Saturday, April 29, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 2

This was the first Red Sox card in my collection that had more than one player on it.  It was my first card of each of these three players.  Dennis Eckersley and Carl Yastrzemski would of course be elected to the Hall of Fame, while Mark Clear was a good, if inconsistent relief pitcher.  The Red Sox were not terribly good in 1982 and these were the team's only All Stars.  I would add tons of cards with more than one player as the years went on, but this one was special because it was my first.

Friday, April 28, 2017

30 Day Baseball Card Challenge Day 1

Alright, I will bite.  Many of you probably know about this.  If not, here is the challenge:
You can expect most of these to be Red Sox cards, with maybe an occasional Sandy Alomar Jr.  So, off we go:

I love seeing great defense and Mookie Betts is one of the best defensive outfielders the Red Sox have had in a long time.  He may even be better than Jackie Bradley Jr.  At least he was last season.  And this is a photo of a great catch in the outfield.  You can clearly see the ball is in his glove.  Just a terrific action shot.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 32: Andre Dawson

Years in Boston: 1993-1994 (.260/.297/.441, 29 home runs, 115 RBIs)
Best Year in Boston: 1993 (.273/.313/.425, 13 home runs, 67 RBIs)
I was heartbroken in the offseason between the 1992 and 1993 seasons when Wade Boggs, my favorite player, signed as a free agent with the Yankees.  That was alleviated significantly when the Red Sox signed a fading future Hall of Famer of their own in Andre Dawson, who had been with the Chicago Cubs for the previous several seasons.  Boston had been trying to sign Kirby Puckett, who was still very productive, but Puckett ultimately chose to stay in Minnesota.  Dawson had a decent, but not great season with the Cubs in 1992 and there was hope that his power numbers would rebound in Boston.

Unfortunately, Dawson was largely a disappointment in Boston.  His knees were so bad by that point in his career he spent all but 20 games at designated hitter.  That was mostly the plan though, so that part was not the major disappointment.  Dawson simply did not hit enough.  He had never been great about taking a walk, but his on-base percentage in his time in Boston was significantly lower than his career mark and even his slugging percentage was down.

In 1993, Dawson hit .273/.313/.425 with just 13 home runs and 67 RBIs, numbers that were significantly lower than hoped.  He played in 121 games and hit 29 doubles.  His biggest highlight of the year, and of his time with Boston was hitting his 400th career home run.  In 1994, his numbers declined again, though he hit 16 home runs.  He hit .240/.271/.466, with 18 doubles and 48 RBIs.

After the 1994 season, Dawson signed a free agent deal with the Florida Marlins and closed out his career after two seasons on the bench there.  Dawson's best years occurred in Montreal and Chicago by far.  He was mostly just hanging on by the time he played for Boston and Florida.  The one thing he did provide in Boston was veteran leadership and guidance for up-and-coming star Mo Vaughn.  Dawson was on the Hall of Fame ballot for nine years before being elected.  He has a Montreal Expos cap on his plaque.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 9: Rich Gedman

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not?
Rich Gedman was officially a rookie in 1981.  He played just nine games in 1980 and had a .208/.208/.208 line in 24 at-bats toward the end of the season.  After Boston foolishly, and possibly unintentionally, allowed All Star catcher Carlton Fisk to walk as a free agent after the season, the team needed a new catcher.  Gedman, who was an undrafted free agent in 1977, would eventually become an All Star himself.

The Red Sox started the 1981 season with Gary Allenson as the primary catcher and rookie Dave Schmidt as the primary backup catcher.  Allenson himself was in just his third season.  Gedman started the season in Pawtucket, but he had a hot start to the season and was called up in mid-May.  He would eventually become the primary catcher, other than an injury in June.

Gedman finished second in the American League Rookie of the Year vote in 1981.  The winner was Yankees pitcher Dave Righetti who was 8-4 with a 2.05 ERA.  Gedman hit .288/.317/.434 with five home runs, 15 doubles, and 26 RBIs.  The voting was not particularly close.  Righetti received 127 votes to Gedman's 64.  The vote might have been a little closer if Gedman had not missed a month and a half due to his injury.

Injuries would be a frequent issue with Gedman in the coming years.  It would be a couple years until Gedman would become the primary catcher for the team.  In 1984, Gedman emerged as a star for a few years.  He was an All Star in 1985 and 1986.  Unfortunately, injuries and ineffectiveness took their toll in the next few seasons.  He stayed with Boston into the 1990 season then played for Houston and St. Louis before calling it a career.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Slightly More Than One-Year Wonder Pt. 2: Deron Johnson

These players made it longer than one full season, but less than two seasons. They do not qualify as one-year wonders. They lasted slightly too long. But they still spent a brief part of their careers with the Red Sox.
Okay, I kind of broke my rule here.  Deron Johnson was actually with the Red Sox for parts of three seasons, but he did not come close to even a half season in any of the three seasons in which he appeared for the Red Sox.  In fact, he only played in 29 games with the Red Sox over the course of those three seasons.

Johnson came up with the Yankees in 1960 and was traded to the Kansas City Athletics in 1961.  After a year back in the minors in 1963, Johnson caught on with the Cincinnati Reds and emerged as a legitimate power threat, hitting 21 home runs in 1964.  He followed that up with his best season, coming in fourth in the MVP vote when he hit .287/.340/.515 with 32 home runs and a league-leading 130 RBIs.  Johnson played a couple more years with the Reds then started to bounce around afterwards, playing with the Braves, Phillies, Athletics, and Brewers over the next several seasons.  He continued to show off some power, hitting 20 or more home runs six times.  He hit 245 home runs in his career.  He received MVP votes in three seasons.

In 1974, Johnson started the season with the Athletics, but struggled and was traded to the Brewers.  He did not do much better with Milwaukee and the Red Sox purchased him in September.  He played in 11 games for Boston, hitting .120/.115/.120 (how that is possible, I have yet to figure out).  He was released at the end of the season and signed on with the White Sox for the 1975 season.  He turned in a very good power season for Chicago, then was traded back to Boston in September again to help provide power in the absence of Jim Rice.  He appeared in just three games, but hit .600/.667/.900 with his final home run and three RBIs.  He came back to Boston in 1976, but appeared in just 15 games and hit .132/.233/.211, but he hit his final double and triple.  He was released in June and did not appear in the Majors again.  Johnson appeared at DH and first base while with the Red Sox.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

One Huge Trade

I made one of the biggest trades I have ever pulled off recently.  And every single one of the cards I received was from my want list.  It knocked several team sets off from the 1970's and 1980's.  

There are a ton of scans in this, so I will put in a page break.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Just a Quick Trade

It is a small trade, but it knocked three more cards off of my wantlist, including my first of the many 2017 Heritage SPs.
1.  2009 Topps Chrome Xfractor John Smoltz.  We start with short-term Red Sox pitcher and Hall of Famer John Smoltz.  Smoltz was pretty much awful in his stint with Boston.

2.  2017 Topps Heritage David Price SP.  The Red Sox have far too many short print cards in this year's Heritage.  Price, Sale, Ortiz, Pedroia, Bogaerts, Betts, and Bradley are all short-printed cards.

3.  2017 Topps Gypsy Queen Purple Xander Bogaerts.  Xander is going to be one of my guys this year I think.  It helps that he is on my fantasy team.

4.  2017 Topps Heritage 1968 Game Card David Ortiz.  I like these cards, but I liked the actual 1968 cards better.  I have all of the Red Sox, which were Carl Yastrzemski, George Scott, and Jim Lonborg.

5.  2017 Topps Heritage Robby Scott/Andrew Benintendi.  This was one of the cards I was most looking forward to from Heritage.  It is the first card of Robby Scott so far, though not likely the last.  Scott is establishing himself as a pretty good lefty out of the pen.  And yes, Benintendi is awesome too.