Tuesday, June 30, 2015

1990 Year of the No-Hitter: Andy Hawkins

On July 1st 1990 Andy Hawkins tossed the rare eight inning no-hitter

1991 Score #704 No-Hit Club Andy Hawkins

 Team Phungo just got back from vacation so we are a bit busy with returning to work and recovering from the SABR conference in Chicago.

Perhaps at some future time I will return to the rather interesting "no-hitter" tossed by Andy Hawkins.

1991 Score #704 No-Hit Club Andy Hawkins (b-side)

As noted in the box score, Hawkins had five walks in the game. A pair of those Walks, coupled with a bunch of Yankees errors led to the White Sox 4 run eighth inning

Following the 1991 Season an MLB Stats committee adopted a rule requiring a game to have at least 9 innings pitched to be considered a no-hitter. So Andy Hawkins No-Hitter in a loss, is now no longer considered a no-hitter. This is not the only 1990 Year of the No-Hitter game that the new ruling effected. In a few weeks we will get to the other 1990 game that has been rescinded.

The White Sox are not the only team to score in a no-hitter. Baseball-Ref has a list here.

Sources and Links
1990 Year of the No-Hitter Index
South Side Sox

Sunday, June 28, 2015

1990: Year of the No-Hitter - June 29th Fernadomania!

If 1990 was the year of the No-Hitter, June 29th of that year was the Day of the No-Hitter.

After Dave Stewart's East Coast No-Hitter, Fernando Valenzuela followed up with one for the fans in the Pacific Time Zone. He turned the trick in a 6-0 victory over the St Louis Cardinals.

1991 Score #703 No-Hit Club Fernando Valenzuela

Fernando Valenzuela peaked early, He won Rookie of the Year and Cy Young Awards as well as a World Series ring all at the age of 20 in 1981. He made every all-star team between 1981 and 1986.

In 1990 Fernando was only 29 but his best years were behind him. He was struggling through a mediocre season when he tossed his gem on June 29th.

There were a couple of close calls in the No-Hitter which is featured here. With one out in the 9th Pedro Guerrero hit a grounder back at Valenzuela which the pitcher just got the tip of his glove on. It is hard to tell in the video, The Dodgers were playing for the double play, but had Valenzuela not tipped the ball it may have sped pass the two middle infielders. As it worked out the ball glanced off Valenzuela's glove and was fielded by second baseman Juan Samuel who started the game ending double play that was completed by future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray. 

 1991 Score #703 No-Hit Club Fernando Valenzuela (b-side)

Valenzueala pitched to three over the minimum - three walks and an error, one of the walks was erased on the game ending double play mentioned above. 

The obstacles in the Cardinals lineup included Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith (batting 8th!!!), One time MVP and Batting Champ Willie McGee and the speedy Vince Coleman. McGee worked one of the three Cardinal walks, three of Valenzuela's seven strikeouts came against Coleman.

The Dodgers defense included the aforementioned Eddie Murray and Juan Samuel as well as Future Angels Manager Mike Scioscia who made up the other half of the No-Hit Battery.

One time Philies second baseman Juan Samuel hit one of two homers for the Dodgers - the other was by Hubie Brooks.  

It was the first of two no-hitters caught by Scioscia, the latter was authored by Kevin Gross who like Samuel debuted with the Phillies.  

Within the game box on the Score Card I like how they triple-apostrophe-d Mike Sharperson's name.

2001 07 29 Fernando Valenzuela Bobblehead

In 2001 The Dodgers honored Fernando Valenzuela with one of the first three Bobbleheads ever given away at Dodgers Stadium.  Unfortunately, the Dodgers lost the game 3-2 to the Rockies on a 9th inning RBI single by Alex Ochoa.

The bobblehead shown above is part of the Baseball Hall of Fame's Viva Baseball exhibit which celebrates the Heritage of Latin American players. 

Sources and Links
1990: Year of the No-Hitter index
LA Times
Dodger Bobble
Baseball Hall of Fame

Saturday, June 27, 2015

1990: Year of the No-Hitter - June 29th Dave Stewart

June 29th 1990 was one of the two greatest days in No-Hitter History. It started in Toronto with the Oakland A's Dave Stewart.....

1990 Score #702 No-Hit Club Dave Stewart

On May 9th 1986 the Phillies released Dave Stewart to make room for Ron Roenicke whom they purchased from the Oakland A's. A year later the Phillies released Roenicke and Dave Stewart led the AL in Wins en route to finishing 3rd in the AL Cy Young Voting.  

1990 was the fourth consecutive year that Stewart would finish in the Cy Young top four. He was coming off a World Series MVP award in 1989 and was near the top of his game.

That was not good for the Toronto Blue Jays.

1990 Score #702 No-Hit Club Dave Stewart (b-side)

Stewart was dominant, He struck out 12 and walked 3 pitching to two over the minimum - the extra runner (Junior Felix) was eliminated via caught stealing.

Looking inside the box we find the 1990 Blue Jays to be a pretty good hitting squad, Fred McGriff would hit .300 that season and the young John Olerud would eventually win a batting title.  Stewart's final three outs were Strike Outs of Manny Lee and Mookie Wilson and a Tony Fernandez Fly Out.

Dave Stewart's battery-mate for the no-hitter was Terry Steinbach who doubled and tripled in the game. In 1999 as a member of the Twins Steinbach called a second no-hitter authored by another Phillies connected pitcher - Eric Milton.

Among the folks playing defense for Stewart's no-hitter was future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson. Rickey pitched in with a Homer, Sac Fly, and a Put Out in left.

1990 06 29
We are only half way threw June 29th 1990. Tomorrow we will jet off to the West Coast to see what happens later that day...

Team USA

in 2003 Dave Stewart was pitching coach for Team USA for a look at his 2004 UD card check here
  Sources and Links
1990: Year of the No-Hitter

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Father's Day: Curt Schilling 1998 Fleer SI Then & Now

There are a couple of Father and Son/Daughter cards out there, this is one of my favorites.

1998 Fleer SI Legends of Today #130 Curt Schilling

Understandably the card a favorite of Curt Schilling. Last month he posted this via his Twitter account.

Twitter by @Gehrig38

Curt is pitching to his eldest son Gehrig in the photo (the @Gehrig28 referred to in the Curt Schilling's tweet).

This Past Friday Gehrig and his sister Gabby were featured in an SI.com article discussing bullying and internet bullying.    
1998 Fleer SI Legends of Today #130 Curt Schilling (b-side)

The reverse of the Schilling card contains some comparisons to a few pitching legends. This is before the three World Championships and he is being held up to the standards of a Legend like Bob Gibson. The presence of reliever Rollie Fingers in the graphic seems odd, however the walk rates for him and Schilling appear to be somewhat similar. 

Sources and Links
baseball cardpedia
Sports Illustrated - Jeff Bradley
Gehrig Schilling
Curt Schilling

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Phillies Starting Line Up Cards Jeff Francoeur

I had really wanted to get to one game on each side of the Phillies Home/Home series with the Orioles this week, but Work, the Calendar and weather have conspired against me.

Despite last nights 19-3 debacle I would have liked to have been there.

Phillies Starting Lineup Jeff Francoeur (Photo 2015 04 25)

I have been to 200+ games and I am not sure I have ever seen a position player pitch. Last night the Frenchy moment may have salvaged an otherwise brutal game.

Unfortunately a glaring communication failure combined with a complete mishandling of the bullpen at the end of the game turned a laugher into a pretty sour evening.

Sources and Links

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Domingo Santana: Former Phils Farmhand gets first MLB hit

After a miserable debut a year ago Domingo Santana picked up his first major league hit today.

2011 Topps Heritage Minors #158 Domingo Santana

The surprising Astros acquired Santana as part of the Hunter Pence trade in 2011.The lean years and deals for future prospects appear to be paying off for Houston.

At the time of the trade Santana was such a low level prospect that it was hard to project if he was a major league talent. This season he was listed as the #71 prospect by MLB.com. This may only be a short callup, but hopefully Doming Santana will soon be in the majors to stay.

Sources and Link
Houston Astros
cardboard connection

Monday, June 15, 2015

Topps #1 Club: 1984 Steve Carlton Highlight

I am a numbers guy and have had a slight obsession with Hero Numbers, lately I have also been thinking about the first card in each set. This ramped up a bit more this spring when Derek Jeter's appearance in the Pole Position prompted a large degree of discussion.

1984 Topps #1 Steve Carlton Highlight

In a number of Topps Sets the first card is devoted to either a Highlight Card or a Record Breaker Card. If my history is correct we owe this to Hank Aaron who took the #1 Slot in 1975 with the a Record Breaker Card. The Previous year he also took the #1 with a special card but it wasn't technically part of a Record Breaker or Highlight set.

The 1984 Topps #1 Card honors two Steve Carlton milestones 1) Reaching 300 Wins 2) Setting the Strikeout Record. The Second accomplishment he essentially shared with Nolan Ryan for most of the 1983 before Nolan Ryan pulled away the following year. 

1984 Topps #1 Steve Carlton Highlight (b-side)

The backside is set in a psuedo-newspaper format with a Dateline in Philadelphia. The October 2nd date is the last day of the Phillies Regular Season, but it is also a Day that Carlton Didn't even play.

Carlton ended the season with 3709 Strikeouts the last of which was recorded on October 27, 1983. That game was preceded by Lefty's 300th Win in his previous start on September 23rd.

Phungo Topps #1 Index
1953 Jackie Robinson
1953 Jackie Robinson (b-side cartoon, special guest John Thorn)
1955 Dusty Rhodes
1961 Dick Groat 
1973 All Time HR Leaders Ruth Aaron Mays
1974 Hank Aaron
1975 Hank Aaron HL
1976 Hank Aaron RB
1982 Steve Carlton HL 
1984 Steve Carlton HL
1992 Nolan Ryan
1994 Mike Piazza 
2004 Jim Thome
2004H Jim Thome (rhyme w/ 1955T Dusty Rhodes)
2005 Alex Rodriguez
2010 Prince Fielder (Bowling Walk-Off) 
2015 Derek Jeter

Other #1 Cards
2009 Topps WBC #1 Yu Darvish (Japan)

Vintage Twins/Junk Wax Twins research
Topps #1 Cards by WAR
#1 Cards by Other Major Brands (Fleer, UD, Donruss Etc)

Sources and Links
Steve Carlton HoF Index
Junk Wax Twins

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sunday Night Baseball: Cubs HoF Billy Williams turns 77

With Sunday Night Baseball in Chicago we will take a look at the 1960s era Cubs Hall of Fame Left Fielder and Monday Birthday Boy Billy Williams

1965 Topps #220 Billy Williams

Pretty strong HoF Resume for Mr Williams: 426 Home Runs, 2711 hits, 1961 Rookie of the Year, 1972 Batting Champ, and 3 Time League Total Base Leader.

If it wouldn't be for Johnny Bench, Billy Williams would also have a pair of MVP awards on his mantle as well.

The only omission is his modest postseason contributions. Like all the big time Cubs of the era (or almost any era) Williams got shut out of the World Series until he moved onto another team. Williams finally got to experience the playoffs in 1975 at the age of 37 as a member of the Oakland A's.  Unfortunately his only playoff opportunity was brief as the A's were swept by the Boston Red Sox.

1965 Topps #220 Billy Williams (b-side)

Nice snap shot of Billy Williams number mid career. At 27 the man was established but still early in his career, He would hit 319 Homers after this card was produced. The cartoon is a nice nod to Williams Rookie of the Year award in 1961. He appears to be driving a VW Beetle, likely as nice a car as a rookie could afford in 1961 when Billy Williams pulled in an estimated $9500.

Post career Billy Williams returned to the Cubs as a coach but never got the chance to manage a club. In August 13th 1987 The Cubs retired Williams #26 just a few after his induction to the Hall of Fame. The Cubs drew 35,033 for the ceremony and the Fans got to see a W that day. 

Phun Phact
The trade that sent from Billy Williams to Oakland was for a package of players that included Manny Trillo - The second baseman for the 1980 World Champion Phillies.

Billy Williams HoF Index
1965 Topps #220 (Year of the Tiger Birthday)
1965 Topps #4 (LL HR)

Statue at Wrigley Field

Sources and Links
SABR bio by Mark Armour
This Day in Chicago Cubs History

Saturday, June 13, 2015

1990 Seattle Mariners host Guaranteed No-Hitter Night

On June 16th of 1990 the Seattle Mariners Guaranteed a No-Hitter

The idea of the Guarantee was conceived by the Mariners promotion department as the baseball public got caught up in the excitement of the the 1990 No-Hitter Frenzy - Mark Langston had pitched one on April 11th, The Mariners own Randy Johnson June 2nd, and Nolan Ryan earlier that week.

1994 Topps #34 Nolan Ryan

Another impetus for the M's was that they were hosting Nolan Ryan's first start after his June 11th No-Hitter.

Had Ryan actually been able to redeem the Guaranteed No-Hitter for the Mariners he would have matched a feat only otherwise done by Johnny Vander Meer - Consecutive No-Hitters.

1991 Score #126 Matt Young

For their part Seattle sent out journeyman pitcher Matt Young.

The No-Hitter didn't get very far, Matt Young retired 4 batters before giving up a hit to John Russell. Harold Reynolds got the first hit off of Ryan in the bottom of the 3rd.

Despite being the significantly less noteworthy pitcher Matt Young was the closest of the two to get a no-hitter. Young pitched the last of 5 career shutouts only allowing 3 hits (Russell, Ruben Sierra, and Rafael Palmiero) all singles.

The promotion worked for the Ms, The 37,248 fans they drew to the Kingdome may seem pedestrian now, but it was the 4th best attendance number for the 1990 Mariners. It was also the most fans that got to see a Mariners win.

Note: In a practice common in Minor League Games the Mariners Guaranteed No-Hitter Game came with the caveat that if there was not a no-hitter, fans would get a free ticked to a future game. The free ticket was a $4.50 General Admission ticket to the July 11th game versus the Angels. The Mariners won that game as well. It was a 2-1 victory by Erik Hanson over the aforementioned no-hit pitcher Mark Langston. It doesn't appear many fans took advantage of the no-hit redemption as 18,357 which was a tick below the teams 18,638 average for the season.    

1994 Topps
I like this card, it was issued the season after Ryan retired. Topps noted his career accomplishments by placing Ryan on card #34, his uniform number.

Sources & Links
1990 Year of the No-Hitter Index
LA Times
baseball cardpedia
baseball card database

Friday, June 12, 2015

Greg Harris Lo-Hitter Pt 2: 1989 Topps #627

We are milking journeyman Greg Harris' Lo-Hitter for yet another posting just to show that prior to tossing his no-Hitter he really did pitch for the Phillies.

1989 Topps #627 Greg Harris

Here we have the ubiquitous 1989 Topps. Harris is wearing the Aviator Shades similar in shape and size to the prescription lenses he has on the 1991 Score card we featured a few days back.

Greg Harris pitched a season and a half for the Phils. In 1988 his 2.8 WAR ranked #2 on the team - that tells you a lot about the team which lost 96 games.
Sources and Links

Thursday, June 11, 2015

1990 Year of the No-Hitter June 11th - Nolan Ryan pt 4

Thanks for indulging us with Four postings on the Ryan Express today. During a season in which we are producing a series dedicated to the Year of the No-Hitter I felt that honoring the man who authored Seven of them was warranted.

1991 Donruss Bonus Card #BC-3 Nolan Ryan No-Hits A's 

Our final card is one from a 1991 Donruss "Insert" set. The Photo here looks pretty similar to the one on the Topps Card in our previous post. Both cards have Nolan Ryan in a Rangers road grey as he would have been for the June 11 1990 game at Oakland, However I am not so sure that looks like the Colosseum. I am thinking that we are seeing Yankees stadium.

1991 Donruss Bonus Card #BC-3 Nolan Ryan No-Hits A's (b-side)

For sheer volume this is probably the strongest of the b-sides. The card name drops Fellow No-Hit artist Sandy Koufax and goes on to mention Ryan's previous No-Hit victims. Props to Donruss for running down the outs recorded in Ryan's final inning

This concludes are look at cards specific to Nolan Ryan's 6th caree no-hitter. I like the Pacific Texas Exrpess card the best, Topps the least. I am sure there are other cards specific to this game, but for purposes of today's articles I wanted to stick to those issued contemporary to the event.  I have at least one other Nolan Ryan card for the coming days but by the end of the month we will need to move on to some other events in Year of the No-Hitter. 

Sources and Links
1990 Year of the No-Hitter Index
Nolan Ryan No-Hitter #6 1990 06 11
Baseball CardPedia

1990 Year of the No-Hitter June 11th - Nolan Ryan pt 3

This is the third of four postings on cards dedicated to Nolan Ryan's 6th No-Hitter.

