Sunday, May 31, 2015

Sunday Night Baseball: Angels Rod Carew 1981 Topps #100

With Sunday night baseball in Anaheim for the Tigers and Angels we take a look at Hall of Famer Rod Carew

1981 Topps #100 Rod Carew

Rod Carew spent seven of his 19 seasons with the California Angels. While his best years were behind him by the time Carew got to LA, he still was an important contributor to the team. Carew was a member of each of the Angels first two playoff clubs (1979, 1982), and represented the team in six All-Star games. A hitting machine Rod Carew ranks 2nd among all Angels in both Batting Average (Vladimir Guerrero .319/.314) and On Base Pct (Mike Trout - .395/.393).

The Angels retired Rod Carew's #29 on August 12th 1986. He was the first player to be so honored by the club who had previously retired the #26 for owner Gene Autry (26 was chosen to symbolize the 26th man)

Angels Retired Numbers (photo 2014 0523)

Of course it is the entire career of Rod Carew that makes the Panamanian born infielder a Hall of Famer. He earned an MVP and Rookie of the Year award with the Twins while racking up 2082 of his 3053 career hits (Ranks 23 in MLB history).

Carew's .328 batting average ranks 34th all time and would top all active major leaguers (Miguel Cabrera .321 as of 2015 0516)

His seven batting titles rank fourth all-time behind Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, and Tony Gwynn.

1981 Topps
This is Rod Carew second Topps base card as an Angel. 1981 was the fifth time that Topps awarded Carew a Hero Number, an honor they would bestow on the hitter 10 times during his playing career.

1981 Topps #100 Rod Carew (b-side)

There he is Rod Carew with close to 1900 games under his belt and a career .333 batting average. 2394 hits down, 659 or so to go 

Sources and Links
Phungo Rod Carew HoF Index
baseball card database
LA Times (Jim McCurdie)
LA Angels

Friday, May 29, 2015

2010 05 29 Roy Halladay Throws Perfect Game vs Marlins

Yes In a year where I am devoting an entire series to No-Hitters, I almost missed the Anniversary of Roy Halladay's Perfect Game.

2011 Topps Heritage #312 Roy Halladay Shows Perfect Form (Image swiped from the Phillies Room)

The Perfecto that Halladay pitched in Miami five years ago was the third shutout of the young season for the Phillies Ace. In what is likely a Hall of Fame Career, 2010 may have been Halladay's career peak. He led the NL in WAR for all players, it was one of four times that Halladay Led his league in Pitching WAR.

That was good enough for Halladay to pick up his 2nd Cy Young Award however The MVP award that season went to Joey Votto. Votto was a member of the Cincinnati Reds Team Halladay No-Hit in game one of the NLDS.

Sources and Links
the Phillies Room
1990: Year of the No-Hitter Index

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Snapshots: 2015 05 23 Cooperstown Classic

Couple of Pictures from the Cooperstown Classic which was played just down the street from the Baseball Hall of Fame on Saturday May 23rd 2015.

Team Knucksie: Yount, Fingers, Niekro, Baldelli, Trammell, A Soriano, Pudge, B Molina

The teams were broken down loosely into AL and NL squads although the AL Captain was Braves Rep Phil Niekro.

For the Alan Trammell supporters here we have a pix of the Tigers Shortstop at the Hall of Fame.

The Wizards: Smith, Glavine, Steve Woodard, Jack Wilson, E Taubansee, Kerry Robinson, Mark Loretta, John Franco, David Delucci, Ron Cey, Vinny Castilla, Bobby Abreu - Tony Perez Foreground, Baldelli and Trammell background

Apologies to Night Owl, but Ron Cey is shielded here. The Phillies had at least six alums in the game including Abreu, David Delucci and Perez.

Roy Oswalt vs Rick Ankiel

As you can see it was a Beautiful day for a game. Short time Phillies Pitcher Roy Oswalt represented the Astros.

Jim Eisenreich & Bobby Abreu

A pair of Phillies Outfielders at First Base.

Ozzie Smith and Rick Ankiel

 NL Captain Ozzie Smith taking care of some third base coaching duties

Jeff Idelson with Phil Niekro 

HoF Prez Jeff Idelson and Phil Niekro likely discussing Pete Rose's reinstatement prospects

Vinny Castilla 

Prior to the game there was a Home Run contest which was won by Colorado Rockies Thirdbaseman Vinny Castilla

Aaron Rowand

The Bob Feller award for Game MVP was given to Aaron Rowand who Homered off Steve Avery. For the HOF game Rowand who played a couple of seasons with the Phillies Represented the Chicago White Sox. 

Bob Dernier

Good Guy Award goes to Bob Dernier, although it may not be just because he is fan friendly. Bobby D was the RF ball boy and happened to be next to the stands and signed dozen of autographs between innings.

Quick Notes
--I have never seen a steal of Home in a real Game but saw one at the Classic, Brady Anderson the back end of a double steal.
--Saw two players lose bats into the stands (Ankiel, Homer Bush). That probably should not happen in an exhibition game of this type.
--I am pretty sure Brian Holman's career ended due to injury and I can see why. It took everything the man had to push the ball 60 ft 6 inches.
--Greg Cadaret who I am not at all familiar with was awful. In a game where the only job for a pitcher is to get the ball over the plate and every pitch is a strike Cadaret could not throw one.
--The Baseball Hall of Fame Jersey is Ugly (see Robin Yount in Pix 1 or Ozzie in pix 2 above)
Sources and Links
Baseball Hall of Fame

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

1990 Topps #515 Len Dykstra

Yesterday we featured a card for a no-hitter that almost happened. Today we have a card of the player that foiled the John Smoltz Attempt.

1990 Topps #515 Len Dykstra

Lenny Dykstra broke up the No-Hitter by pulling a double down the right field line. Dykstra would eventually even score to end the shutout as well, but Smoltz held on for the 6-1 victory.

1990 Topps
This is the first Topps Base card to feature Lenny Dykstra in a Phillies uniform. Biggest oddity here is that he is Len rather than Lenny. He is almost always Lenny to me. If I am running off stats in a formal way I may say something like "In 1993 Len Dykstra led the league in both Hits AND Walks, That's tough to do".  More typically I would say, "Man I would love to party with Lenny Dykstra sometime, but I fear it would kill me"

According to the Baseball Card Database Topps issued a dozen base cards of Dykstra. He is not referred to as Lenny on any of them. 

Sources and Links
1990: Year of the No-Hitter
baseball card database

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

1990: Year of the No-Hitter - May 27th Near-Hitter John Smoltz

Today we have another Year of the No-Hitter posting which is only a Lo-Hitter or Near-Hitter. On May 27th a then 24 Year Old John Smoltz was facing the Phillies at the Vet on Beach Towel Day and he took a No-Hitter into the 9th inning.

1991 Score #208 John Smoltz

Unfortunately for Smoltz it was not to be, One of the three remaining outs he needed was Lenny Dykstra who was batting .408 going into play that day.  With a 6-0 lead Smoltz decided to challenge the hottest hitter in baseball and Lenny doubled down the right field line.

Box Notes
The man that broke up Smoltz's No-Hitter was Lenny Dykstra, who was batting .408 going into the gaem. The Phillies staring pitcher that day was Terry Mulholland, whom we will hear from a bit later in our Year of the No-Hitter series.

Smoltz's Reaction
When asked about the Near Miss post game Smoltz referred to Dave Stieb who had lost not one but two no-hitters in the ninth inning:

 "I never knew what Dave Steib went through. Now I do - even though mine was one out earlier." 

Like the aforementioned Terry Mulholland we will here from Dave Stieb later in this series as well....

1991 Score #208 John Smoltz

The documented in the first paragraph of text on Smoltz's 1991 Score Card. I had several options of cards to post noting the near-hitter and Score's recognition of Smoltz's big day made the choice easy.

It's in the Cards
A lot of reasons are given for Topps relegation to the second tier of trading cards in the 90s - Holograms, Photography, Relics, Autos etc. One I rarely see mentioned is the difference in copy. Check the text on the back of the 1991 Topps Smoltz Card.

1991 Topps #157 John Smoltz (b-side)

One line on John Smoltz's 1988 Season at Richmond. The A-Side is fine enough though.

1991 Topps #157 John Smoltz

Nice early card of Smoltz pre-mustache. There is a lot to like about 1991 Topps, nice design lots of great shots throughout the set. I have always been fond of cards where an element of the photo pops out beyond the border a bit, On the Smoltz card his pitching hand extends just beyond the edge as if he is going to throw a fastball through the frame.

Sources & Links
1990 Year of the No-Hitter Index

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Night Baseball Rangers @ Yankees: Army Veteran Whitey Ford

It is Memorial Day Weekend and the Yankees are on Sunday Night Baseball.

2012 Cooperstown Collection With Honors #8 Whitey Ford

Between the vacations, barbecues and family get together it is a good time to remember the Veterans and servicemen and women who were less fortunate than Whitey Ford.

Ford Served in the Army from 1951-1952 during the Korean Conflict.

2012 Cooperstown Collection With Honors #8 Whitey Ford (b-side)

As noted on the back of his Panini card, his assignment Playing Baseball at Fort Monmouth was far less dangerous than say Ted Williams piloting fighter planes over the Pacific.

Cool fun fact on the card. Whitey Ford wore is Army uniform to throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Yankees 1951 Opening Day game vs Boston. Now that would be a helluva shot for the the Topps First Pitch Series.

Sources and Links
Phungo Whitey Ford HoF Index
Baseball Hall of Fame
Panini card
Cardboard Connection

Thursday, May 21, 2015

1990 Year of the No-Hitter Catcher Lance Parrish: 1988 Topps #95

A few weeks ago we featured a column on an Angels combined no-hitter pitched by Mark Langston and Mike Witt. I have heard it suggested that the credit for a committee no-no be given to the Catcher. The man behind the dish that day was former Phils catcher Lance Parrish. 

1988 Topps #95 Lance Parrish

The Langston/Witt No-Hitter was not a first for Lance Parrish, in 1984 he had caught Jack Morris' gem as a member of the Detroit Tigers.

Somewhere between the between Jack Morris and  Langston-Witt Parrish spent a forgettable two seasons with the Phillies. In the five years prior to signing with the Phillies as a free agent, Parrish averaged 28 Home Runs a season. Compare that to a two season total of 32 Homers as a Phil. His batting averages for the two seasons were .245 and .215, yet somehow he was distinguished enough to represent the 1988 Phillies in the All-Star game.

Hall of Famer Gary Carter started the 1988 ASG, and was eventually lifted for a .215 hitter.  

Finally, just to reiterate between the age of 21 to 35 Lance Parrish played for three teams, He caught No-Hitters for two of those teams. None of those teams were the Philadelphia Phillies.

Sources and Links
Year of the No-Hitter Index

Monday, May 18, 2015

Bobby Abreu to represent Phillies at 2015 Hall of Fame Classic

The Hall of Fame Classic is an Alumni game played at Doubleday Field in downtown Cooperstown.

1998 Topps #351 Bob Abreu

Like the Major League All-Star game the HoF Classic gathers players from each Major League Team to play in the contest. In addition to the Bobby Abreu several other Phillies Alums will be on hand representing other teams including Tony Perez, Bob Dernier, Jim Eisenreich, Aaron Rowand, Roy Oswalt, and David Delluci.

There are six Hall of Famers scheduled to be on hand for the day. The Team Captains are Ozzie Smith and Phil Niekro with Perez, Tom Glavine, Robin Yount and Rollie Fingers acting as coaches.  

For further information on the classic click here.

1998 Topps
This is the first Topps issue Bobby Abreu on a Phillies card. He was known as Bob Abreu to Topps until 2003.

2011 60 Years of Topps #60YOT-47 Bob Abreu (right)

The 1998 Abreu card made the cut for the 60 Years of Topps series.  The name plate on the cards is different. The same style of Phillies logo shows up on both cards but on the 60YoT version on the riht the liberty bell is white, while on the original it is red.

The Flip side of the card mentions Roberto Clemente - I assume the connection is both are Latin American players. But they could have gone with a more direct connection of one of Clemente's countryman like Roberto Alomar, Ivan Rodriguez, or Carlos Delgado.

2011 60 Years of Topps #60YOT-47 Bob Abreu (b-side)

Of course my other less likely thought is that Topps mentions Roberto Clemente here because they used to call him Bob, just like they at one time referred to Bobby Abreu as Bob.

Below we have a picture of the box Top referred to in the text of the 60YoT card. 

1998 Topps Box (image swiped from Baseball Cardpedia)

Sources and Links
Baseball Hall of Fame
baseball cardpedia
Topps Baseball Card Database

Game Report 2015 0516: DiamondBacks @ Phillies

An hour-plus rain delay could not spoil the fun for team Phungo as we got to see a 7-5 victory for the good guys who ran their win streak to four games.

This may not have been a great game for a bunch of reasons but there was a lot of offense.
Jeff Francoeur 2015 05 16

The Phillies had Francoeur in Right and Grady Sizemore in left. Ryne Sandberg had not paired those corners with Odubel Herrera in the outfield prior to Saturday night, The way things worked out it may happen more often in the future. Frenchy had a home run and Sizemore had his first four hit game since 2008

In the above photo that is former Reading Phillies farmhand Tuffy Gosewisch wearing the tools of ignorance.

Jerome Williams 2015 05 16

I wanted to get a decent shot of Williams and the pink glove that he wears to honor his mother and her battle with cancer. 

Archie Bradley 2015 05 16

I had been checking the probables in anticipation of a potential start by Archie Bradley. Aside from seeing a Phils W my game priorities are seeing opposition stars and buzz worthy prospects.

Saturday night was Archie Bradley's first start since being struck by a line drive on April 28th.

During the rain delay a bunch of fans wearing Bradley jerseys took shelter near my spot on the rail. I got involved in a short conversation with Archie's uncle. About a dozen family and friends had made the journey out from Bradley's native Oklahoma to see his return. They all seemed very nice and enjoyed the trip despite the young pitchers tough outing.

Yasmany Tomas 2015 0516

The Diamondback Cuban rookie Yasmany Tomas had a good game which included his first career Home Run.  However at the eye test level I felt as if he was a bit of a free-swinger. I am not sure if he is going to make it by swinging at the first pitch in every AB. He also appeared to have an issue communicating on the bases - At some point early in the game when Tomas was on 2nd base it was obvious he was having communication issues with a coach on the bench.  

2015 05 16 Maikel Franco

The D-Backs were not the only team sending out prospects on Saturday Night. Phillies Rookie Maikel Franco, who got  a look last September, made his 2nd start of 2014 and collected his first hit.

Jim Cramer acknowledges crowd prior to ceremonial first pitch 2015 0516

Philadelphia native and host of Mad Money Jim Cramer threw out the first pitch for the game. Perhaps he was trying to get a card in the Topps First Pitch Insert.
2015 0516 Citizens Bank Park

While it is tough putting up with a rain delay, it can still be fun to watch at a stadium. Most folks don't have this type of view of rainstorm at their disposal and Saturday night's rainfall was pretty epic. It is hard to see it in a picture, but in the shot above I did try to capture the sheets of rain migrating across the field.

I never played baseball above Little League, therefore I am no authority but IMO the D-backs looked AWFUL on their cutoff formations. At least twice I thought they would have had a play at second had they had a player covering.

Jerome Williams was able to resume pitching after the rain delay which was officially listed as 1 hour and 17 minutes.

Freddy Galvis can foul off a pitch. Not sure if he will hit .340+ all year but the fact that he can battle with 2 strikes is a nice asset to have.

Apparently AZ reliever Brad Ziegler was drafted by the Phillies. This is something I either never knew or had forgotten

We have noted this before but it is worth reiterating - No matter how bad the Phils team is there will be a solid tailgate crowd. 

Source and Links
Chase's Calendar of Events

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sunday Night Baseball Cardinals HoF Whitey Herzog 1983 Topps #186

With Sunday Night Baseball in St Louis for the evening we take a look at Cardinals Hall of Fame Manager Whitey Herzog

1984 Topps #186 Whitey Herzog

Whitey Herzog led the Cardinals to three NL Pennants and a World Championship during 11 seasons as the clubs manager. His 822 wins with the Cardinals rank 3rd in team history behind fellow Hall of Famers Tony LaRussa and Red Schoendienst.

1983 Topps #186 Whitey Herzog (b-side)

This 1983 Topps card captures Herzog fresh off the Cardinals World Series victory. Note that the final line of the card tells us his 1982 Cardinals squad finished in first place in the East with a 92-70 record, but it does not mention the teams World Championship.

Herzog's additional HoF Qualifications  1985 Manager of the Year, 1281 career victories, 26 Post Season Ws, 6 division Wins, and two 100 win seasons.

Above in Whitey Herzog's playing stats one sees that his career lasted eight seasons with four clubs. He was primarily a backup outfielder who never started more than 100 games. In 1959 he had an impressive .446 OBP in 157 plate appearance, the following year he had career highs in HR (8) , RBI (38)  and Runs Scored (43).

1983 Topps Manager Cards
This non-sequential Managers subset of the 1983 flagship contains some interesting names, HoFs Herzog, LaRussa (White Sox), Frank Robinson (Giants), Joe Torre (Braves), Tommy LaSorda, Dick Williams (Padres), Earl Weaver, Bobby Cox (Blue Jays), and Sparky Anderson (Tigers). The Phillies manager in the set is Pat Corralles.

Whitey Herzog HoF Index 
1958 Topps (forthcoming)
1960 Topps #92 (HoF Election)

Sources and Links

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Phillies Face BA 2015 #25 Prospect Archie Bradley

With the Phillies going through a fairly painful part of the rebuilding process one has to find other things to enjoy at the ballpark. One of the reasons I go is to see some of the opposing teams players. In the early portion of the season the Phillies have faced several pitchers that are projected to be starts.

In the current homestand the Phillies have seen Gerrit Cole and Matt Harvey. On Saturday Night they face Diamondbacks rookie Archie Bradley who was ranked #25 on Baseball America's Prospect list going into the season.

2013 Bowman Chrome Rising Through the Ranks #RTR-AB mini

Archie Bradley was drafted #7 overall out of High School in 2011. That draft has already been pitching rich as we mentioned earlier this week in our Gerrit Cole posting. In addition to Cole, Sonny Grey and Jose Fernandez came out of that first round.

2013 Rising Thru the Ranks
RTR is a 30 card insert set for 2013 BowChro with each Major League Team represented. The checker includes plenty of players that have already made the leap to the Majors including Joc Pederson, Jorge Soler, Xander Bogaerts, Addison Russell, and Gregory Polanco. The Phillies are represented in the set by Shortstop Roman Quinn who is currently at AA Reading.

2013 Bowman Rising Through the Ranks #RTR-AB mini (b-side)

The back of each card contains a mini synopsis of the players background with no statline.

Sources and Links
cardboard connection

Garo Yepremian (1944-2015)

Woke up this morning to the sad news that NFL Kicker Garo Yepremian had died.

1999 Fleer SI Autograph Collection Garo Yepremian

Garo Yepremian was the kicker for the undefeated Superbowl Champion 1972 Miami Dolphins. He is also known for an interception he tossed in that Superbowl that nearly cost the Dolphins their perfect season.

The above card features the cover of Sports Illustrated from the week that Yepremian kicked the game ending field goal for the longest game ever played. On Christmas Day of 1971 the Dolphins Beat the Kansas City Chiefs 27-24 in double overtime. Yepremian kicked a 37 yarder for the Divisional Playoff game victory 7 minutes and 40 seconds into the 2nd OT. The games total time was 82:40 outdoing the second longest game by about 5 minutes (77:54 Dallas Texans 20, Houton Oilers 17 - December 23 1962)

Garo Yepremian is not in the Hall of Fame, however he was elected to the 1970s All-Decade team by the HoF.  Strangely, the only kicker in the Hall happens to be Yepremian's opposition in the longest game, Jan Stenerud. During that 1971 Chiefs vs Dolphins playoff game Stenerud missed a 22 yard field goal at the end of regulation, that would have prevented the tilt from going into overtime.

Local Guy
I have no idea how Yepremian ended up here, but Garo Yepremian lived in the Philadelphia Area. I remember for a time he hosted a weekend fishing show on the NBC affiliate in Lancaster PA. He died at a hospital in Media PA, which is about 20 minutes from Phungo HQ. I believe the hospital is across the street from a mall where I have gone to a couple of card shows.

Brush with Greatness
This isn't my BWG story but was related to me by co-workers. A few colleagues of mine were out for a golf outing and needed an extra to fill out their foursome. They pick up a fourth and filling out the scorecard this conversation ensues:

Colleague: "Gary?"

Fourth: "No, Garo"

Colleague: "You mean like Garo Yepremian"

Yepremian: "I am Garo Yepremian"

My friends said Yepremian was a good guy and wore a baseball cap that honored the undefeated season. The youngest guy in the group who is probably in his early 40s didn't know who Yepremian was.

Garo Yepremian Foundation
The Yepremian foundation was inspired by Garo's daughter-in-lau Debby-Lu Yepremian who at the age of 19 in 1998 discovered she had brain cancer. Debby-Lu outlived a six months to live prognosis by six years, passing in 2005.

Oddly Garo Yepremian's death was also to brain cancer, He had first learned his own diagnosis in May of last year. 

Garo Yepremian Foundation
Beasley Reece (Twitter @beasleyreece /CBS3)
Lancaster OnLine
Pro Football HoF

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Thrill is Gone: BB King (1925-2015)

I have seen hundreds of concerts, but there are artists I never got to see. One of my bigger regrets is not making the time to catch BB King Live.

1991 ProSet Super Stars Legends #14 BB King

1991 ProSet Super Stars Legends #14 BB King (b-side)

VittlesTunes Index

Thursday, May 14, 2015

2015 Phillies WAR Projections Maikel Franco Phungo #7

Now that we have  almost reached the 15th of May Maikel Franco can start his rookie year.

2015 Phungo #7 Maikel Franco

Do to MLBs weird rules involving rookie status and free agency Franco will soon join a group that includes Kris Bryant, Addison Russell, Austin Hedges, AJ Cole, Carlos Rodon and others. They are all making their Major League debuts this season or being held up an extra few weeks because they debuted in September of 2014.

After a hot start The Phillies opening day 3rd baseman, Cody Asche has gone cold. It appears Franco will become the everyday player and Asche will join the sketchy group of Phillies outfielders. 

2015 WAR 
Maikel Franco has been hitting well at AAA this season but he struggled in 58 plate appearances last year. When he does get called up he will be one of the 10 youngest players in the NL. I am thinking Franco will get enough playing time to get a glimpse at who he will be as a major leaguer and I think he will make positive contributions. Mark him down to +1.5 WAR in 2015.

Sources and Links
2015+ Phillies WAR Projections  
2015 Phungo Cards


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

RTC Pirates Pitcher Bob Friend

The Phillies are hosting the Pirates this week which gives an opportunity to look back at the long career of Bucos 1950s and 60s era pitcher Bob Friend.

1961 Topps #270 Bob Friend

Among Pitchers who debuted in the last 100 years Bob Friend is the Pirates All-Time Leader in Wins, Strikeouts, Starts, Shutouts, Innings and WAR. Friend spent all but one of his 16 seasons with Pittsburgh including the 1960 pennant winning squad.

He was a 3 time all-star who led the league in ERA (2.53, 1955), victories (22, 1958) and shutouts (5, 1962). 

During his ERA Leading 1955 season Friend also led the league in WAR for pitchers, but did not get a single Cy Young vote - that was in the single CY days when the NL and AL split the award.

Post playing career Bob Friend went into politics and served as Alleghany County controller from 1967-1975. He also served as a delegate to the Republican National Convention and led fund raising efforts at the Chilren's Hospital in Pittsburgh

Bob's son Bob Jr was a golfer on the PGA tour and currently plays on the Champions Tour.  

Today Bob Friend is 84 and as of 2014 he was still living in the Pittsburgh area.

Sources and Links
SABR bio by Clifton Parker Tour

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

1964 Phillies @ 50 (now 51) Dallas Green

We are struggling to get over the finish line on our 1964 Phillies Feature. Today we take a look at pitcher Dallas Green. 

1962 Topps #111 Dallas Green

I had originally planned on featuring the three Manager related cards Gene Mauch, Pat Corrales, and Dallas Green all in the same week or time frame, but that fell apart. And I got scolded by Jim From Downingtown who correctly noted that the Corrales card was not a manager card. And neither is this 1962T card of Dallas Green.

Phillies fans know that Dallas Green was the manager of the 1980 World Championship team, A team with core players that reached the playoffs several times but was unable to get to the World Series. However two things folks may not know are that 1) he is a local born and raised in Delaware and 2 he was part of the only Phillies team between the Whiz Kids and the Late 70s playoff teams to get near the Postseason.

Dallas Green spent parts of six seasons with the Phillies including 42 relief innings with the 1964 squad. The then 29 year old Green was the longest tenured member of the 64 Phillies, unfortunately he had an extremely tough campaign which resulted in a mid-season demotion to Triple-A. Green did return to the club in September, just in time to be part of the infamous collapse.

Late in the 1979 season Dallas Green's managerial career began when he took the reins of a 5th place Phillies on an interim basis. The teams 19-11 finish earned Dallas the full time position, and he led the club to their first World Championship.

Dallas Green 2015
As many know the Green family experienced a tragedy in 2011 when Christina Taylor Green, Granddaughter of Dallas, was one of six people fatally shot by a gunman who targeted congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a Meet and Greet event. columnist Hal Bodley who was University of Delaware classmate of Dallas Green asked the former Phllies manager if it is difficult to continue in an unimportant activity like baseball when dealing with a tragedy of such magnitude. Green responded:

“[Baseball] has helped me, because you sink yourself into the work,”

And Dallas Green does remains active with the Phillies. He largely fills an ambassador role and makes it out for several fan related events every year.

2014 10 18 Dallas Green at the Fan Authentics show in Oaks PA 

I saw Dallas Green at an autograph appearance last fall. At age 80 he still appears active and healthy. Looked a lot better than Pete Rose (74) who was at the same show. 

Phungo Dallas Green Index
1961 Topps #359 (b-side only/ 2010 Heritage preview)
2014 Phungo #46 (Memorial Posting)

Dallas Green Autograph Ball (General Autograph Discussion)
2015 Topps F40-7 Andre Dawson (Props for Green on the back)

Sources and Links
MLB - Hal Bodley
1964 Phillies @ 50 Index
Baseball Ref
Year of the Blue Snow SABR BioGregory H Wolf

TRENDY: Noah Syndergaard MLB Debut

Noah Syndergaard, the Baseball America #11 MLB prospect for 2015, is scheduled to make his Major League debut tonight versus the Cubs in Chicago.

2013 07 14 Noah Syndergaard vs Xander Bogaerts

This is, however, not Syndergaard's first appearance in a Major League Ballpark. He likely has been involved in a couple of prep, Spring Training On-Deck, and All-Star Games.

One of the All-Star Games he was involved in was the 2013 Futures Game where he got to start in front of his future Home Crowd at Citifield. In the above photo he is pitching to current Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts.

 2013 07 14 Noah Syndergaard

This is a tighter but blurry shot of Syndergaard on the mound. He gave up a single and recorded a strikeout during an inning of work.

Sources and Links
Baseball America

Monday, May 11, 2015

RTC Pirates: Gerrit Cole NL April 2015 Pitcher of the Month

Tonight the Phillies open their series with Pirates by facing the reigning NL pitcher of the month. Gerrit Cole

2015 Topps Opening Day #22 Gerrit Cole

The 24 year old right-handed hurler earned the award with a stellar 1.76 ERA, 4-0 start. In is 30 2/3 innings of work he struck out 35 while only allowing a single home run (Reds Todd Frazier)

2011 Draft
Gerrit Cole was the first overall pick of the 2011 draft and is one of the big reasons the Pirates have high hopes for the 2015 season.

We are nearing the four year mark for the 2011 draft and several big names have already emerged from the class. Cole is one of three impressive RHP from the first round who have already emerged, The other two are the Marlins Jose Fernandez and The A's Sonny Gray. Kolten Wong, George Spiringer, and the injured Anthony Rendon lead the batters from the round. Mookie Betts is the most significant player taken after the opening round.

The Phillies did not have a First Round Pick in 2011, There second round pick, Roman Quinn, has been a success so far and is off to a good start in 2015 with AA Reading. In the latter rounds the Phillies were able to pick up two players that are currently making contributions at the Major League Level Cody Asche (4th round) Ken Giles (7th).

Sources and Links
2015 Topps Index
WAR and the Draft

MLB Pirates

HoF 90th Birthday Yogi Berra: 1961 Topps #472 MVP

On Tuesday May 12th Yogi Berra will celebrate his 90th birthday. 

1961 Topps #462 Yogi Berra MVP

The 1961 Topps MVP subset honors 16 MVPs of the 1950s. Yogi Berra along with Catching Contemporary Roy Campanella are the most decorated players in the subber, each having won three MVPs during the era.

Yogi's three were in 1951, 54 and 1955. Berra didn't lead the AL in WAR any of those years, but his 59.5 career mark does rank 5th among catchers all-time.

1961 Topps #462 Yogi Berra MVP (b-side)

The reverse of the card mentions the 3 MVPs, and Yogi's HR Record for catchers which was 318 at the time. He went on to hit 40 more Home Runs to finish his career with 358. Since then Berra has been passed by Mike Piazza, Johnny Bench and Carlton Fisk and now ranks fourth all-time.

Yogi's granddaughter Lindsay is a reporter with She authors an entertaining Twitter feed @lindsayberra which occasionally has great historic pictures and other info for Yankees fans. 

Sources and Links
Phungo Yogi Berra HoF Index
cardboard connection

Sunday, May 10, 2015

1954 Topps #201 Al Kaline RC

The Tigers are on Sunday Night Baseball this week which is an excellent opportunity for Team Phungo to show off a nice recent purchase.

We have a card show circuit that runs on weekends at local malls. Often the selection is pretty poor and the trip can be a wasted couple of hours.

However occasionally you find something...

1954 Topps #201 Al Kaline (rc)

I first saw the Kaline RC a few weeks ago and wasn't sure if I was ready to take the big plunge into building 1954T, a set I have been slowly hoarding cards for over the last few years.

The nice thing about the card shows returning every week is that if I see a card week one, and I am undecided about picking it up I can think about it buy it the following week.

That is what happened here. I decided at some point during the week to pick up the card if it was still available. I also consulted one of the leading authorities on cards - Twitter.  I simply posted.

and I got one response

I would categorize that as an enthusiastic yes, and I appreciated the feedback. If I was on the fence, It felt good to know there was somebody out there as nuts as me - Even if it was just a ploy to get me to pick up a Aaron RC beater.

1954 Topps
This is a great set, I love the bright colors and the small B/W photo. Team Logos are prominent but not oversized.

Kaline is one of three prominent RCs in 1954 Topps, the other two are Hank Aaron and Ernie Banks. That is one of the primary reason I am considering building the set.

No one has to explain the specialness of the 1954 Rookie Card Class. All three are first ballot guys, Kaline and Banks both spent their entire careers with one club and they are identified as such, Mr Tiger and Mr Cub Respectively.  

1954 Topps #201 Al Kaline (rc b-side)

When this card was issued Kaline was just 20 years old. He was a bonus baby and went directly to the majors. His December 19 1934 birthday is likely the most recent in the 1954 set.

HoF profile
Al Kaline's 3007 career hits made him a first ballot Hall of Famer in 2007. His Credentials go far beyond that single number. The 18 time all-star Spent his entire career with the Tigers including the teams Pennant Winning 1968 season. He won a batting title in 1955, Led the league in slugging in 1959 and collected 10 gold gloves (Ranks #3 behind Mays and Clemente).  His 399 career Home Runs rank 52nd all-time.

Kaline never won an MVP award but he was runner up twice, both times to Yankees Catchers (Yogi in 1955, Elston Howard in 1963).  In each year Kaline at a higher WAR number then the winner but in neither year did he lead the AL in WAR.

I also wanted to note that Al Kaline has roots in nearby Baltimore where he was born and attended school. He was inducted into the Maryland State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1972, He was still an active im the majors at the time.

Sources and Links
Phungo Al Kaline HoF Index 
SABR bio by  Nick Waddell
Maryland State Athletic Hall of Fame

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions