Sunday, January 31, 2010

Janary 2010 Pull of the Month

Each month I am going to try and post my pull of the month. This is in hope of posting a pull of the year at the end of 2010. I only openned 1 pack this months so pickings are pretty slim - but this ended up being a pretty solid pull:

2009 Topps T206 #138 mini Elvis Andrus (SP)
2009 Topps T206 #138 mini Elvis Andrus

The card on the left is the pull the 2nd Andrus is informational. For more background on these click here.

Of course with a Pull of the Month, one should have a a Meh of the Month for a weak card pulled:

2009 Topps T206 #26 Chien-Ming Wang

This isn't that bad a card - I actually like the shades in what appears to be a great sunset look. My complaint is in a 350 card set that came out at the END OF THE YEAR why is Wang one of the players featured from the World Champs.

I am not really a Yankees expert, but I think Topps could have found a better rep than somebody who did not contributed to the Yanks post-season and went 1-6 with a 9.64 ERA during the regular season.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Swag from Night Owl Cards and......

You guessed it - A Bipping!
Bipped by an Angel! Jim Abbot Bipping. 1989 Pacific Baseball Best #4 Jim Abbott (Bippage)

Night Owl was also good enough to throw in a couple dozen Phillies - many of which filled in some embarrassing gaps in the Phungo collection.

2009 Allen Ginter National Pride #NP47 Ryan Howard
2009 Allen Ginter mini #165 Chase Utley

I like the Allen Ginter cards, but did not actively collect them last year. I did participate in a group break held by Dave over at Tribe Cards that netted me several of the Phils - Both of these inserts were new though.

2006 Topps Rookie of the Week #17 of 25 Mike Schmidt
1971 Topps #92 Fred Wenz

Night Owl also sent a couple of vintage cards like the Fred Wenz card above, as well as some retro cards like the Mike Schmidt card. The Schmidt Card is based off of his 1973 Rookie Card, which Dave from Fielder's Choice wrote about here back in November of 2008.

2005 Topps Gold #UH87 Charlie Manuel (#d 430/2005)

I will close with the Phils current Manager Charlie Manuel, who was once a Dodger.

These cards were just a small sampling of the great bunch of cards from Night Owl. I am sure several of them will show up in other postings in the future.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Sloppy and Insulting Topps - The Cards that Keith's Mom threw Out!

This card can only be a card you mom through out if your a certain MS-NBC commentator.

Your mom couldn't have thrown this card out because TOPPS NEVER LET YOU HAVE IT!!!

Topps is laughing at you 2006 Set Builders Now!

In lieu of displaying the Insulting Topps Card we here at team Phungo Bring you:

2009 Phungo #4 Alex Gordon

This card is actually from last years Phungo Set. I thought for sure I would get through all of them, but fell far short. In all 2009 Phungo consisted of 64 Base Cards plus 15 Inserts. I probably got to just under half of them. The rest will make it out there eventually. There is no rush. And I will publish a checklist one of these days. I will tell you that if you wish to build the entire 2009 set, The Alex Gordon's were NOT pulled from production.

Phungo Pop Quiz

Ok I am bumping this up and giving you a clue we are looking for a Person - C'mon blogosphere you can get this one.

1988 Pacific Eight Men Out #110 Shoeless Joe Jackson

A few backs we had the Phungo Randy Johnson Challenge and only NicoLax24 was brave enough to even hazard a guess.

I think this Pop Quiz should be a bit easier then the previous challenge and fully expect a Phungo reader to figure htis out.

Why was the above card gracing the cover of Thursday's edition of Phungo?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Blog - Phungo 2009 and 2010+

2010 Phungo #48 Dickie Noles

Team Phungo has passed the 18 month mark in blogging. 2009 featured over 200 posts and we averaged roughly 1200 page views a month. Both are achievements that I am happy with and hope to maintain moving forward. In short it is a big thumbs up on this end. Just like Dickie Noles is telling us on the above Phungo card. You can tell this is a pose that Noles has struck many of times giving he thumbs up and displaying his 1980 World Championship ring. This picture was taken ast a Dickie Noles autograph signing for more info click here.

I do want to take a moment to look at some of the things that have happened at Team Phungo Headquarters this past year and figure out where we are headed for 2010.

