Ted Taylor's Collector's Corner
Ted Taylor has been a life-long baseball fan and collector of baseball cards and sports memorabilia. He began writing a hobby column back in the early 1970s and has been writing it someplace ever since. He was first president of The Eastern Pennsylvania Sports Collectors Club and co-promoter of the Philadelphia Baseball Card & Sports Memorabilia Shows. He served as VP of the Fleer Corporation (1991-97) and was co-founder and the first President of The Philadelphia Athletics Historical Society (1996-99). Ted can be heard playing big band and swing music from 8 a.m. to noon every Tuesday on WRDV-FM (89.3), and you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here for information on Ted's latest book . . .
“20th Century PHILLIES by the numbers”
Or . . . You can’t tell the players without a scorecard
August 1, 2017
This continues our 42nd Year of hobby columns
Ted Taylor’s Collector’s Corner
Stadium Club is back with some new twists
Back in the day when I was among those at Fleer deciding how to best do battle with Topps’ sparkling Staium Club issue we saw it as the industry standard and rolled out, first, Ultra and, then, Showcase. Topps is still around, Fleer isn’t.
While Stadium Club Baseball continues its legacy as an image-driven set, new Chrome parallels take things up a notch. In addition to a pair of autographs in each hobby box, every pack includes one insert or parallel. What this small hobby box doesn’t offer is a lot of variety for collectors of current players. Francisco Lindor of the Indians is on the packaging but not in my box.
My two autographs were Aaron Nola (Phillies, the third one of him I pulled this year) and Dan Vogelbach of the Mariners (I was initially excited because I thought I got a card of Dan Fogelburg). I also got a pile of ‘inserts’ called Power Zone, Beam Team, Contact Sheet, Scoreless Sheet and a laminated card of Bryce Harper called “Intransition” which I needed a magnifying glass to read.
The base set of 300 cards highlights noteworthy plays, celebrations and former greats (and I got 18 of them, but calling Roy Oswalt, Johnny Damon and Bobby Abreu “greats” is a bit of a stretch). Of course, this is further increased with 50 image Variations and multiple base parallels (which puzzle me).
Okay, then, so out of a box ($110+) of 128 cards I got 27 cards that really aren’t considered regular player cards and parallels. And while I’m picking nits here, some of the photography is among the best of the year – some of it really had me scratching my head.
Let’s consider cards that show just somebody’s back – Kyle Hendricks (#123),Jameson Taillon (#135) also a long distance back shot, Willie McCovey (#283) and Rod Carew (#61) just to mention a few; some others that were taken with such a long lens that it suggests the company is buying photos from fans (Brian Dozier’s card, #100, is so long a shot and his red shirt blends in to the sign and all you really see is the lower half of his body.
And then there are the “waste of a card” shots of Curtis Granderson in a suit, Evan Longoria tossing a football and six cards I found with multiple people – crowds of them - on them supposedly just one player – Ian Kinsler, Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Carpenter, Kyle Seager, Elvis Andrus and, worst of all, two look alike guys sitting on a bench, one of whom, is probably Danny Santana (#10).
There’s old friend Hunter Pence (#76) looking like a hillbilly (or Jason Werth’s kid brother) and, worst of all, Justin Upton (#189) in a picture even his Mother wouldn’t recognize. He’s all bubblegum and sunglasses. Nothing cute here.
Adding to that are the Chrome cards debuting in 2017: base Chrome (1 per box), Chrome Refractor (1:4 boxes), Chrome Gold Minted (1 per case), Chrome SuperFractor (1/1 - Hobby only) and select Chrome Autographs (#/10 or less).
Exclusive to retail (if you buy cards at the big box stores), 2017 Topps Stadium Club Baseball offers base Sepia parallels at 1:8 packs, and Orange (#/5) editions in the Base Autograph set.
Topps Tier One, a pricey roll of the dice
You buy a box containing three cards ($125 price range) and in it there could be really sooper-dooper autographs and relics (you are guaranteed one relic, two signatures). But that’s a pricey roll of the dice and in it there could also be three little-value cards too. Being a collector of high end products means you are also a gambler.
My box contained a Brandon Belt Tier One relic (also autographed). It is 33/75; it also contained a Greg Bird signed card (161/180) and a Billy Hamilton relic card (327/331). I don’t see them adding up to $125. Yet, had I a scored a superstar I might feel better. Scan the net and you’ll find a lot of people unhappy over the “assortment” of cards being packaged.
It’s a hobby-only release, of course. Who would plop down $125 for a box of three cards in a retail store? From reading the info on this product it seems that you need to buy a whole case of these babies to get close to some heavyweight collectibles There are the usual 1-of-1 prizes but the odds likely aren’t in your favor.
I’d rather have a $125 box that contained 300 cards – maybe some of the young stars – than three cards that are considered collectible but really aren’t for most buyers.
Phillies Top Farms offer card sets
Phillies fans with an eye toward the future can start building their collections of their future favorites with card sets available from both the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (AAA) and the Reading Fightin’ Phils (AA).
The Iron Pigs set includes 33 cards (Hoskins, Crawford and all the rest) for $15.95 postpaid from the team store c/o the team at Coca Cola Park, 1050 Ironpigs Way, Allentown PA 19109. The R-Phils set includes 35 player cards (Scott Kingery is the key here) and the cost is $18.95 ppd from First Energy Park, 1900 Centre Ave., Reading PA 19601.
Phillies can still right a wrong . . . Odds are they won’t
I was involved in a Facebook exchange with some readers of this column recently about whether Del Ennis and Pete Rose should also be noted with the retired #14 and, yes, I know I’ve talked about this before.
On the social media site there was unanimous agreement that this should be done and can be accomplished in just two weeks (August 12, Alumni Night and I’ll be there – two tickets $80 each) when the Phils add Rose to the Wall of Fame.. He will become the Wall's 39th inductee, there he will join Ennis and Jim Bunning as a trio of Phillies stars that all wore the number 14.
Of that trio only Bunning has had his number retired and that’s the wrong that needs to be corrected. Ironically the pitcher is the only one of the trio who played on Phillies teams that didn’t win a pennant. Without the Olney born and raised Del Ennis and his incredible year in 1950 it’s safe to say the Whiz Kids, winner of the NL flag, would be long forgotten.
In that same conversation several mentioned that beyond Ennis & Rose being on the retired “14” the Phillies also ought to retire “15” for Dick Allen. I don’t disagree but it bothered me that some in the discussion said that the Phils have snubbed him for racial reasons. All I can say is “I hope not."
Bunning, we know, was a front office favorite and some insist that’s why he’s the one with the retired number. He pitched one no-hitter as a member of the Tigers, another with the Phils. Of course most everyone recalls his Perfect Game on Father’s Day. The opponent that day was the terrible New York Mets, not to be mistaken for the ’27 Yankees. He never won 20 games in a season for the Phils and the team never won anything with him as the ace of the staff. His total Phillies record reflected just 89 wins. He was with the club 1964-67 and 1970-71. Chris Short won 132 games for the Phils, Curt Simmons won 115 which would be more.
Larry Shenk, the former Phils VP of PR, has said that they won’t retire a number for anyone not in Cooperstown and that’s stubborn and makes no sense at all (and that blanket covers Allen as well as Rose and Ennis).
Bunning played six seasons, they won nothing. Ennis, a native Philadelphian, was the reason they won the NL flag in 1950. Prior to that he was NL Rookie of the Year 1946, was NL RBI leader in 1950. Ennis played 14 years in the majors, had a lifetime .284 batting average, hit 288 career homeruns, had 1,284 career RBI’s, hit over 25 homeruns seven times, drove in over 100 runs seven times and played in 1,903 games. Better than several in Cooperstown.
Rose was the catalyst for the first World’s Championship in 1980. His acquisition in time for the 1979 season was the magic elixir that propelled Dallas Green’s club to the title. The trio of stars should be retired just as the Yankees retired #8 for Bill Dickey and then retired it again some years later for Yogi Berra.
To me it’s simple. But sense and the Phillies are often in conflict, but during this miserable year you’d think the club would do something positive for a PR change. Will they?
Contact me with comments –at email@example.com . Thanks for your feedback. (note new e-mail address.)
As usual - Thanks to Ted Silary for including this column in his web-zine and to all of you for regularly reading it.