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.

1 comment:

  1. I built a T205 Red Sox team set. Except for the Speaker I didn't pay more than $30 for any of the cards in the set. Most fell in the $20-$25 range. Though it took me like 4 years of daily searching Ebay to do it.