we haven't had in a while Bucket or Chuck-It. Bucket is good as in add it to your bucket list. Chuck-It is bad as in Toss it out like a pair of worn sneakers.

2016 Topps TBT #37 Mike Piazza '96 ASG MVP

All seaon Jim from the Phillies Room has been picking up Phillies related Topps Now cards in bulk and passing along cards to other Phils collectors. I find the cards unique and as a fan of game dated cards the concept appeals to me, especially when someone like Jim is dedicated to do all the work of submitting the requests to Topps. There have been at least 6 Phillies Topps Now cards and I would like to get to those and a More dedicated thank you to Jim in a future post.

I myself  hadn't picked up anything directly from Topps until recently when I saw in celebration of the Hall of Fame weekend they issued a "bundle" related to this year's inductees Ken Griffey Jr and Mike Piazza.

The six card set is inspired by the 1962T Babe Ruth Subset with 3 cards dedicated to each of the new Hallers.  The second card of the set features a photo of Mike Piazza receiving an the 1996 All-Star Game award.

This card was appealing to me as a Piazza fan and it is a nice add to my local players collection, but the real draw is that the 1996 ASG is a Phungo Game and This is a card I can add to the Phungo Games collection.

Despite the fact that the image on the card makes Piazza appear as if he had a few to many at the family picnic, I do like the front of this card.

However.....

2016 Topps TBT (b-sides)

Topps mailed it in on the b-sides for the text. The backs of all six cards have identical text. The only thing that differentiates each card is the number and the player name.

 It's a shame, if these are such big events in each players career how about paying a writer and a copy editor (or even an intern) for a couple of days work to come up with a paragraph. This is a $20 set of six cards, that can be produced months in advanced - it's not like they woke up on Wednesday and said "Hey we need to put out a Throw Back Thursday set tomorrow" or maybe they did.

Compare
2016 Topps TBT #37 Mike Piazza '96 ASG MVP (b-side)
1962 Topps #138 Babe Ruth Special (b-side)

Check out this example of an original 1962 Babe Ruth Special. We have a pretty detailed summary of Ruth's rough 1925 season. On the New Piazza card all you get "Hey look at us, we have been making cards for 50 years and Mike shares this documentation with Ken Griffey Jr"


Flip
2016 Topps TBT Ken Griffey Jr 1995 ALDS
1962 Topps #138 Babe Ruth Special

Just for comparison we present the front of one of the other TBT specials with Babe's original.  I think Topps did a decent job on the fronts, just wish they would have carried through to the back.

Verdict
Very disappointed, Great Concept, I think Topps picked a great subset to use for these cards, but the execution of the backs is insulting, especially for a set that runs $20.

Sources and Links
1996 All-Star Game Index
Phungo Mike Piazza HoF Index
Phungo Ken Griffey Jr HoF Index
Phungo Babe Ruth HoF Index
Topps TBT
Baseball-Ref

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Game Report: Dodgers 15 @ Phillies 5 - Chase Utley Returns

There are things you expect - Chase Utley Getting a Standing Ovation, and there are things that your happy to see but don't really expect - Chase Utley's Ovation extends for a second beat, and he needs to settle the fans so the game can start or Chase Utley hits a Home Run in his return.

Then there are thing that you wonder if they would ever happen - Chase Utley gets a Curtain Call as an opposing player

And Then there are miracles - Chase Utley and Ryan Howard turned back time.

Utley Hit a Grand Slam and got a second curtain call, at this point what was a game at moved into theater. It was watching "the Natural' unfold in real life.

Later Ryan Howard would hit a moonshot Home Run into the Phillies Bullpen, after narrowly missing one earlier in the game.

It was as much fun as a fan can have in a 15-5 Loss.

The Philllies may have been down 10 runs, but for a few hours it felt like 2008 again. The crowd was good size, Everyone was excited and engaged - and I felt eight years younger, Now that's a miracle!

Snapshots
 Chase Utley in Blue :(

Warm Ups

Utley and Ryan Howard Pregame. I think Howard is saying "well if you hit a Home Run, I am going to have to hit one too.."

Just a few #26 Jerseys

Utley signed a number of autographs pregame. The fans were four of five deep down the Left Field line. Good Guy Awards go out to Corey Seager and Chris Taylor who also were spotted signing for the fans.

Fifth Beatle?
Ryan Howard MopTop

Last night was Beatles Night - in celebration of the 50th anniversary of an appearance of what turned out to be the bands US Farewell tour.

Field Report
Our friends over at the Phillies Room were also at the game and they have their own field report which can be found here.




Sources and Links
Baseball-ref
Beatles Bible

Friday, August 12, 2016

Jim Thome: Welcome to the Wall!

The Philllies are adding a Jim Thome plaque to their Wall of Fame tonight. I won't be there for the induction but do plan on getting down to the park at some point this weekend.

Thome's tenure here was short but he did provide some great memories
2005 Topps #25 Jim Thome

Remember a few years back when there was a buzz regarding Topps giving players card numbers that matched their uniform numbers. This Thome card is pre-buzz but it does fall on his #25.


2005 Topps #25 Jim Thome (b-side)

One of the reasons that I like this card is the fun fact, "On June 14, 2004, Jim Became the 37th Major Leaguer to reach 400 home runs." First off I respect the accomplishment and I am happy that the prodigious home run hitter reached the milestone while with the Phillies.

More selfishly I think it is cool that it was a game attended by Team Phungo.

Citizens Bank Ballpark was brand new at the time, there was always buzz at the stadium - even more so with a potential Thome Milestone. June 14 2004 was a rainy Monday night in which the Reds were in town to make up a game that had already been postponed once. None of this could damper the spirits of the fans there to see if Thome could hit #400. He didn't make us wait long - He homered in the first inning.

Except that there was the issue of a potential rainout - what would happen if the game didn't go the required 5 innings?

The clubs played through some rain and there were delays but the clubs eventually finished the contest (officially) with the Phillies winning 10-7 in a weather shortened 8 innings.

Someday I will dig through my ticket stubs and add one to this post.

Sources and Links
Phungo Jim Thome Player Collection
Phungo Games Index
Baseball-ref


 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Alex Rodriguez: Exclusive Member of Topps #1 Five Timers Club

Last Year in the wake of the commotion regarding Topps awarding the #1 Card to Derek Jeter we took a look at the other lead off cards from Flagship. One of the things we found out was that the Captain had not made the top spot previously.

 However one of his teammates had done it a number of times


2005 Topps #1 Alex Rodriguez

This isn't A-Rod's first #1 but it is the first time he was honored with the top spot as a member of the New York Yankees. I am not positive but I am pretty sure that is Derek Jeter hovering in the background. The photo and the card is a summary of Alex Rodriguez's Yankees career. No matter what he did Jeter would always be looming.

Quote
2005 Topps #1 Alex Rodriguez (b-side)

Given his polarizing career and personality, I found the Buck Showalter Quote and related Text on the back of A-Rod's 2005 Card pretty amusing.

"A Good Man with a Pure Heart" and "One of the game's Classiest Emissaries" are definitely not in the narrative I most often see associated with Alex Rodriguez.

Five Timers Club
Alex occupied the top spot four other times including three with the Yankees. He is the sole 5 time member of the Topps #1 Club.   

(Four Scans below are from Baseball Card Database)


Realizing that Alex Rodriguez is a Five Time Topps Lead-Off player reminded me of "The Five Timers Club" sketch on Saturday Night Live. Essentially anyone that has hosted the show five times a member of an exclusive club. Folks in that club include Tom Hanks, Steve Martin, Alec Baldwin, Paul Simon and Justin Timberlake.

Alex is the charter member of the Five Timer Club related to #1 Cards in Topps.

Sources and Links
Topps #1 Club
Baseball Card Database
NBC

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Anniversary: 45 Years ago Harmon Killebrew Joins 500 HR Club.

August 10th marks the 45th Anniversary of Harmon Killebrew's 500th Homer. The milestone occurred in the first inning of a Twins 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles

2015 Topps #H-74 Harmon Killebrew 500 Home Runs.
 
The event was honored in Topps 2015 Highlight of the Year insert.
 

2015 Topps #H-74 Harmon Killebrew 500 Home Runs. (b-side)

A brief synopsis on the back of the card also notes that the hit was part of a pretty big day for Killebrew in which he had a pair of Home Runs, both lead changers, and 3 RBIs.


Sources and Links
Phungo Harmon Killebrew HoF Page
Baseball-ref

 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Ichiro 3000: 2016 Topps OD Striking Distance #SD-1

One of the inserts in 2016 Topps Opening Day is Striking Distance which salutes a bunch of upcoming milestones.

2016 Topps OD Striking Distance #SD-1

The Subber is anchored by Future Hall of Famer Ichiro Suzuki, typically referred to as simply Ichiro.

Topps took a chance on this one, at the beginning of the season Ichiro was 65 hits short of 3,000. That number isn't a gimme for a 42 year old who collected just 91 hits in 2015.

Topps also gambled on the success of the Miami Marlins. Had the club performed poorly they may have ended up trading Ichiro before he reached the milestone.

Sloppy Topps
2016 Topps OD Striking Distance #SD-1 (b-side)

Notice anything wrong with the text on the Ichiro's Striking Distance Card.

In 2013 Topps elected to erase Pete Rose when mentioning the All-Time Hit record on their 2013.

On the above card they have not just erased Rose's name, Topps has elected to completely ignore his accomplishments. Maybe my math is off but I would think Pete Rose's 4256 Major League Hits would qualify him for the World 4,000 hit club.

In the final sentence Topps also missed one other player that Ichiro needed to pass on the way to 3000, Stan Ross at 2997 :)

Sources and Links
Night Owl Cards
Ichiro HoF Index
Baseball-ref

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

TRENDY: Ichiroll

The Phillies are in Miami to play the Marlins and Ichiro is in the lineup for the Home Team. The Future Hall of Famer entered the game with 2996 Hits - FOUR short of 3000

Tonight we have a related card sort of....

2013 Phungo BFI - Ichiroll

Team Phungo made the Trek out to Seattle in 2012. Safeco is known for it's many food and drink options - one of which is the Ichiroll, an item on their Sushi Menu. I don't really recall what was in the roll, but I think it was pretty tasty.

Ichiro was traded to the Yankees later in 2012 and I am not sure if the Mariners still sell the Ichiroll, but it would be a nice gesture to continue the honor.  

When I first conceived of Phungo Cards I wanted to have some fun ones in each set, this one certainly qualifies.

Sources and Links
Ichiro HoF Link
Vittles

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions