Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 17: Reid Nichols

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not?
Reid Nichols was a 12th round draft pick by the Red Sox in 1976.  Somewhat surprisingly he moved quickly through the minor league system, despite not being much of a prospect.  But after a terrific 1979 season in A-ball, he bypassed Double-A and played for Pawtucket in 1980 and eventually made his Major League debut.  

In 1981, Nichols was with the big league team for the entire season, though he spent most of it riding the bench.  He played in 39 games, but logged just 58 plate appearances.  Most of his time was spent in center field, which was his primary position throughout his career.  Nichols also appeared at designated hitter, third base, left and right field.  During his career he would appear at every position except first base, pitcher and catcher.  Nichols did not make an error at any position in 1981.

Nichols did not do much with the bat in 1981, hitting just .188/.216/.229.  His only base hit was a triple and he drove in three runs.  It was not an impressive year.  However, Nichols would prove to be a quality option off the bench for Boston the next two seasons.  In 1982, he hit .302/.341/.461 with seven home runs in 92 games.  His numbers dipped a bit in 1983, but was still a strong .285/.352/.438.  Unfortunately, that was about it for him as a decent player with the Red Sox.  In 1985, he was dealt to the White Sox for reliever Tim Lollar.  He later also played with the Expos.

For his career, Nichols hit .266/.326/.361 with 22 home runs, 131 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.  

Sunday, September 22, 2019

A Random Envelope

The other day a rather mysterious package showed up in my mail box.  It was from an individual who I have completed a number of trades with on the forums.  But I did not have any active trades going.  And he is the one that sent me the extra Bowman Chrome auto earlier this week.  I opened it and two cards popped out:
I needed both of these, and the Boggs is on my wantlist.  So, it was an unexpected, but very welcome surprise. 

Saturday, September 21, 2019

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #938 and Three Packs of A&G

Well, by the title, you might be able to tell what one of the cards that I pulled out of three random packs of A&G was.  I took a chance on them knowing there were a lot of Red Sox cards I still needed from the set.  And I did well.  Two of the three packs had a Red Sox card in it.  See below:
And yes, there is a base Jason Varitek card, which makes me happy.  The Ted Williams card was an insert, so that was also pretty decent.  The best card I pulled though was this one:
It is pretty odd to find a relic in a loose pack these days, thanks to pack searchers.  They do not seem to be as prevalent around here though.  A.J. Andrews is a softball player.  I have no idea if the swatch there is from her uniform or not though.  If anyone wants this, check my wantlist.  I would love to start trading again.

Here is the breakdown:
OTHER: 14
BOSTON RED SOX: 2
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 2
COLORADO ROCKIES: 2
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 2
NEW YORK YANKEES: 2
SEATTLE MARINERS: 2
WASHINGTON NATIONALS: 2
ATLANTA BRAVES: 1
CHICAGO CUBS: 1
CINCINNATI REDS: 1
DETROIT TIGERS: 1
HOUSTON ASTROS: 1
MIAMI MARLINS: 1
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 1
MINNESOTA TWINS: 1
NEW YORK METS: 1
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 1
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 1
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 1
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 1
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 0
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 0
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 0
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 0
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 0
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 0
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 0
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 0
TEXAS RANGERS: 0
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 0

And the updated totals:
BOSTON RED SOX: 105
ATLANTA BRAVES: 99
NEW YORK YANKEES: 96
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 92
HOUSTON ASTROS: 89
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 86
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 80
NEW YORK METS: 79
CHICAGO CUBS: 78
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 75
WASHINGTON NATIONALS/MONTREAL EXPOS: 71
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 70
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 69
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 67
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 67
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 64
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 64
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 62
DETROIT TIGERS: 60
MINNESOTA TWINS: 60
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 60
SEATTLE MARINERS: 60
COLORADO ROCKIES: 58
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 57
CINCINNATI REDS: 55
MIAMI MARLINS: 55
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 53
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 52
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 48
TEXAS RANGERS: 48
OTHER: 30

Boy, the Rangers totals are getting depressing.

Friday, September 20, 2019

High Tek Red Sox

A member of one of the trading forums actually lives just half an hour from me.  I have not met him personally yet, but we have made a number of deals over the years.  This most recent one added a bunch of High Tek singles to my collection.  Behold:
Several of these are from 2018, though the Pedroia and the first row of Betts cards are from 2017.  This knocked off most of the remaining singles from those base sets off of my wantlist.  The first Benintendi in the second row is the rarest card, serial-numbered to just 50.  I have always liked the Tek sets.  Obviously the Sandy Alomar Jr. stuff from 1998 is my big priority (with the Varitek stuff a close second), but I have always wanted a complete run of one player. 

Thursday, September 19, 2019

A Bunch of Oddballs

I am just going to start this off with this picture:
I would love to tell you that those are all the original T205 Red Sox cards in pristine condition, but that is absolutely not true.  This is a reprint set.  I do have the original of Bill Carrigan (because of course it would be a catcher), but that is all I have so far.  I would love to put this together some day, but that seems unlikely for the time being.  I will settle for this for now.  

1.  Jake Stahl.  First-baseman Stahl was the player-manager for the 1912 World Championship team.  He generally had some impressive power, leading the Majors with ten home runs in 1910.  This was the Deadball Era after all.  He struck out a lot too, but was one of the more powerful sluggers in the game in his prime.  Stahl was also on the 1903 World Championship team as a backup catcher.

2.  Red Kleinow.  With just eight cards in this set, it is kind of odd that there are two catchers in it, and no sign of players like Harry Lord, Harry Hooper and Duffy Lewis.  Kleinow was the primary backup catcher to Carrigan in 1910, playing in 50 games after being purchased from the Highlanders (Yankees now).

3.  Bill Carrigan.  Carrigan was the player-manager and catcher for the 1915 and 1916 World Championship teams.  He was generally a stronger defensive catcher than a hitter, but he had a ffew decent years at the plate.  By the time he was a manager, he was playing very little.  

4.  Clyde Engle.  Engle was something of a utility man, playing every position but pitcher and catcher during his career.  He played most of his games with Boston at first base, but filled in significantly at the other infield positions as well.  He was not much of a hitter, but he had some speed and had a nice season in 1913 (.289/.363/.384, 12 triples, 28 stolen bases).  

5.  Tris Speaker.  The Hall of Famer in the set is Speaker, who I actually believe is somewhat underrated now.  At the time he played, he was every bit as good as Ty Cobb and Honus Wagner.  He was a truly great hitter and a terrific defensive center fielder.  It is a shame Boston did not hold onto him.  He was a part of two World Championships with Boston and one with Cleveland.

6.  Ed Cicotte.  Cicotte was one of the eight players suspended for life after the 1919 Black Sox scandal.  He had some impressive seasons with the Red Sox, with his best being 1909 when he was 14-5 with a 1.94 ERA.  He had his best seasons though with the White Sox toward the end of his career and was a 20 game winner when he was suspended.

7.  Ed Karger.  Karger is an unusual inclusion in this set.  He only had a six-year career and his best season was 1907 when he was 15-19 with a 2.04 ERA for St. Louis.  He had a decent year in 1910 with Boston when he was 11-7 with a 3.19 ERA (which was actually a high ERA for the time period).  Ray Collins would have probably been a better choice for the set.

8.  Heinie Wagner.  Wagner was the team's primary shortstop in the early 1910's.  He was a speedy player, usually stealing around 20 bases a season.  He did not have much power and did not hit for high averages, but he was a dependable defensive infielder, possibly even a great one.  

The seller also had these great cards:
The first four of these are from the Boston Sport Kings set from the Greater Boston Sports Collectors shows.  I am going to have to do some research on these and figure out how many of them there are.  I picked up four completely random cards here, including knuckleballer Wilbur Wood, Norm Siebern (who was traded by the Yankees to the A's for Roger Maris), Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins, and former closer Ken Ryan.  These are really cool and feature some well-known Red Sox and some very obscure players.  Mostly like the ones above.  I also picked up a couple of other cards. 

1.  Wilbur Wood.  Southpaw knuckleballer Wood is mostly famous for his incredible run of success as a relief pitcher with the White Sox in the 60's before becoming a four-time 20 game winner with those same White Sox in the 70's.  But Wood actually started his career with the Red Sox, pitching minor parts of four seasons with them in his teens and early twenties.  His best year in Boston was when he was 0-5 with a 3.76 ERA in 25 games in 1963.  So he really did not get going with the Red Sox, but that is what makes this such an interesting card.  Barely anyone remembers that Wood was once a Red Sox pitcher because it was so insignificant to his career.

2.  Norm Siebern.  Siebern was once part of a trade from the Yankees to the Athletics that brought Roger Maris to New York.  With the A's, he flourished hitting around 20 home runs each season.  He eventually wound up on the Impossible Dream Red Sox.  He played in 60 games for Boston over the next two seasons, generally as a pinch hitter, but never hit much for them.  He did have a hit in the 1967 World Series.

3.  Fergie Jenkins.  Most people have probably forgotten that Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins pitched two years for the Red Sox.  For whatever reason, he was simply not that impressive in Boston.  He was getting older, but he had a great comeback season after being traded back to the Rangers.  He won 22 games over two seasons with Boston, a far cry from his success with the Cubs when he was winning that many games each year.

4.  Ken Ryan.  I liked Ken Ryan in the early days of his career.  He really looked like he was going to come into his own as a closer.  He had impressive seasons as a setup man and closer apprentice in 1993 and 1994 and was expected to be the closer in 1995.  He struggled though and eventually the Red Sox acquired Rick Aguilera.  Ryan was traded after the season to the Phillies for Heathcliff Slocumb and had a nice season as a setup man for the Phillies before tanking.

5.  Sparky Lyle.  This is from the Boston Globe Red Sox set from the early 1980's that I really need to put together.  It featured a large majority of the players who played for Boston in the 1950's and 1960's, including a lot of players who had very few, if any, Red Sox cards.  Lyle showed a lot of potential in his time with Boston, but was of course traded to the Yankees in a horrible trade. 

6.  Hugh Duffy.  The next one is a very early Conlon incarnation of Hugh Duffy, who managed the Red Sox for two years in the 1920's.  He is in the Hall of Fame and I covered him recently in my Red Sox in Cooperstown series.

This was one of the more interesting packages I have picked up in some time.  I have some sets to work on I think.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

A Pair of Bowman Chrome Prospect Autos

A recent trade on the forums brought me a couple of Bowman Chrome Prospect autographs.  No, neither player is really burning up the league, but it was still a pretty good trade.
1.  Brett Netzer.  This is a purple refractor and features an interesting inscription.  I am not a religious man so I have no idea what that particular Bible verse means, and I do not really care enough to look it up.  But I still find it very interesting.  Netzer was a third-round pick in 2017 and played in AA in 2019.  He could find his way to the Majors as a utility man.

2.  Manuel Margot.  Margot was the primary prospect sent to the Padres in the Craig Kimbrel deal.  He has not developed into the player he was expected to be, but has been mostly a regular since 2017.  He was generally expected to show a little more speed and hit for a better average, but he is terrific defensively.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Slightly More than One-Year Wonder Pt. 7: Dick McAuliffe

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.
Dick McAuliffe spent almost his entire playing career for the Detroit Tigers, other than 107 games spread across two seasons at the very end of his career when he moved on to Boston.  McAuliffe is one of the better second-basemen in Tigers' history.  He would be the best if not for Lou Whitaker and Charlie Gehringer.  McAuliffe was an All Star three consecutive times (1965-1967) and finished seventh in the AL MVP vote in 1968 whem the Tigers won the World Series.  He had some impressive power for a second-baseman during the time period, hitting more than 20 home runs three times.  

McAuliffe was still a productive player his final season in Detroit, hitting 12 home runs with a .274/.366/.437.  He was traded in a less-than-good trade for the Red Sox with young outfielder Ben Oglivie heading to Detroit.  Boston needed a second-baseman to provide some offense to go along with the slick-fielding Doug Griffin.  Unfortunately, McAuliffe's time as a productive player was at an end.  He played in 100 games in 1974, splitting time between second and third base.  He hit just five home runs and had a slash line of .210/.310/.320.  Boston brought him back in 1975, but he played in just seven games.  Meanwhile, Oglivie took a few years to get going, but eventually led the league in home runs with 41 in 1980 while with the Brewers.  Not a great trade for Boston.