Thursday, September 9, 2021

Cup of Coffee: 2007 Topps Jeremy Brown

Welcome to Cup of Coffee Series 3. Our first player is somebody who's story you may know even if you don't recall him. 

2007 Topps Jeremy Brown Cup of Coffee

Jeremy Brown is the fat catcher from the book/film "Moneyball". Billy Beane made Brown the 35th overall pick of the 2002 draft. Brown played six games for the 2006 Oakland A's logging 3 hits in 10 ABs. despite the solid .300 Batting Average Jeremy Brown never returned to the majors, he retired following the 2007 season. 


Jeremy Brown was a major character in the book Moneyball - Author Michael Lewis dedicated an entire chapter to Brown. 

However Brown barely made it into the movie, present as a moment of comic relief towards the end of the film. 

The film "Moneyball" was released a decade ago today, September 9 2011. By then the books was 8 years old and the successful players were mid-career - while others like Jeremy Brown were finished. 

Some things haven't changed: BIlly Beane is still in Oakland (as club president) and Tony LaRussa is still managing - in Chicago. 


2007 Topps is one of the very few card of Jeremy Brown. My biggest addition to the card is a baseball that echoes the cover of the "Moneyball" book. We went with a lavender border color rather than black just to brighten things up a bit. The image is a bit tighter than on the actual card. 

Sources and Links

Cup of Coffee Index

Momeyball Index



Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Cup of Coffee: 2001 Topps Hugh Alexander

Cup of Coffee: 2001 Topps Hugh Alexander

Earlier this month Major League Baseball honored the film "Field of Dreams" by playing a game in Dyersville Iowa near the films shooting location. 

August 24th marks the 20th anniversary of significantly less noteworthy baseball film "Summer Catch" 

I have never watched the film but have seen bits and pieces. From what I gather Catch was basically a love story set during the Cape Cod League. 

Of interest to us at Phungo HQ is that one of the characters in the film was based on Cup of Coffee player, Hugh Alexander. The character is a Phillies scout in the film played by John C McGinley (Perry Cox on Scrubs).

John C McGinley (right) as Hugh Alexander, the other guy is some dude named Hank Aaron. 

At the age of 19 Hugh Alexander got into 7 games with the 1937 Cleveland Indians. Unfortunately during the off-season Alexander was involved in an accident while working on an oil well, the accident cost him his hand. His brief baseball career was over as well. 

The Indians stepped up and hired Alexander as a scout. Alexander would excel as a scout discovering several players including Don Sutton, Allie Reynolds, Davey Lopes, Steve Garvey, and Dale Mitchell.


I went with the year of the "Summer Catch" release for the cup design, 2001 Topps. There are very few card issues for Alexander's playing year, 1937. The circled numbers below the card represent the five players mentioned above, 6 - Garvey, 21 - Reynolds, 15 - Lopes, 20 - Sutton, 3 - Mitchell. Alexander's glove is show extending out of frame to symbolize the hand he lost. 

Series 2

This is the 9th and final card of Series 2, we will be taking a few weeks off and returning with Series 3 in the fall. If you have an idea for a future Cup of Coffee subject please let us know. 

Sources and Links

Cup of Coffee Index



Thursday, August 19, 2021

Cup of Coffee: 1951 Eddie Gaedel

This past March when we introduced our Java feature on Twitter. One of the first comments was from @HeavyJ28 who mentioned a very notable Cup of Coffee player, Eddie Gaedel.

Five months and 17 cups later we grant HeavyJ His Wish.

1951 Topps Eddie Gaedel

Today marks the 70th Anniversary of the Eddie Gaedel game. 

On August 19th 1951 Gaedel pinch hit for Frank Saucier in the bottom half of the first inning of a St Louis Browns Game versus the Detroit Tigers. The 3’7” Gaedel walked and then was removed for pinch runner Jim Delsing. The strategy did not help the Browns who lost 6-2.

His SABR Biography is worth a read, sometimes inspiring but mostly tragic (


1951 Topps, the same year as the game. The image is based off of the AP Photo most baseball fans should find familiar. 

Eddie Gaedel 

For the game portion of the card we chose "WALK", in the top right we have Gaedel's uniform number 1/8, and across the bottom we have the date of the Game. 

Sources & Links

Monday, August 16, 2021

Cup of Coffee: 1963 Topps John Paciorek

The column has been quiet because I have been spending my free time with a sketchbook. 

This does not mean I have given up on baseball or card collecting, most of the sketches are of baseball cards. 

One of the projects that I have been working on is a series of "Cup of Coffee" players drawn on, yes, Coffee Cups. 

The first subject of the Series was John Paciorek who at the age of 18 had a perfect batting day during a Houston Colts 13-4 victory over the New York Mets.  Paciorek started in Right Field went 3-3 with a pair of walks and scoring four times. 

                Phungo Original: 1963T John Paciorek

That game was played on September 29 1963, John Paciorek would not play another Major League Game. 

He already had a bad back that would only get worse the following spring. He eventually had spinal fusion surgery which helped his back but hurt is game. In 1968 he retired from professional baseball. 

John Paciorek was never issued a baseball card during his career however he was immortalized in a comic:

1980 Topps #481 Tom Paciorek (b-side)

John's brother Tom also made it to the majors, he was fortunate enough to have an 18 year career. The comic on the back of Tom's 1980 Topps card features a nod to John's game with the 1963 Colts.  

Since John did not have a baseball card, i needed to create one for the cup. Going with 1963 Topps was an obvious design choice, for the cards image I used a photo that was on the cover of John's biography. 

That's right, there is a biography of John Paciorek, a Cup of Coffee player who appeared in a single major league game. 

Perfect - Steven K Wagner

Beyond that I wanted to add the phrase "Cup of Coffee" to each Cup and the date of the players game. For John Paciorek I put the date on the lid. 

To date we have put together 16 Cups featuring 18 subjects which I have been releasing periodically on Twitter. I hope to also post the cups here to create a more permanent record of the players and their accomplishments. 

If you have an idea for a Cup of Coffee player, please let us know and we will put them on the roster. Thanks Team Phungo.  

Saturday, May 1, 2021

1997 Topps All-Star Rookie Cup Subset (honoring 1996 Winners)

This is an Index of postings related to the 1996 Topps All-Star Rookie Cup team that was honored in the 1997 Set.

1997 Topps #22 195 Jason Kendall


Monday, April 12, 2021

Phungo Original: 2021T Migue Cabrera Snow Squall variation

We are switching gears here, trying to see if posting sketches will get be more motivated to publish. We will see. 

2021T Miguel Cabrera Snow Squall Variation

A few weeks ago Miquel Cabrera hit a Home Run on opening day, but it was snowing so much he could not tell if the ball had left the park. Miggy elected to slide into 2nd base on the play. We have captured that moment and put it on the canvas of 2021 Topps. 

3 Strikes
This is my comments on the sketch - I try to come up with 3 things going thru my head during the development of the work:
- This is a contemporary event so I went with a 2021 Topps Canvas, I flipped the design on the x-axis because the slash placement interfered with image I wanted to created. 
- Giant snow flakes: I used symbolic flakes over a bunch of little dashes that would have looked like rain. 
- Big Font: I enlarged the name plate, lots of folks have noted that the 2021T player names are unreadable. I agree and well I cannot write that snowfall. The snowflake motif carries through to the name plate acting as the divider between Miggy's name and position.

Topps issues an instant card for the Homer. 

2021 Topps Now #1 Miguel Cabrera

Turns out Cabrera got card #1 in this years Topps Now set! Nice enough, this angle is always a good one and the image clearly shows the snow shower. Still I prefer mine, mostly because it's mine, but I also like capturing the slide as it was unique moment that doesn't typically happen on a Home Run.

2021 Topps #291 Miguel Cabrera

Looks like Miggy's base card was taken on a much nicer day. On this one you get 2 HoF for the price of one as we can see the Al Kaline #6 memorial patch on Cabrera's right shoulder. The card lists Cabrera's position as DH, which is accurate - it is the only position he played in 2020. Oddly it took him one game to get back in the field playing First Base, and that is reflected in my card above. 

Sources and Link
Miguel Cabrera Index

Monday, January 18, 2021

1996 All-Star Game 25th Anniversary: John Smoltz 2002 Topps #145

Our 2021 year long series is dedicated to the 1996 All-Star Game which occurred at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia 25 years ago. 

My goal is to get 20 or so postings on the subject. Almost anything will be better than the half dozen columns on last years subject, the 1980 World Champion Phillies.

Tonight our first posting is dedicated to Braves Hall of Famer John Smoltz who was bestowed the honor of staring for the National League by his manager Bobby Cox.  

2002 Topps #145 John Smoltz (stolen from amazon)

Smoltz was the first of 9 pitchers involved in the The NLs 6-0 shutout the Junior circuit. Among the hurlers Smoltz was the only pitcher to record more than an inning pitched. He faced 8 batters giving up a pair of hits. Smoltz only strike out was Albert Belle, among the other five batters he retired were four future Hall of Famers: Wade Boggs, Robby Alomar, Cal Ripken, and Pudge Rodriguez. For you advanced stats folks among the 14 pitcher who saw action in the game Smoltz was the WPA Leader with +0.102.

2002 Topps

This is definitely one of my least favorites Topps flagship issues. Don't like the brown/orange border color. It's a shame because I do like the pennant design - and this is the one year where I think Chrome looks better than flagship. 

Chose this one because it ties together two Braves Hall of Famers. The other is Eddie Mathews who passed away in 2001. To Honor Mathews the Braves wore a memorial patch which you can see on Smoltz upper sleeve. It is Eddie Mathews #41 which the Braves retired on July 26 1969. 

Sources and Links

1996 All-Star Game 25th Anniversary

John Smoltz HOF Index

Eddie Mathews HOF Index



a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions