Friday, November 29, 2013

2013 Topps #US313 Mariano Rivera (SP Variation)

The recently retired Mariano Rivera turns 44 today. To mark the occasion Team Phungo is celebrating by taking a look at one of the Sandman's Short Printed Variations from this years Topps Update set.

2013 Topps #US313 Mariano Rivera (SP Variation)

There are actually 2 variations for this card. There are so many variations in 2013 Topps that I didn't realize that this card was a SP right away. This is a bit annoying but I am still glad to pick up the minor hit. It is a good looking card with a nice shot of Rivera entering his last all-star game - The partially show All-Star game logo helps highlight the photo.

The base version of this variation card has gone as low as $3.52 with 6 auctions concluding under $6.  Auctions for this card have ended as high as $19.49.

The Super Short Print version of the card which shows Rivera on the same night just emerging out of the Citifield Bullpen door has gone for a high of $142 and a low of $47 

Cardboard Connection

Thursday, November 28, 2013

2014 HoF candidate: 2002 Topps #552 Todd Jones

This years Hall of Fame Candidates with Phillies connections is even worse than last year.  Curt Schilling returns as does Phoenixville native Mike Piazza who never played with the Phillies but remains noteworthy in the area.  The lack of Phillies on this years ballots may partially explain their hopelessness in the 90s and early aughts.

Over the next couple days we will take a look at the Phils Alums on the ballot as well as some other notables

2002 Topps #552 Todd Jones

I am not sure if there are any cards out there of Todd Jones in a Phillies Uni.  This weeks theme appears to be 2002 Topps as this is a card of Todd Jones in the Phungo Collection.  Todd Jones is on the ballot mostly because he qualifies on the 10 year requirement and had a few good years.  He is the first to admit he is not a Hall of Famer.

The Todd Jones "I am not a Hall of Famer" is pretty refreshing in a baseball coverage world that will nitpick and name-call repeatedly between now thru July 2014 and beyond over this years ballot results.  To be honest I enjoy the debates - I don't get to invested in the arguments. There are guys I think are HoF and ones I don't - My opinion is certainly no more valid then the next bloggers and not nearly as valid as anybody in the BBWAA.

Todd Jones spent the bottom half of the 2004 season with the Phillies. In '04 Jones was a set up guy and the Phillies had Billy Wagner as the closer. Jones did earn one save for the Phils after Wagner blew a save in Florida.   

It was one of 319 Saves Jones had in his career which ranks him 16th all time. He once led the league in Saves with 42 for the 2000 Tigers for whom he spent half of his 16 year career.  The 42 saves were good enough to get Jones his only All-Star nod and his only Cy Young award votes. 

Jones was a member of 2 postseason squads including the 2006 Tigers who won the AL Pennant.  Jones earned 4 playoff saves for the '06 Tigers. The last save was the only game Detroit won in that World Series.

2014 HoF Candidates
Mike Piazza (2013 Profile)

Curt Schilling (2013 Profile)
2013 HoF Rejects (no longer on ballot)

Big League Stew

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

2002 Topps #331 Marlon Byrd

Against the wishes of Team Phungo the Phillies have brought back outfielder Marlon Byrd.

2002 Topps #331 Marlon Byrd

I just want the Phillies to get younger they go out and get a 36 year old outfielder.

Marlon Byrd is coming off a fine 2013, which may have been the best of his career. He knocked out 24 homers with a very nice .291 BA resulting in a 138 OPS+. If he puts up anywhere near those numbers in 2014 or 15 I will post my apologies to the Phillies Ruben Amaro and Marlon Byrd, but I just can't see it happeing.

2002 Topps Prospects
I may have mentioned this before - I think 2002 Topps is ugly. I suppose it isn't a bad design but boy do I dislike the color, what is that light brown/orange not sure. Beyond the color, I am also not sure why Topps felt it necessary to write their name on the cards twice - once as a logo and once at the top in "2002 Topps". This happened on the base cards not just cards that are included in the prospects subset from which this Marlon Byrd gem was culled.

Remember Subsets. Back before half the pack was Inserts there were subsets. Subsets where all the cards were packed together in one area instead of spread throughout the set like the recent League Leader abominations. In 2002 one of the Subsets was Prospects. 2002 Topps was released in 2 series, the Prospects subset runs from card #307(Jason Lane) thru #326 (Jason Bay RC) in series 1. For Series 2 the Prospect start at #671 (Juan Cruz RC) and finish at #695 (Dan Johnson RC).

The Phillies are represented by Byrd in S1 and Taylor Buchholz (#675) and  Nate Espy (#680) in S2. Jason Bay (photoed with the Expos) is probably ended up with the best career among the 50 prospects. Other Notables include Hank Blalock (#309), Freddy Sanchez (#313), Boof Bonser (#317), and Rich Harden (#687). 

Despite all my complaints regarding Marlon Byrd, I must note that out of the 45 prospects in the 2002 subset, Byrd is the last one standing. Jason Bay announced his retirement in 2013. and beyond that I cannot find anyone else that remains active. 

baseball card database

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Farewell: 2009 Phungo #37 Chad Durbin

On Monday we go the news that Chad Durbin retired. Durbin may have only been a middle reliever for the Phillies, but he performed that job for the 2008 World Champions. That season was among Chad’s best,  He had a 2.87 ERA (152 ERA+) in 87+ innings for the Champs. He was a member of three of the Phillies recent postseason teams (2008-2010) prior to moving on to Cleveland and Atlanta then returning to the Phillies for one last stretch this past season.

2009 Phungo #37 Chad Durbin

This will always be one of my favorite Phungo Cards and I have featured it a number of times. Partially because I like the card, and partially because there really aren't many Chad Durbin cards.

The photo was taken looking down into the Phillies Bullpen following the clinching W in the 2008 World Series. I met Chad Durbin at a card show in 2011 and told him about the picture, he mentioned that he remembered being in the bullpen celebrating. He said it was like being in a movie with all the bright lights shining down and people cheering.

By an account I have ever read Durbin is a really decent guy and seems to understand how lucky he has been. He also seems to be prepared for life after baseball. I read via twitter yesterday that he is working with a bat company and if I remember correctly even during his playing days he had an online project that helped connect prospects with scouts. I hope Durbin finds a post playing career with the Phillies or another organization. He's a good guy for the game to have around.

2008 World Series Champs

With the Durbin retirement announcement it felt like a good time to Where are they Now the 08 Champs:

Carlos Ruiz - With Phillies, Just signed to stay on through 2015.
Ryan Howard – With Phillies contracted forever for lots o $$
Chase Utley – Resigned with Phillies during 2013 through 2016ish
Pedro Feliz - Out of MLB appears to have last played with Camden Riversharks in 2012.
Jimmy Rollins - contracted with Phillies thru 2014 and possibly 2015
Pat Burrell – Retired after winning another World Series with the 2010 San Francisco Giants. Currently scouting with the Giants.
Shane Victorino – RF for the reigning World Series Champion Boston Red Sox. Selling his beard for charity.
Jayson Werth – playing RF for megabucks with division rival Washington Nationals

Cole Hamels – Phillies current Ace.
Jamie Moyer – Retired in 2012 at age of 49.
Brett Myers – pitched as reliever for Indians in 2013, Released on 8/29 and is currently a Free Agent.
Joe Blanton – was 2-14 for the 2013 Angels.
Kyle Kendrick – was in Phillies organization in 2013, but may be a free agent this winter.

Chris Coste – Retired, last played MLB in 2009. Has done pre-/post- on Phils Broadcasts.
Eric Bruntlett – Retired last MLB appearance 2009
Greg Dobbs – with the Marlins in 2013.
Geoff Jenkins – Game 5 of the 2008 World Series was Jenkins last MLB game ever.
Matt Stairs – Retired, last played MLB with 2011 Nats.
So Taguchi – Returned to play in Japan, retired in 2012.

JC Romero – Pitched in Indians and Nationals Minor League system in 2013
Scott Eyre – Retired after 2009 Season with the Phillies
Brad Lidge – Retired as a Philie in 2013. Last pitched in 2012 with Nationals
Ryan Madson – Has not pitched in the Majors since left Philadelphia as FA in 2011. He is currently a FA was last seen in the Angels org.
Clay Condrey - Last pitched in the Twins organization in 2010.
Chad Durbin – See Above


2013 11 27 - added Jimmy Rollins and Clay Condrey 

Friday, November 22, 2013

2011 Topps Opening Day PFP- 9 John F Kennedy

This is the other JFK first pitch card I wanted to post.

2011 Topps Opening Day PFP- 9 John F Kennedy

Not sure what is with the goofy proportions.  This is from a few months after the earlier post and is at the 1962 All-Star Game which was played on July 10th. The Home AL All-Stars took a 3-1 loss in the game.

At the top of the frame we see the note that #24 is at-bat - that refers to Dick Groat who represented the Pirates in the 1962 Series.

More JFK
2007 UD Masterpieces #47 - First Pitch April 9 1962
2013 Phungo #65 John F Kennedy - JFK Museum Statue
Night Owl Cards channels Billie Joel


2007 UD Masterpieces #47 John F Kennedy

2007 UD Masterpieces #47 John F Kennedy

Going to post a couple of cards as everyone is noting the anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. This card commemorates Kennedy throwing out the first pitch at the Washington Senators Opening Day in  1962. 

This was also the first baseball game at then named District of Columbia or DC Stardium. The stadium was of course renamed Robert F Kennedy Stadium following the assassination of John F Kennedy's brother Robert.

2007 UD Masterpieces has a handful of Presidential first pitch cards. Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton are both included in the set.  

Also wanted to note that While Topps seems to draw a lot of criticism for foiling, I have never heard a complaint regarding Masterpieces use of foil.  I have tilted the card a bit here to minimize the effect, but the UD Masterpieces Logo is larger than the subject name and displays in foil top center in the frame.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

1983 NL Champions: Gary Matthews 1984 Topps #637 Phillies Team Leaders

I am going to see if we can wrap up the 1983 Phillies postings before the end of the year.  Today we look at 1983 NLCS MVP and current Phils TV color analyst Gary "Sarge" Matthews.

1984 Topps #637 Team Leaders Gary Matthews and John Denny

Sarge had a mediocre regular season for the Phillies.  He hit .258 with 10 Home Runs and 50 RBIs.  Those numbers are far below what Matthews expected from himself throughout is career, but as noted on the above card the .258 led the team. Says a lot about what that team had to do to win and the importance of batting average vs on-base pct (Mike Schmidt led the team with a respectable .399 OBP).

The Phillies Room is posting an interesting series with Custom Phillies Team Leader cards that homage the 1973 Topps LL format. In his columns Jim is noting the 5 best and worst leaders for each category over the last 40 years. The Batting Average Custom is here. As you can see in the posting, Gary Matthews .258 in 1983 ranked one slot above the bottom (Jimmy Rollins who led the 2012 offense with a .250!!!)

During the NLCS the veteran left fielder made up for his sup-par year by hitting .429 with 3 Home Runs over 4 games.  The third Home Run gave the Philles a 3-0 first inning lead which they would not relinquish.

Matthews is also homered in Game 3 of the World Series, it was his last dinger as a Phillies player.  Just prior the 1984 seaosn Matthews was traded to the Cubs along with Bob Dernier for Bill Campbell and Mike Diaz.

Numbers and Accolades
Gary Matthews played 16 seasons in the majors. As a Giant, he won the rookie of the year award in 1973.  He made one all-star appearance in 1979. In 1984 he led the league in OPB at .410, his best Offense WAR finish was 4th in the strike shortened 1981 season.

1983 NL Champions Series   

Darren Daulton
Bo Diaz    
John Denny
Ivan DeJesus
Garry Maddox  

Joe Morgan 
Tony Perez
Pete Rose

Steve Carlton Passes Walter Johnson (Strikeouts) Steve Carlton 300 Wins

The Phillies Room

Monday, November 11, 2013

Interview: Alex Novick Topps Assistant Brand Manager - Bowman

Last weekend during the Arizona Fall League All-Star Game or Fall Star Game MLB network featured an interview with Bowman Assistant Brand Manager Alex Novick. The event is heavily sponsored by Bowman and the segment was more promotional piece than interview.

Alex Novick with Addison Russell autograph card (also Paul Severino center with partial of Joe Magrane)

The discussion took place over a half inning which ran about 4 1/2 minutes. Novick stated that the relationship between AFL and Bowman has been extended 3 years. It was unclear if that was inclusive of 2013 or if the extension is 2014-16.

Other observations made by Novick included the following:
- "It's All about the Autographs Now,  Everybody wants the Autographs"
- "Almost all of our boxes have one autograph in them"
- "We have some products that have actually have 5 autographs in them"
- "Bowman has 42 of 54 players selected for Fall Star Game signed to Autograph deals" .
- "Bowman has deals with "About" 40% of the players on AFL rosters"
- "That is what our collectors want, That is where the value is"
- "Bowman is the first time a player will ever see themselves in a Major League Uniform on a baseball card, Typically it's the most collectible card they'll have throughout their career."
- "Our Editors back in New York put a lot time and a lot of effort into picking the best shots possible" 

Those quotes aren't quite verbatim, but I think I captured the spirit of Novick's points. I have felt that card collecting has become driven by high end and Topps appears to agree.

Addison Russell
Novick displayed the Addison Russell Bowman Platinum card because he was batting at the beginning of the inning. Russell grounded out 4-3.  When asked about the value of the card Novick stated "$20-$30".

I am not sure if the card is a serialed parallel, but I found that a similar looking Addison Russell Bowman Platinum closed at auction at $7.77 - that is 60% under Novick's $20+ estimate. However, a "Platinum Ice" version of the card serial#d/10 did go for $110.

Joe Magrane
During the segment Joe Magrane (partially shown in the lefthand side of the frame above) added the following player perspective on trading cards:

"Sy Berger was the most popular guy in Spring Training....(He'd) hand us our Topps Checks and we'd get our cards and it's one of the biggest thrills. That was one of the biggest knew you arrived when you saw a baseball card of yourself"

Sunday, November 10, 2013

2013 Topps Hanger Pack Match Race - Target Red v Vanilla

Earlier this week we took a look at a regular Hanger pack of 2013 Topps Update. Today we are looking at the Target Red version

2013 Topps Update #US58 Kevin Fandsen

Kevin Frandsen is the lone Phillies player in the pack. Countwise thats a push between the two packs, but Kevin Frandsen was a higher contributor as a bench player than Mike Adams was as a dinged up reliever. ADVANTAGE: Target.

The Vanilla
Andrew McCutchen and the Pirates were in the playoffs, nice to see him get some national recognition. This years Postseason Hero David Ortiz on a checker card. Got a bunch of Rookie Cards in this pack including Anthony Rendon and Jose Fernandez.

Among the Vanilla cards in the regular Hanger Pack was a Mariano Rivera SP - ADVANTAGE: Vanilla


Target came up with a pair of Hall of Famers in Koufax and Reggie plus the 71 Topps Mariano Rivera mini. The Vanilla pack had Jim Palmer.  ADVANTAGE: Target
Between the two packs I had a bunch of Twins inserts. This pack was Dodgers heavy - so this Hanger Pack Match race turned out to be a celebration of the 1965 World Series

The Red
I like the Red Cards, Henry Urrutia is another quality RC.  Unless your set building the colored parallels are always a bonus to me ADVANTAGE: Target.

Hey Wait that is only 4 Red Parallels

Shelby Miller RC was also amongst the Red Cards. The Target pack also contained a couple noteworthy Rookie Debut Cards Jurickson Profar and Hyun-Jin Ryu.

Rookie Card Bonanza - ADVANTAGE: Target

It is so easy when you break it down by the numbers Target wins 4-1. Although one could easily argue the magnitude of the Mariano SP offsets anything that was in the Target pack.

The five Red Cards turned out to be the only real difference in the packs. 

Check My Math - the two packs by the numbers:

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Welcome to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Greg Luzinski: 1971 Topps #439

Tonight Greg Luzinski is being inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame

1971 Topps #439 Greg Luzinski/Scott Reid (RC)

Not only was Luzinski a great slugger for the Phillies in the late 70s and a member of the 1980 World Championship squad - He also remains active in the community and is a team ambassador. 
It is great to see him get inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame. This is the 10th induction class for the PSHoF and they still don't have a home, but it is good to know that enough interests remains and that they continue to host annual inductions and dinners.

This years baseball honorees include 1930s Phillies pitcher Bucky Walters and Umpire Shag Crawford. Other notable inductees from across the world of sports include Eddie George, John LeClair, The Eagles Bob Brown, and Andrew Toney.  For more information about this years class check out the PSHoF site here.   

For the Collector
The split Greg Luzinski Rookie Card above is regarded a tad above a common. I picked this off condition card out of a pretty decent buck bin at a show in 2009. In recent ebay auctions the card has finished as low as $2.96. On the high end the card finished at $5.91 ungraded - There was a $76 Lot with a graded Luzinski RC, but the anchor of that lot was a 62 Topps Clemente (graded EX).       

More Luzinski
2003 Fleer Ultra All Veterans Stadium Team #7 of 12 Greg Luzinski

2008 Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Inductees 
Mickey Vernon with Links to additional postings
someday I will get around to returning to posting on the other classes.

Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

2013 Topps Update Hanger Pack Match Race - Target Red vs Vanilla

Really this isn’t a competition. Either you like the red parallels or you don’t but I wanted to take a few minutes to examine the contents of a Hanger Pack of each.

Today we open our Hanger Pack analysis with the vanilla non-red Parallel version.

2013 Topps Update #US30 Mike Adams

This is the one Phillies card I picked up in the 72 cards pack.  Low-level card , the Phils needed Adams to sure up their shaky bullpen. - Unfortunately Mike Adams spent most of 2013 on the DL . He is on a 2 year stretch, hopefully his 2014 campaign will be more productive.  I believe this is my first card of Adams in Phillies pinstripes.

The Adams card was one of 66 Base Cards I picked up in the Hanger. The base cards also included both Zach Wheeler RCs

2013 Topps Update #US220 Zach Wheeler (rc  Rookie Debut)

2013 Topps Update #US50 Zach Wheeler (rc)

I assume the rookie debut cards are part of the base set as they are in the regular checker.  The b-side of the cards give the players line for the game and have a related caption. I like that the Rookie Debut note on the front of the card is a stamp - even if it is Chrome.   

More Vanilla

Among the highlights of the Base Cards were The nice shot of Mariano Rivera entering his final All-Star game. Phungo Favorite Wil Myers RC.  Reliever Brian Wilson has his signature look, with a new ballclub. The Drake Britton RC nicely displays the Boston Strong logo.


71 Topps Mini of Clayton Kershaw and the Chasing History of Jim Palmer highlight this set of inserts 

Making their Mark

I believe The Make their Mark cards are an insert that notes a big game for a player early in their career.  The Kyle Gibson card is from his DebutMarcell Ozuna's card is from his first HR which occurred a few days after his debut - unfortunately the HR was in a game versus the Phillies :(

That is it for our first Hanger Pack.  Tomorrow we will take a look at the Target Hanger.

2013 Topps - Looking Back


Monday, November 4, 2013

Spats Grudges and Card Shows - Mitch Williams v Lenny Dykstra

I spent the last decent weather day of the year in a mall at a card show. Yes I questioned the wisdom of the decision, but Darren Daulton was there and he is battling brain cancer. The man had provided me with many baseball memories and I wasn’t sure when I would get a chance to see him again.

Autograph collecting at shows isn’t really my thing, the lines and cost really don’t fit my collection budget. But I do enjoy going to the shows to check out cards, take pictures and chat with other collectors. Seeing the players off the field is always fun and sometimes interesting.

Apparently Saturday was more interesting than most shows as Mitch Williams and Lenny Dykstra got themselves into a snit.

Mitch Williams
Unfortunately, I left before the incident. I don’t have much to add to the story other than I saw Mitch close to the end of his signing stint and he appeared annoyed, which is converse to the attitude he generally has on TV as a commentator and at the few events I have seen him appear in the past.

Darren Daulton
Darren Daulton  appeared pretty decent for a man in such a dire situation. He was in good spirits and was willing to spend time with fans and take pictures. Hard to believe that a man with enough issues already had to keep Mitch Williams and Lenny Dykstra from getting into a fistfight.

Friday, November 1, 2013

1989 Topps #187 Darren Daulton - autograph appearance Granite Run Mall Media PA Sat November 2nd

Darren Daulton will be one of several 1993 Phillies at the Granite Run Mall this weekend for a sponsored card/autograph show.

1989 Topps #187 Darren Daulton

As Phillies fans know, this past summer Darren Daulton was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Poppell is billing this is a rare public appearance and sadly it could one of Daulton's last in the Philadelphia area.

I plan on hitting the show for at least of part of Saturday afternooon, Daulton is scheduleds for 11-1. Other 1993 Phillies expected to appear are Mitch Williams, Lenny Dykstra, Mickey Morandini and Dave Hollins. The Phillies 2 World Champinonship teams will be represented by Dallas Green, Brett Myers, Pedro Feliz and Eric Bruntlett. Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers is also on the Schedule.

There will also be a contingent of Flyers Alums in the house including Rick MacLeish and Jim Watson.

For More info on times and pricing click here.

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions