Friday, October 29, 2010

Boxscore: August 9, 1999 Red Sox vs. Royals

August 9, 1999.

This was the third Red Sox game I attended and, like the previous two, this was also in Kansas City. The Royals seemed to have Boston's number at times, and they won this game as well, 5-2. The Red Sox apparently could not do anything against former Sox prospect Jeff Suppan. It did not really help that they had Mark Portugal on the mound who was suffering through a terrible season. Portugal did pitch six decent innings this time out though, giving up all five runs, four were earned and struck out one and walked one. Jermaine Dye hit two home runs off of Portugal in the game.

Well, le's start with the good things that happened in this game, and there were not very many. Trot Nixon and Troy O'Leary each hit home runs, of course no one was on base when they did. Brian Daubach and Reggie Jefferson both hit triples. And that was all the hits Boston had. Pretty weird when a team only has four hits, two of which were triples, and two were home runs. Jose Offerman, Darren Lewis, and Nomar Garciaparra each reached base on walks. Lewis threw out a runner at second. Bryce Florie only gave up two hits in two innings of relief and struck out one.

Other than that, Jason Varitek and Donnie Sadler were the other players to play in the game, neither of whom did much. Most of the Royals offense was supplied by Dye, but Johnny Damon had three hits and drove in a run, and Mike Sweeney drove in the other run. Just another failed Red Sox/Royals game.

Unknown Heroes Pt. 2: Greg A. Harris

The first baseball card trade I ever made was for a Greg Harris card. My older brother and I had just started getting into baseball cards. It was the first time for me, but my brother had been into them previously and got back into them as I was. He and I used to walk to the Kwik Shop and buy a fountain drink and a pack of baseball cards. By this point, I had three 1991 Topps Red Sox cards to my name after two packs. I was going to buy my third pack. I remember being extremely disappointed that my pack did not contain a single Red Sox card, the first pack that that had happened. Hey, I was 10. Well my brother, in one of the nicest things he had ever done for me, offered to trade me his Greg Harris card that he got that day, in exchange for the checklist card I got in my pack. Not even another player, the checklist. I still remember that moment fondly.

Greg A. Harris, as he was referred to by some card companies due to a Greg Harris pitching for San Diego at the same time, was a right-handed pitcher for the Red Sox from 1989 through part of 1994. He was very durable and pitched in a variety of roles. In 1989, he was an effective middle reliever. In 1990, he won 13 games as a decent third starter. In 1991, he began as a starter and then was converted back to middle relief where he stayed for the rest of his time with Boston.

1993 was the first year that I really started watching Harris. I was intrigued by his durability. Harris pitched in a league-leading and then-Red Sox record 80 games that year. He was effective too, with a 3.77 ERA and he pitched 112.1 innings, striking out 103. He won six games and saved eight. Harris was not a great player, but he was a very important part of the team.

The other thing that fascinated me about Greg Harris was that he was ambidextrous. Harris pitched right-handed but boasted that he could pitch reasonably well left-handed as well. Unfortunately, Red Sox management would not let him do so in a major league game, which always irritated me. It was not until just before the end of his career that he was allowed to pitch left-handed in a game. Of course by that point, he was out of Boston.

1993's work must have strained his arm. He was ineffective in 1994 with an 8.28 ERA and was released in June. Harris was 37 in 1993, so he may have been worked too hard. Harris landed with the Yankees to finish out the year and then pitched in Montreal in 1995, where he pitched well again and was finally able to achieve his goal. It's too bad Boston would not let him do it there.

Underrated Seasons: Danny Darwin 1993

I remember this season very well. It was one of the first seasons I was really paying attention. I had been collecting cards for a couple of years, but I did not start watching games frequently until about 1993. Even at the young age of 12, and all of the naivety that goes along with it, I could tell that Danny Darwin was having a great year, and I was perplexed as to why no one was talking about it.

The Red Sox had high hopes for 1993, they had completely overhauled their roster, bringing in new players at second base, right field,and designated hitter, and turning first base, shortstop, and third base over to younger players. The pitching rotation was the team's one strength in 1992, with Roger Clemens and Frank Viola taking up the first two spots. However, in 1993 Clemens slumped and Viola was injured a lot. So, the Red Sox rotation turned to two somewhat surprising players, rookie Aaron Sele and veteran Danny Darwin.

Darwin had been around for years and won the NL ERA title in 1990. He did not exactly come out of nowhere, but in 1993 he was 37 years old and had been a long man and spot starter for Boston in 1992 and was injured much of 1991. Certainly there were not a lot of expectations for him, which is what makes his 1993 season so remarkable.

Darwin lead the team in wins in 1993, with 15. He also lost 11 games, but Boston was not a good team that year. Darwin's ERA was 3.26 and his WHIP was 1.068 to lead the league. In 229.1 innings, he gave up only 196 hits and 49 walks, he simply did not allow very many baserunners. He struck out 130. Darwin's WAR that year was 5.1 to lead the team.

I remember a game he pitched against the White Sox that season that was on ESPN. I think it may have been the first game I watched in completion. Darwin was unhittable. He did not give up a hit until the seventh or eighth inning when he allowed a triple to Dan Pasqua that bounced off the center field wall. Even that ball would have been caught if Billy Hatcher had been just a couple of inches taller. He did not give up another hit the rest of the night.

Yet, Darwin was not an All Star that year, and he really did not get much recognition at all. In 1994 he was hurt again and only pitched in 13 games. He left as a free agent after the season.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Feature: The Rape of the Red Sox?

The series of trades between the Red Sox and Yankees in the late 1910's/early 1920's is often vilified in Boston. The Red Sox traded several important parts of their club to the Yankees, who helped the Yankees become a force in the 1920's. Many of the players Boston received were perceived to be inferior to those sent to the Yankees. But, is that necessarily true? Let's examine each of the major trades and the players changing sides, and assign a winner of each trade.

DECEMBER 18, 1918
Yankees receive: Dutch Leonard, Ernie Shore, Duffy Lewis

Dutch Leonard never played a game with the Yankees and was sold to the Detroit Tigers. WAR = 0.0

Ernie Shore was at the end of his career, despite only being 27. He only pitched in 34 total games in two years with New York, posting ERA's north of 4.00. WAR = -1.0

Duffy Lewis had a little bit of power but was never again the same kind of player that he was in Boston. WAR = -0.5

TOTAL WAR = -1.5

Red Sox receive: Ray Caldwell, Frank Gilhooley, Slim Love, Roxy Walters, $15,000.00

Ray Caldwell went 7-4 with a 3.96 ERA and was released. WAR = -2.9

Frank Gilhooley spent one season in Boston and never did much of anything. WAR = -0.3

Slim Love never played for Boston and was traded to Detroit with two other players for Ossie Vitt, who was never much of a player in Boston either. WAR = 0.0 (Vitt WAR = 2.2, but will not be considered as part of this analysis because other players were traded along with Love for Vitt)

Roxy Walters played for Boston for five years as a backup catcher. WAR = -2.8

TOTAL WAR = -6.0

Winner: Yankees. Boston got more seasons out of Walters and Vitt, who was a product of a trade for Love, but those seasons were not really productive. None of the players involved in this trade were particularly impressive after the trade.

JULY 29, 1919
Yankees receive: Carl Mays

Carl Mays won 20 games each of the next two full seasons for New York. Later, he would be infamous for killing Ben Chapman with a pitch. WAR = 15.2

TOTAL WAR = 15.2

Red Sox receive: Bob McGraw, Allen Russell, $40,000.00

Bob McGraw was terrible for Boston and ended up back in New York the following year anyway. WAR = -1.2

Allen Russell won 10 games the rest of the 1919 season which is the best showing of any of the players involved in the trade that year, and he was a slightly above-average pitcher for a couple of more years. WAR = 5.1


Winner: Yankees. Russell had the best transition immediately after the trade, but Mays is borderline HOF-worthy and showed why during his tenure with the Yankees.

JANUARY 3, 1920
Yankees receive: Babe Ruth

Do I really need to say anything? WAR = 149.6

TOTAL WAR = 149.6

Red Sox receive: $100,000.00


Winner: Yankees. Sure, $100K was a lot of money back then, but Babe Ruth is quite possibly the greatest player to have ever played.

DECEMBER 15, 1920
Yankees receive: Waite Hoyt, Wally Schang, Mike McNally, Harry Harper

Waite Hoyt is in the Hall of Fame. Mostly for what he did in the 1920's with the Yankees. WAR = 31.0

Wally Schang's best years were behind him, but he was still a solid offensive catcher and should be in the Hall of Fame. He played five years for the Yankees. WAR = 10.2

Harry Harper only pitched in eight games for the Yankees. WAR = 0.9

Mike McNally was a utility infielder. WAR = 0.9

TOTAL WAR = 43.0

Red Sox receive: Del Pratt, Muddy Ruel, Hank Thormahlen, Sammy Vick

Del Pratt was a very good player for two years for the Red Sox. He was the team's best player in 1921 with 102 RBI, a .324 batting average, and he almost never struck out. Not bad for a second-baseman. WAR = 5.9

Muddy Ruel never did much for Boston in two years with the team. WAR = 1.1

Hank Thormahlen pitched poorly and was out of the major leagues for a few years before resurfacing in Brooklyn. WAR = 0.3

Sammy Vick did nothing in 44 games with Boston. WAR = -0.5


Winner: Yankees. Pratt was a good player and was later traded for Howard Ehmke and Babe Herman, but the Yankees got a Hall of Famer at the beginning of his prime.

DECEMBER 20, 1921
Yankees receive: Bullet Joe Bush, Sad Sam Jones, Everett Scott

Bullet Joe Bush won 26, 19, and 17 games in three years with the Yankees. WAR = 11.5

Sad Sam Jones was a 21 game winner one year and a 21 game loser another year. He was slightly above average for three years in New York and slightly below average for two years. WAR = 6.5

Everett Scott was never much with the bat, but was a fantastic defensive shortstop. WAR = 0.1

TOTAL WAR = 18.1

Red Sox receive: Roger Peckinpaugh, Rip Collins, Bill Piercy, Jack Quinn, $100,000.00

Roger Peckinpaugh was immediately traded to Washington for Joe Dugan and Frank O'Rourke. Dugan only played part of one season for Boston and was later traded, see below. O'Rourke did not do much. WAR = 0.0.

Because Peckinpaugh was traded alone, I will consider Joe Dugan and Frank O'Rourke in this analysis. Dugan WAR = 0.3, O'Rourke WAR = 0.2

Rip Collins won 14 games for a bad Boston team, but lead the league in walks and wild pitches. WAR = 2.7

Bill Piercy won 16 games over the next three years with a decent ERA in one of them. WAR = 0.8

Jack Quinn was a consistently good pitcher for the next three years on bad teams. WAR = 11.6

TOTAL WAR = 15.6

Winner: Yankees. Quinn was a good pickup and for once the Red Sox had the most valuable individual player in the trade, but he did not make up for the loss of Bush AND Jones. If they had held onto Peckinpaugh, this would look to be in Boston's favor.

JULY 23, 1922
Yankees receive: Joe Dugan, Elmer Smith

Nope, the Red Sox did not even hold on to Joe Dugan for very long. Not really a good player, due to inability to take a walk, but he hit for a reasonable average, without any power and was steady for several years. WAR = 5.4

Elmer Smith did nothing in 31 at bats. WAR = 1.2


Red Sox receive: Chick Fewster, Elmer Miller, Johnny Mitchell, Lefty O'Doul, $50,000.00

Chick Fewster was your run-of-the-mill utility infielder. WAR = -1.0

Elmer Miller was a terrible backup outfielder for 44 games. WAR = -1.0

Johnny Mitchell was basically Chick Fewster. WAR = -1.0

The Yankees did not know what they had in Lefty O'Doul who later became a big-time slugger. He was just a pitcher for the Yankees when he was traded. Of course the Red Sox did not know either and also tried him as a pitcher where he was terrible and banished to the minors where he would later be drafted away and become the slugger he was capable of being. WAR = -1.5

TOTAL WAR = -4.5

Winner: Yankees. The Yankees did not get anyone terribly impressive, but Boston got some spare parts and O'Doul who they did not know what to do with. If he had been turned into a position player while with Boston, this one may have turned out differently.

JANUARY 3, 1923
Yankees receive: George Pipgras, Harvey Hendrick

George Pipgras was a big winner for the Yankees later on in the decade and never actually played for the Red Sox. WAR = 8.8

Harvey Hendrick was only a part-time player. WAR = -0.3


Red Sox receive: Al DeVormer, cash

Al DeVormer was a part-time catcher with no bat. WAR = -0.4

TOTAL WAR = -0.4

Winner: Yankees. Yeesh, even the minor deals turn out incredibly one-sided with Pipgras being a 20 game winner later on and DeVormer doing basically nothing.

JANUARY 30, 1923
Yankees receive: Herb Pennock

Pennock turned out to be a HOFer and the ace of the Yankees staff for the remainder of the decade. WAR = 29.2

Red Sox receive: Norm McMillan, George Murray, Camp Skinner, $50,000.00

Norm McMillan played regularly at three infield positions the next year, but was not much of a hitter. WAR = -1.2

George Murray walked too many hitters and had high ERAs each of the two years he played in Boston. WAR = -1.0

Camp Skinner played seven uninspiring games and was out of baseball. WAR = -0.2

TOTAL WAR = -3.4

Winner: Yankees. No question.



Overall Winner: Yankees. The Yankees received HOFers Babe Ruth, Waite Hoyt, and Herb Pennock and gave away only a couple of players who were any good at all. Del Pratt, Allen Russell, and Jack Quinn were the "highlights" of these deals for the Red Sox. Not much to say other than, these were overall terrible deals for the Red Sox. It is interesting that the trade involving Quinn could have swung in Boston's favor had they not immediately traded Peckinpaugh. That's the only trade that could be argued as a decent trade for both teams though. The Red Sox received $360,000.00 in those trades, which I think basically shows what these deals were really about. The Red Sox could have undone most of it though with one trade. The Yankees wanted to trade for Boston's first-baseman Phil Todt, and offered a first-baseman of their own, but Boston said no after the rash of bad trades earlier. The player the Yankees offered was Lou Gehrig.

Now, I'm depressed.

One Year Wonder: Rob Deer

Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.

Rob Deer was a true all-or-nothing player. He struck out a ton, but he also hit a lot of home runs. He did not have much speed and he did not walk a lot, but when he hit the ball, he hit it real far.

Deer was a member of the Brewers when I first became interested in baseball and later went to the Tigers. He was a particularly interesting player to me in those days because of his all-or-nothing approach. He is also the first big-name player the Red Sox acquired midseason since I started paying attention.

Deer was picked up in a trade from the Tigers in 1993. He played about as well as expected upon arriving in Boston. He hit seven home runs and stuck out 49 times in 143 at bats. He hit a home run in his first plate appearance as a member of the team. He was only 32 at the time, but he was basically washed up. He offered a little extra power out of right field, where Boston had been playing Carlos Quintana and Bob Zupcic, neither of whom had any power.

Deer was let go as a free agent after the year and ended up in Japan. He later returned to the majors with San Diego, but did not have anything left. Despite his performance, I still found myself drawn toward finding Red Sox cards of Rob Deer.

Tim Wakefield to be Honored with Roberto Clemente Award

It's about time. It seems like he is nominated every year. Wakefield is one of the nicest guys in the game and does a lot of charity work.

Baseball Card Spotlight: Donruss Diamond Kings

One of my favorite subsets as a kid just getting into baseball cards was the Donruss Diamond Kings. I started collecting in 1991 which was the last year that the cards were a part of the main set. In 1992 they became inserts. The way the Diamond Kings worked was this: each team would have one player who had a good year the year before. Donruss apparently had some rule though that individual players should not be Diamond Kings too often or consecutively, which lead to some really bizarre picks sometimes. Boston was relatively lucky with this though and only had a couple of headscratchers.

Here's the complete list and brief analysis of Donruss Diamond Kings for the Red Sox, through 1996, when they became significantly more complicated.

1982 Dwight Evans. Evans had basically become the best player on the team by this point and lead the league in walks and total bases and tied for the league lead in home runs the year before. He was also an All Star, Silver Slugger, and won the Gold Glove.

1983 Carl Yastrzemski. This was more of a tribute to an aging superstar. Yaz was still pretty decent in 1982, even appearing in the All Star Game, but I believe this was more meant to pay tribute to the player. Not really a headscratcher when you consider that reason.

1984 Wade Boggs. In 1983, Boggs won the first of five batting titles and had the first of seven straight 200 hit seasons. He was certainly worthy.

1985 Jim Rice. Rice did not have a great season in 1984, but the star slugger still hit 28 home runs, drove in 122, and had a .280 batting average. Tony Armas probably should have gotten this one.

1986 Tony Armas. The first headscratcher. Yes, Armas should have been the 1985 Diamond King when he lead the league in home runs and runs batted in in 1984. But in 1985, Armas only played in 103 games with 23 home runs. I remember not knowing for a long time who was the 1986 Diamond King and trying to guess. My guesses were Rich Gedman, who had a great 1985 and Oil Can Boyd who won 15 games the year before. Either one would have been a better choice than Armas.

1987 Roger Clemens. Clearly deserving. Won the Cy Young Award and MVP the previous year.

1988 Dwight Evans. Apparently Donruss ran out of ideas, so they decided to repeat a player. Still, Evans was fantastic in 1987, one of his best seasons ever, as he hit .305 with 34 home runs, and 123 runs batted in, and lead the league in walks.

1989 Mike Greenwell. Seems odd now, but Greenwell was the runner-up in the AL MVP vote in 1988. He hit .325 with 22 home runs, and drove in 119. He also stole 16 bases and looked like a young superstar. Greenwell turned out to be a good, but seldom great player over the rest of his career.

1990 Ellis Burks. This is an odd one. Not that Burks never deserved to be a Diamond King, but he did not deserve it in 1990 for his 1989 season. He only played in 97 games with 12 home runs. But he did steal 21 bases and possibly could have had another 20/20 season if he stayed healthy. He also had a .303 batting average. He was good for the time that he played, but he did not play often enough. By Donruss's parameters of hardly repeating players, I would have picked Nick Esasky, who hit 30 home runs and drove in 108.

1991 Roger Clemens. Again, clearly deserving. He won 21 games, struck out 209 and lead the league in ERA with 1.93. He should have won the Cy Young, but voters were blinded by Bob Welch's 27 wins, even though his other stats were not nearly as impressive as Clemens's.

1992 Wade Boggs. The first year the Diamond Kings were an insert. Boggs had a very good season in 1991, right in line with his previous years. He was starting to look like a lock for the Hall of Fame. He did not do anything extraordinary, but it was not a great year for Red Sox players.

1993 Roger Clemens. Since the cards were inserts now, Donruss abandoned its preference for not repeating winners, although they still preferred not to make them consecutive. Clemens was basically the only player to have a good enough year for the Red Sox, leading the league in ERA and shutouts, while winning 18 games for a terrible Boston team. This is the first Diamond King card I do not own.

1994 Mo Vaughn. The young slugger had a breakout year in 1993, leading the team in home runs and RBI while posting a good batting average and ability to take a walk. He was clearly the best player on the team.

1995 Scott Cooper. Headscratcher #3. Cooper had mostly pedestrian numbers, .282 batting average, 13 home runs, 53 RBI, and only 30 walks. Sure it was a strike-shortened season, and Cooper had been an All Star each of the previous two years, but he was hardly a good player. He was an All Star by default and not really deserving of the honor. It should have gone to John Valentin, Mo Vaughn, or Roger Clemens.

1996 Mo Vaughn. Won the AL MVP in 1995 while leading the league in home runs. Justified.

So there you have it. Three headscratchers, three borderline calls, and the rest are fine. Even among the headscratchers, Armas and Burks deserved the honor in other years, just not the year chosen. Cooper is the only outright surprise. If I was making the decisions, here is what my list would have looked like, following Donruss's perceived parameters:

1982 Dwight Evans
1983 Dennis Eckersley
1984 Wade Boggs
1985 Tony Armas
1986 Rich Gedman
1987 Roger Clemens
1988 Dwight Evans
1989 Mike Greenwell
1990 Nick Esasky
1991 Ellis Burks
1992 Jack Clark
1993 Roger Clemens
1994 Mo Vaughn
1995 John Valentin
1996 Mo Vaughn

Still, the Red Sox have had better luck than other teams. The following is a list of players who were Diamond Kings for inexplicable reasons:

Len Barker
Mike Norris
Roy Smalley
Richie Zisk
Floyd Bannister
Britt Burns
John Castino
Jim Clancy
Matt Young
Charlie Lea
Rich Dotson
Rick Mahler
Chris Brown
Greg Walker
Keith Moreland
Rick Rhoden
Glenn Hubbard
Scott Fletcher
Shane Rawley
Dave Schmidt
Gerald Perry
Jeff Robinson
Bryn Smith
Chris Bosio
Dan Gladden
Ed Whitson
Jim DeShaies
Mike Bielecki
Pete O'Brien
Kurt Stillwell
Scott Sanderson
Greg Swindell

20/20 Seasons for the Red Sox

As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been very interested in years where players exhibit power and speed. Obviously 40/40 and 30/30 seasons would be ideal here, but the Red Sox have never had one. So we'll have to settle for 20/20 and see how close the players came to the more elite groups. The Red Sox have had six 20/20 seasons in their history. Only one player has done it twice.

Nomar Garciaparra (1997): 30 home runs, 22 stolen bases. Further demonstrating how amazing his rookie season really was. Truly one of the best all-around seasons for a rookie ever. Too bad he could not stay healthy later on.

John Valentin (1995): 27 home runs, 20 stolen bases. I said it before, this was a great season that everyone somehow forgot about.

Ellis Burks (1987): 20 home runs, 27 stolen bases. Another player in his rookie year. Burks was not nearly the equal of Garciaparra at the plate though and the team eventually grew tired of his inability to perform up to his talent, which of course he finally achieved after leaving as a free agent.

Carl Yastrzemski (1970): 40 home runs, 23 stolen bases. A bit of a fluke, Yaz had decent speed, but never stole more than 13 in any other season.

Jackie Jensen (1959): 28 home runs, 20 stolen bases. See below.

Jackie Jensen (1954): 25 home runs, 22 stolen bases. Jensen is not a well-remembered player for some reason but he was an excellent all-around player in the 1950's. He retired too soon however. He was just 34 when he hung it up for good, and still a good player, but his fear of flying became too much for him to keep going. Jensen was the AL MVP in 1958, a three time All Star, and won a Gold Glove. If he could have tackled his fears, he could have been in the Hall of Fame. Who knows?

So yes, Jackie Jensen was the only Red Sox player to have two 20/20 seasons. I expect Dustin Pedroia to join this list soon, and it could have been this year, if he had not been lost to injury. Prior to going down with injury in June, Pedroia had 12 home runs and 9 stolen bases, he stole 20 each of the last two seasons. His career high so far in home runs is 17, but he looked to be well on his way to passing that this year.

I would love to see a 30/30 season in Boston.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Franchise Player: Ted Williams

Most people who follow baseball probably already knew this. Ted Williams is the best player to play for the Red Sox. Williams holds numerous team records that do not look as if they will broken anytime soon. He holds the franchise record for home runs (521), batting average (.344), slugging percentage (.634), on-base percentage (.482), and walks (2,019). He is second in runs batted in (by 5), runs scored (by 18), hits, doubles, total bases, and extra base hits.

Williams played from 1939 through 1960 with several years fragmented or missed due to active service. Williams was a fighter pilot in World War II and Korea. He spent his entire major league career with the Boston Red Sox.

He was one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game. He was somewhat limited in the field and on the base paths, but he could get on base better than almost anyone. Williams lead the league in on-base percentage twelve times. Eight times, he lead the league in walks. Ted Williams never collected 200 hits in a single season and finished about 350 hits shy of 3,000 for his career, but this was due to the fact that he walked so often, and due to his missing so much time for service. If he had played those five years completely, he likely would have reached 3,000 hits, and possibly challenged Babe Ruth for the career home run record.

Individually, Williams was an MVP twice (1946, 1949) and finished second four more times. He won the Triple Crown twice, leading the league in home runs, runs batted in, and batting average in 1942 and 1947. He is also so far the last player to bat .400 in a single season (.406 in 1941). He was elected to the Hall of Fame on his first attempt in 1966. He died in 2002.

Ted Williams is the face of the Boston Red Sox, the player that most people think of when they think of the team. He owns several of the team's offensive records and won many individual awards. He is one of the greatest hitters to ever play the game and very deserving of his place in baseball history.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Evolution of My Favorite Players

I became a fan of the Red Sox when I was about ten years old. Since that time, I have had five favorite players. My favorite player changes when the player leaves the team. Unfortunately, in baseball today there is not a lot of loyalty. That does not mean that it was always the player's fault in leaving, sour relationships with management have often lead to them leaving. That's one of the frustrating things about baseball sometimes. It is a business, and the Red Sox are run like a business.

WADE BOGGS (1991-1992)
My first favorite player was the Red Sox third-baseman. I am not exactly sure what made me decide Boggs was mu favorite player. He was a phenomenal hitter, but he was mostly a singles hitter. Boggs was often criticized for caring too much about his own statistics and not enough about the team. I am not sure that is true, I recall vividly seeing video of him crying in the dugout after the Red Sox lost the 1986 World Series. Nevertheless, Boggs did not have much power, but was one of the best contact hitters in the game and was extremely adept at taking a walk, leading to astronomical on-base percentages. He did not have much power, but was decent in the field after some conditioning. Boggs suffered through a miserable 1992 and was stolen away from the Red Sox by the Yankees (one of my early memories of despising the Yankees). It did not seem Red Sox management was terribly interested in bringing him back though, he was never very popular in Boston, and they handed the job off to Scott Cooper, who was an All Star the next two years, albeit undeservedly.

ROGER CLEMENS (1992-1996)
Roger Clemens inherited the favorite player position after Boggs left for pretty obvious reasons. He was the longest tenured player and biggest name on the team. Even before Boggs left, Clemens was the star of the team. One of the best pitchers in the game, not only in his generation, but all-time. Clemens was a three-time Cy Young Award winner and could have won a couple more by that point. He already looked well on his way to Cooperstown. Of course, Clemens had a couple of subpar years, suffering through injuries and ineffectiveness. By the end of 1996, he looked to be back to his old self and even capped the season off with a 20 strikeout game, tying his own record set ten years earlier. Of course, Boston's GM refused to meet Clemens on his contract demands and stated that he was in the twilight of his career. Clemens signed with Toronto as a free agent for the 1997 and promptly won the Cy Young Award each of the next two years.

