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 than 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. However, 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
Yes, 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 it (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 mid ’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.
6. Topps Returns to Sanity With the Parallels
Look, 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.