Monday, April 12, 2021

Phungo Original: 2021T Migue Cabrera Snow Squall variation

We are switching gears here, trying to see if posting sketches will get be more motivated to publish. We will see. 

2021T Miguel Cabrera Snow Squall Variation

A few weeks ago Miquel Cabrera hit a Home Run on opening day, but it was snowing so much he could not tell if the ball had left the park. Miggy elected to slide into 2nd base on the play. We have captured that moment and put it on the canvas of 2021 Topps. 

3 Strikes
This is my comments on the sketch - I try to come up with 3 things going thru my head during the development of the work:
- This is a contemporary event so I went with a 2021 Topps Canvas, I flipped the design on the x-axis because the slash placement interfered with image I wanted to created. 
- Giant snow flakes: I used symbolic flakes over a bunch of little dashes that would have looked like rain. 
- Big Font: I enlarged the name plate, lots of folks have noted that the 2021T player names are unreadable. I agree and well I cannot write that snowfall. The snowflake motif carries through to the name plate acting as the divider between Miggy's name and position.

Topps issues an instant card for the Homer. 

2021 Topps Now #1 Miguel Cabrera

Turns out Cabrera got card #1 in this years Topps Now set! Nice enough, this angle is always a good one and the image clearly shows the snow shower. Still I prefer mine, mostly because it's mine, but I also like capturing the slide as it was unique moment that doesn't typically happen on a Home Run.

2021 Topps #291 Miguel Cabrera

Looks like Miggy's base card was taken on a much nicer day. On this one you get 2 HoF for the price of one as we can see the Al Kaline #6 memorial patch on Cabrera's right shoulder. The card lists Cabrera's position as DH, which is accurate - it is the only position he played in 2020. Oddly it took him one game to get back in the field playing First Base, and that is reflected in my card above. 

Sources and Link
Miguel Cabrera Index

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

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions