Monday, May 15, 2017

1992 Topps #78 Ivan Rodriguez

In recognition of the Phillies Interleague matchup with the Texas Rangers this week we are going to take a look at 2017 Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez

1992 Topps #78 Ivan Rodriguez (rookie cup)

Twenty-Five Years ago Ivan Rodriguez made the 199 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. In 88 Games he batted .264 with three Home Runs. The numbers were good enough to rank 4th in the AL Rookie of the Year voting which was won by Chuck Knoblauch.  

Pudge spent the bulk of his 21 year career with the Texas and he will be the first player enshrined in the Hall of Fame with his primary team listed as the Rangers. He is also the Franchises first rep, as all the Senators inducted are from the DC->Minnesota squad.

Rodriguez was selected for the Hall in his first year of eligibility, although his 76% tally was just one point above the 75% Hall of Fame threshold. Regardless it puts Ivan Rodriguez in the inner circle of Hall of Famers. Of the 15 Catchers in the Hall, I think he and Johnny Bench are the only two to get in on the first ballot.  
Catchers are surprisingly under-represented in the Hall. The are 15 Backstops enshrined, which is the lowest of any Batting position other than 3rd Base. 


1992 Topps #78 Ivan Rodriguez (rookie cup)

I was to lazy to look up a Box for the FSL All-Star game referenced, perhaps I will add it to this posting in the future. I like the fronts of 1992 Topps, but I am not a fan of the wasted space on the back. Do we really need the same picture of the stadium for every player on the team? It is a pretty dumb concept when you think about it, I mean how do you capture a stadium in basically a landscaped thumbnail.

Ivan Rodriguez Index

2010 Phungo #7
2011 Phungo #21
2015 Topps Stadium Club (Blaster Break)

Sources and Links
1992 Topps All-Star Rookie Cup Index

1992 Topps All-Star Rookie Cup Index (1991 Award 1992 Card)

This is an Index to our postings related to the 1991 Topps Rookie All-Star Team. The award is for the 1991 season with the cards issued in the 1992 season.

 1992 Topps #78 Ivan Rodriguez (Rookie Cup)
# Pos Player Team
12 OF Luis Gonzalez Houston Astros
23 2B Chuck Knoblauch Minnesota Twins
78 C Ivan Rodriguez Texas Rangers
84 3B Leo Gomez Baltimore Orioles
288 SS Andujar Cedeno Houston Astros
292 OF Ray Lankford St. Louis Cardinals
520 1B Jeff Bagwell Houston Astros
522 OF Milt Cuyler Detroit Tigers
537 RHP Mark Leiter Detroit Tigers
614 LHP Al Osuna Houston Astros
Sources and Links
B-R Bullpen

Monday, May 8, 2017

Anniversary: 2007 UD Masterpieces

Just got the news that Ryan Howard has been released by the Atlanta Braves. Ten Years ago on May 9th 2007 Howard had a much better day. The events of that day are discussed in the following: 

When I returned to collecting Upper Deck Masterpieces drew quite a buzz. The set had a lot of appeal to me. The cards had a higher quality feel to them with an impressive design. The checklist was small but it had a good mix of current stars, prospects and retired stars. I particularly enjoyed the historical moments

2007 UD #71 Ryan Howard

The Phillies had five cards in the initial Masterpieces set. This is one of two dedicated to Ryan Howard. The two Howard cards are similar and we look to cover that in a future column.

One of the attractive aspects of the Masterpieces is the canvas-like feel of the cards. I believe the cards feature original artwork (based off a photograph). Unfortunately Upper Deck did not identify the artists on the Baseball Masterpieces. This was handled differently with UDs release which credited the artists and sometimes provided website info.

It appears a little dark here but this is one of the Green Parallels. These are the most common Masterpiece parallel and are not serial numbered.

Ten Years Ago Today
2007 UD #71 Ryan Howard

After a synopsis of Howard's accolades from his early career the card back goes onto mention a game played on May 9 2017. After being shutout by the Diamondbacks Randy Johnson for six innings the Phillies were able to put up a series of crooked numbers earn a 9-3 victory.

The comeback was all started by the Grand Slam mentioned on 2007 UD #71. Howard did not hit his blast off of Randy Johnson. In fact manager Charlie Manuel elected to not start Ryan Howard versus the Big Unit. However, in the 7th inning Johnson loaded the bases and was over 100 pitches. The situation forced Arizona manager Bob Melvin to go to his righty reliever Brandon Medders. Ryan Howard hit the first pitch for the Homer, tallying his fourth career Grand Slam.

According to Baseball-Ref the hit had a WPA(Win Probability Added) of +35%.

Sources and Links
2007 UD Masterpieces Index
Baseball Cardpedia
USA Today / Andrew Bagato
Teams Sets 4 U

2007 UD Masterpieces Index

When I was posting more frequently I thought a Series to commemorate the tenth anniversary of UD Masterpieces would be fun. While I don't anticipate hitting all 90 cards, I would like to dedicate some time to the set during the course of the season.

This is an Index to the postings related to our 10th Anniversary Series on 2007 UD Masterpieces

2007 UD Masterpieces #71 Ryan Howard

1 Babe Ruth
2 Babe Ruth
3 Bobby Thomson
4 Bill Mazeroski
5 Carlton Fisk
6 Kirk Gibson
7 Don Larsen
8 Lou Gehrig
9 Roger Maris
10 Cal Ripken, Jr.
11 Bucky Dent
12 Ryan Howard
13 Brooks Robinson
14 David Ortiz
15 Hideki Matsui
16 Roger Clemens
17 Sandy Koufax (2015 posting: 50th Anniversary of Perfect Game)
18 Reggie Jackson
19 Ozzie Smith
20 Ty Cobb
21 Walter Johnson
22 Babe Ruth
23 Roy Campanella
24 Jackie Robinson
25 Carl Yastrzemski
26 Sandy Koufax
27 Daisuke Matsuzaka RC
28 Kei Igawa RC
29 Ken Griffey, Jr.
30 Derek Jeter
31 David Ortiz
32 Vladimir Guerrero
33 Chase Utley
34 Troy Tulowitzki (RC)
35 Joe Mauer
36 Travis Hafner
37 Miguel Cabrera
38 Albert Pujols
39 Frank Thomas
40 Mike Piazza
41 Josh Hamilton
42 Tony Gwynn / Cal Ripken, Jr.
43 Ichiro
44 Hideki Matsui
45 Ken Griffey, Jr.
46 Michael Jordan
47 John F. Kennedy (2013: Anniversary Assassination)
48 Randy Johnson
49 Albert Pujols
50 Carlos Beltran
51 Delmon Young (RC)
52 Johan Santana
53 Cal Ripken, Jr.
54 Jackie Robinson / Yogi Berra
55 Cal Ripken, Jr.
56 Hanley Ramirez
57 Victor Martinez
58 Cole Hamels
59 Bobby Doerr
60 Bruce Sutter
61 Jason Bay
62 Luis Aparicio
63 Stephen Drew
64 Jered Weaver
65 Alex Gordon RC
66 Howie Kendrick
67 Ryan Zimmerman
68 Akinori Iwamura RC
69 Chien-Ming Wang
70 David Wright
71 Ryan Howard
72 Alex Rodriguez
73 Justin Morneau
74 Andrew Miller RC
75 Richard Nixon
76 Bill Clinton
77 Phil Hughes (RC)
78 Tom Glavine
79 Chipper Jones
80 Craig Biggio
81 Chris Chambliss
82 Tim Lincecum RC
83 Billy Butler (RC)
84 Andy LaRoche (RC)
85 1969 Mets
86 2004 Red Sox
87 Roberto Clemente
88 Chase Utley
89 Reggie Jackson
90 Curt Schilling

Other UD Masterpieces Cards
2008 Football
14 Chuck Bednarik (2015: Obituary)

Sources and Links
Baseball Cardpedia

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunday Night Baseball: 1965 Topps #137 Bouton Wins Again

It would not be a stretch to say that I learned math from the back of baseball cards, nor would it be any further from the truth say that Jim Bouton taught me how to read.

Tonight the Yankees are visiting the Cubs on Sunday Night baseball, while this week the Phillies will host a rare series with the Mariners.

The player I have chosen to tie together these two series is Bouton.

1965 Topps #137 Bouton Wins Again

Bouton is remembered for two careers. The first was as a baseball player in the New York Yankees organization. His other career was as an author while employed by Seattle's first MLB tenant the Pilots.

1964 Yankees

The card above is from an eight card subset (#132-#139) in 1965 topps. Each of the first seven cards in the set represents a game in the series. Card #137 above speaks to game 6 which the Yankees won 8-3 behind Jim Bouton's strong pitching and a trio of Home Runs by Roger Maris, Mickey Mantle and Joe Pepitone.


1965 Topps #137 Bouton Wins Again (b-side)

The B-side gives a detailed box score which includes fielding stats but ignores RBIs (early SABRmaticians no doubt). In addition to the box the card text provides a concise synopsis of the games events.

After 1964 Game 6 the Yankees would not win another World Series game until 1977.

Ball Four
Jim Bouton is going to one of the guest speakers at this years SABR convention in New York City. In Preparation for the event I have just begun reading "Ball Four" for what I believe is the 3rd time. I first encountered the book when I was in my early teens. I re-read the book as an adult, probably in my 30s and now approaching my milestone 50th birthday I am giving the work a third pass.

I will always enjoy the anti-establishment humor of "Ball Four" and am looking forward to this reading.

I anticipate this will be my most enjoyable session with the book. Through my rediscovery of baseball cards I have become more familiar with the players and stories from the "Ball Four" era, hopefully this re-read will generate some fun posts.

May 7 1969
In his entry for May 7th Jim Bouton mentions a disagreement he had with manager Joe Schultz over his role on the team. Schultz (as well as pitching coach Sal Maglie) wants Bouton to mix in more fastballs and curves with his knuckler. Bouton counters that Phil Niekro throws mostly knuckleballs. The ensuing argument devolves into a petty negotiation over Niekro's pitch selection. 

That day Seattle lost 5-4 to Boston in a game that did not involve Bouton. Red Sox Shortstop Rico Petrocelli had a Home Run for the victors.  

not so Phun Phact
The pitcher who lost to Bouton in game 6 of the 1964 World Series was former Phillies southpaw Curt Simmons

Jim Bouton Index
1964 Topps (Fred C Harris)
1991 SI Greats of the Game Autograph
Seattle Pilots 40th Anniversary Reunion (2009)

Sources and Links
Game Dated Cards
Cardboard Connection


This is an index of our postings related to Books and Authors

1968 Topps #562 Jim Bouton

Jim Bouton "Ball Four"
Bill Conlin "Batting Cleanup" Signing 1997 07 xx
Stefan Fatsis Signing 2008 07 22
Stefan Fatsis (Word Freak Review by Nachos Grande) 
Rob Fitts (Masanori Murakami bio signing) 2015 06 27
Charlaine Harris signing 2010 05 25
Tim McCarver signing 2008 08 21

Monday, May 1, 2017

1961 Topps #262 Tony Curry

Last night with Cubs featured on Sunday Night Baseball we featured a Rookie Cup card of Hall of Famer Ron Santo. Tonight we feature one of the Phillies representatives from the same Topps Rookie All-Star squad that featured Santo.

1961 Topps #262 Tony Curry

Tony Curry was the second player born in the Bahamas to reach the majors (following Andre Rodgers 1957). Curry had a decent debut with the Phillies batting .261 with 6 Home Runs in 95 games. Unfortunately those would be the only six Homers that Curry would hit in the major leagues.

Due to a contract dispute and personal issues Tony Curry would only play 15 games with the Phillies after his rookie season. Prior to the 1962 season he was traded to Cleveland and would only return to the majors one more time for a brief stint in 1966.

1961 Topps #262 Tony Curry (b-side)

A few notes on the cartoons. I want to start on the last panel first. As mentioned in our Ron Santo posting yesterday, of the 10 Rookie All-Star cards in the 1961 Topps set seven of them have cartoons that mention the Topps award. Next I want to go to the middle frame. I realize those were different times but "One of the fastest men in the Big Leagues" stole a grand total of ZERO bases in his major league career. Minor league records are spotty but baseball-reference lists Curry's single season minor league high as eleven stolen bases.

1960 Topps Rookie Cup All-Star Team
This column will serve as an Index of our postings related to the 1960 Topps All-Star Rookie Team. The players were honored with cards in the 1961 Topps Set. Here is a checklist of the 1960 hoorees

Ron Santo (HoF RC) - 3B
Dick Stigman - LHP
Jimmie Coker - C
Julian Javier - 2B
Tommy Davis - OF
Ron Hansen - SS
Frank Howard - OF
Chuck Estrada - RHP 
Jim Gentile - 1B

Sources & Links
Topps All-Star Rookies Index
Baseball-Ref Bullpen
SABR Bio - Rory Costello

a thousand words

a thousand words
2008 World Champions