Sunday, October 23, 2016

Throwback and a Reprint Set

Two packages arrived today.  Both were kind of retro-themed, in a way.  

Up first is one of the Topps Throwback Thursday cards.  I bought the first set that I saw that had a Red Sox card in it, but then quickly decided I was no longer going to keep doing that due to the fact that the sets were $20.00 apiece.  So I have been occasionally picking these up when I see them for a reasonable price.
This is from the 1993 Topps Next Generation Shortstops set and these were based on the 1993 Draft Picks subset.  Of course, this is Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts is coming off of his second straight strong season at just the age of 23.  He hit 21 home runs this last season.  If he can cut down on his annual slump in the second half of the season, he could be one of the best players in the league.

Up next is another reprint set.  This one is a reprint of the 1922 E-120 American Caramel set, which contained 15 cards of each team.  I was pretty excited about this one because many of these players are new to my collection.  The 1920's were a really bad decade for the Red Sox.  They did not have many stars and they were frequently in last place.  Many of these cards feature the players in another uniform, but that was because the team moved players so often that no one stuck around for very long, with few exceptions.
1.  George Burns.  This is one of two players named George Burns that played in the Majors around this time period.  Burns was an MVP in 1926 with the Indians, but before that he was the first-baseman for the Red Sox.  Burns is mostly notable for having turned an unassisted triple play on Sept. 14. 1923 (John Valentin is the only other Red Sox to do this).  Burns was actually a pretty good hitter.  In 1922, he hit .306 and led the team in home runs with 12.

2.  Shano Collins.  Collins wrapped up his career with five years in Boston after being acquired in a trade with the White Sox for Harry Hooper.  Collins was not a great hitter, but he was decent enough, though he was past his prime by the time that he joined Boston.  In 1922, he hit .271/.289/.358 with one home run and stole seven bases.  He later managed Boston in 1931 and 1932.  His grandson Bob Gallagher played for Boston briefly in 1972.

3.  Joe Dugan.  "Jumping Joe" Dugan had a memorable day on January 22, 1922.  He came into the day as a member of the Philadelphia A's but was traded to the Washington Senators and then immediately traded again to the Red Sox.  Later in 1922, he was traded to the Yankees.  His time in Boston consisted of just 84 games during which he hit .287/.308/.396 with three home runs and 38 RBIs.

4.  Joe Harris.  Joe "Moon" Harris made it to the Majors to stay in 1922 with the Red Sox.  He was acquired from the Indians at the same time as George Burns.  Harris was a very good hitter and was one of the best players for the Red Sox during the 1920's.  In three-plus years for the Red Sox, Harris hit .315/.393/.475.  He hit 13 home runs while hitting .335 in 1923.  He led the team in all three slash categories in 1922.

5.  Ben Karr.  Karr was Boston's primary reliever in 1922, appearing in 41 games, 28 of which were in relief.  Karr was 5-12 with a 4.47 ERA in 183.1 innings.  Saves were not an official statistic back then, but it was determined that Karr picked up one save.  He finished 20 games.

6.  Nemo Leibold.  Leibold was the other play acquired in the Harry Hooper trade along with Shano Collins.  He was decent in 1921, hitting .306/.363/.388 and stole 13 bases.  Unfortunately he declined significantly in 1922 and hit just .258 and only stole one base.

7.  Mike Menosky.  Menosky was coming off of his only .300 season in 1921.  He was still a decent hitter in 1922 as he hit .283/.355/.369 with three home runs and 32 RBIs.  He led the team with nine stolen bases and walked 40 times while only striking out 33 times.  Menosky was a solid player during his tenure with the Red Sox.

8.  Elmer Myers.  Myers had been 8-12 with a 4.87 ERA in 1921, but he only made it into three games in 1922.  His ERA in those three games was an unseemly 17.47.  He was sent to the minors and never made it back to the Major Leagues.

9.  Herb Pennock.  The Knight of Kennett Square was in his final season with the Red Sox in 1922.  He had been one of Boston's most reliable pitchers the previous few seasons.  His record was down in 1922 as he only won 10 games while losing 17 with a 4.32 ERA.  After the season he was traded to the Yankees, where he excelled and developed into a Hall of Fame pitcher.

10.  Clark Pittenger.  "Pinky" Pittenger was a utility player for the Red Sox for three seasons in the early 1920's.  He was not much of a hitter, his highest batting average in Boston was just .258, but he didn't have to be.  His versatility was his best attribute.

11.  Del Pratt.  Pratt was one of Boston's better players during this time period.  The second-baseman was one of the best players Boston received from the Yankees during their massive fire sale.  He was in his second season with the Red Sox in 1922 and hit .301/.361/.427 with six home runs and 86 RBIs.  He also hit 44 doubles and struck out just 20 times in 672 plate appearances.  Pratt was traded to the Tigers after the season for a package of players that included Howard Ehmke, a very good pitcher for Boston for a few years.

12.  Jack Quinn.  Quinn pitched until he was 49.  He was another good player acquired by the Red Sox from the Yankees during their fire sale.  He never had a winning record with the Red Sox but had some impressive ERA marks and was generally one of the team's better pitchers during his time in Boston.  In 1922, he was 13-16 with a 3.48 ERA in 256 innings.  He led the team in ERA, complete games, and innings pitched.

13.  Muddy Ruel.  Yet another of Boston's acquisitions from the Yankees, Ruel was a very good defensive catcher who could hit a little bit.  He spent two seasons with the Red Sox, this time, hitting .269/.345/.329 in those two seasons.  He was traded to Washington after the season but was re-acquired by the Red Sox in 1931, but spent just part of the season there before being traded again, this time to the Tigers.

14.  Elmer Smith.  Smith spent just part of one season with the Red Sox, in 1922.  He was acquired at the same time as George Burns and Joe Harris (for Stuffy McInnis).  He was later traded to the Yankees at the same time as Joe Dugan.  Smith hit .286/.358/.472 with six home runs and 32 RBIs in 73 games.

15.  Al Walters.  "Roxy" Walters was primarily a backup catcher for a few years.  He was not much of a hitter, his Red Sox slash line was just .204/.272/.240, for an awful OPS of .512.  His defensive numbers are not real impressive earlier, but he was just a backup.

I will have a post on the 1920's Team of the Decade fairly soon.  A few of these players may be on that post.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Want List was Decimated

Frustrated with how slowly things have been going with my wantlist, I took to COMC to make some progress.  Almost every card in this post was on my Wantlist.  Beware, this post is very scan-heavy.
1.  Dustin Hermanson.  Hermanson had been a decent mid-rotation starter for the Expos and the Cardinals when Boston traded for him.  It was a trade that did not work out for anyone.  Boston gave up three prospects (including former first round pick Rick Asadoorian), none of whom ever made the Majors.  Hermanson appeared in just 12 games with Boston with a 7.77 ERA.  He would eventually have a very good season out of the White Sox bullpen in 2005.  This is a short-print card, like all veterans from this set.

2.  Pablo Sandoval.  Next season will determine whether his contract will ever end up paying off.  After a horrible first season in 2015, Sandoval went on the shelf with an injury early in 2016.  He will be given the opportunity to win back third base as Travis Shaw did not exactly blow anyone away.

3.  Josh Beckett.  Beckett was seemingly only good every other year in Boston.  Still, I will always remember his 2007 season in which he finished second in the Cy Young vote, won 20 games to lead the league, and won the ALCS MVP.  Beckett was a huge part of the 2007 World Championship team.

4.  David Ortiz.  I am going to miss Ortiz.  It will be very interesting to see what Boston ends up doing to replace his production.

5.  Hideki Okajima.  These cards were initially only available through a mystery redemption card.  Okajima was the first one available as he made his Major League debut earliest in the 2007 season.  After struggling somewhat early, Okajima became nearly unhittable and won the Final Vote for the 2007 All Star Game.

6.  Roger Clemens.  It was well-noted at the time, but due to having to move DH Jose Canseco into the field and losing the designated hitter for the day, Roger Clemens was forced to bat for himself on May 23, 1996.  He singled in his only plate appearance.  This photo is not from that moment.

7.  Nomar Garciaparra.  This finishes off the 2014 High Tek set for me.  Nomar's biggest individual game came on May 10, 1999 when he hit three home runs, two of which were grand slams, and drove in 10 runs.

8.  Daisuke Matsuzaka/Hideki Okajima.  Matsuzaka and Okajima both had their rookie seasons in 2007 with the Red Sox and both made huge impacts.  Matsuzaka won 15 games and struck out more than 200 batters and Okajima solidified the bullpen.

9.  George Scott.  Scott came up as a third-baseman but settled in at first and was one of the best defensive first-basemen in the game.  He won eight Gold Gloves during his career, including three with the Red Sox.
10.  Carl Yastrzemski.  Yaz's loyalty and longevity may never be matched by another player.  He is second all-time in games-played with 3,308, every one of which was played with the Red Sox.

11.  Tony Pena.  He was past his prime by the time he came to Boston, but Pena was Boston's best defensive catcher in many years.  He won a Gold Glove in 1991 for the Red Sox.

12.  David Ortiz.  This is from the Hall Worthy insert set and it will be interesting to see what happens when Ortiz is eligible for the Hall.

13.  Carlton Fisk.  I have said it before and I will say it again, this has to be one of the most oft-pictured moments in baseball history.  I will have to go through my collection some day and find how many cards I have of Fisk's Game 6 home run in the 1975 World Series.

14.  Edwin Escobar.  After being selected by the Diamondbacks off waivers from the Red Sox in 2016, Escobar's Red Sox career is at an end.  It consisted of just two innings in two games and a 4.50 ERA.

15.  Dustin Pedroia.  Among his career numbers to this point, Pedroia has a .301 batting average, 133 home runs, 134 stolen bases, 1,683 hits, and 662 RBIs.  He is on track for a Hall of Fame career.

16.  Hanley Ramirez.  Ramirez played a competent first base, but outside of signing Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista, I think his best position next season would be to take over DH from David Ortiz.

17.  Josh Reddick.  Boston has a poor track record of trading for closers.  They always seem to give up a young player that turns into a very good player.  Reddick was one of those, particularly during his first season in Oakland.  Andrew Bailey, who Boston acquired, spent two injury-plagued, ineffective seasons in Boston.

18.  Leo Kiely.  The southpaw Kiely found a role primarily in Boston's bullpen.  In 1958, he was 5-2 with a 3.00 ERA exclusively out of the bullpen in 47 games.  Though saves were not an official statistic at the time, he was credited with 12 later on.
19.  Dustin Pedroia.

20.  Ryan LaMarre.  This is a short print card.  LaMarre is a candidate for a One-Card Wonder post.  He played in just six games this season with no hits in six plate appearances.  He better luck pitching, giving up just two hits and no runs in an inning.  I am shocked he has a card.

21.  Shane Victorino.  Victorino produced some of my favorite memories of the 2013 season, including hitting a grand slam home run in the ALCS against the Tigers and a bases-loaded double in the final game of the World Series.  He also won a Gold Glove that season.

22.  Dustin Pedroia.

23.  Rick Porcello.  As much as I enjoy watching the World Series, I am anxious for it to be over so that the awards will be issued.  Porcello is a candidate for Cy Young.

24.  Blake Swihart.  After an impressive rookie season, hopes were high for Swihart in 2016.  Unfortunately, injuries derailed his season.  He is in a competition with Christian Vazquez and Sandy Leon for the catcher position next season.

25.  Rusney Castillo.  It is decision time for Castillo.  Will he ever be able to be a Major Leaguer, or is just a bust?  He needs to step up next Spring.

26.  Blake Swihart.

27.  Daisuke Matsuzaka.  This, and the next four cards, were from the 2010 Red Sox factory complete set bonus pack.   It leaves me with three more years to find.
28.  Jacoby Ellsbury.  My favorite memory of Ellsbury is him stealing home against the Andy Pettitte of the Yankees in 2009.  He remains Boston's only 30/30 man for now.  Betts came four stolen bases short this season.

29.  John Lackey.  Lackey's turn-around during his stint with Boston gives me hope for players like Pablo Sandoval.  Lackey was terrible in his first two Red Sox seasons, then injured all year in 2012.  Then, he was terrific in 2013 and helped Boston win the World Championship.

30.  Victor Martinez.  Martinez put together a 25-game hitting streak shortly after being acquired by Boston for Justin Masterson.  He was terrific in 2010, his only full season with the Red Sox, hitting 20 home runs and being named an All Star.

31.  Dustin Pedroia.

32.  Jon Lester.  Lester's fantastic Red Sox career included a no-hitter over the Royals, winning the clinching game of the 2007 World Series, and having a great 2013 postseason.

33.  Jamie Brown.  I have always wanted this card but kept getting outbid on it back when it came out.  I recently decided to look for it again.  Brown's entire Major League career consists of four games and 7.2 innings during the 2004 season with the Red Sox.

34.  Bryce Brentz.  Brentz has played parts of two seasons with the Red Sox so far, including a 25 game stint this season that included his first Major League home run.

35.  George Kottaras.  Kottaras was originally acquired by the Red Sox from the Padres for David Wells.  He started the 2009 season as the team's backup catcher and hit his first Major League home run, but was eventually pushed aside when Victor Martinez was acquired and Jason Varitek became the backup.

36.  Pablo Sandoval.  I used to love the Triumvirate inserts from Stadium Club.  I am happy they are back, but I would have preferred a picture that was not used a hundred times for Sandoval.
37.  Chris Hammond.  I was happy to add this one.  It is the parallel to Hammond's only Red Sox card.  Plus, the 1997 Ultra Gold Medallions had different photos than the base cards.  He was 3-4 with a 5.92 ERA in 29 games, including eight starts in his sole season with the Red Sox.

38.  Rusney Castillo.

39.  Jim Busby.  Busby was only a Red Sox for 61 games over the course of two partial seasons.  He hit .225/.266/.333 with just one home run.  He was primarily known for his defense in the outfield.

40.  Rusney Castillo.

41.  Daisuke Matsuzaka.

42.  Willy Mota.  Mota never made it to the Majors, though not for a lack of trying.  After several seasons of not being able to make it as a hitter, he turned to pitching for two seasons.  He never made it past High-A.

43.  Brandon Workman.  Workman made his Major League debut in 2013 and pitched well enough to make it onto the postseason roster.  He was 0-1 with a 0.00 ERA in three games in relief in the World Series.  The next season he was 1-10 as a starter before requiring Tommy John surgery.  He has not yet made it back to the Majors.  This is his only rookie card.

44.  Jose Malave.  Once a highly-touted hitting prospect, Malave never had much success in the Majors.  I actually saw him years later playing for an independent league team.

45.  Grady Little.  Little is somewhat unfairly maligned due to not removing Pedro Martinez from Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS when he was obviously tiring.  He was fired, largely for that reason, though his teams were very successful, winning 188 games in his two seasons as manager.
46.  Jonathan Van Every.  Van Every played parts of three seasons with the Red Sox, hitting two home runs.  He also pitched in a game in two seasons with Boston.

47.  Carlton Fisk.

48.  Jon Lester.

49.  Jackie Bradley Jr.  I hope Boston holds onto JBJ after a breakout season in which he hit 26 home runs and had a 29-game hitting streak, but he is probably the most likely player to be traded if a top-flight starting pitcher is dangled.  The White Sox wanted him for Chris Sale, along with other players.

50.  Bronson Arroyo.  I really liked Arroyo and was very disappointed when Boston traded him.  They acquired Wily Mo Pena in exchange, and he had merely a decent 2006 season and was awful in 2007.  Arroyo meanwhile turned into a reliable starting pitcher for many years.

51.  Rusney Castillo.

52.  Dustin Pedroia.

53.  Sonny Siebert.  Siebert was Boston's best starting pitcher in 1971 when he was named to the All Star team and was 16-10 with a 2.91 ERA and 131 strikeouts versus 60 walks in 235.1 innings.  I love these old Kellogg's cards.

54.  Bob Zupcic.  Zupcic hit just three home runs in 1992, but knew how to pick his spots.  Two of them were grand slams.  On June 30, 1992, his grand slam was a walkoff winner.  His other grand slam put Boston ahead in the eighth inning of the game.
55.  Mike Stanley.  I did not even know this Fleer Tradition Update card existed before.  Stanley had two stints in Boston and had some very good offensive numbers.

56.  Carl Yastrzemski.

57.  Ed Sadowski.  Sadowski was one of three brothers to make the Major Leagues.  His brother Bob played briefly for Boston in 1966.  Ed hit .215 with three home runs in 38 games for Boston before being taken by the Angels in the expansion draft.

58.  Lefty Grove.  Another Kellogg's card.  I have been chasing this one for a long time.  Grove is more well-known for his time with the Athletics, but he wears a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.

59.  Fred Lynn.  Among Lynn's greatest moments as a Red Sox was the game on June 18, 1975 when he hit three home runs and drove in 10 runs.

60.  Matt Barnes.  Barnes was the 19th overall pick of the 2011 draft by the Red Sox.  Blake Swihart, Henry Owens, and Jackie Bradley Jr. were also first round picks that year by the Red Sox.  All four have made it to the Majors.

61.  Koji Uehara.  Koji is Boston's biggest free agent coming into this offseason.  It would be nice to bring him back as he really solidified the bullpen when he returned from his injury.

62.  Manuel Margot.  Margot was traded to San Diego in the Craig Kimbrel trade and made his Major League debut with the Padres late in 2016.

63.  Rusney Castillo.
64.  Blake Swihart.

65.  Dustin Pedroia.

66.  Clay Buchholz.  Buchholz pitched a no-hitter in just his second Major League game.  He has had an up-and-down career with moments of brilliance since then.  He has been an All Star twice.

67.  Anderson Espinoza.  Another young player that Boston has traded to the Yankees.  The Red Sox got Drew Pomeranz in return.  I was a little disappointed with this trade.

68.  Jim Lonborg.  Lonborg was Boston's first ever Cy Young Award winner in 1967.  Unfortunately, injuries derailed his career afterwards.  He was apparently trying to meet a famous actress on the ski slopes when he had an accident and seriously injured his knee.  That would not happen in today's game.

69.  Josh Beckett.  Beckett was the Red Sox first pitcher to hit a home run since the designated hitter rule took effect.  He hit two home runs for Boston.

70.  Wade Boggs.  I was heartbroken when Boggs left Boston to sign with the Yankees.  My dislike of the Yankees was not fully realized yet, but it wasn't long.  They took my favorite player, even though I realize now that Boston did not do a lot to keep him around.

71.  Frank Malzone.  Malzone may have had a Hall of Fame career had he started earlier.  He should have won the Rookie of the Year in 1957.  There is really no excuse for Tom Tresh winning it over Malzone, he played fewer games and had lesser numbers almost across the board.  His batting average was just five points higher.

72.  Jackie Jensen.  Jensen won the AL MVP in 1958 when he hit .286/.396/.535 with 35 home runs and a league-leading 122 RBIs.
73.  Justin Masterson.  I was very disappointed that Justin Masterson had so much trouble in his second stint with the Red Sox.  I really liked Masterson in his first stint and was upset when Boston traded him.  Especially since he developed into a decent starting pitcher.  Boston notably has a difficult time developing their own pitchers, so to see one they developed but traded away be successful is frustrating.

74.  David Ortiz.

75.  Marty Keough.  Keough's best season in Boston was 1959 when he hit .243/.320/.418 with seven home runs and 27 RBIs.  He was traded in 1960 in a deal that brought Russ Nixon and Carroll Hardy to Boston.

76.  Rafael Devers.  Devers is Boston's top power-hitting prospect.  He hit 11 home runs this year in the minors after a very slow start to the season.  At just 19 years old and already in High-A ball, he has a very bright future.

77.  Clay Buchholz.

78.  David Ortiz.

79.  Garin Cecchini.  Once one of Boston's top prospects, Cecchini never could make the next step into the Majors.  He appeared in parts of two seasons in 2014 and 2015.  During that time, he did manage to hit a home run and three doubles.

80.  David Ortiz.

81.  Dustin Pedroia.
82.  Bobby Doerr.  I'm not sure leading the league in slugging percentage counts as a highlight of the year.  After all, every year someone has to.  But that is what is considered the Highlight of the Year on this Doerr card.

83.  Jeff Suppan.  Suppan was once a highly-touted starting pitching prospect for the Red Sox.  After three seasons of not quite living up to his potential, he was left unprotected in the expansion draft and was picked up by Arizona as their second pick.  Later, he was re-acquired in a bad trade from the Pirates for Freddy Sanchez.  Pitching in Boston simply did not seem to agree with him.

84.  Smoky Joe Wood.  This is a card based on the Delong Gum set from the early 1930's.  Wood was a star pitcher for the Red Sox in the early 1910's, and if injuries had not derailed his career, he would be in the Hall of Fame.

85.  Ferguson Jenkins.  These SSPC cards display the team on the back and this card and the House both list them as Red Sox.  Jenkins was seemingly past his prime when Boston sent Juan Beniquez and Steve Barr to Texas, and he was merely good, not the great pitcher he had been before.

86.  Tom House.  House had been a very good relief pitcher with the Braves for a few years and Boston acquired him with a plan to improve their bullpen after losing Dick Drago and Diego Segui after 1975.  It did not work out that way as House was 2-3 with a 5.61 ERA in 44 games over parts of two seasons.

87.  Roger Clemens.  This is the Berger's Best insert of Clemens for the 1986 season.

88.  Jon Lester.

89.  Tony Perez.  Perez was 38 when Boston signed him as a free agent, but he still had one good year left as he led Boston in home runs (25) and RBIs (105) while hitting .275.  He did manage to hang on through 1982 with Boston and then four more years with the Phillies and Reds.

90.  Dustin Pedroia.
91.  David Ortiz.

92.  Craig Kimbrel.  Kimbrel was an All Star this season, but his control issues caused some problems at times.

93.  Michael Chavis.  Chavis was Boston's first-round draft pick in 2014.  Unfortunately he has not really gotten things going so far in the minors.

94.  Pedro Martinez.  Martinez likely should have won four Cy Young Awards with the Red Sox.  He led the league in ERA and winning percentage in both 2002 and 2003.  He also led the league in strikeouts in 2002.

95.  Jon Lester.

96.  David Ortiz.

97.  Scott Cooper.  On April 12, 1994, Cooper had the best game of his career as he hit for the cycle and was 5 for 6 with two runs and five RBIs.  He had two doubles in the game.  The Red Sox beat the Royals 22-11.  I was listening to the game on the radio.

98.  Kevin Youkilis.  For his Red Sox career, Youkilis hit .287/.388/.487 with 133 home runs and 564 RBIs.  He was an All Star three times and won a Gold Glove.  He finished in the Top 10 in the AL MVP vote twice.

99.  Aaron Bates.  Bates made it to the Majors for just five games in 2009.  He did hit two doubles and drove in two runs and finished with a .364 batting average.
100.  Dustin Pedroia.

101.  Nomar Garciaparra.

102.  Blake Swihart.

103.  Nomar Garciaparra.

104.  Luis Tiant.  Tiant won 20 games with Boston three times and was a major part of the 1975 World Series team.  That season, he was 18-14 with a 4.02 ERA, but in the World Series he was 2-0 with a 3.60 ERA and 12 strikeouts.

105.  Heath Hembree.  This card was the #5 card on my Top 10 Most Wanted list.  It is currently the only available card of Hembree, though after the season he had this year, it may not be long before he appears in a Topps flagship set.  I thought he would be in Update, but that is not the case.  He was 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA and struck out 47 in 51 innings.

106.  David Price.  A slight disappointment this year, Price still set a record for strikeouts by a Red Sox left-hander.

107.  Frank Malzone/Vic Wertz/Jackie Jensen.  Malzone and Jensen were covered earlier.  Vic Wertz had a big year in 1960, hitting .282 with 19 home runs and 103 RBIs.

108.  Roger Clemens.
109.  Koji Uehara.

110.  Mookie Betts.  As mentioned with Porcello earlier, I am eagerly anticipating the season awards.  Mookie could be the MVP of the AL.

111.  David Price.

112.  Rusney Castillo.

113.  Tom Yawkey.  Yawkey is in the Hall of Fame, though I am not really sure why.  He was the Red Sox owner from 1933 to 1976, but the team never won a World Championship.  He did make them competitive again, but only by opening up his considerable pocketbook.  Furthermore, there are some indications that he may have been the primary reason Boston did not integrate until 1959.

114.  David Ortiz.

115.  Blake Swihart.

116.  David Price

And we finally get to the end of this post.

Friday, October 21, 2016

I Did Something I Never Thought I Would Do

I traded one of my Red Sox cards.

I was talking to a hardcore Tim Wakefield collector on a forum and mentioned that I had a patch card of him.  Apparently it was one that he needed.  Here it is:
He asked me right away if I would consider trading it and I responded that I do not trade my Red Sox cards.  But, he was prepared for such an answer and offered me a trade that was very one-sided in my direction and made me stop to consider.

These are the cards he offered:
He offered me a patch to replace the one I was trading, a card serial-numbered to just 50, and the kicker, an autograph numbered to 15.  It was the autograph added to the patch that was the tipping point.  I did not previously have a Wakefield autograph.  I asked to think about it for a couple of days, but the fact of the matter was, this deal was just too good to pass up.  I could not miss out on an opportunity to add a Tim Wakefield autograph card.  So I made the deal.  I may always regret trading one of my Red Sox cards, but at least the trade was worth it.

My wonderful wife bought this for me, which came in today:
This does help mitigate the loss of the patch card.  I do want to say that I am happy to help out another collector.  I would not have traded that card to just anyone.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

A Doubront and a Myer

Two cards in two packages arrived recently (well, a lot more than that, as you will see in the coming days).  I figured I would briefly cover them.
I had a redemption for a Felix Doubront Triple Threads card some time ago that I never received (I requested a substitute after waiting for more than two years and received an Allen Webster, a decent card, but not what I had in mind).  I always felt a little bit bad about not getting that card because I was a big fan of Doubront during his time in Boston.  I will likely cover him more in depth some time soon.  Suffice it to say, this card makes me feel a little better about never getting that last card.

And next up was this:
This is a reprint, of course.  It is a reprint of a 1928 playing card set.  Buddy Myer was a rare bright spot for the Red Sox in the 1920's, spending almost two seasons there from 1927 to 1928, which were his only two seasons with a team other than the Washington Senators.  Myer led the league in stolen bases with 30 in 1928 and will also likely be covered in more depth in short order.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Red Sox with No Cards: 2005

2005 saw the Red Sox win the Wild Card for the second consecutive season.  Unfortunately this time they were swept out of the ALDS by the White Sox.  There were not an overwhelming number of players without cards, and even fewer who made much of an impact.  Geremi Gonzalez almost made the list, but I randomly found a Venezuelan sticker card a few weeks ago, so he missed out.

Bradford was acquired in a July trade with the Athletics, in which Boston gave up the disgruntled outfielder Jay Payton.  Bradford appeared in the most games of any of the players on this list.  He was a right-handed middle reliever who had been a major part of the Athletics bullpen and was immortalized in Moneyball.  Bradford used a sidearm motion that was so extreme his knuckles nearly scraped the ground.  His release point was just inches off the ground.  Bradford was good, he was 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA while striking out ten and walking four in 23.1 innings over 31 games.  Bradford bounced around with several teams after 2005 and continued to be a deceptive and successful relief pitcher.

After making his Major League debut in 2002 and appearing in 58 games, Cassidy did not make it back to the Majors until 2005.  Cassidy was originally traded to the Red Sox in April of 2004 as part of a conditional deal.  He was decent for Pawtucket in 2004 and was 6-3 with a 4.65 ERA for them in 2005 before getting the call-up to Boston.  Cassidy appeared in just one game for Boston coming on in the seventh inning of a game on July 9.  He pitched two-thirds of an inning and gave up four hits and three runs for a 40.50 ERA.  Ten days later he was traded to the Padres for Adam Hyzdu who appeared for Boston in 2004.  Cassidy later pitched in ten games for the Padres that season and was a major part of their bullpen in 2005.

Cruz had once been a star with the Blue Jays.  He came up with the Seattle Mariners in 1997 and was traded to Toronto for relief help at midseason.  He finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year vote to Nomar Garciaparra.  Cruz hit 30 home runs two seasons in a row and was even a 30/30 player in 2001.  Cruz continued to be successful for a few seasons afterward and then started bouncing around a little.  He started the 2005 season with Arizona and was hitting .213 with 12 home runs when he was traded on July 30 to Boston for minor leaguers Kyle Bono and Kenny Perez, who never made it to the Majors.  Cruz lasted just four games and 13 plate appearances with Boston.  He had three hits, including a double and was placed on waivers.  He was picked up by the Dodgers, his third team of the season.  Cruz kept playing for a few years afterwards, mostly as a backup outfielder.  It makes sense that Cruz does not have a card with the Red Sox, though it is still disappointing.  He had been my little brother's favorite player for a time when he was a Blue Jays fan.

After several seasons of bouncing between the Majors and Minors with the Oakland Athletics, Chad Harville found a spot in the bullpen with the Houston Astros.  He was 3-2 with a 4.75 ERA in 56 games.  2005 saw more of the same.  He was 0-2 with a 4.46 ERA in 37 games with the Astros before being placed on waivers in late August.  Harville was claimed by the Red Sox and pitched in eight games over the final month or so of the season.  He finished four games and was 0-1 with a rather frightening 6.43 ERA over seven innings of work.  Harville struck out three and walked three.  The next season was his last in the Majors as he pitched with the Devil Rays.

Perisho had been a southpaw relief pitcher for a number of teams in the late 1990s and early 2000's.  Perisho had appeared with the Angels, Rangers, Tigers, and Marlins.  He was a big part of the Marlins bullpen in 2004 and was 5-3 with a 4.40 ERA.  Perisho was having a big season in 2005 before he was released.  He had a 2-0 record with a 1.93 ERA but walked eleven versus ten strikeouts.  Boston signed him in August, though he appeared in just one game with the Red Sox.  He did not record an out and gave up a double to the only batter he faced.  His ERA with the Red Sox is the dreaded infinite.  He was released by the Red Sox shortly afterward.  He never appeared in the Majors again but continued to bounce from organization to organization.

Petagine had long been considered a prototypical Quadruple-A hitter, too good for the minors, but not quite good enough for the Majors.  He bounced various National League teams, coming up with the Astros, but also playing for the Padres, Mets, and Reds.  After 1998, Petagine moved on to play in the Japanese Leagues, first with the Yakult Swallows and then with the Yomiuri Giants.  Petagine was a star in Japan, never hitting fewer than 29 home runs and never hitting less than .290.  Boston took a chance on bringing Petagine back to the U.S., primarily as depth at first base for Kevin Millar.  Petagine spent most of the season with Pawtucket where he hit .327/.452/.635 with 20 home runs.  He was called up in August and made it into 18 games down the stretch, hitting .281/.361/.428 with one home run and nine RBIs.  Petagine played a little more for Seattle the next season before heading back to Japan.  Petagine does have a minor league card with the Red Sox.

Remlinger was a 39 year old southpaw and a veteran of 13 Major League seasons when he was acquired by the Red Sox.  He was well-traveled, having pitched for five teams, all in the National League.  Remlinger was primarily a middle reliever, apart from a couple of seasons with the Reds where he was a starter.  He was an All Star in 2002 as a middle reliever with the Braves.  The Cubs traded Remlinger to the Red Sox in August for minor leaguer Olivo Astacio.  He pitched in eight games with a 14.85 ERA.  He struck out five and walked five in 6.2 innings.  The next season, Remlinger returned to the Braves for his final Major League season.

Wooten had been a utility player with the Angels despite coming up as a catcher.  Wooten played catcher, first base, third base, and designated hitter.  Wooten had a little bit of pop in his bat, which explained the time at DH.  Wooten was signed as a minor league free agent by the Red Sox in January and spent most of the time in Pawtucket where he hit .267 with 17 home runs and 60 RBIs while playing first, third, and catcher.  Wooten was called up to Boston and made it into just one game as a defensive replacement for Jason Varitek in the final game of the season.  He had one at-bat and grounded out.  After 2005, Wooten bounced from team to team but never made it back to the Majors.  Wooten has a Pawtucket Red Sox card.

A lot of the players that did not receive Red Sox cards from the 2005 season make sense.  Very few of them played in more than a handful of games.  In fact, Wooten, Perisho, and Cassidy all played in just one game.  Cruz played in four, but was with three teams over the course of the season.  Remlinger and Harville each had fewer than ten games in the last month of the season.  Only Petagine and Bradford played for any real length of time.  If I had to pick one player that I am most disappointed by not having a card, it would be Chad Bradford.  I always liked watching him pitch and a card of him throwing like the one shown would be pretty interesting.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Topps Now Boston Set, a Varitek Auto, and a Jewish Major Leaguer

Saturday's mailday consisted of three packages.  And all three were highly anticipated.

Up first was the Topps Now Boston Red Sox Postseason Set.  These were available as part of the Topps Now program online and were 15 card sets issued for each team in the postseason.  You were supposed to get a bonus card for each postseason series win, unfortunately Boston did not make it past the first round, so I won't be getting any bonus cards.  Damn.  Included in this set were the primary player at each position, four starting pitchers, the closer, and two rookie call-ups.
In his final season, Ortiz led the league in doubles, slugging, RBIs, and OPS.  It was one of the greatest final seasons in baseball history.  He hit .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBIs.

Betts is an AL MVP contender as he exploded with a .318/.363/.534 line, 31 home runs, 26 stolen bases, 113 RBIs, and 214 hits.  He was also one of the best defensive outfielders in the game.

The veteran second-baseman had his best season since 2013 by becoming Boston's second player this season with 200 hits.  He hit .318/.376/.449 with 15 home runs and 74 RBIs.  He scored 101 runs and played his usual sparkling defense.

Bogaerts had another strong season for Boston in 2016, despite a second half slump that drove down his slash line to .294/.356/.336.  He hit 21 home runs, drove in 89 runs, and even stole 13 bases.

2015's seventh overall draft pick had a strong partial season and looks like the starting left fielder for Boston next year.  Benintendi hit .295/.359/.476 in 34 games and became Boston's youngest player to hit a home run in the postseason.

Bradley finally looks like the player he was hyped to become for so long.  He had the Majors' longest hitting streak with a 29 gamer early in the season and slugged 26 home runs while driving in 87.  He led the team with seven triples.

After a very disappointing season in 2015, Hanley came back in a big way in 2016.  For the last two months of the season, he was on fire as he hit 14 home runs down the stretch, including a walkoff three run shot off Dellin Bettances of the Yankees.  He hit .286/.361/.505 and was one of three Red Sox with 30 home runs and 100 RBIs.

An afterthought at the beginning of the season, Leon was considered a defense-first backup catcher and did not start the season in Boston.  But injuries and ineffectiveness of Blake Swihart, Christian Vazquez, and Ryan Hanigan led to him getting the call and he stunned with a .310/.369/.476 line with seven home runs and 35 RBIs.

Shaw struggled quite a bit in the second half, but none of the replacements quite worked out, so Shaw looks to be the third-baseman going into next season.  He hit .242/.306/.421 on the year but did contribute 16 home runs, 34 doubles, and 71 RBIs.
Boston's top prospect had a terrific season in the minors but struggled after his debut in the Majors.  Moncada struck out in nine consecutive at bats in the Majors and was put on the bench for the rest of the season.  He start next season in the minors absent a very strong Spring Training.

Price was not quite the rotation savior Boston hoped they were getting when he was signed to a huge free agent contract.  He did win 17 games and struck out 228 (a record for Red Sox southpaws), but had a rather ordinary 3.99 ERA and struggled in his last few starts, including his postseason start.

Wright was Boston's best pitcher in the early going.  In his first full Major League season, he was named to the All Star team and was 13-6 with a 3.33 ERA and 127 strikeouts.  Injuries unfortunately ended the knuckleballer's season early.

Like Ramirez, Porcello struggled in his first season with the Red Sox but came back in a big way.  He looks like a Cy Young Award contender after leading the Majors with 22 wins and finishing with a 3.15 ERA and 189 strikeouts.

The Red Sox acquired the All Star starter from the Padres before the trading deadline but gave up top pitching prospect Anderson Espinoza to get him.  Pomeranz struggled as a starter down the stretch for Boston but found new life as a long reliever in the postseason.  He was 3-5 with a 4.79 ERA for Boston.

Kimbrel was an All Star in his first season in Boston but struggled with his command.  He finished 2-6 with a 3.40 ERA but did save 31 games and notched 83 strikeouts in just 53 innings.

Up next is a new addition to my Jason Varitek collection, my 890th card total of the great catcher.
I saw this and had to have it.  Just a terrific looking card.  Varitek is Boston's all-time leader in games caught.  For his career, he hit .256/.341/.435 with 193 home runs and 757 RBIs.  He was a three-time All Star and won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger during his career.

I have mentioned before that the Jewish Major Leaguers ongoing set is one of my favorite oddball sets.  This card is a very good reason why.
SI ROSENTHAL:  This is Rosenthal's only baseball card (other than a couple parallels).  Rosenthal spent parts of just two seasons in the Majors (both with Boston) and hit .266/.319/.375 with four home runs and 44 RBIs.  He was the regular right-fielder in 1926.  What is interesting about his life though is that he enlisted during World War II despite being over-age.  Unfortunately this was due to the death of his son in combat.  Rosenthal was paralyzed when the ship he was in struck a mine.  This information all came from this card.

Monday, October 17, 2016

One-Card Wonder Pt. 35: Paul Byrd

Paul Byrd was a lot of fun to watch.  His wind-up was a throwback to a bygone era.  Byrd would swing both arms behind his back while taking a step back then bringing the glove and ball together in front of himself and lift his front leg before throwing a pitch.  Byrd pitched for seven teams over a 14 year career and was an All Star while pitching for the Phillies in 1999 when he won 15 games.  He won 17 games for the Royals in 2002.  It was that season that he developed his unique wind-up.

Byrd spent parts of two seasons with the Red Sox.  He was picked up in a trade with the Indians in August of 2008.  He had been with the Indians and pitched a game against the Red Sox in the 2007 ALCS.  Despite pitching well, he lost the game.  Boston sent minor leaguer Mickey Hall to the Indians to complete the trade.  Byrd made it into just eight games down the stretch for the Red Sox, starting all of them and finishing with a record of 4-2 with a 4.78 ERA.  He struck out 26 and walked 10 in 49 innings.  He pitched one game in the ALCS against the Rays that season, giving up four runs in 3.1 innings.  After the season he was granted free agency.

But the 38-year-old Byrd did not hook on with another team.  So, in August of 2009, Byrd signed a contract to return to the Red Sox.  Byrd was 1-3 with a 5.82 ERA in seven games, starting six of them.  He struck out 11 and walked 11 in 34 innings.  He did not appear in the Majors after 2009.

Byrd's only card with the Red Sox is from the 2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers.  It is not surprising that he did not appear much in card sets.  He did after all only appear in 15 games over two seasons.  But at least he appeared once.  That is better than a lot of other players can say.