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.

Monday, September 16, 2019

A Couple of Trades

Time to show off some more trade packages.  These two were fairly interesting in that all of the cards included were older wantlist needs, rather than new stuff.  The player selection is mostly the usual suspect big-time stars, but that is not really a problem.  Sure I don't really NEED more cards of Nomar Garciaparra, but I do have those holes in my collection.
This first trade included three cards of Mo Vaughn that I still needed.  Vaughn was one of my early favorite players and I still enjoy finding cards of him.  How is it that he has not appeared as a Fan Favorite autograph yet?  The others are random cards of Curt Schilling, Manny Ramirez and of course, Nomar.
And here we have some more random cards.  This one features rare cameo appearances from Jamie Brown, Michael Bowden and Pokey Reese.  I was a big Pokey Reese fan during his brief time in Boston.  And I always had high hopes for Bowden, that just did not work out.  And then we have Manny, Pedro and David Ortiz. 

All of the cards in these two packages knocked stuff off of my wantlist.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Archives Blaster #2

I tried out another Archives blaster even though I am somewhat underwhelmed by this product this year.  More than likely, I will just get my Red Sox base cards and try to track down the Fan Favorites from this point period.  
It certainly does not help that I am not pulling many Red Sox cards.  I picked up the Mookie coin and honestly, these things simply do not appeal to me at all.  It will go in my collection, but if I hadn't gotten the card in a pack, I probably never would have gotten it.  I also pulled the Benintendi, which is my first of the 1975 design subset.  But again, this was a rather disappointing break.

ATLANTA BRAVES: 8
NEW YORK YANKEES: 4
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 4
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 4
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 4
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 3
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 3
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 3
BOSTON RED SOX: 2
CINCINNATI REDS: 2
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 2
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 2
MIAMI MARLINS: 2
NEW YORK METS: 2
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 2
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 2
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 1
COLORADO ROCKIES: 1
DETROIT TIGERS: 1
HOUSTON ASTROS: 1
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 1
MINNESOTA TWINS: 1
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 1
SEATTLE MARINERS: 1
WASHINGTON NATIONALS: 1
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 0
CHICAGO CUBS: 0
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 0
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 0
TEXAS RANGERS: 0

Yikes.  How did I pull EIGHT Braves cards?  That is insane. 

BOSTON RED SOX: 103
ATLANTA BRAVES: 98
NEW YORK YANKEES: 94
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 91
HOUSTON ASTROS: 88
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 86
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 80
NEW YORK METS: 78
CHICAGO CUBS: 77
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 75
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 69
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 69
WASHINGTON NATIONALS/MONTREAL EXPOS: 69
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 66
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 66
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 64
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 63
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 62
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 60
DETROIT TIGERS: 59
MINNESOTA TWINS: 59
SEATTLE MARINERS: 58
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 57
COLORADO ROCKIES: 56
CINCINNATI REDS: 54
MIAMI MARLINS: 54
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 53
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 50
TEXAS RANGERS: 48
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 47
OTHER: 16

With the massive Braves break, they pull within five cards of the Red Sox.  The Yankees also made up ground as the break was just okay for the Red Sox. 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Fan Favorites and a Pink Refractor

I mentioned in a previous post that I did not quite get everything from one deal.  Today, that last card made it to my mailbox:
It is a toss-up between Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers as to which player has been Boston's MVP this season.  I am inclined to lean toward Bogaerts personally because Devers has been a little more probe to slumping and his defense is still a work in progress.  That being said, Devers has been a terrific hitter this year and with his youth, could still get even better.  Hopefully Boston will make it a priority to hold on to him for years to come.  

Up next is a Fan Favorites parallel:
Dave Roberts never did a lot in Boston.  He played in just 45 games with the Red Sox down the stretch in 2004, yet he did something that completely changed the course of the 2004 ALCS by stealing second off of Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada.  That stolen base set up the greatest comeback in baseball history.  And for that one moment, Roberts is an absolute legend in Boston.

Incidentally, this photo comes from when he scored the tying run in the bottom of the 9th on a Bill Mueller single up the middle after stealing second.

Friday, September 13, 2019

One Year Wonder: Second Base Update

It has been a few years now since I did my All-Time One-Year Wonder post on second-basemen.  Well, last year a new player entered the fray and it is time to determine if he is good enough to unseat the winner of that post: Luis Alicea.

It is also time to show off my new card of this player, Ian Kinsler:
This is the 2018 Topps Update base variation of Kinsler.  It is not the most exciting of variations as it shows Kinsler with a glove instead of hitting.  But oh well.  It is still interesting enough.

Kinsler is a four-time All Star, with three of those seasons occurring with the Rangers and one with the Tigers.  At his best, he was right there along with Dustin Pedroia and Robinson Cano as the top second-basemen in the league.  Unfortunately, his career has been going downhill lately, which brings us to 2018.  Kinsler started the year with the Angels and had hit 13 home runs before being traded to the Red Sox for Ty Buttrey and Williams Jerez, two bullpen arms that have helped out a bit.  Kinsler was acquired in order to help replace the production of the injured Pedroia.  He played in 37 games down the stretch, but his batting line was a paltry .242/.294/.311 with just one home run and 16 RBIs.  He did hit well in the ALDS against the Yankees, collecting two doubles among four hits in 14 plate appearances and knocking in a pair of runs.  He did not do much else the rest of the postseason though.  Kinsler signed with the Padres as a free agent for 2019.  Kinsler's stint with Boston was notable for one thing: he won the Gold Glove Award, being the only one-year Red Sox second-baseman to do so.

So, is Kinsler the new front-runner for one-year Red Sox second-basemen?  Uh, no.  In fact, Kinsler probably falls way down on the list.  Among the players who performed better than Kinsler are Johnny Hodapp, Bill Cissell, Bobby Avila, Rey Sanchez, Todd Walker, Tony Graffanino, Mark Loretta, and of course Alicea.  So no, we definitely do not have a new leader at second base.  Kinsler's Gold Glove is impressive, but his hitting definitely fell short.  He does have one last thing though that none of the other second-basemen have and that is a World Series ring.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Zippy Zapped Again

I have been Zippy-Zapped again.  I will have a package out to you soon.
No Zippy-Zapping would be complete without minor league cards and a Sega Card Gen.  I love the Pedroia photo.  The Buchholz is a wantlist hit, so that's great.  Of particular note though are the minor league issues.  Gilberto Jimenez is a name to remember.  He has been tearing up the league and is now Boston's #6 prospect.  Decker is also a pretty decent prospect.
Also included was this weird thing.  I have no idea why this was there, but okay.  Thanks Kenny!

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

More Mail with a Buyback

Time for yet another mailday roundup.  
These were some random cards I picked up from a seller on Ebay.  The Brandon Workman was the centerpiece.  I am a big Workman fan this year as he has been one of the big stars of the bullpen this year.  And after years of toiling, it is great to see him step up.  The rest of the cards are mostly just random cards that caught my eye, though the Clemens and Sale cards were wantlist hits.
And next was a trade I made with a Mets fan that knocked off a bunch of wantlist hits, including adding a bunch of Devers cards.  But the highlight here is the buyback of George Scott from Heritage.  Scott would have been a favorite player if I was alive when he played for Boston.  I love adding his cards. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Archives Blaster

I finally managed to find an Archives blaster.  This year's Archives is highlighting the 1993, 1975 and 1958 sets.  1993 was one of my early favorites and 1975 has a ton of fans.  I am not sure about 1958 though.  The only card from this set I previously had was the Jonny Gomes Fan Favorites auto, so there is a lot of ground to cover.

Here are the Red Sox I pulled:
Well, not great, but not terrible either.  The Williams is notable because he actually was in the 1958 Topps set.  I kind of like this shot better, though it shows an obviously much younger Williams.  Nomar is fine, but nothing special here.  I would have liked the Bobby Doerr card personally.  And no 1975 pulls is disappointing.

Here is the breakdown:
CHICAGO CUBS: 4
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 4
DETROIT TIGERS: 3
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 3
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 3
MINNESOTA TWINS: 3
NEW YORK METS: 3
NEW YORK YANKEES: 3
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 3
TEXAS RANGERS: 3
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 3
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 2
BOSTON RED SOX: 2
COLORADO ROCKIES: 2
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 2
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 2
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 2
SEATTLE MARINERS: 2
WASHINGTON NATIONALS (MONTREAL EXPOS): 2
ATLANTA BRAVES: 1
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 1
HOUSTON ASTROS: 1
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 1
MIAMI MARLINS: 1
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 1
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 1
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 0
CINCINNATI REDS: 0
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 0
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 0

Both of the Nationals cards were actually Expos, including a parallel from that insert set.  I would love to see the Expos return personally.

Here are the updated team totals:
BOSTON RED SOX: 101
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 91
ATLANTA BRAVES: 90
NEW YORK YANKEES: 90
HOUSTON ASTROS: 87
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 84
CHICAGO CUBS: 77
NEW YORK METS: 76
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 76
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 71
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 69
WASHINGTON NATIONALS/MONTREAL EXPOS: 68
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 67
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 63
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 63
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 62
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 62
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 60
DETROIT TIGERS: 58
MINNESOTA TWINS: 58
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 58
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 57
SEATTLE MARINERS: 57
COLORADO ROCKIES: 55
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 52
CINCINNATI REDS: 52
MIAMI MARLINS: 52
TEXAS RANGERS: 48
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 47
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 44
OTHER: 16

Boston surpasses the century mark finally.  They are now ten cards above the second-place team, but the Yankees and Braves are coming. 

Monday, September 9, 2019

Mailday Roundup

Here is another mailday roundup showing off some cards that I have picked up in trades.  Many of them are wantlist hits.
This is an incomplete trade at this time.  One of the cards I was supposed to get was missing.  The other party said he would send out quickly though, so I am not complaining.  The highlights here are Ted Williams in his military uniform when he was a fighter pilot, a nice Prizm parallel of Chris Sale, and the Sam Travis card.  Travis is having a decent year trying to audition for a full-time job next season.  I also love the Eduardo Núñez card because I love any World Series highlight card from a year the Red Sox won.

I am not as active in getting Steven Wright cards due to his off-field issues and his injury problems any more, but he is a knuckleballer, so of course I have to try to get some stuff.
This trade filled a lot of older holes in my collection.  I love deals like that.  The cards date back to 1992 and nothing is more recent than 2003.  No, that 1993 Bowman Clemens is not cut in half, this is just a terrible scan.  The highlight is probably the Eckersley insert from 1999, after his second tour of duty in Boston.  But there are a lot of goodies in there: Canseco insert, Clemens highlight card, and Papelbon rookie card.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Mailday Roundup: Vintage, Fan Favorites, and More

Several packages came in the mail recently and I decided to throw them together into one post.  There is a wide assortment of stuff here.
1961 Fleer Baseball Greats Howard Ehmke.  I'm not sure Fleer knew what "Greats" meant with this set.  There are a number of out-of-leftfield picks and Ehmke is certainly one of them.  Ehmke had a 166-166 record and a 3.75 ERA playing mostly in the 1910's/1920's.  He was the best pitcher for the Red Sox for a few years and had a 20-win season.  He also threw a no-hitter.  I'm not 100% sure this card shows Ehmke with the Red Sox, but his socks appear to be red, so I'm counting it.

2019 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs.  When I saw this on the checklist, I knew I needed to grab it.  It was between it and the Jerry Remy, though I was somewhat disappointed to see that the Remy was not from his playing days with Boston, which also would have qualified.  Gomes had several big moments in the 2013 World Championship run and will always be remembered for that season.  I do wish Archives would go back to choosing years that are more representative for the players on their Fan Favorites cards.  2001 makes no sense, this should be a 2013 design.

This was a trade for some needed inserts from Heritage High Numbers.  Up first is the purple chrome refractor of Nathan Eovaldi.  Eovaldi is having a rough season but was a huge pickup last year.  Up next are a trio of Award Winners.  Mookie Betts was the AL MVP.  Steve Pearce was the World Series MVP, going down as an obscure winner.  And J.D. Martinez won the Hank Aaron Award for best hitter.  He is having a monster season this year too.

And finally, there is one big trade with mostly team set needs.  I love the JBJ card that shows the aftermath of an amazing catch.

And more singles.  There are a couple of World Series highlight cards here, including the moment the team won the World Series.

And last but not least, this Mitch Moreland card, which would not fit into the other scans.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 29: Joe McCarthy

Years in Boston: (1948-1950)
Best Year in Boston: 1948 (96-59)
I skipped a couple of managers that I will circle back to, mostly because I just got this card, so this post doubles as a mailday post.  This is the only Red Sox card of McCarthy to my knowledge, so I had to have it.

Joe McCarthy is in the Hall of Fame exclusively because of his managerial career.  He was not much of a player and did not even make the Major Leagues.  But he was one hell of a manager.  He started out managing the Chicago Cubs for five years.  In that time period, his teams never lost more than they won and he led them to the World Series in 1929 where they lost to the Philadelphia Athletics.  He was fired toward the end of the 1930 season and then joined the Yankees the next year where he enjoyed an unparalleled level of success.

McCarthy was the Yankees' manager from 1931 through 1946.  He saw the ends of the careers of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig and the bulk of the Joe DiMaggio career.  His teams were an absolute juggernaut, going to eight World Series, and winning seven of them.  He retired as the winningest manager in Yankees' history.  He is still yet to be surpassed.  He lost his job in 1946, but was not unemployed long.  He signed on to manage the Boston Red Sox after a year away.

The Red Sox were also a terrific team during McCarthy's tenure.  In his first season, the Red Sox tied the Cleveland Indians for the American League lead during the 144-game regular season.  A one-game playoff was ordered.  But for some reason, McCarthy decided to start journeyman pitcher Denny Galehouse in the game instead of one of his aces, Mel Parnell or Joe Dobson.  Galehouse was roughed up early and Boston fell way behind.  It was a terrible decision.

The next season, the Red Sox finished with the exact same record as they did the year before (minus the one-game playoff), but again missed the World Series.  The problem this time was a close race with the Yankees.  Entering the final two games of the season, Boston needed to beat New York just one time to win the pennant.  Unfortunately, due to more managerial blunders, they lost both games.  Part of the problem was due to a lack of pitching.  Parnell and Ellis Kinder basically pitched everyday down the stretch. 

The 1950 season started strong, but the lack of pitching and McCarthy's drinking eventually did him in.  McCarthy retired for good.  He still boasts the highest all-time winning percentage as a manager.  With Boston, his winning percentage was .606.

McCarthy was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1957.  He wears a Yankees' cap on his plaque.  He certainly managed some good teams in Boston, but his inability to win it all is a black mark on his career.  His tactics were simply not good enough to win in Boston.  He will always be remembered as a Yankee. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

Two Trades, Two Aces

I finally got my tradelist updated and began working out some deals again.  It has been a long time and there are a LOT of holes in my collection from this year in particular.  I received two packages today and one of them helps with the 2019 needs.  The other one is much older, but still terrific.  Both packages contained a single card and both of them were cards of ace starting pitchers who helped the Red Sox to a World Series.
Here is the 2005 Topps Fan Favorites Autograph of Jim Lonborg, the Red Sox ace during the Impossible Dream season and Boston's first Cy Young Award winner.  I need to go back and pick up a bunch of the old Fan Favorites autos.  This Lonborg is awesome as it shows his high leg kick windup.  Lonborg unfortunately injured his leg skiing in the offseason after the 1967 season and was never quite as impressive again.
And this is the 2019 Topps Heritage short-printed Chris Sale card, who was the ace of the 2018 World Championship team.  Sale has not won a Cy Young Award, yet, but he has often been one of the best pitchers in the game.  That was certainly true last season.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Random Pack Breaks

I grabbed some random hanger packs and blasters recently when I had some money burning a hole in my pocket.  Not bad for Red Sox pulls, though Topps Chrome and Heritage High Numbers were total busts (again):
1.  Diamond Kings.  This is probably the best pull, since there were only 20 cards in that pack.  I pulled two Red Sox, including J.D. Martinez and Hall of Famer Tris Speaker.  I have been reading a lot of Red Sox books from the Deadball Era, so I definitely appreciate the Speaker card.  I need to start looking into adding some more vintage stuff to my collection.

2.  Bowman Platinum.  J.D. Martinez makes his second appearance.  This also featured a nice insert of top prospect Triston Casas.  Boston might have a decision to make soon since Casas plays third base, also known as the position Rafael Devers plays.

3.  Donruss Optic.  I pulled this Betts Highlights insert in the very first pack.  The rest of the box was disappointing.  Tons of Angels, including consecutive packs that featured two Shohei Ohtani inserts and then two Mike Trout inserts.  Still, out of 32 cards, I pulled a decent Red Sox insert.  Nothing to complain about.

Here is the breakdown:
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 9
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 9
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 9
HOUSTON ASTROS: 7
ATLANTA BRAVES: 6
CINCINNATI REDS: 6
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 6
NEW YORK YANKEES: 6
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 6
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 6
BOSTON RED SOX: 5
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 5
SEATTLE MARINERS: 5
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 4
CHICAGO CUBS: 4
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 4
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 4
MINNESOTA TWINS: 4
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 3
COLORADO ROCKIES: 3
NEW YORK METS: 3
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 3
WASHINGTON NATIONALS: 3
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 2
DETROIT TIGERS: 2
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 2
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 2
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 2
MIAMI MARLINS: 1
TEXAS RANGERS: 0

Good breaks for L.A. teams.  Bad for the Texas Rangers. 

And the updated team totals:
BOSTON RED SOX: 99
LOS ANGELES ANGELS: 91
ATLANTA BRAVES: 89
NEW YORK YANKEES: 87
HOUSTON ASTROS: 86
CLEVELAND INDIANS: 80
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS: 74
CHICAGO CUBS: 73
NEW YORK METS: 73
TORONTO BLUE JAYS: 68
MILWAUKEE BREWERS: 66
WASHINGTON NATIONALS/MONTREAL EXPOS: 66
LOS ANGELES DODGERS: 64
KANSAS CITY ROYALS: 62
TAMPA BAY RAYS: 62
PITTSBURGH PIRATES: 61
OAKLAND ATHLETICS: 60
SAN DIEGO PADRES: 59
BALTIMORE ORIOLES: 57
PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES: 56
DETROIT TIGERS: 55
MINNESOTA TWINS: 55
SEATTLE MARINERS: 55
COLORADO ROCKIES: 53
CINCINNATI REDS: 52
MIAMI MARLINS: 51
ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS: 50
CHICAGO WHITE SOX: 46
TEXAS RANGERS: 45
SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS: 42
OTHER: 16

Quite a bit a movement here.  The Red Sox fall just short of being the first team to 100.  They lose ground on the second place team, now the Angels though.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

The Price was Right

Just a one-card mailday to show off.  This is the Topps Utz card of David Price, available in specially-marked packages of chips.  This was an Eastern U.S. regional release where the chips are sold.  I neither live in the Eastern part of the U.S., nor eat chips, so I had no hope of pulling one of these on my own.  I had to buy one on Ebay.  Price is not the only Red Sox player in the set, but this was the card I preferred.  I have developed a soft spot for Price after last year's World Series. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #937

Jason Varitek card #937 is the 2019 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Red parallel.  This card is serial-numbered 2/5, an exceptionally rare parallel.  Obviously my Jason Varitek collection consists of a number of 1/1s and several more cards numbered out of five, so it is not an exceedingly rare card for my collection.  It is however one of the rarer cards I have picked up since his retirement.  Things slowed way down back then.  I am still at it though.

Monday, September 2, 2019

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 13: Regis Leheny

Failure is often even more fascinating than success. I am definitely intrigued by the 1932 Boston Red Sox, the worst Red Sox team of all time. The team finished with a record of 43-111, for a winning percentage of .279 and very little went right.
Remember when I said that Larry Boerner was one of the most obscure members of the 1932 Red Sox?  Well, boy do I have one that blows that out of the water.  Regis Leheny, who does appear to be the only Major League player to ever be named "Regis", pitched in just two games in his entire Major League career.  In those two games, he pitched 2.2 innings.  That's it.  And, he does not appear to have any minor league experience either.  So this is it.

Leheny was 24 years old in 1932 and was brought to the Majors as a left-handed reliever for two consecutive games in late May.  He pitched two-thirds of an inning in the first game and gave up four runs to the Athletics on three hits and two walks.  The next day, he pitched two innings against Washington and was considerably better, giving up one run on two hits and a walk, and he notched his only Major League strikeout.  He did not figure in either decision.  His ERA was an unsightly 16.88 and his WHIP was 3.000.  Not great.

That was it.  That was Leheny's entire career.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Another Total Red Sox Update

I had to grab this card.  Sure it's a one-card mailday of a player who has not been very good this season, but it is a player that had zero previous Red Sox cards:
This is Colten Brewer, who was the only player Boston picked up in the offseason that has made any impact on the Major League roster at all.  Brewer was expected to be a major weapon in the bullpen.  It has not quite worked out that way as he has had some control issues, but he could still improve.  Oftentimes the best bullpen arms do not emerge right away and Brewer definitely has some impressive stuff.