Saturday, January 31, 2015

A New Varitek

I completed a trade with an Australian Varitek collector recently, using one of my non-Red Sox Varitek cards as bait.  Here is the new card:
This is a 2008 SPx Winning Materials jersey card numbered out of 99.  I don't get to add too many more Varitek cards anymore.  There just are not that many out there that I don't already have anymore.  But this is card #876 for my Varitek collection.  I hoped to get up to 900 this year.  That is very unlikely.

Season in Review: 2009

Getting back into some of my old series here.

In 2009, Boston once again won the Wild Card with a record of 95-67.  They were swept out of the first round of the postseason by the Angels.

FIVE FAVORITE PLAYERS
Jason Bay
Bay proved to be a very good replacement for Manny Ramirez.  He was incredibly productive as a hitter and was voted to the All Star game.  For the year, Bay hit .267/.384/.537 with 36 home runs and 119 RBIs.  He was a little bit of a liability in the field though and was allowed to leave as a free agent after the season.  He finished seventh in the MVP race and won the Silver Slugger.

Kevin Youkilis
Youkilis had his second consecutive outstanding season at the plate in 2009.  He hit .305/.413/.548 with 27 home runs and 94 RBIs.  He was an All Star and finished sixth in the AL MVP race.

Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia followed up his MVP season with another great year.  He was an All Star for the second time and ended up leading the league in runs with 115.  He also hit .296/.371/.447 with 15 home runs and 72 RBIs, while stealing 20 bases.  He walked 74 times versus just 45 strikeouts.


Jon Lester
Lester emerged as the ace of the rotation in 2009, going 15-8 with a 3.41 ERA and 225 strikeouts in 203.1 innings.  He was just 25 years old at the time and it appeared that the sky was the limit for Lester. 

Jacoby Ellsbury
Ellsbury put his speed to great use in 2009.  He lead the American League in stolen bases with 70 and triples with 10.  His stolen base mark shattered the Red Sox previous record of 54 set by Tommy Harper in 1973.  Ellsbury could also hit, putting up a line of .301/.355/.415.

HONORABLE MENTIONS
Josh Beckett
Beckett had another excellent season in 2009.  He lead the team in wins, going 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA and 199 strikeouts.  He was an All Star for the second time in his term with the Red Sox.

Jonathan Papelbon
Papelbon continued his terrific work out of the bullpen, making it to the All Star team for the fourth time in a row.  He saved 38 games with a miniscule 1.85 ERA and racked up 76 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched.

Tim Wakefield 
As a 42-year-old, the knuckleballer was named to his first All Star team.  Unfortunately he never made it into the game.  Wakefield went 11-5 with a 4.58 ERA.  His numbers were a little better at the break.

FAVORITE ACQUISITIONS
Takashi Saito
Saito was signed as a low-cost option for the bullpen and was very effective.  He was 3-3 with a 2.43 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 55.1 innings, saving two games.  Saito parlayed this season into a multi-year deal with the Braves.

Rocco Baldelli
The long-time Rays outfielder attempted to come back from his mitochondrial issue with Boston as a fourth outfielder.  Baldelli was effective in limited work, but was not ready to return full-time.  He hit .253/.311/.433 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs.

FAVORITE MIDSEASON ACQUISITION
Victor Martinez
The Red Sox acquired the Indians catcher for a package headed by Justin Masterson at the trading deadline after Jason Varitek continued to decline.  Martinez was terrific down the stretch for his new team and hit .336/.405/.507 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs in just 56 games.

FAVORITE ROOKIE
Daniel Bard
It is hard to remember now, but Bard was terrific early in his career.  The rookie right-hander was a big boost for the bullpen, saving one game and going 2-2 with a 3.65 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 49.1 innings pitched.

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS
Brad Penny
Boston took a chance on the former 20 game winner, hoping to fill out their rotation.  Despite the occasional decent start, Penny ultimately ended up with a 7-8 record and a 5.61 ERA.  He was cut loose and caught on with the Giants and turned his season around.

John Smoltz
The future Hall of Famer was entering his last season.  He failed to impress in 8 games, going 2-5 with an ERA of 8.33.  Convinced he was finished, Boston released him as well.  He finished his final season with the Cardinals with a slightly more respectable record.

POSTSEASON GOAT
Jonathan Papelbon
Boston failed to impress in the ALDS.  But Game 3 appeared to be going their way, until Papelbon blew the save, giving up three runs after Boston handed him a two-run lead.

Friday, January 30, 2015

1992 O-Pee-Chee Exclusives

I am not referring to the O-Pee-Chee Premier set here.  This is the Canadian version of Topps.  Most of the time these cards were basically the same as the Topps cards, except for the French text and the brand logo.  But sometimes, O-Pee-Chee deviated somewhat.  This may have been by not including cards, updating the team logo, and once in awhile, providing a card that was not in Topps at all.

These are the cards that O-Pee-Chee had in their set that were absent from Topps:
1.  John Dopson.  Dopson was a 12 game winner in 1989, but injuries derailed his career after that.  He pitched in just four games in 1990 and one in 1991.  No wonder he did not appear in many 1992 sets.  But he returned in 1992, going 7-11 in 25 games.

2.  Matt Young.  Young was a fairly high-profile signing for the Red Sox in 1991.  It did not work out well.

3.  Mike Brumley.  This is the card that I was most-excited by.  Brumley was originally a Red Sox draftee, but was traded to the Cubs along with Dennis Eckersley for Bill Buckner.  He returned to Boston in 1991, but I only ever had one card of him, his 1992 Score card.  I had no idea until recently that another Red Sox card of him even existed.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Bunch of 2014 Wantlist Hits

Here we have a package that knocked a bunch of stuff off my wantlist:
1.  2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Roger Clemens

2.  2014 Topps Allen & Ginter Dustin Pedroia.

3.  2014 Topps Update World Series Heroes Manny Ramirez.  Ramirez was the MVP of the 2004 World Series. 

4.  2014 Stadium Club Future Stars Xander Bogaerts.  Technically this was not on my wantlist, but a die cut card is always exciting.

5.  2014 Stadium Club Shane Victorino.  Love the photo here of Victorino being mobbed after a clutch hit, possibly during the postseason.

6.  2014 Stadium Club Pedro Martinez.  The lighter side of Pedro.

7.  2014 Stadium Club Roger Clemens.  Celebrating his 20 strikeouts in the 1986 game.

8.  2014 Stadium Club Ted Williams.  Nice shot of him during his military service.

9.  2014 Stadium Club Wade Boggs.

Monday, January 26, 2015

A Plethora of Papis

In one package, I added a bunch of new Ortiz cards, pulling me to within two cards of my goal of 500.  Several of these were parallels that I had not yet added, with a couple of nice inserts for good measure.  My favorite is the Elite die-cut card numbered to just 34.  I love a good die-cut.  With just two cards to get to get to 500 now, that resolution is firmly within reach.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Oh Sure, Smoltz Can Have a Post Too...

Pedro Martinez is not the only former Red Sox pitcher to make it into the Hall of Fame this year.  Of course, John Smoltz is not in the Hall of Fame because of his time with Boston.  Smoltz was just 2-5 with a 8.33 ERA in eight games with Boston.  So his time with Boston was rather forgettable.  These are just two out of the ten Red Sox Smoltz cards I have, along with my only relic.  I just thought I would show him a little appreciation since I did the huge Pedro post yesterday.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

In Honor of Pedro Entering the Hall with the Red Sox...


I promised some time ago that I would show off some Pedro Martinez cards.  On Thursday it was announced that Pedro would be depicted with a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.  It was kind of an obvious selection, but at any rate, I figured in honor of that announcement I would show off some Pedros:

 
In this first scan, you can see my very first Pedro Martinez card, the 1998 Fleer Tradition.  Sure that is actually him in an Expos uniform, but I still felt I should show off the card that started it all.  I got that one in a pack and was very excited.

The third card in the scan is from the 2001 Post set, possibly the last time cards appeared in boxes of cereal.  It was not much of a surprise as this card was visible on the box.

The fourth card was my first Pedro game-used card, only my third game-used Red Sox card overall.
The second card in this scan is one of the rare bat cards, also with teammates Manny Ramirez, Trot Nixon, and Shea Hillenbrand.

The seventh card was my first patch card of Pedro.

The next one shows the massive size difference of the two most dominant pitchers of the late 1990's.
Here we have a couple of very low-numbered Pedro relics.  The Diamond Kings bat/jersey is numbered out of 25 and the Playoff Honors patch is numbered out of 10.  I love those Leaf Exhibits cards in the first row.
We have some unusual items in this scan.  The first card is a game-used ball card and the second card features two game-used base pieces.  I think I like those Sportscasters inserts even more than the Exhibits.  

So there you go.  Some of my favorite Pedro Martinez cards.  Now that he is a Hall of Famer, I suspect we will see even more cards of him this year.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Nice Trade Package

I have made a number of trades lately that will help fill some holes.  There are a ton of 2014 cards on my wantlist right now, so this definitely helped with that.  

The first trade was for a few Cardinals cards and resulted in this:
1.  2014 Bowman Chrome Mini Xander Bogaerts.  Xander has been growing in my collection.  Hopefully he is ready to become the star we suspect he will be this year.

2.  2014 Bowman Prospects Purple Trey Ball.  Ball improved as the season went on last year, which is good, because he is one of the highest draft picks Boston has had in years.

3.  2014 Topps Update Future is Now Mookie Betts 1.  Betts is going to be one of the fastest growing players in my collection in 2015.  I am up to 10 now.  It is likely I will be near 30 or 40 by the end of the year.

4.  2014 Topps Wal Mart Blue Koji Uehara.  Uehara was one of the fastest growing players last year.  He is currently one of my favorite players to compile cards of.

5.  1995 Fleer Update Vaughn Eshelman.  Eshelman was one of the rare Rule 5 players Boston picked up that stuck around for a while.  He was immediately successful winning his first three starts in 1995.

6.  1995 Fleer Update Lee Tinsley.  Tinsley was a fairly decent regular for Boston in 1995, hitting .284/.359/.402 with seven home runs and 18 stolen bases.

7.  1996 Fleer Dwayne Hosey.  Hosey had a terrific stretch in the end of 1995, displacing Lee Tinsley and Willie McGee while hitting .338/.408/.618 with three home runs in 24 games.  He was given the starting job in 1996, but could not hold on to it.

8.  2014 Bowman 1989 Wade Boggs.  There were a few of these nice-looking inserts last year for the Red Sox.  I have the Bogaerts, now I have the Boggs.  I think there is an Ellsbury as well.  I am not as excited about the Ellsbury for obvious reasons.