Friday, January 17, 2020

1996 All-Star Game 25th Anniversary

 This is an Index of our postings related to the 1996 All-Star game.

1996 ASG Index

Box Score AL 0 NL 6

John Smoltz

Sources Links


Thursday, January 9, 2020

Rookie Cup Tournament - How the Sausage is Made

This is an quick explanation of the statistical categories used for the Topps All-Star Rookie Cup Tournament. 

We have set up the tournament to be run by a series of traditional dice rolls. 

This means that most of out vectors/categories are 6 parts. There are other factors as well - for more info read on. 

1) Rookie Cup Season vs Career Stats: We wanted to the results to reflect a combination of the players Rookie Cup Season and career numbers. Since this is about rookie cup all-stars we settled on a formula that weighted the rookie cup season at about 60% and career stats 40%.

2) Pitching vs Hitting: While Pitching is said to be 75% of the game and a good argument can be made that it is 50%. However I decided since the typical Rookie Cup team is 80% hitters we would make the batters a bigger part of the story. We settled on 60% for hitters 35% Pitchers, the remaining 5% is fielding related. 

3) Statistical Categories Hitters: WAR, HR, RBI, Avg, SB, OPS+. I realize many of these categories are counting stats that may not give apple/apple comparisons but I wanted to use a combination of modern and traditional categories. You don't like it, make up your own fantasy tournament. 

4) Statistical Categories Pitchers: WAR, Wins, K, ERA, WHIP, and Shutouts. 

5) Not all these categories are weighted equally. WAR accounts for 30% of the statistical categories. The remaining 70% is split equally among the other 5 categories. 

6) Career Gold Gloves is also a factor - this is the 5% discussed in #2 above.  

7) Seeding to open the tournament is a reflection of a combination of the Season and Career WAR team totals. To mirror the formula in #1 above we used the same 60/40 season/career split. 

It's a team Phungo tournament and we reserve the right to adjust formulas as necessary. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

1980 World Champions: Larry Bowa 1971T #233

We have turned over into a new year (and decade) so we can officially celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1980 Phillies.

1971 Topps #233 Larry Bowa (b-side)

This is not Larry Bowa's rookie card, he shared 1970T #539 with fellow middle infielder Denny Doyle.

However this is Bowa's first solo card and it is a fine card. To start with we have one of the most iconic designs in the Topps canon, 1971. Secondly the photo captures Bowa in a defensive posture, which was his most dominant skill during a long career. Finally this card is part of one of Team Phungo's favorite collections: All-Star Rookie Cards.

The cup was awarded to Larry Bowa for his 1970 campaign that saw him finish 3rd in the Rookie Of the Year voting (Carl Morton, Bernie Carbo).

I would also like to give a shout out to Paterson New Jersey's Johnny Briggs who appears in the background of this shot. Briggs spent the second half of the 1960s on the Phillies roster but was only teammates with Larry Bowa for one year as he was traded early in 1971 season.

1971 Topps #233 Larry Bowa (b-side)

Lots of fodder on the back of Larry Bowa's 1971T card. TOPPS goes all selfie and mentions the award they have given to Bowa. The most noteworthy portion of the text is Topps use of the term '"On-Base" average' which I imagine is one of the earliest on card uses of the term.

Unfortunately Topps use of the word "fine" to describe Bowa's OBA is questionable. At .277 he ranked 53rd among the 56 NL players who qualified. The League Average was .329, Bowa's 21 walks ranked 110th.

The final sentence in the bio refers to Paul Bowa, his baseball-ref page can be found here

Not sure where the front image was taken, could be spring training or possibly Shea stadium, but this back photo sure looks like the Vet - Even in b&w.

1970 RoY voting
As mentioned above Bowa finished 3rd in the NL Rookie of the Year voting:

Carl Morton or Bernie Carbo deserved to be 1-2 by both 1970 standards and modern analytics. To be honest I am surprised the BBWAA went with Morton (18-11, 3.60 ERA 154K) over Carbo (.310, 21 HR).

Among the 5 players receiving votes he was clearly the least deserving. However, other than Cedeno he is probably the player to have the most career success. He is also the only player among the lot to win a World Series.

Phungo Originals

This is one of the cards that made the cut for the Phungo Sketch Challenge

Phungo Original 1971T Larry Bowa

I swapped out the Rookie Cup for a World Series Trophy and went with a simplified background. I think Larry looks more like John Vukovich - oh well, my art career is a Work In Progress - perhaps I can say I have a "fine On-Base Average"

Larry Bowa Index
1972 Topps #520 (2008 NLCS)
1975 Topps #420 (1976 All-Star Team +40)
1975 Topps #420 (Larry Bowa Bobblehead night 2015)
1976 ASG Program (1976 ASG +40)
1981 Fleer #645 (1980 Phillies Reunion/Card Show w/ Pete Rose & Mike Schmidt)
1981 Fleer #645 (1980 Phillies +30)
1984 Topps #704 (1983 NL Champs w/ Joe Morgan & Cedeno)

Peanut Gallery (Other columns on this card)
Topps Baseball 1971 (Night Owl Cards)

Sources and Links
1980 World Champion Philadelphia Phillies
1971 Topps All-Star Rookies
Phungo Artwork
1971 Topps Blog (Night Owl Cards)
SABR Bio Larry Bowa Rich D'Ambrosio 
SABR Bio Johnny Briggs (John Saccoman) 

Thursday, January 2, 2020

1961 Topps #402 Don Larsen (1929-2020)

When I was a kid I had a thick World Series chronicle that had the box scores for every Series game through somewhere in the late 1970s. One of the things that fascinated me was that for Don Larsen's 1956 Perfect game the entry was a batter by batter, PITCH by PITCH. I had never seen anything like it, and really PxP accounts didn't really exist in the real world until the relatively recent big data revolution. 
1961 Topps #402 Don Larsen Pitches Perfect Game

One of the trading cards that covered World Series achievement was in the 1961 Topps Baseball Thrills subset.

Great card of Larsen's perfect game which occurred on October 8th 1956.

To begin with outside of a swatch announcing the event commemorated by the card the design is minimal. The picture here features our hero Larsen and the line score - perfect way summarize any no-hitter. In addition the remainder of the scoreboard tells us #8 is batting with a 1-2 coutn.  The 8 correctly identifies Dale Mitchell who struck out looking on a 1-2 pitch giving the Yankees a 2-0 victory in the pivotal fifth game of the 1956 series.

The series would got the distance with the Yankees winning.

1961 Topps #402 Don Larsen Pitches Perfect Game

The newsprint themed text on the card back does a good job of recapturing the Thrill of the perfect game. The author also provides some historical context: "...first pitcher to ever hurl a no-hitter in World Series competition." and "...first in 307 World Series games". I have minor quibble that description fails to mention the games final score 2-0.

1961 Nu-Cards
On the 60th anniversary of the Perfect Game we profiled the 1961 Nu-Card dedicated to the game. That column can be found here.

Baltimore Orioles
One of my favorite fun facts is that Don Larsen started the first game in Baltimore Orioles history, a 3-0 lost to the Detroit Tigers on April 13 1954.

Peanut Gallery
Some other Don Larsen Baseball Card Memorials
The Lost Collector - Various Autographed Cards and a Baseball
The Chronicles of Fuji - 1958 Topps #161 & various Autograph/Relic cards

Sources and Links
1961 Topps Baseball Thrills Index
No-Hitter Index
Game Dated Cards Index
trading card db

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions