Monday, October 2, 2023

The End of a Wong Season

I am writing this on the evening of the final game of the season.  I will have my entire breakdown of the season in my annual Season in Review post some time after the awards are handed out, so I will not get too much into it until then.  Connor Wong has obviously been the biggest development in my collection this season.  I came into the year with him at just four cards, and finished with him in the top ten of all players in my collection and well ahead among current players.  During that time, probably 95% of the cards I have added to my Red Sox collection have been Wong.  Here are some more cards of him, just to keep going.

Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Orange Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 25.  I thought I was getting a bunch of parallels from this set coming up.  There is one less than I thought though.  I recently purchased a card listed as Fuchsia Atomic Refractor numbered to 100.  I already had the Red Atomic Refractor, which was also numbered to 100.  I determined these cards are actually very likely the same.  It's not the first time there were redundant listings in my quest.  The Aqua Mini Diamonds and Aqua Speckle refractors from Topps Chrome and the Carolina Blue and Navy Prizm and Carolina Blue Prizm from Panini Prizm also seem to be the same cards.

Topps Mini Pink.  Serial-numbered to 25.  This is actually my first Topps Mini card of Wong.  I do not even have the base card yet.  

Panini Select Green.  Serial-numbered to just five.  I was a little surprised by how rare this one was.

Bowman Sterling Blue Refractor.  I talked before about possibly putting together a top ten most wanted list.  Well, I did recently.  This card was on it.  I am going to wait until I complete the list before replacing cards.  I made some big strides pretty quickly.  But, there are some very rare cards on it still.

Topps Blue Star.  Serial-numbered to 299.  This card was weirdly hard to find for what should have been a pretty common parallel.  I had seen it a couple times, but always for way more than I wanted to spend.

Panini Prizm Giraffe.  This card was high on my top ten most wanted list.  It is not serial-numbered, but is apparently a case hit.  Super rare.  Not many people knew it though when it popped up for auction because I got it for less than my lunch cost today.  I love this card.

Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Rose Gold Mini Diamond Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 75.

Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Black Refractor.  Serial-numbered to ten.

Topps Chrome Ben Baller Blue Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 75.  This is another one that took awhile to get because prices did not seem commensurate with the rarity of the card.

Panini Diamond Kings Artist's Proof Silver.  Serial-numbered to 25.  This is the third card from my top ten list that I picked up.  

Panini Chronicles Contenders Optic Purple Mojo.  Serial-numbered to 99.  I always like grabbing parallels from this set.  There is one on my want list, but this is not it.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

R.I.P. Tim Wakefield

This one has hit me pretty hard.  Wakefield spent 17 seasons with the Red Sox, from the time I was 14 years old to 30.  That is a significant chunk of my lifetime that I was following and rooting for him.  He was a part of the very first postseason team I watched (I started watching baseball in 1991).  He gave up the home run that ended the 2003 season, which I never blamed him for.  He was so instrumental in the team's run that season and had been critical pushing the team as far as it got.  He was of course a part of the 2004 World Championship team, starting the first game of the World Series.  He was still around for the 2007 season, even though he did not pitch in the Series.  Wakefield always did absolutely everything asked of him.  He was a consummate professional and terrific teammate.  He was primarily a starting pitcher, but spent significant chunks of time as a reliever and was even a closer for a period, notching 15 saves in 1999.  He made just one All Star team, but won 200 career games, 186 with Boston (which is third in team history).  He won the Roberto Clemente Award in 2010.  Wakefield was a great pitcher, and it seems, an even better human being.  My heart goes out to his family and friends.  He will be missed.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

400 Connor Wong Cards

Things have been busy.  One of my cases made national news, to the point that my picture appeared on the front page of CNN and my name in the New York Times.  I have been fending off interview requests all week.  So, now that things have calmed down a bit, it's time to show off the latest Connor Wong cards.  The last card in this post is Wong card number 400, which is utterly insane to me.  There are lots of very rare ones in this post.

Panini Mosaic Blue Fluorescent.  Serial-numbered to 15.  The Orange Fluorescent is still the number one card on my Wong wantlist since I never received the card I purchased back in April.  This is a nice add though.

Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Autographs Red Refractor.  Autographed card numbered to five.  This is my best card from this set so far.  I would love a shot at the Superfractor.

Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Autographs Black Refractor.  Autographed card numbered to ten.  Another big one.  I have made a big dent in this set, but there are several more to go.

Topps Chrome Red Refractor.  Serial-numbered to five.  I was pretty disappointed this week.  The Superfractor popped up.  The price was a bit higher than I would have liked and I hesitated.  It was gone quickly.  

Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Platinum Toile Cream/Gold Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 50.

Topps Memorial Day Camo.  Serial-numbered to 50.  I was pleased to see they did something with the borders on this card.  After the Independence Day card just had different colored stars on the sides, I was a little concerned.

Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs Orange Wave Refractor.  Serial-numbered autograph numbered to 25.

So, 400 Connor Wong cards.  That is crazy.  That puts him at #10 in my largest Red Sox players in my collection.  A player who has been with the team for one full season and two partial seasons and may not be the starting catcher beyond next year (first round pick Kyle Teel is tearing up the minors).  Wong is larger than players like Yaz, Devers, Betts, Bogaerts and many more.  And he is gaining fast on others.  This all seems as weird as me appearing on CNN.  It's been a weird week.

Monday, September 18, 2023

Topps Now: August 7, 2023

As the Red Sox limp to the finish line, it is worth remembering a point in the season in which they actually looked like they were in contention.  On August 7, the Red Sox were hosting the Royals where the starting pitchers both pitched gems.  Brayan Bello only gave up one run in 6.2 innings, giving up just a run with two walks and two strikeouts.  The Royals pitcher only gave up two runs. 

The Red Sox found themselves tied with the Royals going into the bottom of the ninth inning.  In the ninth, the Red Sox loaded the bases, but also had two outs against Royals reliever Carlos Hernandez.  Up stepped Pablo Reyes, an unlikely hero.  Reyes started the 2023 season on the 40 man roster of the pathetic Oakland Athletics and was not good enough to stick around.  He was waived by the team and Boston grabbed him to try to shore up their middle infield defense.  But Reyes made the most of his opportunity and crushed a game-winning grand slam in this game.  He has continued to play well since. 

This is the sixth player this year whose first card in my collection was a Topps Now card.  He joins Masataka Yoshida, Adam Duvall, Enmanuel Valdez, Joe Jacques and Luis Urias in that category.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Wong Update Time

I have made some minor progress toward the Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary rainbows over the last few days.  I needed to grab a few of the much more common cards, just to cross them off the list.

1.  Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Speckle Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 150.

2.  Panini Mosaic Silver.  I recently realized I did not have this parallel either.  Seemed like a pretty obvious miss.

3.  Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Refractor.  

4.  Topps Chrome Platinum Anniversary Xfractor.

So that's it for today.  This is not a terribly exciting post, just some Wong cards I needed to grab.  There are some big ones coming though.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th Pt. 8: Rico Petrocelli

NAME: Rico Petrocelli

POSITION: Shortstop, Third Base

WHY IS HE HERE?:  Petrocelli spent his entire 13-year career with the Red Sox and was a two-time All Star as well as a part of two pennant-winning teams.  He holds the team record for home runs by a shortstop in a single season, which was a league record for almost 30 years.  

WOULD I PUT HIM IN IN 2001?:  Yes.

ANY BETTER CHOICES IN 2001?:  Any better choices at the time are already in the set.  Petrocelli was not a big star, but due to spending his whole career in Boston and having some great seasons gets him a place.


ANY BETTER CHOICES NOW?:  I would not replace Rico, but I would definitely want Mike Lowell, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts in alongside him.  

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Topps Now: August 19, 2023


Boston did not do much at the trading deadline.  There were rumors swirling that they might move James Paxton (which in hindsight they should have), and rumors they would acquire some starting pitching.  In the end, the only move they made was to acquire former top prospect Luis Urias from the Brewers.  Urias was hurt most of the year and in the minors, but Boston called him up fairly quickly to help fill the second base position.  Urias had a hell of a week in mid-August, twice coming up with the bases loaded and homering.  

On August 19, the Red Sox were playing the Yankees in Yankee Stadium with Gerrit Cole on the mound.  Cole has certain issues against the Red Sox, and that continued when he gave up the grand slam to Urias, who was hitting .191 at the time.  Connor Wong also homered off of Cole.  Boston rolled to a 8-1 victory.  This is Urias's first card with the Red Sox, so of course I had to grab it.