Category Archives: Jon Pettibone

Panini a Boon for Phillies Autograph Collectors

Featured Cards: 2013 Panini America’s Pastime #256, Jonathan Pettibone; 2013 Panini Cooperstown Cooperstown Signatures #HOF-JIM, Jim Bunning; 2013 Select #215, Steven Lerud; 2013 Panini America’s National Pastime Pastime Signatures #MS, Mike Schmidt

I completely understand why other c2013 Panini AP Pettiboneollectors choose to stay away from the partially-licensed Panini and Leaf sets. Aside from the fact that all of us prefer to see the team logos and insignia, the efforts required to digitally remove both them and easily identifiable stadium/field structures from the cards result in a rather limited array of photograph types. In-action cards (other than ones taken mid-swing or mid-pitch) are nearly impossible, and the frequent decision to crop out the player’s hat from the photo gives the cards a somewhat odd look in the same way that capless photos do. It’s not their fault, but these issues means that Panini and Leaf sets just don’t look like proper baseball cards. In fact, until last year, I really didn’t feel much need to add any of them to my collection. Oh, a few trickled in, but there was no concerted effort on my part to add them.

2013 Cooperstown Signature BunningThat changed in 2013. Panini, in particular, started to release sets that showed that they were serious about designing good-looking sets that stayed within the restraints imposed upon them by MLB’s refusal to license its insignia and trademarks to anyone other than Topps. True, the cards still suffer from the flaws I previously enumerated, but they certainly look a lot better than the sets that Donruss and Leaf have issued over the past few years. Just as importantly, though, Panini has positioned itself as a major force in the autographed card arena. I would go so far as to say that if you’re refusing to collect Panini cards because of the lack of an MLB license, then you are missing out on some awesome Phillies autograph cards.

In my opinion, Panini issued two of the best Phillies autograph cards of 2013: the John Kruk & Carlos Ruiz dual-autograph card from Panini America’s Pastime and the surprise Tony Pérez card in Coooperstown Baseball. However it didn’t stop 2013 Select Lerudthere. They issued the first, and almost certainly only, Steven Lerud Phillies autograph card, a large number of Larry Bowa autograph cards (remember, he had only one prior to 2013), a large number of additional John Kruk autograph cards that all used different photos — something Topps needs to work much, much harder on — and a decent array of cards that didn’t use autograph stickers. Although, to be fair to Topps, Panini did make far more liberal use of stickers, and that should be held against them.

When I looked at the final counts of 2013 autograph cards I added to my collection, I was surprised to discover that I possessed only two fewer Panini cards than Topps cards. Actually, this is technically an undercount as I am awaiting delivery on two additional Panini autograph cards that will bring the two companies even. This is in spite of the fact that Panini issued roughly half the number of sets 2013 Panini AP PS Schmidtreleased by Topps. I’m also willing to bet that the amount I spent on the Panini autographs was significantly less than the amount I spent on the Topps autographs — though I didn’t keep any real records that would let me conclusively answer that question.

My point is that if you love collecting Phillies autograph cards, then you shouldn’t just dismiss the Panini sets just because they lack an MLB license. Yes, some of the sets are nowhere near as appealing as Topps issues, but in addition to some of the things I’ve already highlighted, without them I wouldn’t have the number of John Kruk, Carlos Ruiz, Larry Bowa, Cliff Lee, Pete Rose, Steve Carlton or Mike Schmidt that I currently own. Panini isn’t for everyone — and they certainly do need to engage in some better quality control — but I view their presence in the hobby as an absolute plus.

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Still Here

Featured Cards: 2013 Topps Rookie of the Year Award Winners Trophy #ROY-SR, Scott Rolen; 2013 Phillies Team Issue, Second Edition (no #, uniform number on front), Jonathan Pettibone; 1916 M101-4 Blank Back (no #), Wilbur Good

2013 Topps ROY Award Winner RolenFour weeks since the last post. For what it’s worth, I’m accumulating ideas for posts — I’ve just lacked the time to work on them, and after four weeks without posting (actually, nearly three months without regular posting), it feels like I should do some sort of “I’m back” post before just jumping in again. So, another quick hodge-podge of stuff today before really getting active again tomorrow…

As of today, I have 417 Phillies cards designated as 2013 issues in my collection (I’ve followed Beckett’s convention and listed this year’s Panini Prizm set as a 2012 release). Even given that there are nearly four months left in the year, I believe it’s very unlikely that this year’s total will reach the same numbers as the first few years of the MLB-sanctioned Topps monopoly. However, as I am now adding MLBPA-sanctioned cards (again, I refuse to use the term “unlicensed”) I suppose that there is a chance that the final number might get closer than I suspect. For the record, I own 596 Phillies cards from 2010, 599 from 2011, and 625 from 2012…

2013 Team Issue 2 PettiboneI was kind of sad to see Jim’s report at The Phillies Room stating we will not see an update to this second edition of this year’s team issue set. It’s understandable given the recent crowds at Citizens Bank, and — truth be told — I feel relieved that I don’t have to purchase it again in its entirety just to add a handful of new cards to my collection. On the other hand, Phillies team-issued cards of Cody Asche and a few of the other last-season call-ups would’ve been nice, since I don’t trust Topps to include most of them in the Update set later this year…

Work on the database continues. It now contains 29,085 entries and is now complete through 1992. (Link currently goes to a version that I posted at the end of July). I will post an updated version once it reaches 30,000 entries…

1916 M101-4 GoodAs for the number of items in the actual collection, I am now approaching 18,500. I started this blog in May 2011 while anticipating the addition of item number 14,000. I think it’s safe to say that the growth in my collection over the past 28 months is, for me, both unprecedented and will almost certainly never be repeated. Most of this growth was the result of filling in massive holes in the collection from the 2003-2009 timeframe — a period of (comparatively) very limited collecting. Although I certainly have enough cards to assemble a decent-size want list for those years, I’ve now collected the overwhelming majority of what I want to acquire from that era. I’m now going to devote greater resources to the pre-WW II part of my collection…

Finally, come hell or high water, I will be posting a very belated review of 2013 Topps Archives tomorrow. I actually have something I’ve really wanted to say about the set and the inserts, and damn it, I’m going to.

The Correlation Between MLB Debuts and Team Performance

Featured Cards: 1987 Fleer Glossy #185, Juan Samuel; 2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP142, Jon Pettibone; 2006 Topps Phillies Fan Appreciation Day #11, Brian Sanches; 2003 Topps Traded Signature Moves Autographs #SMA-ER, Elizardo Ramírez

1987 Fleer Samuel FrontI don’t believe that anyone will argue with me when I state that non-contending teams are far more likely to allow players to make their MLB debut than teams who are competing for a chance at the playoffs. Of course, even the best teams will make room for prospects who they feel will be mainstays on the roster over the coming years — see Juan Samuel’s nearly full-time role during the September stretch-run back in ’83. But, generally speaking, the greater the number of rookies making their Major League debut in a given season, the less likely that the team is playoff bound. Let’s take a look at the number of Phillies debuts since 2000, along with team performance:

2013 (so far, 16-20): 1; Pettibone2011 Bowman Chrome Prospects Pettibone front
2012 (81-81): 8; Galvis, Ruf, Cloyd, Lerud, Rosenberg, Diekman, Aumont, Brummett
2011: 5; Martinez, Savery, Stutes, Schwimer, De Fratus
2010: 3; Worley, Herndon, Brown
2009: 2; Bastardo, Escalona
2008: 4; Carpenter, Marson, Harman, Swindle
2007: 7; Kendrick, Zagurski, Happ, Segovia, Castro*, Bisenius, Hernandez,
2006: 7; Hamels, Mathieson, Coste, Ruiz, Bourn, Roberson, Sanches
2005: 3; Sandoval, Brito, Tejeda
2004: 4; Howard, Floyd, Ramirez, Crowell*2006 Topps Phillies Fan Appreciation Sanches Front
2003: 5; Madson, Utley, Geary, Chapman, Machado,
2002: 4; Byrd, Myers, Silva, Junge,
2001: 6; Michaels, Punto, Duckworth, Estrada, Valent, Oropesa
2000: 8; Rollins, Burrell, Coggin, Nickle, Taylor, Álvarez, Schrenk, Jacquez

The number of debuts doesn’t track perfectly with team performance (see 2004, 2005 & 2011), but as a general indicator and when looking at trends it does pan out rather nicely. There’s a to-be-expected sustained dip in debuts during the 2008, 2009 and 2010 seasons and correspondingly higher numbers for 2000 & 2001 — you could argue that 2012’s high number is the direct result of a team that realized it wasn’t making the playoffs and thus decided to give some of its AAA stars some big league exposure.

2003 Topps Traded SMA Ramirez FrontWe’re only 36 games into this season, but based on the Phillies’ performance thus far, my hopes for the postseason are exceedingly dim. I just don’t think this is anything more than an average team. I really hope I’m wrong, but I see a good chance at some July trades which will necessitate a number of other MLB debuts before the close of the season. My predictions: Cody Asche, Cesar Hernandez, Adam Morgan and Jesse Biddle all appear at some point this year. Leandro Castro and Tommy Joseph see outside chances at playing as well.

* Castro’s debut was actually with Texas at the start of the 2007 season, but he is included since he also pitched for the Phillies that year. Crowell actually pitched twice with the Reds in 1997, but those were also his only appearances in the majors before pitching for the Phillies in 2004. I’m bending the rules slightly here to make a point (he was still eligible as rookie in 2004).