Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Catch Up Post

I have been falling behind.  Work has been keeping me pretty busy.  I just recently settled a case that was set for jury trial next week.  So now that I have a moment, I thought I would show off some of my more recent pickups:
I won an Ebay auction that included two nice Jackie Bradley Jr. refractors:
1.  2013 Topps Chrome Refractor Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.

2.  2013 Topps Chrome Black Refractor Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.

Then I made a decent-sized trade that brought a bunch of Chrome and other cards:
3.  2013 Topps Chrome Refractor Shane Victorino.

4.  2013 Topps Chrome Mega Box Jake Peavy.

5.  2013 Finest Dustin Pedroia.

6.  2013 Finest Will Middlebrooks.

7.  2013 Finest Jacoby Ellsbury.

8.  2009 O-Pee-Chee Black Jon Lester.

9.  2013 Finest Xfractor Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.
Someone was selling a bunch of cards on the forums for a fraction of their normal cost and I picked up another really nice JBJ:
10.  2012 Bowman Sterling Prospects Refractor Jackie Bradley Jr.

And then another Ebay win:
11.  2013 Bowman Chrome Cream of the Crop Mini Blue Jackie Bradley Jr.

And finally I traded in a Yasiel Puig rookie and got this:
12.  2013 Finest Orange Refractor Jackie Bradley Jr.

As you can see, my Jackie Bradley Jr. kick is still going strong.

Monday, November 18, 2013

More Dime Box Goodness, Plus Some More

Nick recently pulled a Dustin Pedroia jersey card which he promptly offered up for trade.  Of course I jumped at it and threw together a package I thought he would enjoy.  In turn he sent me this:
1.  2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Mini Daniel Bard.  Bard is struggling greatly in the Winter League.  I am beginning to wonder if he will ever re-capture the talent that made him a rising star.  He is with the Cubs now.

2.  2009 UD Goodwin Champions Mini Kevin Youkilis.  My wife always hated watching Youkilis on TV.  She hated his batting stance.  I will admit it was a bit curious.

3.  2004 Bazooka Comics Manny Ramirez.  Certainly an interesting card.  I have a few of these now.

4.  2013 Panini Hometown Heroes Jason Varitek.  I am so happy that this card was included.  I was thrilled when I saw that Varitek made it into this checklist.  Thank you Nick.

5.  1990 King B Disc Wade Boggs.  I remember my older brother getting a lot of these when I was a kid.  He never got any Red Sox though.  He did get a Sandy Alomar Jr. that he gave to me, but I had to use ebay to get my first one.  This was my second.

6.  1997 Bowman's Best Refractor Donnie Sadler.  Sadler was expected to match up with Nomar Garciaparra around second base for years.  It just did not work out that way.

7.  1992 Classic Best Gar Finnvold.  I like minors cards of players who made the Majors.  Finnvold qualifies though he did not play long.

8.  2009 Upper Deck Goudey Jonathan Papelbon SP.  One of the Sport Royalty short prints.

9.  1990 Pacific Legends Mel Parnell.  The Red Sox all-time winningest left-hander, believe it or not.

10.  1990 Pacific Legends Pete Runnels.  Runnels won two batting championships for the Red Sox in 1960 and 1962.  Yet very few have really heard of him.
11.  1991 Swell Baseball Greats Mel Parnell.  Another nice card of the southpaw.

12.  1991 Swell Baseball Greats Dick Williams.  Hall of Famer Williams had his first managerial season in 1967 with Boston, the Impossible Dream season.

13.  2005 Topps Update Gold Tony Graffanino.  Graffanino was an unheralded hero for Boston in 2005 after being acquired in a trade with the Royals.

14.  2004 Topps Total Award Winners Manny Ramirez.  Celebrating his Silver Slugger in 2003.

15.  2013 Topps Chasing History Holofoil Gold Dustin Pedroia.  Nice Pedroia card here.  Pedroia looks like a future Hall of Famer.

16.  2013 Topps Update All Star Stitches Dustin Pedroia.  This is the card that started the trade.  Terrific looking Pedroia card.

17.  2007 Fleer In the Zone David Ortiz.  Nice Ortiz insert here.

18.  2009 Upper Deck X Xponential 2 Josh Beckett.  Beckett is one of those players I never totally warmed up to.  Maybe if he had been more consistent as a starter I would have.  Still though, I do enjoy getting cards of him.

Thanks for the trade Nick!

And after that trade, I got a few other packages in as well:
19.  2013 Panini Father's Day Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.  These cards were only available in special Father's day packs of Panini available Father's Day weekend.  It is obviously photoshopped, but that's okay.  It makes a unique collectible.  I picked this up off Ebay.

20.  2013 Topps Chrome Purple Refractor Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.  As you can tell, I am still into the Jackie Bradley phase.  This was acquired in a trade for a Topps Update insert.

The next cards all came in one trade:

21.  2013 Bowman Chrome Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.  And once more today.

22.  2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Pat Light.  Boston's supplemental round pick from 2012 has yet to really perform up to expectations.

23.  2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Francellis Montas.  Montas was traded to the White Sox in the Jake Peavy trade.

24.  2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Tzu-Wei Lin.  The next Jose Iglesias?  Lin can not hit but is excellent defensively.

25.  2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Keury De La Cruz.  De La Cruz had a breakout 2012 but fell back down to Earth in 2013.

26.  2013 Bowman Chrome Prospects Ty Buttrey.  This is exactly the same shot as his 2012 card in Bowman Draft.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A Sparkly Pack Break and Some Random Packages

Nothing beats the feeling of getting a great pull from a pack.  As a team collector, any time I can get an insert or a parallel, I consider it a good pull.  I love getting autographs and jerseys, sure, but that's not the only thing I look for.  Sometimes, a parallel is a great hit.  And today was one of those time:
1.  2013 Topps Sapphire Jonny Gomes.  I took a risk today by picking up a hanger pack of 2013 Topps Update from Wal-Mart.  I have all of the base cards.  I just wanted a parallel.  Well it worked out quite well because I got this fantastic parallel of Gomes numbered to just 25.  Definitely worth the risk.  The scan does not do this card justice at all.

2.  2013 Topps Update Wal Mart Blue Junichi Tazawa.  I also got this card, finally getting one of the parallels I was looking for.

3.  2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Ted Williams SP.  I received a few cards from trades as well.  This one and the Doerr came in a trade for a Jeter insert.

4.  2013 Topps Gypsy Queen Bobby Doerr SP.  This same picture appears on virtually very Bobby Doerr card.

5.  2013 Topps Chrome Postseason Heroes David Ortiz.  Definitely a worthy subject of that title, particularly after this year's terrific performance in the World Series.

6.  2013 Topps 1971 Mini David Ortiz.  These two Ortiz cards were picked up in exchange for a couple of Evan Longoria inserts.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A Jackie Bradley Jr.-Heavy Mailday

I have a strong suspicion that when the dust clears and the defending World Champion Red Sox take the field on Opening Day next season, Jackie Bradley Jr. will be patrolling center field.  With that in mind I have been focusing a bit more on Bradley and other young players I expect to be a major part of the Red Sox future, such as Xander Bogaerts, who was very impressive in the World Series, and Felix Doubront.

This trade got me three new Jackie Bradley Jr. cards, as well as a number of other nice cards.  
1.  2013 Finest Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.  Just the base version.  I am working on the parallels.  I have the Xfractor coming in.

2.  2013 Topps Godl Joel Hanrahan.  I feel bad for Hanrahan.  He came into the season as the new closer, then was ineffective, then was out for the season.  Don't get me wrong, Koji Uehara was awesome when he took over as closer (plus he was on my fantasy team).  Hanrahan would have fit in well with the team.  Just look at that beard.  Now he is a free agent and not likely to come back.

3.  2013 Panini Prizm Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.  I am warming up to the Panini brands.  I still wish they had an MLB license because they would look better with logos.  But I like the Prizm set quite a bit.

4.  2013 Bowman Platinum Cracked Ice Gold Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.  The third new Bradley card brings me up to 16.  Not bad for a player with just 37 games under his belt in the big leagues.

5.  2013 Panini Prizm Carlton Fisk.  I am pretty sure he is actually wearing a White Sox uniform in this picture.  I don't have a lot of basis in believing this, he just looks older in it.

6.  2013 Panini Prizm Mike Napoli.  Napoli is the one free agent I expect will return next season.

7.  2013 Panini Prizm Jacoby Ellsbury.  I just do not feel Ellsbury really wants to come back.  I could be wrong.  But he has never seemed terribly happy in Boston.  Maybe he is just really introverted.  He definitely does not go out of his way to talk to the media like David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia, Shane Victorino, and others.

8.  2013 Panini Prizm Shane Victorino.  I thought Victorino would be really good in Boston this season.  I did not expect him to be as good as he was

9.  2013 Panini Prizm Dustin Pedroia.  A nice shot of Pedroia bunting.  Not something you see everyday.

If anyone has any nice Jackie Bradley Jr. cards, feel free to contact me.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Giant Mailday Post with Contributions from Night Owl and Zippy Zappy

It has been a pretty busy week this week with court appearances every day.  So I have not had a lot of time to get scans up.  I have been getting stuff in fairly regularly too, so there is a lot to show off right now.  I am still coming off of the high from the Red Sox winning the World Series.  Hopefully there will be a commemorative card set issued.  There were three in 2004 and one in 2007.  There was also Danbury Mint gold cards commemorating the victories.  I am hoping for at least one set.

Anyway, let's see some cards, shall we?

Up first is a small vintage buy:
1.  1959 Topps Team Card.  The 1959 team set is in my wantlist because it is a relatively inexpensive vintage set.  Team cards are always interesting, but I wish they would have the players pictured listed somewhere.

Next is a trade I engineered with everyone's favorite nocturnal bird of prey:
2.  2013 Topps Chrome Close Connections Dustin Pedroia.  This was the impetus for the trade.  He got this card as well as two other base cards in one pack of Chrome.  I commented and he sent them to me.  Soon after that I got the base cards in my group break, but I definitely still needed the die-cut.

3.  2013 Topps Chasing History Holofoil Dustin Pedroia.  A parallel of an insert and another nice card of the Red Sox second-baseman.

4.  2008 Upper Deck Timeline Jonathan Van Every RC.  This is the 1992 Minors Top Prospect subset card.  Van Every did not last long, but he was one of three position players to pitch for Boston in 2009, along with Dusty Brown and Nick Green.

5.  2008 Upper Deck Timeline Daisuke Matsuzaka.  From the 1994 All Time Heroes subset.  I still like getting Dice-K cards.

6.  2008 Upper Deck Timeline Daisuke Matsuzaka.  From the 2004 Timeless Teams subset.

7.  2008 Upper Deck Timeline David Ortiz.  Also from the 2004 Timeless Teams subset.  Ortiz was huge in the postseason.

Thanks Greg!  Hope you enjoy your cards.

The next card was sent to me for free, which was awesome.
8.  2013 Topps Chrome Dynamic Die Cut Mike Napoli.  Napoli suddenly has a lot of Red Sox cards out there.  Hopefully he will be back next season.

Up next is another package from Zippy Zappy.  I sent a bunch more Yankees to him in exchange for these:
9.  2011 Topps Chrome Clay Buchholz.  If he could just stay healthy, he could become great.

10.  1981 Topps Sticker Dave Stapleton.  Stapleton was on the 1986 World Series roster as a backup first-baseman to Bill Buckner and really should have been in the game in Game 6.

11.  2011 Topps Sticker Jacoby Ellsbury.  A nice little piece.  We shall soon see where he ends up.

12.  2013 Topps Chasing History Jackie Bradley Jr.  Jackie is hoping Ellsbury goes elsewhere I think, opening up the door to him taking over.

13.  2013 Topps Chasing History Nomar Garciaparra.  Nice to see Nomar cards this year.

14.  2013 Topps Mini Dustin Pedroia.  The minis are what started this trade.

15.  2013 Topps Mini Jonny Gomes.  We need a card of him in the army helmet right away.

16.  2013 Topps Mini Ryan Sweeney.  The mini set is weird because it has some players updated in their new uniforms.  Then there are players like Ryan Sweeney, still shown with their former team.

17.  2013 Topps Mini Vicente Padilla.  And others like Padilla who did not appear in the Majors at all this season.
18.  2013 Topps Mini Ryan Dempster.  Dempster was one of the few free agent signings from last year that did not work out really well.

19.  2013 Topps Mini Felix Doubront.  One of my current favorites.  What a World Series he had.

20.  2013 Topps Mini Mike Napoli.  Another Nap.

21.  2013 Topps Mini Jarrod Saltalamacchia.  Saltalamacchia was not given a qualifying offer.  It is possible Lavarnway will take over next year.

22.  2013 Topps Mini Jacoby Ellsbury.  Ellsbury did get a qualifying offer.

23.  2013 Topps Mini Daniel Nava.  Nava is coming off a great season and should see some more cards next year.

24.  2013 Topps Mini Jackie Bradley Jr. RC.  Another Bradley.

25.  2013 Topps Mini Alfredo Aceves.  I love this picture.

26.  1988 Topps U.K. Roger Clemens.  I was surprised I did not have this one.  I had the Boggs and Evans.
27.  2013 Topps Mini Chasing History Ted Williams.  Always excited to get Teddy Ballgame cards.

28.  2013 Topps Mini John Lackey.  Lackey has redeemed himself in the eyes of fans.

29.  1979 Topps Team Card.  Another team card, this one of the 1978 team that blew a huge lead in the division to the Yankees.

30.  1970 Topps Ray Jarvis.  A terrific vintage card of one of the players traded along with Tony Conigliaro to the Angels.

31.  1973 Topps Lew Krausse.  Pretty miscut, but still, another nice vintage card.

32.  2000 Topps Tek Pedro Martinez.  There was a time I wanted to complete one of the player sets from Topps Tek.  One of these days I may go back to that.

Thanks Kenny!  Hope you enjoyed your cards!

I had a Yasiel Puig refractor.  It was turned into this:
33.  2013 Topps Pink Daisuke Matsuzaka.  I really wanted one of the pink parallels.  I recently picked up two.  This was the first.

34.  2012 Topps Gold Dustin Pedroia.  This card was on my Top Ten Most Wanted list.

35.  2009 Upper Deck Ballpark Collection Jason Varitek.  So was this one.

36.  2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Rip Card Clay Buchholz.  My second rip card.  This was already ripped of course.

And this was a small trade that added some interesting cards:
37.  2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Red Clay Buchholz RC.  Buchholz is climbing steadily in my collection.  I have close to 100 cards of him now.

38.  2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Jimmie Foxx.  I am pretty sure Foxx could still hit a home run with that bat.  What is the deal with that?

39.  2005 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Jimmie Foxx.  Another Foxx Red Sox card.  Few know that he wears a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.

40.  2011 Topps Gypsy Queen Framed Gold Adrian Gonzalez.  Still adding A-Gon cards.

41.  2009 Upper Deck Icons George Kottaras RC.  This was on my wantlist.

42.  2001 Fleer Futures Black Gold Trot Nixon.  One of the jerseys I own is a Trot Nixon from 2001 with a 100th Anniversary patch.

43.  2000 Finest Tomokazu Ohka.  I really wanted Ohka to turn into a star.  It just did not work out that way.

44.  2005 Donruss Elite Elite Teams Manny Ramirez/Pedro Martinez/David Ortiz.  Commemorating the 2004 team.

45.  2007 Upper Deck Goudey Head's Up Carlton Fisk.  This is my third card like this, joining Matsuzaka and Ortiz.

I turned a Michael Wacha parallel into this:
46.  2013 Topps Chasing History Ted Williams.  Another Splendid Splinter card.

47.  2013 Topps Making Their Mark Jackie Bradley Jr.  I really wanted this card.  Not sure why.

48.  2013 Topps Chasing History Pedro Martinez.  Pedro joins his longtime teammate in getting more cards this year.

49.  2013 Topps Update Gold Andrew Bailey.  Bailey will likely go elsewhere this offseason.  That trade did not work at all for Boston.

One of the things I really wanted from Update was one of the Boston Strong parallels.  Unfortunately I did not get one.  But I managed to work out a trade to add one.  I will still look for more, but here is my one so far:
50.  2013 Topps Update Boston Strong Ryan Lavarnway.  Not the player I most wanted, though I do love the action shot.  Lavarnway did not play a lot for Boston, but this is still a terrific card.

And finally I added a couple more Doubronts to my collection:
51.  2013 Topps Pink Felix Doubront.  My second pink card.

52.  2013 Topps Gold Felix Doubront.  Hopefully Boston does not trade Doubront, but he needs to work on his conditioning.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Forgotten Stars Pt. 8: Ellis Kinder

When a team that has as long a history as the Red Sox it is natural to have players who have been largely forgotten. These are some players who simply do not get mentioned anymore or are largely forgotten.
Ellis Kinder was part of one of the greatest trades in Red Sox history.  Kinder had been in the Major Leagues for just two years, despite the fact that he was already 33 when he was acquired by Boston.  The Red Sox sent three spare parts to the St. Louis Browns for Kinder and another player just one day after sending six other spare parts to the Browns for Vern Stephens and Jack Kramer.  Kinder, Kramer, and Stephens were all major parts of the Red Sox core for the next few seasons and none of the players sent to the Browns amounted to much.

Kinder had a good season in 1948 and was a reliable pitcher, going 10-7 with a 3.74 ERA in 178 innings.  But it was his 1949 season that really guaranteed him a spot in Red Sox history.  That season, in which Boston fought down to the wire for a playoff spot, Kinder was one of two reliable pitchers Manager Joe McCarthy had (the other was Mel Parnell).  Down the stretch, Parnell and Kinder started or relieved in almost every game.  That simply does not happen anymore.  When the dust settled, Kinder ended up with a 23-6 record and a 3.36 ERA in 252 innings.  He pitched in 43 games, starting 30.  He lead the league in winning percentage and shutouts and finished fifth in the MVP vote.

In 1950, Kinder began transitioning into the bullpen full-time.  He still started 23 games, but came on in relief in another 25.  His numbers dipped a little as he was just 14-12 with a 4.56 ERA.  But in 1951, he became a bullpen ace.  He was 11-2 with a 2.55 ERA.  He started just two games, coming on in relief in another 61.  He lead the league in appearances, games finished and saves with 14.  His strikeout-to-walk percentage also improved significantly.  Kinder was injured in 1952, pitching in significantly fewer games, but his ERA stayed about the same and he saved four games.  1953 though was another terrific season as Kinder was 10-6 with a 1.85 ERA in 69 games, all in relief.  He lead the league in appearances, games finished, and saves with 27 once again.

After the 1953 season, Kinder's ERA rose a little but he was still an effective bullpen ace.  He was traded after a good 1955 season in which he was 5-5 with a 2.84 ERA.  He pitched for the Cardinals and White Sox before hanging it up.

Kinder was ahead of his time.  There were not a lot of great bullpen pitchers in the 1950's.  Kinder was definitely one of the few. 

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 12: Joe Cronin

Years with Boston:  1935-1945 (.300/.394/.484, 119 home runs, 737 RBIs, 1,168 hits, 270 doubles)
Best Year in Boston:  1938 (.325/.428/.536, 17 home runs, 94 RBIs, 51 doubles, 91 walks)
Joe Cronin had quite an impressive career path.  Cronin started out as a ballplayer for the Pittsburgh Pirates before moving on to stardom with the Washington Senators.  He played extremely well for a couple of years in Washington, becoming one of the best overall players in the game.  In 1933, Cronin became the player-manager of the Senators at just 26.  The rest of his playing career, he continued as a player-manager.  He continued for a couple of seasons as a full-time manager before becoming the General Manager of the Boston Red Sox.  Later on, he became the President of the American League.

Cronin had been a star for the Senators for a few years, making the first two All Star teams in 1933 and 1934 and finishing in the Top 10 for the AL MVP in three seasons, including runner-up in 1933.  After Tom Yawkey took over as the Red Sox owner, he sought out the best players he could buy, and targeted Cronin.  Yawkey bought Cronin for $225,000.00 and shortstop Lyn Lary.  What was most unusual about this purchase was the Cronin had just recently married Washington owner Clark Griffith's daughter.

Cronin did not miss a beat in coming over to the Red Sox.  The shortstop/manager continued to bat around .300 every season in Boston and had some pop.  He played reasonably well defensively though his range declined.  Cronin had a very impressive five-year period from 1937 to 1941 in which he averaged 19 home runs and 103 RBIs with a line of .307/.404/.504.  After the 1941 season, Cronin focused much more on managing and did not play in the field nearly as often.

Cronin quit as a player after the 1945 season.  He lead Boston to its first pennant since 1918 in 1946 and the team stayed in contention for the 1947 season.  He then moved to the Red Sox front office from there and later became the American League President.  Cronin was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956.  He wears a Red Sox cap on his Cooperstown plaque.

Cronin spent more than half of his career with the Red Sox and his numbers, including his non-counting stats, are all better with the Red Sox.  It is clear that the Red Sox are the team for which Cronin made his most indelible mark.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

One-Card Wonder Pt. 22: Bob Watson

For whatever reason, sometimes I am only able to find one card of certain players.
Bob Watson only has one card with the Red Sox.  Of course that is because his Red Sox career lasted only 84 games in 1979.  Watson is currently the vice president in charge of discipline in Major League baseball and previously served as the Yankees' GM.  Watson was a successful player, making two All Star teams as a member of the Houston Astros, for whom he played for 14 years.

In 1979, Watson was traded to the Red Sox in exchange for Pete Ladd and Bobby Sprowl.  Watson hit .337/.401/.548 with 13 home runs and 53 RBIs.  Watson hit for the cycle on September 15, becoming the first player to hit for the cycle in both leagues.  

Watson was not retained after the season.  Boston signed Tony Perez to play first base and Watson was not needed.  His Topps card from 1980 remains his only Red Sox card.

Unknown Heroes Pt. 37: Mike Timlin

Mike Timlin was already 37 years old by the time he first pitched for the Red Sox.  He had already pitched for 12 years in the Major Leagues for a number of teams and had postseason experience with the Blue Jays and Mariners.  He was a veteran presence brought in to solidify the Red Sox bullpen in 2003, the season Boston went with the closer-by-committee experiment.

In 2003, Timlin was 6-4 with a 3.55 ERA in 72 games.  He finished 13 with two saves while striking out 65 in 83.2 innings.  He was terrific in the postseason, pitching in eight games, giving up just one hit and no runs.  He was not quite as good in 2004, but still finished the season at 5-4 with a 4.13 ERA and 56 strikeouts in 76.1 innings.  He struggled a little in the postseason but did not figure into any decisions.

2005 was Timlin's greatest season with the Red Sox.  He spent some time as the closer due to the injury to Keith Foulke.  Timlin lead the league in games (81) and had a record of 7-3 with a 2.24 ERA and saved 13 games.  In 2006, Timlin was 6-6 with a 4.36 ERA and saved nine games.  He improved a bit in 2007 and was once again the top setup man for the team, going 2-1 with a 3.42 ERA, though the team was using him less and less.

2008 was Timlin's final season in the Major Leagues, at the age of 42.  He struggled quite a bit, going 4-4 with a 5.66 ERA.  His last appearance was forgettable as he took the loss in Game 2 of the ALCS.

Timlin was a very important part of the Red Sox bullpen for six seasons.  His Red Sox career ended with a 30-22 record with a 3.76 ERA and 27 saves.  

Season in Review: 2008

2008 was a bit of a disappointment after the terrific 2007 season.  Boston made it to the postseason, but this time as the Wild Card.  The Rays (they dropped the "Devil" in their name prior to the season) won the division.  Boston beat the Angels in the ALDS but lost in seven games to the Rays in the ALCS.

Kevin Youkilis
Youk won the Hank Aaron Award for the best hitter in the league in 2008.  He was an All Star and finished third in the AL MVP race.  He hit .312/.390/.569 with 29 home runs and 115 RBIs.  It was the best season of his career although he would have some more good ones.

Dustin Pedroia
Pedroia surprisingly won the AL MVP in 2008.  He was also an All Star for the first time and won the Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Awards.  Pedroia hit .326/.376/.493 with 17 home runs and 83 RBIs with 20 stolen bases.  He lead the league in runs (118), hits (213), and doubles (54).  His defense was also spectacular.

David Ortiz
Ortiz was injured early in the year but came back to put up decent numbers.  His batting average slipped to .264 but he still managed 23 home runs and 89 RBIs in a shortened season.

Daisuke Matsuzaka
Matsuzaka finished third in the AL Cy Young race and had a phenomenal 18-3 record with a 2.94 ERA and 154 strikeouts.  However he did not pitch a ton of innings and he lead the league in walks (94).  His record was deceptive.

J.D. Drew
For a time, J.D. Drew carried the Red Sox.  He made it to his first All Star game and won the game's MVP Award in Yankee Stadium.  He tied the game by hitting a home run in the seventh and continued to play well throughout the game.  He ended the season at .280/.408/.519 with 19 home runs and 64 RBIs.

Jon Lester
Lester built upon his successful comeback from cancer and emerged as a top-flight starter.  He went 16-6 with a 3.21 ERA and lead the league in shutouts (2).

Jonathan Papelbon
Papelbon was once again an All Star and had his standard season as the Red Sox closer, saving 41 games and striking out 77 in 69.1 innings.

Hideki Okajima
Okajima's ERA rose a bit but he still had a successful season as setup man for Papelbon.  He finished the year at 3-2 with a 2.61 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 62 innings.

Sean Casey
If Sean Casey was the best off-season acquisition, it is obvious Boston did not do much after 2007.  Casey was solely a backup to protect against injuries to Youkilis, Ortiz, and Mike Lowell.  He did hit .322/.381/.392 but did not homer.

Jason Bay
Boston finally traded Manny Ramirez in 2008, shipping him to Los Angeles in a three team trade that brought Pirates star Jason Bay over.  Bay stepped in to Manny's shoes quite well hitting .293/.370/.527 with nine home runs and 37 RBIs in 49 games.  He also hit well in the postseason.

Jacoby Ellsbury
Boston has not traditionally been blessed with speed, but Ellsbury changed that, stealing 50 bases and leading the league.  He also hit .280 and nine home runs.  He finished third in the Rookie of the Year race.

Justin Masterson
As good as Ellsbury was, Masterson was probably more valuable.  He pitched a lot out of relief and was a particularly effective weapon in the postseason.  Masterson had a 3.16 ERA in 36 games, pitching 88.1 innings.  He started nine games.

Jason Varitek
He made the All Star team, but was a questionable choice.  His final numbers were the worst of his career as he hit just .220/.313/.359 with 13 home runs.

Clay Buchholz
After pitching a no-hitter in his second start of his career in 2007, expectations were high for Buchholz to come in and join the starting rotation.  Unfortunately the results were not great as he had a 2-9 record with a 6.75 ERA.

Jason Bay
Bay hit .412/.474/.882 with two home runs in the ALDS and .292/.469/.458 with one home run in the ALCS.

Josh Beckett
After pitching well in the 2007 postseason, Beckett pitched poorly in 2008.  He was 1-0 in three starts but his ERA was 7.20 in the ALDS and 9.64 in the ALCS.

1991 Topps #496 Marty Barrett

In this series, I look at my first team set: 1991 Topps. This was the set I started my baseball card collection with.
There were a lot of great photos in the 1991 Topps set.  We have already seen the Dwight Evans (my personal favorite), Roger Clemens, and Wade Boggs.  Well this is another one.  Marty Barrett has a lot of great-looking cards and was an early favorite player of mine to pick up just because of the terrific-looking cards he had.  This 1991 Topps issue is probably my favorite of the bunch.

Barrett's career was coming to a premature end when this card was released.  He injured his knee in 1989 and the injury was misdiagnosed.  Barrett played in just 62 games in 1990 and lost his job as the second-baseman to Jody Reed.  In 1991 he appeared in 12 games for the Padres and that was it.  He successfully sued his doctor which was probably very little consolation to losing his career.