Monday, July 30, 2012

Don Money (#645)

This is Don Money's 2nd card, and his first in a Phillies' uniform. Don's rookie card was in the 1969 set, where he appeared on a Phillies Rookie Stars card in a hatless photo from his Pirates' days. He is one of 2 Phillies who made the Topps all-rookie team in 1969 (along with center fielder Larry Hisle).

Money was acquired from the Pirates in December 1967 along with pitcher Woodie Fryman and two minor-league pitchers for veteran pitcher Jim Bunning.

Don's major-league debut came in April 1968. He was handed the starting shortstop job in spring training, but after a week or so, it became apparent that he was overmatched, and was sent down to triple-A in late April. (The same thing occurred for rookie teammate Hisle).

After the 1968 season, the Phillies lost all 3 of their major-league shortstops (Bobby Wine, Roberto Pena, and Gary Sutherland) in the expansion draft, clearing the way for Money in 1969. Don played 4 full seasons with the Phillies, making 503, 507, 482, and 590 plate appearances, respectively. He was the regular shortstop as a rookie, before sliding over to 3rd base at the start of 1970, making room for rookie Larry Bowa.

In 1971, he moved around a few times: to left field for the month of July, when the Phillies tried rookie John Vukovich at 3rd base, and over to 2nd base for the month of September, when rookie Greg Luzinski was called up and installed at 1st base for the balance of the season (causing 1st baseman Deron Johnson to move over to 3rd base).

Money was back at 3rd base for 1972, then moved on to the Brewers after the season, traded with pitcher Billy Champion and 3rd baseman John Vukovich for pitchers Jim Lonborg, Ken Brett, and others. His 3rd base job in Philadelphia would be given to Mike Schmidt at the start of 1973.

Don spent his remaining 11 seasons with the Brewers, 4 as the starting 3rd baseman, then one as the 2nd baseman, before becoming a swingman and, finally, a backup. He made 4 all-star teams between 1974 and 1978, and retired following the 1983 season.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Final Card: Rick Joseph

This is the final card for Rick Joseph (#186), and his first Phillies' card featuring him in a Phillies' uniform. (His 1968 and 1969 Phillies cards use the same hatless closeup of Joseph in a Kansas City Athletics' uniform.)  Looking at this card reminds me that Joseph used to wear an inside-the-cap insert instead of a batting helmet (as did his teammate Tony Taylor).

Joseph was from San Pedro de Macoris, DR, the hotbed of major-league infielders, although he came before many of the big names of the 1970s and 1980s.

Rick was signed by the Giants in 1959, and after 5 seasons was selected by the Athletics in the minor-league draft. He made his major-league debut with Kansas City in 1964, playing 17 games as a corner-infeld reserve. After that, it was back to the minors, including a half-season in the Tigers' chain, before being returned to the Athletics' farm.

The Phillies drafted him after the 1966 season, and he spent most of 1967 with their triple-A San Diego Padres team, which was more like an old-age home for ex-major-leaguers than a launching pad for future prospects. Joseph was called up to Philadelphia in late August when 3rd baseman Richie Allen's season was ended by a hand injury. Joseph spent the next 3 seasons with the Phillies as a backup at 1st base and 3rd base, behind the likes of Allen, Bill White, and Deron Johnson.

Rick was traded to the White Sox on January 14, 1971 for pitcher Darrell Brandon. Joseph spent the 1971 season with the Padres' AAA team in Hawaii, then wrapped up his career playing in triple-A for the Braves and Pirates in 1972, and in Mexico in 1973.

Joseph passed away in September 1979 from diabetes, at age 40.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Final Card: Jeff James

This is the last of two Topps cards for Jeff James (#302).  In 1968, the Phillies injected some youth into their pitching rotation. Veteran pitcher Jim Bunning was traded to the Pirates for Woodie Fryman, and James replaced aging veteran Dick Ellsworth as the #5 starter.

James was signed by the Phillies in 1960, and was a starting pitcher in their farm system for 7 seasons (1961-67), finally making it to triple-A in 1967, where he compiled a 13-5 record.

Jeff made his major-league debut in mid-April, and was with the Phillies for the entire 1968 season. Pitching in 29 games, his 13 starts came mostly in July and August. His spot in the starting rotation was taken over by fellow rookie Jerry Johnson for the rest of the season.

James was back in triple-A for most of the 1969 season (compiling a 13-10 record), and only returned to Philadelphia in September, when he pitched in his last 6 big-league games.

Jeff pitched the '70 and '71 seasons in triple-A before retiring. He passed away in 2006 at age 64.