MO VAUGHN (1996-1998)
Mo Vaughn became the big name player on the team after Clemens left. A larger-than-life figure, Vaughn was a beast of a player with tremendous power, great contact hitting ability, and the ability to take a walk. Vaughn had lead the team in home runs and runs batted in each of the seasons since 1992. He won the American League MVP in 1995, although he did not really deserve it. As big as his bat was, Vaughn's heart was even bigger. He was the emotional core of the team and he engaged in a lot of charity work in the offseasons. The big burly first baseman himself looked to be headed to Cooperstown, but he did not age well after leaving Boston. He left after then GM Dan Duquette insulted him with a low offer. Vaughn went off to play for the Angels.

Vaughn's replacement was also already on the roster. Garciaparra came on strong with a magnificent rookie season and then followed that up with an even better year in 1998. Garciaparra had good power, better ability to hit for contact and was one of the better all-around players the Red Sox had ever produced. The shortstop was not great defensively, but had a knack for making spectacular plays on occasion. His throwing arm was one of the best at the position. Garciaparra also had decent speed. He would go on to win the batting title in 1999 and 2000, even flirting with the magic .400 number late into summer in 2000. However, in 2001, injuries started taking their toll. He never again hit for the ridiculously high batting averages of 1999 and 2000, but his power did come back. Garciaparra also began sulking in 2004 after he was part of a rumored trade to Chicago for Magglio Ordonez, if the Red Sox managed to trade Manny Ramirez to Texas for Alex Rodriguez. He did not play much in 2004, citing ankle injuries and was traded to the Cubs at midseason in a four-team deal that brought Doug Mientkiewicz from the Twins and Orlando Cabrera from the Expos to the Red Sox.

JASON VARITEK (2004-present)
Jason Varitek quickly became my new favorite player. Although not the dynamic offensive player that some of his peers were, Varitek still had very good power and was a fine defensive catcher. I always liked catchers and it was good to see the Red Sox finally had a good one long-term. Varitek had already been an All Star in 2003 and finally looked to be living up to his expectations after having some injury problems early on. 2003-2005 were great years for the catcher, as he was named the starter on the 2005 All Star team, and won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger. He was brought back to Boston as a free agent after the 2004 season and was named the team captain, wearing a "C" on his jersey from that point on. Varitek's leadership skills and work with the pitching staff remains top-notch even as his offensive abilities have diminished. Varitek even took to being relegated to backup duty this past year graciously, continuing to show the characteristics of strong leadership and a team-first attitude that he has become synonymous with. Varitek is a free agent this year. I am worried that he may not be back next year, if that does occur, I am not sure who will take his place as my favorite player.

10-10-10-10 Seasons in Red Sox History

I was curious about some of the big power/speed seasons in Red Sox history, I will have a post about 20/20 seasons soon (Boston has not had a 30/30 season), so I did some more research. Today however, I was more interested in how many players have had a season in which they had ten or more doubles, triples, home runs, and stolen bases. The triples part is the hard part. You have to have decent power to drive the ball and speed in order to move all the way to third base. So, I formulated a hypothesis as to which players I would see and then did the research.

First Trivia: There are two players that had two such seasons. Who are they?

My hypothesis: I expected to see Nomar Garciaparra, Jackie Jensen, one of the three of Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio, or Johnny Pesky, Tris Speaker, and at least one other Dead Ball Era player.

The Results:
Nomar Garciaparra (2003): 37 doubles, 13 triples, 28 home runs, 19 stolen bases.
Johnny Damon (2002): 34 doubles, 11 triples, 14 home runs, 31 stolen bases.
Nomar Garciaparra (1997): 44 doubles, 11 triples, 30 home runs, 22 stolen bases. And it was his rookie year.
Jackie Jensen (1956): 23 doubles, 11 triples, 20 home runs, 11 stolen bases.
Bobby Doerr (1940): 37 doubles, 10 triples, 22 home runs, 10 stolen bases.
Billy Werber (1934): 41 doubles, 10 triples, 11 home runs, 40 stolen bases. Largely forgotten great player in the 1930's.
Tris Speaker (1912): 53 doubles, 12 triples, 10 home runs, 52 stolen bases.
Jake Stahl (1910): 19 doubles, 16 triples, 10 home runs, 22 stolen bases. Ah, the Dead Ball Era.
Buck Freeman (1902): 38 doubles, 19 triples, 11 home runs, 17 stolen bases.
Buck Freeman (1901): 23 doubles, 15 triples, 12 home runs, 17 stolen bases.

Trivia Answer: As you can see both Nomar Garciaparra and Buck Freeman did it twice.

Results: It's pretty rare to see these seasons. Most players do not hit a lot of triples. It's weird that there were four seasons in the first twenty years of the franchise's existence, then after 1956, there was not another one for over forty years. Garciaparra was an incredible player in his rookie season. My hypothesis was correct, although I did not guess that it would be 1956 that Jensen did it. Also, I was surprised that Doerr was the only player who did it. Pesky did not have much power, but I thought he may have hit ten home runs. I am very surprised that DiMaggio did not do it. Four Dead Ball Era players is surprising.

Monday, October 25, 2010

My Second Red Sox Game

This was my second Red Sox game. On May 10, 1998, my parents, my friend and I went to Kansas City once again to see the Red Sox take on the Royals. This one went much better as the Red Sox won 3-1.

Tim Wakefield started the game and was great. He had a no-hitter going for a few innings and ended up pitching almost the entire game. Tom Gordon got the save for getting one out at the end. Wakefield struck out five and gave up only two hits.

This game is notable as Jason Varitek hit his first ever major league home run in the game, a two run shot in the fifth inning. Also, this was the major league debut of Boston fan favorite Lou Merloni, who came in to fill in for the injured Nomar Garciaparra. Mike Benjamin drove in the other run on a sacrifice. Damon Buford hit a triple in the game and scored a run. Mo Vaughn and Darren Lewis each had a single in the game.

On the downside, the only Royals run scored in the ninth and helped chase Wakefield. John Valentin had an error and Lewis was caught stealing. Valentin, Merloni, Troy O'Leary, and Jim Leyritz all went without a hit.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Unknown Heroes Pt. 1: Carlos Quintana

This is the first part in a short series focused on some of my lesser-known favorite Red Sox players.

Carlos Quintana was never a star, he was simply a decent regular. However, early on in my Red Sox fandom, he was one of my favorite players. Maybe it was the name. I don't really know. Quintana was perhaps the first player I really liked who was not a household name. He was not the last though.

Quintana came up through the Red Sox system as an outfielder and got into five games at the end of the 1988 season. He was regarded somewhat highly as a potential good player. In 1989, he played 34 games and then became the team's regular first baseman in 1990. Quintana played first base in the fourth game of the season and held the position for most of the rest of the season.

In 1990, Quintana had a decent offensive season. He did not have a lot of power, with 28 doubles and seven home runs, but he was a decent contact hitter who got on base. He also proved to be a very good defensive first-baseman, leading the league in assists and being fifth in putouts as a first-baseman. He committed a lot of errors, but he was learning a new position and he had great range.

1991 was even better. Quintana was starting to look like a very good up and coming player. His power increased a little as he hit eleven home runs that year. He also increased his batting average from .287 to .295 and his on-base percentage from .354 to .375 by increasing his walks. Quintana again had a great defensive year, once again leading the league in assists and cutting down significantly on the errors. He also achieved his career highlight, driving in six runs with a double and a grand slam home run in the third inning of a game against the Texas Rangers on July 30, 1991, tying a league record.

In 1992, Quintana was injured for the entire season. He broke his left arm and right big toe in a car accident in his native Venezuela while trying to rush his two brothers, who had been shot at a party, to the hospital.

He came back in 1993, but Mo Vaughn had taken over his position and Quintana split his playing time between first base and right field. He was not nearly the same hitter and still was effected by the accident, so he announced his retirement at the end of the season. He was only 27 years old when he retired.

Congratulations to the Texas Rangers, Pitchers to Beat the Yankees Twice in a Postseason

Congratulations to the Texas Rangers for going to their first World Series in franchise history.

Colby Lewis beat the Yankees for the second time in a postseason series, a feat matched by only six other pitchers, which seems like a lot until you consider just how many postseason series the Yankees have played.

One of those pitchers, by the way, was Tim Wakefield in the 2003 ALCS. In Game 1, he pitched six strong innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits, two walks, and two strikeouts to earn the win. In Game 4, he was even better. He pitched seven innings of five hit ball, struck out eight, and walked four. Of course, he was also the pitcher who gave up the ALCS-ending home run to Aaron Boone, possibly my all-time worst moment as a fan. I destroyed a lot of Yankees cards that night.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Search for BoSox Pt. 2

Tonight's pickups came from WalMart. We have the following:


And here we go:
Edwin Jackson Diamondbacks
Andre Ethier Dodgers
Jeff Francouer Polar Bear Mini Mets
Carl Pavano Twins
Melvin Mora Rockies
Jeff Niemann Rays
Starlin Castro RC Cubs

No Red Sox.

Jay Bruce Reds
Carlos Quentin Bronze White Sox
Austin Jackson RC Tigers
Chone Figgins Mariners
Michael Young Rangers

No Red Sox. Bust.

Reggis Jackson Yankees
Adam Dunn Nationals
Todd Helton Piedmont Mini Rockies
Conor Jackson Diamondbacks
Gavin Floyd White Sox
Chase Utley Phillies
Al Kaline Tigers

No Red Sox.

Kyle Blanks Padres
Justin Upton Diamondbacks
Ichiro Mariners
Derek Holland Rangers
Hunter Pence Astros

No Red Sox again. I think this is it for Value Packs. I have opened five in the last few weeks with no luck.

Jason Bartlett Rays
Neil Walker RC Pirates
Fausto Carmona Indians
Pirates Team Card
Joe Torre Dodgers
Yunel Escobar Braves
Scott Rolen Reds
Matt Garza Rays

Dan Uggla Marlins
Gerald Laird Tigers
Marcus Thames Tigers
Cubs Team Card
Mark Buehrle White Sox
Derek Lowe Braves
Travis Snider Blue Jays
Neftali Feliz Rangers

Placido Polanco Phillies
Michael Young Rangers
Twins Team Card
Yankees CL
J.A. Happ Phillies
Mickey Mantle Yankees
Howie Kendrick Angels
Chase Headley Padres

Javier Vazquez Yankees
Gavin Floyd White Sox
George Sisler Browns/Orioles
Julio Borbon Rangers
Fernando Martinez Mets
Jim Leyland Tigers
James Shields Rays
Derek Jeter/Jason Bartlett Yankees/Rays

