At the beginning it wasn't so extensive, I really only wanted to focus on the World Series participants since there have been so few. As I started collecting, I realized that wasn't the story that needed to be told through this collection. Any Phillies fan or card collector should be able to sift through the players and know the history of the team and the story of the card brands that was able to make this a collection worth memorializing.
All certified cards are fair game for this collection. That includes issues from all the major card companies of the past (Topps, Upper Deck, Fleer, Donruss, Pinnacle) and the present (Topps, Panini). And I've also been mining the depths of the offerings from the not as mainstream brands (Leaf, Historic Autographs).
I will give my biased perspective from over three years of building this up; this collection at the end will be spectacular and the crown of my usually unfocused collection. I've dug up some hard to find cards of hard to find players, mostly of the cut signature variety, and been able to secure them. There are definitely more than ten 1/1 autograph cards here and many others numbered to 25 or less.
I hope to share all my collection with you as I remember what it is to type on a blog (my activity has definitely been wanting here over the last few years). For the posts that detail what has been posted so far, please follow this link.
I am now entering the phase where it is becoming more difficult. As of this writing, I need 126 autographs of players for the core collection (yes, there are auxiliary pieces not mentioned here; it would require a flow diagram to show all the branches that intersect). Some of them I have not yet purchased because of price considerations, others because of paralysis of choice, and others because I have not been able to find an autograph of them available to date.
Below is a list of the top 10 players who I think are in the Autograph Dead Zone in reverse chronological order. Any information on a checklist for these players of an autographed card would be appreciated to help narrow my search.
10. Bill "Swish" Nicholson-a perennial all-star for the Cubs in the 1940s. He was also a member of the 1945 Cubs, the well-known next-to-last World Series team of that franchise. I figured all major Cubs would have an autograph issued. He played on the Phillies from 1949-1953.
9. Don Demeter-a good player over his 11 year career. He is best known for being a principal contributor on the 1959 champion Dodgers. He played on the Phillies from 1961-1963.
8. Bob Uecker- more known for his off-field career as an announcer/actor. Where was his Major League-related signature?
7. Dave Cash- a durable second baseman throughout his career. He held the record for plate appearances in a season (if my memory serves) at one point. He also was a three time all-star and key contributor to the 1971 champion Pirates.
6. Bob Walk-remembered by Phillies fans for starting game 1 of the 1980 World Series. He was on the Pirates for a long time, including those oh-so-close teams of 1990-1992. This must be a bias against PA-based players then.
5. Bo Diaz- a solid two-time all-star catcher over a 13 year career. He played for the Indians, Phillies, and Reds and was the main catcher on the 1983 Phillies pennant winners. His inclusion is because of tragedy; he passed away from a home accident in 1989.
4. Danny Jackson- a pitcher with World Series appearances for multiple teams. He could be considered a principal part of the 1985 champion Royals, 1990 champion Reds, or 1993 pennant winning Phillies. He also had one recognizably great year in 1988 overshadowed by Orel Hershiser.
3. Todd Zeile-the ultimate journeyman, playing for 11 teams in 16 years. He was a contributor for all those years, totaling over 250 HRs and 1000 RBIs. He made the World Series in 2000 with the Mets. Where's his Subway Series Autograph card?
2. Chan Ho Park-he was good pitcher for the Dodgers in the early 2000s and a bad pitcher for the Rangers a few years later. He was a reliever on the 2009 Phillies pennant winners.
1. Cesar Hernandez-he's been the opening day 2nd baseman for the Phillies from 2016-2018. He's the only multiple year opening day starter this decade from the Phillies not to have a certified autograph.