1991 Topps #6 Record Breaker - Nolan Ryan 

Topps chose to honor the fact that Ryan became the oldest pitcher to throw a No-Hitter, rather than to honor that fact that he had pitched a record 6th no-hitter - which was breaking his own record of five no-hitters. 

Of course less than a year later Ryan broke both of these records once again when he tossed his 7th No-Hitter at age 44. 

1991 Topps #6 Record Breaker - Nolan Ryan (b-side)

The flip side contains the an Oakland CA dateline and notes the record was previously held by Cy Young who pitched one at 41+ on June 30 1908

Cy Young No-Hitter #3
Boxes don't go back to 1908 in Baseball-ref but we were able to find this line score for the game

Salt Lake Tribune July 1 1908

Interesting that a No-Htter in a Red Sox vs Yankees (Highlanders) game warranted a grand total of 1 line in the article.

According to the B-R Bullpen the future Hall of Famer almost pitched a perfect game. The first batter Harry Niles walked but was subsequently erased on a caught stealing. Cy Young then retired the last 26 batters to complete the No-Hitter .

Sources and Links
1991 0611 Nolan Ryan 6th No-Hitter Index
Salt Lake Tribune (1908 07 01)

1990 Year of the No-Hitter: June 11th - Nolan Ryan Pt 2

There are at least Four Cards in the Phungo Collection dedicated to Nolan Ryan's 1990 No-Hitter against the Oakland A's. 

This 1993 Pacific Card is my favorite of the lot.

1993 Pacific Texas Express #63 Last Pitch No-Hitter #6

This is a great baseball card. I would have elected to crop out the Jack in the Box/Michelin ads at the top, but otherwise this is pure beauty.

We can see Ryan on the follow through and Willie Randolph mid swing for the final out.

In an MLB Network interview Randolph mentioned hitting into the last out of the No-Hitter as one of his biggest career disappointments. Go to the 3:20 mark in the interview here.

1993 Pacific Texas Express #63 Last Pitch No-Hitter #6 (b-side)

The fireball is part of the design on the flip side of the Texas Express series - A set dedicated exclusively to Nolan Ryan.

Good synopsis of the game including nods to former Phils Julio Franco and John Russell.

To Look at our master posting on Nolan Ryan's sixth no-hitter click here

Sources and Links
1990: Year of the No-Hitter Index
1990 0611 Nolan Ryan 6th No-Hitter Index 
MLB Network Willie Randolf Discusses WBC 
Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

1990 Year of the No-Hitter: June 11 - NOLAN RYAN

As noted earlier in this series there are some great names and stories among the pitchers who were involved in the year of the No-Hitter, none of those pitchers was bigger than Nolan Ryan.

1991 Score No-Hit Club #701 Nolan Ryan

Nolan Ryan only had 7 spring training innings in prior to his Opening Day start which he had to leave despite having not given up a hit over 5 innings.

By June 11th he had nine starts under his belt including a 1-hitter versus the White Sox on April 26th.  Ryan now had built up plenty of arm strength to finish his record setting sixth career no-hitter.

Box Notes
1991 Score No-Hit Club (b-side)

First off that is a scuff on the card, that is not bird droppings on Nolan's cap!

For the second time in the series we have the Oakland A's making a guest appearance. Back in mid-April we discussed Brian Holman's near perfect game which was spoiled by a Ken Phelps Home Run.  

Ken Phelps made a 9th inning pinch hit appearance in this game as well. Nolan Ryan won this battle as he did something he did 5713 other times in his career. He Struck Out Phelps. That was the first out of the 9th which left Future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson and Willie Randolph as the last two outs Ryan needed to complete his record extending 6th no-hitter. Henderson Grounded  Out and Randolph Fouled out to right.

More Cards
There are three other Cards in the Phungo Collection dedicated to this game. We will be taking a closer look at each of the other cards tomorrow. For now we will just post the cards. 

1993 Pacific Texas Express #63 Last Pitch No-Hitter #6

1991 Donruss #BC-3 Nolan Ryan 6th No-Hitter

1991 Topps #6 Record Break Nolan Ryan

You cannot tell from the front but this card honors Nolan Ryan breaking his own record of five no-hitters.

1992 Pacific Nolan Ryan #170

Added this card to the listing in November of 2015. Found it in a card show dime box.

Nolan Ryan
The name most associated with No-Hitter is likely Nolan Ryan, to recognize this we will be dedicating several postings to this no-hitter and the Ryan Express over the next few days. Below is an Index to these No-Hitter related Postings - a couple related to the cards above.

1993 Pacific Texas Express #63
1991 Donruss #BC-3
1991 Topps #6
1992 Pacific Nolan Ryan #170
Guaranteed No-Hitter Night

Sources and Links
1990 Year of the No-Hitter Index
Nolan Ryan HoF Index 
MLB Network Willie Randolph Discusses WBC

Buster Posey - Catcher for 3 World Series Teams and 3 No-Hitters

I don't think I have a Chris Heston card,  Rather than digging around looking for one of his cards we are going to post one of Buster Posey who joined a pretty elite group himself last night. 

2010 Topps #2 Buster Posey (rc)

Posey became the 16th catcher to work 3 no-hitters. The all time record is four held by Jason Varitek.
At 28 years of age Buster is young enough to catch Tek, However...

We don't know how many games Posey will actually catch for the remainder of his career. He is spending about a quarter of his time at first base now and that ratio will likely increase as Posey's
career continues.

2010 Topps #2 Buster Posey (rc - b-side)

Congrats to Chris Heston and Buster Posey. In a year where we are covering the Year of the No-Hitter it is exciting to see the first No-Hitter of 2015

Sources and Links

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pete Rose 2012 Leaf Living Legend Auto

The Phillies are facing the Reds in Cincinnati which gives us the perfect opportunity to show off the Pete Rose auto we picked up via a 2012 Living Legends Blaster.

2012 Leaf Living Legend Pete Rose #AU-37

The signature itself is a little shaky but I do like the photo. I don't know what the break down of images for this set are, but it is nice that we got one with Rose wearing a Phillies Uniform.

Leaf had to airbrush out some of my favorite details so I dug up this version of the shot which I found at the now dormant Fielder's Choice Blog

Of course as Dave noted in his Fielder's Choice posting this picture will likely bring back the memory of a certain Fleer card for many Collectors

1982 Fleer #640 Pete & Re-Pete 

The phot on the above Fleer card was taken by Bob Bartosz. For a GREAT interview regarding Bartosz career as a baseball photographer check out Baseball Cards Come to Life.

1982 Fleer #640 Pete & Re-Pete (b-side)

Back in 1982 Pete Rose was not yet the all-time hit king, but as noted on the card in 1981 he passed Stan Musial as the NL career Hits Hits Leader.

2012 Leaf Living Legend Pete Rose #AU-37 (b-side)

And just to wrap up we present the flip side of the Pete Rose Auto which limits itself to your typical COA verbiage.

Pete Rose Index
1977 Topps #450 AS - 1976 ASG feature / #14 Reds Jersey Retirement
1983 Topps #101 Super Veterans
1985 Andy Warhol Portrait
1986 Topps #206 Rose Breaks Ty Cobb's Lifetime Hits Record

I know Pete ain't in the Hall of Fame. I am not going to get into that discussion here, but I am going to add him to our HoF Index as an honored star of the game.

Sources and Links
Baseball Cards Come to life

20th ANNIVERSARY: 1995 Ben Davis taken 2nd overall in the June Draft

We have a sort of Phillies related post this AM. 20 years ago this month Ben Davis out of nearby Malvern Prep HS was drafted 2nd overall by the San Diego Padres.

1995 Topps Traded #74T Ben Davis Draft Pick

Davis' Playing career is really not #2 overall pick worthy. He stuck in the Majors for seven seasons half of which were with the Padres. His best year was 2001 when he led NL catchers in games with 135 with a career High 11 Homers and 57 RBIs.

Ben Davis ended his career with a 2.7 WAR placing him 10th among 1st round draftees for 1995. Among the players the Padres passed on to get Ben Davis were Todd Helton (61.2 WAR), Kerry Wood (27.7), and Roy Halladay (64.6).  The player drafted in front of Davis was Darin Erstad who compiled a rather surprising 32.3 career WAR.

The Phillies never had a chance at Davis and missed on both of their 1995 1st round picks Reggie Taylor (14th, -0.5 WAR) and Dave Coggin (30th, +0.3). The Phillies did score a modest victory with Marlon Anderson in the 2nd round, 42nd Pick 7.2 WAR.
1995 Topps Traded #74T Bend Davis Draft Pick

Today Ben does Color Commentary on Phillies TV Broadcasts. He does a good job and I am happy to have a catcher's perspective in the booth. 

Sources and Links
Baseball Cardpedia

Monday, June 8, 2015

50th Anniversary of the June Draft - 36th overall pick Johnny Bench

This week the MLB will be holding their annual amateur draft. 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of the event which was first held in 1965. With the Phillies in Cincinnati to face the Reds it is an apt time for us to discuss the best hitter taken in the initial MLB draft. 

2014 Topps Heritage #65MLB-JB2 Johnny Bench

With their 2nd pick (36th overall) the Cincinnati Reds took Catcher Johnny Bench from Oklahoma City OK.

Using WAR as a barometer Bench (75.0) was the most successful position player taken in the original draft. The runner up to Bench was Graig Nettles (68.0 WAR, Twins - 4th round 74th pick)

There were also two prominent pitchers taken in 1965: Tom Seaver (Dodgers - 10th rd 193rd pk - did not sign, 110.5 WAR) and Nolan Ryan (Mets - 12th rd 295 pk, 81.8 WAR)

Among backstops 2nd place went to 1st round and 7th overall pick Ray Fosse (Indians 12.9 WAR)

The Phillies most successful selection from the 65 draft was Larry Hisle (24.9 WAR - 2nd round, 38th overall). The club failed to sign their first pick Mike Adamson (18th overall) but that is a subject best saved for another posting. 

2014 Heritage - 1965 Draft Insert Set

2014 Topps Heritage #65MLB-JB Johnny Bench

The 2014 Heritage 1st Draft insert set is a bit peculiar. There are only four cards which fall 1 in every 12 packs - the entire set can be built from 2 hobby boxes. The set only has three subjects because Johnny Bench appears on two cards. The other two players are Ryan and Nettles.

2014 Topps Heritage #65MLB-JB Johnny Bench (b-side)

Sources and Links
Johnny Bench HoF Index
Cardboard Connection

TRENDY: Carlos Correa gets the Call

The Houston Astros have announced that they are calling up Baseball America's #4 Prospect

2014 06 17 Carlos Correa Greets Corey Seager at 2014 Class-A All-Star Game

Just short of a year ago the Wilmington Blue Rocks hosted the California vs Carolina League All-Star game. The two biggest stars in the game may have both played the same position. Shortstops Carlos Correa and Corey Seager were both on the California squad. The photo above was taken during the game intros. The shot is definitely one of the my favorites in the Phungo Collection.

Sources and Links
Houston Astros

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Sunday Night Baseball: Dodgers Tom Lasorda 1978 Topps #189

This week Sunday Night Baseball remains in LA for a second consecutive weekend but moves across town to broadcast the Cardinals and Dodgers. Our companion column features Baseball Ambassador Tommy Lasorda

1978 Topps #189 Tom Lasorda

To me he has always been Tommy Lasorda, but the only Topps card that lists him as "Tommy" is his 1954 RC. The eleven Lasorda Manager cards in the Baseball Simulator Topps DB all list the Hall of Fame Manager as "Tom"

Lasorda was elected into the Hall of Fame as a manager by the Veteran's Committee in 1997. His HoF Credentials include 1599 career victories all at the helm of the Dodgers. The pinnacle of those Wins were World Series Championships in 1981 and 1988. During his 18 full seasons the Dodgers won seven division titles and four NL Pennants. In addition to those season Lasorda also at the Dodgers leading the NL West in 1994 prior to the seasons work stoppage. 

His Division wins in 1983 and 1988 won him the Manager of the Year award, an honor he received votes for six times during his career.

1978 Topps
I don't believe Topps will ever release a better looking manager card than 1978T. This is a subset I would like to cover at some point. The recent/archive photo combo is a terrific take on the manager card. 1978 was probably the last moment you could pair a Black & White photo with a color one on a trading card.

1978 Topps #189 Tom Lasorda (b-side)

As you can see Tommy was born in nearby Norristown. Prior to becoming a Dodger Lasorda was initially signed by the Phillies and still has ties in the area.  His family used to own a Bar/Restaurant in Exton PA - among my regrets is never making it out to the eatery which is now Weso's

Baseball Ambassador
Every team should have a Baseball Ambassador, the Phillies have a few: Mike Schmidt, Dallas Green, Gary Matthews, and Greg Luzinski.

Tommy Lasorda at age 87 is less visible than he once was but at one time he fulfilled the ambassador role not just for the Dodgers but for all of Baseball.

We have chronicled several Baseball Ambassadors over the years and I am going to use this Tommy Lasorda posting as an index for those postings:

Larry Andersen
Dallas Green
Greg Luzinski
Gary Matthews

Boston Red Sox - Johnny Pesky
Milwaukee Braves/Brewers - Johnny Logan
Minnesota Twins - Kirby Puckett
Pittsburgh Pirates - Bill Mazeroski
Pittsburgh Pirates - Dick Groat

Tommy Lasorda HoF Index
1978 Topps #189

Sources and Links
Baseball Card Database

American Pharoah - Let us enjoy this moment

Do scandals really ruin the great sports moments?

I have pondered this about Barry Bonds 73 Homers. I remember the weekend Bonds broke Mark McGwire's record and went on to hit a couple of more homers. I saw the Record Breaker in a crowded bar with an excited crowd. There were cheers and toasts. It was like we had broken the record.

But time changes things and we never really got to enjoy Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's record. 

The movement in time has now also changed how we perceive Bonds' 73 and McGwire's 70. But does that really take that moment away from us? 

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter's #139 Bob Baffert

I sincerely hope that scandal doesn't rob us of the first triple crown winner in a generation.

I had a great time watching the race yesterday. Once again I found myself in a busy restaurant on beautiful day with a alcohol fueled crowd, we wanted to see something great happened and it did.

Things are rarely perfect in life but when it happens it is pretty awesome.

Cograts to American Pharoah and his team. One of the folks involved in the horses success is Trainer Bob Baffert.

Topps made Baffert part of their 2nd edition of A&G in 2007. Baffert has a distinct look that is captured pretty well on the card, nice touch with the inset picture of the horse and trainer.

2007 Topps Allen & Ginter's #139 Bob Baffert (b-side)

Nice Synopsis of Baffert's career including his 4 previous near misses.

Sources and Links
New York Times

Saturday, June 6, 2015

1990 Year of the No-Hitter: Greg Harris?? Lo-Hitter - A Pat Venditte from two decades ago

Greg Harris did not join the Red Sox rotation until the teams 17th game on April 28th. He was pretty much the definition of a SwingMan, but given the opportunity to start for a very good 1990 Red Sox team, Harris made the most of his opportunities.

On June 7th Harris had his best start of the year, He and Closer Jeff Reardon combined to throw a 1-hitter as the Red Sox shutout the Yankees  3-0 .

1991 Score #109 Greg Harris

Notice this is a Lo-Hitter as opposed to a Near-Hitter. The difference being that in this Game Greg Harris gave up a fifth inning single, while in a Near-Hitter (see Brian Holman or John Smoltz) The No-Hitter stays in tact deep into the game. I would say at least into the 7th is a good yardstick of went to start Near-Hitter talk. 

Box Notes
The batter that foiled Greg Harris' meeting with infamy was Yankee outfielder Jesse Barfield - and once again we will bring up how small a world baseball is and let you know that Barfield will play a role in a future Year of the No-Hitter posting. 

Barfield was the only Yankee to reach base as Harris/Reardon pitched to one over the minimum. The final inning was uneventful although there was a Hall of Famer that batted that inning, although it was a football Hall of Famer - Deion Sanders. 

1991 Score #109 Greg Harris (b-side)

This is a GREAT Card. Notice in the box with Greg Haris' Demographic info we find that he is right handed. Now look at the action shot on the A-side. Harris is throwing Lefty. 

What is going on here? 

Check the end paragraph on the back of the card. The Ambidextrous Harris is tossing BP in the photo and he is throwing Lefty, I would assume he is a bit less dominant from that side. 

We have some fortuitous timing here as this earlier this weekend The A's called up switch-pitcher Pat Venditte. He has a special Ambidextrous glove that allows him to pitch from different sides in the same inning, can't tell from the above photo, but it appears that Harris is using a LH glove on his right hand.

Sources and Links

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions