Saturday, March 31, 2012

Phun Cards Phungo Challenge - 2012 Chrome Mickey Mantle

We have a Phungo Challenge for this rather crummy looking Saturday here in the North East.

2012 Topps Bonus Chrome #MBC1 Mickey Mantle

Featured this card several times this week, so I am sure you have seen it plenty - at least those of  you that are reading Phungo when you should be working.

Your Phungo Challenge is to figure out what year the Photo on the above card was taken.

Hint:  Believe it or notl this is another example more gold in 2012 Topps. 

You can play even if your not in the gloomy northeast.  Winner gets added to the 2012 Phungo Challenge Wall of Fame and the complete reverence of the Phungo Readers.   

Oh and Go Flyers! will be watching hockey while being lazy this afternoon.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

2012 Topps Value Pack

Value Boxes are back for 2012.  I have limited my pickups for 2012 to a Hanger and Rack for Flagship and a Blaster and a Rack for Heritage. 

With that few cards in the collection, I figured adding a Value Box would not dupe up to many cards I had already picked up.  The Box went for $15.10 at a big box store - (14.99 +/- PA Sales Tax/Store Discount Card)     


2012 Topps Heritage #296 Jim Thome

2012 Topps #259 Michael Stutes
2012 Topps #307 Vance Worley
2012 Topps #98 Dominic Brown

The Worley is a dupe.  I also got a dupe of the NL Pitching leaders in one of my Heritage packs.

2012 Topps Heritage #279 Matt Kemp
2012 Topps Heritage #108 Vladimir Guerrero

Both Michael Taylor RCs (#253, #407)

2012 Topps Inserts - Of course the Thome here is my favorite.  The Koufax is the bonus GG.  Golden Greats is probably my favorite of the 2012 inserts, so getting 2 of those is a bonus for me.   

2012 Topps Bonus Chrome #MBC1 Mickey Mantle

The Stats

30 Base Cards including 3 Phils Base Cards
2 Golden Greats (Ripken, DiMaggio)
1 Golden Giveaway (Braun) 
1 Timeless Talents (Molitor-Braun)
1 Golden Moments (Ellsbury)
1 Gold Standard (Seaver)
1 Walk Off (Thome)
1 Gold Futures (Kimbrel)
1 87 Mini (Bourn) 
1 GoldRefractor thingy (Juan Nicasio - Rockies)  
Note - I don't believe packs are retailer specific, so there are no red or blue parallels.    

16 Base (1.5 Phils - Thome, NL pitching leaders)
2 Floating Head Stickers (Starlin Castro, Nelson Cruz)  

1 Golden Giveaway (Koufax)
Mickey Mantle Chrome teaser Card

For The Collector - Value Box??? 

Click here for yesterday's dollar cents analysis of what is in a Topps Value Box.

Sources and Links
Vladimir Guerrero HOF Index

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Phungo 5 with Emerald City Diamond Gems

Game 1 of the 2012 MLB season is in the books.  Yesterday we took a look at the Oakland A's, Today we take a look at their opponent and AL West Rival Seattle Marlins who currently have the best record in all of Major League Baseball.  How about that Mariners Fans!!!  

We have enlisted the help of our friends over at Emerald City Diamond Gems to find out what is going on with the MLB rep from the Pacific Northwest. 

1) Are you for or against the Mariners appearing in the Japan Series? 
Am I for it? No, we need to have the extra time in Arizona for our young guys to prepare for the season. Do I understand why we went? Yes I can. We have some of the bigger names from Japan or our roster. I'm sure it is also a cash cow for MLB to send our guys there

2012 Heritage #491 Ichiro

2) Do you cheer for or against Cliff Lee?
 Both my son and I still root for Cliff. I knew it could never happen, but I would have loved to see him stay. I think if he was here he could have helped some of our young future pitchers.   

3) I am going to be out in Seattle in May, anything about SafeCo that I should be sure to check out and is there something special in Seattle that I should see that other tourists may not be aware of?
There are a few cool things about Safeco. One place to check out, eat and drink is the bullpen market out in centerfield. If you are coming to a evening game you need to head up to the 300 level and take in a few minutes of the sunset near home plate with the sound and the Olympic mountains. I think the riding of the ducks through town and on the water is fun and informative. If you have a little extra cash, see if you can get to Kenmore Air and take one of their 3 hour seaplane sight seeing tours

4) What presense (if any) do the Seattle Pilots have in local baseball lore.    
For me personally the Pilots were here and gone before I was born. I have really tried to learn about them and the history they had before they left. I think they were vital to us being able to bring the Mariners to town. I'm still looking for my last few Pilots cards

5) Nirvanna or Pearl Jam
For me personally it is no contest. I have been a HUGE Pearl Jam fan since they came out as Mookie Blaylock in 1990. I know that many people liked Nirvana better and they got more airplay, but I feel that PJ are better in songwriting and musical talents. I do like Dave Grohl and the work he does with the Foo Fighters though. 

lets see 4 for 4 going into the Music question and we will award the point for Pearl Jam as well - and kudos for getting Mookie Blaylock involved.  Really I would have given a thumbs up there either way unless ECDG went off the menu and thrown all his unalterable support behind say Pat Boone

On Deck
As the regular season draws near for the remainder of MLB, we plan to examine the two time reigning AL champion Texas Rangers with Play at the Plate. 

Looking Back
Philadelphia Phillies - The Phillies Room.
Oakland A's - The Fuji Chronicles

2012 Topps Value Box - Is it a Value??

For The Collector - Value Box??? 

The Box claims there is a 40% Savings - Is this true.   

Lets do the math. 
5 x $1.99 for five Topps Pack = $9.95
2 x $4.00* for two Hobby Heritage =  $8.00 

2 bonus cards = $3.05

Ok I cheated on the Mantle card and the bonus and made up a number.  All 3 chrome cards are gong for $3.99 and up on the bay.  The GG cards are going for a buck each.  $3.05 is a conservative estimate.  Has anybody actually sold one of the chrome inserts on ebay?? 

*also I assumed a cost of $4 on the Heritage Hobby.  Not sure what single packs are going for this year.  I am just going off past experience.   

That gives us $21.00.  The Box lists for $14.99.  There is a savings of $6.01. 

This comes down to where you call the savings number at - if it is off of $21 your savings is only 28%, however if you specify $14.99 as the base then the savings is.....40%


oh yeah there are cards in the box - here is the chrome insert

Thats a teaser more content tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Phungo 5 with The Chronicles of Fuji

In case you haven't been paying attention to the AL West You may not know the Major League Baseball season starts on Wednesday.  The Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners will square off in a 2 game series which will be played in Japan.  To help us get ready for the Japan Series today we are speaking with our Oakland A's authority The Chronicles of Fuji.
1) Are you for or against the A's playing in the Japan Series?
I'm totally "for" the A's heading across the Pacific to play some of the Japanese teams & open the season against Ichiro and the Mariners.  I'm a huge fan of international play, because it's great publicity for the sport and an opportunity to see how the MLB players fare against the rest of the world.

2) Steve Carlton is a bit of an oddity for a West Coast Collector - What are your Favorite Carlton cards?
I'm a huge fan of vintage Topps cards, which is why I started my "Lefty Project".  But if I had to pick a few favorites, I'd go with his 1965 Topps rookie card and his 1975 Topps base card.  Oh... almost forgot.  There's one more card of Mr. Carlton that I think is pretty cool.  It's his 1983 Topps Bronze Premium card that was given out to dealers who purchased cases of the 1983 Topps Traded sets.
1985 Topps #185 Steve Carlton
3) Staying with the Philadelphia related questions do you fell any connect to Athletics cards related to either of their previous homes?   
I only own a handful of vintage cards featuring Kansas City Athletics or Philadelphia Athletics players.  However, one of my collecting goals for 2012 is to add a T206 card to my collection.  And the only prerequisite for this goal is that it has to be one of the Athletics players (hopefully either Chief Bender or Eddie Collins).

4) How many games does Manny Ramirez play for the A's this year?
Hmmm... 35?  He struggled during Spring Training.  But I think the A's brought him in to fill seats, so they'll call him up when he pays his dues.

5) What is something that they missed in "Moneyball"? either the book or the film. 
I'm embarrassed to admit this.  But, I've never read the book, nor have I watched the movie.  One of these days, I'll buy the DVD (if I see it on clearance somewhere) or watch it when it becomes available on Netflix.

Definitely some interesting stuff here.  Out of the Topps Cards that feature Steve Carlton the 1975 is definitely one of the best and and kudos for being a fan of the international game as we are here at Phungo HQ.  I also wish Fuji luck in getting his pre-war vintage colleciton started - going back to the A's Philadelphia roots definitely gets a thumbs up from this corner. 

However I must ding Fuji for not doing his homework on Moneyball.  That leaves us with  3 out of 4 for now and We will add a star if Manny gets within a dozen games of 35 either way.

Thanks to Fuji for contributing,

On Deck
We will take a look at the other side of the Japan series when we talk to Emerald City Diamond Gems about the Seattle Mariners. 

Looking Back
Philadelphia Phillies - The Phillies Room.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Phun Cards: 1958 Topps #476 Stan Musial All Star

This is the 2nd installment of Phun cards, essentially our variation on Cardboard Appreciation.  

For a long time I ran a feature titled Hall of Fame Thursday, which featured HoF players and people from various sports at various levels.  It was basically baseball centered with a strong Philadelphia accent.  Sometimes the subjects were big names like Steve Carlton other times they were less well known athletes such as Philly Sports HoF member, sprinter Leroy Burrell.

Today we are leaving the Philly area and taking a look at a Phavorite card in the Phungo Collection of Stan Musial
1958 Topps #476 Stan Musial All Star

1958 is the first year that Topps had a subset of All Star cards in the collection.  Which is only one of several reasons this card is special. 
    1) Stan Musial was a first ballot Hall of Famer - 1969
    2) You got to like anybody whose nickname was Stan the Man
    3) This is not nearly Stan Musial rookie cards, but it is his first card issued by Topps (Musial was not issued a base card in 1958)
    4) In my opinion the 58 All Star set is pretty sweet looking. 

For More info on Stan Musial check his Hall of Fame Page 

For the Collector

I challenge you to find a more affordable initail Topps Card of any First Ballot Hall of Famer from the vintage era.  Generally collectors don't value the All Star Subset cards of players as much as the base cards from the same year which controls costs, additionally the Musial Card (along with several other 58 All Star cards) was double printed. 

I am not sure what the above Musial card went for, I suspect around $5 - there is a minor pinhole bottom left, but that isn't enough to bother Team Phungo.

Low recent auction price $3.03 for one that was in slightly rougher condition then mine.  There were 3 auctions that ended under $5.  Fairly nice version of the card came in the $7 - $10 range.  Graded cards topped out at $101.87 (BVG 8.5 NM-MT+)

Phungo Stan Musial HoF Index
1959 Topps #470 (Baseball Thrills - 3000 Hits May 13 1958)  

1958 Topps All-Star Index

Stan the Man
Baseball Hall of Fame

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Negro League Stats up at Baseball-Reference

Baseball-Reference has announced that they have added Negro League Stats to their database.  The data may be incomplete but regardless it sure is fascinating. 

2010 Phungo #42 Judy Johnson

One of the first players I looked up was Delaware Rep and Hall of Famer Judy JohnsonCareer .293 hitter batted over .370 two different times 26 career Home Runs.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Phungo 5 with the Phillies Room

We are very happy to debut the 2012 edition of Phungo 5 tonight by talking with fellow Phillies fan and collector the Phillies Room

P5 is loosely based around the Phillies scheduled opponents throughout the season, therefore there are a few teams that get skipped, typically AL teams that the Phils miss in interleague play.  Another casualty is the several Phillies Bloggers out there.  This year I have decided to expand our format and try and squeeze some extra teams in at noteworthy points in the season. 

Spring Training is always a good time for every baseball fan, especially those of us in the North East which really wasn't to wintery this year - and it is also a good time to start Phungo 5. 

1)What Phillies player from the past would you like to see featured on more current cards (inserts/Legends subsets etc)? 

Bob Dernier as he's always been my favorite player.  Bobby D. made a few appearances in Topps sets in 2005 (Fan Favorites and Retired Signature) but he's been absent from any sets since.  Honorable mentions - Kent Tekulve, Del Ennis, Juan Samuel, Johnny Wockenfuss.

2) What Vintage Phils Team set are you working hardest to complete now?  

I need one more card (#255 Milo Candini) to complete my 1951 Bowman Phillies team set.  It's a high number, and it's an expensive card, so it might take a while.  I'd also love to complete a full run of Kellogg's and Hostess Phillies cards from the 1970s.  Back in the day, these cards seemed so strange and exotic to me, so it's been fun tracking these cards down.  A long-term goal of mine is to add more pre-War Phillies cards to my collection.

3) Do you think that Curt Schilling should be this years Phillies Wall of Fame nominee?

No.  I'd vote in Jim Konstanty or Rick Wise before Schilling.  Undeniably, Schilling was a key cog of the 1993 team and he provided the team's sole bright spot during a few lean years for the franchise in the late '90s.  But quite frankly the guy just rubs me the wrong way.  He's got to be on the ballot since he was the best Phillies pitcher of that era, but I wouldn't vote him in this year.

4) Ryan Howard will play his first game in 2012 Before May 18th? 

Sadly, no.  But I hope he proves me wrong.

5) Pat's or Geno's

I'm going with Option C.  It's no longer there, but Phil's in Sea Isle City made the best steak sandwich around during the years I visited from the mid '70s through the mid '90s.  The secret was the slightly toasted roll and the secret seasoning in the steak.  Phil sold his restaurant and it's under new management now, but the thought of his steak sandwiches makes me nostalgic for the summers of my youth.  (Phil - If you're reading this, please come back.)

Phungo Note - There is a Phil's in Berwyn PA, and I believe they are associated with the Phils in Sea Isle City.  

Score Card

PR handled the Curt Schilling question well, not only conveying my personal feelings regarding Mr Schilling pretty well, but also coming up with some first rate alternative candidates in Konstanty and Wise.  I also like the answer on the Cheesesteak Question.  There are many many quality shops in the area outside of the tourist joints that folks can find a tasty chessesteak and it is good to see them get there props.  

4 out of 4 with 1 the Ryan Howard Q still in play.     

Thanks to the Phillies Room for helping start out another great year of Phungo 5 and Go Phils! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

2012 Topps Heritage Retail Blaster Phils Cards

2012 Topps Heritage was available at my local Target in 3 configurations.  Blaster $19.99, Rack $5.29 and single packs at $3.19 I think.

Here are the Phils relate cards from the Blaster I picked up. 

2012 Topps Heritage #136 Jonahtan Papelbon

My first card of the offf-season catch as a Phil. 
2012 Topps Heritage #29 2012 Rookie Stars

This is the 2012 version of the card I referred to yesterday.  I believe this is the regular version (2012) while the 2011 version would be the variation.  Who knows?

2012 Topps Heritage #7 LL Pitching 
2012 Topps Heritage #13 Phillies Team

More floating heads League Leaders and the Team Card - that gives me 2 Phils Base cards out of 71 which is about the right ratio.

By The Numbers
1 Blaster Box
$20.15 (including PA Sales Tax minus 5% Target Discount)

71 cards
65 Short Set
67 Base Cards
4 Phils Related with 2 Phils Base Set Cards
1 sticker - M Cabrera 
2 High Numbers - K Seager, CarGo
1 Target Red Parallel - A Avila
1 T&N - M Bourn w/ Aparicio
1 NAP - T Lincecum)
1 NewsFlash - Alcatraz Closes

Will glance at some of the non-Phils over the next couple of weeks - intersperse those cards with some Opening Day postings. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

At least one 2012 Topps Heritage Variation Has a Precedent

I doubt there will be any discussion, sarcasm, or vitrol regarding the 2012 Topps Heritage Variations...

But at least one of the variations does have precedent:

1963 Topps #29 1962 Rookie Stars
1963 Topps #29 1963 Rookie Stars

For more information regarding these cards click here

For more information on the 2012 Topps Heritage variations/errors/SPs check Cardboard Connection.

Monday, March 12, 2012

2012 Topps Opening Day Rack Jr

The always maligned Topps Opening Day release is live - 24 card Rack Packs Retail at Target for $3.19 (3.21 w/ combo of Target discount and PA sales Tax) - They are single packs and about 1/3 smaller then the Rack Packs for 2012 Topps, thus I have chosent to refer to them as Rack Juniors.  

The price point is slightly cheaper then 9.99 for a 72 card Hanger Pack of Topps Flagship.  The single packs are a dime more then a year ago at 1.09.  77 card blasters are $10.49 I believe.

Here is a glance of what you might find in your Rack Jr. 



Copare with 2012 Topps
Serialed Blue Parallels
Rookie Cups

Photo Shopping
Over the next couple weeks I plan on giving 2012 Topps Opening Day a little overanalysis by elaborating on some of the above cards - I am sure that is much more then TOD deserves. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

2012 Phungo Cards - Lenny Dykstra

Nails once again remains noteworthy for all the wrong reasons.  
Lenny Dykstra's post Baseball Career spiral continues to spiral downward - earliar this week he was sentenced to 1-3 years in prison for a grand theft auto scheme. 
2012 Phungo #38 Lenny Dykstra
The photo on the above Phungo Card was taken at a card show last year.  Team Phungo doesn't have the budget to take part in the autograph portion of card shows, so I am typically banished beyond the rope.  My camera doesn't handle the low lighting of the expo center as well as I would liks and photos of guests in the center can be dicey.  This shot of Dykstra barely made the acceptable cut for a Phungo Card.
I loved Lenny when he played, During his early 90s tenure with the Phils he had one great year surrounded by a couple of decent ones which were generally tainted by injury.  Off the field his life has been a mess, and it bums me out.  I look at Dykstra and I see Allen Iverson, I also see a Post-Career Josh Hamilton.  There are a lot of enablers in their camps, but I wonder what happens when the money dries up. 
I hope Dykstra can escape his demons while serving time and comes out a recovered man.  I think it is more likely he emerges stating he's a changed man, ghost-writes a book, collects a million dollars, blows it all in a blink and winds up returning to squalor.  It's unfortunate but I honestly have a tough time seeing it end any other way. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Snapshots 2012 03 06 - Hockey HoF Mark Howe #2 Jersey Retired by the Philadelphia Flyers

On Tuesday night the Philadelphia Flyers Retired Mark Howe's #2 Jersey.

Gordie, Marty and Mark Howe's Jerseys from the Houston Aeros

#2 painted on the ice at Wells Fargo Center

Mark Howe Banner raised to the rafters. 

I don't believe I have ever been to a jersey retirement ceremony - The Flyers always do a great job with these types of events and I was glad to be on hand for the event.  If you're unfamiliar with Mark Howe's accomplishments here is his Hockey-Reference Page.  His career is very impressive - If you include his WHA plus/minus with his career numbers he would be third all time - and actually rank AHEAD of Wayne Gretzky. 

Mark Howe's father, Gordie Howe, was also present for the ceremony.  It was worth the price of admission just to see Mr Hockey walk out onto the ice. 

As far as the game goes the Flyers got themselves a Good W beating a tough Red Wings squad 3-2. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Junk of the Month - February 2012

Easy JotM - ok if your a Cardinals Fan, I am sure this card is fine. 

But if your a Phils Fan, the above Chris Carpenter NLDS game 5 is definitely Junk of the Month.

Honorable Mention 

Hate these - and check out the backs.    

 Half of these guys aren't even in the AL anymore. 


Pull of the Month

Any of the above cards featuring Phillies is a good pick for Pull of the Month.

Not a big fan of the 87 minis, but I suppose I would have to go with the Victorino as the favorite of this months picks.

Looking Back

Junk of the Month - January 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Phungo Challenge: We have a Winner

from the comments and other posts I have read it appears these 06 racks are making the rounds in the discount bins.  Dawgbones got this one right off the bat - 1988.  There seem to be a fair concensus that these packs were loaded w/ the late 80s era cards. 

And that 1988 Card is:

1988 Topps #363 Willie Fraser

I figure Mr Fraser doesn't get to be a cover card in a post very often, so thought I would give him some ink here.  According to Baseball-Reference he was the 15th overall pick of the 1985 Draft (Featured Larkin and Bonds).  His career Highlight was likely a shutout of the Kansas City Royals on 6/13/1987.  His MLB career lasted until 1995 - he compiled 657 innings over 239 games which yielded a 38-40 career record.

The only additional info on his Wiki page is that following his MLB he Fraser pitched 3 seasons in Japan. 

His eight MLB seasons are estimated to have earned Fraser just over a million dollars. 

Congrats to Dawgbones the Winner of the 2nd Phungo Challenge of 2012

Phungo Challenge previous 2012 Winner

January - Cards that Never Were - The Pat Burrell Challenge

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Look what is in the budget bins at Target and a Phungo Challenge

Who Needs the Topps Diamond Giveaway to get Vintage Cards? 

Recently Team Phungo found this in the $1.59 clearance pack at our local big box.

If you look to the left you will notice this 2006 Topps Rack Pack contains 3 Vintage Cards - it is sort of like an instant version of the Topps Diamond Giveaway.

Phungo Challenge

The Phungo Challenge question related to this post is what year do you think the oldest "Vintage" card will be in this rack pack? 

I will try and  posts results on Monday or Tuesday Night  - see how things go at Phungo HQ. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Random Thoughts on Wilt's 100 Point Game

Here in Philadephia and througout the sporrts world we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Wilt Chamberlains 100 point game. 

I am not a big basketball historian but because of the heroics and oddities surrounding that game I tend to retain trivia regarding the Willt 100 game in the rolodex of my brain. 

Personal Connection
The game was played in Hershey rather then Philadelphia which makes the game an anomaly for that fact alone.  Hershey was the closest thing we had to an arena in south central PA - I probably was there for a dozen or so events as a youngster and the place holds a lot of memories.  My first Hockey game was certainly there, First College Hoop gm - Penn St v Maryland - Greg Manning shot out hte lights as the Terps romped.  And also I saw One of my first concerts there, Crosby Still and Nash.  In the last 20 years I think I have only seen my alma mater play in one game and that was a Basketball State Playoff game in Hershey Arena - They lost.  

But they may have played on the same court that Wilt had his 100 point game on.  I don't think Hershey Arena is in use as a basketball stadium anymore. 

Apparenlty the basketball floor was salvaged.   

And tonight you can get a piece of it at the Sixers game.  pretty cool promotion.  everyone admitted gets a 2"x2" square from the floor.  I checked this AM and tix were still available.  StubHub had tix for as little as $20.  Pretty nice promotion - you can get a pretty nice piece of history for the cost of a blaster.   

Random Info on Wilts 100. 
There is apparently no Video of the game and the only audio of the game, which feature Bill Campbell, was "discovered" relatively recently. 
No one knows how the 99th and 100th points were scored 
According to Elias the highest 2 teamate scores in any one game doesn't break 100 in any other game. 

Kobe's 80 pt performance a few years ago is the 2nd highest point total in a game - this means the 1 and 2 highest scoring games were accomplished by Philadelphians. 

The 100 written on a piece of paper and held by Chamberlain in the iconic photo was written by
Sixers Statistician Haarvey Pollack.  Pollack is accepted as the father of basketball statistics and came up with many of the stats in use today.  He was honored the 76ers with a bobblehead a few years ago, I think he may also hold the Wordl Record for consecutive days wearing different T-Shirts or something like that.

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions