Thoughts on 2015 Phillies Promotions

My sense of timing has never been better…The ink on my previous blog post was barely dry when the Phillies revealed a preliminary list of 2015 promotions last week.
 
In case you missed it, in lieu of having actual SGAs to review I used 350 succinct words to predict what might be handed out at CBP next season.  As a result, I had personal interest in seeing whether or not any of my predictions came to fruition. There were no direct hits, but with details on most promos in the ‘TBD’ category, I still hope I might claim a victory or two.  Regardless, we now have actual giveaways on the calendar, so let me opine…
 
The general reaction I’ve seen online reflects my own: Meh.    It’s not that the schedule is without bright spots – because it does have a few.  But, it’s more a reflection of the fact that the general promotion themes haven’t changed for the past few years.  Opening Day t-shirt – Check.   Father’s Day Hat – Check.  W.B. Mason Truck – Check.  And not one person is asking whether or not the Phanatic’s best friend is writing another book.  At a time when they’ll need SGAs to attract a crowd, the overall lack of ingenuity were both a little surprising and disappointing.
 
It wasn’t all bad, though.  Keeping with tradition, the Phanatic’s Birthday seems like it will be one of the standout promos of the year.  Whoever thought to give kids Phanatic socks gets a star from me. There is also promise in the 1960s retro bobble head.  I would be happy if they went completely retro with an old-school, “boy” themed bobble – maybe with a variant face or something.  Really the only way they could mess it up is by either making it in the likeness of Dom Brown or by tasking Forever Collectibles with the job.
 
I’m sure we’ll be treated to a few add-ons – perhaps via one of the scheduled “theme nights,” which produced some of the more memorable collectibles from the 2014 season (Stitch N Pitch Phanatic, Star Wars Baseball).  I’d be interested to hear some of your impressions from the SGA list…
 

See the full list of promotions...

2014 Phillies Holiday Sale Recap

Another year in the books... 2014 marks the 10th Phillies Holiday Sale I've attended - some good, some not so good.  This year's sale fell somewhere in the lower-middle.

The best way to describe the Holiday Sale is to use these three words/phrases: Game-Used, Autographs and Dead Stock.  With so much variety, I have established an approach for the sale: Find one "nice" addition to my collection.  This methodology has kept me from buying second-tier player jerseys or stretching for autographs several times.  Here are a few highlights...

Game Used

Last year I finally found a alternate home batting helmet, and this year I was lucky to come across a small group of 2009 game-used hats.  Most were no-names, but one home-alternate hat was inscribed "46" - linking it to Ryan Madson.  For $20, this was a no-brainer...

Like a lot of what I saw, the game-used base I bought base was likely pulled from deep in storage - dating to the mid-2000s before the Phillies starting using the MLB Authentication Program.  There are four script logo jewels (one on each side) on it, and writing on the bottom to instruct groundskeepers how to position it in relation to the other bases.  It's the first base in my collection...

Autographs

As usual, the team rolled out an assortment of autographed balls, hats, bats and cards for sale.  I picked up a "starter-ball" with Roy Halladay, Ryan Madson and Joe Blanton for $40... Just need to go back and start filling in the rest.  I also bought a red hat autographed by Charlie Manuel and a couple packs of signed team photo cards for my son.  The photo cards are a great deal - $2 for five autographed cards, one of which is a "name" player.  The top-guys in my packs included Shane Victorino, Jayson Werth and Billy Wagner.

Dead Stock

There are also a lot of things that they just want to get rid of - turning into deals for fans.  $5 t-shirts and hats; $1 Media Publications (yearbooks, programs, media guides; photo card sets); and $10 bobble heads were just some of the good buys available this year.

For $10 collectors could get either the 2013 or 2014 Group Leader bobble head.  They also had the 2014 Stitch N' Pitch bobble head available for $10.  I only bought enough to cover my personal needs, but got a laugh seeing dealers wheel out cases of each for sale on eBay.  However, I got my glutton on with a pile of old programs, DVDs and photo cards...

A Dream Purchase!

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I've crossed one off my collecting bucket-list!

Even though Connie Mack Stadium was long gone by the time I was born, my dad's stories about going there and watching the teams of the 1960s fed my fascination about the old park.  It has always been a goal of mine to one day have a seat from it in my collection.  And, now thanks to Wheatland Auction Services (their August online auction), I finally got the opportunity I had been waiting for...

Originating from the collection of an old-time Phillies collector, this single, double-ribbon seat dates back to the stadium's opening in 1909.  Story goes that he went to the stadium sometime in the early 1970s, after the Phillies had moved to Veterans Stadium and removed several seats, and put them in storage.  His collection, which included two sets of two (joined) seats and this single seat, has sat in storage since the late 1970s.  You know what they say about one man's trash... 

Gotta Ask - Is This Collectible?

Who am I to judge, really?  After all, collecting memorabilia is not a one-size-fits-all kind of scenario.  But, the Phillies have offered a few pieces of memorabilia for sale over the past month that have really had me scratching my head and asking, "Is this really collectible, or just a marketing machine at work?"

For example, a recent online Phillies Authentics auction included a number of lots pertaining to fireballer Ken Giles' Major League Debut.  I like Giles and all, but despite his rise up the ranks this season, he has rarely been included in the team's top-ten prospects lists.  It reeks of the hype they spewed with Darin Ruf last Summer - regularly listing his game-used gear at prices comparable to those worn by Ryan Howard or Cliff Lee.  I'm all for prospecting, but the chances of him living up to a $700+ jersey value are pretty slim.

The same auction also listed a ball pitched to Jimmy Rollins during his record-breaking "hits" at-bat.  Not the ball he dumped into right field - instead, it was one he fouled off prior to the hit.  Is it any different than any other foul ball he ever hit? Not really.  But in the world where MLB Authentication puts a sticker on everything it's now meaningful (to someone).  

Finally, I especially take issue with the tactics the team employed to label boxes of programs as "Jimmy Rollins All-Time Hits Leader June 14, 2014."  Unlike when programs were printed for series', or way back when lineups were printed on scorecards daily, the Phillies are publishing their programs monthly this year - meaning this program is no different than those sold the day before or after.  All the sticker signifies is that it was first sold on June 14th.  Technically, hundreds of programs boxed in storage "were there" for the hit - wouldn't doubt if they slap a sticker on those June remnants and make them "collectible", too....

Jimmy Rollins Figurine vs. A Car

A Jimmy Rollins figurine I bought on eBay went head-to-head with my wife's car yesterday... The car won!  Luckily, it only cost a few dollars...  Here is his journey in photos:

Memories from Millwood's No-Hitter

On April 27, 2003, Kevin Millwood pitched his way into Phillies history with a no-hitter at Veterans Stadium.  As Sunday Game Plan ticket holders, I was there with my dad to see it all unfold.  We have been to dozens of games together over the years, and experienced some pretty cool things - but, this game was one of the best.

A lot of people hunted down the enterprising program vendors who took stacks of booklets to sell on the main concourse.  The program that day had Jim Thome on the cover - and unfortunately, it was generic and not even specific to the Phillies series against the Giants.  Because of this, "no-hitter programs" are really not available.  Instead Phillies collectors tend to scoop up game tickets or autographs on a no-hitter celebration photo (like I did).   

January Phanatic of the Month

I busied myself by reading the tweets from Citizens Bank Park this morning as a line, estimated by one buyer at around 60 people, formed early.  Was it another memorabilia sale? Opening Day tickets (wink, wink)?  No, they were waiting for the January Phanatic of the Month Bobble Head to go on sale.  Soon after 10 a.m., my go-to bobble expert, @DrBobblesWorld posted a picture of the prized figurine (at left) to let us bystanders in on the fun.

This month's theme was "New Year's Phanatic" - which on January 2nd, makes sense.  Phanatic is dressed a lot classier than I was on New Year's Eve, complete with top hat.  Interesting features in this month's release is the "New Year's Ball" which has the ability to move up and down a pole and the Phanatic's hands which also move.

Overall, the design is pretty nice again this month, though I have to agree with fellow Phillies collector, Pat Adair (@DroppedStrike3) that "Baby New Year Phanatic" would have been entertaining, too.  There's always next year...

My Collecting Story: Collecting Jimmy Rollins (UPDATE)

I have been collecting memorabilia related to Jimmy Rollins since he broke onto the scene in September 2000.  I don't have a lot of disposable income, so I have to pick and choose my spots for buying things related to the shortstop.  The first part of my Rollins collection was documented in a post back in 2011 - but, there have been a few updates to share since then:

Game Used Hats

I like collecting game used hats because they are a relatively inexpensive and don't take up a lot of room.  I've been buying them here and there over the past 10 years, but just got my first Jimmy Rollins gamer, his 2012 red, last year.  I jumped at the chance to buy his 2013 hat a few weeks ago, and would like to add one from earlier in his career - at some point.

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Game Used Jerseys

My collection of game used jerseys is nice.  No more, no less.  I don't have a lot of them, but decided to make a small investment and buy two Rollins.  My thought: I would rather have a few that mean something than a bunch of no-names that don't.  Like the hats I mentioned ealier, the jerseys date from the past two seasons - one away gray and one home alternate.  The away jersey must have been taken right off his back after the game, it is completely soiled from a head first slide.

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Artwork

Not the most expensive item in my collection, this oil painting by Philly artist Lou Baker may be my favorite.  I have a few of Baker's works, including two of Mike Schmidt.  Guess I'm an amateur art collector, too... 

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Phillies TTM: Who's Signing

I don't generally do themes for these TTM posts, but based on recent successes, one jumped out at me: Guys With Short Phillies Careers, and Long TTM Response Times.  OK, maybe it needs a little work, but you get the idea.  Here are some recent responses from guys who have great success track records...

Doug Jones

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Jones stepped in to close for the Phils after Mitch Williams was run out of town... er, moved to Houston following the 1993 season. His short career in red pinstripes was successful, as he saved 27 games and earned a spot on the NL All-Star team.  He is a good signer through the mail, but does tend to build up a stack before responding, so be prepared to wait if you write...

129 East Navilla Place  Covina, CA 91723

Bruce Chen

After coming to the Phillies in the Andy Ashby trade, Chen pitched in parts of the 2000 and 2001 seasons.  Throughout his career he has been a reliable signer in care of his home club.  The rash of returns he recently registered were sent during the season.  Keep an eye on where he lands this off-season, and try him in camp again next Spring.

Photo via Amazon.com

Photo via Amazon.com

Larry McWilliams

I can vividly remember seeing McWilliams pitch for the Phils during the 1989 season - and continued mimicking the odd delivery in our driveway games the rest of the summer.  (Sounds like the makings of a nice little request letter...) Similar to Jones and Chen, he seems to wait until he has a nice pile, but generally comes through with a successful request...

4102 Beckley Court  Colleyville, TX 76034

For more Phillies TTM addresses, check out our TTM database...

2014 Phanatic MVP Club Figurine Preview

2014 Phanatic MVP Club Bobble Head

2014 Phanatic MVP Club Bobble Head

While the Phillies have been somewhat quiet in terms of improving their on-field product, their Marketing and Sales departments have been working overtime to salvage Citizens Bank Park's reputation as a summertime destination.  For the first time in years, Opening Day six-pack plans were made available in October!  Several promotional dates have been announced, and recently the 2014 Phanatic MVP bobble head design was released on Phillies.com.

These mini-figurines are available for free to members of the Phanatic MVP Club (open to children 14 years and under).  I actually bought a membership for my 5-year old as a way to get him interested in the team.  I'm sure he will be thrilled with this season's design placing the Phanatic in a familiar scene - dancing on top of the Phillies dugout.  It may not be "much" different than just having him stand on a standard base - but, I give the team credit for putting a theme around it.

I recommend this as a gift for young Phillies fans in your life.  Details on how to enroll are available on Phillies.com.

Photo credit to Phillies SGA, shared earlier this week via Twitter.

Carl's Cards Kicks Off '12 Days of Christmas'

Cliff Lee signed home plate   (photo via carlscards.com)

Cliff Lee signed home plate 

(photo via carlscards.com)

Carl's Cards in Havertown kicked off their '12 Days of Christmas' promotion today with a bang!  The first deal, a custom, wood home plate display signed by Phillies All-Star pitcher, Cliff Lee for $40 lasted only six hours before selling out!  If this teaches you anything - you need to act quickly to ensure you don't miss out on one of the remaining 11 deals.

The best way to keep track of the daily deals is to either follow Carl's on Twitter, or Facebook - or, of course, either of my pages...  I am looking forward to seeing what Carl pulls out for the next week or so!

How to Buy:

  • Stop in-person at the store: 22 West Eagle Road  Havertown, PA
  • Calling Carl's: 610-789-4996
  • You CANNOT purchase these items on their website

Small Print: 

  • One item per person, while supplies last
  • Supplies are limited
  • Purchases are done on a first paid basis

 

Philly Show Finds

After spending anytime on my blog, you'll come to realize I am a true collector of paper!  Posters, programs, photos, cards... I just can't fight the urge to look (and often buy).  On top of that, I love collecting unique items from the 1970s and 1980s that represent a "point in time".  With that in mind, here are a few finds from the Philly Show...

Bullies-era Flyers Coloring Book

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Anything "Bullies" is collectible, but this children's activity book stood out on the dealer's table.  Graphics on the cover and in the book are awesome - and totally '70s.  I have no idea whether or not it is rare, but I haven't seen it on ebay before.  Either way, very cool item.

Tug McGraw 40th Birthday Party Memorabilia

A "new to me" piece of memorabilia related to The Tugger's 40th birthday held at Veterans Stadium August 30, 1984.  The piece most recognized from the event is the Dick Perez print (surrounded by all of Tug's Topps cards) - the first of several SGAs with this design.  This is a simple folded card, measuring 12" high and printed on card stock.  It reads like an invitation to the party.  

Front

Front

Inside

Inside

Back

Back

Tug McGraw Promotional Card

Another item that I had not previously seen - a 5"x7" promotional card featuring a drawn image of former Phillies relief pitcher, Tug McGraw.  While these have an old feel, I believe they are probably from the 1990s - used at McGraw personal appearances.  The dealer told me he had bought these, along with the birthday card (above) and a few other items as part of a large collection.  Cool, unique - that just about sums up Tug...

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2013 Phillies Winter Sale Recap

Saturday was the annual Phillies Holiday Sale at Citizens Bank Park.  Billed as an "all-day shopping event", the Sale is good opportunity to buy some cheap holiday gifts.  I've been going with my brother since the Phillies moved to CBP in 2004, but from talking to some of the more senior collectors in line, it is a tradition that reaches back to the mid-1980s.

It was another less-than-desirable list of game used jersey options, but I didn't let that get me down.  Here is the quick rundown of my purchases:

Jim Thome Signed Photo Frame

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Thought this was a cool item - plastic frame that is perfect to hold either the photo card I have in there now, or a 4"x6" photo.  On the bottom is an autograph in blue Sharpie.  From reading online, frames signed by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley were available later in the day.  Each were $5.

Placido Polanco Game-Used Alternate Helmet

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I have a few red helmets, but for some reason, they never seem to put out the alternate ones.  For the past three years I have said, 'My day will be made if f I get an alternate helmet."  Well, needless to say, my day was made with this purchase.  It has a lot of evident game use, and unlike my red helmets, still has the padding intact.

Placido Polanco "Game-Used" TBTC Hat

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No, I'm not some Placido Polanco super-fan, just someone who can't pass up a good deal.  This hat was from the Phillies 2011 Turn Back the Clock game when they dressed in 1984 style uniforms.  Though the MLB Authentication listing classifies this as game-used, P.P. did not play in the game - so, I'll call it "kinda game used."  It is also autographed.  For $20, it was a decent pickup...

Programs, etc.

Some of the best stuff available at the sale is found in the media room.  Here is the abbreviated version:

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  • Bought one of each 2013 program. For $1 each, this are a low-guilt purchase.  
  • Autographed photo cards.  There was less variety (and notability) than in the selection offered last season - nothing too special to report.
  • One of the more interesting things I got were the 12"x18" vinyl flags of various players (pictured left). Thought I would keep them as possible autograph pieces in the future.  $1 and $2 each.

"Cliff Lee"? Game Issued Shoes

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When we go in for the Sale, my brother and I always remind each other to "look for the unusual."  Shoes fit squarely in that category.  This season there was a whole table full of 'em.  I leapt when the ballgirl reading through the numbers written on the shoes said, "33."  Authentication only specifies game issued -  so, no "official" link to Cliff Lee, but it's fun to imagine they were his, anyway...

Steve Carlton VF Outlet Information

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December 7th, 2013... A day that will live in infamy!

Ok, maybe I'm being overly dramatic, but tomorrow does promise to be a big day for Philadelphia sports collectors.  Between the Phillies annual Holiday Sale and the December Philly Show, the annual VF Outlets Pro Team Tent Sale, which will kick into high gear tomorrow, has managed to stay out of the headlines.  And, with a FREE autograph appearance by Steve Carlton, it's an event worth noting.  

Here is what you need to know...

Where: 

Reading VF Outlet Center - 801 Hill Ave, Reading, PA 19610

When:

December 7, 2013, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM

The line for Lefty will begin at 9 AM, VF Outlet Store, Level 2-Blue Building.

What: 

Phillies Hall of Famer, Steve Carlton will be signing free autographs at the Tent Sale.  While Carlton will not sign "outside" items, quality 8x10" photos will be available for free - or, shoppers can purchase a #32, Carlton t-shirt to benefit his charity, "Steve Carlton's Adaptive Sports Association."  

Also, if you are looking for holiday gifts, the tents are packed with officially licensed merchandise - at good prices.  As an incentive to make a purchase, shoppers who spend $25 or more will receive a FREE LeSean McCoy 8 x 10 photo.  One per person. While supplies last. 

Check out the VF Outlet Event Page for more details.

December Phanatic of the Month Wuz Here

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I've written with increased urgency each successive month since the Phanatic of the Month releases began last Spring.  Each month it has gotten tougher and tougher to secure the prize as the figurine's popularity (and eBay prices) have swelled.  

Well, December is here and I am left without this month's bobble head.  I have to admit: most of this problem is my own doing.  I punted the store stakeout on Sunday morning in favor of the annual family trip to the Christmas tree farm - choosing to grab on on the secondary market later.  Considering the bobble's sold out within minutes of the door opening, it was likely the best decision I could have made.  Tales from survivors set the scene as a "Black Friday-like" scramble... not my idea of fun.

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With figurines tough to come by, it took a full 24-hours before I even saw what one looked like.  Call me a grinch, but the December design didn't really impress me much.  Unlike previous month's creations, this design puts us in familiar territory: the Phanatic in a Santa suit.  Even the inclusion of a Christmas tree has been done before.  Maybe it's more an inditement of the tired "Phanta Claus" theme, and not this particular bobble head - but, I am very indifferent on it.

If time doesn't tame prices on the secondary market, I'll just buy this ornament and call it "December"...

Thanks to fellow collector, Pat Adair for use of the December Phanatic of the Month photo.  Make sure to check out his blog  and give him a follow on Twitter (@DroppedStrike3)...

Phillies TTM: Who's Signing

It has been a week or two, but with a little time on my hands thought I could check in on the TTM world...

Pete Rose 

Pete Rose signed card

Pete Rose signed card

Charlie Hustle is a hot/cold TTM signer.  It has been about a year and a half since he was actively signing, but it seems like the door is open again.  $35 fee for balls and flats 8x10 and smaller.  If you need him on any projects, it's a great opportunity to add for a reduced price.  Don't delay...

If you write: c/o Hit King, Inc  5668 Ness Avenue  Las Vegas, NV 89118

Bill Giles

Here is an interesting one... I have never gotten into collecting the autographs of front office members, but few in Phillies history have played as important role as Giles.  Whether you like him or not, his influence has been felt in Philly for decades.  If you're into the "unique", you might want to drop him a line.

If you write: c/o The Phillies  Citizens Bank Park  One Citizens Bank Way Philadelphia, PA 19148

Charles Hudson signed card

Charles Hudson signed card

Charles Hudson

If this were 1983, we would be talking about the promising future of young fireballer, Charles Hudson.  Of course, it's 30 years later, so... I have successfully written to Hudson in the past at this address, and will likely be sending to him again (soon) to continue work on my 1983 team photo.  

If you write: P.O. Box 368  Oakwood, TX 75855

For more Phillies TTM addresses, check out our TTM database...

Phillies TTM: Who's Signing

Figured it would be a good time to check in on some recently reported Phillies TTM successes...

Greg Luzinski

Greg Luzinski autographed ball

Greg Luzinski autographed ball

The Bull, a solid TTM signer over the years, went under cover for a few weeks as requests to his primary residential address regularly came back RTS.  Looks like there is a new address to send requests to during the off-season.  Of course, you can always wait until next baseball season and either see him or send to him at Citizens Bank Park. 

25100 Ridge Oak Drive Bonita Springs, FL 34134 

Roy Sievers

Roy Sievers autograph 1964 photo

Roy Sievers autograph 1964 photo

If there were a TTM Hall of Fame, Roy Sievers would surely get elected.  Though his responses are a little slower these days, this old-timer is a guaranteed success.  I have personally sent to Mr. Sievers a few times - and have the signed ball and photo displayed to prove it!  My favorite response was a hand-written note commenting on his playing days in Philly.

11505 Bellafontaine Road Spanish Lake, MO 63138 

 

 

 

 

Ryne Sandberg

The Phils skipper has provided fans with signed photo cards since joining the team last Spring.  He will not sign the item you send, but requesters to receive a good signature back (as opposed to the standard pre-print the team likes to send out).  This was Charlie Manuel's policy his last two years, as well.  Collecting either Phillies or Hall of Famers?  Might want to give Ryno a shot... 

c/o Philadelphia Phillies, Citizens Bank Park  1 Citizens Bank Way, Philadelphia, PA 19148 

Ryne Sandberg autographed Phillies photo card   

Ryne Sandberg autographed Phillies photo card

 

Check out more TTM address for the Phillies, Eagles and Flyers here on The Phillies Collector...