Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Night Baseball Rangers @ Yankees: Army Veteran Whitey Ford

It is Memorial Day Weekend and the Yankees are on Sunday Night Baseball.

2012 Cooperstown Collection With Honors #8 Whitey Ford

Between the vacations, barbecues and family get together it is a good time to remember the Veterans and servicemen and women who were less fortunate than Whitey Ford.

Ford Served in the Army from 1951-1952 during the Korean Conflict.

2012 Cooperstown Collection With Honors #8 Whitey Ford (b-side)

As noted on the back of his Panini card, his assignment Playing Baseball at Fort Monmouth was far less dangerous than say Ted Williams piloting fighter planes over the Pacific.

Cool fun fact on the card. Whitey Ford wore is Army uniform to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Yankees 1951 Opening Day game vs Boston. Now that would be a helluva shot for the the Topps First Pitch Series.

Sources and Links
Phungo Whitey Ford HoF Index
Baseball Hall of Fame
Panini card
Cardboard Connection

Thursday, May 21, 2015

1990 Year of the No-Hitter Catcher Lance Parrish: 1988 Topps #95

A few weeks ago we featured a column on an Angels combined no-hitter pitched by Mark Langston and Mike Witt. I have heard it suggested that the credit for a committee no-no be given to the Catcher. The man behind the dish that day was former Phils catcher Lance Parrish. 

1988 Topps #95 Lance Parrish

The Langston/Witt No-Hitter was not a first for Lance Parrish, in 1984 he had caught Jack Morris' gem as a member of the Detroit Tigers.

Somewhere between the between Jack Morris and  Langston-Witt Parrish spent a forgettable two seasons with the Phillies. In the five years prior to signing with the Phillies as a free agent, Parrish averaged 28 Home Runs a season. Compare that to a two season total of 32 Homers as a Phil. His batting averages for the two seasons were .245 and .215, yet somehow he was distinguished enough to represent the 1988 Phillies in the All-Star game.

Hall of Famer Gary Carter started the 1988 ASG, and was eventually lifted for a .215 hitter.  

Finally, just to reiterate between the age of 21 to 35 Lance Parrish played for three teams, He caught No-Hitters for two of those teams. None of those teams were the Philadelphia Phillies.

Sources and Links
Year of the No-Hitter Index

Monday, May 18, 2015

Bobby Abreu to represent Phillies at 2015 Hall of Fame Classic

The Hall of Fame Classic is an Alumni game played at Doubleday Field in downtown Cooperstown.

1998 Topps #351 Bob Abreu

Like the Major League All-Star game the HoF Classic gathers players from each Major League Team to play in the contest. In addition to the Bobby Abreu several other Phillies Alums will be on hand representing other teams including Tony Perez, Bob Dernier, Jim Eisenreich, Aaron Rowand, Roy Oswalt, and David Delluci.

There are six Hall of Famers scheduled to be on hand for the day. The Team Captains are Ozzie Smith and Phil Niekro with Perez, Tom Glavine, Robin Yount and Rollie Fingers acting as coaches.  

For further information on the classic click here.

1998 Topps
This is the first Topps issue Bobby Abreu on a Phillies card. He was known as Bob Abreu to Topps until 2003.

2011 60 Years of Topps #60YOT-47 Bob Abreu (right)

The 1998 Abreu card made the cut for the 60 Years of Topps series.  The name plate on the cards is different. The same style of Phillies logo shows up on both cards but on the 60YoT version on the riht the liberty bell is white, while on the original it is red.

The Flip side of the card mentions Roberto Clemente - I assume the connection is both are Latin American players. But they could have gone with a more direct connection of one of Clemente's countryman like Roberto Alomar, Ivan Rodriguez, or Carlos Delgado.

2011 60 Years of Topps #60YOT-47 Bob Abreu (b-side)

Of course my other less likely thought is that Topps mentions Roberto Clemente here because they used to call him Bob, just like they at one time referred to Bobby Abreu as Bob.

Below we have a picture of the box Top referred to in the text of the 60YoT card. 

1998 Topps Box (image swiped from Baseball Cardpedia)

Sources and Links
Baseball Hall of Fame
baseball cardpedia
Topps Baseball Card Database

Game Report 2015 0516: DiamondBacks @ Phillies

An hour-plus rain delay could not spoil the fun for team Phungo as we got to see a 7-5 victory for the good guys who ran their win streak to four games.

This may not have been a great game for a bunch of reasons but there was a lot of offense.
Jeff Francoeur 2015 05 16

The Phillies had Francoeur in Right and Grady Sizemore in left. Ryne Sandberg had not paired those corners with Odubel Herrera in the outfield prior to Saturday night, The way things worked out it may happen more often in the future. Frenchy had a home run and Sizemore had his first four hit game since 2008

In the above photo that is former Reading Phillies farmhand Tuffy Gosewisch wearing the tools of ignorance.

Jerome Williams 2015 05 16

I wanted to get a decent shot of Williams and the pink glove that he wears to honor his mother and her battle with cancer. 

Archie Bradley 2015 05 16

I had been checking the probables in anticipation of a potential start by Archie Bradley. Aside from seeing a Phils W my game priorities are seeing opposition stars and buzz worthy prospects.

Saturday night was Archie Bradley's first start since being struck by a line drive on April 28th.

During the rain delay a bunch of fans wearing Bradley jerseys took shelter near my spot on the rail. I got involved in a short conversation with Archie's uncle. About a dozen family and friends had made the journey out from Bradley's native Oklahoma to see his return. They all seemed very nice and enjoyed the trip despite the young pitchers tough outing.

Yasmany Tomas 2015 0516

The Diamondback Cuban rookie Yasmany Tomas had a good game which included his first career Home Run.  However at the eye test level I felt as if he was a bit of a free-swinger. I am not sure if he is going to make it by swinging at the first pitch in every AB. He also appeared to have an issue communicating on the bases - At some point early in the game when Tomas was on 2nd base it was obvious he was having communication issues with a coach on the bench.  

2015 05 16 Maikel Franco

The D-Backs were not the only team sending out prospects on Saturday Night. Phillies Rookie Maikel Franco, who got  a look last September, made his 2nd start of 2014 and collected his first hit.

Jim Cramer acknowledges crowd prior to ceremonial first pitch 2015 0516

Philadelphia native and host of Mad Money Jim Cramer threw out the first pitch for the game. Perhaps he was trying to get a card in the Topps First Pitch Insert.
2015 0516 Citizens Bank Park

While it is tough putting up with a rain delay, it can still be fun to watch at a stadium. Most folks don't have this type of view of rainstorm at their disposal and Saturday night's rainfall was pretty epic. It is hard to see it in a picture, but in the shot above I did try to capture the sheets of rain migrating across the field.

I never played baseball above Little League, therefore I am no authority but IMO the D-backs looked AWFUL on their cutoff formations. At least twice I thought they would have had a play at second had they had a player covering.

Jerome Williams was able to resume pitching after the rain delay which was officially listed as 1 hour and 17 minutes.

Freddy Galvis can foul off a pitch. Not sure if he will hit .340+ all year but the fact that he can battle with 2 strikes is a nice asset to have.

Apparently AZ reliever Brad Ziegler was drafted by the Phillies. This is something I either never knew or had forgotten

We have noted this before but it is worth reiterating - No matter how bad the Phils team is there will be a solid tailgate crowd. 

Source and Links
Chase's Calendar of Events

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Night Baseball Cardinals HoF Whitey Herzog 1983 Topps #186

With Sunday Night Baseball in St Louis for the evening we take a look at Cardinals Hall of Fame Manager Whitey Herzog

1984 Topps #186 Whitey Herzog

Whitey Herzog led the Cardinals to three NL Pennants and a World Championship during 11 seasons as the clubs manager. His 822 wins with the Cardinals rank 3rd in team history behind fellow Hall of Famers Tony LaRussa and Red Schoendienst.

1983 Topps #186 Whitey Herzog (b-side)

This 1983 Topps card captures Herzog fresh off the Cardinals World Series victory. Note that the final line of the card tells us his 1982 Cardinals squad finished in first place in the East with a 92-70 record, but it does not mention the teams World Championship.

Herzog's additional HoF Qualifications  1985 Manager of the Year, 1281 career victories, 26 Post Season Ws, 6 division Wins, and two 100 win seasons.

Above in Whitey Herzog's playing stats one sees that his career lasted eight seasons with four clubs. He was primarily a backup outfielder who never started more than 100 games. In 1959 he had an impressive .446 OBP in 157 plate appearance, the following year he had career highs in HR (8) , RBI (38)  and Runs Scored (43).

1983 Topps Manager Cards
This non-sequential Managers subset of the 1983 flagship contains some interesting names, HoFs Herzog, LaRussa (White Sox), Frank Robinson (Giants), Joe Torre (Braves), Tommy LaSorda, Dick Williams (Padres), Earl Weaver, Bobby Cox (Blue Jays), and Sparky Anderson (Tigers). The Phillies manager in the set is Pat Corralles.

Whitey Herzog HoF Index 
1958 Topps (forthcoming)
1960 Topps #92 (HoF Election)

Sources and Links

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Phillies Face BA 2015 #25 Prospect Archie Bradley

With the Phillies going through a fairly painful part of the rebuilding process one has to find other things to enjoy at the ballpark. One of the reasons I go is to see some of the opposing teams players. In the early portion of the season the Phillies have faced several pitchers that are projected to be starts.

In the current homestand the Phillies have seen Gerrit Cole and Matt Harvey. On Saturday Night they face Diamondbacks rookie Archie Bradley who was ranked #25 on Baseball America's Prospect list going into the season.

2013 Bowman Chrome Rising Through the Ranks #RTR-AB mini

Archie Bradley was drafted #7 overall out of High School in 2011. That draft has already been pitching rich as we mentioned earlier this week in our Gerrit Cole posting. In addition to Cole, Sonny Grey and Jose Fernandez came out of that first round.

2013 Rising Thru the Ranks
RTR is a 30 card insert set for 2013 BowChro with each Major League Team represented. The checker includes plenty of players that have already made the leap to the Majors including Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Xander Bogaerts, Addison Russell, and Gregory Polanco. The Phillies are represented in the set by Shortstop Roman Quinn who is currently at AA Reading.

2013 Bowman Rising Through the Ranks #RTR-AB mini (b-side)

The back of each card contains a mini synopsis of the players background with no statline.

Sources and Links
cardboard connection

Garo Yepremian (1944-2015)

Woke up this morning to the sad news that NFL Kicker Garo Yepremian had died.

1999 Fleer SI Autograph Collection Garo Yepremian

Garo Yepremian was the kicker for the undefeated Superbowl Champion 1972 Miami Dolphins. He is also known for an interception he tossed in that Superbowl that nearly cost the Dolphins their perfect season.

The above card features the cover of Sports Illustrated from the week that Yepremian kicked the game ending field goal for the longest game ever played. On Christmas Day of 1971 the Dolphins Beat the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in double overtime. Yepremian kicked a 37 yarder for the Divisional Playoff game victory 7 minutes and 40 seconds into the 2nd OT. The games total time was 82:40 outdoing the second longest game by about 5 minutes (77:54 Dallas Texans 20, Houton Oilers 17 - December 23 1962)

Garo Yepremian is not in the Hall of Fame, however he was elected to the 1970s All-Decade team by the HoF.  Strangely, the only kicker in the Hall happens to be Yepremian's opposition in the longest game, Jan Stenerud. During that 1971 Chiefs vs Dolphins playoff game Stenerud missed a 22 yard field goal at the end of regulation, that would have prevented the tilt from going into overtime.

Local Guy
I have no idea how Yepremian ended up here, but Garo Yepremian lived in the Philadelphia Area. I remember for a time he hosted a weekend fishing show on the NBC affiliate in Lancaster PA. He died at a hospital in Media PA, which is about 20 minutes from Phungo HQ. I believe the hospital is across the street from a mall where I have gone to a couple of card shows.

Brush with Greatness
This isn't my BWG story but was related to me by co-workers. A few colleagues of mine were out for a golf outing and needed an extra to fill out their foursome. They pick up a fourth and filling out the scorecard this conversation ensues:

Colleague: "Gary?"

Fourth: "No, Garo"

Colleague: "You mean like Garo Yepremian"

Yepremian: "I am Garo Yepremian"

My friends said Yepremian was a good guy and wore a baseball cap that honored the undefeated season. The youngest guy in the group who is probably in his early 40s didn't know who Yepremian was.

Garo Yepremian Foundation
The Yepremian foundation was inspired by Garo's daughter-in-lau Debby-Lu Yepremian who at the age of 19 in 1998 discovered she had brain cancer. Debby-Lu outlived a six months to live prognosis by six years, passing in 2005.

Oddly Garo Yepremian's death was also to brain cancer, He had first learned his own diagnosis in May of last year. 

Garo Yepremian Foundation
Beasley Reece (Twitter @beasleyreece /CBS3)
Lancaster OnLine
Pro Football HoF

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions