Category Archives: Terry Mulholland

Wish List for 2014

Featured Cards: 1992 Donruss #94, Tommy Greene; 2013 Leaf Memories 1990 Buyback Autographs #474, Terry Mulholland; 2005 Topps Total #423, Cory Lidle; 1922 American Caramel (E120) no #, Jimmy Ring; 2007 Upper Deck/Majestic Phillies Alumni Night #9, Jamie Moyer; 2013 Topps Emerald #647, Ben Revere

Given that we’re already entering the last week of January and that most of the major card releases for the next few months are already in some stage of production that makes alterations impossible, stating a wish list of Phillies baseball cards for the coming year is probably a futile gesture. However, I’m nonetheless determined to plow through with the idea. So, here’s my wish list of items I’d love to see from Topps or Panini at some point this year, or, failing that, at some point within the next couple years.

1. Combo Cards
These could either be inserts or subsets — I don’t care. However they’re issued, there are plenty of awesome combo cards of just Phillies that haven’t been produced for some unknown reason, and all of them make much more sense 1992 Donruss Greene HLthan producing a dual autograph booklet of Carlos Ruiz & John Kruk. Although autographed and/or memorabilia versions of the cards would be awesome, “plain,” unadorned versions of these cards would be completely acceptable. To whit: Cy Young Award winners with John Denny, Steve Bedrosian, Steve Carlton, and Roy Halladay; any combination of the five living ex-Phillies who’ve thrown a no-hitter; a proper MVP-trio card of just Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, and Mike Schmidt; a ROY-trio card of Dick Allen, Scott Rolen, and Ryan Howard; an NLCS MVP card of Gary Matthews, Curt Schilling, Cole Hamels, and Manny Trillo; & a Ruben Amaro, Sr. and Ruben Amaro, Jr., because why the hell not!

2. Autograph Cards
A couple years ago, I posted my original list of former players I’d love to see appear as a Phillie on autograph card. Since making that list, Juan Samuel and Terry Mulholland finally appeared on one. 2013 Leaf Memories Buyback Mulholland AutoHowever, the six other noteworthy former Phils are still in desperate need of one: Tony Taylor, Cookie Rojas, Dallas Green, John Denny, Art Mahaffey, Tommy Greene, & Rick Wise. To that list, I’d like to add: Brad Lidge, who despite a perfect season in 2008 and retiring as a Phillie has never received a Phillies autograph card; Charlie Manuel, for obvious reasons; Dave Cash, three-time all-star while with the club; Pedro Feliz, the only starting member of the 2008 World Series club without an autograph card as a Phillie; Jamie Moyer, for sentimental reasons; & Matt Stairs, for the same reason as Moyer, only more so.

In addition, there are a few other Phillies who have appeared on autograph cards, but in my opinion could use at least a few more. Curt Schilling and Jim Thome immediately come to mind, but believe it or not, I would also include Rollins as he, comparatively speaking, has not been as well represented on autograph cards as some of the other players on the team over the years. I know that in the future, after his retirement, any autographed cards of Rollins will certainly picture him as Phillie, but I don’t want to wait for those.

3. A Simple, Comprehensive Base Set
2005 Topps Total LidleYes, I’m beating a dead horse with this one, but I really would like to see a base set, from Topps, along the lines of one of the great sets from the 1993 season. Hell, I’d be happy with something that looked like one of the Topps Total sets from the mid ’00s at this point. This set would feature minimal parallels (just one or two), no foil stamping (fine, put it on the parallels if you absolutely must have foil), simple gloss, full-color fronts and backs, and every player on the team. Given that the parallels are limited, I am willing to allow a crazy number of inserts — hell, the manufacturers were already issuing those en masse by 1993, so it’s only appropriate and fair.

4. A New Retro-Inspired Design
I really like the Gypsy Queen line — although it really would’ve been nice to see Topps completely embrace the idea of the original set in the manner I laid out in the early days of this blog — but based on what I’ve seen in the previews of this year’s set, it’s probably time to retire it1922 E120 Ring (and Allen & Ginter, truth be told) and resurrect and/or borrow from some other pre-WW II set. However, the well is admittedly running dry, and there aren’t too many good candidates left. However, the 1922 American Caramel Series of 240 (E120) was an interesting design that hasn’t been revived as a set, and it has the added bonus of being a set where it actually makes perfect sense to make a sepia version! There’s even an historical precedent for parallels with different backs, seeing as many different companies in the early ’20s appropriated the E120 set and used their own advertising on the back. Other than that, the 1895 Mayo’s Cut Plug might work nicely, and, if it’s done properly — that is, a similar style of artwork is used or photos are given a treatment and airbrushed to appear similar — the 1912 T207 Brown Border might be an interesting experiment.

Failing all that, it would be interesting to see a new card design that attempts to look like a set from the pre-WW II era but doesn’t actually look like a previously-issued set. Get some art design experts on it, and I’m sure they could cobble something really nice together.

5. A Standard-Sized SGA Phillies Set
During the 2007 UD Majestic ALumni Night Moyermid ’00s, the Phillies did a great job of working with various card companies to produce exclusive SGA sets. The quality of the sets varied greatly. Some, such as the 2002 Nabisco-Acme Phillies set, were hideous while a couple others, especially the Fleer 2003 Ultra All-Vet Phillies Team, were amazing. Most of the sets, however, fell well between these two extremes. Outside of the Fan Appreciation Day postcard sets, the club hasn’t really issued a set of this type for some time now. It would be nice to see them do so again — especially if it results in the only standard-sized Phillies card for some lucky player on the team — such as Rick White’s appearance in the 2006 Topps Phillies Fan Appreciation Day set.

And finally…

6. Topps Returns to Sanity With the Parallels
2013 Topps Emerald RevereLook, I am fully aware that a significant number of collectors love parallels, and truth be told, Topps loves them for their own reasons. However, 17 different parallels (counting the printing plates) for the 2013 Topps flagship set was way too fucking much. I’d be happy if Topps just cut the number in half (much happier if they whittled it down further, but I’m trying to be realistic).

So that’s my wish list of Phillies baseball cards. I’m going to send a message via Twitter to Topps and Panini and let them know that they are welcome to steal from my list (not that I expect either of them to do anything at all with my suggestions). Anyone else have something they’d like to add? Even if you’re not a Phillies fan/collector, I’d love to see other ideas of what people would like to see on a baseball card.

Odds and Ends

Featured Cards: 2013 Panini Golden Age #57, Richie Ashburn; 1990 Upper Deck #474, Terry Mulholland; 1962 Salada-Junket Coins #86(b), Andy Carey (Phillies Variation)

The combination of the crappiness of the Phillies season (especially the past two weeks) combined with hostility towards Topps and Beckett that refuses to ebb hasn’t stopped me from plugging away building the collection and the associated side projects, but it has made it hard for me to work up much enthusiasm for writing about Phillies cards these days. With that in mind, a few tidbits to show that I haven’t given up on blogging about my favorite hobby:

2013 Panini Golden Age AshburnAfter a long deliberation, I have decided to start adding various partially-licensed cards to my collection (I’ve decided “unlicensed” is a misnomer because the MLBPA certainly has given their approval, and Topps and MLB would love for us to continue using a term that makes the cards sound completely illegitimate). I’m not thrilled about the loss of the team logos or signifiers, but short of not collecting at all — which I’m not ready to embark upon — it’s about the best way I can fight back against the Topps monopoly. However, I will continue to refuse to purchase prospect cards — which Panini in particular seems to relish pimping in the Elite brand — and stick to cards of players who actually appear with Philadelphia at the MLB level….

If I did have the gumption, I would start a new feature here on 14,000 Phillies: “Stupid Shit Actually Said by Chris Olds, Editor for Beckett.” He does it often enough to provide a never-ending source of material. Last week, he provided this humdinger of a gem in “At the National: It’s No secret, Vintage Remains a Driving Force (Card Gallery)“:

“Values of landmark vintage cards may not show it, but the secret to many of those old cards’ popularity is perhaps that they simply can be found and can be collected. Perhaps there’s a lesson in there for us all.

Simply put, more of us can enjoy more of them 1990 Upper Deck Mulholland— and that’s one reason why vintage will always remain.”

As you stop and contemplate this pearl of insight, take a look at the mounds of late ’80s and early ’90s product that can be found so simply and collected. There’s more than enough for all of us to enjoy! It’s the reason why late ’80s and early ’90s product will always remain and be a major presence at card shows for years to come….

Finally, I have an unabashed love for cards which represent a particular player’s only appearance in a Phillies uniform — especially when it’s not from a Phillies 1962 Salada CareyTeam Issue set. Last week I acquired one such item — the 1962 Salada-Junket coin that marked Andy Carey’s only appearance in a Phillies uniform (he’s in the 1962 Sherrif Coin set as well, but I consider that a parallel set of sorts). The fact that it’s a harder-to-find variation in the Salada set just makes its addition that much more special to me. Eventually, I hope to assemble a complete PSA-graded team set — I’m currently 7/13 of the way there.

1993: The Last Great Year for Basic Baseball Cards?

Featured Cards: 1993 Bowman #104, Kevin Stocker; 1993 O-Pee-Chee #169, Dave Hollins; 1993 Donruss #224, Mickey Morandini; 1993 Fleer #100, Darren Daulton; 1993 Score #289, Bob Ayrault; 1993 Topps #585, Ricky Jordan; 1993 Upper Deck #267, Wes Chamberlain; 1993 Pacific #240, Terry Mulholland

I’m going to sound like something of a curmudgeon, but I’ll just put it right out in front: 1993 was the last great year for basic baseball card design (and no, this has nothing to do with the ’93 Phillies). This is a huge deal because by 1993, I was 21 years old and these were not the sets of my youth — the type for which a significant percentage of collectors feel the most nostalgia. By then, I shifted all of my collecting efforts into assembling a Phillies-only collection, and outside of those acquisitions I saw very little else. In fact, back when these cards appeared in ’93 I don’t think I was thinking that much at all about the design of those cards in comparison to what came before and after.

However, this part summer an old friend gave me his baseball card collection, which was overwhelmingly comprised of ’90s and early ’00s issues. As I sorted through and cataloged them, I gained a whole new appreciation for the 1993 Donruss, Fleer, Score, Topps and Upper Deck base sets. The overriding reason was simple: collectively, they were the last gasp of the basic baseball card design as we knew it. That was the last year we saw a large array of clean, traditional borders, no foil stamping or special finishes (other than a basic gloss applied to both the front and the back), very few parallels, and sets large enough to portray the entire starting lineup, starting rotation, and a handful of relievers & reserves. It also simultaneously, somewhat paradoxically, marked the first time that all the major manufacturers, in unison, finally designed proper full-color backs. Not all the sets were good ones — there were certainly a couple designs that were lacking. However, as a group, they did provided a strong presentation of card design before full-bleed photos, high-gloss, foil stamping, foil printing, oodles of parallels and SPs went rampant throughout the hobby. Here’s a quick review of the base sets that year.

1993 Donruss

Simple design on the front, but it’s the back that made this a wonderful departure for Donruss. Donruss went full color on the backs in 1992, but despite the addition of a portrait photo, the backs were still basically recognizable as a variation on the ones Donruss produced for the previous 10 years. However, back of the ’93 sets was a real change for Donruss. True, they still only gave five years of stats, but the portrait layout and larger photo represented the first truly new Donruss backside layout since the 1982 set. Unfortunately (from a traditional perspective), this set was also the last time that Donruss would issue base cards using traditional borders of any color until 2001.

1993 Fleer

Fleer embraced proper, full-color backs in ’91, and it’s ’92 set was actually better than this one. The gray borders make the set look somewhat dingy, and I really would’ve loved to see what they would have looked like with white borders and a simple, thin black frame around the photo and the team name/player/position line. However, like Donruss, Fleer kept the design simple and clean, and while the poster-like font and presentation on the back of the card bordered on overkill, they did a nice job of incorporating an action photo onto the back of the card. In ’94 Fleer would produce arguably their best set ever, but some tasteful, judicious foil stamping placed it outside the realm of traditional design, and they wouldn’t release a traditional-style set again until the release of 2000 Fleer Tradition.

1993 Score

Although all the major base sets employed a very simple design, this set was almost certainly the least inspired and most boring of the major base sets in ’93 (the very stolid font used on the front of the card certainly didn’t help). Score was at the forefront of full-color backs bearing pictures back in ’88 and as was the case with Fleer, their massive, 893-card ’92 set was actually much better. In fact, the only Score set worse than this one is the 1990 issue. To their credit, despite embracing parallels and modern card design elements in their other offerings, the Score flagship set continued to employ solely traditionally design elements right up through the demise of the company in 1998.

1993 Topps

Although Topps finally issued cards bearing full-color backs in ’92, it was really done half-assed. The backs did not contain pictures of the players, and Topps did not apply any kind of gloss finish to the backs. That changed with its ’93 release. However, the design of the card was somewhat schizophrenic; the relatively simple front design (which inexplicably did not include the player’s position) was offset by a much-busier back design that doesn’t readily appear to use any of the same design elements. Nonetheless, the total effect made it one of the better Topps flagship issues of the decade. Sadly, the ’94 set marked the last time Topps did not make use of foil stamping on the base set. Nowadays, Topps’s retro sets (Heritage, Allen & Ginter & Gypsy Queen) are the only place you can find them employing solely traditional design methods, but even then Topps has to muck the sets up with SPs and parallels out the wazoo. Interestingly, although Topps arguably started the practice of parallels in ’92 and were the only ones to issue a parallel with their base set in ’93, the company didn’t fully embrace parallels the same way their competitors did later in the decade.

1993 Upper Deck

Like Score, Upper Deck used full-color on its backs starting with its debut issue in 1989. However, Upper Deck did very little to differentiate the designs on any its releases during the following three years. That changed with its ’93 release. Although it uses a cursive script on the front and the design elements overlap the picture rather than frame it, the design is still basically traditional — especially when compared to Upper Deck’s follow-up release the following year. Like Topps, Upper Deck would never again issue a set under its flagship line that did not employ some sort of foil stamping or special finish. Although, I will gladly argue that the five-year run of its Collector’s Choice brand, which eschewed the foil on the base cards, starting in 1994 actually continued in a traditional manner the legacy of the original Upper Deck brand — without getting stuck in some in the same design rut.

And that’s just the five big flagship sets. In addition to these, as well as the ’93 Bowman and ’93 O-Pee-Chee at the beginning of this post, we had a slew of other sets which eschewed SPs, high-gloss, foil cards, foil stamping, full-bred photography, parallels and all the other bells and whistles that are now considered normal for so many modern issues. Most notably, Pacific debuted that year with a set that looks right in place with all the others sets already covered.

It’s interesting to look back and realize that 1993 marked a real demarcation in the way modern baseball cards are made. We tend to think of iconic sets or the introduction of certain brands as moments where the hobby underwent some sort of shift. There was none of that in ’93. However, what we did see, without anyone realizing it at the time, was one last collective effort to simply produce cards. Yes, there was still a plethora of product and inserts galore, but the sets themselves were much simpler. Looking back at those sets, I realize just how much I miss when cards were issued in the manner demonstrated by the major manufacturers in their flagship brands.

Terry Mulholland, One and Done on the HOF Ballot

Featured Card: 1989 Phillies Tastykake Team Issue #45 (uniform number), Terry Mulholland

Terry Mulholland didn’t get a single vote for the HOF yesterday. I find that a little disappointing. I like to think that every player who finds himself on the ballot should have at least one writer who is willing to waste a token vote as a way of saying “Thank you” for a memorable career. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, but for what it’s worth, five other players on this year’s ballot didn’t get a vote either.

So, in honor of just having his name on the ballot, here’s what I’m fairly is Mulholland’s first Phillies card. I’m basing this on my recollection that the update the Phillies issued for their Tastykake set that year hit the stadium newsstands before the Fleer Update boxed set (the only other set to picture him as a Phillie in 1989) arrived on dealer shelves. While definitely not a Hall of Famer, he provided a couple memorable moments for Phillies fans by throwing the first nine-inning no-hitter in Veteran’s Stadium history and by starting the 1993 All Star Game — an honor very few other Phillies have earned. On a more personal level, I was in attendance for two different, memorable, complete-game wins of his wherein the Phillies won in walk-off fashion.

If I had a vote to waste, I would’ve wasted it on him.

Anxiety and Trepidation: Time for Terminator 3

Featured Cards: 1992 Bowman #39, Terry Mulholland; 2010 Bowman 1992 Bowman Throwbacks #BT73, Roy Halladay

I haven’t posted since the end of the regular season, but I have a good reason: during the playoffs, I become a bundle of nervous wreck of a fan when it comes to the Phillies. I try my best to keep my expectations to a minimum — even with this year’s squad — because I understand that MLB’s playoffs are the biggest crapshoot of all the professional sports. However, my anxiety and trepidation levels increase during the postseason, and as a result I’ve found it hard to even wrote about collecting Phillies cards in a meaningful fashion since the NLDS started. The best way I can describe this feeling is by pointing out the back of Terry Mulholland’s 1992 Bowman card. I don’t know what the photographer or Topps was thinking, but this has got to be the most puzzling portrait shot to make it on a card in the past 20 years. Is Mulholland imagining he’s a pirate? Wishing he was somewhere else? Gassy? Showing his “O” face? Whatever he’s conveying, it’s probably not all that different from mine when watching a tense Phillies playoff game.

However, tonight’s do-or-die Game 5 happens to coincide with a Roy Halladay start. The last couple times I’ve posted a card in conjunction with one of his starts, he came through with the win. So, it’s time to appease the baseball gods once again in the hopes that it brings us to the promised land of the NLCS. Given I just highlighted a 1992 Bowman card, it seems appropriate to use the 1992 throwback card of him that Topps created for last year’s Bowman set. Here’s to hoping that the Terminator gambit can work his magic yet again.