Spot the Sig!
STS is likely the most succeful feature to come out of the Phungo brain trust. And I am very excited to see it succeeding so well over at Padrographs.

I am very happy with how the 1959 set is coming. Ideally I would like to cut my needs list to finish this set in half each year until it becomes a manageable quantity of 20 or so cards. I was able to do this in both 2008 and 2009. I started building the set Thanksgiving of 2007 and by the end of 08 I was half completed. The December 09 Philly Show put me over the 75% mark with the Short Printed Bob Gibson Rookie Card.

2008 Topps Heritage
This winter I have also started a side project related to the 1959 Topps Set and that is the 2008 Topps Heritage Set. I plan on collecting the first 425 cards of the set. There are a slew of short prints beyond 425, but those are not important to me now. I have settled on cards 1-425, which does include some SPs but I have all but one of those and that is satisfactory at this time.

As of press time the heritage set is 70% complete.

Phungo Cards
After making the 2009 set of Phungo Cards, I wasn't sure I would still be involved in the blogging community a year later. I am really happy that I reaain blogging and was very happy to have put together the 2010 set of cards. The results were not quite up to what I had wanted, and because of time constraints, I compromised on several aspects of the set. I am pretty sure there will be a 2011 set of cards, although it may be an abbreviated set. One of my goals for 2011 is to produce cards for the teams that have yet to be represented on a Phungo Card.

Hall of Fame Thursday
This is a weekly feature that I ran for a couple months and found out what I already knew. I am not good with schedules - I may bring this back in a different form. Something like Hall of Fame Profiles so I am not married to the day of the week.

For the Collector
This feature is typically tied into another post. If I have the time I will look up recent ebay auctions for the card or player featured and see what they are going for. Not sure how much interest this information, until my Elvis Andrus post this past weekend.

Phungo 5
I am on the fence regarding P5 this year. It was a great experience and a lot of fun to do. Unfortunately the project takes a surprising amount of effort and I sort of fear that I would be able to add anything new to the questions a second time around. Something tells me Phungo 5 will be back, but I am not sure it will be nearly as robust this time around.

Year of the Trade
I wouild like 2010 to be the Year of the Trade. I find it unbelievable how many trades some people make. First off I just don't have that many cards I am interested in trading away. Secondly for all the Money I spend on cards, I doubt I have nearly as many cards as other collectors. Regardless, I am going to try and make 2010 the Phungo year of the trade. My goal in 2009 was to conduct a trade a month. I think I was pretty close. This year I would like to shoot for two trades a month.

This brings me to the 2009
$$$ breakdown
My biggest collecting goal was to spend less money then Chris Harris - which I accomplished - but you still can't beat an on-location box break. Seriously I just don't think I could spend $4500 on cards with out doing Brewster Millions Style.

Well in truth some days I did act like Brewster - I sort of bugeted myself $100/month but went way over. Some things were expected like Heritage Boxes and Vintage Card ebay luxuries. Other were not as thought out like bulk buying supplies that I looked at as lump sum investments.

By my calculations I ending up spending a bit over $2000 in 2009. It roughly broke down by venue as follows

$1100 Ebay
$550 Card Shows
$200 Retail
$120 Supplies and other Non Card expenses
$40 Group Breaks
$15 Trades/Postage
$0 Card Shops

Biggest surprise there is the ZERO for Card Shops. I didn't make it to a card shop once in 2009. All in all eBay is probably my most cost effective way to buy for my needs but it sure ate up the funds. It is addictive and I have already made a few (BIG) purchases in 2010.

In the next week or so I will try and do a break down by card type (New/Vintage/Autos) to see where the heck all this money is going.

Collecting Goals 2010
Beyond building the 1959 Topps and 2008 Heritage sets mentioned above, I will be adding to the Phillies Collection with a focus on collecting autos from members of the 2008 World Championship team. I will also be focusing on Vintage HOF cards this year.

Building a 2nd Vintage set will eventually become a goal - that set will likely be the 1971 edition of Topps.


I am happy with where Phungo presently and hope the Phils continue their winning ways. I figure I average about 30 page views a day, but that would be 10-20% lower if the Phils were not going through a favorable run.

Shortly I will be adding a poll for readers to pick out their favorite Phungo features and I will try to use that to base content for 2010.

Thanks to both my readers and all the rest of the bloggers out there that have keep this hobby/obsession fun and interesting.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Vintage Variations

A substantial amount of talk surrounding the new 2010 Topps Cards revolves around the subject of short printed card variations sharing the numbers of base cards. Years ago variations happened due to poor editing/proofing/ fact checking or updates and print processing changes. Today they happen in an effort by the manufacturers to created a buzz about their product.

This weekend Ben Henry over at The Baseball Card Blog published an interview with Bob Lemke, editor of the Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, who also writes his own baseball card blog. Bob Lemke's Blog covers discoveries of "NEW" vintage variations as well as several other subjects. I have added the Lemke Blog to my sidebar and imagine that if you enjoy vintage cards will likely do the same.

Those of you that have collected the 2009 Obak cards may be interested in his reviews of Obak originals. He's displaying the Obak cards in combination with several paragraphs of research he's done on each player. pretty impressive for what were often forgotten players from over a century ago.

Bob is also in the process of producing custom cards that never were for players from the tobacco set era. He has recently produced T202 Hassan Tri-Fold Card of the Red Sox 1910s outfield.

1959 Topps Variations

The 1959 Topps set I am building has it's share of variations and errors. There are three different Warren Spahn cards to collect which all have variations on his birth date. In one of the middle series of the set about a half dozen cards have two variations, one that mention the player has been traded or optioned and one card that does not. One of the cards that holds this distinction is for Harry Hanebrink:

1959 Topps #322b Harry Hanebrink (includes Traded Statement - Click to Enlarge)

The Trade Statement is contained in the Red Box. The cards that do not have a traded or optioned statement are harder to find. While I believe I have all of the cards with variations, I (of course) do not have any of the scarcer and more valuable versions.

On March 31st 1959 Hanebrink was dealt from the Braves to the Phils as part of a six player deal involving Gene Conley, Ted Kazanski, Stan Lopata, Joe Koppe and Johnny O'Brien.

Hanebrink's 1959 season with the Phils was his last in the majors. He was not issued a Topps card in 1960. As far as I know this is as close as you can get to a Harry Hanebrink Phillies card.

Monday, January 25, 2010

2010 Phungo Cards - Jose Contreras & Chan Ho Park

2010 Phungo #49 Jose Contreras

Sometimes things just go your way. I only starting publishing Phungo Cards two weeks ago and now it appears one of the players I had created a card for has signed with the Phillies.

I think this is only the second time this has happened. In 2009 there was a Phungo Card of Pedro Martinez.

I am a little surprised this card didn't make the cut for the 2009 set. It's a pretty sharp looking action shot, which is hard to get. The amazing thing is I just dug through the raw photo for this shot and it was taken from the upper deck at Camden Yards without the use of a zoom. Thats what a sunny day can do for you. Of course the sun hurts you when photographing the home team - You can nothing but white out reflections of the home whites.

Contreras is expected to be in the bullpen mix for the Phils performing in the role Chan Ho Park fulfilled for the Phillies in 2009 - inning of relief and spot starter.

I hope Contreras is as good as Park was last year. Chan Ho played a critical if unsung role for the 2009 NL Champs.

2010 Phungo #51 Chan Ho Park

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Swag from Cards on Cards

2008 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospect #BDPP84 Pablo Sandoval
2008 Bowman Draft Picks and Prospect #BDPP69 Andrew McCutchen

Originally this trade started out with Some 08 Heritage heading to Cards on Cards for a couple of 2008 Bowman Draft Futures Game cards. I was able to knock 6 cards off of my want list from this set. Hard to believe the 08 Futures Game was only a year and a half ago and these two players are already making a significant impact. If anyone can help I am collecting the 2008 Bowman Draft Cards that feature players in the Futures Game. They are numbered BDPP66-BDPP110.

C on C and I then thought it would be prudent to expand the trade out to include some Phils and Cardinals. Kerry sent out a great package including these highlights:

2007 Topps Heritage Flashbacks #FB9 Richie Ashburn
2007 Topps All-Star #AS7 Chase Utley
2009 Topps #UH218 Cliff Lee (#d 1984/2009)

I am not sure what set the Utley All-Star card is from, I know I have seen lots o these but just don't remember the set - I am pretty sure it isn't Updates and Highlights.

And a bunch of O-Pee-Chee Cards that are all new to me:

1987 O-Pee-Chee #255 Juan Samuel
1978 O-Pee-Chee #93 Garry Maddox

And a good mix of new and old cards from various products

The Carlton Card in the middle is an old school mini.

Thanks to ConC for the trade - and enjoy the Heritage Cards!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Topps T206 Elvis Andrus Short Print

Ok last week when I made this post how comes none of you good folks told me about this:

2009 Topps T206 #138 mini Elvis Andrus (SP)
2009 Topps T206 #138 mini Elvis Andrus

The card on the left is from the retail pack opened in the referenced post, the latter card I picked up for a dime at a recent card show. That is when I first realized it was a short print.

Until then I thought I got a pretty average retail pack. As expected the short printed mini is a bit more desirable then the regular mini...

For the Collector

I was even more shocked to find out that it went for $8.50 PLUS $4.00 shipping on ebay!

Is that what T206 Short Prints go for?

I perused some completed auctions. A Jeter went for $36.00, Gordon Beckham (RC) for $14.00. There were several commons for under $4.00 which is wear I expected the Andrus to fall.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

2010 Phungo Cards - David Ortiz

2010 Phungo #35 David Ortiz

Hispaniola is the name of the divided island shared by the countries of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

David Ortiz hails from the Dominican as do 492 other gentlemen who have played Major League Baseball. One of those players is Miquel Tejada who has been involved in relief efforts for the disaster stricken country of Haiti. According to Baseball-Reference there are exactly ZERO players of Haitian birth that have reached the Majors.

That is a somewhat unbelievable disparity 493 to zero. The countries are basically in the same area and presumably of similar climates, but their history beyond the 20th century is significantly different.

I am not naive enough to believe that MLB success or even presence equates to social and economic success and importance (All of Europe as yielded virtually no players either). However I don't think that the differences in this case can be ignored. From what I have learned Haiti's recent history has been filled with cycles of political corruption, tyrannical leadership, intellectual exodus, and just plain bad luck. According to Wikipedia The Dominican's per capita income is roughly six times that of Haiti - That would be like the average New Jersey resident making 6 times what a Pennsylvanian makes. For the record according to wikipedia the two states with the largest income disparity in the US are Maryland (70.5K) and Mississippi (37.8K) which is not even double for states that have significantly geographic and environmental differences.

Hopefully Haiti can recover and turn their fortunes around. I would love to see Haiti become another hotbed for Latin American prospects.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2008 World Series Champion Manager Charlie Manuel

Charlie Manuel Bobble Head

Sports Card Info recently ran a contest and you didn't even have to do anything crazy like ID a scribbled autograph to win. You just had be lucky enough to be picked at random and I was!

Big thanks to Andrew over at SCI for running the contest. I have a small collection of bobble heads. I believe I only have 2 from the 2008 World Champs. Manuel and Brad Lidge - No Utley No Howard. They are not impossible to get but I generally only pick them up at games that I go to, but most bobble head nights are sold out well in advance these days.

2005 Topps #UH87 Charlie Manuel

Like many bobble heads I am not sure I could identify this one without a hint. Charlie Manuel as slimmed down a good bit from the photo above but even the slimmer version of Charlie doesn't quite match the bobble head. Perhaps it's because Manuel frequently looks a little bewildered out there, while the bobble head looks like the Charlie that just won a World Championship and he is wearing a genuinely happy smile.

Thanks SCI and Go Phils - less than a month till Pitchers and Catchers!

Good News for out of Town Phillies Fans

According to the FCC has basically ruled that Comcast Philadelphia can no longer hold their monopoly on broadcasts of Phillies games (and other local teams such as the Flyers and Sixers)

The only out of town reader I can think of that this really affects is Cliff over at Capewood. I wonder if he will consider getting DirectTV to pick up Phils games down in Houston.

The article does mention that some other teams affected are the Padres and the NHLs New Jersey Devils.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

2010 Topps Inserts listed on Ebay

This is not an endorsement of this seller but for those interested they have several 2010 Topps Target Exclusive cards and inserts listed as well as the Buster Posey RC.

click here.

Monday, January 18, 2010

2010 Phungo Cards - Harry Kalas

2010 Phungo #1 Harry Kalas

The first card in the Phungo set is this non-numbered Harry Kalas card. I chose the simple black border with Kalas' Birth and Death dates. Nothing more was needed.

This picture was originally taken on October 29th 2008 only a few hours before Kalas would call the final out of the 2008 World Series. For me it never gets old.

There is one other Harry Kalas Card in the 2010 Phungo Set.

2010 Phungo #20 Mike Schmidt - Harry Kalas Memorial

The Mike Schmidt Statue at the Phillies Ballpark became an impromptu memorial following Kalas' death last spring. Fans left behind flowers, posters, photos, bottles of beer, and other mementos to honor Kalas.

The Schmidt Statue was created by Zeno Frudakis as were all four statues (Richie Ashburn, Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton) at the Phillies new ballpark.

Today is Martin Luther King day and I would also like to direct you to this link which shows a Frudakis work in progress of Dr King.

These are the 2nd and 3rd Kalas Phungo cards. I created one for the 2009 set which you can see in this post which followed Kalas' death last year. The post details one of my favorite brushes with greatness.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

1971 Topps Super Tim McCarver

For all those that dislike mr McCarver, I am Sorry about putting Tim McCarver and the word "Super" in the same title. But this post is specifically for Jim over at The Phillies Room, however everyone else is invited to enjoy it as well.

Last week Jim posted Topps 1971 Super Deron Johnson.

As Jim mentioned 71 Topps Super is a smaller set with 63 cards only two of which are Phils. The Deron Johnson posted by Jim and Tim McCarver is the other. As luck would have it, I only have one of the two Phils from 71 Topps Super and it happens to be McCarver:

1971 Topps Super #34 Tim McCarver

The image on the front of the card differs from McCarver's regular issue card from 1971.

1971 Topps #465 Tim McCarver

However the backs are identical except for the card numbers:

1971 Topps Super #34 Tim McCarver (b-side)
1971 Topps #465 Tim McCarver (b-side)

So Between us Jim and I have completed the Phillies 1971 Topps Super Team Set.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Swag from Project 62!!!

1961 Fleer #81 Dazzy Vance

Recently Project 62 ran a contest which involved guessing the results of various vintage cards which were sent in for grading. I have never sent a card in for grading, but have read enough blog entries to understand that the process is somewhat of a crapshoot.

I was fortunate enough to guess close enough to the grades on the cards to be declared the winner. I spoke with the Mr Project 62 and we decided to expand the contest bounty into a trade and the loot from that trade arrived at Phungo Headquarters Yesterday.

The Dazzy Vance card above was included in the package. I have only recently begun looking to add vintage fleer cads to my collection and the Vance card is my first card from the 61 set.

Project 62 was also good enough to send over seven 1959 cards including 3 of the scarcer High Numbers.

(click to enlarge)
1959 Topps #288 Dutch Dotterer
1959 Topps #542 Jim Perry RC
1959 Topps #546 Al Schroll

I have been building the 1959 topps Set since the fall of 2007 and it has been a fun process. The 59s that I collect via trades w/ other bloggers have been the best though. So far I have picked up cards from Project 62, Night Owl, and Beardy. There was also a non-blogging reader who contributed several cards and several months ago while perusing dime boxes at a card show, I struck up a conversation with a local collector who happened to also be building 1959 topps and we were able to help each other out considerably.

A couple of 58 Topps and 62 Topps helped to fill out my Phillies Vintage collection along with this fine blue Cole Hamels Refractor.

(click to enlarge)
1958 Topps #460 Chuck Essegian

2009 Topps Chrome Refractor #169 Cole Hamels (#d 106/199)
1962 Topps #434 Clay Dalrymple

Big time thanks to Chris over at Project 62 for running the contest and bearing with me through the trading process. I hope that the dozen or so 1962 Topps cards I sent his way will help him with Project 62.

It's feeling like a Card Show Saturday

Exton Mall Card Show - Exton PA.

Probably going there early in the afternoon. Looking for Phils, perusing dime boxes, and Dollar Vintage cards I think.

For some more information regarding the show click here.

I expect roughly 20 tables. 3 or 4 dealers have good dime boxes. 1 maybe 2 with more expensive vintage in better condition. Hopefully one with vintage in more fair condition and possibly 1 guy that has bunches of unopened boxes.

There are also several tables of other memorabilia like Jerseys and Helmets.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Introducing 2010 Phungo Cards

2010 Phungo #29 Raul Ibanez

We here at team Phungo are pleased to announce the release of the 2010 edition of Phungo Cards.

For those of you unfamiliar with Phungo Cards you can read more about them here where we debuted the 2009 set.

This year's set is a bit smaller then the 2009 set at 52 cards, as opposed to 64 last year. There are also 8 non-numbered Black Frame inserts this year - last year there were 11.

There are a variety of reasons for the smaller set. The number one issue, as with most things was a lack of time. I just didn't have as many opportunities to get to the ballpark this year, and I procrastinated on several tasks.

Overall I am glad to get a set together for 2010, but was disappointed with several aspects of the cards. In general the quality was down. Mostly because I didn't get to enough games and many of the games I went to were night games which were not as conducive to photography. I never figured out enough Photoshop to quickly make a lot of images. In the 2009 Phungo Card set I used a lot of my best photos from years past so the ones that were left were basically rejects. And in the end I had a deadline of basically now and that led to me rushing some aspects of the project.

The first card that I am presenting from the 2010 set is of the Phils big 2009 FA signing Raul Ibanez. If you remember the 2009 cards they are very few changes. I flipped the area for the Card number and the "phungo" logo. This years phungo logo is white or light colored on a darker background. The Date the photo was taken remains on the card. I have used the specific position (LF in this case) rather than the generic OF for outfield.

The picture of Ibanez was taken on June 19th when he was on the DL. At the time Ibanez was having an MVP season. After that the 36 year old outfielder aged tremendously. His BA dropped 70 points in a second half which also saw him hit 10 less homers. Regardless he ended up posting pretty solid numbers for the season and I am hoping that his second half crash was due to nagging injuries rather than aging out of the game.

I hope you enjoy the 2010 Phungo Cards because you will be seeing a lot of them over the next couple of weeks.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thorzul $5 Fiddy Group Break

1999 Stadium Club #39 Bob Abreu

Late last year Thorzul ran a $5.50 group break. Unfortunately there weren't a ton of Phils this time around, but this sharp looking "Bob" Abreu card was among them. I picked up roughly a dozen cards in the break most were the 1999 UD MVP set.

The 99 Stadium club Cards feature some great action shots. I tried to play Name the Game with the Abreu card but unfortunately found two possible games. June 13th and 14th 1998. Abreu and Mickey Morandini played in both games. Both Games were day games and Abreu was on 2nd base several times between the two games. I am betting it is the 6/13 game as Abreu did everything but make the post-game buffet during that game.

This one was a little slow but I still always love the Thorzul group breaks, unfortunately I was out of the country and missed out on his latest one, but plan on getting involved in future breaks.

First Pack of the Decade 2009 Topps 206 Retail

Haven't seen anything out there that really makes me want to collect this product. I was at Target over the weekend and picked up a single retail pack for $3.17 including PA Sales Tax. Here are the Highlights:

(click to enlarge)
#145 David DeJesus - First card of the year - I can deal with that one.
#261 Johnny Damon - My Favorite Yankee Will go into my Damon Collection
#26 Chien-Ming Wang - not pictured
#138 mini Elvis Andrus - Piedmont Back
#130 Bronze Honus Wagner - Not a bad bronze to get
#187 Travis Hafner - not pictured.

Not a bad pack. No Phillies and No surprises. I doubt I will collect this set or even collect a single player per team from the set. Like a lot of other folks I am a bit retroed out of the non-Topps style cards. I am not real excited about 2010 Heritage either - the 1961 design doesn't do a lot for me.

Regardless it is fun to get the first pack of the year under my belt.

Sources and Links
Johnny Damon Index

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Phugo Profile - Michael Oher, Michael Lewis and Billy Beane

2009 Topps #342 Michael Oher RC (click to enlarge)

Today the NFL Playoffs will commence. One of the teams I will be rooting for this weekend is the Baltimore Ravens. This years edition of the Ravens will feature at rookie Right Tackle named Michael Oher. As many of you know Oher is feature in the film "the Blind Side". I am sure that Oher will get plenty of coverage from the major networks if the Ravens go deep in the playoffs.

The Blind Side was based off a portion of the book "The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game" by Michael Lewis who many of us Baseball Junkies know as the author of "Moneyball: The Art of Winning and Unfair Game"

Looking back I am not sure a lot of people got the right message out of Moneyball. As it turns out the A's were largely successful because of their stacked starting rotation of Hudson, Mulder, and Zito. This is mentioned in the book, but how the three landed in Oakland is somewhat marginalized in the book. On the other hand Lewis spends an entire chapter on Jeremy Brown who only ever played 5 games for the A's in 2006.

Here is a look at the A's 2002 Draft featured in Moneyball. The top two picks are Nick Swisher and Joe Blanton, both of whom have had pretty good careers albeit not with the A's. In fact the two faced each other in the 2009 World Series and each has a World Series ring (just not with the Athletics). After them the 02 Draft is pretty mediocre. Jonathan Papelbon would have been a good pick had the A's been able to sign him.

In the 02 Draft the Phils picked up Cole Hamels right behind Swisher. Hamels is unmentioned in Moneyball.

A lot of folks took away On Base Percentage as the way to win Baseball games, but that isn't what Moneyball was trying to point out. Lewis and Billy Beane were trying to find out what winning traits and stats that other teams were over and underpaying for. At the time Beane thought Major League Baseball was undervaluing players that got on base. But that has come more into vogue now and perhaps teams are overpaying for OBP - perhaps teams can now win by picking up cheap players that steal bases. It will always be in flux and I am sure a lot of GMs are looking at those numbers as they build there teams during this off-season.

Michael Lewis
Contrary to my analysis of Moneyball above I did enjoy the book as with all the Lewis books I have read including "the New New Thing", "Liars Poker", and "Trail Fever"

For The Collector
The Chrome version of the Michael Oher Card above has sold as high as $4.25 on ebay. His bowman RC has gone for as low as $1.24.

His Autos are going in the $30 to $50 range. An 09 Rookie Threads Letterman (Letter H #d to 30) went on Christmas day for $25.50. That was the cheapest available card auto. Similar letterman autos went as High as $55.00.

One last comment - while researching this I discovered a minor error on the Blind Side (book) wiki page and corrected discrepency. It is the first time I have ever edited a Wikipedia page and it was kind of a thrill.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy Trails Randy Johnson Game Revealed

I stole this picture off an ebay listing - This card is on my non-Phils want list, and I just haven't found it yet. NicoLax24 made a compelling argument for this being a Cardinals game but I am pretty sure it is an Orioles game.

The game that NicoLax24 Referenced was a Playoff game that occurred on October 24th 2001 between the Diamondbacks and Cardinals. Unfortunately the game was played in Arizona not St Louis. This photo was taken at a Diamondbacks away game - check the D-Backs unis at dressed to the nines.

I am pretty sure this game occurred on June 8th 2004. The Diamondbacks blew out the Orioles 8-1 in a game that I attended. I have been to Camden Yards several times and there is an area in the Right Field power alley that serves as a dugout for some sort of stadium personnel. Those folks in there are wearing Orioles Orange, not Cardinals Red. There is also a sign that marks the OF depth as 373 feet there, and you can see part of that sign behind Mr Johnson.

The Unit pitched 11 games at Camden Yards, but only one of those was as a Diamondback and that game was on June 8 2004.

Since this game is among the Phungo Games that I have attended this card is also on my want list for Phungo Games.

Randy Johnson HoF Index
1991 Score #700 (No-Hit Club 1992 0602 No-Hitter)
2000 Skybox Dominion #7 (ERA League Leaders w/ Pedro Martinez
2005 Topps Bazooka Stamp Quad (w/ Schilling, Pettitte & Hudson)

Sources and Links
Dressed to the Nines

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Happy Trails Randy Johnson Phungo Challenge

(click to enlarge)

Ok in honor of the Big Unit retiring (300 Wins, nearly 5000 Ks, and 5 Cy Young Awards) Team Phungo invites all you internet Baseball-Reference research junkies to play Name the Game!

This is a quad sticker that was offered in a Topps Bazooka product. In the SouthEast corner you can see Randy Johnson tossing a pitch. Can you guess the date of the game Johnson is pitching in?

No Prizes - Just the Honor of Winning the First Phungo Challenge of the new Decade.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Euro Travelblog

2010 01 01 - La Tour Eiffel

This is a non-baseball card post and will have nothing at all about cards but I thought I would pass it along for those of you interested in what else goes on in the world I sometimes refer to as Planet Phungo.

As you may have noticed not much posting lately, that is because Team Phungo has been abroad checking the European cities of London and Paris as well as the Champagne region of France. We spent 10 days abroad and it was a great vacation.

2009 Phungo #49 Statue of Liberty - Toronto Blue Jays

The Phungo card above is a statue created for the 2008 All-Star game festivities in New York City. Each team had a statue created for them and they were placed around the city. We never found the Phillies one. This one represents the Toronto Blue Jays. Oh yeah I mentioned this is a non-baseball card post - well the rest is, this part I just wanted to pass along because as most of you know the Statue of Liberty was originally donated the the US by France. Which is where we were on vacation and saw lot of statues and sculptures including this rather jolly one of Champagne originator Dom Perignon

2009 12 29 Dom Perignon

Here is a quick rundown of some of my thoughts on our recent trip.


Mass Transit system - I would love to have a decent mass transit system.

- Beautiful women from all over Europe were present in both London and Paris.

Shopping - I am not a shopper so I am no judge but I didn't see anything in London or Paris that I thought I couldn't get at home. Well there were Topps Attax cards in France, but I didn't get a chance to examine them and see if they were any different then the American ones.

I suppose I will give them Kinder Eggs - although they are probably a choking hazard in the states.

Good Stuff
Chunnell - Not much on the views but a fun ride.

Not Tipping - It just feels weird, but it saves you a bit of money.

Off Season v Holiday Travel - The Winter is the Off Season for European Travel, which should be a bonus, but that doesn't pertain to Christmas Week Travel - All 3 planes we took were stuffed including our Flight from Philadelphia to Paris on Christmas day. Everywhere we went that was remotely touristy was mobbed, and lots of places are closed on certain holidays.

Things that Suck
Exchange Rates and Sticker Shock


2009 12 27 Big Ben

Big Ben - as far as tourist sights go this is a good one as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Trafalger Square are all within walking distance fo each other.

Boxing Day - Apparently this is Black Friday for the Brits. And this years shopping frenzy was coupled with the threat of an upcoming VAT tax that set shoppers into a frenzy.

Good Stuff
English Breakfast - How did we ever give up having beans to start the day?

Chain Restaraunt Pizza Express - Good Clean Efficient and survives wine. .

Pubs Closing at 10
. Bad for drinking ones face off all night, good for helping you get up early and being a proper tourist.

It Sucks
Lost Luggage not arriving for 36 hours.

2009 12 31 Arc De Triomphe

The Louvre on the Free Sunday through covert entrance and good planning. We could have actually planned a lot better, but got lucky a few times. Louvre and other museum tickets can be bought in advanced via a variety of different outlets which can help you avoid long lines. Highly recomended. We got lucky by stumbling into the Louvre "Port de Leons" entrance which had no line for whatever reason.

Champagne Country - Highly recommended - it is a short drive from Paris and gives you a chance to see what life in France is like outside the city.

Luxemborg Gardens
even in winter - It's free lots of great statues and fountains. There is a mini statue of liberty here but we did not see it.

Crepes off a Street Stand - good stuff for under 4 Euros and much better than the New Year's Eve Dinner we blew 60 Euro on.

Outdoors - Once again, this must be really awesome in the summer time

Versaille Indoors - probalby because of the insane crowds - but I still think it was overrated regardless my lack of knowledge probably hurts me here too - although Hall of Mirrors was pretty intense.

Closing stuff on Sunday's

Cafes near any major attraction - Same as Versaille Indoors, Insane crowds.

Good Stuff
Champs Elysees on New Year's Eve

Good wine at a good price

Sacre Coeur - This is an ancient church set on a good size hill in a fun neighborhood. Great views and artwork.

Paris Subway System -
efficient with some cool stations.

Mona Lisa
- Our party discussed the merits of the Mona Lisa - I think I get part of it. I am no art aficionado or historian - but I did take the time to give the painting a good look and I don't know if it's the history of the thing or what but I thought "yeah I am glad I saw it".

Pubs open all-night. Sometimes not good for sightseeing the next day.

It Sucks
Pub Beer Prices - 6 Euro for a Pint!!!
Dog Doo and Urine everywhere

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions