Thursday, October 27, 2011

Welcome Back Beavis and Butt-Head!!!

Beavis and Butt-Head are returning to MTV after a 15 year hiatus.  Not sure if I will be watching tonight - maybe I will take a peek during one of the pitching changes that are guaranteed to be happening at that point in the evening during game 6. 

1994 Fleer Ultra MTV's Beavis & Butt-Head #1569 Beavis and Butt-Head Try Yogurt

The above card is from a Fleer Ultra release, during the boys original MTV run.  If you want to find out a little more about this set check out the pack break that Team Phungo ran  over at aPTBNL back in October of 2009.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Swag from Nachos Grande

A few weeks back Nachos Grande was soliciting offers for a few cards he had in his trade stack one of those was the Robin Roberts Legends SP from 2011 Topps.  I had the perfect card to trade for RR, that was the Johnny Bench Legends card from basically the same set (Topps 1 v Topps 2 for Roberts).  
2011 Topps #460 Robin Roberts SP (Legends Variation)
I pulled the Bench card from a retail pack a few months back and the swap of hall of famers made logical sense.  
At first I thought this was an image from Roberts 1957 Topps Card 
2011 Topps #460 Robin Roberts SP (Legends Variation)
1957 Topps #15 Robin Roberts 

While the pose looks similar it appears as if the background is different and it is hard to tell if Roberts is possibly wearing a road uni on the vintage card.  
But then I came across the Robin Roberts 1952 Bowman card which may be based on the photo used on the 2011 Topps Legends card.  
1952 Bowman #4 Robin Roberts
2011 Topps #460 Robin Roberts SP (Legends Variation) 
Despite the differences in angle there are some similarities to the buildings beyond Roberts Throwing shoulder. 
In addition to the Legends SP Chris also sent a few other Phillies cards including a couple of Aces from this years Lineage set. 
2011 Topps Lineage #121 Roy Halladay
2011 Topps Lineage #102 Cole Hamels
Thanks to Chris - who has to be one of the most active traders among us many card bloggers.  I have finally gotten his package together and it will hopefully be in the mail someday on Wednesday. 

Monday, October 24, 2011

From Russia with Stickers

Here are the contents from a couple of packs of Panini Futbol Stickers I picked up while in Russia last fall.

I honestly don't know much about soccer but wanted to pick these up just to check them out.

For more information on these packs check out my posting over at A Pack to be Named Later.

SuperSomething of Russia (Shiny Foily sticker)

Mashir Chukarov
Sergei Skoblakov
Valery Klemov
Renat Yebaev

Names are translated to the best of my meager ability

Boris Rotenberg
Tomas Vehodl
Alexander Salugen
Chede Odea
Alexander Ryzantsev 

Over at APTBNL I also had a pack break for some stickers from Munich's FC Bayern Muchen team.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Moneyball 2011 - Tony LaRussa

Tony LaRussa is only a bit player in Moneyball - he was Billy Beane's final manager.  LaRussa was also the final manager for the Athletics under the Walter Haas (Levi's) Ownership.  Haas operated the A's as a bit of a hobby and/or trust for the city of Oakland.  Haas was the type of owner that a fan would love - Winning was important, if the team lost money it didn't really matter.  The Moneyball era ownership of Steve Schott (distant relative of Marge) was of course distinctly different.
Schott would operate the A's on a much smaller payroll.  LaRussa was no longer affordable to the new regime and left Oakland for St Louis, where he remains today and happens to managing the team in a pretty big series which you may have hard opens this evening.

1989 Topps #224 Tony LaRussa

Tony LaRussa is probably as well a documented manager as any in history other than maybe (maybe) Joe Torre.  I have myself read more about LaRussa then any manager that is not affiliated with the Phillies.
His body of work is impressive.  The 30 years of managing and the 2728 wins(3rd all-time) are both monumental numbers.  Another impressive accomplishment are the two World Series Titles and the now 6 League Pennants.
But there will always be things that bother me about LaRussa.  One is he always appears so smug/arrogant, as if he is smarter than everybody in the room. Another problem I have is the constant fawning of the media - This isn't LaRussa's fault, but it bothers me regardless.
I particularly wonder why LaRussa is rarely questioned on his involvement with the Steroid era.
Tony LaRussa was in the heart of BALCO country at the outset of the Steroid era.  Two of the big names on the three pennants winners in Oakland were Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco.  McGwire is one of the men that LaRussa has brought back to the game to be his hitting coach.  A number of other players by LaRussa led teams have been connect to PEDs at one time or another, yet this is something we rarely hear about.  During the Phillies Cardinals NLDS McGwire was practially invisible - tough call - TBS didn't give Greg Gross much air time either and the Phils weren't hitting at all.  But Mark McGwire and Greg Gross are both very different in magnitude.  Perhaps TBS senses that we have suffered from steroid fatigue and they have moved on, but I think the PED portion of Tony LaRussa's resume cannot be ignored
A closing note - in that final game (link at top of the post) Billy Beane came in as a defensive replacement for....

Mark McGwire

Moneyball 2011
Links to  previous MB 2011 posts

Here is a link to a Moneyball and Collecting related article in Beckett that I first saw referenced by Chris Olds via Twitter. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Moneyball 2011 - Bennett Miller

Moneyball was directed by Bennett Miller, who has very few film credits listed in IMDB.  My quick -net searches have revealed the Miller is a casual baseball fan at best, but it appears that he is interested in making biographies. 
This card may not seem closely connected - but stay with me here...
The Clutter family card above is low level on my wish list for 08 Heritage Inserts.  I swiped this image from the dormant Bargain Baseball Cards.  It is typically pretty hard to tell when a blogger stops.  Most folks don't really announce it, it just sort of happens.  Regardless the evidence that their blog existed sticks around for a while perhaps forever. 
The demise of the Clutter family was documented in Truman Capote's book "In Cold Blood"  I believe ICB is considered one of the earliest works of the non-fiction novel  - A style in which the author wasn't at the events but reconstructs them as if he or she were.  This is a technique that would later be used frequently by 60/70s pop culure author Tom Wolfe is such books as "The Electic Kool-Aid Acid Test" which chronicled the acid-fueled adventures of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" author Ken Kesey. 
One my ask what this trading card has to do with Baseball or Moneyball...  
Well, As a director Bennett Miller has only a couple of films under his belt, his previous big budget film was 2005s "Capote" about Truman Capote.  Miller was one of the years nominees for Best Director, an award that went to Ang Lee for "Brokeback Mountain".  The titular character in "Capote" was played by Phillip Seymour Hoffman who plays A's manager Art Howe in Moneyball.
I suppose I can mention that it is quite fitting that a posting about a man who directed a non-Baseball movie about baseball and is admittiedly not a big fan of the sport - contains very little about baseball

Moneyball 2011
Links to  previous MB 2011 posts


Here is a link to a Moneyball and Collecting related article in Beckett that I first saw referenced by Chris Olds via Twitter. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

A new MNF theme song??

As you may know, Monday Night Football has dropped Hank Williams Jr as their pitch-person for their opening credits.
This has created an opening that I would love to see filled by one of my favorite songwriters.
Prior to his solo career Steve Poltz fronted the Rugburns, a lively bar band based out of San Diego.  One of their tunes was an energetic rocker named "Football Tonight"
Poltz along with DMC of Run-DMC have re-recordes the Rugburns song with a modified lyric in the hopes of getting the MNF gig.  Here is a Link for more information on the song.

1988 Topps #596 John Kruk (signed by Steve Poltz)  

You may know Poltz from his song "You Were Meant for Me" which was recorded by Jewel in 1996.  Baseball is a bit of recurring theme in Poltz's music - His first solo album included the song "Silver Lining" which mentions Phillies and Padres Alum John Kruk.  One of his lesser know songs "Brief History of My Life" is an homage to a childhood spent listening to both music and baseball on the radio - Poltz mentions Vin Scully, Ernie Harwell, Jack Buck, and Jerry Coleman in the Song.
Poltz also counts one time Padres Infielder Tim Flannery (who also now records and performs music during the off-season) as one of his friends.
If you like the song, Steve Poltz, the Rugburns, or DMC spread the word - Anytime I have seen either Mr Poltz or the Rugburns they had great shows, and always good enough to hang out and chat with after the shows. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

2011 Phungo Cards - Randy Wolf

The Phils are out of the postseason playoffs.  while I have not completely recovered from their ouster at the hands of the St Louis Cardinals I still enjoy baseball enough that I am try to watch the other playoff games whenever possible. 

There are very few players with Philly connnections on the four remaining squads, but one of those players is Phungo Household favorite Randy Wolf.

2011 Phungo #16 Randy Wolf

Wolf is never going to be the A starter for a team with World Series aspirations, but he is a decent lefty who can hold down that 3 or 4 spot on a good team.  Tonight he will try and hold off Albert Pujols and the rest of the Cardinals lineup in game 4 of the NLCS.  I would like to see Brewers advance in the playoff just so I can have a former Phil to root for in the Series. 

The Brewers are facing another former Phils Pitcher in Kyle Lohse, but I really don't count him.  He was only here for a brief post trade deadline stint, and I think he only lasted an inning in the sole game I saw him pitch for the Phils. 

Broken News: Drinking in the clubhouse may be one thing.....

Recently spotted on Twitter:

Thanks Buster and Good Luck to Mr Leyland

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Phungo Question: Death of the Autograph?

Will there be an end to the autograph?
The amount of communication we do via the keyboard/keypad medium has increased rapidly over recent years.  With this decreased use of the written word schools are struggling with the value of teaching cursive writing - From what I understand, today when it is taught, cursive writing is not a skill that is really focused upon.
I am not really interested in debating the merits of teach handwriting here - that is for the educators to discuss.  But I would like to discuss the impact on the hobby of collecting signatures.
2008 Topps #54 Victor Martinez - Image Swiped from Baseball Card Database

Let me first note that Mr Martinez's signature is not always printed as on the 2008 Topps card above.  In fact if you want to check on ebay you will find that for the most part his signed cards look pretty good.  But this card does provide a fairly noticeable autograph that is really not a signature as we commonly think of them.

My Questions are: 

- If autographed cards are still considered hits 20 years form now, will half of them be of a hand printed signature?
- If your one per box hit were of a printed "signature" would you be disappointed?
- If your a kid an can barely write your own signature, would you place any value in getting a ball signed by a ballplayer?

Monday, October 10, 2011

2010 Phungo Cards Jimmy Rollins and the End of a Disappointing Season

The Phillies 2011 campaign has come to an end as their offense goes scoreless in their final 17 innings of play.  Their gifted starting roation was good enough to help lead them to a 102 win regular season, sadly the Phillies won only 2 additional games.
The playoffs were more disappointing then shocking, although up until the very end I thought they would find a way to win game 5.  To me the critical loss for the Phils was game 2 when they got a 4 run lead with Cliff Lee on the mound.  Lee couln't hold that lead (for only the 2nd time in his career) and the Hitters couldn't build on their early runs despite facing the Cardinals spotty bullpen.
I know there is still a lot of baseball going on out there, but right now I am mourning the end of a good Phillies Season, followed by a rather sad playoff ending.  The end of the 2011 season could also be the ending of the Phillies portion of several players careers - including a couple that were on the 2008 World Series Champs.
2010 Phungo #11 Jimmy Rollins
Jimmy Rollins is the longest tenured athlete in Philadelphia.  He has been playing shortstop for the Fightins since September of 2000.  The 2007 NL MVP has played over 1600 games w/ the Phils accumulating 1866 hits.  Rollins will turn 33 before the calendar year is out and is expected to want a long term contract when he hits the free agent market this winter. 
He is maddening to watch sometimes, Offensively Rollins has not had the production he did earlier in his career.  He does not get on base like a prototypical leadoff hitter, but when healthy he can steal bases if needed and he still has some pop.
I am of the opinion that the Phillies should move on without Rollins.  The Phils are already locked into several long term deals with aging players and I am not sure that adding another one to the mix is the right thing for them to do right now. 
Regardless, if Jimmy leaves, I will miss him and hope that he finds the right situation to be an impact in the league (as long as it ain't against the Phillies).  If he stays, I hope it is at the right number and he can stay healthy enough to contribute to the Phillies future teams.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moneyball 2011 - Jeremy Brown

Jeremy Brown was the 35th overall pick of the 2002 MLB draft discussed in Moneyball.  He was the fat catcher that the scouts hated with the high On Base number which Billie Beane and Paul DePodesta.  

Because of compensation picks the A's had 7 picks in the first round of the 02 Draft which had 41 selections total.  Michael Lewis dedicated an entire chapter of Moneyball to the Jeremy Brown selection.  In hindsight he probably did not warrant the significant word count that he was given.  Brown announced his retirement in 2008 and his professional baseball career is likely he over.  He ended up with 10 career at bats in 5 Major League games all for the 2006 Athletics during a September call up.  

Of the 7 picks the A's made in the first round Brown probably ranks in the middle.  Nick Swisher would be at the top, followed by Phillies Pitcher Joe Blanton and Mark Teahan.  The A's 3 other picks from that first round never played in the majors.  That is pretty close to the hit ratio of the 1st round picks from the 02 draft.  To Date 27 of the 41 picks in that draft have reached the majors.  For comparison the Phillies 02 first round pick was Cole Hamels.  Prince Fielder, Matt Cain, Zack Greinke, BJ Upton were all drafted in the first round - all were drafted ahead of Jeremy Brown.
Brian McCann was likely the best catcher drafted after Brown - McCann was a High School product and not likely on the A's radar.  18 players were drafter as catchers in the 2002 Draft and have played more games then Jeremy Brown.  A couple of those players made it to the show at other positions (Joey Votto, Randy Wells).  Notable to Phillies Fans is Eric Kratz who is a local product that got a chance to play for his hometown club as a September Call Up for this years squad.  Kratz was the 866th overall pick in 2002.
I haven't seen the film yet, but Jeremy Brown is not credited as a character in the imdb listing.

For the Collector

I believe Jeremy Brown only had one topps card issued in their flagship product.

2007 Topps #624 Jeremy Brown (image swiped from baseball-simulator
Moneyball 2011
Links to  previous MB 2011 posts

Here is a link to a Moneyball and Collecting related article in Beckett that I first saw referenced by Chris Olds via Twitter. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Jumping on the John Henry Bandwagon

Jumping on the John Henry Bandwagon here.

I am farily sure Triple Threads is out of my price range and I will leave the debate on the product contents up to folks that have that kind of scratch.  

I would like to mention that, I am not sure if John Henry is considered a character of Public Domain - so Topps may have had to get permission from someone to produce cards with his "likeness".  Therefore in some way the cards are limited and somewhat unique.  For instance I probably cannot produce John Henry Phungo Cards and Sell them (but if you offered me $ to make them I may create them anyway)
That being said if I am paying a hundred dollars for a product with a X number of hits and one of them is the JH card, I would initially be disappointed until I found how I could sucker somebody into paying $500 for it on eBay.  Ok maybe I won't leave the debate up to the heavy hitters - I will put the Phungo 2 cents in.
At any rate if Topps needs some ideas here are some Other Relics they may want to consider that are at least baseball related:

A Bat Relic from Crash Davis' History Record breaking Home Run. 

A corn kernel from the Field of Dreams

A Jobu VooDoo Doll Relic from Indians curve ball challenged Slugger Pedro Cerrano - or a coke spoon from Rick Vaughn.

Jacket Relic from Umpire Frank Drebin

Beer can Relic from Coach Morris Buttermaker 

A piece of the Bat which Mighty Casey was using when he struck out.

A Springfield Isotopes Hat Relic from Homer Simpson Pinch Hitting Appearnce for Darryl Strawberry.

A baseball made from the horsehide of the thoroughbred John Henry. 

2011 Faux Topps Finest #BS-JH #d 2/5 John Henry Horse Hide Relic

Ok technically John Henry is a real horse and baseballs are no longer made of horsehide - but that would make that relic all the more real.


Haven't posted much recently been busy and on the road etc.  Was at Oktoberfest in Munich - if anyone is interested in a travelblog, post a comment and I will put one together - not much sports related stuff, but lots o beer drinking.

Hopefully getting back to posting will help to right the Phillies playoff ship as well.

Go Phightins!!!

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions