Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sunday Night Baseball:Bobby Doerr: 2003 Topps Tribute All-Stars #21

Bobby Doerr turned 96 a few weeks ago earlier this month and hasn't played a major league game since 1951. He was inducted into the hall of fame 28 years ago and I am guessing he is the oldest lving Hall of Famer. 

2003 Topps Tribute #21 Bobby Doerr

I think Doerr would fall into the borderline Hall of Fame category, He was on the ballot in various forms for close to two decades prior to falling off in 1971. Eventually he was inducted by the veteran's committee in 1986. His career Highlights include batting a slick .409 with a Home Run in his only World Series (1946) and being part of 9 all-star teams. In 1944 Doerr led he league in slugging, He was also s standout fielder who led the league in Defensive WAR in 1946.  He was never an MVP but the Sporting News named Doerr Player of the Year in 1944.

Bobby Doerr Retired #1

The Red Sox have a pretty basic policy regarding retired numbers. The player must have played for the team for a decade and be a member of the Hall of Fame.


Seven players fit this criteria and Bobby Doerr is among them.  Here is Doerr's number presented between Joe Cronin(#4) and Carl Yastzemski (#8)

2003 Topps Tribute All-Stars

I am a fan of these Chrome style Topps Tribute cards. The 50 Card set is made up almost exclusively of Hall of Fame players. A handful of the cards come as autograph variations - Doerr does not. Doerr, however is included in the Relic set.


Sources
Baseball-ref
Boston Red Sox 
Baseball Hall of Fame
Bob Lemke's Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards 

Ulimate Frisbee - Rochester Dragons @ Philadelphia Phoenix

The 2014 home opener for the AUDL Philadelphia Phoenix did not go as well as the team had hoped. The Rochester Dragons won a tough battle 13-10 on a gusty day at Phoenixville High School. (Click Any Pix to enlarge)

2014 04 19 AUDL Rochester Dragons @ Philadelphia Phoenix at Phoenixville High School (click on pix to enlarge)


I hadn't been to an AUDL game since their opening season two years ago. It would good to see that they still put on a good show, playing on good fields with solid facilities.  The game was well played and officiated, although there was a fair amount of away from the disc contact. This is an issue that professional ultimate is dealing with in both the AUDL and MLU camps.

23 goals is a relatively low total for professional ultimate. I enjoyed the game being played at the lower score - each goal and turnover definitely meant more then they have in higher scoring games. The day was pretty windy at points, making goals scored upwind all the more precious and the difference in the close contest.

The Phoenix trailed by 2-3 goals from the 2nd quarter till the start of the final frame when they fought back to tie the score at 9. At that point the Dragons took over scoring 3 of the last four points.

Snapshots
 Coach Steve Leinert working his first game at the helm of the Philadelphia Phoenix


I am not to familiar with the roster of the Phoenix but do to the fine coif, I believe this is Chris Schulze going after the disc

According to the Philadelphia roster this is Schuyler Redding on an in cut


Open receiver for the Phoenix

There were a few just misses for the Phoenix as well. Had a few of these tough passes been converted the tight game may have had a different outcome.

Rochester Dragons Defense
This is a pretty good shot of the Dragons defending their goal. There are five Phoenix in the shot and none of them are open.

 
Dragons on Offense

Rochester executing an offensive zone pass. I think this one was just completed in front of a diving Phoenix defender.

Contested Goals
 

I don't recall the outcome of either of these goal line tips, but with the wind a lot of discs hung in the air, especially going toward the Left (northwest) end of the field where the gusts were originating. 

Fan friendly
The game wasn't the end of the entertainment for the fans. There was a egg hunt for the kids, and a Bunny Hop competition with the winners awarded a PADA membership. 

Vittles
Local artisan chefs from  Waffatopia were on hand with samples of their decadent Waffles. Team Phungo picked up on of the Bacon Syrup variety, it made for a sweet and savory start to our Sunday and paired well with a morning cup of coffee.

AUDL
Just one quick comment on the AUDL - Hey Dragons, how about getting some bios and headshots on your website.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Reading the Competition: 1993 Donruss #743 Andy Ashby


Tonight with the Phillies playing in Colorado we present Rockies/Phillies cross team card

1993 Donruss #743 Andy Ashby 

Andy Ashby debuted with the Phillies in 1991, but only pitched in 18 games for the club before being taken by the Rockies with the 25th pick (The team’s 13th selection) of the 1992 Expansion Draft. The draft built the team that the Rockies used for their inaugural 1993 season. 

Unfortunately Denver’s thin air gave Ashby incredible problems. He only lasted have a season with the Rockies before being traded to San Diego. With the Rockies Ashby was 0-4 and posted an 8.50 ERA. Interestingly Baseball-ref mentions that during that period Ashby had an FIP of 4.91. FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) measures the ERA of a pitcher assuming average defensive play behind him.   

San Diego proved to a much better environment for Ashby. Most of Ashby's career highlights occurred with the Padres, he was a member of two of their playoff squads including the 1998 NL Champions and represented the team as an all-star twice. 

Ashby had a 2nd stint with the Phillies in 2000 which had about the same results as his 1993 Rockies campaign.  Ashby pitched through 2004 finishing his career 2 wins shy of 100 with 98.

Post Career  
According to a 2013 interview Ashby is now based out of Scranton PA where he spent parts of two seasons with the Phillies AAA affiliated, the Red Barons. He is an avid outdoorsman and listed Tony Gwynn, Bruce Ruffin, Kevin Brown, Brad Ausmus, Bruce Bochy, and Randy Jones among his fishing buddies.

The article also mentions his mentors included Phillies Ruffin, Terry Mulholland and Dale Murphy. Brown and Trevor Hoffman are cited as influential teammates from his Padres years.     

Sources

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Shea Stadium Opening 1964 04 17 - 50 Years Ago Today

Team Phungo isn't going to make a habit of Mets milestones, but I thought today we would put together a quick posting regarding the 50th anniversary of Shea Stadium

  
1964 04 17 Shea Stadium Opening Day Tix and Program

The Mets musuem/HoF whichis located in the new Citifield had some neat items including the above 1964 Opening ticket.  You can click on the photo to enlarge it, A field level box that day went for $3.50. 


 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Reading the Competition: Andrelton Simmons 2014 Phungo #64

When I originally conceived of a feature on Andrelton Simmons I was going to run out a parallel with Ozzie Smith. Both are guys I view as Defense first Shortstops – Smith Developed hitting production later in his career, a path I thought Simmons may hop on.
 

2014 Phungo #64 Andrelton Simmons

Looking inside the numbers I found a more interesting and more contemporary comp in another Shortstop the Phillies will see this week Troy Tulowitzki.

Agewise Simmons career arc started a year behind Tulo’s but both had good first full seasons. Last year Simmons (at age 23) hit 17 HR with 59 RBI which is pretty good however his slash line of .248/.296/.396 (86 ops+) was less impressive. Tulo’s first full (2007 at age 22) yielded 24 HR 99 RBI and a .291/.359/.479 (109 OPS+) which earned him a 2nd place finish in the Rookie of the Year balloting,

A year later Tulowitzki regressed to .263/.332/.401 (85 ops+) with only 8 homers, which is pretty close to what Simmons put up in 2013.  

The stat that drew these two players together for me was Defensive WAR, both players led their respective seasons (Simmons 2013, Tulo 2007) in Defensive WAR, both did it as Shortstops and both did it at a young age in their first full seasons. That Defensive WAR crown is for all positions, not just shortstops – The traditional analysis back up the SABRmetrics as well - in 2013 Simmons led all NL Shortstops in Assists and Putouts, six years prior Tulowitzki did the same.

At this early juncture of the 2014 season both Tulowitzki and Simmons are hitting well, Tulo is NL leader in Defensive WAR. If the two stay healthy they could be an interesting young player and veteran SS pair to follow for the next couple of seasons. 
 
Phungo Cards

I am not sure when I became aware of the Natural sign at the Phillies Ballpark. I know I thought it would be cool to capture the right player with the sign as a backdrop. Fortunately Andrelton Simmons had a great season and took pre-game fielding in the right spot for me. I was very happy to get the shot and was happy to put it on a Phungo Card. 

For 2014 we have added "Hardware" notes on a few cards. For any of the Major Awards I could track down and World Series winners I have added some sort of emblem on the card. Andrelton has "NL GG SS 2013" for NL Gold Glove Shortstop in 2013. It is a nice addition that I plan to bring forward for future sets.
 
Sources

Baseball-ref

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

2008 Topps Stadium Club #91 Jackie Robinson

Today marks the 67th anniversary of the day that Jackie Robinson debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers. To honor the occasion players across the Majors will be donning Robinson's retired #42 for one game. 
2008 Topps Stadium Club #91 Jackie Robinson

I am typically not a fan of photos taken from the back of the subject, but this one works. First off we see Robinson's 42 which has of course been a significant symbol of courage and progress. And despite the shot being from behind, we still see a bit of Robinson's face. As a bonus he also appears to be smiling as he approaches the plate.

I am not sure what exactly was done with the photo, whether it was colorized or if perhaps Topps accented Robinson, but he pops off the rest of the card.

Stadium Club
Topps has announced that they are bringing the brand back for 2014. The 2008 edition featured above was a bit crazy - It had a very high Hobby Price of $25/pack while retail went for a more budget friendly $3. In 2014. It appears that the new edition due out just in time for the Playoffs on October 1, will be Hobby only and has strange configuration. The brand has been known for it's photography in the past, I look forward to weeing what Stadium Club can bring us this year.  

Jackie Robinson HoF Index
1953 Topps #1

Sources 
Baseball Cardpedia
Cardboard Connection

Monday, April 14, 2014

1964 Phillies @ 50: Dennis Bennett

After a bit of a hiatus today we return to our 1964 Phillies feature. On this date 50 years ago the Phillies begin their surprising 1964 campaign

1964 Topps #396 Dennis Bennett

On a team that had both Jim Bunning and Chris Short, the player that earned the opening day start for the 1964 Phillies was Lefty Dennis Bennett. The Phillies beat the Mets 5-3 that day, despite the fact that Bennett only went 4 2/3 innings. Roy Sievers had the big blow that day with a 3 run homer in the first and the Phillies never trailed.

Bennett's 1964 Season got of to a great start and he ran his record to 8-4 with a 2.94 ERA by mid June. Unfortunately a nagging shoulder injury would hamper the rest of his season. By contrast, after the 20th of June Bennett was 4-10 with an ERA of 4.10.

There was one interesting highlight to a rather poor start form Dennis Bennett's 1964 season. On June 12th he wasn't able to get out of the 3rd inning, as the Mets banged him around for 5 early runs. The game ended up being a 11-3 blowout, but the otherwise miserable game did provide the opportunity for Dennis' younger brother Dave Bennett to make his Major League Debut. Dave Bennett pitched the 9th inning that day giving up a run on a pair of hits. He had a single strikeout. It was Dave Bennett's only Major League appearance.   

During a recent Phillies broadcast it was noted that with Jayson Nix(younger brother of Laynce)  the Phillies have now featured 10 sets of brothers - The Bennett's were of course one of those 10 sets.


Flip Side
1964 Topps #386 Topps Dennis Bennett (b-side)

The blurb on the flip of Bennett's 64T card notes that he was recovering from an accident at the time. However, Topps doesn't tell us the whole tragic story of the incident which occurred while Bennett was in Puerto Rico playing winter ball. The driver in the accident was killed and Bennett's injuries were quite serious. He was sent through the cars windshield and broke his left ankle, collarbone and pelvis. At the time doctors suggested Bennett would never pitch again, possibly not walk. 

Bennett recovered and returned to the Phillies by June of 1963. He pitched well, but the broken collarbone is what likely led to his shoulder issues that would mar the 2nd half of the 1964 season. 

Following his playing career Dennis Bennett settled in Klamath Falls Oregon, a small city in the South Central part of the state. He lived there operating various restaurants until his death in 2012. 
1964 Philies Series
Dick Allen  

Dennis Bennett
Johnny Callison
Tony Gonzalez
John Herrnstein 
Chris Short
Tony Taylor
Frank Thomas
 
Bobby Wine 
 
Sources
Baseball-ref 
Year of the Blue Snow
Klamath Falls
CSN Phillies Broadcast 
 


a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions