Sunday, June 9, 2019

Anniversary 60 Years ago: Rocky Colavito 4 Home Run Day

June 10th marks the 60th anniversary of an historic game between the Cleveland Indians and Baltimore Orioles. That Day Rocky Colavito became the 6th major league player to record a 4 Home Run game.

1964 Topps Jumbo #9 Rocky Colavito

The Indians won that game 11-8 with Colavito accounting for 6 RBI. Notice that the above card features Rocky as an Athletic not an Indian. Well that is because of the back of the card...

1959 Topps Jumbo #9 Rocky's Hot Bat (b-side)

As we can see the headline on this card is all about the 4 Homer game which is described in the cards first coupe sentences. The remainder of the text discusses Colavito's home run legacy all the way back to his minor league days.

Rocky Colavito's four home run game is also featured on the back of a 1964 Topps base card, #109. Colavito, however, does not appear on the front of that card, to find out more click here.

Sloppy Topps
The photo on the b-side of the card is also not with the Indians. Colavito wore three different numbers with Cleveland 6, 21 and 38 but never 7. The two squads for which he donned #7 were the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City A's. I am thinking that this photo is with the Tigers as Rocky Colavito didn't join the Athletics until 1964. The front appears to be an Airbrushed Tigers photo as well. 

1964 Topps Jumbo
I love this set and I have it on the back burner to build. They are referred to Jumbo or Giant cards because they are oversized at just over 3"x5". I go with Jumbo because when you search on "1964 Topps Giant" you get a bunch of Willy Mays cards, but not necessarily Jumbos. 

Colavito's Four Home Run Game
Baseball-Ref Box
1964 Topps #109 (Rusty Staub)

Sources and Links
Game Dated Cards Index
1964 Topps Jumbo Index
Cardboard Connection

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

1944 June 6: D-Day and Baseball

This week marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day. To commemorate the event in a baseball related way I wanted to pass on a bit of the sports history from the era.

The pending Allied Invasion had been rumored for some time prior to D-Day and major league baseball made plans to postpone any games on the date if possible.  This possibility was discussed in the June 1 1944 issue of the Sporting News - issued just days prior to D-Day.


1944 JUN 01 The Sporting News pg 1

There were two MLB games scheduled for June 6 1944 and indeed neither were played. I am assuming the time difference between Europe and the States allowed for proper scheduling changes. Those rescheduling of those games was mentioned in the June 7 1944 issue of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Horse Racing was the sport of kings in the era so you need to go a few paragraphs down to see a mention of the two games.

1944 JUN 07 Philadelphia Inquirer Pg 24

If you want to see a modern representation of the postponed games you can look to the terrific archive of baseball statistic history, Baseball-Reference.

Baseball-Ref Scores from Tuesday June 6 1944

Notice that when you do a search for games played on D-Day Baseball-Reference notes

"No Games Were or Have Yet Been Played on This Date"


Sources and Links 


Philadelphia Inquirer (1944 06 07)

The Sporting News (1944 06 01)

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Wall of Fame: Bobby Abreu (2019)

The Phillies recently announced that this years Wall of Fame inductee is Bobby Abreu. An interesting selection, on paper he is one of the organizations great players, however on the field he represents the long lean period between the 1993 Wheeze Kids and the Late 2000s championship squads.

2002 Fleer Authentix #56 Bobby Abreu

Abreu is often derided for his mediocre defense and to be honest I cannot remember him crashing a wall. Perhaps one of the effects if his tentative approach in the field is that he rarely missed a game. During his eight full seasons with the Phillies Abreu played at least 150 games every year.  An All-Star player never missing game can accumulate some impressive numbers, and Abreu did just that. As a Phillie Abreu tallied 195 Home Runs and 254 steals (7th in team history). His .928 OPS ranks 2nd in club history behind only Hall of Famer Chuck Klein. The component numbers (.416 OBP, .513 SLG) are top 10 as well. Advanced stats really don’t back up the no-defense critique, Abreu’s dWAR in Philadelphia was -1.5, below average but not really noteworthy especially when spread across 8+ season. Related note: during his gold glove 2005 campaign had a dWAR of -1.5.

2002 Fleer Authentix #56 Bobby Abreu (b-side)

Kind of a neat idea here. The player photos are on a facsimile tickets of their teams Home Opener. In the game represented here the Phillies defeated the Marlins 6-2. The tickets are purely representative – there is no mentioning of the game on either side of the card, nor the games results or how the player performed. 

Fortunately for that we have Baseball-Reference. 

And it was a good day for Bobby Abreu who went 4 for 4 with a couple of a doubles and a Home Run producing 3 RBI and scoring a pair of runs. Likely one of the best days of his career. 

Team Phungo has been to a lot of Phillies Home Openers and this happens is one of those games. Happy to be adding this one to cards that rep Phungo Games. 

2002 Fleer Authentix
Two years ago we profiled Scott Rolen's card for this set, that column can be found here

Bobby Abreu Index
1998 Topps #351: First Phillies Card, Bob vs Bobby Abreu 2011 #60YoT match
1999 Topps Stadium Club #39: Group Break, Cameo Mickey Morandini as a Cub. Named "Bob"
2000 Topps #38: Asian Zodiac Year og the Tiger (2010). Named as "Bob"
2000 Topps #38: Phillies All-Decade Team 
2002 Topps Opening Day #13: Snapshot of Topps Opening Day cards
2003 Bowman Heritage (Nachos Grande Swag)
2005 Topps Update #UH218 (2005 07 11 Home Run Derby Detroit)
2008 Topps Heritage Bat Relic: Hobby Box Break (w/ Yankees)
2009 Phungo BFI: Portrait (w/ Yankees)
2010 Topps #15: First Pack (w/ Angels)

Sources and Links

Sunday, May 26, 2019

1964 Topps Jumbo Index

This is an Index for our posting covering the 1964 Topps Jumbo Set

1964 Topps Jumbo #14 Tony Gonzalez

#7 Whitey Ford (Wins 10th World Series Game)
#9 Rocky Colavito (4 Home Run Game 1959 06 10)

Friday, March 8, 2019

ANNIVERSARY: A Decade Ago the Netherlands WBC Triumph

Sunday March 10th marks the 10th anniversary of the night the Netherlands pulled off one of the biggest upsets in international baseball history. The game was celebrated on an Allen & Ginter's cabinet card.

2009 Allen & Ginter's Box Topper / Cabinet #CB1 Team Netherlands

I challenge you to find the major leaguers in the Netherlands lineup.

Yet this line up beat a Dominican team with a roster that included Robinson Cano, Jose Bautista, Jose Reyes, Moises Alou, Hanley Ramirez, Migquel Tejada, Nelson Cruz and was led by David Ortiz. The lead pitchers for the game were Ubaldo Jimenez and Pedro Martinez. 

However the Netherland no-name pitching staff matched Jimenez for the entire game which was scoreless through 10. The Dominicans took a 1-0 lead in the 11th when Jose Reyes scored on an Netherlands error by Greg Kingsale. Kingsale then redeemed himself in the bottom of the inning by with a game tying single. He then came around to score on a Yurendell de Caster grounder that was misplayed by Dominican first baseman Willy Aybar. Note that Kingsale and de Caster are the two players named on the A&G cabinet card. 

Crazy Game and Team Phungo was there. This was right after the Phillies won the World Series and was definitely near a high point in my baseball fandom. I loved going to the WBC has both a baseball vacation and a spring break vaca in beautiful pre-Hurricane Puerto Rico.     

The ticket above is actually from the previous game between Puerto Rico and the Dominican - notice above where it says "General Admission" you can see the date 9 de marzo de 2009 or 9th of March 2009. I have the 3/10 tix somewhere but due to laziness, I didn't bother trying to find it for this posting. The signature on the tix is Sidney Ponson.

To read a 2009 column on my WBC experience click here.

Sloppy Topps
Unfortunately there is a minor timing infraction on Topps part with the photo used on this card. Netherlands upset the Dominican twice in the WBC and I believe the image here is from the first of the two games. The Netherlands wore white unis the night they clinched. The dark jerseys were worn for the first meeting.

I don't think that either of the players the card honors, de Caster or Kingsale is prominent in the picture.  Longtime Detroit Tiger Randall Simon is the happy guy wearing #35.

Greg Halman
In the not fun fact column we have Greg Halman who is prominently featured on the above cabinet card. Halman was stabbed to death by his brother Jason in 2011. The brother was acquitted due to  being in a state of psychosis when the stabbing occurred.

10 Years Later
Couple of fun facts beyond the historic nature of this game. Big Papi played in the field despite the WBC using a DH. Turns out the Dominican team roster had THREE shortstops Reyes, Ramirez, and Tejada. The only way to get them all in the lineup was to use one to DH (Hanley) and one at 3rd Base (Tejada). So yeah here you have the rare game where Hanley Ramirez is the DH while David Ortiz played first base. Also notice that the game ending error was made by Papi's defensive replacement Willy Aybar.

My second fun box score note is related to the Netherlands catcher - go ahead check the box above. Yes it is that Kenley Jansen, the LA Dodgers closer before he was converted to pitcher.

2009 A&G Cabinets
There are 5 cards in the 2009 A&G Cabinets set. Among the prominent players represented on the boxtoppers are Ichiro, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Brian Roberts and David Wright.

Sources and Links
Phungo Game Dated Cards
CBS Sports
Baseball-ref/BR Bullpen

Monday, February 25, 2019

ANNIVERSARY: 50 Years ago a strike ended!

But nobody knew about it.

 The only person on strike was Jim Bouton.

"Ball Four" - Jim Bouton pg 12

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the season Bouton chronicled in his iconic book "Ball Four". There is a preamble from the previous November prior to the excerpt above, however,  The day that Jim Bouton reported to spring training was February 26th.

I bring this up now as a heads up to anyone who wishes to follow along with the 50th anniversary of the book - It is time to crack open "Ball Four" and start enjoying the inaugural and only season of the Seattle Pilots.

As far as the strike, Bouton discusses on the following page how a younger player on the Pilots roster was holding out on going to spring training. Jim Bouton staged a personal strike as a show of support. The younger player turned out to be Lou Piniella

Links and Sources
Jim Bouton Index

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Frank Robinson 1934-2019

I have covered Frank Robinson a few times on this blog but not nearly enough. While I never got to see him play, I did get to see an historic game in which he was involved.

2005 Topps Update Nationals Inaugural Lineup #NI-TEAM

The April 2005 game was so historic that Topps honored it with a trading card - It was the first game in the history of the Nationals.

Robinson appears prominently on the card twice. First in the top photo he is at the center to the left of home plate, while the Phillies skipper Charlie Manuel guards the other. The inset photo on the bottom left features Frank Robinson even more prominently. The two images are clearly from different games - note that the smaller picture features the Nats in their Home uniforms at RFK.

The Phillies won the game 8-4 you can read more about the game at the SABR Baseball Game project.

I go into this card more in depth here, but at the time I didn't mention Frank Robinson. 

SABR BB Card Blog
1960s Baseball Card Blog 
Fresh Air - Terry Gross Terrific interview (13 mins audio & text) includes Robinson's views on integration/segregation.

Links and Sources
Frank Robinson HOF Index
2005 0404 Nationals inaugural game at Phillies
SABR games project

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Radcliffe Bailey: Mound Magician

If you do take in the SuperBowl or promotional programming today you may hear the name Radcliffe Bailey. No he is not a player or coach, he is an Atlanta based artists who has a marquee work in the Mercedes-Benz stadium which is hosting tonight's game.

Bailey has done a few baseball themed works including a piece titled "Mound Magician":  

Mound Magician: Radcliffe Bailey (Nelson-Atkins art museum)

The canvas of the collage is shaped like a baseball field with a #25 in a star at the center which represents Satchel Paige. The number was worn by the future Hall of Famer while a member of the Kansas City Monarchs. Similarly Josh Gibson #20 his shown at home plate. There are a number of other baseball references throughout the picture included a black & white photo in the second base area.

Conduit of Contact: Radcliffe Bailey Atlanta.Net

Radcliffe Bailey's work at Mercedes-Benz stadium is an 84 foot mixed-media behemoth which chronicles the journey of football at Atlanta Historically Black Colleges.  However that is just part of the artwork which also tells the much broader story of the black experience and African-American history.

Sources and Links
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
Atlanta Magazine

Thursday, January 31, 2019

1956 Topps Jack Robinson

Notice in the title I have referred the pioneering civil rights leader as Jack Robinson not “Jackie”. That is because in interviews his wife Rachel (Still living at 96!) has mentioned that is what she always called Jack.

I have also chose to use the name Jack Robinson on my latest phungo original cardboard creation

1956 Topps Jack Robinson (phungo variation)

So far I have made about three dozen colored pencil drawings and this is one of my favorites. I think to myself the drawings may not look like who I want them to, but it does sort of look like a person.

While this work is inspired by Robinson’s 1956 Topps card it is far from a replica. First off, as mentioned above, is the name modification. The next major difference is that I changed the play at the plate – I chose the iconic image from Robinson’s steal of home versus the Yankees in game 1 of the 1955 World Series. The play is filled out in color while the portrait side of the card is done with an abstract black & white background. This is a nod to the crossing of the color line – further symbolized by the foul line in the action shot.  This barrier is also illustrated by the staccato lines behind Jack’s headshot which echoes a fence – the line unbroken prior to Jackie Robinson entering major league baseball. 

I added a 42 to Jackie’s uniform. This is not historically accurate for Dodgers jerseys of the era, but I felt the number has become so much a symbol of our cultural memory it belonged in the illustration.

1956 Topps #30 Jackie Robinson

For comparison we present here the original 1956 Jackie Robinson card featuring the full background and original action shot.

Gummy Arts put together this more faithful rendition of the card.

1956 Topps #30 Jackie Robinson (Gummy Arts edition)

One of the other Robinson artworks I spotted today was done by Tim Carroll 

Carroll also uses the B/W vs color to mark the breaking of the color barrier. His works are mosaics created by using discarded baseball cards to create a new image. 

Sources and Links

Jackie Robinson 1956 Topps, Dodgers, Artwork

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Roy Halladay Hall of Fame!!

Things have been busy around Phungo HQ with a myriad of activities that have kept me from posting regular columns here. Most of these distractions are good things including one hobby I have picked up in the last year - sketching.

 2011 Topps Roy Halladay NLDS No-Hitter

It may not be great, but it is mine - I had never drawn anything beyond a stick figure prior to last summer and I am pretty happy with some of the outcomes. The pictures never look like the people who I am trying to portray, however they do sort of look like people.  This particular drawing is inspired by a 2011 Topps card, click here for a better look.

I use color pencils and draw inspiration from folks like @Mosely_Mark and @Gummyarts who both put together some fun and exciting cardboard art.

This drawing commemorates one of my favorite games and I am glad to see Roy Halladay get honored by the Hall of Fame.



sources and links
Roy Halladay HOF Index

Monday, January 21, 2019

Andy Warhol 1985 Topps Pete Rose Print up for auction

When Andy Warhol painted his Pete Rose Serial in 1985 he also produced a set of 50 lavender prints. As part of this process an additional 30 test prints were created. One of those test prints is currently up for auction.

Pete Rose (1985) test print #6/30

According to Artnet the test print is from the Cincinnati Art Museum, which is where the Warhol Pete Rose original resides. Artnet lists the estimate for the work at $15,000 - $20,000. This may seem high however less than a year ago the work was listed as $25,000 - $30,000. By those numbers the low estimate has dropped by 40% in 8 months.

The auction for this unique piece of memorabilia ends on January 29 2019.

For more information on the primary Warhol Pete Rose portrait click here.
For an index of the Lavender and Test Print variations click here.

Sources and Links
Andy Warhol Pete Rose Index

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Richard Pryor + Ice Cube + Julia Roberts + AFC Championship Game = ???

Hey it is NFL Championship weekend! to honor the occasion we have this fun trading card from 1992.  

1992 Studio #208 Pat Mahomes

1990s MLB relief pitcher Pat Mahomes is the father of Kansas City Chiefs Quarterback Patrick Mahomes. One of the early fun cards of the elder Mahomes is his 1992 Studio offering. This fine set artfully places a nice profile photo atop a black and white action shot. 

The idea is carried through to the reverse where fun facts regarding the player are presented rather than just your typical baseball stats.

1992 Studio #208 Pat Mahomes

I always enjoy the pop culture connections on these cards. This set would be a great one for a card/card deep dive. I imagine there would be a lot of redundancy among the big stars of the era but this would make the outliers stand out even more.

Mahomes is  a cross section of early 90s and outliers. Neither Ice Cube nor Julia Roberts is surprising however I find seeing them listed together quite charming. Amazingly a quarter century later and both stars remain active, yet near as I can tell they have never been involved in a project together - unless you count Patrick Mahomes 1992 Studio card.

The outlier on the card is "Which Way is Up", a 1977 star vehicle for Richard Pryor which I have never heard of previously. Apparently the film features Pryor playing a triple role - sounds pretty madcap, would love to hear a review from the peanut gallery discussing the merits of this work.

Best of luck to Patrick Mahomes the younger this weekend. Anybody who has a father who digs RIchard Pryor is ok by me.  

Sources and Links

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Andy Warhol Pete Rose II (1985) Variations

This is an index of information on the variations of Andy Warhol's 1985 painting Pete Rose II, Also referred to as the lavender Pete Rose.

Pete Rose II (1985) Andy Warhol

There were originally 50 lavender Pete Rose prints

#23/50 Personal Collection
#30/50 Lelands (2018 08 17 $18,830.40)
#40/50 Cowans (2017 10 27 $13,200.00)
#??/50 National Portrait Gallery
#??/50 the Butler institute of American Art 
#??/50 Revolver Gallery

Test Prints
#6/50 Artnet/ Cincinnati Art Museum (2019 01 29)

Sources Links
Andy Warhol Pete Rose Index
Revolver Gallery 
Antiques Roadshow

National Portrait Gallery
the Butler institute of American Art 

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions