Category Archives: Pete Rose

Odds & Ends

Featured Cards: 2012 Panini National Treasures Treasure Materials #24, Ryan Howard; 1993 Pacific #237, Stan Javier; 2012 Leaf The Living Legend: Pete Rose Autographs #AU-38

2012 National Treasures TM HowardNow that I’ve decided to start paying better attention to Panini’s offerings and ignore the lack of MLB logos or team monikers, I’ve fallen in love with their 2012 National Treasures set. I plan on making a much more detailed post about the set sometime in the next couple weeks….

It’s been a while since I did a team checklist post. I am currently rethinking how I handle those as formatting the checklist to display properly using this particular WordPress blog template is incredibly time consuming, and I would really like to reduce the amount of time I spend on such minutiae. I will be restarting them soon, in a slightly altered format….

1993 Pacific JavierThe newest version of the Phillies Database file is now online, contains over 32,500 items (0ver 5,000 more than the previous version), and is complete through 1994. I really am doing this as much for myself as I am to make the information available to other Phillies collectors — I’m continuing to find unexpected gaps in my collection as I compare my old Excel spreadsheets against the information in SCD, Beckett, (and a few other online resources), and my own collection — yes, I am taking the time to make sure that my old checklists were in fact correctly stating what is in my collection. The most recent surprising find: there was a second series to 1993 Pacific that I completely missed back in the summer of ’93. Until I found that discrepancy, I honestly thought that I had a complete team set….

Another key reason (aside from finding discrepancies) that I am engaging in the database project for my own means: it allows me to more easily sort and extract information about my collection to my liking. For example, I don’t actually know how many autograph cards I own — I can figure out it, but that takes some time with all my checklists spread out over multiple files. Once I have this database complete, I can quickly come up with all sorts of interesting statistics on my collection. It’s still a while away, but I’m really looking forward to the day when all my collection is in just one easily sortable and manipulated file….

Now that I have decided to 2012 Living Legend Rose Autoactively add MLBPA-only licensed cards to my collection, I have started adding them to the database as well. These additions will likely take much more work, however, as Beckett doesn’t always, for completely understandable reasons, list team sets on their site. (Just as a quick aside, this means that a lot of Pete Rose cards are suddenly getting listed in the database, thanks to the Pete Rose sets issued by Leaf last year and this year.) I have also made a couple other changes to the structure of the database, and I plan on making a rather lengthy post later this week describing the methodology and decision-making that goes into the file….

I have decided, for now, to keep the W502 Clarence Mitchell card. I’ve chosen to view it in the same way I view, for example, the 2003 Donruss Classics Jim Thome card, which pictures him in an Indians uniform but denotes him as a Phillie. My rationale is that if the W502 sets had team designations, then Mitchell’s card certainly would’ve stated he was with the Philllies. It’s a flimsy rationalization, but it allows me to finally add one of his cards to my collection….

I also hope to have list a want list and trade bait section to the site fairly soon (the database makes it much easier for me to assemble a proper want list). This is actually, in the scheme of things I want to accomplish, rather low priority, so it may be another couple months before it appears online. However, I have some decent trade bait, and I’d like to see if it can get me some items I really need for the collection.

MLB, Topps & Pete Rose Redux

Featured Card: 1980 Topps #540, Pete Rose

A few weeks ago, I found myself arguing that Topps essentially had no choice and couldn’t mention Pete Rose by name when referring to the all-time hits record. However, earlier this week I encountered another collector at Target who brought to my attention some new information that changes my previous position 1980 Topps Rose Fronton the matter and renders Topps’s argument invalid. To whit, the text on the back of Austin Jackson’s 2013 Topps Chasing History Relics card (#CHR-AJA):

“Five stats — two Jacksons. When he filled the hits component on September 29, 2010, Austin became just the second AL rookie in a century to stockpile 100 runs, 180 hits, 30 doubles, 10 triple and 25 stolen bases. Joe was the earlier — 99 years earlier.”

So, let’s get this straight. Topps couldn’t mention Pete Rose by name because of MLB’s ban but was able to mention Joe Jackson, who in theory is subject to the same ban? Sorry, Topps, you just suffered a logic fail.

My previous defense of Topps is hereby retracted.

MLB, Topps & Pete Rose

Featured Cards: 2013 Topps #71, Kyle Kendrick; 1986 Topps P.R.E. Pete Rose #95

The big gimmick for this year’s Topps2013 Topps Kendrick Front flagship issue is the “career chase” line on the back of each card. Personally, I think it’s a rather silly one. I’m old enough to remember back in 1985 when David Letterman started counting how many hits Buddy Biancalana needed to catch Pete Rose, and it’s easy for me to recall that when I see, for instance, the back of Kyle Kendrick’s card: “With 54 wins, Kyle Kendrick is 457 away from Cy Young’s all-time record of 511.” Every card contains what appears to be a Letterman joke on the back! (Derek Jeter’s card is a notable exception, but since this is a Phillies collector’s blog, I have already said too much about it). For me, that’s more than reason enough to mock Topps for this gimmick and hope that Topps decides to make it go away on both the second series and the update series when they come out later this year.

Now, MLB license restrictions bans Topps from using Pete Rose’s image or name on any of its cards. Faced with this impediment, Topps does not include Rose’s name on the cards where they document how far behind a particular player is from his all-time hits record. Anyone who takes a few minutes to understand how the MLB card licensing works would understand that Topps did the best they could, given their inane idea for incorporating stock information in the first place. However, one blogger — in an essay written in partnership with the Chicago Sun Times (let that sink in, and consider this a wonderful example of how the mainstream media continues on a path of lazier reporting/writing) — took it upon himself to berate Topps for not including his name on those cards.

Worse still, the1986 Topps Rose 95 comments section to his post abundantly illustrate the abject ignorance so much of the Americans proudly wear like badge. Yes, I am engaging in a form of intellectual elitism here, but this is a case where it is warranted. In the comments, individuals who understand the licensing issues attempt to illustrate why Topps couldn’t use his name, and the great unwashed essentially state they don’t care and that Topps deserves to go out of business — losing sight of the fact that Topps could very well lose its MLB license for doing what they suggest Topps should’ve done. Should Topps, instead, have not given a career chase number for anyone in regards to the all-time hit record? I would bet that course of action would have just upset these people even more. In addition to highlighting a uniquely American brand of stupidity, it’s a wonderful example of how so many people refuse to let facts and logic get in the way of a purely emotional response.

Please don’t misunderstand me — I think that there are plenty of reasons to be annoyed with Topps (forgive me for not listing them all at this time). However, their decision to not use his name anywhere on their product is a completely understandable one. If their action on this matter angers you, then direct it to where it truly belongs — not on the business that could lose its right to make a particular product if it doesn’t follow the rules.

Those “Unlicensed,” Gray-Area Issues

Featured Cards: 2010 Upper Deck #375, Raúl Ibañez; 1986 Burger King All-Pro Series #7, Glenn Wilson; 2008 Donruss Legends Autographs #63, Pete Rose; 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Autographs #158, Tyler Cloyd

2012 Panini Cooperstown hit the hobby shops this week, and like the overwhelming majority of such “unlicensed” issues, I’ve taken a look and will not be acquiring any of it. I put the word “unlicensed” in quotes because Panini possesses licenses from the MLBPA and the Hall of Fame — the only license they’re missing is the MLB license. Therefore, they just can’t depict logos or team names. For this particular Phillies collector, those lacking elements mean that these cards occupy a gray area: by and large, I don’t feel they are important to maintaining a comprehensive team collection. However, I feel that I must at least give a good look at these releases because occasionally they will include Phillies Philadelphia cards that I think would be cool, and sometimes even essential, to my collection.

I don’t want to get into the history of such “gray-area” issues (as opposed to illegitimate or collector issues, such as the Broder cards from the ’80s), but suffice it to say that I frequently embraced them in the past. It was especially easy to do so in regards to plenty of the MSA issues from the ’80s. Aside from quality, the only difference between them and the MLB-approved cards was the lack of logos — somehow, they got away with using team names, but clearly that can no longer occur. Because they featured photography that was similar to the sets issued by the major manufacturers, they didn’t look all that out of place when placed alongside them in binders.

But all that changed with the sets Donruss started issuing in 2008. The gray-area sets they issued that year featured minor league players alongside retired players. However, there were no current players to be found. Worse still, they did a poor job of handling the logos and found themselves sued by MLB. To be fair, they clearly did not airbrush properly, if at all; for example, the ’80s-era Phillies “P” is almost completely visible on Pete Rose’s helmet in the Sports Legends set. I don’t understand why they couldn’t be bothered to make such a minor airbrush, and it’s easy to see why MLB pounced. Even more amazing, Upper Deck inexplicably ignored the incident when throwing together its 2010 baseball set, issued under license from the MLBPA and found itself sued by MLB for the very same reasons.

Until recently, however, the 2010 Upper Deck set was something of an anomaly amongst the recent gray-area offerings. For the most part, they continued to feature either retired players or minor leaguers, so it was easy to disregard them, even though “Philadelphia” appeared as a team designation. Yet, that did not mean I didn’t eventually acquire some of the individual cards. Most notably, Tyler Cloyd, still pitching in Reading at the time, appeared in 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition, and Donruss issued autographed versions of the card. Once Cloyd made his major league debut, I treated the card the same way I treat the Bowman Prospect insert cards and quickly purchased one of the autographed cards. However, I never once considered doing something similar for Vance Worley’s 2008 Donruss Elite Extra Edition autograph because he was pictured in his collegiate uniform — the card looked nothing like a Phillies card despite the fact it stated “Philadelphia.” At least with Cloyd’s card, he was wearing a red air-brushed cap which allowed me to at least pretend he might be wearing Phillies’ colors.

Although the Panini Cooperstown set, being in black in white, doesn’t raise any of these issues, a few of Panini’s other, more recent offerings do. Search on eBay and you will find plenty of new Panini cards featuring Ryan Howard, Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee (among others) wearing Phillies red, sans logos and team name. I haven’t purchased any yet, but more than a few of them would look nice in my collection. However, my collection doesn’t seem incomplete without them, and so long as I feel that way, I will likely only acquire items such as the 2011 Donruss Elite Extra Edition Cloyd on a case-by-case basis.

1983 Phillies Postcards Great Players & Managers

Set Type: Primary
Card Dimensions: 3½” x 59/16
Additional Information: During the 100th Anniversary season, the Phillies distributed to fans two postcards at every Friday night home game. One card commemorated the great Phillies moments and the players involved in them, while the other card honored great Phillies players and managers. For more general information about the two sets, see the Additional Information section of the 1983 Phillies Postcards Great Phillies Moments set.

The cards in this set reproduce the artwork used in the 1983 Phillies calendar, with each card depicting the 3-5 Phillies selected as the best in franchise history at his position, with starting pitchers receiving two cards and managers and relievers each receiving a card of their own as well.

SCD’s 2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards does not list either of the two 1983 Phillies Postcards sets. The Checklist card, which lists all the cards for both sets, is unnumbered.



Chuck Klein, Johnny Callison & Fred “Cy” Williams
Robin Roberts, Steve Carlton & Grover Cleveland Alexander
Bob Boone, Stan Lopata, Andy Seminick & Bo Diaz
Ruben Amaro, Sr., Larry Bowa, Granny Hamner, Bobby Wine & Dave Bancroft
Ed Delahanty, Gavvy Cravath & Sheery Magee
Gary Matthews, Greg Luzinski & Del Ennis
Eddie Waitkus, Pete Rose & Dick Allen
Tony Taylor, Manny Trillo & Cookie Rojas
Chris Short, Curt Simmons & Jim Bunning
Willie “Puddinhead” Jones, Mike Schmidt & Arthur “Pinky” Whitney
Eddie Sawyer, Pat Moran, Harry Wright & Dallas Green
Tony Gonzalez, Richie Ashburn & Garry Maddox
Ron Reed, Jim Konstanty & Tug McGraw


Featured Cards: 1979 Topps Comics #28, Pete Rose; 1935 Diamond Stars #15, Dick Bartell

Yes, the numbers in the subject line of this post and the tagline below the name of this blog you see are correct. 14,000 Phillies now has over 15,000 items. As I approached this number, I decided to make sure that the collectible receiving the honor of my denoting it as #15,000 was something special. So, I placed an online order with Cavalcade of Sports for a few graded vintage cards. I figured that when the package arrived, I would choose one from the group and post about it.

But then, Jay (owner of Cavalcade of Sports) surprised me. After I placed the order, he sent me an email saying my package was on its way that he would include a bonus or two. While I appreciate the nice touch of his throwing in a couple freebies, I truly didn’t expect much because every time a dealer has done this in the past, I’ve received something already housed in my collection. When I initially opened my package, I found a complete set of 1992 Sportflics Kellogg’s, which contains a Mike Schmidt card. Fine, but I already have the card. The pleasant surprise came wedged between the 1952 Red Man Tobacco Willie Jones and another slabbed card (which I am now unable to recall): the 1979 Topps Comics Pete Rose you see at the top of this post.

The funny thing about this particular “card” is that in 1979, I lived in an area which had this test issue product. I don’t know if I ever owned the Rose comic, but I do remember buying more than a few pieces of the gum these comics were wrapped (Bazooka-style) around. I don’t recall what tragedy befell the comics I did own, but I know I no longer had them when I entered my teen years — the time I started taking my card collection seriously.

The card that most likely would have been denoted #15,000, if fate had not intervened.

Anyway, getting this particular item was never a priority for me. In fact, I never placed it on any want lists I compiled in the past (I am working on putting together a new one, but that’s still in the early stages). So, receiving this comic was a very welcome surprise — so much so that I decided to denote it as #15,000 in the collection.

Moving forward, I will retain the name of this blog. It was created in anticipation of adding #14,000 to the collection, and I see no reason at this time to change its name just because I’ve added another 1,000 cards since then. Furthermore, I truly believe that rate of growth is truly the product of a variety of different factors that have vanished or are now quickly waning. I truly don’t believe that it will take me just under six months to add the next 1,000 cards — however, it wouldn’t surprise me if it happens more quickly than I expect it to occur. Maybe at some point down the road, I will update the name of the blog, but it won’t be till well after #16,000 gets added.

The Parallel Dilemma, Part 4: The O-Pee-Chee Permutation

Featured Cards: 1984 O-Pee-Chee #388, Mike Schmidt; 1979 O-Pee-Chee #343, Pete Rose; 1986 O-Pee-Chee #181, Steve Bedrosian; 1986 Leaf-Donruss #23, Jerry Koosman

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

I realize that at this stage I am applying the term “parallel” far more broadly than most collectors would ever conceive. However, I feel that by doing so I am illustrating the difficulties I personally face when deciding which cards I actively attempt to add to my collection. To me, the name of the set and method of distribution do not matter; the only thing that really matters is whether the picture, design, and text on a card are a unique combination that cannot be found anywhere else. Thus, parallel cards, as the term is commonly applied, are of little interest to me. By extension, I have little interest in most of the product issued by Topps under the Chrome brand. Unfortunately, as I have already illustrated, I must at least pay attention to all those issues because nearly all the manufacturers at one time or another have altered a parallel in some manner to make the card a unique issue. This now brings me to the next grey area in the decision-making process: what to do about the O-Pee-Chee cards?

Based solely on the three consideration points I previously stated (picture, design, and text), I would be actively adding O-Pee-Chee cards to my collection as well. The text alterations sufficiently enough change some cards (e.g., the 1984 Mike Schmidt All-Star card) to the point where I want to add them to my collection. However, in most cases, I don’t feel as though that the change in the text is sufficient enough to warrant my attention. In most cases, the only quickly discernible difference between between the Topps and O-Pee-Chee versions of a card is the O-Pee-Chee logo on the front, and until the 1979 set, that wasn’t even the case. The fronts of the cards from both sets are actually identical up until that year, the first that Topps actually put a logo on the front of the card.

(By the way, it’s a shame that O-Pee-Chee couldn’t more prominently display the stylized logo they used on the 1979 on all their subsequent sets — the only other one it appeared on the front of was the 1982 set. In my opinion, it was the coolest manufacturer logo to ever appear on a series of sports cards. When Upper Deck resurrected the OPC brand for inserts and then a set in 2009, they really should have somehow found a way to incorporate that logo on the cards.)

To be fair, O-Pee-Chee did some things that make at least some of their cards of interest to me. A few days ago, I mentioned their airbrush job on the 1977 Richie Hebner card, and while I don’t feel the need to compile a complete set of 1977 O-Pee-Chee Phillies, adding the Hebner card was an imperative. Once I knew about it, my 1977 Topps set didn’t look or feel complete without it. In fact, looking at it in a nine-card holder with other Phillies from the Topps set, you don’t realize that it’s not a part of the Topps issue until you flip the card over and look at the back.

Then, there was what O-Pee-Chee did for a number of years starting with the 1979 set: they changed the team designation and color combo on the cards of those who changed teams during the off-season. That year, O-Pee-Chee applied that treatment to the Greg Gross, Pete Rose, Manny Trillo and Dave Radar cards, and in subsequent years, other players — such as Joe Morgan, Mike Krukow and Jerry Koosman — received similar treatments. While I particularly dislike seeing cards where the team designation and the uniform don’t match, they are Phillies cards, and therefore deserve addition to my collection. However, there was one instance where happenstance favored O-Pee-Chee. Steve Bedrosian’s 1986 card pictures him without a cap on, à la so many other capless Topps cards in the ’60s and ’70s. The card was retro before Topps tried doing retro with its Heritage sets, and as a result, there’s another card I feel comfortable placing alongside the Topps cards kept in 9-pocket sheets. It especially looks cool next to his 1986 Topps Rookies & Traded card. Sadly, O-Pee-Chee stopped this practice in 1988. Instead, cards just noted offseason transactions with a note in the photo area and the team designation and color borders remained as they originally appeared in the Topps set. These particular cards cause me fits because I’m not certain whether they’re Phillies cards are not. They do not look like Phillies card in any fashion, but they bear a small line of text stating otherwise. For the purposes of my collection, I choose to argue that they’re not, but it’s not a position I feel like I could defend.

Most of what I’ve stated here also applies to the two-year period where Donruss issued a Canadian version of its set under the Leaf name. Unlike the O-Pee-Chee and Topps cards, however, outside of using both French and English text on the back the D0nruss and Leaf cards are identical and I am not aware of any variations between the two sets, which makes it rather easy for me to ignore them. However, I must admit that the 1985 edition, with the Leaf logo next to the Donruss logo in the upper left corner, looks just different enough that I have waffled occasionally on whether I should acquire the Phillies from the set.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the oh my o-pee-chee! blog. It’s an excellent blog for reading more about the O-Pee-Chee issues from 1971 through 1992, and admittedly, I did use the blog to double-check some of what I wrote here.

Finally, I truly hope that the fifth part of this series will be the last. Really, I mean it… I’m ready to move on, but there’s one last subject I wish to cover before closing the book on parallel Phillies cards: team sets specially-produced by Topps.

The Parallel Dilemma, Part 1

Featured cards: 1984 Ralston Purina #22, Mike Schmidt; 1984 Topps Cereal Series #4, Pete Rose; 1911 Polar Bear T205, William E. Bransfield; 1911 Sweet Caporal T205 Chas. S. Dooin; 1916 M101-4 Black Back #40, Gavvy Cravath

After completing my post yesterday and reading a post inspired in part by it on The Phillies Room, I realized that there was a lot more I wanted to say about collecting and the decisions I made in terms of what constitutes a complete collection. The fact is that even team collectors can differ on what the term “comprehensive collection” actually means. The obvious meaning is literal: one of everything. However, I believe that very few, if any, individuals possess the resources to actually assemble such a collection for any team, and this has been true for long before the advent of parallel cards as we’ve come to know, understand and possibly even despise them.

Before the term “parallel card” even existed, I subconsciously understood what they were and immediately developed an apathy toward them. In the spring/summer of 1984, Topps produced a 33-card set for Ralston Purina, and I attempted to collect them all. However, in the process of doing so, I discovered that Topps essentially reused the set to create the Topps Cereal Series. Rather than track down both sets, I was happy to merge the cards from the two sets together in an effort to create a single set. It didn’t matter to me that they were technically different sets; the photos, numbering and basic design were the same — to me, they were the same set. My attitude continued when Topps introduced its Tiffany set and reprinted its entire base set for Nestle — they barely registered on my radar, and to this day, I have never owned a single card for either of those sets. They are utterly superfluous to me.

Although parallels as we’ve come to call them have only existed for roughly 20 years, they’ve actually been around for a century. The original parallel cards are the tobacco issues from 100 years ago. All the talk about differing Piedmont, Old Mill, Polar Bear, Sweet Caporal and Tolstoi (just to name a few of the brands to issue T205, T206 and T207 cards) backs only minimizes the fact that these are all essentially the same card — the only difference is the color of the ink on the back and the name of the tobacco brand. Even though no one refers to them as parallels, that doesn’t change the fact they are.



But, the American Tobacco Company wasn’t the only perpetrator issuing parallels before they became a staple of baseball cards. According to the Sports Collector Digest 2011 Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards, no less than eight different variants on the M101-4 and M101-5 sets exist. For this, we can thank the original manufacturer, Felix Mendelsohn of Chicago. By originally creating the set as a blank-backed issue, alternate versions of the set could be reprinted with advertising on the back for the company that wanted to distribute it. That’s exactly what Famous and Barr Clothiers, Gimbels, H. Weil Baking Co., Holmes to Homes Milk-Made Bread, Morehouse Baking Co., The Sporting News, The Standard Biscuit Co. and Ware’s did. Same pictures, same front design, same checklist… only difference is the back. Sounds like parallels to me too.

Here’s the thing: even when I was working at building what I deemed the most comprehensive Phillies collection possible, I had no interest in getting every single variant of a particular card. If I acquired just one of card of a Phillie in the T206 set, it didn’t matter to me what brand was on the back. Mind you, my attitude changed with recent parallel issues. Because I wanted to the team sets to look as uniform as possible, I very rarely purchased parallels. Yes, some did filter their way into the collection, but when it came to displaying team sets, the shinier, gaudier parallels always played second fiddle to their basic brethren. Did this make my collection less comprehensive? I guess that depends on whether or not the person asking the question feels that you need to acquire as many parallels as possible for the sake of completeness.

There have been some exceptions to the rule, however, but in nearly every case the exceptions are notable for very good reasons. I’ll cover a few of those in my next post.

Quick non sequitur: I’m actually a multi-faceted geek, so adding a title that sounds like the name of a Star Trek episode (you pick your favorite series) to a post about baseball cards actually amuses more far more than it really should.