Monday, July 29, 2013

Bucket or Chuck-It: 2013 Topps Opening Day 1/2 Price!

Target stores in the area are offering packs at 1/2 Price through August 3rd I think. I had decided to bypass Opening Day this year, but at .49/pack it was worth a look.  Here are some highlights from 3 packs

Picked up on Phillies card in the 3 packs, but it was a good one - Cole Hamels.  His OD card is shown here with his base card. The Opening Day card actually came out first since the Base card was part of Series 2.

 Insets Bucket or Chuck-It?

 Mascots - A staple of OD. The Blue Jay on a blue background makes for a lame photo - Chuck-It.

Blue Parallels - A bit of chrominess, darker colors - looks good on Braves card. As I have noted before the added color on 2013 Topps really helps the design. Also like that they didn't totally blue-out the background beyond the player -  Bucket!

Opening Day Stars - some sort of 3D front honoring a couple of stars. They look decent.  but it's a Met - Chuck-It.

Opening Day Play Hard -  decent shot, bursting through the card, great name/theme. I will give this one a Bucket!

Moving Rookie Cup - once again the Rookie Cup on Topps Opening Day is hovering in a different spot then on base.  At least it has returned to it's gold/yellow state.  This is a Chuck-It.  Too many icons on one card. 

Overall - Bucket, I picked up 3 packs, for me they yeilded $1.50 of entertainment. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Night Baseball: 1965 Topps #200 Joe Torre - A Hero Number Card!

A couple of division leaders going at it on ESPN this evening. A good night to feature a player that was an All-Star with both the Cardinal and Braves squads, Joe Torre.

1965 Topps #200 Joe Torre

Torre came up to the Majors with the Milwaukee Braves in 1960, in 1961 he finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting to future Hall of Famer Billy Williams. He spent 9 seasons with the Braves (who moved to Atlanta in 1966) before being traded to the Cardinals for Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda. In St Louis Joe Torre won the MVP award in 1971 with a standout season that saw the catcher move to third base and hit a league leading .363. That year he also led the league in Hits, RBIs and Total Bases.

His career which he finished out in 1977 with the Mets Torre had 2342 hits and 252 Home Runs. He was a 9 time all-star but never played in the postseason.

Those all at up to Sub-HoF numbers, but Torre would make up for his lack of postseason playing as a manager with the New York Yankees. He racked up 6 AL penneants and 4 World Series Titles with Jeter, Posada, Mariano, Andy Pettittie and crew.  As the skipper to the Bronks Bombers he took Manager of the year awards in 1996 and 1998.

At some point Torre will enter the hall as a manager, but lets not forget he was an MVP caliber player.

1965 Topps
We are just getting you prepped for 2014 Heritage. Shortly I am sure we will all get inundated with images of the beloved set. The set is a favorite for good reason and the #200 Torre card is a fine example. Colorful and Vibrant design with the waving pennant and a decent photograph of the Young Joe Torre

The Joe Torre Rookie Card is 1962 Topps #218 which features a rookie cup.


1993 07 28 - 20 years ago today: 1 Game, 2 Grand Slams

One of the many great games I was fortunate enough to attend in the Phillies memorable 1993 season

Ticket Stub 1993 07 28

The game didn't  start off well, 14 pitches in Terry Mulholland gave up a grand slam to the fourth batter of the game. Yes four batters into a critical game with the St Louis Cardinals the Phillies found themselves down 4-0 before recording an out.  

1990 Fleer Todd Zeile (note the position)

That night the then Cardinals third baseman Todd Zeile hit his first of 9 career grand slams to give the Redbirds an early four run lead. Fortunately 4 runs was never enough against the 1993 Phillies.

Terry Mulholland basically settled down after the slam and got through 7 innings. The Phillies dependable offense came through tying the game in the 3rd and taking the lead in the 5th.

1988 Topps #468 Darren Daulton

The Phillies were already up 9-6 in the 8th when Darren Daulton blew the game wide open with a Grand Slam of his own. The Phillies went home 14-6 winners in a game in which they were done four runs in the first inning.   

20 years ago today that was one of the most memorable games that I ever witnessed. 200+ games later and it is the only game in which I have seen 2 grand slams. Over the course of those 200 games Darren Daulton is the only person I have seen hit multiple grand slams. 

Oddly if you look into the baseball-ref boxscore, Daulton's Slam doesn't rank in the top 5 Win Probability Added scores, and there are 4 ABs that rank higher then Zeile's. In fact the Cardinals lost by 8 runs but recorded the highest WPA of the game when Bernard Gilkey hit a 3 run homer in the 7th. That is just the crazy stuff that happens in a game where 20 runs are scored.

Flashback 1993 Phillies Postings
1993 04 09 - Opening Day - Cubs 11@ Phillies 7 
1993 05 10 - Pirates 1 @ Phillies 5


Friday, July 26, 2013

Reading the Competition: 1959 Topps #463 Baseball Thrills Al Kaline

With the Phillies making a rare trip out to Detroit today we take a look at a great subset card of Tigers Hall of Famer Al Kaline.

1959 Topps #463 Baseball Thrills Al Kaline

I have a particular fondness for this Topps Subset.  I believe it is the first subset of cards other than All-Star cards featured in 1958 and rookies in 1959. There are a couple of other Futures HoFs in the set including Mantle, Mays, and Ernie Banks.

Curiously the Baseball Thrills go back further than the previous season.  This one goes back 4 years to the 1955 campaign in which Al Kaline won the batting title at age 20. This is documented on the back of the card in a psuedo-newspaper format which I am a sucker for.  

1959 Topps #463 Baseball Thrills Al Kaline (b-side - click to enlarge)

I think this might be the first baseball card set to ever echo the newspaper theme. not sure.  probably should verify with Night Owl. 

Al Kaline won a batting title at age 20, but then never accomplished the feat again. It isn't that he was a one year wonder, he just didn't repeat the feat.  We have covered his career numbers a bit more in depth here

FTC - Baseball Thrills

The Baseball Thrills Subset of 1959 Topps consists of 9 cards that run from #461-470. Al Kaline is the 3rd card of the set at #463.  The card shown above was picked up for $3.50 at a card show in 2011. It has the pencil mark on the back but in otherwise good shape. Current Lobay auction for #463 finished at $2.49 shipped.  

I am too busy to add the graded card pricing at this time, but may return to that at some point. 

Sources & Links

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Swag from Nachos Grande Group Break and Phillies 2013 Topps Checklist

Showing off a couple cards I picked up in a recent Nachos Grande Group Break. One box each of 2013 Topps S2 and 2012 Topps Archives.

Here are somie of the goodies from Series 2.

2013 Topps Chasing History Roy Halladay

The flip of this card mentions that if Halladay got a Win before his first L in 2013 he would reach 200 wins with only 100 losses. Of course it didn't work out that way and he currently stands at 201-104.

2013 Topps #646 Green and Base Version

For the Phillies I am calling these Green (or is it Emerald) parallels, Christmas Cards.  I am a closet parallel junky. I hate to admit it - in general I like them. However, I am not insane crazy about them, I don't need to build sets of them or anything like that.

The 2013 Topps design has so much white on the border that the color does help. I am not a fan of the coloring within the picture background.  

In the break I ended up getting the entire 2013 Topps S2 Phillies team set.  Here is a look at the checklist for Phillies cards from the combined 2013 S1 & S2 sets.    

2013 Topps PHILLIES Checklist (from
 6 Ryan Howard
 26 Chase Utley
 33 Cliff Lee
 71 Kyle Kendrick
 83 Darin Ruf RC
 152 Jose Contreras
 197 Tyler Cloyd RC
 206 Jimmy Rollins
 249 Vance Worley
 264 Roy Halladay

332 Cole Hamels
 361 Erik Kratz
 367 Carlos Ruiz
 410 Roy Halladay
 424 Steven Lerud (RC)
 472 John Mayberry
 514 Jonathan Papelbon
 625 Domonic Brown
 637 Ben Revere
 646 Phillippe Aumont RC

2013 Topps

The break in the list is the separator between Series 1&2.  The biggest ommision is Michael Young (who curiously is featured in a Phils Uni on an Opening Day card).  Delmon Young has a Phils card in Gypsy Queen but not base. Biggest MIA after that are Antonio Bastardo, Freddy Galvis and John Lannan. Near as I could tell John Lannan has not been issued a Phillies card in any product.

The oddest thing Topps has done is putting Jose Contreras in 2013 Topps as a Phils pitcher.  He last pitched for the team on 6/1/2012.  He was just picked up last week by the Red Sox after being dumped by the Pirates.    


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Reading the Competition: 1959 Topps #514 Bob Gibson (RC)

The Phillies are on the road visiting the St Louis Cardinals this week and I thought it would be a good time to revisit a favorite card.

1959 Topps #514 Bob Gibson (RC)
We have discussed Bob Gibson Hall of Fame credentials previously and I will just re-mention here that he won 251 games, 2 World Series Rings, and a league MVP (1968). 

The 2009 posting link above is one of the first where I did an e-bay check to look at pricing on a card. Today we re-examine those numbers.

Bob Gibson RC Low Prices for Ungraded Card


Back when I first looked at this card in 2009 it had a low auction of $61.  This was during the season which may have buoyed the price. Also back then the eBay recent auctions function may not have spun back as far as it does currently.  When I ran a similar check in December of that year the low auction was $35.  The green $30 price was for the card pictured, which was picked up at a show in Valley Forge.

Today the lowest finsher is $48, I included the three lowest auctions for comparison.

Bob Gibson RC Auction Population for Ungraded Cards (2013 07 21) 

Price RangeAuctions
< $593
The three auctions under $59 are the three mentioned in the first table.  I sort of broke the table out into ranges that cards fell together.  Pretty much one can assume the Bob Gibson RC can be found ungraded for under $75 if your willing to look aound for it.  Below $50 would be quite good.

Bob Gibson RC Graded
BGS 7 VG+$1402009 - 06 -xx
PSA 8 NM$9252009 - 06 -xx
Graded ??? $1,3842009 -11 -22
SGC 5.5 (EX+)$1522013 - 07 - xx
PSA 6 (EX-MT)$2032013 - 07 - xx
PSA 7 (NM)$4352013 - 06 - 09
PSA 8 (NN-MT)$8432013 - 05 - 19

Finally the above chart tells us what the card is going for in various grades. For the $1,384 card I didn't bother recording the condition, but I certainly hope it was MT.      

Other Voices
'59 Topps: one f/g card at a time - a loving tribute to the Bob Gibson RC

Phungo Bob Gibson HoF Index
1964 Topps #460
1969 Topps #162 (Record 17Ks in 1968 World Series Game 1)
1970 Topps #530 (HoF Profile)
1975 Topps #3 (3000 Ks)


Monday, July 22, 2013

1996 Topps #85 Darren Daulton

Earlier this month the baseball world got the sad news that Phillies Alum Darren Daulton has been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer.  

Daulton's website has some information regarding his condition, but from what I understand the long term prognosis is not good.  

1996 Topps #85 Darren Daulton

Dutch was one of the first players that I became a fan of as an adult. Becoming a fan of a player as an adult differs from when your a kid. You see all sorts of flaws issues and questions - they are there for you to accept or ignore. Darren Daulton may not have been perfect, but for a few seasons in the early 1990s he between the whilte llines he  was damn near perfect. For that he will always be one of my favorite players.

I have seen Daulton at a handful of card show signings, and he always has seemed like a really decent guy.  Mostly a regular dude, but with a bit of a superstar aura to him. 

I sincerely hope that Darren Daulton wins his battle with brain cancer and continues being a happy influence on the Philadelphia sport scene.     

1983 Phillies 
Folks may not know this but Darren Daulton had a cup of coffee with the 1983 Phillies - I have heard him cite being around that pennant winning team as an influence on his playing career. He may have only played 2 games with that squad, but he is the man that connects the 1983 NL champs with the beloved 1993 NL Champs.

Trendy: 2011 Allen & Ginter Kate n William

Bottom Left:

Sorry, had to jump on the bandwagon.
For actual baseball card related content this is from a bargain blaster break done last month  

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Night Baseball: 1975 Topps #430 Luis Tiant

The Yankees and Red Sox are at it again on National TV tonight. Yes the two teams may be featured a bit to often, but I don't think anyone can deny the match up has had a good share of drama. I watched a bit of the Saturday game found it enjoyable.

Tonight we take a look at 1970s era BoSox pitcher Luis Tiant.

1975 Topps #430 Luis Tiant

El Tiante is one of the memorable characters from my baseball fan youth.  From the mound he had a distinct delivery where he turned his back to the plate during his windup.  He won 3 games during the Red Sox memorable 1975 postseason - The start he didn't win was Game 6 of the World Series (the Carlton Fisk Game)  

Luis Tiant falls into the borderline HoF category.  Hist career pitchers WAR of 66.1 ranks 40th all-time. That puts him ahead of Bob Feller, Juan Marichal, Jim Bunning, Don Drysdale and Mariano Rivera.  Critical points here are that Feller lost 3 years to military service and he and Drysdale both have World Series rings. The Marichal and Bunning comps legitimize Tiants resume a bit more.  

He had a 19 year career that extended well beyond his Boston years.  His 6 years with Cleveland included an impressive 1968 season (21-9, 1.60 ERA) that was overshadowed by Denny McLain's 31 wins. His Boston peak came during a 5 year period from 1972-76 when he won 96 games. In 1974 Tiant went 22-13 with a league leading 7 shutouts. He finished his 19 seasons with 229 victories and 2400+ Ks.  

1975 Topps

Between 1971 and 1973 Topps made several attempts at action shots with very mixed results. The 1972 Topps In Action "parallels" are particularly.....odd. The late Chris Stufflestreet had an entire blog dedicated to 1973 Topps photography which had a lot of great action shots and some more mediocre.

In 1974 the results were much better and by 1975 the results are pretty acceptable.  The above #430 Tiant card is among the finest examples. If there is a complaint, I would say that it is that the pix is very white, Tiant's uniform blends into the crowd a bit, but that is a minor complaint.

1975 Topps commons can sometimes be found in dime boxes. This card is in very good condition, and even though Luis Tiant is in the near HoF category I don't see this card going for over a quarter.     

Other Voices
1975 Topps Blog (Night Owl Cards) - #430 Luis Tiant - This is as fine a love letter as you will find to this card.


Friday, July 19, 2013

Reading the Competition: 1970 Topps Scratch-off Tom Seaver

The Phillies are in New York to visit the Mets and that gives us one last opportunity for an All-Star Game related post. It was great to see the Mets bring out Tom Seaver on Tuesday night. Despite being a Phillies fan I was always in awe of Seaver as a kid. His driving delivery and all those Ks really grabbed hold of my 10 year old imagination.  

1970 Topps Scratch Off Tom Seaver

Seaver's Hall of Fame career really doesn't need redocumented by me - but I will quick-hit some highlights, 3 Cy Young Awards, 1969 World Champion, 1967 Rookie of the Year, 12 time All-Star, 311 Wins (100+ games over .500), 3,640 career Ks, 5 time strikeout champ. His Career pitching WAR of 106.3 is 7th all-time and still the all-time leader among folks that pitched during my lifetime in the non-steroid division - which means he is behind Roger Clemens.

Seaver was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1992, receiving close to 99% of the BBWAA vote, Which remains the record. He got the thumbs up on 425 of 430 ballots.

Scratch Off
In 1969 and 70 Topps released a subset of scratch off cards. The set was limited in size (24 cards?) so it is all pretty much superstars. At a show I will pick up any HoF or name player scratch off card that is a buck or less.

1970 Topps Scratch Off Tom Seaver (inside)

The scratch offs can be used to be pay a baseball game, fortunately this one is untouched.  I have flirted with the idea of using one of these for an online game, but have never been that ambitious.     

Rookie Card
Seaver's RC is 1967 Topps #581 has a low recent auction of $156 in good but certainly not mint condition.  Ungraded cards appear to be running just over $200 with a half dozen auctions ending between $200 and $210.

On the high end the card went for between $839 and $1,034 for PSA8 NM-MT.
Old Cardboard - HoF Rookie Cards

Snapshots - Henry Urrutia

I want to devote a thorough posting to the 2013 futures game but that may take some time.  Today the Orioles called up outfield prospect Henry Urrutia and we are devoting a short column to the young Cuban.

2013 07 14 Henry Urrutia @ the Futures Game in New York

Urritia went 0-3 (with a walk) in last weekends futures game. I think the O's have him on an accelerated pace so he may end up sticking with the playoff contender. Best of luck to Henry as he gets his first taste of major league play.  


Thursday, July 18, 2013

All-Star Game Debriefing - Does Home Field Advantage Matter?

Prior to this week, the last time the All-Star Game was held in New York the NL took the loss 4-3 in a 15 inning epic that ended on a sac fly by Michael Young off of Phillies closer Brad Lidge.

2008 Topps #UH304 Brad Lidge (stolen from Trading Card Database)

Since 2003 the All-Star game has decided home field advantage in the World Series. Lidge couldn't know it at the time, but the NLs loss would cost the Phillies Home Field in the 2008 World Series. Fortunately for him the Phils and their fans like myself, The Phils took one game in Tampa and all 3 of their home games and didn't need HFA to win the 08 series.

Fox was throwing around some stat about how often the World Series was won by the home team. I wanted to look deeper into this and find out if the Home Team won or perhaps it worked out that the Home Team was the better team.  Here is what we found.

YearAwayG>.500HomeG>.500LenHome W DiffHome Team WinsBest Rec WinsHome + Best RecAway + Best RecHome Worse RecAway +worse Rec
2007Rockies17Red Sox30413111000
2005Astros (NL)16White Sox36420111000
2004Cardinals48Red Sox344-1410010
2001Yankees30Diamond Backs227-810010
1993Phillies32Blue Jays286-410010
1992Blue Jays30Braves346400001
1990Athletics44Reds 204-2410010
1986Red Sox29Mets54725111000
1982Brewers (AL)28Cardinals227-610010
AwayG>.500HomeG>.500Home DiffHomeRecHome+RecAway+RecHome-RecAway-Rec

The Chart goes back 33 World Series and list the team that ended up being Away and Home for the Series - the team in Green won the series. 7 Game series are noted in yellow.

The G>.500 is the number of games each squad finished above .500.  The Len column is the length of the series. Home Diff is the number of games the Home squad was ahead or behind the away team.  

To the right of the chart a A '1' in a column indicates a win in a certain category. Those catgories and composite records are as follows

Home Team 26-7 
Better Record 15-18

Better Record + Home 13-5
Better Record + Away 2-13
Worse Record + Home  13-2  
Worse Record + Away 5-13 

There are 2 things worth noting here, 33 series is not a huge sample size, but it isn't small.  The second is that the best team doesn't always have the best record.  And indeed it does seem to be the hotter team has been winning Series recently.

I will admit those two issues with the study here, but there are some astounding numbers. 
1) The 2-13 record of teams w/ better records w/ Road Status. Thats abysmal. In fact it is worse than being the Away Squad and having the worse record in the contest (5-13)
2) I went back to 1979 just so I could find a game 7 that was won by the road squad.  There have been 9 Game 7s since then, every single one of them won by the Home team. Assuming both teams are near equal the odds of 9 home consecutive home wins is over 500-1.      


a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions