Monday, May 25, 2015

2015 Topps Factory Set Red Sox Team Set

Mark Hoyle came through yet again and sent me the 2015 Topps Factory Team Set recently.  The set included 17 cards, many of which were of players that have yet to appear in a lot of sets for the Red Sox.  Here they are:
1.  Pablo Sandoval.  Sandoval was the acquisition I was most excited about.  He has had a nice season so far.

2.  Wade Miley.  After a few really rough starts, Miley has seemingly turned a corner.  What I like best about him is how fast he pitches, unlike Clay Buchholz who can be maddening.

3.  Christian Vazquez.  Unfortunately Vazquez is out for the season.  Blake Swihart has stepped in and has played okay, but his hitting has yet to come around.

4.  Rusney Castillo.  He was just called up over the weekend, and will likely be sticking around.

5.  Koji Uehara.  Koji has been Koji this year so far, which is great.

6.  Clay Buchholz.  After a terrific first game, Buchholz has been wildly inconsistent.

7.  David Ortiz.  The home runs are there so far this year, but his average is way down.

8.  Junichi Tazawa.  Tazawa does not appear in a lot of sets, so it is great to see him show up in this.  Hopefully he will also be in the regular set.  He has been showing up in some higher-end sets recently with autographs.

9.  Hanley Ramirez.  Ramirez has been the team leader in home runs this year.  He was doing great until he had a little bit of an injury.  Hopefully he will get back to knocking balls out of the park soon.
10.  Mookie Betts.  Betts has been kind of inconsistent this year as well.  He has hit for some power and stolen some bases, but the batting average is not there.

11.  Mike Napoli.  After a slow start, Napoli has exploded recently, hitting four home runs over the weekend against the Angels, the team that never really gave him a chance.

12.  Joe Kelly.  Kelly seems to let a rough inning completely ruin each game he pitches.  He has been a little frustrating.

13.  Dustin Pedroia.  Pedroia has been having a fairly typical season for him, with quite a bit more power.

14.  Justin Masterson.  Like Ramirez, Masterson was a young player when he was originally traded away from Boston.  Unlike Ramirez, Masterson's homecoming has not been nearly as positive.

15.  Xander Bogaerts.  His hitting has come around and he is starting to look like the star he was supposed to be.

16.  Rick Porcello.  Porcello has been the best starter for the Red Sox so far this year, but that is not really saying all that much.

17.  Matt Barnes.  Other than a rough night Friday, Barnes has been pretty decent out of the pen.  I am not sure if his future is in the bullpen or the starting rotation, but it has been good to see the Red Sox develop a decent pitcher again.

Thanks for the set Mark!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Waiting 'Til Next Year

With the way Boston has been playing lately, that probably could stand for an indictment on their chances this season.  But no, this is actually a trade post.  Tom from Waiting 'til Next Year contacted me about setting up a trade.  It has been a little bit since I have gotten a trade worked out, so I quickly agreed.  A few days later, a large brick of cards descended upon my mailbox and some nice stuff came out of the brick.
1.  2013 Panini Hometown Heroes Defining Moments Curt Schilling.  I loved Hometown Heroes.  I wish Panini would have done it again, but I guess it is hard to do a team-centric set without an MLB License.  This is one of the inserts I still needed, and of course this card is referring to the "bloody sock" games in the 2004 postseason.

2.  2015 Bowman Anthony Ranaudo.  Ranaudo is already gone, traded to the Rangers for Robbie Ross.

3.  2015 Bowman Chrome Prospects Henry Owens.  Owens is Boston's top pitching prospect.  Hopefully he can step in at some point and stop some of the bleeding the pitching staff is experiencing.

4.  1987 Fleer Baseball's All Stars Roger Clemens.  One of the Fleer box set cards I still needed.  I had most of the cards from this set, the Clemens was the last I needed.

5.  2013 Panini Prizm Draft Picks Blue Mookie Betts.  Easily my favorite card from this package, this is a low-numbered card of one of my favorite current players.  Betts is struggling a little bit but is starting to show some signs of getting back on track.

6.  2013 Panini Prizm Draft Picks Ryan Boldt.  This card baffles me.  Boldt did not sign with Boston after being drafted.  He is in fact one of the best players on the Nebraska Cornhusker baseball team of which I am very familiar.  So it was very surprising to see this card. 

7.  2015 Bowman Top 100 Eduardo Rodriguez.  Rodriguez was acquired in the trade last year with the Orioles for Andrew Miller.  Rodriguez is another top pitching prospect that we may be seeing soon in Boston.  He could make the trade last year look very bad for Baltimore in light of Miller leaving as a free agent.

Thanks Tom.  I will get your package out next week some time.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Small Trade and Some New Bowman

It's been rather frustrating watching the Red Sox lately.  So I have not been really excited about adding cards of late.  Saturday I received a trade package in the mail as well as a couple of cards in some Bowman packs.  Here they are:
1.  2015 Donruss 1981 David Ortiz.  This is a nice way of getting around the lack of an MLB license.  The card actually looks pretty damn good.

2.  2015 Donruss All Time Diamond Kings Carl Yastrzemski.  Yaz had a Diamond King card in 1983 while he was still an active player.

3.  2015 Topps Opening Day Superstar Celebrations Mike Napoli.  I always like these inserts.  Not sure Napoli qualifies as a superstar, but whatever.

4.  2015 Bowman Prospects Trey Ball.  Ball has been a little slow to get going in his professional career, but he is young yet.  With the rate Bowman is releasing cards of him though, I will probably have about 50 before he makes the Majors.

5.  2015 Bowman Prospects Carlos Asuaje.  With the emergence of Brock Holt as a super-utility player, Boston has been seeking more versatile players.  Asuaje fits the bill.

So that's it for the weekend pickups.  Got plenty of Bowman to trade for Red Sox cards.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Rare High-End Purchase

I don't usually buy much from the higher-end sets.  I don't have an LCS nearby so I am resigned to buying retail.  I also typically don't buy many singles from the set unless something really jumps out at me.  That something is typically due to a unique player option or combination.  I always check out the upcoming checklists to determine if something appeals to me.  Earlier this year, I looked at the Topps Museum checklist and found one card that really grabbed my attention.  I determined if I could find it, I would go for it.  Here it is:
This card represents my first game-used pieces of four current Red Sox.  Two of whom are expected to be stars.  We have a terrific-looking three colored piece of rising star Mookie Betts.  A red piece of role player Allen Craig.  A white piece of Cuban free agent Rusney Castillo.  And a white piece of valuable bench player Daniel Nava.  What a great-looking card.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Gypsy Queen Hanger Box

I bought one of the hanger boxes of Gypsy Queen today at Wal Mart.  Not much in the way of Red Sox cards, but I did get this one:
Nice retail-only parallel of Mike Napoli here.  I actually kind of like this action shot too.  Unfortunately that was it for Red Sox and there was not really anything super exciting elsewhere in the box.  Oh well.  Can't win them all.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hey, Some More Varitek Cards

I have actually been picking up a few Varitek cards here and there lately and today, they all came in.
Most of these are cards that I had no idea that I still needed.  Others are cards that I simply did not know existed.  You see Varitek has not been a major focus since about 2009.  It was at that time that I moved in with my girlfriend (later my wife), and money was not as plentiful as it had been when I was single.  It was nice to add a bunch of cards to my Varitek collection today.  And yes there is a David Ortiz jersey there too, but Varitek was definitely the focus.

The two relic cards came from a frequent trade partner on one of the forums that also collects Varitek.
1.  2009 Upper Deck UD Game Jersey.  You can't really tell but there is only one relic piece there.  I know it threw me.

2.  2009 Sweet Spot Sweet Swatch Dual Memorabilia.  Here is the dual Tek/Ortiz card.  I love the camouflage chest protector.

The remaining cards came from COMC.  An Alomar card I needed popped up so I decided to make my shipping worthwhile and pick up a few cheap Variteks.
3.  2010 Topps Copper.  These cards were only available as part of a factory set bought from Wal Mart.  Five of these parallels would be inserted into each set.

4.  2009 Upper Deck Icons Icons.  I had the memorabilia card but had no idea there were non-game-used versions.

5.  2013 Panini Hometown Heroes State.  You can't even tell there is no MLB license on this card.  That's awesome.  I really wish Panini had released more than one Hometown Heroes set.

6.  2009 Upper Deck Icons Icons Green.  This is another one that I had no idea existed.

So, six new cards brings me to 883 Jason Varitek cards.  Second only to Sandy Alomar Jr.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

It Made It (From Baseball Dad)

Awhile ago I made a trade with the Indians collector Baseball Dad.  After a mixup with addresses I received my card:
This is my first relic card of Xander Bogaerts.  He has been playing fairly well so far this year until today when he had to go for an MRI on his knee.  Nevertheless, I am very pleased with this card.  Hopefully there will be many more Bogaerts relics to the collection.