Thank You, Jimmy, For Everything

I didn’t think it was still possible for the trade of a baseball player to make me sad, but there it is. I know the team is going through a rebuild, but I was really hoping he’d be a lifetime Phillie. Hopefully, he puts up enough numbers over the rest of career to ensure his path to Cooperstown and maybe even gets one more World Series ring before he’s done.

More later sometime later this week.

2014 Topps Museum Jumbo Rollins

2008 Topps 07 HL Rollins Auto2014 Topps SV Relic Rollins

2008 Triple Threads Auto Relic Rollins

Fingers Crossed for Allen

2009 Goodwin Champs Auto AllenLater today, the Veterans Committee announces its results on the Golden Era ballot. Throughout the day, I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for Dick Allen in the hopes that he gets his long overdue induction this year, thus allowing the Phillies to retire #15 in his honor. I won’t attempt to make the case as to why he should be in there as there are many others who have already made the argument (my personal favorite has to be the extensive two-part, 24-page writeup by the Chicago Baseball Museum.) Yes, I am biased because of my life-long Phillies fandom, but there really is no good reason why Allen shouldn’t already have a plaque in Cooperstown — Bill James’s infamous verdict on Allen be damned.

From a baseball card collector standpoint, it really is amazing just how much Allen has been neglected by the card manufacturers in their offerings over the past 15 years. As a result, by my count Allen appears as a Phillie on approximately 180 cards over his entire career. The number of unique Allen cards is actually much smaller when you eliminate parallels, reprints, buybacks, and printing plates (for those who are interested, I have posted an extract of all the Dick Allen cards in the Phillies Database.) Furthermore, while Topps and Panini continue to occasionally issue cards for players like John Kruk and Darren Daulton continue to occasionally appear, Allen’s last appearance in a mainstream set happened back in 2009 — his last Topps issue came in 2004. A Hall induction may very well change that, though I’m certain that thanks to his time with the White Sox, any new cards won’t necessarily all be depicting him with the Phillies.

As for my own collection:2001 American Pie Allen

Total cards: 46
“Unique” cards: 45
Solo cards: 35
Solo autograph-only cards: 6
Solo relic-only cards: 1
Multiplayer cards, Phillies only: 5
Multiplayer cards, with other teams: 0 Multiplayer autograph-only cards: 1
Professionally graded cards: 3
Want Listed: 2

Because of my aversion to multi-team cards, I don’t have any of the many league leader cards featuring Allen during the 1960s. However, I recently want-listed the 1975 Topps Home Run Leaders-1974 card he shares with Mike Schmidt. The only other item I desperately want to add to my collection is Allen’s 2004 Topps Bazooka One-Liners Relics card. If anyone out there has one available for trade, please let me know and we’ll see what kind of trade we can work out.

2013 Topps Supreme Triple Autographs #TA-HRY; Halladay, Ruiz, &… Young?

There are very few cards that reach “must have” status for my collection. Most of them, such as the Richie Ashburn rookie card, in my opinion are just prerequisites for any serious Phillies team collector. However, every once in a very rare while, I just see a card and decide that I absolutely must have it. It’s almost always an emotional response — there’s no reason or logic as to why I need that card. But, I suspect on some level that’s true in varying degrees to what a lot of us collect. It’s just that some impulses are ridiculously stronger than others.

With that in mind, I bring 2013 Topps Supreme Triple Auto Philsyou the 2013 Topps Supreme Triple Autographs card of Roy Halladay, Carlos Ruiz, and Michael Young.

At the beginning of the year, I posted about the head-scratcher that was the 2013 Panini America’s Pastime Hitters Ink John Kruk & Carlos Ruiz card. I reference it now because it seems to me that it’s the only Phillies-only multiple autograph card issued thus far that makes less sense than this card (though, the 2013 Topps Archives Triple Autograph of Larry Bowa, Darren Daulton, & Juan Samuel is certainly in the running). I’m being a little unfair with that statement — after all, each of these three were members of the 2013 Phillies. However, I just can’t imagine any Phillies fans picking Young when asked which other team member they associate with Halladay and Ruiz.

Another fascinating thing about this card is that the autograph stickers represent the disconnect; Ruiz’s and Halladay’s are clear on top of a gold foil background while the Young sticker has a silver foil backing. The scan of the card doesn’t do justice to how badly the silver foil wrecks the overall appearance of the card. For a premium product, it looks juvenilely slap-dash. Yet, Topps clearly had Michael Young stickers lying around that needed to be used; hence this monstrosity.

2013 Topps Supreme Triple Auto Phils BackHere’s the real kicker about this card: it’s the only certified autograph card of Michael Young picturing and denoting him with the Phillies, and Topps only made 10 of it. The fact that 2013 Topps Supreme was (in theory) released only in Asia means that this is even harder to find in the US than the print run suggests. One day I plan to write a short series on the Phillies with the smallest number of certified autograph cards available, and I’m pretty certain that Michael Young will top the list.

Even though I try to make sure that I grab as many certified Phillies autographs as I can, Young’s presence still doesn’t fully explain my irrational need for this card. It’s ugly and reeks of Topps trying to make sure that they weren’t stuck with unused old autograph stickers for Young. Of all the cards with a print run of 10 or less in my collection, this is easily my least favorite. Yet, I’m still happy to have it.

The Foxx Philly Flip

2014 Classics FoxxI grok why many collectors recoil from the Panini issues. I know I don’t care for the conspicuous absence of MLB logos and names on the cards. But, while I have grown to harbor some serious issues with Panini over the past few months (a rant for another time), they have nonetheless managed to put out some decent looking cards despite the restraints of lacking a license from MLB. In fact, I am somewhat perversely thankful for what they’re doing because it allows me to add numerous Jimmie Foxx cards to my collection.

Now, I know that his “Philadelphia” cards are certainly meant to be Athletics cards, not Phillies cards. However, he did end his career with the Phillies, and the airbrushing away of MLB insignia means that you can easily flip the team designation on any of these cards. It’s been great because before this year, 2010 Topps NC Foxxonly one mainstream card release pictured and denoted Foxx as a member of the Phillies.* Even that card, his short-printed 2010 Topps National Chicle, only exists because it was a part of an “alternate uniform” subset (at least the fact he played with the Phillies for one year meant the card made some kind of sense, unlike the Ryan Howard A’s card.)

Anyway, I am taking as much advantage of this as I can. Panini, bring on as many Foxx “Philadelphia” cards as you want, and while I may not add all of them to my collection, I will certainly chase after many of them. Oh, and please make a few Chief Bender “Philadelphia” cards while you’re at it. I’d love to have a few more to go along with his 1960 Fleer card.

*It’s not like pictures from his season with the Phillies don’t exist. In fact, his 2002 Upper Deck World Series Heroes card inexplicably bears a Phillies photo on a card commemorating his exploits in the 1929 World Series, when he was a member of the Athletics.

Collection Report: Charles “Red” Dooin

Total cards: 91906 Fan Craze Dooin
Solo cards: 7
Multiplayer cards, Phillies only: 2
Professionally graded cards: 8
Want Listed: 0

Okay, I’ll be honest and admit that the only reason for posting this particular report is because I just recently acquired the 1906 Fan Craze Dooin card, making it the second oldest card in my collection. I have no idea if I’ll ever manage to purchase another card from this set to my, but I’ll gladly fork over the amount I paid for this one on eBay to get another one in similar condition.

T206 Dooin FrontThe thing I love most about this card is that it bears the photo that was colorized for his T206 White Border card. Card images were reused frequently during the 1910s and 1920s — to an extent that might even make the current regime at Topps blush* — but you rarely saw both an original photo and colorized version of it. At least, that’s true of the Phillies cards in my collection.

Anyway, for whatever reason, I own more pre-WW II Dooin cards than any other player from that era. All but one of his cards I own, his 2005 Topps Turkey Red reprint, is from that period. Interestingly, there are a few other players from that timeframe with a greater presence in my collection, when you count cards from all eras — specifically, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Cy Williams, Sherry Magee, Gavvy Cravath and Chuck Klein. Yet, for each and every one of them, it’s modern issues that they are mostly represented by. I find the dichotomy somewhat fascinating — nearly as fascinating to me is that all but three of my nine Dooin cards have appeared on this site. This is yet another area where his number exceeds that of Klein and Alexander.

I almost feel like I should do something to rectify that.

* Nah, who am I kidding. Topps excised any sense of corporate shame years ago.

Collection Report: Lenny Dykstra

After completing yesterday’s inaugural Collection Report post, I decided to see which player in my collection had the most cards without my posting a single scan of one on this blog. Much to my surprise, the answer was Lenny Dykstra. Seeing as there are only 11 Phillies in my collection with more cards*, I cannot fathom how exactly I made 621 posts to this blog without including a single Dykstra card, but it happened.

My incomplete Database lists 701 Dykstra cards, printing plates, coins, stickers, etc. (Beckett only lists 661 Dykstra Phillies cards, some of which are clearly wrong.) Here is what’s in my collection:

1996 Emotion DykstraTotal cards: 335
“Unique” cards: 321
Solo cards: 322
Solo relic-autograph cards: 2
Solo autograph-only cards: 8
Solo relic-only cards: 2
Multiplayer cards, Phillies only: 8
Multiplayer cards, with other teams: 5
Multiplayer relic-only cards: 2
Multiplayer autograph-only cards: 1
Professionally graded cards: 0
Want Listed: 9

Just an aside before discussing this report in detail, the “unique” cards category, not used in the Chuck Klein report, is an attempt to filter out multiple versions of the same card. It’s actually more nebulous than it sounds; parallels get filtered out, but I apply the “unique” label to cards that differ because of an autograph or embedded relic(s), but are otherwise identical to a more common “base” version. Furthermore, some parallels get the unique label because they actually contain a different photo or some other design element that gives them a dramatically different appearance — see the 1997 Fleer Ultra Gold Medallion parallels or the 2011 Topps Lineage 1975 Minis. Conversely, I consider some sets, like the Topps Tiffany sets from the ’80s, to actually be parallels even though they were marketed and sold as a separate, unique product. Yet, because the headache is just too great, I’ve made no effort to properly determine when various Topps/Bowman Chrome, Topps Opening Day and Topps Phillies Team sets reuse the same photo as the base set or bear a new photo. So, the term isn’t as precise as I would like, but it provides a somewhat clearer picture of the nature of the cards for a particular player in my collection.

2005 Playoff AM TT DykstraWith that out of the way, a couple things jump out at me as I look at this report. First and foremost, is the relatively small number of relic cards. Taking a brief look over at what’s currently available over on COMC, the number easily could be higher. This is less true for the autograph cards, but that’s only because I don’t feel the need to go after the many different Donruss Recollection Collection autographs — although, it might be nice to have one such 1992 card, only because I have quite a few from that set already. The other item that jumps out is the complete lack of graded cards. Of the 28 Phillies with the most cards in my collection, only one other does not have a graded card. I don’t feel any particular need to acquire any such cards for Dykstra. Though I suppose that if I could add one for just a couple bucks and I was in the right mood, I might do so.

A few other items to share. First, all the Dysktra cards on my want list incredibly low priority. In fact, the only card that sticks out as something I’d like to obtain sooner than later is probably his 19941994 Stdm Club Fin Dykstra Stadium Club Finest insert, which is a card a already have. It’s on my want list only because I want to replace it — my copy is a victim of the dreaded color fade that affects so many Chrome and Finest cards throughout the ’90s. That is, if I can find a replacement I would be happy with — a rant for another day. As for the cards in my collection, I harbor no doubts when declaring the 2005 Playoff Absolute Memorabilia Tools of the Trade autograph-triple relic card as my favorite; the fact that it uses a photo of Dykstra wearing the ’70s-’80s jersey just makes it that much more awesome. It’s a candidate for possible professional grading, but there are plenty of other cards in my collection higher on the priority list.

Moving forward, I plan on one Collection Report per week — that is, when I’m not on some hiatus, announced or otherwise. As always, requests in the comment section are welcome.

* I’m reasonably certain that most well-informed Phillies collectors could quickly name at least 10 of them. The 11th player might be a little tricky, but shouldn’t be too big a surprise.

Collection Report: Chuck Klein

At the risk of repeating information 2003 Gallery HOF KleinI’ve shared in the past, one of the many reasons for the Database Project (which is still ongoing and will be the subject of a post very soon) was my desire to quickly and easily get a report of every single card I owned of a particular player — as well knowing which cards of that player I didn’t own. While I continue to work on the database, I actually have entered all the cards in my collection into my personal version of the file. Currently, work on the database predominantly consists of adding new releases as they appear, formatting, and slowly combing through the most recent edition of SCD’s Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards and cross-referencing it against other sources of information to make sure I’m not missing anything.

This ongoing work, however, does not stop me from generating the type of reports I’ve been wanting to make. So, for the first time, here’s one such report. I decided to start with Hall of Famer Chuck Klein, for no other reason than I’ve previously posted only one of his cards to this blog. So without further ado, here’s how Klein is represented in my collection:

Solo cards: 321929 Kashin Klein
Multiplayer cards: 2 (both Phillies only)
Memorabilia cards: 5
Professionally graded cards: 4
Autograph cards: 0

Admittedly, this wasn’t a very interesting report. The few certified autograph cards issued thus far are cut autographs with miniscule print runs, and there’s no way I’ll manage to add any of them to my collection. The four graded cards represent the entirety of the cards I own that were issued during his playing days, and the possibility of acquiring additional ones from that period are somewhat remote, though I won’t rule it out. I’m ridiculously ambivalent about the fact that I have five Klein memorabilia cards — nothing has changed since my initial post about the subject of such cards for players whose careers ended decades ago. The closest thing there is to a Chuck Klein “want” on my list is probably his 1934-1936 Batter-Up card, which is almost certainly out of the range of what I can afford. Failing that, it would be nice to add his 1936 S and S Game (WG8) card to the collection, and it certainly isn’t too expensive. My favorite Klein card in my collection is easily the 1929 Kashin shown here. Nothing against the Goudeys and the other full-color cards of the ’30s, but in my eyes this is the nicest pre-War II Klein card made.

Future player reports likely will be more interesting. Please feel free to leave requests for future player collection reports in the comment section.