Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene Card Show Pick Ups

Just when you thought the supersaturated coverage of Hurricane Irene was over, Team Phungo brings it back. 

The local show was at the Exton Mall this past weekend and I ran out there for a few hours on Friday and added some baseball cards to my emergency supplies for this past weekend. 


2011 Topps Heritage Baseball Highlight Sketches Roy Halladay
Cards from games that I attended are right at the top of my want list.  This card is easily my favourite one of 2011.  I went over my $1 limit for inserts to procure this special card.  

Super Veterans
1983 OPC Super Veterans Steve Carlton and Pete Rose

There were 1983 OPC star cards floating around at a couple of tables.  I have been putting together the 83 SuperVets and these are nice cards to supplement that set.

Chrome n Serial Goodness

The Pearce and Wainwright were both from a dime box.  Pearce isn't a star, but finding the #d/59 Chrome version of the card in a dime box could not be passed on.  The Shula card is from the Masterpieces #d/75 Green Frame parallel set - went a full dollar for this card.  
2011 Topps Inserts
There was one woman selling cards for a nickle, in addition to all these 60th anniversary inserts she also had a good selection of 2011 A&G.

The show was pretty small - I only hit 3 tables and there were maybe 5 others, but there was a good selection of different items.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The First Topps Hunter Pence Phillies Card??

This is the giant Topps Hunter Pence card that was posted as part of the teams Starting Line Up feature at the ballpark.  I was happy to see the Phils and Topps elected to move up to the 2011 design, they have elected to skip some years.  Pence joined the Phils after Series 2 came out, I am not sure but I suppose this could be what the Pence 2011 Topps S3 card could look like.

This card was posted when we were at the game on Wednesday night - The Phils won 9-2, Pence had a couple of hits including a double and score 3 runs.  Cliff Lee got the had another good start and recorded his 13th win.  Jimmy Rollins had a lead off dinger for the Phils.  Rookie HR sensation Paul Goldschmidt went deep for the bad guys.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

2011 Topps Lineage Blaster Break

I started out liking Topps Lineage - not enough to build it, but I did enjoy opening up the 7 pack blaster I picked up at Target - but then I got to 4 additional loose packs that I picked up and realized I was growing bored w/ the product.  
2011 Topps Lineage Blaster 
Damage: $21.19 (incl PA Sales Tax) for 57 cards
 2011 Topps Lineage #TCS2 Derek Jeter
The pick of the pack was the above Derek Jeter Cloth Sticker.  I like the idea of including cloth stickers in Lineage but I was bummed the stickers look exactly like the dull ass base cards.
Regardless it's a big summer for Mr Jeter and according to the pack odds and my rough math, there is roughly 1 Jeter cloth sticker per case of Lineage. 
2011 Topps Lineage Cole Hamels 
There was only one Phil in my blaster.  I am in a bit of a Phils slump right now :(
75 Minis
Obviously the hit of Topps Lineage are the 75 minis.  I presented the Jake McGee base here for comparison.  Austin Jackson was my bonus relic. 
Other Highlights
Jose Bautista Venezuelan
Nelson Cruz Sparkle
Youkilis Stand Up (the other fun insert) 
Ichiro Base (w/ Rookie Cup) 
Michael Pineda Rookie All-Star
Johnny Damon Base and Knock off chromey thing
Blaster All-Star Team

 LHP David Price, RHP Verlander, C Miguel  Montero, I didn't get a closer so Chris Sale is the Blaster Relief staff.
1B Billy Butler, 2b Michael Young (listed as 3b here, but I didn't get a 2b), 3b=Chipper, SS Tulowitzki
Cargo, Either, Heyward, Carl Crawford
Report Card
Base Set Design - Meh - would have been nice to see heritage card stock. 
Base Set Checklist - thumbs up, I like short sets w/ Hall of Famers heavy - I would have liked to see a few more prospects, but I didn't get to really check out all of the prospects in this set.
Base Backs - hate it, but I was wondering has another set had such noticeable color variations on the back based on the players team. 
Photography - Solid
Inserts - Interesting - Like 75 Minis and the popups - but Topps really mailed it in by using the same pix and giving them all the same back - except for Venezuelan which they gave identical fronts.  
Final Grade
Thumbs Down - The more I see this set and the less I like it.  The boring base design combined w/ the mirroring of it for the inserts is a crummy combination.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Congratulations Jim Thome - 600 Homers

2011 Phungo #25 Jim Thome

Jim Thome now ranks 8th career in Homers and 4th among Lefties (Bonds, the Babe, and Junior)

I am very happy to see Thome reach the milestone, he will always be one of the best players that I was able to see play on a regular basis.  I hope he sticks around for another season and gets another crack at a ring.  

For more info on the above card click here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Phillies 2011 Alumni Weekend

The Phillies Annual Alumni Weekend is upon us.  Unfortunatley Team Phungo will not be able to make the festivities this year, but I strongty encourage you to go, whether your a Phils fan or Baseball fan in general.  I have enjoyed the Alumni weekends I have been to in the past and they will likely always remain on my todo list.
2010 Phungo #13 John Kruk

On Friday Night the Phils are inducting fan favorite and ESPN analyst John Kruk into the Wall of Fame.  Saturday Night will feature the return of dozens of Phils players from the past.  The Phils typically have a couple of former players signing autographs throughout the stadium during the entier weekend.  Past signers have included Mickey Morandini, Jim Eisenreich, and Mike Lieberthal. 

Among the players expected to return for Saturday night are all 3 of the Phils living Hall of Famers:  Mike Schmidt, Steve Carlton, and Jim Bunning.

The big event on Sunday is the unveiling of a statue honoring Harry Kalas - I am sure this will be a joyful and emotional moment for many Phillies Fans. 

For the Phillies press release for the weekend click here.

For a look back at the Phils 2009 Alumni Weekend click here.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Phungo Hall of Fame Profile Bobby Shantz 1961 Topps MVP

The Hall of Fame Profile posts are not restricted to the Hall in Cooperstown.  I also try and hit the various other Halls with a heavy dose of the Philly Sports Hall of Fame.  When I originally ran the Hall of Fame Thursday feature I chronicled the entire Philly Sports HoF 2008 class.  Today I would like to feature a member of the 09 Class Bobby Shantz. 

Shantz played half of his 16 year career with the Athletics - including 6 while the A's were based in Philadelphia.  He finished his career pitching a handful of innings for the ill-fated 1964 Phillies. Shantz's Best year was his MVP season of 1952 which is memorably featured in the 1975 Topps MVP subset with a reprint of his card from the seminal 52 set.  Shantz also has eight Gold Gloves on his mantle - He appared on the losing side of two World Series matchups as a pitcher for the Yankees. 

Bobby Shantz is still kicking at 85 years old.  He lives in the Philadelphia area and I see his name pop up frequently for autograph and card shows.

For the Collector

One of the vintage subsets I really like is the 1961 Topps MVP series.     

1961 Topps #473 Bobby Shantz

The subset is 16 cards including Mantle, Aaron, Willie Mays, Roy Campanella, Roger Maris, Banks and Yogi among others.  It is one of the subsets I have considered building for a while and really needed to checklist - so I have finally decided to stop procrastinating on that.

471. MVP -- Phil Rizzuto
472. MVP -- Yogi Berra
473. MVP -- Bobby Shantz

474. MVP -- Al Rosen
475. MVP -- Mickey Mantle

476. MVP -- Jackie Jensen 
477. MVP -- Nellie Fox 
478. MVP -- Roger Maris
479. MVP -- Jim Konstanty

 480. MVP -- Roy Campanella
481. MVP -- Hank Sauer
482. MVP -- Willie Mays

483. MVP -- Don Newcombe
484. MVP -- Hank Aaron
485. MVP -- Ernie Banks
486. MVP -- Dick Groat

If you would elect to build this set the Mantle card will likely be about half of the battle.  Fortunately, I imagine several of the lower level MVPs can likely be had for under a dollar.   I have picked up a few of these cards at shows and in auctions without really building the set and already have 6 of the 16 cards.  The biggest one in my collection is this pock marked Willie Mays. 

1961 Topps #482 Willie Mays MVP

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Moneyball 2011 - Billy Beane

The film version of Michael Lewis' book "Moneyball" is scheduled to come out September 23rd of this year.  I suppose they may have had trouble getting the film made, as the timing seems a bit dated.  It is getting hard to pretend that the Oakland A's can still win while playing less. Regardless many baseball fans have read the book and even the most casual fans understand the difference between On Base Percentage and Batting Average.

Moneyball 2011

With the release of the upcoming film I thought it would be fun to take a look back at the book and the changes in the way Baseball teams are built, since the 2002 draft that is prominently featured in "Moneyball".  I am in the processes of rereading the fine book and hope to come up with some baseball and card related posts from the material.

Billy Beane 

Of course the main character of Moneyball is Billy Beane.  Overall I loved reading Moneyball, but I never viewed Beane as a baseball genius.  I believe the Athletics won because they had 3 really talented pitchers.  All the OBP studs that Beane picked up were decent players but Zito Hudson and Mulder were the reason they made the playoff year in and year out. 

1987 Topps #114 Billy Beane

This off center 1987 gem is one of the few cards from the ubiquitous set that I have sleeved.  I enjoy cards that only become noteworthy long after the players career is over and this one definitely fits that description.  Brad Pitt plays Beane in the film - I look forward to seeing this card with Pitt in that Twins uniform.

Moneyball 2011 Index


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

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

BryceWatch 2011 08 02 Harrisburg Senators @ Reading Phillies

Went out to Reading to catch the Phils AA affiliate as they hosted Bryce Harper and the rest of the Harrisburg Senators Last night.  This was my second stop on my Bryce Harper tour - to see a game report on my previous game click here.

For Tuesday night Reading was quite busy as a perfect storm of events helped to fill the classic ballpark.  

1) Prospect Bryce Harper was in town and folks definitely knew about him - plenty of flashbulbs for a minor league game
2) Carlos "Chooch" Ruiz Bobble Head giveaway night - one of the most annoying "Talking" bobbleheads ever.
3) Really nice weather - it was warm but really low humidity for this area in August.

The R-Phils won the contest 8-4 with the bulk of their scoring happening during a 6 run 6th highlighted by a Steve Singleton Grand Slam.  Singleton is a castoff from the Twins system who just got called up to Reading from Lakewood.  Harper was 1-4 with a well hit gap double.  Longtime Phils Minor league catcher Tuffy Gosewhich had a dinger for the good guys.  Nats Prospect (Mary) Tyler Moore hit his 25th homer for the Senators.


-Harper either stepped in a hole or tripped over his elongated pants while trying to field a single in an effort to make a throw to the plate.  In the game I saw Harper play in Harrisburg last month, he played it safe coming in on a ball that may have been catchable allowing it to drop in for a single.  He did run the bases well once again, and that definitely appears to be an asset - especially for a guy that came up as a catcher.  

-Oliver Perez (yes that Ollie Perez) got the start for the Nats.  Not only did he get a hit, but he also had a stolen base in the game.  For all of my complaints about his performance at the major league level, Perez did appear to be having fun in last nights game and did demonstrate some leadership qualities.  Perez had a decent outing giving up only 1 run over 5.  it ws the bullpen that gave up the big runs.

-Reading has done a good job updating their ballpark.  They have added a significant outdoor area w/ pre-game activities and a real clubhosue store, of course it has major league prices.

-Since the Phils promoted Freddy Galvis this week, other than Matt Rizzoti who is playing Ryan Howard's position, I am not sure that Reading had a legitimate prospect playing in the field right now.

-Tyler Moore went 3-4 last night and has homered in both games I saw the Sens play this year. 

-Apparently the Sens have a player named Stepen King.

-The Nats just picked up Erik Komatsu in return for Jerry Hairston Jr at the deadline - Komatsu busted bats in each of his first 3 at bats of the game - he is a LH bat with speed.  Little guy potential leadoff man. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2011 Phungo Cards - Michael Bourn

When your favorite team trades a player you like, it is always hard to take - but if it is the right move, you cannot deny the positive impact.  Following the 2007 season the Phils traded speedster Michael Bourn to Houston in order to pick up Closer Brad Lidge.  Lidge was obviously a Major Contributor to the Phils 2008 Championshiis squad and it was definitely the right move. 

I liked Bourn and have followed his career in Houston as he has become an all-star a very good lead off hitter and a Gold Glove caliber centerfielder.  This was all fine while he was playing CF for the Houston Astros. 
2011 Phungo #37 Michael Bourn

Unfortunatley, Bourn has been traded to the Phils division rivals, the Atlanta Braves.  When it is all over I think both the Braves and Phils get in this year, but I don't look forward to facing the pesky Bourn in a potentential playoff match up if it occurs.

It's a shame that things didn't work with the Astros for Bourn who is from the Houston area.  Regardless I hope his career continues to prosper, except when he faces the Phils.

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions