Saturday, October 3, 2015

25TH ANNIVERSARY: George Brett Wins Batting title in 3rd different decade

Twenty-Five George Brett picked up his 3rd batting title.

1991 Topps #2 Record Breaker George Brett - Batting Titles in 3 Decades

All three titles were in different decades which had not been done prior. Topps honored the achievement with teh #2 card in the 1991 set.

1991 Topps #2 Record Breaker George Brett - Batting Titles in 3 Decades (b-side)

On the final day of the season Brett singled during a 5-2 loss to the Indians in front of a massive Municipal stadium crowd of 5,196. The hit came off of journeyman reliever Mauro Gozzo. George Brett's .329 average bested fellow Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson by four points. Rickey never won a batting title, his .325 in 1990 was a career high as was his 2nd place finish. Henderson did however lead the league in OBP (.439) in 1990 and won the AL MVP Award. Advanced analysis now also reveal that Henderson led the league in WAR (9.9)

1991 Score #769 HL George Brett Batting Champion

Another card that noted Brett's Batting title was 1991 Score #769.

1991 Score #769 HL George Brett Batting Champion (b-side)

Score tells us a bit more about the course of Brett's 1990 campaign. His final .329 season average only came about because of an impressive second half where he batted .388.

I like the shot on the back of the card. Brett carries three Bats on his shoulder likely symbolizing his three titles - each of the bats carries his uniform #5 on the knob.

Sources and Links
Phungo George Brett HoF Index

Thursday, October 1, 2015

50th Anniversary: Chris Short's 18 Strikeout Game

On October 2nd 1965 Chris Short set the National League Record for Strikeouts in a game.

1969 Topps #395 Chris Short

In the 2nd game of a double-header versus the Mets Short struck out 18 batters tying the modern National League record for Ks in a game. Short's 18 punch outs came over 15 shutout innings rather than the standard 9 and is not typically recognized in lists of high strikeout games.

The reason Short pitched 15 innings despite not allowing a run is that the Phillies were unable to score versus the Mets Rookie Pitcher Rod Gardner. In only his 5th career major league appearance Gardner also tossed 15 shutout innings, more than doubling his career total at the time.

In the end neither team scored and the game was suspended after 18 innings.

Gardner was Short's number one victim with 4 Strikeouts, Danny Napoleon took home a golden sombrero - even though he did not start. Joe Christopher struck out 3 times as well, but one of the Ks was versus Phillies reliever Jack Baldschun.

1969 Topps
1969 Topps #395 Chris Short (b-side)

This is the 3rd Topps Card issued for Short who debuted in 1959 but did not get signed by Topps until 1967.

Chris Short added 4 more shutouts to the team record mentioned in the -toon. His record 24 career Shutouts for the Phillies was eventually eclipsed by Hall of Famer Steve Carlton (39). The franchise shutout record is held by Grover Cleveland (Pete) Alexander (61) 

The Box for the All-Star game referenced in the text can be found here. Among the 7 batters Short faced were future Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew (popout) and Carl Yastrzemski (Walk). The final batter Short faced was hometown Angels All-Star Rep and future Phillies Manager Jim Fregosi who struckout.

Jim from Downingtown has an interesting post on the 67 All-Star game here, it includes vintage newspaper photos from the era. One of the pix is of Dick (Richie) Allen with Hall of Famer Tony Perez.  

Sources and Links
Phungo Chris Short Index (1964 Phillies Retrospective)
1960s Baseball - Jim from Downingtown

1960s Baseball
Astros Daily
2015 1003 - Added link to Jim from Downingtown's 1967 ASG posting.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Phillies Wall of Fame Robin Roberts

Each season I make it a priority to check in on Phillies Alumni weekend. I love seeing the players from my younger years come back to Philadelphia, even if it is to just wave to the crowd. When a club is going to lead the league in losses you look for bright spots anywhere they can be found. 

The 2016 Phillies schedule came out earlier this week and it appears the weekend will occur August 12th &13th versus the Rockies.

2006 Toyota Phillies Wall of Fame Robin Roberts

Each year the Phillies add an alum to their Wall of Fame, the initial induction was of Robin Roberts in 1978.

In 2006 the Phillies issued a set of postcards to honor the "Wallers". Today we have the card dedicated to Roberts.

2006 Toyota Phillies Wall of Fame Robin Roberts (b-side)

Robin Roberts Stats on the back plus a ghosted faux-action shot.

Phillies Wall of Fame Index
Robin Roberts 1978
Richie Ashburn 1979
Chuck Klein 1980
Grover Alexander 1981
Del Ennis 1982
Jim Bunning 1984
Ed Delahanty 1985
Cy Williams 1986
Granny Hamner 1987
Paul Owens 1988
Steve Carlton 1989
Mike Schmidt 1990
Larry Bowa 1991
Chris Short 1992
Curt Simmons 1993
Dick Allen 1994
Willie Jones 1995
Sam Thompson 1996
Johnny Callison 1997
Greg Luzinski 1998
Tug McGraw 1999
Gavvy Cravath 2000
Garry Maddox 2001
Tony Taylor 2002
Sherry Magee 2003
Billy Hamilton 2004
Bob Boone 2005
Dallas Green 2006
John Vukovich 2007
Juan Samuel 2008
Harry Kalas 2009
Darren Daulton 2010
John Kruk 2011
Mike Lieberthal 2012
Curt Schilling 2013
Charlie Manuel 2014
Pat Burrell            2015

There is also a Section of the Wall dedicated to the Philadelphia A's

Philadelphia A's Wall of Fame
Connie Mack 1978
Jimmie Foxx 1979
Lefty Grove 1980
Al Simmons 1981
Mickey Cochrane 1982
Jimmy Dykes 1984
Eddie Plank 1985
Rube Waddell 1986
Eddie Collins 1987
Wally Moses 1988
Bob Johnson 1989
Elmer Valo 1990
Chief Bender 1991
Jack Coombs 1992
Frank Baker 1993
Bobby Shantz 1994
Eddie Joost 1995
Ed Rommel 1996
Ferris Fain 1997
Bing Miller 1998
Sam Chapman 1999
George Earnshaw 2000
Gus Zernial 2001
Rube Walberg 2002
Rube Oldring 2003

Sources and Links
Phungo Robin Roberts HoF Index

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

40th Anniversary: Rennie Stennett 7 Hit Game

Rennie Stennett recorded 176 Hits during the 1975 season. He collected SEVEN of those hits in a single game, a 22-0 Pirates rout of the Cubs at Wrigley

1976 Topps #6 Record Breaker Rennie Stennett 7 Hits in one game

Topps noted the accomplishment with card #6 in their 1976 Record Breaker Set.

Rennie is one of only two players to pick up 7 hits in a nine inning game, the other is Hall of Fame manager Wilbert Robinson.

1976 Topps #6 Record Breaker Rennie Stennett 7 Hits in one game (b-side)

Interesting graphic on the RB card. All of Stennet's ABs are listed along with his scoring result. Notice he had not one but TWO multi-hit innings, the first and the 8th. Stennet's 7 hits got him the first 3 hits of a cycle. He scored five of the 7 times he reached - Rookie Willie Randolph pinch ran for Stennett in the 8th. The first and last hits were off of different Reuschel brothers, Starter Rick first and Finisher Paul Last.

As a team the Pirates collected 24 hits that day. Every starter including pitcher John Candelaria picked up a hit AND scored a run. In addition to Stennett six other Pirates had multi-hit games.

Sources and Links
1976 Topps Record Breakers Index
2015 Playoff Contenders Index 
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - Dejan Kovacevic
Cup o Joe - Joe Klimchak

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Pope Visits Philadelphia

Not sure what all the excitement is about, Paul "The Pope" Ownes spent close to 50 years working for the Phillies in some capacity.

2006 Toyota Wall of Fame Paul Owens

I think Owens got his nickname from having a resemblance to Pope Paul VI. I am not Catholic, but I do think of Paul VI as my Pope - he was Pope during my entire childhood. It is hard to make out a resemblance in the image of the plaque of Owens featured above, but one may see it in a card we feature below.

To me Paul Owens will always be the guy who took the reigns from Pat Corrales and led the 1983 Phillies to the NL Pennant. Two years ago we marked the 30th anniversary of that team with a series on a few of the notable players from the squad including Owens.

2006 Toyota Wall of Fame Paul Owens (b-side)

The ghosted photo on the back of the postcard doesn't give us much help with a Pope Paul VI connection, but there is something interesting in the stats. I can't recall many cards that have a persons Win-Loss record as a GM - but there it is.

 1985 Topps #92 Paul Owens

Here we have an image of Owens from an angle similar to the one used for the WoF plaque. I suppose he looks Popish - with a baseball cap and windbreaker.

1985 Topps #92 Paul Owens (b-side)

Two things of note on the back of the card 1) Text mentions Owens return to the GM role, 2) The 1984 Phillies fell from being an NL Pennant winner to being a .500 team. With the aging roster and general lack of young talent on that checker it is easy to understand the demise.

Phungo Paul Owens Phillies WoF Index
1984 Topps # 229 (1983 Phillies NL Chanps 2013 retrospective - 20th anniversary)

Sources and Links
Phillies Wall of Fame Index

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Night Baseball: Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer Cal Ripken

Last week when we published a posting on the Anniversary of Cal Ripken's streak breaking game I realized that I had yet to create an HoF Index for the Iron Man.

Tonight with the Orioles hosting the Royals on Sunday Night Baseball we correct that oversight.

1992 Topps #40 Cal Ripken

When Cal Ripken posed for the above shot he was likely still four years from passing Lou Gehrig for the consecutive games record. Apparently he had no fear of jinxing the streak by alluding to hit in the photo.

To me this is one of the great shots in the history of Topps. Cardboard Connection put together a top 10 list of Ripken cards, the 1992T card didn't make the cut, but it did get an honorable mention. The Article's Author Ryan Cracknall sums up the card beautifully:

So it's not the most valuable card, but do they all have to be? 1992 Topps Baseball has a beautiful shot of Ripken sitting next to the Lou Gehrig monument in Yankee Stadium, looking as classy as ever. The horizontal layout and slightly raised angle take it to another level.

There is nothing further I can add to that fitting description. The card is a member of the ubiquitous 1992 set and can be found anywhere for nothing. I likely found mine in a dime box.

The O's are five games below .500, but that hasn't stopped Baseball-ref from publishing the teams progress (regress?) in the playoff standings - and accordingly I will add this card to our 2015 Playoff contenders index as well. The Royals are also repped in Playoff Contenders (Lorenzo Cain, Alex Gordon, and Salvador Perez)

Also as noted above this card will function as our Cal Ripken HoF index

Cal Ripken HoF Index
2001 UD Cal Ripken Commemorative set #4 (2008 - 10h Anniversary of ending the streak)
2001 UD Cal Ripken Commemorative set #4 (2015 - 20h Anniversary of breaking Lou Gehrig's Record)
2011 Phungo #8

Throws out First Pitch on 15th Anniversary of Breaking Record (2010)
Cal Ripken Statue at Camden Yards (2012 Photo)

Sources and Links
2015 Playoff Contenders (O's include Adam Jones, Hardy, Chris Tillman) 
Cardboard Connection - Ryan Cracknell

Friday, September 11, 2015

30 Years Ago: Pete Rose Passes Ty Cobb as all-time hits Leader

30 Years ago Pete Rose broke Ty Cobb's all-time hit Record. An accomplishment that would surely put Him in the Hall of Fame. Of course as we all know things change.

1986 Topps #206 Pete Rose Record Breaker - Most Hits, Lifetime

Rose's record breaking hit was a first inning single off of Padres starter Eric Show in a Reds 2-0 victory over the Padres.

1986 Topps #206 Pete Rose Record Breaker - Most Hits, Lifetime (b-side)

Nice Synopsis on the back of the card, much better than you would get today as Topps doesn't bother to recognize the existence of the Hit King.

Sources and Links
Pete Rose HoF Index

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions