Tuesday, August 27, 2013

2014 Topps #1? Yasiel Puig Parallels

I thought 2013 Topps was a decent but not great design.  However the Design was a great pallet for the numerous colored parallels that Topps likes to put out each year. 

Night Owl Cards discusses this more thoroughly in a column published this past weekend.  
Topps previewed 2014 flagship a few weeks back and the cards have a similar white border as 2013, which gives us the potential for another year of good looking parallels. With the help of Pixlr team Phungo looks at some of the possibilities.         

Faux 2014 Topps #1 Yusiel Puig Red Target Parallel

I get my cards at Target mainly because it is the most convenient big box for me. A side benefit is that they brand red and their partnership with Topps yields Red Parallels, which is a solid color for Phillies cards. However a Dodger collector may prefer Walmart.  

Faux 2014 Topps #1 Yusiel Puig Blue Wal-Mart Parallel

Notice that I have guessed at Yusiel Puig as card #1 for 2014 Topps.  The Base card was the first image I saw from 2014 Topps promotional material (via Cardboard Connection) - it differs a bit from the vanilla base cards carrying the "Future Stars" flag above Puig's name. This looks like a foil version of the logo used in 1987 Topps. The Futures Stars weren't at the top of the lineup in 87 Topps but I thought they may take a page out of 89 Upper Deck and Open with Future Stars in 2014.

Faux 2014 Topps #1 Yusiel Puig Chrome

Later in the season when Topps Chrome comes out it may appear as above

Faux 2014 Topps #1 Yusiel Puig Black Parallel

The Black Parallel would of course be serial numbered to 63. The black parallels, may actually look pretty close to this, which is pretty sharp.

And Finally 

2014 Topps #1 Yusiel Puig Whacky Colors Prallel 
It could happen. Who knows what Topps will do when they run out o parallel colors

Monday, August 26, 2013

1983 NL Champions: 1983 Topps #101 Super Veterans Pete Rose

Last week there was a bit of buzz revolving around Ichiro getting 4000 hits. This led to discussions about including career hits from different leagues. These discussions included folks like Derek Jeter Minnie Minoso and of course Pete Rose.

1983 Topps #101 Super Veterans Pete Rose

Man, Baseball-ref has everything. Even Minor League stats from 1962.  Pete Rose had 3 Minor League Seasons collecting 427 hits.  Add that to his 4256 in the Majors and you get 4683. But wait Rose also had 86 postseason hits this brings hist total to 4769 - Turns out that Rose is the All-Time combined league hit king as well as the traditional hit king. For a further look into Rose and the other players that were found to collect 4000 hits check this SABR article by Scott Simkus 

1983 Phillies
By 1983 Pete Rose was 42 and his abilities were slipping.  He posted the worst batting average of his career (.245). His OPS+ was an anemic 69. Game 5 of the 83 Series was Rose's final World Series game. He played Right Field in that game.  Between 1971 and 1983 Rose had played 3 innings of RF, The Phils patchwork wheeze kids line up put him there 34 times that season.    

1983 Super Veterans
Terrific set, that I had ignored until 30 Year Old Cardboard dedicated a series of postings to it.

Other Voices
 Found two other card postings on the Rose Super Vet.
30-Year Old Cardboard

1983 Topps Blog

1983 NL Champions Series
Darren Daulton
Bo Diaz 
John Denny
Garry Maddox
Tony Perez

Steve Carlton Passes Walter Johnson


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Sunday Night Baseball 2013 Bowman Platinum #22 Adrian Gonzalez

Tonight the Red Sox and Dodgers face off in a potential World Series Preview. A year ago the Red Sox were sellers at the deadline as they were out of the race early. The Dodgers were in it and made a push to make the playoffs but fell short.

A year ago today the two clubs pulled off a post deadline deal that sent Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez to the Dodgers in a trade that was a largely a salary dump for the Red Sox.

2013 Bowman Platinum #22 Adrian Gonzalez

Ideally trades work out for both partners.  For the moment this trade appears to have worked out for both the Dodgers and Red Sox.  The Red Sox have returned to their pre-2011 playoff form, while gaining significant payroll significant payroll flexibility.  The Dodgers have surged to commanding NL West lead with under 40 games to play.  In the long term LA may have issues dealing with the future contract commitments they have acquired in the deal, but none of that matters in 2013.

Adrian Gonzalez is putting together another solid season. His batting average is just a tick below .300 and he has a shot at fourth consecutive 100 RBI season. A-Gon has been pretty consistent over the course of his career playing 156+ games every season since becoming a full time starter in 2006. How many are veratile enought to have had seasons where they have led the league in Hits (2011) Walks (2009) and also have a 40 homer season under their belts (2009).

The Dodgers have Adrian Gonzalez contracted out through his age 36 season in 2018.  He doesn't put up the power numbers that he did earlier in his career, but he does continue to rack up hits. If Gonzalez can stick around the game into his 40s he has a chance at 3000 hits.

2013 Bowman Platinum

This is our 2nd consecutive 2013 Bowman Platinum card. Topps had a promotional booth at the recent SABR conference Philadelphia or else I wouldn't even have these cards. This set isn't targeted for me, but once again, I have to admit that I enjoy how they photograph.  The rainbow effect on the chrome/mirror background makes for great effects. 


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Civil Rights Game: 2013 Bowman Platinum #100 Jurickson Profar

Tonight the MLB Network is broadcasting the Civil Rights Game. This is the 7th edition of the competition which started out as a spring training exhibition prior to becoming a regular season matchup in 2009. The game was created to honor the history of Civil Rights in the US.  This years game is in Chicago and features the White Sox hosting the Texas Rangers

 2013 Bowman Platinum #100 Jurickson Profar
The youngest player on the Rangers roster is the Baseball America and MLB #1 prospect, Jurickson Profar - Baseball America is so fond of Profar they placed him on the cover of the 2013 edition of their Baseball Prospect Handbook

Profar's impressive 2012 debut certainly echoes that honor, he became the 3rd teenager to homer in his first Plate Appearance.  A moment noted on the flip of the above BowPlat card. 

2013 Bowman Platinum #100 Jurickson Profar (b-side)

Profar has not taken off during his rookie campaign with the flair of a Bryce Harper, Mike Trout or Yasiel Puig. In fact his bat has been less than mediocre, with a .237 BA going into the weekend and 4 Home Runs across 219 ABs. Regardless Jurickson is only 20 years old and is giving the Rangers flexibility playing 3 infield positions plus left field. Still one has to wonder if the Rangers will need to look for other options down the stretch.
Hopefully we will get to see a bit of the young prospect during tonight's contest and perhaps during the post season. 

2013 Bowman Platinum
All the Bowman products run together for me, but I did want to note that the above Jurickson Profar card caught the light pretty well and reflected some pretty cool effects in the snapshot. 
Card #100 has been the last card of Bowman Platinum each year since the prospect sets inception in 2010.  Despite being a rookie/prospect based product, 2013 marks the first time the sets final card has actually been occupied by a rookie card.  Previous tenants have been David Wright (2010), Ichiro (2011), and Jacoby Ellsbury (2012) 

Baseball America 

Reading the Competion: Paul Goldschmidt 2012 Topps #GF-24

The Phillies 10 game set versus NL West opponents closes with the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend. The D-Backs were a candidate to win the West before the Dodgers went on their post All-Star break tear.  One of the offensive leaders for Arizona has been First Baseman Paul Goldschmidt.

2012 Topps Gold Futures #GF-24 Paul Goldschmidt

Paul Goldschmidt emerged as a power hitting First Baseman during the 2011 season. He has continued his hot hitting in 2013. Going into the Series with the Phils Goldschmidt was the league leader in Home Runs (31), RBI(100) , Total Bases, and OPS+. Those numbers were good enough to make him an All-Star for the first time.  Paul Goldschmidt will turn 26 in a few weeks and has his best hitting days right in front of him. I expect him to be an MVP candidate for the next half dozen years.

Local Kid

While looking into Goldschmidt's numbers I found that he was born in Wilmington Delaware, however according to his Wiki bio he was raised in Texas. His 59 career HRs already rank him 6th among players born in the First State.  With a decent 2014 he will surpass top total of 96 held jointly by Randy Bush, John Mabry, and Dave May.
2012 Topps Gold Future2012 Gold Rush s
The Gold Futures set is a member of the onslaught of Gold Inserts which Night Owl Cards very successfully lampooned in this column. The design is decent for a subset and carries the look of base cards from a more midline superstars set. Of course this means that one can tell that patch display factored into the design.

In Series 1 the set consists of 25 cards, devoted to upcoming prospects. Notables include Freddie Freeman, Aroldis Chapman, Anthony Rizzo, Mike Stanton, Mike Trout, Jason Kipins and Goldschmidt.  The set continues with an additional 25 players in Series 2. Matt Moore, Buster Posey, Chris Sale, Jason Heyward and Stephen Strasburg are all present in S2.  The Phillies are represented in the second set by Domonic Brown who shows up on #GF38.

Night Owl Cards

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

1983 NL Champions: Bo Diaz 1985 Topps #737

Today we continue our 1983 Wheeze Kids series by taking a look at the man behind the plate - Bo Diaz  

1985 Topps #737 Bo Diaz

Bo Diaz hit .236 during the Phillies 1983 season but he did have some big games including one on April 13 1983. The Phillies were down 3 runs to the Mets with 2 outs in the 9th inning. This is the moment Diaz picked to hit an Ultimate Grand Slam - A game ending slam down 3 runs. Another highlight for Diaz was catching Steve Carlton's 300th win on September 23rd.

During the '83 World Series, Diaz was one of the few offensive bright spots for the Phillies, He batted .333 collecting 5 hits in 15 ABs.

Notice at the top of this posting I did not say that "man behind the DISH" - This is because, sadly, Bo Diaz died at age 37 while installing a satellite dish in his native Venezuela.

1985 Topps

Catchers are great for baseball cards.  All the gear makes for photos that are more than just headshots, even when your show that guy just standing there.  Bo Diaz is shown here carrying his mask and looks to be removing his glove perhaps he is getting ready to talk to Lefty or signal the defense.

I like the photo, dislike the design. 1985 Topps falls into the Phillies purple card genre.  That is Topps designated oddball color for the team for a couple of sets in the 1980s (1985, 1988, 1989). Maybe it's the purple or perhaps it is the ubiquity of the three sets - regardless, I have never been a fan of anf them.

1983 NL Champions Series
Darren Daulton
Bo Diaz 
John Denny
Garry Maddox
Tony Perez

Steve Carlton Passes Walter Johnson


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Sunday Night Baseball: 2006 Allen & Ginter Dick Perez Sketches #4 David Ortiz

This week Sunday Night Baseball is once again featuring the Yankees and Red Sox.  For the last decade many of the meetings between the rivals have feature Big Papi at DH

2006 Allen & Ginter Dick Perez Sketches #4 David Ortiz

After an injury shortened 2012 David Ortiz is having a terrific season. Going into tonight's game he is batting .325/.406/.586 with 24 dingers and 77 RBIs. This is all at the age of 37.  Ortiz's 425 career Home Runs and 2 World Series rings are going to make him a borderline Hall of Fame candidate at some point - despite spending most of his career as a DH.  If your on Twitter Andy @HighHeatStats occasionally chronicles Ortiz's last 162 game numbers, and they are impressive.

2006 A&G Dick Perez Sketches Insert Set

The Dick Perez sketches were the per pack insert in the A&G debut offering in 2006. The 30 card insert set contained a single player from each Major League team. The Phillies 2006  rep was Bobby Abreu.  Of the 30 players in the set about 18 remain active in 2013 (if you count retirees like Lance Berkman who played in '13 and Johan Santana who is on a roster, but has been DL'd all season.). Of those 18, 6 are currently Yankees (A-Rod, Ichiro, Mark Teixeira, Alfonso Soriano, Vernon Wells, and Travis Hafner).  Two are Red Sox (Ortiz and Jake Peavy). At least 3 were moved at or near this years trade deadline (Wells, Peavy and Soriano).

And finally 1 was recently suspended for being too lazy to get a prescription written by Dr Nick Riviera (Miguel Tejada)  

Other Voices
A recent Cardboard Junkie posting on the 2006 A&G Insert set.

Cardboard Junkie

Saturday, August 17, 2013

2005 Upper Deck Classics #125 Ryne Sandberg

Hall of Fame second baseman Ryne Sandberg came up to the Major Leagues with the Phillies. This is just about the only photo I ever see of Sandberg from that era where he is wearing a Phils uni.

2005 Upper Deck Classics #125 Ryne Sandberg

Here's to hoping the Phillies get Sandberg his first victory tonight.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2011 Topps Heritage #72 Philly's Men Up The Middle

The Phillies extended Chase Utley through the 2016 season and possibly beyond. While Utley's health has been questionable at best the last couple of season he has managed to stay on the field for most of the 2013 campaign.

Utley's Double Play mate at Shortstop, Jimmy Rollins, rarely gets injured and the two of them have spent a decade as the Phillies middle infield. 

2011 Topps Heritage #72 Philly's Men Up the Middle

If the pair stay healthy they will be covering the Phillies Keystone through 2015. This doesn't make them Alan Trammel and Lou Whitaker, who played 1,918 games together, but it will make them one of the longest running DP combos in the games history. 


Jayson Stark


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Reading the Competition: 2011 Topps Heritage #76 Freddie Freeman (RC)

The Braves currently carry the best record in baseball and this week the Phillies are in Atlanta to face the NL East division leaders.  

As the best team in the league the Braves have a couple of guys that are being discussed as MVP candidates.  One of those players is First Baseman Freddie Freeman

Freeman is among the top ten in several offensive categories on the NL Leaderboards. He is third in the league in RBI (79) and 5th in OBP (.390).  In 2011 Freeman was runner up to teammate Craig Kimbrel for Rookie of the Year. This season Freddie made his first All-Star team

Freddie Freeman is in his 3rd full season and he won't turn 24 for another month, as you can tell his career is off to a pretty good start. So good that the #1 age relavant comp for Freeman is Hall of Famer Eddie Murray.   

2011 Topps Heritage #76 Freddie Freeman (RC)

Warning shot for 2014 Topps Heritage.  I am a pretty big fan of the original 1962 Topps design. With 2011 Heritage, Topps proved to me that it isn't all about design. There were way to many headshots and hatless pix in 2011 Heritage - when paging thru a binder the set looks pretty bland.

That being said the Freddie Freeman pops a little since it isn't a head shot. I do have a question.  One question, What the heck is with the lighting.  There is a pink square of light on the side of Freddie's cap and face - kind of an oddity on a baseball card.  must be the sun going down at Disney.  


2011 Topps Heritage #76 Freddie Freeman (RC) b-side

If you can read the -toon here you find that Freeman was the Braves 2010 minor league player of the year.  The Phils 2010 player of the year went to outfielder Domonic Brown, who is in the middle of his own breakout season.

1962 Topps #76
The #76 card from the original 1962 Topps set belonged to then Milwaukee Brave Howie Bedell who went on to play with the Phillies.  With any luck we will be featuring Bedells 62T card later this week.

Baseball Card Database

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sloppy Topps: 2012 Topps Cole Hamels Retros - seeing double?

One of the problems with producing both Archives and Heritage is that Topps is cannibalizing their designs at such a rate that a new release of any retro product gets a yawn.

To make matters worse, Topps will occasionally mail in their effort. 

2012 Topps Archives #7 Cole Hamels
2012 Topps Heritage #132 Cole Hamels

I didn't build either of the 2012 Topps Selfies sets - yes I said Selfies, lets face it Archives and Heritage are at some small level a by-product of Topps narcissism - regardless, I didn't notice this bit of Topps sloppiness until recently.

Ok the Archives card looks a bit airbrushed, but I am pretty sure we are talking the same picture here.

Yes Neither Archives nor Heritage are high end products, but both sets run at over 30 cents/card retail. With those kinds of numbers, I would like to see at least a little bit of work. 2012 Topps Archives including the 41 card All-Time Fan Favorites short prints runs only 241 cards - how much work is it for Topps to get pix on those 241 cards that are unique?

Urban Dictionary
Baseball Cardpedia


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Night Baseball: 1960 Topps #132 Frank Howard (RC)

Night Owl Cards posted this card on Twitter this week to mark Frank Howard's Birthday (August 8th, 77th birthday). Tonight we are honoring the same card as the Dodgers host the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday Night Baseball.

1960 Topps #132 Frank Howard

The Sport Magazine 1960 Topps Rookie Star subset runs from card numbers #117-148. This is the 2nd time that Topps and Sport were on-card partners. The 1958 Topps All-Stars subset is a Sport Magazine collaboration. In 1959 Topps switched allegiances to the Sporting News for both the All-Stars subset and the Rookie Stars subset   

 Despite the muted orange background that dominates this sets presentation, I view the design as a winner. The confluence of the patriotic ribbon, bullseyed profile pic, and magazine cred combine to put this subset into the Win column.

And I must also note that Frank Howard wearing his cap slightly askew adds just a touch of cool to the head shot. 

2006 Topps Archives Reserve #34

Topps is apparently quite fond of the card as well.  They saluted the card by making a chromey reprint part of their 2006 Topps Archives Reserve set. 

1960 was a good year for Frank Howard who won the NL Rookie of the Year award over two Phillies (Pancho Herrera, Art Mahaffey) and future Hall of Famer Ron Santo. Howard tallied 23 Home Runs with 77 RBIs during his rookie campaign.  He would remain a power hitter throughout his career, leading the league in homers twice (1968, 1970) with the Washington Senators. 

Frank Howard spent 7 years in the Dodgers organization before being traded to the Senators following the 1964 season.  Along with his rookie of the year campaign the highlight of Frank Howard's Dodger career is their sweep of the Yankees in the 1963 World Series. Howard homered off of Whitey Ford in the final game of the series.

Howard stayed in baseball for a number of years after his career ended and I can recall seeing him as a coach with the Mets in the 1990s.  Despite being out of the game for 20-30 years he still dwarfed many of that eras current players (Baseball-ref lists Howard at 6'7", 255 lbs).

The last time I saw Frank Howard was at the final Washington Nationals game at RFK.  

2007 09 23 Frank Howard and Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals final game at RFK

This photo was a bit too blurry to make the cut as a Phungo card, and doesn't really show Frank Howard's commanding size, but I assure you that day he was a presence.

Vintage Baseball Cards  
Night Owl Cards

Thursday, August 8, 2013

1983 NL Champions: Ivan DeJesus 1985 Topps #791

Today we have the other half of the trade referred to in Tuesday's Ryne Sandberg posting.   

1985 Topps #791 Ivan DeJesus

It would be more proper to state that Ivan DeJesus was acquired for Larry Bowa and Ryne Sandberg was a throw in, regardless the two men were involved in the same trade.

As we noted previously, the deal is a frequently mentioned as a Phillies trade blunder. In defense of DeJesus and the Phillies side it is worth mentioning that the 1983 Phillies won the NL Pennant.  Ryne Sandberg may have hit 280 homers for the Cubs, but none of those teams went to the World Series.

The Phillies were the 3rd of seven clubs DeJesus played for in his 15 year career. Steady best describes his 3 seasons with the Phillies. In 1983 he batted .254 while playing 158 games as the teams starting shortstop. DeJesus also started all 9 games of the Phillies 83 post season.  

Ivan De Jesus had done some coaching but appears to currently out of baseball.  His son Ivan De Jesus Jr has had a couple of Major league call ups. He is currently in the Pirates organization as a second baseman with the Indianapolis Indians (batting .328 in 86 games)  

1983 NL Champions Series
Darren Daulton
Ivan DeJesus
John Denny
Garry Maddox
Tony Perez

Steve Carlton Passes Walter Johnson

Indianapolis Indians Official site

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

1983 Topps #83 Ryne Sandberg

This week the Phillies host the Cubs and Ryne Sandberg will be in the dugout opposite the Cubs for the first time since leaving the Chicago organization a few seasons ago.  Well for the first time at the Major League level anyway - Sandberg managed the Phillies AAA Lehigh Valley affiliate prior to 2013 and possibly faced a lower level Cubs affiliate. 

The trade of Ryne Sandberg by the Phillies to the Cubs in 1982 is often mentioned when the Phillies worst trade converstions arise. He was part of a deal that brought Ivan DeJesus to Philadelphia, DeJesus was part of the 1983 National League Champions. In my opinion any deal that garners a League Championship cannot be looked upon totally unfavorably.

Hall of Fame

Ryno of course went on to have a Hall of Fame career.  His 16 MLB seasons included 10 all-star appearances, 9 Gold Gloves ,and 7 Silver Sluggers all at second base. Sandberg finished his career with 282 home runs277 of those were as a second baseman, good enough for the position record at the time of his 1997 retirement (a number surpassed by Jeff Kent in 2004). In addtion to being a threat at the plate and on defensive Sandberg was also adept on the basebaths with 344 career SBs including 54 in 1985.    .

The Cubs reached the postseason twice during Sandberg's career in 1984 and 1989. Those two season are of course both part of the Cubs long World Series drought. 

1983 Topps #83 Ryne Sandberg RC

There are a number of non-mainstream Ryne Sandberg cards issued prior to 1983. These include his 1980 TCMA Reading Phillies card.  1983 featured cards from Donruss Fleer and Topps.   

In off condition I found the Topps Sandberg RC for under $3.  Not sure if that is a good deal for a card that can also be found in decent condition at reasonable prices. There are a dozen auctions of this card that ended under $5.  

Graded Card Pricing  

Grade $Price  Pop
PSA 7 NM $7.25 1
PSA 8 NM-MT  $7.55 1
PSA 8 NM-MT  $8.25 1
PSA 8 NM-MT  < $10.06 15
PSA 10 MINT $303 1

Ryne Sandberg HoF Index
1991 Score #815
1997 Topps Chrome (Card Show Dimers)
2005 UD Classics #125 managerial debut
2013 Topps Archives #48 (1972 Topps retro/blaster break)
2014 Heritage #57
2015 Heritage #411 - Rhyming card with 1966T Gene Mauch 


Monday, August 5, 2013

My Art Donovan Memory

About 15 years ago I was at a Wedding at the Valley Country Club which is owned and operated by the Art Donovan family.

The Wedding was definitely a special and fun night on its own merit, but there was an added bonus as Art Donovan happily joined the reception.

1956 Topps #36 Arthur Donovan RC (image swiped from football card database)

To the side of the main reception hall was a small bar decorated with memorabilia from Art Donovan's football career as well as items from other family members in the Donovan clan - Art's grandfather Mike Donovan was a boxer and a middleweight champion during the 1870s. Mike Donovan is a member of the International Boxing Hall of Fame, and Art of course is a member of the NFL HoF in Canton.

During the Wedding Reception Art hung out in the bar area and would talk with anyone who was interested.  He told us about the various memorabilia items and his grandfathers boxing career.  He gave special attention to the Best Man  - "Hey Best Man" he called out several times, making conversation and ordering up drinks. It was a fun night and I was glad to find a guy that came across as so friendly and engaging on TV was the same guy in real life.

If you have never seen Art Donovan on TV this is a link to a clip from Letterman in 1988.  Just past the 3 minute mark he discusses the Valley Country Club

Other Voices
Von's Cards

Valley Country Club
YouTube/David Letterman
football card database

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions