Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Phungo Cards - Shane Victorino

2009 Phungo #30 Shane Victorino

This Saturday is Independence Day and it will also mark the 70th anniversary of the "Luckiest man on the Face of the Earth" speech made by Lou Gehrig on July 4th 1939.

This Saturday the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity of Oxford Ohio will honor Shane Victorino with the Lou Gehrig Memorial Award. The award is given annually to a player that exemplifies the Giving Character of Lou Gehrig.

There was a time a few years ago I would of thought Victorino would never be more than a footnote in Phillies history. I think now that he may one day become one of the teams leaders. Congratulations to Shane, I am glad to see he has earned this honor.

This Phungo card photo was taken during game one of the 08 NLCS. The Phils beat the Dodgers 3-2 that day, Victorino went 0-4 but did score on a Chase Utley Home Run after reaching on a rare Rafael Furcal error. The Phungo Card has the specific position of CF and I gave Shane a hero number of 30.

It has been 68 years since Lou Gehrig died. There remains no cure for ALS better known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Autograph Signing - Dickie Noles

I perused the BadWax autograph event list a few weeks back and found out that Marty Bystrom was signing autographs at a Nursery (botanical), of all places, near me. I had a little bit of free time and decided to check it out. Well......Marty Bystrom couldn't make it but Dickie Noles was good enough to show up in his absence. It turned out that Marty was in a golf tournament that weekend and figured he would only play on Saturday. Well Bystrom played well enough to qualify for the final. Regardless the signing was great. I showed up near the end and there was only one other person there that was really interested in the signing, everybody else was in the employ of Main Line Gardens near as I can tell.

Noles told a couple of stories and made several comparisons between the players of today and his own era both talentwise and money wise. Noles is still employed the Phillies and works for both their minor and major league teams. He also had several anecdotes about Phillies Dream week, which could almost get me to shell out the 4 or 5 grand it takes to go down there.

Noles was good enough to pose for some pictures and sign a couple of items I brought as well as a postcard provided by the venue. I am not sure but it appeared that Main Line Gardens may be somehow connected to the now defunct BC Collectibles. There were a couple of small display cases of autograph items and they appeared to be labeled the same way that one may see them in a BC Collectibles store.

Dickie Noles with World Series Ring (click to enlarge - and see Marty Bystrom ad in back)

This is a picture of Dickie posing and displaying his World Series Ring. As he said he has done this before and he has the pose down.

Main Line Gardens was hosting the signing as part of a Father's Day promotion, I hope they have additional signings. Thanks to them, Dickie Noles, and thanks to Bad Wax for publishing the listing.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Phungo Asks, is this worth a C-Note?

Anna Kournikova is coming to the Philadelphia suburb King of Prussia as part of the World Team Tennis Tour. The Tickets include a cocktail, appetizers and a "meet and greet" with the talented young woman. Tix range from $70 to $100.

I know this ain't Wimbledon but.....

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Hall of Fame Thursday - Bob Gibson

1970 Topps #530 Bob Gibson

This week Philadelphia Phan Favorite Jamie Moyer tied the immortal Bob Gibson for career wins at 251. Of course it took Moyer 6 seasons and roughly 120 more games to accomplish the feat. Still it is an impressive accomplishment.

Bob Gibson played 17 seasons with the St Louis Cardinals. In addition to his 251 wins, 3117 strikeouts, 2 Cy Young awards, and an NL MVP in 1968 (22-9, 1.12 ERA) Gibson was a tremendous Post Season pitcher. He was the Ace for three of the Cards World Series teams (1964, 67, 68) two of which won defeating the New York Yankees in 1964 and the Boston Red Sox in 1968. His career World Series record was 7-2 with an ERA of 1.89 over 81 innings pitched. He completed 8 of his 9 World Series Starts.

In addition to being a great pitcher Gibson was also a good fielder who collected nine Gold Gloves and competent hitter with 2 World Series Homers on his resume.

For The Collector:

There are a variety of Bob Gibson Autos out there with the 94 Nabisco All-Star Legends Card going for $9.51 in a recent auction. The 94 Nabisco cards are an unliscensed product thus Gibson is not identified as a Cardinal. If you're interested in Hall of Fame autos for cheap the 94 Nabisco's are a good way to go with lots of the entire set occaisionally popping up on eBay. Other autos that are liscensed include the 1997 Donruss Significant Signature (12.88), 99 Fleer SI Greats of the Game (13.50) and the rather sharp 2008 Sweet Spot ($25.50)

The Bob Gibson Rookie Card is the much coveted 1959 Topps #514. The Gibson rookie is among the High Series of 1959 cards thus it is scarcer then the other cards in the set. Recent auctions of the card (ungraded) have gone as low as $61 with a few selling in the low $70s. Graded Cards (BGS 7 Very Good+) have sold for as low as $140. The high end for the card (PSA 8 NM) was $924.88.

1970 Bob Gibson cards in crap condition like the one above can likely be had for less than a dollar. I don't recall but I am fairly sure this one was in that range.

Price quotes above are from ebay completed auctions and include shipping. Any links to cards are strictly to show an example of the card and are not a site endorsement.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Phungo 5 with Fielder's Choice!

I am very happy to have Dave from Fielder's Choice for the Tampa Bay Rays edition of Phungo 5. First off Fielder's Choice is one of the most read card blogs out there, and for good reason. The posts are always interesting and well thought out. Also last year when the Phillies and Rays met in the World Series Dave and I had a wager on the outcome that included a guest column. Dave was good enough to write a great piece on Mike Schmidt, which many of you have read and subsequently boosted Phungo Readership.

Well, a lot has happened since the 08 World Series and the Rays and Phils both come into their interleague match-up a little hobbled.

Lets see how Fielder's Choice is handling the Rays struggles this season and the blog hiatus (I have used the word retirement below - but hope it is only a hiatus)

1) Are you still happy with the Pat Burrell Signing?

At this point, I am definitely not happy with Burrell. He's basically stealing the Rays money and producing nothing for them. A big reason for this is that he missed about a month with a neck injury and supposedly, the neck hindered him even before he went on the DL. But his .299 slugging percentage (as of 6/17) is simply inexcusable! The fact that he can't play in the field because he is such a lousy defender makes him even less valuable. Now, on the other hand, I am aware of how streaky he's been in the past, and my feelings will totally change if he starts to get hot. I don't think his home run total will remain at 1 for very long. A week or two ago, if you had mentioned the name "Gabe Kapler" to me, I would have gone on a long rant about how worthless he was, and now he's one of the Rays' hottest hitters. I hope to see the same change from Burrell soon...To answer the question in another way, in hindsight, the Rays should not have signed Burrell - no matter what his production the rest of the season is. It turned out that they could've signed a similar player for less money (like Bobby Abreu's contract with the Angels) or they could've relied on internal options like Zobrist/Aybar/Kapler/Gross/Joyce to fill the DH slot.

2009 Phungo #33 James Shields

2) What player needs to step up to get Tampa back into World Series form?

Since the Tampa Yankees are a minor league team, I don't see any way for them to get into the World Series. If you mean the Tampa Bay Rays, the major league team that plays in St. Pete, the easy answer would be B.J. Upton. He got off to an atrocious start, and now that his bat is heating up, the Rays are enjoying a 6-game winning streak. But even with his bad start, the Rays were still leading the majors in runs scored. So the real problem has been pitching, and my answer to the question is Scott Kazmir.Kazmir went from an All Star last year to having a 7.69 ERA and 1.95 WHIP this year. His struggles led to short starts, which caused the bullpen to be overextended, which caused the bullpen to struggle. He's been working on fixing his mechanics while he's been on the DL, and he's due back soon. If he can pitch like the Scott Kazmir that we've seen in years past, then the Rays are suddenly looking at a very good 5-man rotation with Kazmir, Shields, Garza, Price, and Niemann. Andy Sonnanstine can head to the bullpen and be the long man, and Lance Cormier, who has been extremely good as the long man, can move to a late-inning role. Hopefully this will make the pitching as good as it was last year, and with the hitting being much better than it was last year, the Rays can return to the World Series and win.

3) Name a new activity that you have picked up since you have gone into blogging retirement, and what activity have you resumed from your pre-blogging days.

I don't think I've picked up any new activities, but I have much more time to do many things that I consider important such as spending more time with family and friends, helping to keep my house clean and organized, planning and preparing to have kids, and improving my health by exercising more and eating more nutritiously. I've also been putting more hours into my job. This week, my wife and I are planning the details of a vacation in late July. I'm planning to see the Rays play in Toronto and attend The National in Cleveland!

4) ok here you go - I know that you have moved to collecting singles/autos via auctions but if you were to spend $100 on a cards products ex) box (or boxes) what would you buy (it can be 1 pack/box or multiple boxes or even a couple different products) Just has to be roughly $100 worth.

Well, since I don't really like any of the 2009 baseball card products, I'd take my chances with a hobby box of 2006 Bowman Draft Picks & Prospects to see if I could pull one of the insanely valuable Evan Longoria autographed refractor parallels. Even if I didn't get Evan, there's some other really good players on the checklist too. Now I have to get this out of my head as soon as possible so that I won't head to eBay and throw away some perfectly good money on a box ...

5) What's your Favorite Creamery flavor?

Definitely Peachy Paterno. I know that's the easy answer since it's the most famous flavor, but it's amazingly good and I can't get anything quite like it anywhere besides the PSU Creamery. And it has peaches in it, and peaches are fruit, and fruit is good for me, so I can convince myself that Peachy Paterno ice cream is healthy! Now my mouth is watering, and I can't wait to get up to PSU this fall and stand in line for two hours to get some.


Well it isn't exactly a blogging return, but it was definitely nice to hear from Dave and it sounds like he and the entire Fielder's Choice crew are doing well.

I will give him a 5 out of 5, but I must mention on Q3 that I always hate to hear that people are putting more hours into their Jobs, alas I understand it is a necessary evil in our day to day card collecting survival.

Thanks to Dave for checking in with us.

I am curious if you what questions would have posted for Dave's Phungo 5. Please Comment.

If you would like to see a previous Phungo 5 click here to see are interview with Beardy's Baseball Blog.

Phungo 5 Special Guest On Deck for Tonight

If I can get some time and maybe a card scanned, I should have a special Phungo 5 (from a friend of ours that has been MIA the last couple of weeks) posted this evening.

Hint - The Phils are in Tampa Bay this week.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Phungo 5 with Beardy's Baseball Blog

2009 06 19 Rich Hill v John Mayberry Jr (click to enlarge)

The Phils conclude the home portion of their Interleague schedule with the fresh faced Baltimore Orioles. Baltimore is only about 90 minutes down the road and I have several fans who have been suffering through the last couple of years as O's fans. To help us out with this weekends Phungo 5 I have called upon the Bearded one of Beardy's Baseball Blog to fill us in on whats happening in Birdland.

The O's have a rich history and Beardy is focusing in on Markakis and Adam Jones cards as well as legends like Cal Ripken and Brooks Robinson.

Here is Beardy's incredible Phungo 5 - perhaps its my familiarity with the O's but this is a record setting Phungo 5:

1) Whos is the Best Orioles prospect not named Wieters?

Wieters is the best prospect in the history of time. Hmmm... it would have to be one of the young arms Andy MacPhail has stashed away in the minors. I'll go with Chris Tillman, who will probably be up with the club at the end of this season. He's 6'5" with a mid 90's fastball, and what's supposed to be a good curve. I say that with no disrespect intended to Jake Arrieta, or Brian Matusz, who are also highly-touted prospects in the Orioles system. Matt Wieters is God.

2) Do the O's deserve to draw better than 13000 per game on weeknights?
Yes, and no. The actual players deserve a sellout every game, but ownership deserves even less than the 13,000 that attend now. Peter Angelos is a horrible owner who refuses to spend the money necessary to be competitive in the AL East. Year after year free agents are not signed, and big trades are not made. Mark Teixeira anyone? But the players deserve all the credit in the world. Every guy on this year's squad gives their all on the field, and it shows (despite the terrible record).
(2 Points - Beardy is right on both counts, Angelos is an idiot but there is some exciting young talent there that is definitely worth watching)

3) Who will represent the Orioles in St Louis for the All-Star game and who should represent them?
Adam Jones should be an All-Star for sure. He's having a breakout season, and has carried the offense at times this year. It wouldn't surprise me if he hit 30 homers and drove in 100 runs on the season. I'd also like to see Markakis there, but he needs t bust out of his recent slump. The man has a cannon for an arm, and was off to a fine start before slowing down over the past month. We all know none of the O's pitchers are making it, unless Brad Bergesen keeps throwing like he has been, but that's a long shot.

4) Do you miss the Phils and O's being Interleague rivals or do you prefer facing the Nats?
The Phils and O's were interleague rivals? I knew that, but have always thought it was sort of weak. I'm not really a big fan of interleague at all. The best part about it to me, is getting to be featured in the Phungo 5. The Nats make much more sense, especially since they battle over airtime on the same local sports network (MASN). Besides, the Orioles actually have a legitimate chance of beating the Nationals.
(2 Points - "The best part about it to me, is getting to be featured in the Phungo 5" blantant sucking up or not this must be awarded!)

5) If one was to have an adult beverage prior to or following a game in the Camden Yards neighborhood where would you recomend?
Well, I prefer to have an adult beverage before and after a game at Camden Yards. There's a spot on the corner of Pratt & Howard streets, right across the street from the stadium, that sells 2 beers for $5 before each day game. When you take mass transit to the ballpark, it lets you off practically right in front of the place. I like to chug 2 Yuenglings, and then walk to the Yard. After the game, nothing beats Pratt Street Ale House. It was better as it's previous incarnation, "The Wharf Rat", but even now it's still pretty great. They have their own little brewery inside, and some of their beers are pretty decent. I recommend the Ironman Pale Ale.... and a burger. The Oliver ESB (Extra Special Bitter) is also a tasty oat soda, and has garnered some impressive praise from beer critics.
(2 Points - Drinks before AND after the game - as it should be. Props for using mass transit and I used to love the Wharf Rat (both inner harbor and Fells Point) not sure I have been in the new place but will put it on the list)

Ok I will have to break out my Abacus, correct on Qs 1 and 3 and DOUBLE points on 2 4 and 5. EIGHT out of 5 for Beardy!!!! new World Phungo 5 Record.

Seriously I would love to see the O's become competitive. I think they have a pretty faithful fanbase and a lot of tradition and there are several good player there who deserve increased recognition. They do play in a brutal division but there have also been many missteps in that past that have led to repeated poor finishes. The O's ships seems to have turned around a bit now though and is hopefully headed in the right direction.

Regardless Camden Yards is a great place to see a ball game and Inner Harbor is a great vacation spot. Tickets are easy to get for all but the Bosox and Yanks so if you get the chance to see your favorite player or team in Baltimore I recommend you take the time.

Thanks to Beardy for this very entertaining Phungo 5, I am catching a couple of the games this weekend and hope to get a report up at some point. If you would like to look at a previoius Phungo 5 click here to see our interview with Blue Jays Cards.

Better than the Swimsuit Issue - Swag from Autographed Cards featuring Zack Greinke!!!

I have lots of autographed cards but I didn't have any Autographed SI covers, but I do now!!!

2009 05 05 Sports Illustrated Zack Greinke Autograph

Zman40 over at Autographed Cards ran a recent contest featuring this terrific prize of an SI issue autographed by the Royal young superstar pitcher Zack Greinke. It was my kind of contest, and involved calculating what Greinke's ERA would be after a pair of starts. Math and Baseball - thats for me, and I am really proud of having come up with the second closest guess. The actual answer was 1.72. I guessed 1.60, To be honest, I forget how I arrived at 1.60 and I know it is a higher guess than I wanted, but most of the lower numbers were taken.

Autographed Cards as one can conjecture from the name has tons of autographs plus some good tips and ideas on collecting autographs.

I was particuarly happy to see this post regarding the College World Series. This is an event I have always wanted to attend but it just hasn't gotten high enough on the priority list yet.

Thanks to Zman40 for running the contest and awarding team Phungo this great prize. This is certainly going to be one of the centerpieces of my collection.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Phungo 5 with Blue Jays Cards

It is amazing what a difference a World Championship makes. All of the sudden the burden of the 1993 World Series loss didn't seem as great. And this week when the Blue Jays return to Philadelphia I am sure that I will see Mitch Williams and Joe Carter several times on TV. But it won't hurt as much this time. For Phungo 5 we are talking with the aptly named Blue Jays Card Blog. .

1) Please, Tell me one bad thing about Joe Carter
The name Joe Carter amongst Jays fans is sacred. Joe Carter is a hero, a leader and a Blue Jay Legend. There is not a single bad thing that can be said about Jolt'n Joe Carter! I guess the only bad thing I could say about Joe, which isn't even bad, is the fact that he didn't retire a Blue Jay. I would loved to have seen him finish his career in the Blue & White. Joe Carter is to Blue Jays baseball what Michael Jordan is to Bulls basketball (if that makes sense)

2)What has to go right other than Halladay staying healthy and dominant for the Blue Jays to stay in this thing?
For the Jays to remain a contending team they need to continuing seeing the ball and hitting it. There is not a single consistent long ball hitter on the team which doesn't seem to be a major issue. There is just a collection of guys that will get many clutch base hits. Also they need to remain healthy, the jays always seem to be dealing with injuries last season it was Aaron Hill, Scott Rolen and Vernon Wells. This year it seems to be the entire starting pitching rotation aside from Doc (knock on wood that guy stays healthy.)

2009 06 16 Cole Hamels v Scott Rolen (click to enlarge)

3)Bigger Hassle at the dome Bosox Fans or Yankees Fans?
I love Bosox Fans, they always make the trek north of the border wearing the Red & White heckling and cheering in their Bow-stan accents. Yankee fans aren't really a hassle either, it is more so the flip-flopping locals who put their Jays hats away and cheer on the Yankee's when they are in town (for the most part Toronto is a city full of band wagoners)

4) How is that Dexter Fowler collection coming?
The Fowler collection is coming along nicely, trying to trade or ebay for a by the letter auto patch! Also going to try my luck at a TTM for the lovely lady. I have no idea where this love affair came from but hey, it has her loving baseball a little more.

5)And the Question I run by all my Canuck bloggers - SCTV or Kids in the Hall?
This has to be the hardest question out of the bunch SCTV opened the doors for so many great Canadian comedians like Candy, Levy & Flaherty to name a few. But if I had to pick one it would have to be Kids in The Hall. The humor on Kids in The Hall was so bizarre and off beat. The eradicator has to be one of my all time favorite sketches, i think I know it word for word. "30 Helen's" would agree with me on that one, Kids in the Hall takes the cake.

Final Note....Don't mess with Alex Rios especially after he is punched out 5 times in a game (FYI - NSFW - language)



ed note on # 2: Unfortunately I got these responses prior to the Friday Night game attended by Blue Jays Cards when Roy Halladay came up with a (hopefully) minor injury. As of now it looks like he will only get pushed back in the rotation, and as much as I would have loved to see Halladay pitch here this week.....well, it is probably just as well for the Phils that they don't have to see Roy Halladay right now.

I may have recovered from the 1993 World Series, but I have not forgotten it, so no matter how big a Legend Carter is in Toronto, I just can't award a point on Question number one. And I am old school, I have to go with the SCTV guys for question 5. Still a strong 3 out of 5 for Blue Jays Cards. Thanks again for helping us out, and best of luck to those Jays hanging in there in that always tough AL East.

We will have another Interleague guest this weekend as Beardy stops by for a chat,
For a look back at a previous Phungo 5 with Thoughts and Sox click Here.

Post Script: Team Phungo was at the Jays Phils Debacle on Tuesdasy night, I don't know if I will get a game report up, but once again it was a loss but it was still a good time. Until then enjoy the Hamels/Rolen photo above.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Game Report 2009 06 13: Red Sox 11 @ Phillies 6

Jonathan Papelbon v Chase Utley (click to enlarge)

Ok Phils got clobbered, it rained and game after midnight. A year ago I would have been completely bonkers upset. The Phils winning a World Series has changed all that. I had a great time on Saturday Night. Got a couple of good pictures, enjoyed an otherwise miserable game and was really happy to make it back to the ballpark for only the 2nd time this year.

The above shot is really nice. It is not very often that I take pictures of closers, largely because game situations are often too tight and I would rather watch the game then snap a picture at that point. Saturday the Bosox were up 5 runs so the situation was less dramatic. This shot is of Papelbon pitching to Chase Utley. It is always great to get a picture that features two Superstars in a single shot. You can also tell this is mid pitch and if you enlarge the shot you may make out a white blurr that is the ball - it's just below first base.

I got one other shot of Papelbon. The 2009 Phungo Set didn't have any Red Sox cards included and at least one blogger noticed. I am not giving away any secrets on who might be on the 2010 checklist, but I am thinking the photo below may be good enough to make the cut.

Jonathan Papelbon

Antonio Bastardo

Antonio Bastardo only pitched (or attempted to pitch) one inning, but I was able to get a picture of him, for what might be one of his few appearances at home all year.

Good Guy: Ryan Madson

Good Guy Awards: Ryan Madson was leading the Good Guy parade on Saturday Night. Jack Taschner and Clay Condrey were also signing autos. When the Bosox are in town they are among the few away teams that fill up the autograph area more than the Phillies Fans. The only person I saw signing for the Red Sox was Brad Penny. There was one other Boston player signing close to game time but I never identify the player.

And For The Card Collectors:

Phillies Starting Lineup Cards Presented by Topps

The Phils have giant baseball cards viewable from the Center Field entrance which display the nights lineup for fans. The cards had not been updated since 2006. This year they are new!!

Topps Giant Phillies Starting Lineup Card Jayson Werth

I think at least some of the cards have different Photos. There is one other minor difference, if you look in the bottom left, prior to the players position the players number is listed followed by a star and then the players position. The Topps cards only list the players position. For outfielders these Phillies cards have the specific field while the regular Topps issue has the generic OF only.

Scoops - Brad Lidge was out long tossing prior to the game. Photo is a little grainy but the knee looked ok to me. Also John Smoltz was at the game and in uniform (#29) but I wasn't quick enough to get a picture.

Brad Lidge Long Tossing

Couple of other curiosities. Mitchell and Ness (and maybe Topps) were running some promotion that bordered on gambling. They were selling baseball cards and then based upon the numbers of the cards you received you could win a prize. For example they would pick a card numbered say 421 and if you had a card bearing that number in your pack you would win that rounds prize. Which amounted to some pretty nice stuff - signed jerseys, tickets, and various giveaway items. The area was marked with a couple of Topps Attax posters, but I never figured out if Topps was tied in with the promotion or not.

The other one was, I am sure you have seen this before the "Between Innings Marriage Proposal". Well what made this one a little different is the girl being proposed to was holding and infant. Maybe it is just me thinking this but it appeared to me that the Phils cut away from the shot a lot quicker then they would normally. Of course there is no guarantee that the child belongs to the bride to be, but I have been to an awful lot of ballgames, and it definitely was something I hadn't witnessed before.

While the game was in Rain Delay the Phils broadcast the Braves @ Orioles game. Props to the Braves broadcast for noting the way that "progress" had eliminated one of the great views in baseball when new constrution was erected to obscure the Baltimore's Emerson Bromo-Seltzer tower .

Overlay of Emerson Bromo-Seltzer tower on present day Camden Yards skyline

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Game Alert: Cliff Lee having big game on ESPN

The Indians have a 3-0 lead bottom of the 7th and Cliff Lee is pitching pretty well....

Beardy's Blog and Building 1959 Topps

When I returned to baseball cards I made the decision to attempt building a Vintage Topps Set. The set I picked was the 1959 Topps Set. At the time it was the upcoming Topps Heritage Set, I like the looks of them - It was the last set to contain Richie Ashburn as a Phillie, and it was from the '50s which has a bit more cache then saying "I am collecting the 1960 set".

I recently reached the half way point and have just received contributions from two different bloggers. About a week ago I posted about a card sent in a package from Night Owl Cards. And this week I was very happy to find another nice group of cards from the Orioles centered Beardy's Baseball Blog.

Up until now almost all of the cards I have built the set with have been via eBay and Card Shows. I like the cards I get via trades twice as much though. I am sure not to many folks have extra 1959s around but if you do I am definitely willing to trade for them. I have lots of duplicates from the sets, and if anybody is interested in those I will also entertain trade offers.

I noticed about a month ago in a post that Beardy had picked up an eBay lot of 1959 Orioles. The batch contained some duplicates. We made a trade where I sent him one of the O's High-Numbered All-Stars, Gus Triandos, along with a few Markakii (hope I got that right) and he sent back a bunch of his '59 dupes which also included a few Red Sox cards.

1959 Topps #219 George Zuvenick
1959 Topps #500 Vic Wertz

I love the Zuvenick card and a couple of other O's cards in this set because they have the classic Orioles uni with "Baltimore" written across the front. This season the O's have gone backto wearing these uniforms when on the road.

I am chronicling my quest to build the 1959 topps set on my Trade List Page in this posting. As of today (2009 06 14) I have 344 of the 572 cards or about 60% of the set. If anybody has any 1959s that I could use please let me know and we can make a deal. I also have a list of my 1959 doubles but that list needs to be updated as several of these have been sent out over the last couple of months. I have several other lists of sets that I have started or am in the process of building throughout the SetQuest page if you see anything that you have to offer let me know and perhaps we can work a deal.

Thanks to Beardy's Baseball Blog for helping out with building the 1959 Topps Set, it is much appreciated - oh and Beardy, The Phils are hosting the O's next weekend, I think there is a good chance of seeing a Phungo 5 questionairre in your email soon.

2009 06 14 Red Sox 11 @ Phillies 5

2009 06 14 Boston Red Sox @ Philadelphia Phillies

There isn't really much good stuff to rehash for Phils fans from Saturday Nights game with the Red Sox, but check the clock - how often can you say that you were at a game that ended after midnight.

Pop quiz what Eric Clapton song did the Phillies play between innings to mark the occaision?

Additional pix and a more comprehensive game report tomorrow or later in the week.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Phungo 5 with Thoughts and Sox

This weekend Red Sox Nation will trek into Citizen's Bank Ballpark. Neither Boston nor the Phils have a natural interleague rival, and the two teams are geographically easy to schedule, so they have met several times during interleague play. Many of these meetings have not gone well for the Phils, but this is the first time that the Phils are the reigning World Champions. It should be an exciting weekend, each team leads their respective divisions and the last 2 World Series as well as 3 of the last 5 have been won by the two teams.

To help us here at Phungo catch up with the happenings of Red Sox nation we have called upon Thoughts and Sox for this weeks Phungo 5.

1) Is Curt Schilling a Hall of Famer?

Man, you are starting out tough. I'm torn on this one. He is one of the greatest big game pitchers of all time but doesn't have the regular season stats to be in the hall. With that said, I really think that it will come down to two things: how much he runs his mouth in the next five years and how many more of the players from his era get the PED black ball. I'm going with yes right now because he is a former Phillie and I want the point at the end of this.

2)Is Terry Francona a good manager or is the team so good that anybody could anybody manage the Bosox to two titles?

Tito's Red Sox teams did that no other Red Sox team did for 86 years Win the World Series. To me it shows that not just anybody can manage this team. The hardest thing to managing the Red Sox has got to be the media and he handles it extremely well. He has a tendency to be vague and sticks with a veteran for too long (Papi...) but I wouldn't want anyone else at the helm.

2005 UD ESPN #13 David Ortiz

3) What Red Sox vintage set are you most interested in completing currently?

I have this thing for mini cards so I love early Bowman and 51 Topps but I am so close to completing the 1960 Topps team set I have to go with that.(4 cards - 474, 520, 537, 544 can anyone out there help?? I have a few hundred 1960 Topps cards that I can trade) After the 1960 set I'm going to chase 1952 Bowman. It gets the nod over the other early Bowman because I don't have to come up with a high dollar Williams card.

4) Where do you find information on Boxing Cards? And is my Tommy Loghran card worth anything?
You can get some good information on boxing cards at both http://boxingcarddigest.com and at http://americasgreatboxingcards.com. I'm guessing it is either a 48 Leaf or a 51 Ringside. The Leaf is a little more sought after but either will sell on ebay for $1-10 depending on condition. The real question is, would it be worth a 1960 Topps Phillie card to you?

Phungo: As much as I would love a '60 Phillies card but the Loughran card is staying in my collection.

5) Which do you find more annoying Cards Fans or Yankees fans?

I gotta say Cardinal fans because they are just as die hard as Sox fans and that is all I see here in Missouri. I have to deal with constant banter from all my Cardinal fan coworkers. I may have brought it on myself a little bit though when I handed out a half dozen brooms at work in October of 04. Needless to say the guys in the office were not very appreciative.

hmmm I can give points on every question but the first. There were moments when I loved Schilling here and then there were moments when I could not stand him. Since Adam starts out by admitting he is torn I will award the point. So 5 out of 5!!.

Thanks Adam, this is all good stuff. On Q2 I agree, the Bosox have thrown out a High Payroll roster but that isn't always a gimmee (08 Yankees). Francona has gotten that team into the playoffs every season and then into the World Series twice. Last year the Red Sox pushed the ALCS to 7 games before being eliminated. Francona has taken all those players and they are always competitive, that isn't easy and should be commended.

We are going back north of the border next week as we will visit with Blue Jays Cards for their take on this years 93 World Series reunion. If you would like to look back at a previous Phungo 5 click here for an interview with Sooz of A Cardboard Problem

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Hall of Fame Thursday - Lord Stanley

2008 UD Masterpieces #1 Lord Stanley

Lord Frederick Stanley donated the Stanley Cup in 1893 to honor Canada's top amateur team. Since 1926 the Cup has been awarded to the NHL Champion. The 2008-09 Champion will be crowned on Friday Night. The Cup will either be retained by the current cup holding Detroit Red Wings or passed on to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

The Stanley Cup is the oldest traveling trophy in the history of North America. Each year all the members of the championship teams names are engraved on the cups chalice. There are several traditions that follow the cup including drinking champagne from the cup following the victory and the players day with cup - which gives each member of the championship team an opportunity to spend a day with the Stanley Cup.

UD Masterpieces one and only hockey set featured several great hockey players from the past and part of the beauty of the set is that it honored Lord Stanley with the first card in the set. It is a shame that Masterpieces is going to go away but I am glad that they were able to put out both a Hockey and a Football set before eliminating the line.

It has also been noted by Sports Cards Uncensored that the original artwork for some of the Masterpieces cards has gone on sale at prices of $299 and up.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Game Report: Lynchburg Hill Cats @ Wilmington Blue Rocks (Pirates & Royals)

Frawley Stadium Wilmington, Delaware (click to enlarge)

Sunday was a beautiful day here in the Philadelphia area and the Phils were playing the ESPN night game so I took the opportunity to run down to Delaware and check out the Kansas City Royals Hi-A affiliate Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Blue Rocks hosted the Lynchburg Hill Cats who are affiliated with the Pittsburgh Pirates. The game featured arguably the two best third base prospects in the minors. Mike Moustakas mans the hot corner for the Blue Rocks while Pirates 2008 second overall pick Pedro Alvarez is gettting his first taste of professional ball as a Hill Cat. In this years Baseball America preseason Prospect Rankings the two were ranked 13th and 12th respectively overall and as the top two third basemen.
Moustakas is starting to heat up with 7 homers thourgh 51 games, 35 RBIs and a .265 batting average. Pedro Alvarez is only batting .242 but does have 10 dingers and 42 RBIs for the season. Unfortunately neither player contributed at the plate on Sunday as they went a combined 0-6. Alvarez did hit a long flyball to center in his 2nd at-bat but it was nowhere near home run distance. There was also a second game on Sunday - I only stayed for each players first at-bat, in which each player made outs. Moustakas did eventually get a pair of hits and an RBI in the 2nd game. The only notable play for either player in the field was leading off the first inning of game 2 Moustakas bobbled a grounder that was not ruled an error, had the ball been handled cleanly the runner may have been out.

The star of the day turned out to be a pitcher. Eduardo Paulino pitched 6+ strong innings for the Blue Rocks. The only hit he yielded during the first 5 frames was a solo homer to Jordy Mercer. Paulino did give up 2 more hits in the 7th before giving way to Ben Swaggerty who earned his 2nd save with 2/3 innings of work.

Pedro Alvarez (click to enlarge)

Alvarez politely declined my request for an autograph. I didn't have a card or a ball for him to sign so gave him one of those blank inserts that are pack fillers to sign. Pedro said "I am not allowed to sign those". I imagine he thought it was an index card. I usually ask out of town players to sign a ticket stub, but wasn't really thinking at the time and he was on his way back to the dugout. Between games several of the Blue Rocks players signed autos. I do not believe that Moustakus was among them.

Mike Moustakas (click to enlarge)

The minor league game was a fun day out and very affordable. Tickets are $10 for a box seat so close that it scares you. Parking is free. 24 oz imported beers (cans) were $8.50 I think. Other concessions were somewhat cheaper then at Citizen's Bank.

I hadn't been to Wilmington in about 10 years I am glad I went and hope to get back there later this year.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Swag from Night Owl Cards

2009 UD Goudey #220 Mike Schmidt
2009 UD Goudey #152 Lou Marson

This past winter Night Owl Cards was an active participant in Spot the Sig! and as a result he was one of the contests winners. I had sent out a couple of Dodgers cards to NOC and as a thank you he was good enough to send back a bunch of cards to me, I feel like a winner now too!! . Of course the lot included lot o Phils like these two from this year's Goudey set. This is my first Lou Marson card which I am very happy to add to the collection. And of course the newest Mike Schmidt card is a must for a Phils collection.

This is great timing as the Phils are in LA right now and will be facing the Dodgers tonight on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. The Phils took the first game but have lost the last two in heartbreking fashion as Brad Lidge has blown saves in each games. Andre Ethier has walk off htis in both games, Ethier leads the league in walk offs since his Major League career started.

Moving on Night Owl was also good enough to peruse my want lists and found a Half Dozen 2008 Topps Series 2 cards I needed. I am down to my last 5 cards to finish this set.

2008 Topps #365 Derrek Lee

Night Owl Cards is one my favorite blogs to cover the 1970s vintage and he must be paying attention to Phungo because he has noticed that 1974 topps is one of my favorite sets. He was good enough to add a bunch of these to the Phungo collection.

1974 Topps #119 Danny Ozark

and Saving the best for last:

1959 Topps #215 Jim Lemon

My biggest collecting project is working on the 1959 Topps Set. I am past the half way mark and Night Owl has contributed the above Jim Lemon card. Lemon was a big power big strikeout guy. He spent 12 years in the majors and in 1960 he finished 3rd in the AL in homers behind Mantle and Maris.

I love getting any 1959s and am planning a post specifically about building this set in the near future.

Thanks to Night Owl Cards but I am hoping the Phils get to our old friend Randy Wolf tonight.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Hall of Fame Thursday - Juan Marichal

1973 Topps #480 Juan Marichal

Zack Grienke's has had a remarkable start to the season and related to this Juan Marichal's name has resurfaced recently.
After Grienke's first 10 starts this year his ERA was 0.84, Similarly in 1966 Marichal had held his opponents to an amazing 0.56 ERA through 10 starts.

Marichal's accomplishments didn't end there. During 16 seasons mostly with the San Francisco Giants he tallied 243 Wins (with only 142 Losses putting him 101 games over .500), 52 shutouts (18th all time), and 2303 strikeouts. Marichal and Sandy Koufax are the only two pitchers in the last 60 years to record 25 wins in three different seasons. Marichal's 191 Wins during the 1960s was tops for the decade. Over the course of his career he compiled a 3.25 K/BB ratio (only six active starting pitchers can boast of such a ratio).

Juan Marichal hails from the Dominican Republic and currently is the lone Domican in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Pretty hard to believe with the number of Dominican stars that play the game currently.

For the Collectors

Juan Marichal's rookie card is #417 in the 1961 Topps set. In recent auctions the card has sold as low as $23.49 for a very off center but otherwise good condition card. In several other completed auctions ungraded versions of the card went in the $30-$35 range. After the several Mickey Mantle's and a couple of Roger Maris cards the Marichal is among the most sought after in the 1961 Topps set.

Autographed Marichal cards falls in line with most lower tier Hall of Famers. The cheapest auto auction to complete recently was $10.50 for an 05 Donruss Signature Series sticker Auto. Last years Donruss Threads sticker auto #d to 25 (but crooked) went for $13.99. A much nicer 07 Sweet Spot Classic (gold stitching #d to 99 and NOT faded) went for $16.52.

Price quotes above are from ebay completed auctions and include shipping. Any links to cards are strictly to show an example of the card and are not a site endorsement.

1973 Topps Juan Marichal cards like the one above in crap condition can be had for a quarter or maybe even a dime. I think this one was in an 8 for a dollar bin.

One last note, for $60 Juan Marichal's Baseball-Reference page is available. Seems like a good deal for the right customer.

Sources & Links
Phungo HoF Index

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Phungo Profile - Brett Myers

2000 Topps Traded #25 Brett Myers

Brett Myers went on the DL last week with an "Inflamed Right Hip" which will require surgery. The timetable for the injury is 10 to 12 weeks. I am not sure, but I think that is the amount of time he will be out before he can begin resuming pitching workouts. This means that there is a fair chance that Myers is done for the year.

I have mixed emotions about Myers. He has pitched well in stretches, and has also had sequences of equally miserable outings. He has had his share of grumbles and he may have only grudgingly accepted his assignments from the Phillies - but whenever he finally did accept whatever role that may be, Myers often excelled. He has been an innings eater, a Quality Starter, and a Closer and done all of those things well at times. His 2008 post season accomplishments included beating C C Sabathia both as a Pitcher and as a Hitter in game 2 of the 2008 NLDS.

And then there is the off the field Brett Myers, who once was arrested for a public altercation with his wife outside of Fenway Park in Boston. He has always been emotionally charged, which works both for and against him as a pitcher. I am not sure that he is any better at keeping those emotions in check off the field.

Brett Myers is in a contract year, and his season may be over. This means that there is a chance he may have thrown his last pitch as a Phillie. That doesn't sound fair, but that is part of the game.

I hope that Myers can return to the Phils. His past experience both as a starter and a reliever certainly allows him more avenues to contribute should he be able to return this year. If Myers comes back and is unable to start but can give the Phils some quality relief appearances that is certainly a better option than to having to trade for a Right-Handed Setup guy down the stretch.

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions