Wednesday, January 8, 2020

1980 World Champions: Larry Bowa 1971T #233

We have turned over into a new year (and decade) so we can officially celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Phillies.

1971 Topps #233 Larry Bowa (b-side)

This is not Larry Bowa's rookie card, he shared 1970T #539 with fellow middle infielder Denny Doyle.

However this is Bowa's first solo card and it is a fine card. To start with we have one of the most iconic designs in the Topps canon, 1971. Secondly the photo captures Bowa in a defensive posture, which was his most dominant skill during a long career. Finally this card is part of one of Team Phungo's favorite collections: All-Star Rookie Cards.

The cup was awarded to Larry Bowa for his 1970 campaign that saw him finish 3rd in the Rookie Of the Year voting (Carl Morton, Bernie Carbo).

I would also like to give a shout out to Paterson New Jersey's Johnny Briggs who appears in the background of this shot. Briggs spent the second half of the 1960s on the Phillies roster but was only teammates with Larry Bowa for one year as he was traded early in 1971 season.

1971 Topps #233 Larry Bowa (b-side)

Lots of fodder on the back of Larry Bowa's 1971T card. TOPPS goes all selfie and mentions the award they have given to Bowa. The most noteworthy portion of the text is Topps use of the term '"On-Base" average' which I imagine is one of the earliest on card uses of the term.

Unfortunately Topps use of the word "fine" to describe Bowa's OBA is questionable. At .277 he ranked 53rd among the 56 NL players who qualified. The League Average was .329, Bowa's 21 walks ranked 110th.

The final sentence in the bio refers to Paul Bowa, his baseball-ref page can be found here

Not sure where the front image was taken, could be spring training or possibly Shea stadium, but this back photo sure looks like the Vet - Even in b&w.

1970 RoY voting
As mentioned above Bowa finished 3rd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting:

Carl Morton or Bernie Carbo deserved to be 1-2 by both 1970 standards and modern analytics. To be honest I am surprised the BBWAA went with Morton (18-11, 3.60 ERA 154K) over Carbo (.310, 21 HR).

Among the 5 players receiving votes he was clearly the least deserving. However, other than Cedeno he is probably the player to have the most career success. He is also the only player among the lot to win a World Series.

Phungo Originals

This is one of the cards that made the cut for the Phungo Sketch Challenge

Phungo Original 1971T Larry Bowa

I swapped out the Rookie Cup for a World Series Trophy and went with a simplified background. I think Larry looks more like John Vukovich - oh well, my art career is a Work In Progress - perhaps I can say I have a "fine On-Base Average"

Larry Bowa Index
1972 Topps #520 (2008 NLCS)
1975 Topps #420 (1976 All-Star Team +40)
1975 Topps #420 (Larry Bowa Bobblehead night 2015)
1976 ASG Program (1976 ASG +40)
1981 Fleer #645 (1980 Phillies Reunion/Card Show w/ Pete Rose & Mike Schmidt)
1981 Fleer #645 (1980 Phillies +30)
1984 Topps #704 (1983 NL Champs w/ Joe Morgan & Cedeno)

Peanut Gallery (Other columns on this card)
Topps Baseball 1971 (Night Owl Cards)

Sources and Links
1980 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies
1971 Topps All-Star Rookies
Phungo Artwork
1971 Topps Blog (Night Owl Cards)
SABR Bio Larry Bowa Rich D'Ambrosio 
SABR Bio Johnny Briggs (John Saccoman) 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

1961 Topps #402 Don Larsen (1929-2020)

When I was a kid I had a thick World Series chronicle that had the box scores for every Series game through somewhere in the late 1970s. One of the things that fascinated me was that for Don Larsen's 1956 Perfect game the entry was a batter by batter, PITCH by PITCH. I had never seen anything like it, and really PxP accounts didn't really exist in the real world until the relatively recent big data revolution. 
1961 Topps #402 Don Larsen Pitches Perfect Game

One of the trading cards that covered World Series achievement was in the 1961 Topps Baseball Thrills subset.

Great card of Larsen's perfect game which occurred on October 8th 1956.

To begin with outside of a swatch announcing the event commemorated by the card the design is minimal. The picture here features our hero Larsen and the line score - perfect way summarize any no-hitter. In addition the remainder of the scoreboard tells us #8 is batting with a 1-2 coutn.  The 8 correctly identifies Dale Mitchell who struck out looking on a 1-2 pitch giving the Yankees a 2-0 victory in the pivotal fifth game of the 1956 series.

The series would got the distance with the Yankees winning.

1961 Topps #402 Don Larsen Pitches Perfect Game

The newsprint themed text on the card back does a good job of recapturing the Thrill of the perfect game. The author also provides some historical context: "...first pitcher to ever hurl a no-hitter in World Series competition." and "...first in 307 World Series games". I have minor quibble that description fails to mention the games final score 2-0.

1961 Nu-Cards
On the 60th anniversary of the Perfect Game we profiled the 1961 Nu-Card dedicated to the game. That column can be found here.

Baltimore Orioles
One of my favorite fun facts is that Don Larsen started the first game in Baltimore Orioles history, a 3-0 lost to the Detroit Tigers on April 13 1954.

Peanut Gallery
Some other Don Larsen Baseball Card Memorials
The Lost Collector - Various Autographed Cards and a Baseball
The Chronicles of Fuji - 1958 Topps #161 & various Autograph/Relic cards

Sources and Links
1961 Topps Baseball Thrills Index
No-Hitter Index
Game Dated Cards Index
trading card db

Saturday, November 2, 2019

ANNIVERSARY: 2010 Topps Heritage #310 Utley Ties Reggie

November 2nd marks the 10th Anniversary of the Phillies last World Series Game victory. An 8-6 victory over the New York Yankees.

That night Chase Utley tied a 30 year old World Series Record.
2010 Topps Heritage #310 Chase Utley (image swiped from trading card db)

The caption sums it up simply "Utley Ties Reggie". Nice to have your named in a comparative with a player who is such a superstar that they only need to be identified by a single name.


2010 Topps Heritage #310 Chase Utley (image stolen from comc)

The back of the Heritage cards remain faithful to the 1961T originals with scoring plays followed by the line score. The Utley Homers for game 5 can be found in the first and 7th innings of the Phillies portion of the text.

Jackson's 5 Home Run Series was also celebrated by Topps in their 1978 set.

1978 Topps #7 RB Reggie Jackson

We covered this card a bit in our 2018 Memorial to broadcaster Keith Jackson. To read more about the card click here.

1961 Topps
2010 Heritage is an Homage to 1961 Topps. The World Series subset parallels the original with Utley's Record card matching with a card dedicated to a Pirates 5-2 victory, also over the Yankees, which featured an 8 out save from Elroy Face.

1961 Topps #310 Face Saves the Day

While both the PA teams were able to defeat the 1960 and 2009 Yankees in Game 5, afterward their fates diverged. The Pirates won the 1960 Series on Bill Mazeroski's famous Home Run while, Utley and the Phillies fell to the Yankees in 6 games. 

Phungo Games
This card reps the Phungo Game collection, read more about that game here.  In addition to the above Heritage card we have previously covered the 2009 Allen & Ginter card dedicated to Utley's World Series Record. This column can be found here.

Sources and Links
Chase Utley Index
Phungo Game Index
2009 World Series
Check out My Cards
Trading Card db

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

ANNIVERSARY 1968 OCT 02: Bob Gibson Sets World Series Strike Out Record

I missed the 50th anniversary of this a year ago so we are catching up today.

1969 Topps #162 World Series Special Game 1 Gibson Fans 17

Yes 51 years ago Bob Gibson Struck out 17 Tigers in Game one of the 1968 World Series.

Number of things to like on this card:

- Newsprint style format
- Gibson's face is a bit in the shadow, but overall I think this is a good photo from the era
- Great headline, subheader and synopsis
- Sponsorship by The Sporting News
- It's BOB freaking GIBSON

Gibson's 17K day broke the previous record set by Sandy Koufax 5 years prior, also on October 2 and in a game 1, Gibson struck out every Detroit hitter in the starting lineup at least once with the 3 & 4 Htiters Al Kaline and Norm Cash each whiffing 3 times. Other notable victims include Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews who went down on strikes as a Pinch Hitter, Bill Freehan and Willie Horton.

According to Baseball Almanac the record still stands today.

1969 Topps #162 World Series Special Game 1 Gibson Fans 17 (b-side)

The back of the card has a box score for the Cardinals 4-0 victory. Note the 17 Putouts credited to Tim McCarver. Lots of other big names on the Cardinals, HOF Lou Brock's hit was a Home Run which accounted for the single run in the 7th.

While the Cardinals won this battle, the Tigers would eventually win the War taking the 1968 Series in 7 games.

1968 Topps World Series Special Subset
The subber for the 1968 World Series runs 8 cards from #162-169, one for each game plus a summary. Hall of Famers earning cards in the set other than Gibson are the aforementioned Kaline and Brock.  

Sources and Links
1969 Topps Baseball
Bob Gibson Hall of Fame Index
1969 Topps World Series Special Subset
baseball card database
Baseball Almanac

Sunday, September 29, 2019

2009 Topps All-Star Rookie Cup Subset (honoring 2008 Cup Winners)

This is an Index to postings about the 2008 Topps All-Star Rookie Cup Team that was honored in the 2009 Set.

 2009 Topps #390 Joey Votto

1999 Topps Rookie Cup All-Star Checklist
C          Geovany Soto      Chicago Cubs  
1B        Joey Votto            Cincinnati Reds  
2B        Alexei Ramirez    Chicago White Sox    no trophy on card
3B        Evan Longoria     Tampa Bay Rays  
SS        Mike Aviles          Kansas City Royals  
OF       Jay Bruce              Cincinnati Reds  
OF       Denard Span         Minnesota Twins  
OF       David Murphy      Texas Rangers            no trophy on card
RHP    Brad Ziegler          Oakland Athletics  
LHP    John Lannan          Washington Nationals

Sources and Links
B-R Bullpen Baseball-Ref
Topps All-Star Rookie Cup Master Index

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Happy Birthday Mike Schmidt: 1977 Topps #140

On September 27th Mike Schmidt will celebrate his 70th birthday. To mark the occasion we are examining a card that was issued back when Schmidt was 27 just on the cusp of hitting his prime.

1977 Topps #140 Mike Schmidt

In 1976 the Phillies wore a Bicentennial/All-Star Game patch on their left shoulders. The 1977T card which displays the patch most prominently is Mike Schmidt's.

That is probably my favorite aspect of the card. I have two other photo observations:

1) I believe this is Shea Stadium which is the setting for several Phillies cards in the era.

2) Schmidt appears to be swinging a Rawlings bat. Adirondack/Rawlings bats from the middle 70s carried a ring on the bat handle in the team color - seen in red here.

However, during a Louisville Slugger tour I took a few years ago I found out something interesting:

Louisville Slugger Museum

Above we have four Louisvlle Slugger Bats. Schmidt's lumber is the 3rd one from the top, notice the Red ring. Schmidt had an exclusive contract with Rawlings, however at times he felt the need to change bats. To hide the switch, Schmidt disguised the Louisville Slugger bat by creating his own red ring using tape. More detail on this can be found at the PSA Card site.

The four bats top to Bottom are Cal Ripken, Eddie Murray (HR #501, last as an Oriole), Schmidt and George Brett (note the Pine Tar).

1977 Topps #140 Mike Schmidt (b-side)

This is the first card issued following Schmidt's Four Home Run game on April 17 1976 and the text leads of with that fun fact. The blurb closes mentioning that Schmidt had 11 Homers in April which is a record - not sure if this is for any month or specific to April. Regardless both records have been eclipsed since 1976. Sammy Sosa holds the MLB Record for HR in a month with 20 (June 1998), While the April Record of 14 is shared by Albert Pujols (2006) and A-Rod (2007).

Talkin Toons
Always good to see a cartoon on the back of the card. The subject of today's comic is Yankees Slugger Hank Bauer and his17 game Wolrd Series hitting streak( 1956 OCT 3 - 1958 OCT 4).  At the time this card was released Bauer had held the record for 18 years. Here we are almost 42 years later and he still holds the record. the 2018 World Series marked the 60th Anniversary of the record.

Bauer's 17 game hitting streak is also the record for consecutive postseason games as well. He shares the record with Derek Jeter (1998-1999) and Manny Ramirez (2003-2004).  The Astros George Springer has an active streak of 14 games

Bauer Toons
A couple of Hank Bauer own cards have comics that feature the record including 1960 and 1961.  My favorite is a manager card from 1969.

1969 Topps #124 Hank Bauer (b-side / baseball card datbase)

Rather than featuring a lengthy text bio the Manager cards from 1969 featured a full size cartoon that include a nice profile sketch.

Speaking of sketches and bringing this back to our original subject, I created my own version of the 1977T Schmidt card.

1977T Mike Schmidt (Phungo Original)

Drawing 1997 Topps doesn't present any unusual challenges. The Team names are italicized which is a minor hassle. I like the drop shadow on the pennant.

I elected to leave the team logo and number off the uni, which are largely covered in the original - unfortunately this leaves a lot of blue space on the drawing and elongates Schmidt's Torso.

1980 Phillies
I am including this post as part of our 1980 Phillies Series. I hope to return to Schmidt again next year as he is not only one of the  most significant members of that particular team but also the franchise history.

Sources and Links
Mike Schmidt HoF Index
1980 Phillies World Champs Index
Phungo Artwork Index
Baseball Almanac
PSA Card
baseball card database / Astros 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Happy Anniversary Prince Fielder 2009 Topps #1

September 6th 2019 marks the 10th anniversary of one of the more memorable moments of Prince Fielder's career.

2009 Topps #1 Prince Fielder

The Brewers defeated the Giants 2-1 in extra innings that day, the winning blow was a Walk-Off Home Run by Fielder. To celebrate the Brewers executed a choreographed bowling style celebration. The moment polarizes old and new school fans. I suppose if you want to pinpoint a moment where MLB decided that maybe it is ok to celebrate big Home Runs might have been Prince Fielder September 6 2009.

The image of that moment was honored by Topps with the lead-off card for their 2010 set.

I did some digging and I believe the photograph was taken by Morry Gash and can be found at AP-Images.  There are a number of similar shots across the net, but this is the only one that I was unable to find any discrepancies between the card and photo.

2009 Topps #1 Prince Fielder (b-side)

Fielder didn't get the #1 slot just for the September 6th Walk-Off.  He was a superstar player at the peak of his career. Checking his numbers on the card back we notice he lead the NL in RBI with 141. The 46 Home Runs trailed only Albert Pujols (47).

The text also mentions Fielders 2009 HR Derby victory.
2009 HR Derby Cards

As part of the Derby Topps created a set of jumbo cards that were on display at Citifield for the All-Star game.  I took the above photo at the Futures game.

Stray Observation
The pitcher that gave up the Home Run was reliever Merkin Valdez. In 74 career games Valdez only took the Loss in one game, this was the one. 

Sources & Links
Topps #1 Club
Game Dated Cards Index
AP Images - Morry Gash

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions