Dec 28, 2010

Wishes for the Holiday Season

NOTE: As with everything lately, I´m late posting this. Anyone recognize who this is an homage to?

If I had just one wish for this holiday season, I would wish all the collectors of the world would get together at one card show to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for harmony and peace.

If I had two wishes for this holiday season, I would wish for $100, 000 per week deposited in an anonymous bank account dedicated to the proposition that all collectibles should be collected and I should be the one to collect them. And of course, I would wish all the collectors of the world would get together at one card show to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for harmony and peace.

If I had three wishes for this holiday season, I would wish for a 31 day trip into the Topps vault, helped along by employees that I properly bribed into my idea. I´m sure my family would enjoy my disappearance for awhile as I emerge with wild eyes and babbling ideas about conspiracies in the hobby and then I drive them all into the same condition as they get the same paranoia about every other aspect of their lives. I would also wish for the money dedicated to that noble proposition mentioned before and most importantly, I would wish all the collectors of the world would get together at one card show to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for harmony and peace.

Wait a minute! Who are we kidding? How are we going to get all of the collectors of the world together? The logistics of the things will be impossible. There are only so many basements to check and so many people who would openly talk about such things. All right, so let´s reorder. First, the wait, first the vault thing, then the money, and then the.....

Of course, I forgot about revenge against hobby scam artists! Ok, so that´s first...then, the vault and the paranoia, then the money, and then we will continue to strive to bring together all the collectors of the world at one card show to sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" for harmony and peace.

Happy Holidays!

Dec 21, 2010

(Possible) Tale of Shame: Cut Signatures of the 1927 Yankees

A historic first-time idea for a card left to nothing more than a bitter taste in the mouth. A fresh bloom shriveling into dust before its time has come. The tepid taste of swamp water.

The imagery may be a bit much, but the initial excitement of the pull of the 1927 Yankees lineup cut signature card has been severely tempered.

Since the card was pulled and issued out on auction, the allegations are clearly discussed here at

Here's the prime passage.

-Babe Ruth forgeries are everywhere…..Sports Collectors Daily just advertised an embarassingly fake Ruth signature on a “2010 Topps Tribute” card, and alleges it features authentic signatures of the 1927 Yankees. Here’s the article: Billed as a “1-1 Legendary Lineups autograph book card,” the Topps product features horrible forgeries of both Ruth and Gehrig. Who authenticated this one? The experts we spoke to deemed them poorly executed forgeries. The card is being offered on EBAY by Beckett Select Auctions with a minimum bid of $20,000.

-A comment by Richard Simon on Net54 sums up the cut signature fiasco best. He said: “If Upper Deck can be stupid enough to use multiple forgeries in their cards, why can’t Topps be stupid too?”

For my part, I am not an expert and unable to distinguish a fake Babe Ruth or Lou Gehrig signature from an authentic one. However, if it turns out that these signatures on this "epic" card are forgeries, it is a major black eye for the industry and the one remaining licensed company by MLB (Topps). Upper Deck underwent a similar situation a couple of years ago and the embarrassment probably still stings more than anything else.

How can we as collectors trust that what we receive is authentic when they are not duly certified and verified by the manufacturers themselves? Enough care was given to make this card a redemption to not be restricted by pack-out schedules. Unfortunately, either Topps didn't do their due diligence or their authentication party and/or source did a disreputable job.

At the end of the day, it's collectors who are disheartened and bound to think twice about what comes out of a pack.

Dec 16, 2010

The Tristar Obak Want List (2009 and 2010)

I am now attacking with zeal the two releases of Tristar Obak. You saw one of the boxes opened right here in this very space many moons ago. Here is what remains.

2009 version

Base Set
18, 32, 101, 102, 103, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114

(is it just me or are the set numbers over 100 shortprinted?)

Mini Set
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 15, 18, 19, 23, 24, 29, 34, 36, 38, 46, 47, 55, 59, 61, 62, 63, 66, 67

2010 Version
Base Set
11, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 115, 116, 118, 119 ,120

Mini Set
1, 6, 7, 11, 13, 16, 17, 19, 20, 21, 32, 39, 41, 43, 44, 45

Dec 13, 2010

Breaking News: Cliff Lee has Returned to Philly!

We interrupt this lazy blogging month to bring you the news that the Phillies signed the prodigal son, Cliff Lee, to join the starting rotation for the 2011 season (and beyond). As reported by Jon Heyman of at this link, it is probable that Lee accepted a discount in both dollars and years compared to the reported bids by the Yankees and Rangers. It was reported that Lee took a liking to Philadelphia and his Phillies teammates during his time there in 2009.

What does this mean for the Phillies? Well, at first glance, it looks like the forming of a stacked rotation (and that is a not an adjective to throw around lightly) by name value and performance value (with the latter being infinitely more important). They will have the pitchers ranked 1, 2, 17, and 22 in the league over the last 3 years in WAR, and all are projectable to be in this range at least for 2011.

At second glance, it means someone's gotta go. Probably, Joe Blanton, he of the $8 million salary, for a couple of minor leaguers. As a 5th starter, Blanton is superfluous (though he is a grinder and a perfectly fine league average pitcher who can go about 6 innings per start) because of the presence of Kyle Kendrick and the possible emergence of Vance Worley. Also, they have a sudden need for an outfielder with the departure of Jayson Werth to either play full-time or be a platoon mate for Domonic Brown and/or Ben Francisco and/or Raul Ibanez (think the 1993 Phillies outfield arrangement).

Another possibility is that Ibanez is shipped out since he's in the last year of his contract, paying him $12 million for this year, or that Francisco is used to bring in a relief pitcher. If Amaro has proven one thing during his time as GM, it's that he's not shy about making deals with nearly any team in the league.

Let's just say that 2011 will be another potentially exciting year. Kudos to Amaro for pulling off a buzzworthy signing. And maybe the most underrated part of the whole deal is the return of a pitcher with the eminently rhythmic name of Clifton Phifer Lee.

Dec 6, 2010

Pyramid Contest: Tier 2 Results

Thanks to all for your comments. These years were really the sweet spot of my collecting years. I would say most of my cards(if I ever locate them all again) are from those 4 years. It's when it was permissible to get hobby boxes twice a year plus we made frequent visits to the Fort Washington Expo card show in PA (quarterly) and the mall shows in Neshaminy and Franklin Mills malls. Those were good times.

Here is the ballot of favorite sets by the commenteers:

93 Upper Deck: 4 votes
93 Topps: 2 votes
93 Kraft, 95 Emotion, 96 Emotion XL, 95 Bowman, 94 Flair, 94 Topps, 95 Collector's Choice: 1 vote

I apologize for the delay in getting this out because I was trying to figure out my new webcam, and I failed miserably. I could not get any sound to work. So, all you'll get is screenshots. I entered everyone in a list in with the appropriate number of entries and did the randomization three times. The name on top Randomization 3 is the winner.

Randomization 1
List Randomizer

There were 22 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. BA Benny
2. BA Benny
3. dawgbones
4. Play at the Plate
5. night owl
6. Dustin
7. Brad
8. cubsfan731
9. BA Benny
10. Brad
11. Cam
12. Derek
13. cubsfan731
14. dawgbones
15. cubsfan731
16. Fuji
17. FanofReds
18. night owl
19. Play at the Plate
20. Play at the Plate
21. Dave
22. Spankee

Timestamp: 2010-12-07 07:07:02 UTC

Randomization 2
There were 22 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. cubsfan731
2. Brad
3. BA Benny
4. Derek
5. Fuji
6. Dustin
7. Cam
8. Spankee
9. Dave
10. BA Benny
11. Brad
12. dawgbones
13. dawgbones
14. FanofReds
15. cubsfan731
16. Play at the Plate
17. night owl
18. BA Benny
19. night owl
20. Play at the Plate
21. cubsfan731
22. Play at the Plate

Timestamp: 2010-12-07 07:08:18 UTC

Randomization 3
There were 22 items in your list. Here they are in random order:

1. cubsfan731
2. night owl
3. Dustin
4. dawgbones
5. Cam
6. BA Benny
7. Play at the Plate
8. BA Benny
9. cubsfan731
10. Derek
11. FanofReds
12. cubsfan731
13. BA Benny
14. Spankee
15. Dave
16. dawgbones
17. Brad
18. Play at the Plate
19. Fuji
20. night owl
21. Brad
22. Play at the Plate

Timestamp: 2010-12-07 07:09:00 UTC

Congratulations, cubsfan731! You are the winner of an unopened box of 1993 Flair. Please e-mail me your address and I will get the box out to you.

Thank you all for playing.

Tier 3 is on the horizon. That's where the Clay Dalrymple card will come in....really.

Dec 3, 2010

Card Spotlight: 1955 Bowman Robin Roberts

Just a reminder: the contest will run until this evening at 11:59 PM PST. Comment to win an unopened box of 1993 Fleer Flair.

What is a baseball card but a suspension of a moment in time? In days of yore, treetops lined the spring training fields as preparation began for a new season. Uniforms and faces change, but then return. The brisk wind of February blows on the heels of a winter gone in Florida as the flowering palm trees mark the arrival of hope and longing for the new season to begin.

Behold Robin Roberts wearing a blue undercovering to shield off the rust and the raingusts. Coming off a Cy Young-like year in 1954 (before the award existed), leading the NL in 10 various categories, Roberts exudes an air of focus and confidence as the first few spheroids are gently flung into the catcher's mitt as a remembrance of the spring/summer routine.

1955 Bowman is a landmark set, being the last before the Topps monopoly. It also captured the essence of the era with the television mock-up, celebrating the proliferation of color TV in the country. One image, one design, one moment captured in time.

Dec 1, 2010

non-HOF Profile Derby #17: Lou Whitaker

Just a reminder: the contest will run until Friday evening at 11:59 PM PST. Comment to win an unopened box of 1993 Fleer Flair.

Next, is one of part of a long-time keystone pairing in Detroit (and really a true HOF omission)Sweet Lou Whitaker.

Place on the WAR chart: : Below Johnny Bench and Billy Hamilton and above Brooks Robinson and Luke Appling. He is the 2nd highest rated eligible player (non-pitcher) not in the HOF.

Career Overview and Some Numbers:Played for the Tigers from 1977-1995 almost exclusively as a 2B. Won ROY in 1978. Also had 5 All-Star appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, and 4 Silver Sluggers. What defined him and maybe made him overlooked is that he never led the league in any one category (or finished in the top 10 very often). However, he only finished with an OPS+ below 100 once in a full season (incredible for a second baseman) and had 5 seasons of greater than 130 OPS+. Most similar players numbers-wise were Ryne Sandberg, Alan Trammell, and Roberto Alomar.

Best Season:Hard to say really, since he didn't have standout seasons, but really a long string of good to great seasons. How about 1983: Hit .320/.380/.457 (133 OPS+) with 94 R, 12 HR, 72 R, 40 2B and 67 BB: 70 K.

The Final Numbers:: .276/.363/.426 (116 OPS+) with 1386 R, 420 2B, 244 HR, 1084 RBI and 1197:1099 BB:K

Why He Should be Remembered:: Steadiness as a good-to-great player is easily forgotten when it comes to HOF voting. Second baseman with his stats are not common. Especially, uncommon is the longevity with which he was able to maintain his level of performance. Witness the career path of Roberto Alomar or Ryne Sandberg(higher peaks and steeper declines than Whitaker). Also, was a great fielding 2B, accumulating more defensive WAR over his career than Ryne Sandberg with a higher range factor. Was also a key figure on the historically great 1984 Tigers team.

HOF Balloting Performance:one year on the ballot with 2.9% vote in 2001.
Rookie Card:: 1978 Topps #704
Modern Cards:: 2001 Topps Archives Auto, 2002 Stadium Club World Champion relic,

Nov 30, 2010

Pyramid Contest: Tier 2 is Upon Us

OK, I wasn't exactly forthcoming with the preview for Tier 2 in the previous post; it will actually be for the last tier (4) because it could be complicated to achieve. Instead, the task at hand for those who strive to enter is a simple one.

1) Leave a comment on this post.
2) In that comment, state which was your favorite set from 1993-1996 (to collect, to look at, as an inspiration, etc or however you want to phrase it), what I like to call the Junior High Years, and articulate at least one reason why. (one of these days I will finish that countdown, by the way)
3)Wait for the random generator to do its work.
4)Await your prize.

The comment gets you one entry in the randomization.

Mentioning it where other people can see (blog or something similar) will get you another entry (please leave a link or other type of evidence at this post).

For those who have already entered Tier 1 (the previous trivia contest), you have an automatic additional entry into this one as well. (you can still do the previous two items for two additional entries for a total of 3).

And what is the prize, you may ask? Well, it's something semi-large, square, and probably has never been in my kitchen.....

An unopened wax box of 1993 Fleer Flair, one of the progenitors of the '90s superpremium insanity.

So, happy commenting!

Nov 15, 2010

Pyramid Tier 1 Contest Results and Trivia Answers

As the 6 of you that have entered this first contest were the only ones who are hanging on the edge of the seats for the answers, I will provide them forthwith along with the long awaited results. After that, a mini-preview of Tier 2 will be shown.

The official answers:

1. Phillies
2. shorter
3. Baltimore Orioles
4. Mets, Cubs, Rangers
5. The Vet
6. Missouri
7. yes, in 1983
8. right handed, though I play pool with my left hand
9. The biggest surprise of all, Barry Bonds
10. I didn't get into this until middle school, so 1994 Score was the first I completed.
11. 1999 Bowman
12. 1981
13. Unfortunately, only 10 (to see a game)...The Vet, Citizens Bank Park, Memorial Stadium, Camden Yards, Busch Stadium, Kingdome, AT&T Park, Oakland Coliseum, Dodger Stadium, Petco Park
14. 19 years old, she was a good persuader.
15. Someone that was the best player in RBI Baseball 2, Rickey Henderson

The results including the contest linking bonus(in order of entrance)

Dustin: 9 points
night owl: 13 points
Play at the Plate: 10 points
cubsfan731: 10 points
BA Benny: 14 points
FanofReds: 18 points

So, congratulations to FanofReds, BA Benny, and night owl! You will all receive a prize package. Please e-mail me your address and team of choice and I will start the search through my collection.

Some correct answers which were hard to get that some people got:

night owl guessed the age to which my mother persuaded the ushers at the Vet that I was under 15.
Dustin was the only one to get points for the year of my first hand-collated set.
Play at the Plate got the year of the oldest pack I opened.
BA Benny got 2 of the 3 Little League teams I played for and the year of cards from which I pulled my first auto.
FanofReds got the team of the first hat I bought and the number of stadiums I have attended in person.

I hope it was fun to learn a little about me.


For tier 2, the prize will be larger. Those who have entered Tier 1 will get a leg up of some kind (as soon as I finish figuring out the scoring system)

Consider this scan the preview of what is to come, and get ready to be creative later this week.

Nov 12, 2010

The HOF veteran's Committee Ballot is out: It's time to feed the obsession. Also, a contest reminder.

First, a reminder. The contest is open until this Sunday at 11:59. Here's the link to leave a comment. If you enter this one for this small prize, larger ones are coming (this is why it's the Pyramid Contest with levels or tiers), and you will get a leg up in the future.

As an additional incentive, if you advertise on your blog (please reference the link here or in the original post), you will get 3 additional points. And if more than 10 people enter, the prize package will be expanded.
As always, thanks for reading!

The Veteran's Committee HOF ballot came out for the "expansion era" from 1973-present. It includes players, managers, owners, and off-field contributors. There are two questions to this format.

Who defines the expansion era as after 1973? I think of the expansion era of post-1961 when, you know, they added expansion teams. Or maybe post-1969 would be more apropos since that's when more expansion occurred and divisional play began.

Also, aren't the players in a separate area of the Hall of Fame. They had it right before when they separated off-field contributors and managers from players. They are distinct HOF categories according to the institution itself.

Here's the list:

Marvin Miller, Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub, Pat Gillick, Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner

There will be a committee composed of former players, owners, and writers to determine who will be in the class of 2011. To be elected, they have to appear on at least 75% (or 12) of the 16 ballots cast.

In terms of players who were included on the ballot, I am in agreement with Ted Simmons, Tommy John, Ron Guidry, Al Oliver to be included.

I think there are other names out there for this era as shown in my previous Profile Derby Posts shown here such as Bret Saberhagen, Graig Nettles, Keith Hernandez, Darrell Evans, Willie Randolph, Buddy Bell, Jerry Koosman, Dan Quisenberry, Dave Stieb, Bobby Grich, Dwight Evans, and Reggie Smith.

Other names that will be featured in future posts include Bobby Bonds, Jack Clark, Lou Whitaker, and Sal Bando.

In addition, these names were omitted from the previous Veteran's Committee ballot: Dick Allen, Jim Kaat, Luis Tiant, and Joe Torre. (maybe they will be included in the 1947-1972 era ballot?).

In any case, my goal is still to construct the comprehensive HOF ballot possible with your input.

A poll will be posted later this evening with the next choices. Thanks for participating!

Nov 10, 2010

The Beginnings of the Pyramid Contest...or Tier 1 of 4 is upon us

As the few readers of this blog have noticed over the interim time period(the last two months or so), I have been persona non grata with respect to the blog. Like many others who have lived, there are times of personal turmoil, and sometimes certain things take priorities.

With that out of the way, let's get back in the swing of things with a contest. Actually, in fact, this will be a series of contests over the next month or so. So keep your eyes open, spread the word, and enter with impunity.

This first tier of the contest is fairly simple and the prize is simple. Answer these questions about me and receive points for every correct answer. Whomever three people get the most correct will receive a 50 card team lot of your choice (included in this lot will be various cards of various eras). Here's the all-important quiz. (first one's a gimmee). For the different point values within a question, the points are not cumulative, so the last number is the max that can be scored for a given question.

Good luck! This contest will close on November 14 at 11:59 PM PST.

1: What is my favorite baseball team? (1 point)

2: Am I shorter or taller than 5'9"? (1 point)

3: Of which team did I buy my first baseball cap? (1 point for guessing the team's division, 3 points for guessing the team spot on)

4: Name at least one of the names of my Little League teams for which I have played? (you get 3 guesses, 1 point for each correct answer, these are all MLB team names)

5: Name the stadium in which I have attended the most games? (2 points)

6: Name which state I went to university? (1 point for getting the region of the country right, 2 points for naming a bordering state, 4 points for being correct)

7: Have I ever been to a World Series game? (1 point)

8: Am I right or left handed for throwing a baseball? (1 point)

9: There is only one person who signed something for my dad at the 1996 All-Star Game. Name that player? (1 point for naming the correct league of the player, 3 points for the team, 5 points for the player)

10: From what year was the first baseball card set that I hand-collated? (1 point within 4 years, 2 points within 2 years, 5 points for the correct year)

11: The oldest autograph that I pulled from a pack is from which year of cards? (1 point within 4 years, 2 points within 2 years, 5 points for the correct year)

12: What is the oldest pack of cards I've ever opened? (1 point within 4 years, 2 points within 2 years, 5 points for the correct year)

13: How many MLB stadiums have I attended a game, including ones that don't exist anymore? (1 point for being within 4 of the number, 2 points for being within 2 of the number, 5 points for guessing correctly)

14: Until what age was my mom able to persuade the ushers at the stadium I was under 15 years old to receive bobblehead dolls and other giveaways? (3 points)

15: Who was the player that had the fake signature in my Rawlings glove when I was a kid? You only have to name the player, I'll figure out the rest. (1 point for the correct league of his principal team, 2 points for the division of his principal team, 3 points for his principal team, 6 points for being correct)

Just leave your answers in the comments and please spread the word. This is just the beginning of the fun. Again, this tier 1 contest will remain open until November 14th at 11:59 PM PST

Oct 30, 2010

Group Breaks Are All the Rage: Some Proposals

I know there's a lot of group breaks going on right now.

I want to run one as well sometime in the next month. All slots will probably have two teams (one chosen and one random or "by card break", depending on the case). I'm thinking 15 slots per break if possible. Prices are as of today: 10/30/10

Proposal A: Mini-Break: One box 2008 Upper Deck Heroes, one box 2009 Topps T-206, one random box to be determined. $12 per slot (break by team)

Proposal B: 2010 Allen and Ginter Case Break. $55 per slot (for 15 slots) with discounts for more than one.

Proposal C: 2009 Topps T-206 Case Break. $32 per slot (for 15 slots) with discounts for more than one.

Proposal D: 2008 Upper Deck Masterpiece Case Break. Some type of case split. $52 per slot for 10 slots.

Sounds expensive I know. But what fun it could be! Please leave any interest in the comments. I won't order until there's enough people with interest.

Oct 22, 2010

NLCS Update: What Will it Take for a Comeback? or a Very Lat Game 4 Preview and Review Followed by Relief in Game 5

NOTE: Because Blogger lost my first two posts, I've combined these into one to at least have a record of it.

The hopes of the hereuntofore mentioned Phillies Nation (not affiliated with Red Sox Nation or the United Nations) rests upon the arm and girth of "Kentucky" Joe Blanton for today's matchup in game 4 of the NLCS against the San Francisco Giants. He must heft the team upon his whirling dervish of a fastball and barely sweat-soaked brim and give all sides of the team the inspiration they need.

The first inning will be telling. More so, than in other games of the series. Blanton has allowed 20 runs in 28 starts in the first inning this year. Charlie Manuel should also be aware to get the bullpen ready by the 6th inning because this is when Blanton continually tires. He's allowed 18 runs in 25 starts in which he's reached the 6th inning.

The offense was in a stupor yesterday, baffled and befuddled by the explosive outside fastball and kneebuckling curve of Matt Cain. The feebleness of their performance should be a motivator for this match. Extra work and being aggressive will not be enough. They are facing an unknown entity in rookie Madison Bumgarner, who is not used to being unsuccessful during his short big league career. He is a control pitcher and tends to be around the lower half of the plate. They must sit on his fastball and avoid the change-up. They have to get him out of the game before the 6th to take advantage of the pre-Romo and Wilson bullpen arms.

Essentially, it's an essential win to prevent the dreaded 3-1...where comebacks are few (last was 2007 in the ALCS) and the backs maintain good posture from being against the wall.

GAME 4 Post-Mortem

I was lucky enough to attend this game. I sat over third base...when I say over, I mean it, in the 2nd to last row of the stadium. There was an incredible view of the sunset over the bay and all the boats waiting for a home run ball that would never come.

It was an intense game. It;s hard being at a game where if you start screaming, you might get somthing negative happen to you. In reality, where I was sitting was a very calm section compared to the rest of the crowd. The crowd, in general, was boisterous and supported the home team well. Here's a distillation of moments in no particular order.

Most deflating moment: Huff scoring the winning run on the sacrifice fly. I was so upset I left my Phillies hoodie at my seat.

Most teeth gnashing moment: 8th inning, Werth on 2nd no outs, and Jimmy Rollins pops up. It was worse in person.

Most curse spewing moment: Chad Durbin, inside fastball to Cody Ross followed by the pitches to Pablo Sandoval.

Loudest ovation moment: When the big screen showed Dusty Baker

Worst mid-inning entertainment I've ever seen: The "Fist Pump" cam, featuring the cast of Jersey Shore. I never want to hear that song again.

Song I Can't Get out of my Head, but Want to: Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" Steve Perry was there to reclaim it from the Dodgers....apparently.

Most "Who?, Sit Up in the Seat" Moment: When the announcer said in the 9th inning, now pitching for the Phillies, Roy Oswalt.

Most Disgraceful Moment: When Lou Seal did a routine in which he suplexed a fake Philly Phanatic. This means war. No one disses the Phanatic, especially not some wannabe with no personality like Lou Seal. On top of that, the animal most identified with San Francisco at pier 39 is the sea lion; that is not a seal. Poser! I say. Poser!

Post-Game 5 Thoughts: It was fortuitous the Phillies pulled this out. For once, they capitalized on Giants errors and had some moments to build on (if the building moments concept exists). Rollins stealing 2nd and 3rd in the 7th was really cool as was Werth hitting a home run. This has been a theme all series, but if any of the lineup wakes up from the .208 slumber, the game will be on for games 6 and 7. Am I confident about their chances? Not so much, but I am hopeful, and ready to look out for a winner-take-all game 7. One baseball, one game, one funny bounce, that's all it takes. I love playoff baseball.

Oct 17, 2010

Phillies vs. Giants: A Historical Perspective

The Phillies and Giants are two of the oldest franchises in the game. Neither of them have their franchise roots where they now reside with the Phillies migrating over from Worcester before the 1883 season and the Giants making the long trek west from New York before the 1958 season. Let's see how these franchises connect as they square off in their first ever playoff series.

Hall of Famers that Played for Both Franchises: Dave Bancroft, Dan Brouthers, Roger Connor, Hack Wilson, Steve Carlton, Tim Keefe,

Common Retired Numbers:
36 (Robin Roberts, Gaylord Perry), 42 (Jackie Robinson)

Surly Superstars: Phillies: Steve Carltonhad a polcy not to speak to reporters. Barry Bonds had a recliner in the locker room to avoid speaking to teammates.

Ex-Phillies who Will be Booed: Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand

Seasonal Heartbreak Comparison: Phillies: 1964, blew 6.5 game lead with 12 to play; Giants: 1993, 8 game losing streak in mid-September to lose the lead to the Braves, fought back to finish one back with 103 wins.

Postseason Heartbreak Comparison: Phillies: 1993 World Series, blew 14-9 lead in 8th in game 4 and 6-5 lead in 9th in clinching game 6; Giants: 2002 World Series, blew 6-1 lead in 8th in game 6, went on to lose game 7 behind subpar performance by Livan Hernandez

Best Player Comparison: Phillies: Mike Schmidt, gold glove 3rd baseman, 548 HR, 147 OPS+; Giants: Willie Mays, gold glove CF, 660 HR, 155 OPS+

Last .400 Hitter
: Phillies: Ed Delahanty in 1899; Giants: Bill Terry in 1930

Last 50 HR Hitter: Phillies: Ryan Howard in 2006; Giants: Barry Bonds in 2001

Last 1.000 OPS Player
: Phillies: Ryan Howard in 2006; Giants: Barry Bonds in 2004

Number of times threatened to be moved to St. Petersburg, FL
:Phillies: none; Giants: at least two

Best Stadiums
: Philies: Citizen's Bank Park, Connie Mack Stadium; Giants: AT&T Park, Polo Grounds

Worst Stadiums: Phillies: Veterans Stadium, Baker Bowl; Giants: Candlestick Park, Seals Stadium

Best Attire for a Summer Game
: Phillies: Shorts, T-Shirt, Baseball Cap, Sunglasses; Giants: Pants, Sweatshirt, Winter Coat, Winter Hat, Baseball Cap

Best Food I've Eaten at Their Stadiums: Phillies: Funnel Cake; Giants: Tri-tip Carvery Sandwich

Best Franchise Manager: Phillies: Charlie Manuel?; Giants: John McGraw

Worst Owner
: Phillies: William Cox (gambling debts forced him to sell the team in two years) Giants: Horace Stoneham (moved team to SF)

Strange Moments in the Stadium: Phillies: Kiteman,need I say more?; Giants: Stu Miller getting blown off the mound for a balk at the all-star game

The No-Hitter Connection:: Both the first and last no-hitters by the Phillies at the Vet were thrown against the Giants: Terry Mulholland in 1990 and Kevin Millwood in 2003

There, of course, will be a new connection forged as the series moves forward. It is time for the playoffs to ratchet up their intensity with the two best teams in the NL of 2010.

Oct 3, 2010


Hackenbush at CAN'T HAVE TOO MANY CARDS is having a contest as described here. Make sure to enter and you could win some classic '80s (pre-85) cards. And if you're really lucky, you can be in an SNL classic episode with Steve Martin hosting.

Oct 2, 2010

Rooting for a 3 way Tie

There is one reason to root for a 3 way tie in the NL playoffs; there will be no off-days without baseball in the first week of October. October is the month of the baseball playoff showcase, so let's extend it as far as the limits can be taken.

Here what must occur for this scenario to happen.

1. Padres beat the Giants.
2. Braves beat the Phillies.

Yes, I do give permission to the Braves to win one game this year "in the best interests of baseball" It's a very simple culmination of events. This will lead to the following sequence of events.

Monday: NL West Playoff: Giants vs. Padres in San Diego. The winner takes the NL West and the #2 seed in the playoffs. The loser of this match-up then goes to play on

Tuesday: NL West loser vs. Braves in Atlanta. The winner enters the play-offs as the Wild Card winner. If it's a NL West representative, they face the Phillies in the first round. If it's the Braves, they face the NL West winner.

How often does such a complicated turn of events occur? There are rarely two sudden death playoff games in a season. As a baseball fan, it would be a riveting two days. TV networks, put these games on primetime in a national broadcast (if they happen). Anyone else with me?

Oct 1, 2010

Swapping Cards: A Trade with the Rhubarb Runner

Rhubarb Runner (aka Dave) from the blog e rayhahn, rayhahn contacted me about doing a team for team deal. This fit right into the phase 2 of the Phillies project plus other Phillies I have been trying to acquire. Here are some highlights.

2008 Topps Opening Day Puzzle Ryan Howard (2 cards): I love puzzles, as evidenced by all the completed puzzles that are hanging around my apartment. These were the two pieces that focused on Ryan Howard....I wonder what the rest looks like...and how easy would it be to display it?
1998 Score Gregg Jefferies: 1998 was the last year of Score. I always liked Score because it had the most informative card backs (at least post-1993). With career stats (including OBP and SLG), splits, fielding stats, and a blurb, this card back is packed with reading material.
1998 Score Scott Rolen: Scott was the unanimous NL Rookie of the Year in 1997 and was a fan favorite...for a little while.
2010 Topps Heritage Jayson Werth, 1982 Topps Foil Sticker Manny Trillo,1993 Cracker Jack mini Grover Cleveland Alexander: Check out the size differential in these cards. The Cracker Jack mini is even smaller than an Allen and Ginter mini. Alexander is best known for the moment when he struck out Tony Lazzeri in the 1926 World Series for the Cardinals and is really, the first superstar pitcher the Phillies get away in their prime (they had already given away Nap Lajoie on the hitter's side).

I also love stickers for some odd reason. Foil was popular in the '80s, who knew?

Also, after watching all the games this season, it's strange to see Werth without that all-encompassing beard. Sports Illustrated described it perfectly in the article on Werth in the August 23 issue, like a wild animal type critter covering his face.

1971 Topps Barry Lersch: This is one of the difficult to find 1971 Topps high number series. I only need two more for the Phillies team set.
1971 Topps Byron Browne: Amazing, an action shot on a pre-1972 card. Though this is probably posed. Browne was a backup outfielder for a few years in the NL.

1971 Topps Jim Bunning: This is the HOF pitcher at the tail end of his career dreaming of opening the modern marvel, Veterans Stadium.
Thanks for the trade, Dave!

Sep 30, 2010

How Sweet It Is: 4th Straight NL East Title

I am very psyched and for the first time since Opening Day, I actually wasn't riveted to the play by play for the Phillies game for the past two days. With all the seeds wrapped up for the playoffs, there are few things to play for:

1. get the starters their innings without getting too tired(Oswalt went 5 innings and less than 70 pitches today),
2. get the bench players some reps at the plate (I was surprised to hear last night that Sweeney had made only two plate appearances since September 11, and it would be nice to see a healed Domonic Brown provide spark, power, and speed off the bench)
3. rest Ryan Madson (seriously, let Bastardo, Worley, and Romero pitch a few innings)
4. get Jimmy Rollins ready to play
5. also, it wouldn't hurt to deny the Braves a chance at the postseason

It was only appropriate that Roy Halladay pitched this game, doing what he leads the league in, completing games. His starts bookended the competitive part of the season, both getting wins, and both being in Washington.

There is a feeling that all that can be accomplished has not been accomplished yet. The celebration was quite subdued. Howard methodically was taking the tops off the champagne bottles and the goggles were ready to go.

The winning of this division title was satisfying in of itself for the team. From where they were at one point in late July (hovering 2 games over .500 at one point) to this culmination was a hard-fought, well-played turnaround. The winning was spurred by a betterment in performance of key individuals (Lidge, Blanton, Ibanez), a return from injury (Utley, Howard, Madson), a sustained success (Werth, Victorino), or just being one of the three starting pitchers who essentially carried the load (Halladay, Hamels, Oswalt).

The historical accomplishment is deep as well; this is the first Phillies team to make 4 straight postseason appearances and the first NL team since those Braves of 1991-2005. They are now attempting to reach 3 straight World Series for the first time since the 98-00 Yankees (ML) and the 42-44 Cardinals (NL). In short, they are vying for two objectives now, make their mark upon the city and their careers and more broadly, upon baseball history itself.

When the playoff schedule opens, the second season begins and will be a combination of good playing, luck, and powerful moments that will propel the Phillies to each successive round. As with anything in baseball, "you never know", but one can sure hope.

Sep 26, 2010

Weekend Pack Break: 2010 Bowman 2 Pack Break or How many sets does it take to get to the center of a Strasburg?

Bowman during the last five years has been a strange set experience to collect. There's a base set, but that doesn't really matter because there's a parallel set, but that doesn't really matter because there's the prospects set, but that really doesn't matter because there's a chrome prospects set (with the same checklist and inserted at the same ratio as the prospects set). And then there's the other question, are these rookies? Who considers them rookies? There's no logo on them so they're pre-rookies? Jason Heyward, 2007 rookie or 2010 rookie, or all of the above?

In addition, 2010 Bowman had large insert sets to cloud the collation of the sets even further. Bowman 1992? I would say that's a stretch. With the Heritage line gone, there's no reason to commemorate other issues until a silver anniversary or beyond.

I was able to snag these packs before the craze, but I've been sitting on them....just in case. Of course, the urge to rip and sort is strong...too strong for someone like me. Has anything of value to me or others been revealed?

Base cards-most aesthetic design since 2005/
98-David DeJesus
1-Ryan Braun

44-Carlos Lee
3-Jay Bruce
77-Rajai Davis
131-Michael Bourn

Gold Cards-useless,useless,useless parallels. Just eliminate them, please.
18-Martin Prado
211-Michael Dunn RC

Inserts-cool ideas, but is it really necessary in this set. Prospects rule this set.
Bowman Expectations: double-sided inserts vex me, but some, like the Halladay/Drabek card are intriguing because of the circumstances surrounding their careers. Can Drabek be the next Halladay? Is it plausible to think so?
BE50-Roy Halladay/Kyle Drabek

BE27-Jose Lopez/Dustin Ackley

Bowman Throwback
BT9-Justin Morneau

BT76-Jake Peavy

Bowman Prospects-I like the idea of prospects, but is 110 new ones each necessary for Bowman and Bowman Chrome and Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects.
BP58-Adam Wilk, Tigers, 11th round pick in 2009,currently in Lakeland in Florida State League (A+)
BP44-Allan Dykstra, Padres, 1st round pick in 2008, Currently in Lake Elsinore California League (A+)

BP36-Trevor May, Phillies, 4th round pick in 2008, currently in Clearwater in Florida State League (A+)

BP106-Grant Green, Athletics, 1st round pick in 2009, currently in Stockton in California League (A+)

Bowman Chrome Prospects-this is where the set's bread is buttered so to speak. I'm happy received someone I've heard of (Jackson).
BCP11-Logan Watkins, Cubs, 21st round pick in 2008, currently in Peoria in Midwest League (A)
BCP103-Nick Franklin, Mariners, 1st round pick in 2009, currently in Clinton in Midwest League (A)

BCP93-Brett Jackson, Cubs, 1st round pick in 2009, currently in Tennessee in Southern League (AA)

BCP99-Thomas Neal, Giants, 37th round pick in 2005,currently in Richmond in Eastern League (AA), still only 22

Too bad prices have risen to more than $8 per pack. Even with the Strasburg hype, in the end, it's still a decent product at its original price point. It has a large variety of cards to collect (this is both a negative and a positive). I just wish Topps stopped with the RC/not a RC in between nonsense. Give me something identifiable or rebrand Bowman to Bowman Chrome Draft Picks and Prospects and make it a late season release with all the prospects they desire to put in the checklist, plus more chrome is good, right? Right?

Sep 25, 2010

Stats on the Back Tradeaway: pre-'80s edition

Every so often Mark from Stats on the Back holds a tradeaway in which he lists some cards, you request cards from the list, then you send him at least one card in return. I, of course, am a terrible person at entering the post office zone, so I hope that by the time this post is posted that he's received his end of the deal.

All the cards that were posted and requested were of the vintage variety.

1960 Topps Bobby Gene Smith: Significant Stat: Led the NL in fielding % in 1962 by not committing an error in 112 games.
1968 Topps Clay Dalrymple: Significant Stat: In 1962, had a greater than 2:1 BB:K ratio (70:32), leading to a .393 OBP, especially impressive for a catcher.
1971 Topps 1970 American League Batting Leaders: Alex Johnson and Carl Yastrzemski tied for the lead with .329 AVG in 1970, it was the last year Johnson hit over .300.
1971 Topps 1970 AL RBI Leaders: Frank Howard may have been the best home run hitter who wore glasses ever. A league leading 44 HR and 126 RBI in 1970 help illustrate that fact.
1969 Topps Mike Ryan: Significant Stat: Led the AL in assists by a catcher with 79 in one of two seasons in which he was the 1st string catcher in his career.
1969 Topps 1968 American League Home Run Leaders: In the year of the pitcher, these three were the only ones to surpass 30 home runs in the AL.
1963 Topps Frank Lary: Known as the Yankee Killer (which is why I chose this card), he had 56 career starts against the Yankees, more than against any other team, and was 28-13 with a 3.32 ERA. His least favorite team was the Kansas City Athletics vs. whom he was 13-14 with a 4.08 ERA.

And lastly 1968 Topps Gene Mauch (traded edition) since he seemed to have just started managing the Expos when this person acquired the card. Thankfully, they didn't mention what happened in 1964 on the back of his card.

Thanks Mark!

Sep 23, 2010

The Implacable Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels has risen to the occasion during the stretch drive for the playoffs. He has pitched to a scoreless streak of 25 2/3 innings, the longest such streak by a Phillies pitcher since Randy Wolf in 2002 (27 innings). He also is approaching Steve Carlton's team record of 6 consecutive starts of pitching 6 or more innings and allowing one run or less. Cole Hamels was struggling this year, the naysayers nayed....look at his won/loss record..look at his ERA creeping over 4. Even the optimists were starting to be swayed by a line of no-decisions and the appearance of one tough inning that would spoil a start. Ah, but that was the Cole Hamels of 2009 and April 2010. Let's take a look game-by-game (and even a couple games before it to see how this streak transpired).

It's a little small print. Besides the runs allowed (which is only so much in the pitcher's control at the end of the day...probably). He's allowed only 5 HR and 21 BB over this 14 start time period. To top it off, he's also struck out 101 batters over these starts. Now, that is control, both of commanding his pitches and of limiting mistakes.

By all accounts, it's because his cutter has developed to complement his fastball and change-up. The fastball has touched 93 mph at times, while the cutter has clocked in at 86 mph or so and the change-up is at 81 mph. He doesn't have a deceptive delivery so much as a similar delivery for all three pitches. The cutter has helped because the other pitches work on the up/down plane, and it works on a left/right plane. Intangibly, Oswalt's and Halladay's influence has crystallized preparation and really helped Hamels harness his talent further.

Hamels has taken the mantle of an ace and is the same (or better) pitcher that he was in 2008. His starts speak for themselves. He may not have the 20 wins that Halladay has (not that wins by themselves matter), but he is an apt representation of the potential and present anchor of a Phillies rotation with a 99.9% chance of making the playoffs. Magic Number is 4!

Sep 20, 2010

The Blog Bat Around: If I Were Commissioner Part 1

This is one topic where I could write a thesis on, and I think I almost did.

This is not the dream job that it once was for me. Of course, in my extreme youth, I wanted to wield the all-powerful hand upon my favorite sport. Then words entered my vocabulary that had not been mentioned before as I read the about the travails and battles of union vs. owners….lockout, strike, missed World Series, replacement players. Well, these problems weren’t hindered by the presence of the current commissioner, so who better to replace him than me? (with all my apparent qualifications)

The On-the Field Side

I’m not sure how much influence the commissioner has in this manner. I do, however, like that “best interests in baseball” clause. How many do you think I can get past the owners without a vote (or even better influence them).

1. Instant Replay
Instant replay in its current form is merely a good start. Anything pertaining to ground rules should be replayable automatically because there are unique rules for each ballpark and each one should be enforced without question.

For me, it’s a matter of getting it right whether the first time, the second time, or whenever. Luckily, in baseball there are way less technicalities and vagaries to specific rules than the NFL (everyone seen the controversy over the Calvin Johnson catch ruling from Week 1?).

The goal is to keep the solution simple. Keep the fair/foul home run rulings, add other fair/foul rulings (reminiscent of the Joe Mauer call from last year’s playoffs), home plate safe/out rulings may be challenged , other base calls may also be challenged. I would like to keep strike/ball calls out of this. Umpires have a pretty good evaluation system, and it’s remarkable how many they get correct.

Teams should get two challenges per game. The crew chief will contact another umpire in the replay booth so that there are two perspectives on the play. A decision then has to be made, decisively, within 90 seconds. The same precedent will apply in the NFL, if there is no conclusive evidence to overturn it, then the original call will stand.

As you can see, I haven’t thought about it too much.

2. Batting Lineups

Contrary to most (probably), I want to keep the personality of the league play and keep the DH in the AL and keep it out of the NL.

However, in the World Series, the rules will be the same throughout the series. This will be pre-determined based on the previous year’s champion.

3. Roster Construction
I abhor the 40 man roster in September. Lately, it creates a parade of relief pitchers and fills the bench with defensive specialists and platoon hitters. This was not the original intent of the bylaw. However, baseball has a history of changing rules that have been abused (witness the elimination of the spitball and the institution of the infield fly rule for examples).

I propose that a 28 man roster should be in effect until April 30. This should allow an extra look at that newcomer or keep a hot bat at the major league level for an extended period of time. The 25 man roster will be in effect May 1-August 31. On September 1, rosters can be expanded up to 30 players for those prospects who deserve a chance to play after their minor league season ends.

4. The All-Star Game and Related Events
The all-star game should not determine home-field advantage of the World Series. There also shouldn’t be any ties. It is an exhibition game of the stars voted by the fans, players, managers, and internet. I would say that they can keep the roster as large as it is now. In addition, the one player per team rule works for me as well. I remember staying up late to watch Von Hayes pinch hit in the all-star game. I wouldn’t want to deprive future generations of that. However, I would say that in the 7th inning of the game, the managers have the discretion to re-insert players to decide the outcome of the game, including pitchers. Musial and Williams played the whole game. Let today’s stars be involved in indelible moments like Williams’ winning HR in the 1941 ASG. Wouldn’t it be much more awesome to see Pujols vs. Hernandez in the 9th inning in addition to the 1st inning? Intriguing individual matchups are what makes the ASG so memorable.

For the other events, I would keep them as is…except with a shorter HR derby.

5. Playoffs
I like that baseball has few teams in the postseason. There are few cases in the wild card era in which deserving teams (>90 wins) have been left behind. But there is a way to add even more excitement. Add a round robin set of games with all three second place teams from all the divisions participating. This is a little crazy but it really gives credit to division winners. You don’t want to finish in 2nd because then you have to play at least four more games in order to crack the final four of the playoffs. In detail (for example): Day 1: East at Central, Day 2: West at Central, Day 3: East at West, Day 4: Central at West, Day 5: Central at East, Day 6: West at East… record advances. Wouldn’t that be a fun week? Other considerations such as travel time and deciding who chooses where to play first still haven’t been worked out.

The other piece of this is divisional alignment. There should not be a 6 team division in a world of 30 teams. Somehow this can be worked out (see part 2 later this week)

6. Scheduling

I’ll say this first. I like interleague. I like the different matchups (yes, even Pirates vs. Royals); I like how when you have a match-up you can either remember history (Cubs vs Tigers 1909 retro day) or make a new history (Rockies vs. Rays). The scheduling of interleague just has to be more equitable for divisional rivals. They already play an unbalanced schedule to emphasize the importance of the divisional alignment. Why are the interleague schedules so different. Yes, some natural rivals must be maintained, especially in the same region. But the rest of the games should be divided exactly the same.

The next point with the new playoff system mentioned above is that the length of the season (in days) will be longer. I agree that the 7th game of the World Series should be no later than October 31st. Therefore, there should be at least one Turn back to the Clock day per half for each team featuring a Saturday twi-night or day-night doubleheader. Also, there should be no off days (except for obvious travel days) in the first two weeks of the season. Why is there an off day after Opening Day for most teams?

Speaking of Opening Day, the traditional Opening Day in Cincinnati should be the kick-off for the season. The international opening day, while nice, comes before this and should be better integrated into the season.

7. Quick hits
Eliminate the intentional walk as a strategic element. You should pitch to everybody. If you walk him on 4 pitches, you walk him. The unintentional intentional walk exists, it’s just more risky, especially against Vlad Guerrero.

Limit catcher visits to the mound to once per inning per pitcher.

Institute a throw clock for pitchers of 30 seconds (is that too much?). The clock could be reset by pitching the ball or throwing to a base. The penalty would be a ball for the batter. Batters would also have to comply with the clock. Their penalty for being out of the box when the pitch is thrown would be a strike. If there are already, 3 balls or 2 strikes, the penalty would carry over to the next batter. It’s a team effort to keep the pace of the game alive. (there will of course be extenuating circumstances to consider)

Deliberate pitches to the head are an automatic ejection for the pitcher. Deliberate pitches below that are a warning the first time for both teams. The next deliberate HBP will be an ejection.

That’s all I have for the on-field baseball aspects. Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow where the things that lawyers and economists are normally more concerned about (I am neither of those things).

World Series day games, bring them back.

Divisional Series day games, do not schedule two at once, maximize exposure.

Anything else you’d like to discuss? Would any of the owners accept these? Also, where can I find the time for all this? The answer lies in a paradox machine, of course. Part 2 will have the non-ballpark centric elements.

Sep 19, 2010

Card Spotlight: 1959 Topps Ace Hurlers Robin Roberts/Billy Pierce

Note: I haven't been posting in a while mostly because I'm unable to finish posts. Ever have a case of attention wandering that just wouldn't quit? Anyway, I'm not going away and it looks like the Phillies aren't either. I'm psyched for the possibility of the 4th straight year of postseason baseball.

I was able to pick this blurry beauty up for $1.00+shipping on the old internet marketplace. I can't tell if this is a posed portrait (possibly painted?) or the superimposing of two photographs where the baseball is held in the correct, auspicious position. What also makes the card image interesting is that it's as if they're standing in front of a supernova sun from a gumdrop sky.

By the time 1959 rolled around, neither were the carry-the-team-on-the-shoulders aces they had been in previous years of the 1950s. But they surely still carried themselves like one because they were afforded much respect from teammates and opponents and by an extension, the Topps card company.

Roberts's 1958 was a nice bounceback yearafter two straight losing seasons (presumably due to arm troubles after all the innings he pitched 1950-1956). He got back on the winning side of the ledger (17-14) and lowered his ERA from 4.45(1956) to 4.07 (1957) to 3.24 (1958). His peripheral stats stayed virtually the same though (except for HR/9 was lower). Roberts almost was able to reach back into the eraly-1950's re-emerge in carry and countenance his ace hurler image and skill.

For Pierce, 1958 was his last dominant year at the age of 31. He was 17-11 with a league-leading 19 complete games, and 2.68 ERA. This wrapped up a brilliant stretch of pitching over the 1950s over which he had 5 all-star seasons, 2 20 win seasons, finished in the top ten in WHIP 6 times and the top ten in Ks 9 years in a row (1950-1958). He was a well-established ace hurler as well for the perennial runner-up White Sox (until 1959).

An ace hurler is an ambiguous term of baseball lore. There are aces, there are stoppers, there are #1, among other terms. What distinguishes one from the other.

Here are other ace hurlers of the 1950s (either by stats or reputation)

Early Wynn
Bob Feller

Warren Spahn

Bob Lemon
Allie Reynolds
Mel Parnell
Don Newcombe
Whitey Ford

Even then, it was difficult to maintain a high level for a high number of years. Roberts and Pierce defied that convention for the most part and were deserving choices as ace hurlers.

Sep 11, 2010

Tristar Obak Giveaway at DrewsCards (ending soon!)

Check out Drew's comprehensive review and giveaway of the 2010 Tristar Obak set here. There's only 3000 boxes of this stuff made, so don't miss out on this historical and prospect based set.

Sep 10, 2010

All-Time Phillies Shortstop List: Granny Hamner 1956 Topps Representing

For a long time, I remember the single season HR record for a SS by a Phillie was held by Granny Hamner. This is really only in my memory because Dickie Thon was trying to break that record back in the not so glorious year of 1989. I was lucky enough to purchase this card from Check out My Cards for a decent price, so I thought it would be a compelling starting point for a new series: "All-time Phillies by Position"

All-Time Phillies Shortstops According to Me With No Prior Research (name/years at SS on Phillies)

1. Jimmy Rollins (2001-present)
2. Granny Hamner (1949-1958)
3. Larry Bowa (1970-1981)
4. Dave Bancroft (1915-1919)
5. Dick Bartell (1931-1934)
6. Kevin Stocker (1993-1997)
7. Doc Doolan (1905-1913)
8. Bobby Wine (1962-1967)
9. Dickie Thon (1989-1991)
10. Heinie Sand (1923-1928)
11. Don Money (1969)
499. Ivan DeJesus (1982-1984)
500. Steve Jeltz (1985-1988)
501. Juan Bell (1992-1993)

Sep 7, 2010

Phillies Project Update: Early '70s Schmidt and Carlton Edition

I have been out of commission and incognito (like the Carlton with the mustache card below) all during the past 4 days. I've moved apartments and I have no TV or internet probably until tomorrow at the earliest. Luckily, I can update this during work hours; no one's been bothering me today. Would you believe that the less phone calls I get during a day, the better I feel? I also finally saw the Phillies results from the weekend. Only 0.5 game out! It's time to push to the finish.

These cards almost complete my "Schmidt and Carlton regular issue during their playing days collection" phase of the Phillies project. This is dangerously close to nearing the end. It looks like 2011 will be the target end year.

1975 Topps Strikeout Leaders Steve Carlton/Nolan Ryan: Carlton had 240 strikeouts, followed by Andy Messersmith with 220, and Tom Seaver with 201. Ryan had 367 Ks, followed by Bert Blyleven with 249. Ryan did strike out a lot of batters in his career.
1972 Topps Steve Carlton: His last card as a Cardinal before the fateful trade.
1974 Topps Mike Schmidt: His first standalone card, which did not celebrate possibly the worst sophomore season by a HOF: .196/.323/.374 with 18 HR and 52 RBI in 1973.
1970 Topps ERA Leaders: Marichal, Carlton, and Gibson: In 1969, there were 9 pitchers with ERAs less than 2.50 with this triumvirate leading the way.
1970 Topps Steve Carlton: Carlton's whistling after his 2nd straight all-star season at the age of 24. Big dreams and results lay ahead.

Check out the wantlist on the sidebar for what remains. Only the rookie for the Schmidt collection remains. For the Carlton collection, all that remains is the rookie, 1968 Topps, and 1972 Topps (Traded). And then, and then....what happens when you complete something like this?

Sep 2, 2010

Card Spotlight: Jimmie Reese 1991 Studio

Can you believe it's September already? For this baseball season, there's 'one month only, one month only' until dreams can come true or be shattered. This man, Jimmie Reese, saw his fair share of September fairy tale endings and tumbles into despair.

He was there at the beginning (ok, well he was born in 1901) He was rumored to be a batboy of the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) in 1917-1923, serving in the second Wrigley Field. He was there at one of the ends, giving his life to baseball for 77 years, when he died one month before the strike of 1994. In between, he was a part of the ups and downs that a baseball season could bring.

As a backup infielder (mostly second baseman), for many teams in the PCL (mostly the Oakland Oaks), he contributed to winning squads with slick fielding and timely hitting. He just missed the joys of winning the World Series by one year in either direction during his career. He was on the Yankees in 1930-1931 (they won in 1932) and the Cardinals in 1932 (they won in 1931). Even so, he got to experience baseball on the highest level and performed admirably. He was the roommate of Babe Ruth, famously saying, "I roomed with Ruth's suitcase."

After finishing his playing career, he was in the army and then he scouted and coached at various locations. He finally found his calling at the age of 71 when he was hired by the Angels in 1972 as a fitness coach. He became a mainstay of the fungo art, seemingly able to hit the ball wherever he wanted it to go. Every player would be conditioned by Coach Reese.

September is a story about generations. For the first time, fresh-faced prospects peek out into the major league world and are both excited and nervous by what they see. Maybe they can make history with a home run or strikeout in their first appearance. Maybe they contribute to a winning team or lay the foundation for a rebuilding team. Either way, they must learn from those who were there before: players, managers, and coaches to get a handle of the game.

Jimmie Reese's memory stretched back to the time of Babe Ruth and Connie Mack. Imagine the baseball wisdom he passed on. The ball's for you next kid!

Sep 1, 2010

2008 Upper Deck Heroes: Dual Pack Break Highlights

With this, I am not promoting the tenets of dualism, but rather the concept of heroism as depicted in card form.

Chipper Jones/Ryan Braun/Miguel Cabrera green parallel #d/499: They are heroes because they all couldn't field well enough at 3B at some point in their careers and had to be moved to other positions. (anyone remember the Chipper LF experiment in Atlanta when Vinny Castilla played 3B?) This teaches us that perseverance is a key trait to possess.
Joe Mauer: expressed heroism by winning the 2006 AL batting title. It was an initiation of sorts since he also went on to win the 2008 and 2009 batting titles as well.
Don Mattingly: was a hero because he won the 1985 AL MVP award, inspiring Mark Teixeira to be a professional baseball player, join the Yankees, and fulfill his dream of winning the World Series and earning $20 million a year. Plus, he inspired a whole generation of kids that played with velcro sideburns.
Eric Chavez blue parallel #d/199: Though on the card, it says he won his 6th Gold Glove award in 2006, this was foreshadowing to the depths of depression which he would endure. It was unfortunate, his career path. Here's to Eric Chavez, the ultimate Moneyballer.
Erik Bedard: led the AL in K/9 in 2007. It just goes to show that being left handed is not the disadvantage that we;re told it is in elementary school (if you write that way, your handwriting will smear all over the paper)
Brad Penny: started the 2006 All-Star game, giving credence to fast starts and forgotten finishes. This is not heroic, a hero finishes all tasks.

Brandon Webb: won the 2006 NL Cy Young award. Again, perseverance is showcased. Just look at his 2004 stats (and the 2004 Diamondback team). It is a testament to his character and awesome sinker he was able to bounce back from that debacle.

Lastly, Stan Musial and Albert Pujols are the Atlases of the St Louis baseball world. They have hoisted that city on their sturdy shoulders and lifted the spirits of the ever-shrinking Metropolis during their respective times there, especially during those terrible, terrible summer weather days (I lived in St Louis for over 5 years, I know what I'm saying)

Also, for those curious, here's the card-by-card breakdown of the packs.

Pack 1
101 Joe Mauer
135 Chase Utley
157 Troy Glaus
189 Chipper Jones/Ryan Braun/Miguel Cabrera green parallel(303/499)-a trio of powerful sluggers
178 Albert Pujols/Stan Musial-birds of a feather flock together
58 Garrett Atkins
88 Brad Penny
155 Erik Bedard

Pack 2
34 Wade Boggs
107 David Wright
125 Don Mattingly
128 Eric Chavez blue parallel 161/199
199 Ken Griffey Jr/Roberto Clemente/Vladimir Guerrero/Joe Dimaggio-a quartet of dazzling outfield defenders I'd like to examine this claim in more detail at some point
24 Jacoby Ellsbury
84 Howie Kendrick
1 Brandon Webb

Upper Deck Heroes, what a concept, in more ways than one.

Aug 29, 2010

Topps Customer Service Comes Through

Like others I have read about, I was shorted a hit in my 2010 Allen & Ginter box. I contacted Topps customer service about the issue, and received the standard response about what to do. So I sent my receipt of purchase, all 24 pack wrappers from the box, the UPC code from the box, and a letter detailing the nature of the complaint to Topps. Within two weeks, I received this card in the mail.

I was pleased because of the quick response time and it completed the "guarantee" in the box. I'm disappointed because it was a hand-picked card from the Topps representative and removed the illusion of randomness from pulling it from a pack.

Even though Upton's not my favorite player, it is a nice card. So thank you Topps for your quick response and making sure that guarantees are kept, one way or another.

As a side note, does this mean my box gets more points for Gint-a-Cuffs (not that it matters in the standings)?

2010 Allen and Ginter Wantlist-Updated 10/30/10

Base Set:

1, 10, 13, 14, 15, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 29, 31, 32, 34, 35, 37, 39, 40, 42, 43, 45, 46, 48, 50, 53, 60, 61, 62, 63, 67, 69, 71, 73, 74, 79, 81, 83, 85, 87, 88, 93, 95, 99

100, 102, 103, 106, 107, 108, 111, 112, 113, 117, 118, 121,, 122, 124, 128, 129, 130, 132, 133, 134, 139, 140, 142, 149, 151, 155, 156, 157, 161, 164, 165, 166, 167, 168, 172, 173, 174, 176, 178, 179, 187, 190, 192, 193, 196

203, 207, 208
, 209, 214, 218, 220, 221, 222, 223, 226, 229, 230, 231, 232, 234, 236, 237, 238, 240, 242, 244, 246, 254, 255, 257, 258, 260, 261, 264, 266, 267, 275, 277, 278, 280, 281, 285, 288, 291, 294, 295, 296, 299

Short Print Base Cards
301, 302, 303, 304, 305, 306, 307, 309, 310, 311, 313, 317, 320, 321, 323, 324, 325, 327, 328, 329, 330, 331, 332, ,333, 334, 335, 336, 338, 339, 341, 342, 343, 344, 345, 347, 348, 349

This Day in History
1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 10, 11, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, 24, 25, 29, 31, 34, 35, 36, 37, 40, 42, 43, 44, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 53, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 61, 62, 63, 64, 67, 69, 70, 71, 74, 75

Lords of Olympus
1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25,

Baseball Highlight Sketches
1, 2, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15

Aug 28, 2010

Catching Up: Play at the Plate Contest Winner Goods

Brian at Play at the Plate holds monthly contests, and though I didn't win one of those, I did manage to win a different one by guessing which pitcher would win 10 games the fastest this season, Ubaldo Jimenez. The consensus was Roy Halladay (for good reason), but I just had an intuition back in April when the guessing occurred. In any case, check out his blog for the September contest...coming soon to a computer near you. Here are some the cards that he sent along.2002 Upper Deck MVP Scott Rolen Jersey: I;m not sure what Upper Deck was going for here. MVP usually implied a product with a lot of gaudiness, but the muted tones of the jersey design don't fit with the set motif.
2002 Fleer Authentix Scott Rolen Jersey: The mini-ticket stub (is it a replica?) is of the first series in 2002. Little did he know, it would be his last in a Phillies uniform.
2010 Topps Heritage Chase Utley AS: I love these SP AS cards unequivocally. They are also hard to obtain readily. Oh yes, and Utley is back for the stretch drive. Bring on September!
2010 Topps Heritage Jaime Moyer and 2002 Topps Gallery Carlos Silva: Two pitchers at opposite ends of the line. Moyer may have pitched his last ball in 2010 and Silva pitched his first ball in 2002 (though his last may be coming shortly as well)