Friday, June 29, 2012

Phun Cards - 2004 Topps #333 Kevin Millwood

Ok I am a bit behind on this one, several weeks ago Kevin Millwood pitched the first 6 innings of a combined No-Hitter for the Seattle Mariners. 



2004 Topps #333 2003 Season Highlights Kevin Millwood No-Hitter

The amazing thing to me is that Millwood authored a No-Hitter in 2003 and here we are almost a decade later and Milwood is the starting pitcher in a second no-no.

2004 Topps #333 2003 Season Highlights Kevin Millwood No-Hitter (B-side)

Both No-Hitters were won by a score of 1-0.  I wonder how many pitchers have started multiple no-hitters won by that narrow margin. 

I definitely do not put the combined No-Hitter up there with the complete gamer, regardless it is quite an accamplishment for Millwood to be involved in 2 of them and win by the narrowest of margins. 

In early May Kevin Millwood was the starting pitcher for the Mariners in a game that Team Phungo attended in Seattle.  He was up against Justin Verlander - who is a No-no waiting to happen every outing.  Millwood got off to a rough start that night and I thought to myself we may be witnessing the end of a career.  As it turns out Millwood is having a fair year  - good enough to keep him in the majors with the no-hitter an additional nice moment as well.

For the Collector

I either picked this card up out of a dime box or via a trade package.  Most Highlight cards of non-superstars that were issued after 1974 can be picked up for a dime or less.  I particularly like No-Hitter cards and have quite a few in the Phungo collection.  

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Moneyball 2012 - Kevin Youkilis


As you are aware by now, Kevin Youkilis was traded from the the Red Sox to the White Sox this past weekend.

 2011 Phungo #20 Kevin Youkilis

I am pretty sure Kevin Youkilis never really appears in the film "Moneyball" but he is definitely present.  He is referred to by the Paul DePodesta/Peter Brand charater as "The Greek God of Walks".  I don't know if this was ever a nickname for Youk prior to Moneyball the book being released, but it is so iconic sounding it is easy to understand why it stuck. 

The epilogue to Moneyball (flim) mentions that the Red Sox went on to win the World Series partiall using the theories developed by the Oakland A's - Those Boston Red Sox teams of course featured Kevin Youkilis.  

It is hard to imagine that a guy that could play a couple of different positions ended up as the odd man out in Boston - Glancing at his numbers I noticed two things 1) He hasn't played over 140 games since 2008 and the player for whom Youkilis has the best comparables with for a 32 year old is another Red Sox player. Trot Nixon

At age 33 and beyond  Nixon's career had less then 400 plate appearances remaining and only 4 more Home Runs (out of 137 career Homers)

The rest of Youkilis age 32 top-10 comps is a mixed bag:  




CompFinal MLB Season AgeComments
1Trot Nixon34395 AB after age 32 season
2Mosies Alou413 Time all-star at 33 and beyond. 
3Rusty Greer33Batted .296 in final season, 1 Homer - Retired due to back injuries.  
4Bob Nieman35400 PA beyond age 32, 7 Homers, Hit .378 in 82 AB at age 34.  
5Marty Cordova33Batted .233 in 39 PA during age 33 season then retired.
6Dante Bichette37All Star in age 34 season (1998 Led League in Hits 219) Hit 20+ HRs at ages 33-36 (3 of those seasons were in Colorado) 
7Dolph Camili381941 NL MVP (age 34 - 34 HRs, 120 RBI) DNP in 1944 retired following 1945 season at 38.
8Brad Hawpe32? Hawpe is actually a few months younger then Youkilis - He had Tommy John surgery in 2011 and is currently out of baseball. 
9Bernard Gilkey 34225 PAs at 33 and beyond, 3 Homers .254 BA.  Retired following age 34 season
10Milton Bradley33Assorted off the field issues, never played more then 141 games in a season - at any age.  

Three of the ten players in the group played beyond 35 Moises Alou who had a very good beyond 32 career, Dante Bichette with perhaps Rocky Mountain enhanced numbers and Dolph Camili who played in the 1940s.

So who is Kevin Youkilis Moises Alou, Marty Cordova, Bichette or Gilkey?

Sources

Moneyball 2011-2012
Links to  previous MB 2011-2012 posts
 

 
etc

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















































Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Snapshots Pirates @ Phillies 2012 06 25

The Phillies got a comfortable W on Monday night, defeating the cross-state Pirates 8-3.  Offensive heroes were Jimmy Rollins with 2-Run Homer and a double and All-Star candidate Carlos Ruiz who had 3 hits and tallied 3 runs.   Joe Blanton went 7 innings giving up 3 runs (2 ER).  Defensively the Phils were mixed with a couple of errors, but turned 3 double plays including one in the 9th which helped to keep Closer Jonathan Papelbon in the bullpen. 

On the other hand the Pirates largest undoing was their defense - 4 errors including a couple of little league worthy overthrows that led to a big first inning for the Phils in the first.  Two of the Bucos errors were by Jose Tabata, who did redeem himself with a homer in the 3rd inning. 
Snaphshots (click any pix to enlarge) 
Joe Blanton

It feels like Blanton's starts have either been really good or awful.  Monday night would fall closer to the good end.  If Placido Polanco doesn't commit a throwing error in the 5th, Blanton would have likely gotten away with 2 runs over 7, which for me would have moved the start over fully into the really good category.  

Observations
Sunset Citizens Bank Park

It was a beautiful night for baseball - a bit windy with a minor sprinkle but generally pretty comfortable.  

Fireworks nights definitely bring out a different crowd for games - no matter how bad the economy gets people can afford to shell out $300 to bring themselves and a couple of kids to a game - even if they don't see a pitch.  In the bottom of the 7th the Phils had the bases loaded and there was a wave cycling the park in full roar.    
Andrew McCutchen

The Pirates really don't have anybody hitting well except Andrew McCutchen, yet they are in the race for the central division lead and wild card.  They do appear to have a lot of exciting young players (McCutchen, Tabata, Alvarez, Walker) and it will be interesting to see how their second half unfolds.  James McDonald appears to coming into his own as a pitcher.
Juan Cruz


Just because I like the picture.
Chase Utley

Chase Utley was in the house, which created a bit of a buzz.  He really was barely shagging flies when I was there - in Right Center.  It didn't look like he was working on a move to the outfield or anything like that.    


GGA

Good Guy Awards for Hunter Pence, Andrew McCutchen, and Casey McGehee who were all spotted signing autographs.


Everything about Hunter Pence is unorthodox.  Ugly swing, Ugly thrower, runs funny.  

Monday, June 25, 2012

2011 Phungo Cards Carlos Ruiz - #VoteChooch




2012 Phungo #51 Carlos Ruiz

I don't know how often the update the All-Star Voting, but last week when I was at a Phillies game Carlos Ruiz was in 3rd place among catchers.

Source
Phillies Scoreboard w/ All-Star Voting for Catchers 2012 06 19

FWIW I really didn't have the right to bitch to much last week since I had not yet voted.  I don't take the All-Star game voting too seriously.  For me it used to be more fun when you had to do it at the ballpark - now that I can do it anytime it seems less urgent.  Sort of like how I blow off TV shows that are ON-Demand, then I never come back to watch them. modern problems. 

As I said I don't take it too seriously, but over the weekend I did go on and #VoteChooch.  Of course the rest of my ballot was a farce - Chase Utely hasn't set a foot (or bad knee) on the field and I voted for him.  A lot of times I just vote for guys from my area, but I had trouble finding one - Chris Heisey wasn't on the ballot.  I voted for Marlon Byrd (NL OF) just because I am pretty sure he was last spotted playing for an AL team (BoSox).  Chris Davis got a vote just for earning a Pitchiing Win in a game despite the fact that he is a position player.  They are like jokes only for myself. 

#VoteChooch

There are hashtags on Twitter to reference specific people, subjects, events etc.  One of the ones that has emerged is #VoteChooch to remind folks to Vote for Carlos Ruiz in the All-Star Balloting.  I am farily sure this is the first time that I have referenced a #hasntag here, and I got off my butt and voted - so  Twitter you have finally made a difference.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Philly Show returns to Valley Forge June 22-24

Hunt Auctions brings the Philly Show back to the Valley Forge Convention Center/VF Casino this weekend.

They have added a Casino to the convention center which requires a membership to get into.  I don't know how or if this will affect admission to the card show.  I suspect that you will be able to get a day passed included to the Casino with your Card show admission.  Show admission is $8 - you can pick up a $1 off coupon in some of the local papers (of course the paper costs a buck so it's a push)

Unfortunately, I have a couple of other comittments and doubt I will be able to make the show this wkend.

Autograph Signers


1974 Topps #198 Dave Cash (image from Baseball Card Database)
The signers for this weekends show include Phillies Alums Dave Cash, David West and Orioles Hall of Famer Jim Palmer on Saturday.  HoF Dennis Eckersley, former Phil Terry Harmon and 1960s era 76ers Chet Walker.

It does not appear that Hunt Auctions is offering a complimentry auto.

For Show Info click here
For Casino Infor click here
For additional Philadelphia area card shows info click here


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Phungo Profile - Little League Coach Ken Holtzman

This past weekend I was out enjoying an adult beverage when I met someone who as a youngster knew Ken Holtzman - who was a pitcher for the Cubs and A's during the 60's and 70s.

The person mentioned that Holtzman was his little league coach that he was the best coach he had ever had.

I knew that Ken Holtzman was a pitcher of some significance but didn't know that much about him.  While he pitched until 1979, the best part of his career was in the books by 1976.

It didn't take much research to find out that Holtzman's career was very impressive.  The left-handed pitcher was a significant contributor to the Oakland A's World Series Championship run of the early 70s recording a 4-1 record across 8 World Series starts.  

He was a two time all-star who won 17+ games 6 of 7 seasons between 1969 and 1975.  Holtzman's career spanned 15 seasons.  He also pitched with the Yankees and Orioles.  Holtzman was once traded with Reggie Jackson.  
1967 Topps #185 Ken Holtzman

Holtzman was also a Jewish ballplayer.  Coming up as a left handed pitching prospect in the middle 60s compelled comparisons to Sandy Koufax.  The two pitchers eventually faced each other on the day after Yom Kippur, September 25 1966.  Holtzman took a No-Hitter into the 9th inning and defeated Koufax and the Dodgers 2-1.  It was the last regular season loss of Koufax's Hall of Fame career. 

Sandy Koufax Hall of Fame career had a higher peak, but it is worth mentioning that of the two pitchers Holtzman had more career victories (174 vs 165) and equaled the legend in World Series Victories (4)

Ken Holtzman Now

According to his Wikipedia Bio Holtzman managed in the Israeli Baseball League in 2007.  As of 2010 he still held the record for Career Wins by a Jewish pitcher.  

I am glad to hear that Holtzman is still involved in baseball, but mostly I was happy to find out that a star ballplayer could be great little league coach.  So often being athletically gifted doesn't translate in any way in coaching (or any other off field activity for that matter).  To have the ability and desire to coach kids is yet another admirable skill.

For the Collector 

The 1967 Topps card above is the Ken Holtzman Rookie Card.  It is slightly dinged in the corners but is otherwise in good condition.   Outside of Chicago the card is likely a common - likely can be found for .15 cents or less.  The text on the B-side of the 1967 Holtzman RC mentions the Koufax game mentioned above.


Sources:
Baseball-Refence Ken Holtzman Page 
Wikipedia Ken Holtzman Page 



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Phun Cards - Bob Uecker


1967 Topps #326 Bob Uecker 


I knew that Bob Uecker played baseball, but until I starting delving into vintage cards I never knew he played for the Phillies.

Uecker's playing career was not long nor was it noteworthy.  He was a catcher for 6 seasons from 1962 through 1967 compiling a .200 batting average. Half of his 14 career Home Runs were hit in the 1966 when he played for the Phillies.  Uecker was the back-up to Tim McCarver on the St Louis Cardinals World Championship Team, but he did not actually play in any series games. 

Most people know Bob Uecker as an off the field celebrity featured on TV and film - Most notably as Harry Doyle in the late 80s comedy "Major League" (and it's sequals). 

Uecker is also well known to Brewers fans as the radio play by play voice.  He has done work in TV at a national level as well, including scattered playoff games that I can vaguely remember over the years. 

In 2003 Uecker received the Ford C Frick Award for Broadcasting from the Baseball Hall of Fame.  This Year the Brewers plan to honor Uecker with a statue outside of Miller Park, The unveiling is planned for August 31 of this year.

For The Collector

I think the 1967 Topps Card above I either received in trade or found at a card show.  This is the final card Topps issued of Uecker during his playing career.  This card has a pretty good crease running down the center, and likely could be found in a dime box.  I imagine one could find a good condition 67 Uecker for a dollar without much looking.

The bulk of his cards were with the Cardinals.  His1963 Topps rookie card features him with Milwaukee's first major league team the Braves.   Recent low sale for the RC was $4.10

Essential Collection
 
This makes the essential collection based off of Uecker being an off the field Icon and on a Phils Card. 
 
A card for your Team Collection with an Off Field Icon
 
Sources:
 
 

SUS: Who has gotten a W before Cliff Lee?

For todays edition of Shut Up Stats we pick on Cliff Lee and the Phils: 


2012 06 06 - Cliff Lee pitches vs Dodgers 



329 MLB pitchers have recorded a victory this season - none of them are named Cliff Lee. 

Keep in mind there are only 750 spots on all major league rosters combined (for all positions).  

Just a small sample of the guys that have won a game since Lee last won a game on September 26 2011.

Yu Darvish - 8 wins in first 13 games of MLB career
Tim Lincecum - 6.19 ERA highest among 61 NL Qualifiers  
Luke Hochevar - 6.27 ERA highest among 111 MLB Qualfiers
Yoshinori Tatevama - 11.88 ERA - 36 yr old Japanese pitcher - 2nd yr in MLB
Manny Acosta - 11.86 ERA journeyman reliever    
Jordan Lyles age 21
Bobby Cassevah (Angels Reliever, 5 innings Pitched in 2012 - 7.20 ERA, 34th round pick in 2004) 

Andy Pettiitte - missed all of 2011 baseball season.   
Roy Oswalt (Hasn't pitched in 2012 - won on 9/27/2011)  
Javier Vazquez (appears to be currently Retired - also won on 9/27/2011)
Justin De Fratus (Phillies Reliever on DL all of 2012 - 4 Career IP - Won Game 162 over Braves 9/28/2011)

Drew Pomeranz age 23 (5th overal pick of 2010 draft - the Bryce Haper one - 2ne career victory on 9/28/2011)  
49 year old Jamie Moyer
9 Different Cubs pitchers (The Cubs have won a only 23 games all season and are 21 games under .500) 

Chris Carpenter (Hasn't appeared in a game in 2012, but won several games in 2011 post season)
Darren Oliver - 41 year old journeymen lefty reliever - won a 2011 World Series game v the Cardinals.

and of course: 

Orioles DH Chris Davis
Roger Clemens (vs the US Justice Department) 

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

Monday, June 18, 2012

Phun Cards Roger Clemens

Thanks to the neverending Clemens Trial, I get mileage out of this card about once a year or so.

1992 U.S. Playing Card Aces - Joker - Roger Clemens

How many cards are more appropriate? 

Well maybe the Justice Department should get a Joker card now. 




Thursday, June 14, 2012

Swag from the Daily Dimwit

The Daily Dimwit ran a group break back in the spring - it featured three 2012 products that I didn't pick up a lot of Heritage, Opening Days, and Gypsy Queen.

Ryan Howard Chrome with floating head sticker

Warren Spahn & Cliff Lee Then & Now 
Phanatic Opening Day
Gypsy Queen Andrew McCutchen and Mike Schmidt Moonshots

The break was an and+1 break and my extra team was the Pirates - That is where the McCutchen came from as well as a Kiner and a Clemente.  The break also yielded a fair share of the Phils checkers for the three products.

For the Collector: Matt Cain - 09 Goodwin Champs Autograph

FTC: For the Collector

2009 UD Goodwin Champions #A-MC Matt Cain

16 Months ago you could have picked up a Matt Cain On-Card auto for under $5.  Not so sure you could do that today.  Click here to find out more.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Phun Cards Ray Liotta - Henry Hill (1943-2012)


2004 Bowman Chrome First Year #BDP69 Ray Liotta 

Today we got the news that Henry Hill, the subject of the Martin Scorsese gangster film "GoodFellas", died at the age of 69.

I have always loved "GoodFellas" and rank it among the greatest films I have ever seen.  In the film Hill was played by actor Ray Liotta.  Liotta also famously played a right-handed batting Joe Jackson in "Field of Dreams".

Then in 2004 the White Sox drafted a pitcher named Ray Liotta.  Between my love of the film and the fact that Liotta (the actor) played an baseball icon on film, a Liotta (the player) card became a necessity for the team Phungo Collection.

Unfortunately for the Pitching Ray Liotta, his career hasn't quite worked out - as far as I can tell via Baseball-Reference.com he has been out of affiliated baseball since 2009.

For the Collector

This card was found in a dime box, and I am sure it isn't worth that much, unless you are one of the Ray Liotta's

SUS - Shut Up Stats: Grand Slams for Gehrig and A-Rod

2011 Phungo 42-NYYa4 Lou Gehrig

Last night in the Yankees 6-4 win over the Braves Alex Rodriguez tied Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig for Career Grand Slams with 23.

Using the Baseball-Reference Home Run Log feature we can find out a little more about the 23 Slams hit by each of the players.



Lou Gehrig
Slam#HR #DateForVsPitcherScoreInning
1117/23/1925NYYWSHFirpo Marberrybehind 5-6b 7
2445/7/1927NYY@CHWTed Lyonst 9
3651927-07-04 (2)NYYWSHBobby Burkeb 6
4885/11/1928NYYCLEJoe Shautebehind 0-1b 6
51421929-09-10 (2)NYYDETPhil Pageb 1
61451929-09-18 (2)NYYCLEMilt Shoffnerb 7
71541930-05-22 (2)NYY@PHABill Shorest 1
81797/31/1930NYY@BOSEd Durhamt 7
92238/29/1931NYY@PHALefty Grovet 6
102258/31/1931NYYWSHLloyd Brownb 5
112271931-09-01 (2)NYYBOSEd Morrisb 3
122405/26/1932NYY@WSHGeneral Crowdert 6
132651932-09-09 (1)NYY@DETEarl Whitehillt 3
143055/10/1934NYYCHWLee Stineb 5
153075/13/1934NYYCLELloyd Brownb 1
163146/10/1934NYYPHABill Dietrichb 1
173217/5/1934NYYWSHLefty Stewartb 3
183597/7/1935NYY@WSHBobo Newsomt 5
193681935-08-21 (1)NYY@SLBJim Walkupt 3
204148/15/1936NYY@PHARandy Gumpertt 8
214221936-09-09 (2)NYY@CLEOral Hildebrandt 2
224588/31/1937NYY@CLEMel Hardert 5
234888/20/1938NYY@PHABuck Rosst 1
Alex Rodriguez
Slam HR #DateForVsPitcherScoreInning
184/18/1996SEADETClint Sodowskyahead 2-1b 2
2125/17/1996SEA@BALAlan Millsbehind 7-9t 8
3227/6/1996SEA@TEXKevin Grossahead 3-1t 4
41267/19/1999SEAARIVicente Padillatied 3-3b 6
51307/30/1999SEABALArthur Rhodesbehind 1-2b 5
61449/16/1999SEA@TBDEsteban Yanbehind 0-2t 8
71534/16/2000SEA@TORPedro Borbonahead 15-7t 8
82147/5/2001TEXSEABrian Fuentesahead 8-1b 4
92757/27/2002TEXOAKBilly Kochtied 6-6b 10
103237/31/2003TEXBOSTodd Jonestied 3-3b 11
113884/26/2005NYYLAABartolo Colonahead 6-2b 4
124304/3/2006NYY@OAKBarry Zitoahead 3-0t 2
134477/2/2006NYYNYMAlay Solerbehind 2-4b 3
144674/7/2007NYYBALChris Raybehind 6-7b 9
154866/7/2007NYY@CHWRyan Bukvichahead 4-3t 9
165179/25/2007NYY@TBDJason Hammelahead 1-0t 3
175529/14/2008NYYTBREdwin Jacksontied 0-0b 1
1858310/4/2009NYY@TBRAndy Sonnanstineahead 6-2t 6
195875/14/2010NYYMINMatt Guerrierbehind 3-4b 7
205905/31/2010NYYCLEChris Perezahead 2-1b 7
215967/6/2010NYY@OAKTrevor Cahilltied 1-1t 3
226184/23/2011NYY@BALJosh Rupeahead 9-3t 8
236396/12/2012NYY@ATLJonny Ventersbehind 0-4t 8


He didn't know it at the time, but after Gehrig hit career Slam #23 he would play less than 60 more games. Lou Gehrig hit his last Grand Slam at the age of 35 - he only lived to be 37.  Alex Rodriguez is now 36.

There were at least two future Hall of Famers that Gehrig hit his slams off of, Lefty Grove and Ted Lyons.  None of A-Rod's victims appear to be of that caliber - Barry Zito is likely the best pitcher of the bunch.

Three of Rodriguez Slams are of the Walk-Off variety.  None of Gehrig's 23 were Walk-Offs.  Of course none of the Lou Gehrig's Home Runs were steroid induced either.

Source: Baseball-Reference.com

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions