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

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

1973 Topps #322 Garry Maddox (rc)

Little late on this one but Garry Maddox turned 70 over the Labor day weekend. To celebrate we are posting a column on his rookie card.

1973 Topps #322 Garry Maddox (rc, image from Baseball Card Database)

Over here at Phungo Headquarters we think of Garry Maddox as a lifetime Phillies player, but as can be seen above early in his career he spent a couple of years with the Giants. Nice to see Maddox get a solo card here as many rookies from this era were awarded shared cards.

However there is a sloppy Topps element to this card as well.  Garry Maddox was a member the 1972 All-Star Rookie team, unfortunately Topps failed to put the trophy icon on his card.

As part of the Team Phungo Art initiative we have decided to correct this error, and while we were being creative we decided to modify a few other things about the card.

Phungo Original 1973T  Garry Maddox

Yes since I was going to the trouble of drawing a new card of Garry Maddox with the Rookie Cup, I figure why not make him a Phillie. I tried to get Maddox face and figure to match the card photo, but with the background I got a little crazy and put in a globe.

The idea was inspired by the quote "Two-thirds of the Earth is covered by water, the other one-third by Garry Maddox." which is often attributed to Ralph Kiner.

So yes in one drawing I made the Topps card my own by 1) Changing the team 2) Adding the missing Rookie Cup and 3) Including a globe in the background to honor Maddox defensive notoriety.

1980 Phillies

The other reason I did the Maddox artwork was because I thought that this was a fun card on the Maddox player collection checker and I wanted to make the card part of our 1980 Phillies retrospective.

My goal is to put together a dozen or so columns on the 1980 Phils, but since I don't post as often I a starting a little early. A few months ago I wrote up Del Unser which I plan on adding to the collection.

For an index of all 1980 Phillies related postings click here. Not much there yet, but hopefully there will be by this time next year.

Whiz Kids
We also profiled Maddox as part of our series on the 1983 Phillies. That posting will be used as our Garry Maddox Index

Sources and Links
Garry Maddox Index
1973 Topps All-Star Rookie Cards Index
1980 World Champion Phillies Index
Baseball-Ref Bullpen
Baseball Card Database
Baseball Almanac

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Gary Carter HOF Index

This is an index to our postings related to Hall of Fame Catcher Gary Carter.

1976 Topps #441 Gary Carter

1976 Topps #441 (SABR BB Cards)

Toni Stone at the Laura Pels Off-Broadway

Last weekend Team Phungo made the trek up to Manhattan and enjoyed a tremendous play that was based on a Baseball Player.

Toni Stone played second base for the Indianapolis Clowns in 1953. This made her the first woman to play baseball with a Men's professional baseball team. The Clowns are an important part of Negro League history sending several players to the Major Leagues, including Hank Aaron the man that Stone replaced.

The play covers a lot of territory. We learn about Stones background and early prowess in athletics. Her range included track and figure skating. The play also depicts her as an avid baseball fan who memorized stats and has BASEBALL CARDS!!

If you have studied the Negro Leagues you may be familiar with a lot of the material in the play, but it is nice to see it depicted in a fashion that I found historically accurate: The long bus rides due to unwelcoming hotels, The double-headers played in different towns, and of course the harassment from fans during exhibition games with white teams.

In addition Stone dealt with sexism issues from teammates as well as opponents.

There is also a scene where Toni Stone discusses an unfortunate story regarding Gabby Street.

April Matthis
In addition to having an informative and interesting story the play has a very good cast led by veteran April Matthis in the title role. Matthis as Stone figures into every conversation from start to finish making this an almost one-woman show despite the fact she shares the stage with eight other actors.  

Above you see the set for the show. It is set up to appear like a ballpark with bleachers around the stage. Notice the trashcan of baseball bats between bleachers 2 & 3. The stadium lights were a neat part of the set which were used for dramatic affect. The windows in the two alleys between the bleachers often featured single players batting or throwing and created a look of a baseball card.

The Lobby was also dressed up for the show with Pennants and background info on Stone and the Negro Leagues.

Another really nice touch was that they sold Cracker Jack at the concession stand.

On Tour
Toni Stone will only be in NYC through August 11th. However it is going on a short tour thru early 2020. The first stop is San Francisco, followed by DC in the Spring. If you get the opportunity and would like to see some baseball history related theater I highly recommend this show.

I always recommend Off-Broadway if you want to see a play in New York. The theaters are more accessible, tickets are significantly cheaper and since the theaters are smaller you always get a good seat. In addition I can usually find an Off-Broadway show that aligns with my tastes. The Broadway productions are big and mainstream, OB gives the companies a chance to produce edgier stories.

Sources and Links
Vittles On Stage Index

Roundabout Theater

Monday, July 29, 2019

2019 ToppsNow #529 Bryce Harper/Rhys Hoskins honors July 18th Phillies Victory

I finally got to see a 2019 game that the Phillies actually won. And Topps was good enough to create a ToppsNow card for that game.

2019 ToppsNow #529 Phillies (Bryce Harper/Rhys Hoskins)

There were several key performers in the Phillies 7-6 victory over the Dodgers which featured FIVE lead changes (1-0, 1-2, 3-2, 3-4, 7-5). Topps chose to cover the days card with the Phillies big names Bryce Harper and Rhys Hoskins. However the hero could have also been 2017 First round pick (8th overall) Adam Haseley who tallied his first Major League Home Run.

Solid picture choices on both players. On the left we have a nice shot of Bryce Harper's emotional slide into second which I clearly remember from where I was standing. The latter photo features Rhys at the plate, anytime you can get the ball just prior to impact that's a win.

2019 ToppsNow
I would prefer that Topps go with a single image here but this was pretty much a team win and lets face it ToppsNow may not feature many Phillies this year. Otherwise this is an ok design, I would like to see the date more prominently displayed since NOW is a feature of the card. This is a two player card, but as far as I can tell the player position is not on single player cards.

There were six ToppsNow cards issued for July 18 2019. The Phillies had the largest print run for the day (464) even eclipsing the reigning AL MVP Mookie Betts and Hall of Famer Ted Williams.

2019 ToppsNow CheckList for July 18 2019
#526 Mookie Betts/Ted Williams (Print Run = 352)
#527 Brian Anderson (131)
#528 Chris Sale (182)
#529 Phillies (464)
#530 Stephen Strasburg (300)
#532 Donovan Solano (162)

2019 ToppsNow #529 Phillies (b-side)

The Text on the back of the card gives a concise two sentend summary of the Phillies 7th inning comeback. Not to self: use the word "cut" when I want to discuss a team making a comeback.

2019 ToppsNow #529 Phillies, 2019 JUL 18 Dodgers @ Phillies

And since this card is from a game that Team Phungo attended it will be going into the Phungo Games binder. Always excited to share a combined trading card/ticket photo on the blog.

Sources and Links
Bryce Harper Index
Rhys Hoskins Index
Phungo Game Dated Cards Index

Thursday, July 11, 2019

In Memoriam: Jim Bouton (1939-2019)

"I learned Math from Baseball & Jim Bouton taught me How to Read"

Not entirely true, but there is a lot of truth there.

Prior to college I think I only finished maybe...  three books, "1984", "Wired" the Biography of Jim Belushi, and "Ball Four". All those novels we were supposed to read in High School (Hester Prynne, Silas Marner, Macbeth, Huck Finn, etc Who Knows What Else)  - I read exactly none of them.

But "Ball Four" it spoke to me.

"Ball Four" - Jim Bouton (1970 2nd Edition)

I have read the book three times once as a teenager. Again in my 20s or 30s, and most recently in my late 40s in preparation to see Bouton at the NYC SABR convention.

The SABR panel was incredible. That weekend it was publicly announced that Jim Bouton had a brain disease related to dementia. Regardless with the help of his wife Paula Kurman he was up to the task of discussing his life and Ball Four in a panel dedicated to Bouton and the book. A fan of the book and the man could asked for nothing more. Bouton was funny, touching, and informative. He was "Ball Four" personified.

He was also good enough to pose for pictures while signing books and other memorabilia.

 Jim Bouton (2017 Jul 01)

The Photo on the left page is one that I took at the event. The book is a 2nd edition

Ball Four (2nd Edition)

Here is Ball Four sans jacket.

That's it for now. Over the coming weeks I would like to mine the Phungo Museum for some other Bouton related content. Today, I would just like to recognize that he will always be a favorite author and I am glad I was introduced to his unique point of view early in my life and have been able to enjoy it to this day.

Memorials & Tributes
SABR (Mark Armour)

Sources and Link
Jim Bouton Index
SABR Bio (Mark Armour)

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

ANNIVERSARY - 1979 July 10: Del Unser 3 consecutive Pinch Hit HRs (1980 Topps #6)

Wednesday July 10 marks 40th anniversary of a Pinch Hitter getting into the MLB record book

1980 Topps #6 Highlights Del Unser

That pinch hitter was the Phillies Del Unser who tied a mark first established a year prior by the Dodgers Lee Lacy.

Unser's streak commenced on June 30th. In the 9th inning of game versus the Cardinals at Busch stadium the Phillies were down 4-2 with 2 out in the 9th inning. Phillies Center Fielder Garry Maddox was on base when Unser was sent to the plate to bat for Manny Trillo. Unser homered off of reliever George Frazier to tie the game which the Phillies won 6-4 in extras.

The 2nd Home Run came in a 3-2 loss to the Mets. Unser hit a solo home run in the 7th inning while batting for Larry Bowa in what was basically a convoluted double change. The victim was starting pitcher Craig Swan.

Del Unser finished his Home Run trifecta facing Padres future Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers. The Phillies went into the 9th inning down 5-1, four batters later the Phillies had pulled to 5-3 on a 2 Run single by Bob Boone.

A hit and an out later Del Unser found himself once again pinch hitting for Larry Bowa. This time out he hit a Walk Off Home Run to give the Phillies a 6-5 victory. 

The streak ended 2 days later when Unser was Intentionally Walked by Fingers. The first time Unser was retired following the streak was July 23, Also by Rollie (strikeout).

1980 Topps Hilights
Hilights opens the 1980 set occupying the first six cards. The subset includes three Hall of Famers across two cards: Lou Brock & Carl Yastrzemski share card #1, While Willie McCovey resides at #2. In addition to Del Unser the Phillies are also represented in the subber by Pete Rose at #4.

Dennis Rasmussen?
1987 Topps #555 Dennis Rasmussen

What the heck is Dennis Rasmussen doing in the middle of a Del Unser column??, well lets turn over this card and see.

1987 Topps #555 Dennis Rasmussen (b-side)

Ok we are going to bypass that this card discusses Hall of Famer Larry Bird and move down to the On This Date section. Check it out we have today's hero Del Unser! and it mentions his 1979 Pinch Hit Home Run heroics too!

Finally Topps honors their history by mentioning Unser's 1979T card, lets have a look.
1979 Topps #628 Del Unser

Unfortunately Unser is repping a different team, however it always feels good to post and Expos card. Lets flip this one over and see if we have anymore fun items.

1979 Topps #628 Del Unser (b-side)

Well Check it out, we have another This day in History. This time it goes back to May 8 1968. On that date Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter tossed a Perfect game for the Oakland A's as they defeated the Minnesota Twins 4-0

And just because I am chaining together cards today, I am going to add one final card.

1969 Topps #235 Jim "Catfish" Hunter

The first card issued of Catfish following his Perfect Game was in 1969 Topps. This is back when Topps was putting -Toons on the back of cards, surely the Catfish comic would be dedicated to his big Game...

1969 Topps #235 Jim "Catfish" Hunter (b-side)

or.....maybe not

The game mentioned in the cartoon was a 15 inning affair won by the National League 2-1. In Hunter's defense he pitched FIVE innings that day, the difference was a Home Run by Tony Perez.

Topps does mention the Perfecto in the text. It also mentions that Hunter's game earned him a $5000 raise, that is a $36,000 raise in 2018 dollars. 

Game Dated Cards
Ok that is enough card chaining, At some point I will be adding each of these cards to the Phungo Game Dated Cards Index

1980 Phillies
Next Year will mark the 40th anniversary of the Phillies first World Championship, I hope to feature that team throughout 2020. Since I am not writing as many columns these days I am getting an early start on the feature and will open my Anniversary series a full six months in advance.

Sources and Links
1980 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies
1980 Topps Hilights
No-Hitter Index
Catfish Hunter index
Larry Bird Index
Baseball Card Database

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions