Monday, January 18, 2021

1996 All-Star Game 25th Anniversary: John Smoltz 2002 Topps #145

Our 2021 year long series is dedicated to the 1996 All-Star Game which occurred at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia 25 years ago. 

My goal is to get 20 or so postings on the subject. Almost anything will be better than the half dozen columns on last years subject, the 1980 World Champion Phillies.

Tonight our first posting is dedicated to Braves Hall of Famer John Smoltz who was bestowed the honor of staring for the National League by his manager Bobby Cox.  

2002 Topps #145 John Smoltz (stolen from amazon)

Smoltz was the first of 9 pitchers involved in the The NLs 6-0 shutout the Junior circuit. Among the hurlers Smoltz was the only pitcher to record more than an inning pitched. He faced 8 batters giving up a pair of hits. Smoltz only strike out was Albert Belle, among the other five batters he retired were four future Hall of Famers: Wade Boggs, Robby Alomar, Cal Ripken, and Pudge Rodriguez. For you advanced stats folks among the 14 pitcher who saw action in the game Smoltz was the WPA Leader with +0.102.

2002 Topps

This is definitely one of my least favorites Topps flagship issues. Don't like the brown/orange border color. It's a shame because I do like the pennant design - and this is the one year where I think Chrome looks better than flagship. 

Chose this one because it ties together two Braves Hall of Famers. The other is Eddie Mathews who passed away in 2001. To Honor Mathews the Braves wore a memorial patch which you can see on Smoltz upper sleeve. It is Eddie Mathews #41 which the Braves retired on July 26 1969. 

Sources and Links

1996 All-Star Game 25th Anniversary

John Smoltz HOF Index

Eddie Mathews HOF Index



Sunday, November 22, 2020

Happy 70th Birthday Greg Luzinski 1978 OPC #

Today we are noting a milestone birthday for Phillies Slugger Greg Luzinski born on November 22 1950. 

Luzinski remains active with the Phillies in an baseball ambassador role and as namesake for one of the teams signature restaurants "Bull's BBQ"

To mark the Birthday we are going to feature his 1978 OPC card

1978 #42 OPC Greg Luzkinski

I always the All-Star subset. 1978 has its own icon never used before or since - Topps/OPC gave the cards a dash of Red White and Blue on a shield that kind of looks like an Interstate Route Number sign. 

In 1978 Luzinski played in the final of his four consecutive All-Star games. He went 1-2 with an RBI on a Bases Loaded Walk off of Hall of Fame Pitcher Jim Palmer. Of course the 1978 card represents the previous years ASG in which the Bull Homered, also off of Palmer. 


1978 OPC #42 Greg Luzinski

Typically I would use an OPC card for a column with a Canadian or French Connection. Today my reason is for the card number 42. 

While the Bull is remember for wearing #19 for almost the entirety of his career, when he came up in 1970 he wore the now league-wide retired #42 which happens also to be his OPC card. Six other Phillies wore the number after Luzinski, the most significant of which was Ron Reed. The last player to wear the number as a Phillies Player was Toby Borland. 

Luzinkski 1978T Card number is 420 - significant to some folks for a totally non-baseball reason. 

Phungo Original

1978T Greg Luzinski

I tackled the 1978T card by going pretty vanilla. I elected to not give the sketch a background and had Luzinski's powerful Rawlings Bat busing out of frame. I also added the discrete position of LF to the All-Star Shield. 

Greg Luzinski Index

1971T #439 (rc) 2013 Philadelphia Sports HOF Induction

1977 Topps #30: 1976 ASG +40 

2003 Fleer Ultra All-Vet Stadium #7 Spot the Sig

1971T #439 Card Show Swag

1974 Kellogs 3D Swag from the Phillies Room

1975T Mini Card Show Swag

1978T #420 Year of the Tiger

Sources and Links

1980 Phillies World Champs



Wednesday, October 21, 2020

ANNIVERSARY: Phillies First World Championship - 1981 Topps #404

Another year has passed and once again I have pretty much failed in my goal of putting together my annual single subject series.

This year my target was the 1980 Phillies world championship team.

looks like I managed to add a grand total of four postings related to the 1980 Phillies – all in the middle of the field: Manny Trillo, Larry Bowa, Garry Maddox, and Dick Ruthven.

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Phillies cinching their 1980 championship.


1981 Topps #404 Phillies Win First World Series

Topps honored the Phillies Victory on card #404 of their 1981 set. The featured player is Tug McGraw.

Today the demise of starting pitching is frequently discussed, However even 40 years ago McGraw registered the 3rd most outs of any Phillies pitcher for the series. His 7 1/3 innings ranking behind only Steve Carlton and Ruthven.

Even more importantly were the outs that Tug McGraw registered. Baseball-Ref has a new to me stat cWPA – Championship Win Probability Added. Basically the concept is how much each plate appearance affects the probability of winning a championship.

Tug McGraw led all pitchers in the Series with a cWPA of 18.05% (100% represents a single Win). For comparison Steve Carlton who Won 2 games in the series had a cWPA of 2.67%.

Among Phillies batters only Mike Schmidt (19.48) and..... Del Unser! (26.11) who had a couple of big pinch hits off Dan Quisenberry outpaced McGraw.

Perhaps I will dig deeper on this series in the future but for now we are likely on pause with the 1980 Phillies.

Sources & Links

1980 Phillies World Champs Index

Tug McGraw Index


Tuesday, October 6, 2020


Today marks the 10th Anniversary of Roy Halladay's NLDS no-hitter. I have discussed this game a number of times in the past. Today I will just simply state it was one of the greatest games I ever attended. 

Our original account of the no-hitter  can be found here.

2017 Topps Untouchables #U-18 Roy Halladay

This card is not specifically dedicated to that game, but it is definitely in the neighborhood. "Untouchables"  could be seen as a synonym for no-hitter, an that is the case here:


2017 Topps Untouchables #U-18 Roy Halladay (b-side)

On the backside of the card we see the top bullets are dedicated to his 2010 no-hitter pair - The regular season perfect game and the NLDS no-hitter.   


Untouchables is a 30 card insert found in 2017 Topps Update.  Halladay has two cards in the set, He reps the Blue Jays on the other card. The checklist contains one other Phillies pitcher, Steve Carlton.. 

Sources and Links

Roy Halladay HOF index

No-Hitters Index

Game Dated Cards

Cardboard Connection

Monday, October 5, 2020

ANNIVERSARY - Jim Palmer: 1971 Topps #197 ALCS Game 3

October 5th marks the 50th anniversary of the Orioles clinching American League pennant sweeping the  Minnesota Twins in 3 games. 

1971 Topps #197 (image swiped from

I would normally dissetc this card and discuss the game box for the Orioles 6-1 victory, but last week I broke my arm and typing is a pain with one hand. 

The busted humerus did not stop me from finishing up my O's Orange version of this card.

1971T Jim Palmer Mows em Down

i changed the classic 1971T Black Border to the Orioles other team color,  added  Palmer's dominating pitching line, and tagged the game date.  Other modifications include making the baseball prominent and emphasizing Palmer's #22.


ok I peeked at the box and Palmer's strikeout victims included future HoFs Harmon Killebrew and Rod Carew. Other notables were Tony Oliva and Phillies World Series manager Charlie Manuel. 

sources and links

Jim Palmer HoF index

Phungo Originals





Tuesday, September 8, 2020

ANNIVERSARY - Ryan Howard: 2011 Topps Heritage Baseball Highlight Sketches #BHS-10

Ten years ago Ryan Howard became the quickest player to reach 250 Home Runs. On September 8th 2010 playing in his 855th game Howard homered to deep left field. 

Topps commemorated the event with an insert in the 2011 Heritage set. 

2011 Topps Heritage Baseball Highlight Sketches #BHS-10 Ryan Howard 

Highlight Sketches was a 25 card insert set with artwork by Southern California based artist Dave Hobrecht. The set also includes a card dedicated to Roy Halladay's 2011 No-Hitter. 

Howard's Home Runs was part of a 10-6 Phillies victory over the Florida Marlns. It was the 28th of 31 Home Runs that Howard would hit in 2010 - good enough for 8th in the league. 


2011 Topps Heritage Baseball Highlight Sketches #BHS-10 Ryan Howard  (b-side)

The caption details Howard's Home Run pace and also mentions the record holder Ralph Kiner. 

Kiner's 250th Home Run occurred in 1951 during a Pirates 5-4 loss versus the Boston Braves. 

2010 Ryan Howard at the Crossroads

In 2010 was basically mid-career - the 7th of 13 seasons. He had 855 games in the books and 717 remaining. Unfortunately the bottom half of his career did not match the promise of Howard's start. After averaging 46 Home Runs a season from 2006-2010, Howard would hit 33 in 2011 and then never post more than 25 again. The downward turn due to a combination of a devastating injury that occurred at the end of 2011 NLDS and the rigors of age. 

Ryan Howard's final 717 games would yield 132 Home Runs - Not terrible, but roughly half the pace of those record setting first 250 Home Runs.

Sources and Links

Ryan Howard Index

Game Dated Cards


Dave Hobrecht


Sports Card Radio

Thursday, September 3, 2020

1974 Topps #80 Tom Seaver (1944-2020)

I learned a lot about Tom Seaver while researching “The Andy Warhol Triple Play”. My focus was Warhol but I learned a lot about his subjects, one of which was Tom Seaver.

The more you learn about Seaver the more interesting he becomes. He was more than a ballplayer, He was a devoted family man, a vintner, and a connoisseur of the arts.

One of his many interests popped up recently when I saw the cartoon on the back of Tom Seaver’s 1974 Topps card. 

1974 Topps #80 Tom Seaver (b-side)

Tom Enjoys Playing Bridge. Mildly interesting… Then last night while re-reading my notes from the Warhol Project I came across an enjoyable blog posting written by Phillip Richter, a schoolmate of Tom and Nancy’s daughter Sarah. An excerpt from the column read:

While walking and talking and tending to the vineyards, Tom made the comment that pitching is like playing bridge. To be a really successful pitcher you have to get inside the mind of the batter. Is he having a good day? Will he wait for a fat pitch or just aggressively strike at anything served to him? What are his goals? How consistent a player is he? Your goal as a pitcher is to control the outcome. Tom said that it was his job to control where the ball was going to go should the batter connect with the ball and make a hit.  I know next to nothing about baseball but Tom’s complex and astute thesis was logical and so well articulated. It made all the sense in the world. I would never have seen parallels between the game of bridge and the art of throwing a baseball at high speed. Tom knows that I’m not a crazed baseball fanatic but I have always had huge admiration and respect for his many incredible accomplishments. Back in the day I was around for a lot of his career highlights–like when he got his 300th win in 1985. 

Tom Seaver just doesn’t play bridge, he plays bridge the way he pitches or pitches the way he plays cards. The article was written in 2016, Seaver would have been 71 years of age – 30 years removed from his final pitch, yet here he is making parallels between two games he loves. 

1974 Topps

1974 Topps #80 Tom Seaver

I have always loved this card, great action shot of an absolute legend - good use of the landscape format in the mainly portrait style 1974T set. 

The card re-drew my attention earlier this summer as part of a Project2020 inspired activity spearheaded by @_gritz_ of Project 62.  Gritz posted a randomish page of 9 noteworthy trading cards. Similar to Project2020 the assignment to the world of amateur artists was to redesign the card – Project2020 for the common folks.

One of the cards posted was the 1974T Seaver. 1974 has the best -toons and I had to flip the card over. That is where I spotted the comic. Once I saw it I knew that was the route I was going:

 Phungo Original: 1974T Tom Seaver

In creating my own Tom Seaver card I kept the 1974T design – in a simplified format. The original comic is more portrait – I have changed it to Landscape format which necessitated moving the copy. I added a touch of color to the lines – keeping the Mets 1974T flavors. My biggest remaining modification was identifying the card being pitched by Seaver as the Ace of Diamonds – which he truly is.   

It was a fun card to do and I think of Tom Seaver as a happy individual who was able to pass that joy on to those around him, I hope this Phungo Original captures that vibe.

In Memoriam

Links to other folks that have Tom Seaver Memorial Postings:

1960s Baseball (1968T)

Cards that Never Were (1968T Seaver LHP w/ Bob Gibson LHP)

Starting Nine (41 Scans for #41)

Sources and Links

Andy Warhol: Tom Seaver

Phungo Tom Seaver HOF Index

Turtle Garage


Project 62



a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions