Thursday, February 27, 2014

1964 Phillies @ 50: Bobby Wine 1963 Topps #71

During the 1964 season the Phillies carried two Gold Glove Shortstops. There was Ruben Amaro who took home the hardware following the season and Bobby Wine who won the award in 1963.

1963 Topps #71 Bobby Wine

Amaro may have collected the 1964 Gold Glove, but it was Wine who started the majority of games at the position in Gene Mauch’s platoon heavy lineup. The 25 year old Wine batted .212 over 126 games during the ’64 season. In addition to playing short he also spelled Dick Allen at third base. Bobby Wine never hit much above those numbers for his career, however His glovework kept him around the Major Leagues for 12 years. He played 1100+ games with 3000 ABs despite being a career .215 hitter.

Bobby Wine stayed with the Phillies through 1968 season and ending up being the Phillies primary Shortstop for the decade. In 1969 Wine served as the Shortstop on the inaugural Montreal Expos club, which like the 1964 Phillies was helmed by Gene Mauch. In 1970, Wine set the single season Double Play record for shortstops with 137. The record still stands for the NL today.

Folks who (like me) are in their middle 40s will likely remember Bobby Wine the Phillies Coach who served with the organization in a variety roles throughout the 70s and 80s. One of those roles was as Dallas Green’s bench coach for the Phillies 1980 World Championship squad. In 1985 he also served as the Manager of the Braves on an interim basis for 41 games.
Bobby's son Robbie also played major league baseball getting into 23 games as a catcher for the 1986 and 87 Astros. Following his playing career Robbie Wine went into coaching. He served as the Penn State Head coach for nine season before resigning this past June.  

1964 Philies Series
Dick Allen 
Johnny Callison
Tony Gonzalez
John Herrnstein 
Chris Short
Tony Taylor
Frank Thomas

Bobby Wine 

Sources
baseball-ref
Year of the Blue Snow
Go PSU Sports

 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

2014 Heritage Rookie Stars: 1965 Topps #282 Dick Estelle & Masanori Murakami

We are a week away from 2014 Topps Heritage, today we bring you one of my favorite cards from the original 1965 set:


1965 Topps #282 Giants Rookie Stars Dick Estelle & Masanori Murakami

Masanori Murakami was the first Japanese MLB player way back in 1964. He preceded Hideo Nomo by three and a half decades. As a lefthanded relief pitcher Murakami pitched farily well for the Giants. Unfortunately due to a variety of contract issues and failed negotiations between the Giants, MLB and the Japanese League Nankai Hawks Murakami would return to Japan after a mere two seasons in the States.  

For further information, I highly recommend this Masanori Murakami biography that I believe was written by High School student in New York City. The Bio- further cites "Remembering Japanese Baseball: An Oral History of the Game" which as it's name infers is mostly Murakami commenting on his career - not terrific writing but an interesting read.   

Murakami was honored by the Giants in 1995, throwing out the first pitch prior to a game versus the Dodgers. Coincidentally the LA starter that night was Hideo Nomo who took a no-hitter into the 7th inning, Royce Clayton broke up the Nomo No-No which was the only hit for the Giants. 

1965 Topps
I had thought Masahiro Tanaka would have been a great candidate for the #282 card in 2014T Heritage, but Ben Henry as pointed out over at the Baseball Card Blog that Tanaka's signing may have happened to late for Topps to send the card to print.  I hope that Topps figures it out, Tanaka would be a nice bonus for 2014 Heritage.

1965 Topps featured a number of Rookie Stars cards including 3 and 4 player varieties. 


1965 Topps #597 Rookie Stars Twins
1965 Topps #561 Rookie Stars Dodgers

No idea why Joe Nosseck got the prime spot in the Twins card. Perhaps alphabetic order. Rich Reese had the best career of the three Players. As far as the Dodger card, Jim Lefebvre was probably the most successful - in 1965 he even beat out Joe Morgan for Rookie of the Year

Other Voices
The Great 1965 Topps Blog - Kevin has a lot more info on the Dick Estelle half of the above card.

1965 Topps/2014 Heritage Index
Base - #534 John Herrnstein
Rookie Cup - #460 Dick Allen
Rookie Stars - #282 Dick Estelle & Masanori Murakami

More info on 1965 Topps
The entire 1965 Topps Series was covered by Kevin B of Orioles Card "O" the day on The Great 1965 Topps Project
Cardboard Connection
Sports Collectors Digest (TS O' Connell)
Golden Age of Baseball Cards
Dean's Cards
Beckett

PSA


Sources
Baseball-ref.com
HSMSE Sports Journalism Blog
Sports Illustrated 


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

1964 Phillies @ 50: Dick Allen 1965 Topps #460

In 1964 the then 22 year old Dick Allen was the starting third baseman for every one of the '64 Phillies 162 games. He batted .318 with 29 Homers and 91 RBI and led the league in both Runs scored (125) and total bases (352).


1965 Topps #460 Richie Allen

Not only was Allen a member of the Topps All-Rookie team, He was also the overwhelming NL selection for Rookie of the Year, receiving 18 of the 20 RoY votes cast. His rookie numbers were so good that he finished 7th in the MVP voting and likely deserved better finishing 3rd in the league in WAR(8.8) trailing only Hall of Famers Willie Mays and Ron Santo.

The 64 Phillies may have collapsed in September, but none of that can be blamed on Dick Allen. Even during their 10 game losing streak he batted .415, slugged .634 - good enough for an OPS of 1.076.  

For various reasons Dick Allen wore out his welcome in Philadelphia and in 1969 he was traded. Allen and the Phillies eventually resolved their differences and he returned to the Phillies in 1975. A year later he helped the Phillies to make the playoffs, it was Allen's only appearance in the Postseason.

I believe that someday Dick Allen will get in the Hall of Fame. In addition to his Rookie of the Year award he took home MVP hardware in 1972 (White Sox).  For his career Allen hit 351 Homers and racked up 1119 RBI. He led the league multiple times in several key offensive categories: Home Runs (twice), OBP (twice 2), Slugging (3 times), OPS (4). His MVP was earned as he led the league in oWAR that season, the second time that he had done so (1966).  

Today Dick Allen is 71 and near as I can tell he is based out of Western Pennsylvania and maintains a fairly active Twitter account. He is a regular at Phillies Alumni events and always appears to be enjoying the festivities. 

1965 Topps
This card is doing double duty, in addition to being part of the 1964 Phillies retrospective, we are also using it as part of our 1965 Topps series. On this card we see the Rookie Cup Trophy icon which was in use for the 6th time in 1965.  The 64 Topps Rookie team is well represented in the 1965T set with members including Bert Campaneris, Rico Carty, Tony Conigliaro, and Tony Oliva.

In 2014 Heritage the Rookie Cup third baseman will be Nolan Arenado of the Rockies who we have seen already in flagship.  Since Dick Allen is #460 in 65T that means his card number will fall in the short print series in Heritage. It will be interesting to see what route Topps takes with the #460 card, They could put in current Phillies rookie 3B Cody Asche. or match the RC trophy with Arenado or more likely ignore Dick Allen altogether. 

Richie Allen
Early in his career Dick Allen played under the name Richie, which is his Topps On card name through 1969. In 1970 Topps he becomes Rich Allen, He finally becomes Dick Allen in 1973 Topps  

2014 Topps Heritage the Originals Index
Base Cards (John Herrnstein)
Rookie Cup (Dick Allen)


Sources
1964 Phillies Series 
Dick Allen Player Collection Index

Baseball-ref
Wrigley Wax
baseball Card Database

Monday, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis (1944-2014) once pitched at the Vet

Sort of...
Mark Harmon and Harold Ramis in Stealing Home (photo swiped from Cineplex)

A lesser known (and likely not so funny) Harold Ramis movie was a baseball flick set and filmed in Philadelphia

I have never really seen Stealing Home – I think it is safe to say it is more chick flick then baseball flick.

However, somewhere along the line I did catch a scene where Mark Harmon re-enacts a Home Run at the Vet that he never hit or never got the chance to hit - something like that. I believe the pitcher in that scene was Harold Ramis, who played one of Harmon's friends. The shot above shows Ramis at the pitcher’s mound at the old Veteran’s Stadium with Harmon.

More Harold Ramis
White Sox Cards
Swing and a Pop-Up

Fresh Air - Terry Gross

Sources
Cineplex
Fresh Air

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Year of the Horse 1978: Jimmy Rollins 2003 Topps T205 #69

Today's Year of the Horse posting is an All Phillies edition, birth year 1978. Which means all of these fine folks have either recently turned 36 or will in the next year. This sort of explains the Phillies issue keeping players on the field.

2003 Topps T205 mini #69 Jimmy Rollins

T206 is talked about a lot more, but I have a preference for T205. Overall, I think the originals had a better look. They are more colorful and the gold borders help the cards pop. This really helps the retro cards like the ones Topps put out in 2003.  I am not sure how prevalent minis were in 2003, but I think it was before they were included in every stinkin set.

2003 Topps T205 mini #69 Jimmy Rollins (b-side)

Flipped this one over for a couple of reasons. T205 contain a paragraph of player info plus a short stat line. Just another reason to prefer them over T206 which only had an advertisements. The other reason I showed off the reverse of the above J-Roll card is that it is a Polar Bear back, Team Phungo is always looking for Polar Bear backs.

As mentioned above the 1978 Year of the Horse posting is an All Phils edition. The Phils '78 Horses include:
-Mike Adams
-Cliff Lee
-Chase Utley

Hopefully since the Chinese Zodiac rolling around to these players birth signs will be a good omen for the Phillies 

Year of the Horse Index
1966 Curt Schilling
1990 Yasiel Puig

Links
Jimmy Rollins Player Collection Index

Year of the Horse -1990: 2014 Topps #331 Yasiel Puig

It only took 4 weeks, but we are finally returning to our Year of the Horse postings. Today we are featuring the relatively recent year of 1990.

2014 Topps #331 Yasiel Puig

We are only in the 2nd cycle of the Year of the Horse for 1990 births. This pretty much limits us to players that are 23 or 24 years of age. Phter notable players in the birthclass our Phungo Favorite Wil Myers and the Phillies own Cody Asche

I chose Yasiel Puig for the cover of todays posting because in addition to being the most noteworthy of our candidates he also goes by the nickname of "Wild Horse" which is quite appropriate for our "Year of the Horse: 1990" posting.

Year of the Horse Index
1966 Curt Schilling

Thursday, February 20, 2014

1964 Phillies @ 50: Chris Short 1967 Topps #395

This is Chris Short's first Topps Card.


1967 Topps #395 Chris Short

The Boxscore from Short's first game is here.


Yes Chris Short pitched in a game 8 years before he had a baseball card.For most of the 1960s Chris Short, like Matt Wieters who we featured yesterday, was not seen on a Topps Card. I poked around a bit to try and find out exactly what Short's objection was and why that changed. There is the well documented case of Maury Wills not appearing in Topps until 1967 - Apparently Topps didn't view Wills as a prospect and then he got contracted to Fleer (which only made one release). I didn't see any evidence that Short went unsigned for the same reason. One theory I have are that Short was the son of a lawyer and perhaps he saw the Topps contract as unfairly cheap, Chris Short's SABR biographer Andy Sturgill proposed that Short was strictly focussed on baseball and may not have wanted to bother with outside issues.    


1964 
It is well documented how during the closing weeks of the 1964 season Gene Mauch used/misused Chris Short and future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning. Between September 22 and October 2 1964 Short started 4 games. Prior to that he had pitched on 2 days rest a couple of times he accumulated 10 starts between August 30th and 10/2.

The Phillies collapse cannot erase what was otherwise a very good campaign by Short. The then 26 year old lefty put together a 17-9 record with a 2.20 ERA (3rd in the NL) and 6.2 WAR(4th). This was all good enough to put Short on the first of his 2 all-star squads and pick up a couple of MVP votes.

Chris Short spent almost his entire career with the Phillies winning 132 games over 14 seasons ranking him 2nd behind only Hall of Famer Steve Carlton among the clubs southpaws. 

Banished
Banished is a term that Night Owl Cards came up with to describe a player that isn't on the Topps Checker for contractual or other reasons. NOC was basically talking about the above mentioned Maury Wills situation, but also discussed Matt Wieters and others. Between his column and Comments especially several by Jim from Downingtown of the late 1960s Topps blogs this is a pretty good list of the Banished.  
.     
Maury Wills - No Topps pre-1967
Chris Short - No Topps pre-1967
Rusty Staub - 
Dick Hall 64-66, 69
Joe Adcock 64-66
Tony Horton 66-70
Lenny Green 67-68
Vinegar Bend Mizell - No Cards after 1958

Kevin McReynolds (1985-86)
Danny Jackson (1985-86)


Matt Wieters - No Topps cards period 
Barry Bonds - 2004
Jason Varitek
Alex Rodriquez
Ichiro - 2013 

Pete Rose - No one speaketh his name on 2013 Topps backs and several other recent Topps sets.   

Other Voices
For a fine description of the beauty of this card and some additional information please check out Jim From Downingtown and his 1967 Topps Blog

Chris Short Index
1967 Topps #395 (1967 Topps/2016 Heritage feature)
1969 Topps #395 (18 K game 50th Anniversary)

Sources
1964 Phillies Series Index
The Year of the Blue Snow: The 1964 Phillies
Baseball-ref.com

Night Owl Cards

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

2014 Phungo #32 Matt Wieters

Phungo cards are not just for Phillies, We try and spread them around. To get some of the AL players we try and get down to Baltimore every once in a while, consequently we have several Orioles cards each year. 



2014 Phungo #32 Matt Wieters

Matt Wieters has not been issued a Topps card yet. The 2014 Series 1 checker is out and once again Wieters is not part of Topps. He signed an exclusive contract with Razor who is no longer in the baseball card business (Weiters does have card in Panini). 

Fortunately Phungo doesn't deal with all that mumbo jumbo. We just make cards and today we have Matt Wieters. For a variety of reasons we end up with a lot of catcher photos: They are in most shots of batters, catchers are viewable from almost any seat, and I like catchers.

The Orioles made Matt Wieters the 5th pick of the 2007 draft. He has had modest success at the toughest everyday position in the sport. Last year the 27 year old backstop knocked out his usual 22 homers, unfortunately he batted only .235. His low BA/OBP numbers will need to improve if Wieters is to be the offensive force that the Orioles expect - and the O's will need production from somewhere, their off-season moves to this point aren't really exciting anyone.

More Matt
2013 Phungo #32 Matt Wieters

Sources
Baseball-ref.com
beckett

Bob Casale 1952-2014: Founding member of Devo

Yesterday Gerald Casale of Devo announced through the bands website that his brother Bob had died of Heart Failure.


1993 Collect-A-Card American Bandstand #98 Devo

For a variety of reasons, I will always look upon Devo fondly. There music may have been a bit kitsch, but I think they went beyond novelty. If it wasn't for the video age, I suppose I may never have heard of Devo, but I won't hold that against them. I am glad they found there way onto the pop culture map and I am glad that I heard more from them than "Whip It" and the funny hats.


1993 Collect-A-Card American Bandstand #98 Devo (b-side)

This card is from the 1993 American Bandstand set which was compoased of cards of Dick Clark, Show features, People/couples from the show, and of course bands that were on the program. I picked up the 100 card set a while ago, and was amused that Devo was among the bands that had performed. As you can see on the B-side there is a nice capsule bio, mentioning several of their hits and also naming the five members of the band.

Phillies Connection
He wasn't a Phiillie anymore but last year Shane Victorino was part of an ESPN photo shoot that recreated the album cover from the Devo Album "Freedom of Choice"


MLB as Devo: Justin Upton, Evan Longoria, Brandon Phillips, Giancarlo Stanton, Shane Victorino(Swiped from ESPN)

Monday, February 17, 2014

2014 Heritage the Originals - 1965 Topps #534 John Herrnstein

In less than three weeks MLB teams will be in the heart of Spring Training and collectors will be talking about the latest edition of Topps Heritage. This year Topps will be moving on to the much loved 1965 Topps set.
 

1965 Topps #534 John Herrnstein

There is a lot to like about 65T. The pennants are dominant feature and almost always a winner. For 2014 I am sure the team logo will be updated, I will always be a fan of the Phillies Cap featured here. The blue border always works for Phillies colors and it is pretty close to the powder blue shade that the Phils wore for Roadies in the Late 70s and 80s. The player position is right there above their name. It is a very solid design, straightforward, colorful, simple yet elegant.

I am sure this will be one of the most anticipated edition of Heritage, even with plain designs (like 1964/2013) there is excitement around Heritage. Of course this level of excitement inevitably leads to disappointment upon release. Perhaps this is because we get over-excited for Heritage. Or maybe it is just the retro-fatigue. I tend to think it just Topps ignoring the brand. I have always liked 1962 Topps, but when the Heritage version came out in 2011 it was horrible. The pix were bland and almost all alike. I understand this is a nod to the look of the original set, but I think mixing up the image styles for Heritage and flagship would help both brands. 2014T has done pretty well with interesting shots, but the previous 2 years I think there have been to many action shots. Throw in a little variety, Headshots, bench, battersbox etc.

John Herrnstein 

In addition to introducing our feature  on the 1965T flashback, We are going to double duty this post for our 1964 Phillies feature. John Herrnstein was a rookie for the 64 squad, He batted .234 with 6 Homers and 25 RBIs across 125 games. His 64 games at first base were enough for him to lead the team at the position.

Unfortunately for Herrnstein those 125 games would be the most he would ever play in a season. After the 64 campaign Herrnstein batted less than 200 times at the Major League level. Early in the 1966 season The Phillies traded Herrnstein and future Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins to the Cubs for veteran pitcher Larry Jackson. I would have to think that trade is on the loser list for the Phils.  
 

Prior to his professional baseball career Herrnstein was a star Running Back at Michigan. In 1956 he led the Big Ten in TDs with 7 and the Wolverines finished ranked 7th in the nation. 

Following his career Herrnstein returned to his native Ohio and maintained a career in banking and finance. This past fall his grandson Justin Herrnstein was a member of the Division II Tiffin Dragons football team of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.  

Other Voices
The Great 1965 Topps Project - #534 John Herrnstein

1964 Philies Series 
Johnny Callison
Tony Gonzalez

John Herrnstein 
Tony Taylor 
Frank Thomas

 
More info on 1965 Topps
The entire 1965 Topps Series was covered by Kevin B of Orioles Card "O" the day on The Great 1965 Topps Project
Cardboard Connection
Sports Collectors Digest (TS O' Connell)
Golden Age of Baseball Cards
Dean's Cards
Beckett

PSA
 
Sources
The Year of the Blue Snow: The 1964 Phillies
Baseball-ref.com

Tiffin Dragons 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Brothers Eduardo and Nick Alvarez: current Olympic Speedskater and a former Dodgers Prospect

In addition to Katie Uhleander we have uncovered another Olympic athlete with a baseaball connection. Today we look at Speed Skater Eduardo Alvarez. 

The 24 year old Eduardo (Eddy) Alavarez hails from Miami. How does a young man from the Sun Belt get involved in Speed Skating? In-Line Skating of course. In addition to being an Olympian Eduardo was also a baseball prospect for a time, but had to give up the game as involvement in two sports starting giving his knees troubles. 

Eddy is entered in several speed skating events, several of which he has completed, but not medaled.  Near as I can tell Alvarez still has a chance at the podium in the 500m race which commences Tuesday and runs through Friday 

Eduardo's older brother Nick was also a baseball player, The elder Alvarez was once a prospect in the Dodgers organization.

2002 Topps #681 Nick Alvarez (image swiped from Baseball Card Database)

Nick Alvarez was drafted by the Dodgers in the 26th round of the 2000 draft, he stuck with the Dodgers through 2006 rising as high as AAA Las Vegas. He was an outfielder first baseman, who posted decent hitting numbers, possibly without enough power to make the transition to the major league level.

Best of luck to Eddy Alvarez in the remainder of the 2014 Olympiad. According to Sam Dykstra at Minor League Baseball.com this may be Alvarez's only Olympics, apparently Eddy has an interest in following in his brothers footsteps as he still has baseball aspirations. 

Sochi 2014

Sources

Friday, February 14, 2014

Jim Fregosi 1942-2014

Earlier this week we got the sad news that Jim Fregosi had suffered a stroke while on an MLB cruise. Today MLB.com reported that Fregosi has passed away at age 71.

Jim Fregosi at Phillies Alumni Weekend August 3 2013 (click to enlarge)


Here is Fregosi at the 2013 Phillies Alumni weekend which honored the 1993 NL championship club which he helmed.

Jim Fregosi brought a lot of fun to this town, I enjoyed his humor and honesty while he was the Phillies Manager. I was in my middle 20s when the Phillies had that magical season. It was an era when I learned a lot about baseball and Jim Fregosi was a key figure in that education.

Obituaries Tributes Memorials Bios
The Phillies Room (1992 Medford Phils)
1960s Baseball (1966, 1967, 1992 Topps)
14,000 Phillies (1992 Topps Gold)
Paul's Random Baseball Stuff (1973 Topps)
Von's Card (1972 Topps)
Core Contrarian (1986 Topps)

Jayson Stark (ESPN)
Mark Armour (SABR - 1965 Topps)
Matt Gelb (Philly.com)


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Swag from the Phillies Room: Billy Hamilton the Hall of Famer

A few weeks back Jim from the Phillies Room let me know that he had an extra pack of Phillies Baseball Heroes Playing Cards. I told him that Team Phungo was definitely interested


2010 Phillies Baseball Heroes 7-Clubs Billy Hamilton

I had seen some of these around, but never the full set. I figured there would be some interesting selections and was happy to see that there is a suit pretty much dedicated to the Phillies early days. I would love my collection to have a card of every significant Phillies player - it would be great if it was possible to have cards from when the player was active. Unfortunately team Phungo is functioning on a budget and is plenty happy to have cads such as this one of the HoF Billy Hamilton. 

Bonus
1974 Kellogs 3D Wayne Twitchell
1974 Kellogs 3D Greg Luzinki

There were some bonus cards in the package including these two Kellog 3Ds, which are my first Phillies cards from this set.  I like how Kellogs goes to the trouble of noting Luzinski's specific outfield position. If Kellogs could do this 40 years ago, why can't Topps handle the detail today.

Thanks to the crew at the Phillies Room. Great Cards to help us Phillies fans to get through a long winter until baseball returns. 


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

2014 First Phillies Card: Topps #182 Carlos Ruiz - and Phillies Series 1 Checklist

The first Phillies card of the year is this fine one of Carlos Ruiz

2014 Topps #182 Carlos Ruiz

Catcher make for great photography and this is a fine example. Ruiz is shown here in action firing the ball down to second base, although In action may be a stretch. For some reason this appears to be a between innings warm up toss down to second.

2014 Topps Phillies Checker
4 Cody Asche
74 John Mayberry
90 Ethan Martin
105 Ryan Howard
122 Jonathan Papelbon
180 Ben Revere
182 Carlos Ruiz
196 Cole Hamels
296 Domonic Brown
312 Jimmy Rollins

After missing out on the playoffs in consecutive seasons the Phillies can no longer be considered a perennial contender, so coming up with 11 cards in series 1 is about right.

2014 Topps has it's share of inserts and the Phillies represent a bit. One of the insert sets I was happy to see pop was the return of Super Veterans, which was a subset in 1983 Topps. The 2014 Topps version has only 15 cards in S1 but the Phillies manage to get 2 reps, Roy Halladay and Jimmy Rollins.  The checker for various 2014 Phillies Inserts listed below.

Phillies Inserts
Super Veterans (15 card checker)
SV-8 Jimmy Rollins
SV-14 Roy Halladay

Silk (100 card checker)
SC-20 Domonic Brown Philadelphia Phillies®
SC-21 Cole Hamels Philadelphia Phillies®
SC-22 Carlos Ruiz Philadelphia Phillies®
SC-23 Jimmy Rollins Philadelphia Phillies®
SC-24 Ben Revere Philadelphia Phillies®
SC-25 Ryan Howard Philadelphia Phillies®

Upper Class (50)
UC-26 Ryan Howard

Before they were Great (30)
BG-20 Mike Schmidt
BG-21 Steve Carlton

Topps Mini Die Cuts (50 subjects)
TM-16 Mike Schmidt

Power Player (110)
PP-2 Cole Hamels
PP-10 Ben Revere
PP-54 Ryan Howard
PP-65 Ethan Martin
PP-105 Carlos Ruiz

BEFORE THEY WERE GREAT AUTO (14)
BGA-MS Mike Schmidt

BEFORE THEY WERE GREAT AU-GU (10)
BGAR-MS Mike Schmidt

Various Relics
TR-MS Mike Schmidt
UCR-RH Ryan Howard
BGR-MS Mike Schmidt
TMR-MS Mike Schmidt
SVR-JR Jimmy Rollins
ITN-CL Cliff Lee
ITN-DB Domonic Brown

ManuPatch
CP-23 Chase Utley

Sources
Beckett

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Swag from Play at the Plate: 2014 Topps Blue Blaster

At the end of last year Brian over at Play at the Plate ran a contest to win a blaster of 2014 Topps. It was my kind of contest too, All I had to do was comment on a post. And Team Phungo Won!

2014 Topps Blue #312 Jimmy Rollins

There was only one Phillies player in the blaster, but it was a colorful Walmart parallel. Other than that it was a pretty nice box. I had already hoarded 100+ cards via Hangers and Looseys, and it was a pleasant surprise to find out that the blaster didn't duplicate many of the cards that I had already collected. I have developed a taste for hangers so it has been a while since I have opened a blaster. The number of inserts is mindblowing. Since each 8 card pack contains 2 blue parallels plus an insert, technically 37.5% of the cards are not base. To me parallels count as base, but for the completists out there, well I sympathize for their plight.

Highlights - Base

2014 Topps Leonys Martin 
2014 Topps Brian McCann

Check it out a Ranger and a Play at the Plate card. These should put a smile on faces at PATP HQ.

Inserts
Manupatch of 2008 Kershaw RC

These are a bit odd. the "Border" from the original 2008 design is raised, while the pix is inset.

89T Die Cut Sandy Koufax

The blaster was a bit of Dodger Hot Box. Never been a big fan of Die Cuts. Just harder to take care of. That being said the 89T design is a good one to give the Die Cut treatment.

2014 Topps Power Player Wilmer Flores

Just noting the difference from the PP cards and base here. The RCe logo is gone and the Topps moved from right to left. There is good news here if your hate the chrome print, it appears a bit lighter on the Power Play cards.

2014 Topps Blue Mariano Rivera

This was a bit of an oddity, All of the Blue Parallels in the box were of cards with Landscrape Photos, notice these two of the retiring Rivera and the one of Jimmy above. This is a coalation thing I have noticed from Topps previously. In 2008 I got a Hobby Box of S1 where all the Gold Foil stamped cards were Horizontal.

Bleeders

Night Owl referred this years new Red parallels as bleeding walls or something similar. At some point I hope to have some additional thoughts on these, but will note that all 3 of these like the blue instagrams above are landscapes.

etc   

The reamaining inserts. I like the UpperClass cards but find the Future is Now cards meh. For whatever reason I liked the UC cards of Retired players more than these new cards of current players.

All in all a fun break. Lots of new blue cards for the Phungo collection, a couple of cool inserts including a Rollins Parallel. Thanks to the Brian over at Play at the Plate for running a contest that even Team Phungo can win.

More 2014 Topps Review
2014 Topps First Pack

Sunday, February 9, 2014

1962 Topps Derek Jeter Phillies

Three winters ago Chris Olds produced a bunch of these for Beckett, At the time I thought it was lame, today I find it funny.

Faux 1962 Topps Derek Jeter Phillies

Katie & Ted Uhlaender: Olympic Athlete Daughter & Ballplayer Father

Recently via the fine twitter account of @ObxLeatherman I found out that Katie Uhlaender, A US Competitor in the Olympic Skeleton, is also the daughter of 60/70s era Outfielder Ted Uhlaender.

1966 Topps #264 Ted Uhlaender (RC)


Sochi is the third olympiad for the 29 year old Katie Uhlaender.  Uhlaender's resume includes a 6th place finish at the 2006 Olympics in Torino. She also has Olympic aspirations in the summer sport of weightlifting.

This years Women's Skeleton events will be held on Thursday and Friday (13th & 14th).  Not sure if the game competition will be on NBC, but will be keeping an eye on that.

Sadly Katie's father Ted Uhlaender died of cancer in 2009 at the age of 59.

Baseball Card Database
1969 Topps #194 Ted Uhlaender (Swiped from Baseball Card Database)

To honor her father Katie keeps Ted's 1969 Topps card taped to her sled. As a card collector, I find this to be a really hip tribute. The 1969 Ted Uhlaender card is show above.

Ted Uhlaender spent eight seasons in the Majors mostly with the Twins, but was also a member of the Reds 1972 National Leaque Championship squad. During game 2 of the World Series he had a pinch hit double off of future Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter.   

Katie Uhlaender has a card in the 2014 Topps US Olympic and Paralympic Team Hopefuls Trading Card set (including an auto). I would think that this would make the Uhlaender's one of the few father-daughter combinations to both have Topps Cards - very unique. 

More Uhleander's
1967 Topps Baseball
Von's Cards (2014 Olympic Katie, 1972 Topps Ted)  

Sources
Sochi2014
SportsRef/Baseball-ref
Baseball Card Database
New York Post
Cardboard Connection

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ralph Kiner 1922-2014: 2013 Phungo #4

Today we got the sad news that Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner has passed away.

2013 Phungo #4 Ralph Kiner

This is a card I didn't get around to posting until now. This pix was taken almost two years ago, Kiner was in his late 80s at the time. Despite being in what appeared to be pretty frail condition, Kiner took great care in every autograph he signed. It was really special to see a player of his magnitude be so great with the fans.   

Ralph Kiner Memorials Obituaries and Tributes

Jayson Stark (ESPN)


HoF Index

Sources

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Hank Aaron 80th Birthday 1959 Topps Baseball Thrills #467

Today Hank Aaron turns 80, which gives us this excellent opportunity to return to our Baseball Thrills series. 


 
1959 Topps #467 Baseball Thrills Hank Aaron

The Hank Aaron Baseball Thrills card honors his game 4 Home Run in the 1957 World Series

Click that box score link - this was an amazing game!

The Braves were hosting the Yankees down a 2-1 in the Series, and 1-0 in the game when Aaron hit his lead changing blast. Later that inning future Phillie Frank Torre tacked on an additional Home Run giving the Braves a 4-1 lead with Warren Spahn on the mound. Spahn held the Yankees to that single run until the 9th inning. Unfortunately for the Braves with 2 outs and 2 men on Elston Howard came to the plate and tied the game. The Yankees would go on to take the lead in the 10th, but lose it in the 11th on a Home Run by HoF Eddie Mathews
   

1959 Topps #467 Baseball Thrills Hank Aaron (b-side)


The flip side of Aaron's BT card chronicles game 4 a bit and also mentions that Hammerin Hank had 3 HRs in the series. He did not, however, get the MVP award. That went to Lew Burdette who went 3-0 in the Series tossing 2 shutouts. 

The Braves and Aaron made it back to Series in 1958 losing to the Yankees. Those were Hank Aaron's only two trips to the World Series. The Braves would return to the playoffs in 1969, losing the NLCS to New York's newer team the Miracle Mets despite 3 Home Runs from Aaron. 

Home Run 715
arhive.org has a audio of HR calls for Aaron's record breaking HR here.

Phungo Talks Aaron


Other Voices
59 topps: one f/g card at a time - Once again we turn to the 59 topps blog to do the heavy lifting of researching the photo on this card. Turns out that the photo the pix is based upon isn't from Aaron's HR nor is it from the 1957 World Series. Click the previous link to find out the story - The Catch in the pix is Yogi Berra, so yes this card features two Hall of Famers.    

 
1959 Topps Baseball Thrills Series
#467 Hank Aaron


Sources

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2014 Topps First Pack

2014 Topps #199 Matt Davidson

Mixed on the first card of 2014. Matt Davidson has been on my radar since last summer when Team Phungo took in the 2013 Futures Game. He hit a home run and took home the MVP honors for the day. This is all great, a RC of a player I am familiar with - The flip side of all this is that Davidson was traded a little over a month ago. He is now a member of the Chicago White Sox. So yes my first 2014 Topps card is a player show representing an outdated team.

The Pack - Base Highlights
 
2014 Topps #134 Josh Donaldson
2014 Topps #211 Dioner Navarro

During the 2013 version of the great WAR vs RBI vs Playoff debate Josh Donaldson's name came up as a second thought behind the big guns of Trout & Cabrera. Donaldson was a factor because he had WAR cred and played on a contender. So yes he beats out Miguel Cabrera in WAR and he is on a Playoff team which knocks out Mike Trout. Of Course we have a Topps fail here as Mr Potential MVP Josh Donaldson doesn't get any type of hero number. He gets stinkin #134.

I posted Dioner Navarro just to showcase Topps photography. Catchers are great for pix and this is a nice example.

The Hits
2014 Topps Upper Class #UC-42 Jim Rice

This is one of two inserts I picked up in pack one. I will cover this set more in a future post, but will mention here that I like the look of the cards.


2014 Topps Red #6 Josh Beckett

Last year the Target Reds moved to a deeper shade which is maintained in 2014. I prefer the red in previous sets as it seems closer to the Phillies colors. 

Remaining Base


2014 Topps JD Martinez, Don Kelley, Brandon League, Garrett Jones, Mike Minor

Verdict
In my opinion the sole purpose of the extension of the white borders into the pix frame is done exclusively for use in creating parallels. Other than that and the duplication of the team name on the tab the design is decent.  The photography throughout the set is good. On day 1 I picked up the above pack plus 2 more and a hanger. The roughly 100 card sampling yielded strong pix throughout with interesting shots at an decent rate.   

Over the next couple o weeks we will take a look at some specific elements of 2014T as well as some of the different insert sets.

Previous Debut Packs
2013 Topps
2012 Topps
2010 Topps Opening Day
2010 Upper Deck

Sources
Beckett 

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions