Category Archives: Joe Blanton

Friday Info Dump

2007 Ticket UtleyThose of you who followed this blog for long enough know that I regularly alternate between somewhat frequent posting for a few months with disappearing for a few weeks or months. So, going nearly three weeks without posting is really not all that noteworthy. However, I must state for the record that recent changes WordPress made to its image upload tool certainly aided and abetted in my most recent stretch of silence. In particular, they removed the ability to easily add frames and spacing to images, and I relied heavily on those functions when posting images of my cards to this page. Although I can still do so (as evidenced by this post), it takes a lot of time-consuming, manual HTML. While not completely to blame for the recent lack of posting, it certainly provided a lot of disincentive when time was at a premium. I will adapt — I’d much rather WordPress got its damn act together and reincorporated border and spacing options for images — but only because I hate the thought of transferring everything to a new site.

With that mini-rant out of the way, here’s comes a giant info dump of stuff covering the past few weeks…

I was both pleased and disappointed 2014 Topps Phillies Byrdwith the 2014 Topps Phillies Team Set. Based on the cards that overlapped with the offerings in the first series of 2014 Topps, there doesn’t appear to be any unique photos in this year’s team set — although we should withhold final judgment until we see both the second series and 2014 Topps Update Series. The lack of foil on the cards again confirms how unnecessary it is on the flagship product, so I like the look and feel of the Topps Phillies Team Set much better. Of particular interest, for now, are the Marlon Byrd and Freddy Galvis cards. Topps used an older picture of Byrd from his first stint with the team as opposed to digitally editing a newer photo — the opposite of what they did with Placido Polanco and Jim Thome in their second stints with the Phils. Aside from the completely natural look to the photo, the biggest giveaway is the number on his sleeve — 2014 Topps Phillies GalvisByrd wore “29” when he first played for the team. As for Galvis, this marks his first official Topps-issued MLB card (as opposed to his Bowman Prospects inserts, which we all know are not officially MLB cards, rookie or otherwise — wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more). Sadly, we don’t see his face, or The Rookie Card Logo. Without an explanation from Topps, I’m willing to bet that since the logo is jointly administered by MLB and the MLBPA, Panini gets credit for releasing Galvis’s official rookie cards back in 2012. Or, maybe, this is going to be a case where the is no “official” rookie card.

And now, for the blipverts portion of today’s post:

2014 Topps Museum RufWith the addition of his 2014 Topps Musuem Collection Autographs card to my collection, I now have 30 Darin Ruf cards in my collection, and 13 of them are autograph cards. In terms of combined cost and availability, his autograph cards may very well be the easiest to acquire of any current Phillie. There’s still one more Ruf autograph card on its way to my house: his 2013 Topps Supreme is currently enroute from Korea. One day, I’m sure I’ll look back on all his autograph cards in the same manner as I view Gavin Floyd’s or Marlon Byrd’s…

I’m still waiting for Phillies to start properly catering to the nostalgia of Gen Xers such as myself — i.e., for more than just one night per season. When it does, I fully expect to see the Phillies jersey from the ’70s & ’80s become a regular alternate home jersey for the club. I don’t care whether they use the home pinstripes or the road powder blues, so long as semi-regularly I see the classic maroon “P” on the front of the jerseys again…

2009 UD Signature Stars BlantonI was surprised to see Joe Blanton’s sudden retirement. I never imagined I’d be able to pull his jersey out of my closest this quickly. Yes, he really wasn’t good for the past couple years, and I attended a couple games he pitched against the Nationals which made me question my decision to get his name and number on my one and only (so far) alternate home jersey. However, I will always appreciate what he did for the Phillies in 2008 — especially in Game 4 of the World Series. In a related development, I’m very happy to see that I will need leave the Randy Wolf jersey on its hanger for just a little while longer (screw you, Mariners front office)…

I need to give proper credit to Uncle Chris, who provided me with the 2007 Phillies ticket featured at the top of this post. While I catalog them in the database and treat these types of tickets as cards, they are very low priority on my want lists. When I received this one yesterday, it came as a pleasant surprise — my uncle gave me no advance warning that it was coming in the mail…

2009 MLB Fan PakFinally, I will post an updated version of the Phillies Baseball Card Database sometime early next week. I want to properly incorporate all the information from Topps Heritage, Topps Gypsy Queen, Topps Museum Collection and (2013) Bowman Chrome Mini releases before posting it. However, I must admit that I’m glad to say that amongst the various updates is one delightful oddball set that recently came to my attention and that is now prominent in my wantlists: Enterplay’s 2009 MLB Fan Pak. More about that set in a future post.

Featured Cards: 2007 Phillies Season Ticket Holder Ticket Stubs (no #), Chase Utley; 2014 Topps Phillies Team Set #PHI-2, Marlon Byrd, & #PHI-15, Freddy Galvis; 2014 Topps Museum Collection Autographs #AA-DF, Darin Ruf; 2009 Upper Deck Signature Stars #125, Joe Blanton; 2009 MLB Fan Pak #56, Jimmy Rollins

Card Collecting as Archeology, Part 2

Featured Cards: 2011 Phillies Team Issue #2, #(4), Joe Blanton; 1999 Stadium League Phillies Finest #8, Curt Schilling; 1992 Fleer Ultra #541, Andy Ashby; 2007 Upper Deck Majestic Phillies Alumni Night #14, Carlos Ruiz

Yesterday, I posted the 2009 Phillies Team Issue Home Run Derby checklist. Here’s the thing about that: it’s another set for which I cannot find any information online. I actually got the Jayson Werth card (the only card that I know is in the set) a month or so ago off of eBay — if you want to pick one up for your collection, other copies are actually still available. Unlike the 2010 Topps Attax Champions card I posted about a few days ago, however, I was able to piece together enough information to confidently include a detailed description of the card when I posted the checklist.

I’ve given some more thought to the notion of card collecting as a form of archeology since writing the first part of this post the other night, and it really doesn’t amaze me that there still isn’t a true definitive catalog (paper or online) one can use for identifying all cards. Team and regional issues present the biggest challenge in assembling such a beast. Beckett and SCD rely on collectors to send them this information, but that only works if the collectors diligently provide information on any new sets they encounter and the information they provide can be easily confirmed. I feel fairly safe when I state that I believe that there are probably hundreds of regional issues missing from Beckett’s and/or SCD’s checklists. Another issue is that neither SCD nor Beckett provide sample scans of every set. Yes, the plethora of inserts and parallels out there don’t make this feasible for the old-fashioned paper catalogs, but in the digital age, there’s no space premium. This is the reason why I am attempting to include a sample scan with every checklist posted to the online database — it should be easier than ever to find a sample scan that assists in the identification of the card one is researching. But there’s one other complication that may very well trump all this: inconsistency and differences when referencing and assigning names to sets.

For the overwhelming majority of sets, SCD and Beckett concur on the name of the set and how to list it if it’s unnumbered. However, I don’t know if anyone else has noticed yet, but I do not stick solely to either the Beckett or SCD naming conventions for particular sets. I usually just choose the one that I think suits the set better. Furthermore, there are times I use my own naming convention, because I feel that the names SCD and Beckett use do not accurately reflect how someone might try to find a set. I’m going to use an overly simplex example to prove my point: the Fleer Ultra sets. Just about every set incorporates the Fleer name into Ultra logo on the card, which I believe leads to the logical conclusion that the set’s name is “Fleer Ultra.” However, both Beckett and SCD just list the set as “Ultra.” If you type “1991 Fleer Ultra” into the Beckett online database, you get 0 results returned. Similarly, if you try to look up “Fleer Ultra” in the SCD Standard Catalog there is no indication that you need to just look up “Ultra.” Furthermore, there’s no intuitive rhyme or reason behind how SCD and Beckett determine which sets include the manufacturer in the set name and which sets don’t.

All this comes back to my It occurs to my assertion that the modern baseball card collector in engaging in a form of archeology. Card collecting involves a lot of research when you find a card from a set you’ve never heard about or seen before. There are a lot of legitimate baseball cards out there that are uncatalogued, just as there are a lot of cards that are vanity/unlicensed issues (without double-checking, I believe Beckett uses the term “collector’s issue”). Part of the challenge in encontering a card that you cannot find any sort of documentation for — which probably happens far more often than any of use would like to admit — is determining its legitimacy and/or ensuring that you’re not just looking in the wrong place for relevant information that is actually out there. As much as I like the idea of putting together what I hope becomes a key online source of information for Phillies collectibles (and not just a collection of checklists), I don’t know if it can ever be absolutely comprehensive. I just don’t think that anyone can truly properly annotate everything that’s out there.

2012-02-01 Phillies Filler of the Day

Featured Card: 2009 Upper Deck SP Authentic Dual Signatures #SSD-BH,
Cole Hamels & Joe Blanton

Despite my best efforts, I’m not getting the final segment of my 2011 Phillies Cards in Review online today. It should be up tomorrow. Until then, enjoy an ace and a Kentucky Joe.