Nate McLouth Braves
Orlando Cabrera Twins
Reds Team Card
Chase Utley WS Phillies
Jhoulys Chacin Rockies
Akinori Iwamura Pirates
Joe Mauer Twins
Willy Taveras Reds

John Lannan Nationals
Hiroki Kuroda Dodgers
Jake Peavy White Sox
Brent Dlugach RC Tigers
Zach Duke Pirates
Warren Spahn Flashback Braves
Adam Jones Orioles
Nelson Cruz Rangers

Hideki Matsui Angels
Mike Napoli Angels
Miguel Cabrera New Age Performers Tigers
Hanley Ramirez New Age Performers Marlins
Chris Carpenter Cardinals
Jason Bay Mets
Brian Roberts Orioles
John Russell Pirates

Chris Carpenter Cardinals/Tim Lincecum Giants/Jair Jurrjens Braves/Adam Wainwright Cardinals LL
Lou Gehrig Yankees
Elvis Andrus Rangers
Brandon Phillips Reds
Drew Stubbs RC Reds
Jed Lowrie Red Sox (FINALLY!)

Skip Schumaker Cardinals
Franlin Gutierrez Mariners

One damn Red Sox card. Out of 88 cards. That's just pathetic. This is probably it for packs for awhile.

Underrated Seasons: John Valentin 1995

In 1995, a Boston Red Sox player won the MVP. That is the way it should have been, but the wrong player was the winner.

Controversial theory: John Valentin should have been the 1995 AL MVP. Instead, he finished ninth.

I have seen arguments for Albert Belle and Edgar Martinez over Vaughn, but I have not often seen an argument for Valentin, who is a better candidate than all three of them.

My evidence: John Valentin's Major League-leading 8.5 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). He didn't just lead the league that year, he had a higher WAR than any National Leaguer, including NL leader Barry Bonds. That's crazy.

Valentin was a highly effective hitter in 1995 and a great all-around player. He scored 108 times, with 27 home runs, 103 runs batted in, 20 stolen bases, a .298 batting average, .399 on base percentage, and a .533 slugging percentage, for an on base plus slugging of .931. On top of that, he played a sterling shortstop. He did commit more errors than other shortstops, but that was more of a function of his range and having the hopeless Mo Vaughn at first base to take throws. Valentin was also one of the few Red Sox who did much of anything in the postseason, hitting one home run and one double against Cleveland.

The most amazing thing is that you do not hear much about this season when talks turn to great seasons by shortstops. That's because Valentin's season came just before Alex Rodriguez, Nomar Garciaparra, and Derek Jeter started having historic seasons at shortstop. It's a shame, because Valentin really was incredible in 1995. He did win the Silver Slugger, but he deserved so much more.

Most Wins Without Starting a Single Game

When I get bored, I look at statistics, particularly on this site. Recently, I was curious as to the most wins by a relief pitcher who never started a game with the Red Sox. I can't quite remember why I thought of this, perhaps it had to do with looking at the early 1990's and how bullpen use has changed so much. At any rate, I know victories don't really tell us much as an individual stat, but I wanted to look into it anyway. So here we go, with a cutoff of 10 wins, the most victories by a Red Sox pitcher who did not start a single game that year:

Dick Radatz - 1964 - 16 W (It does not surprise me to see him on this list at all. The Monster was truly one of a kind. He lead the team in victories that year.)
Dick Radatz - 1963 - 15 W
Mark Clear - 1982 - 14 W (Clear actually led the team in victories that year)
Bill Campbell - 1977 - 13 W
Bob Stanley - 1982 - 12 W (How about 1982? Two relief pitchers with more than 10 Ws without starting a single game. Weird.)
Ellis Kinder - 1953 - 10 W
Mike Fornieles - 1960 - 10 W
John Wyatt - 1967 - 10 W

-As I mentioned, I am not at all surprised to see Radatz. He won 49 games in just a few years with the Red Sox, and never started a single game.

-The modern exclusive relief pitcher is a fairly recent concept, so I am not surprised to not see anybody pre-1950.

-Most of the names are not terribly surprising. Radatz, Stanley, Fornieles, Campbell, and Kinder were all fairly well-known relief pitchers in their time. Clear and Wyatt are probably the most surprising. Clear was an All Star that year and Wyatt was an underrated and forgotten key component to the 1967 A.L. Champs.

-1982 was apparently an unusual year. The Red Sox had four pitchers with more than 10 wins, two of whom were Clear and Stanley. The other two were Dennis Eckersley and John Tudor, each of whom only had 13 wins. Clear lead the team in victories and he and Stanley each had 14 saves.

-I wonder what the record is? Is Radatz close? Unfortunately, without a colossal investment of time, I'm not sure how to check.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Searching for BoSox

I will do these once in awhile. I bought some stuff at the local Target. I only buy cards looking for Red Sox.

Here's what I bought:
2010 Topps Series 2 Jumbo Pack
2010 Topps Chrome Value Pack
2009 UD Icons Retail Blaster

Time for a live break:

Wandy Rodriguez Astros
Texas Rangers TL w/ Kinsler and Hamilton (I'm rooting for Texas in the ALCS)
Brandon Wood Angels
Joel Pineiro Angels (former Red Sox don't count)
Andy Marte Indians (a Red Sox for about 5 seconds)
Dusty Hughes Royals RC
Jesse English Nationals RC
Nick Markakis Orioles
Alberto Callaspo Royals
Jim Bunning The Cards Your Mom Threw Out Phillies
Derek Jeter History of the World Series Yankees (blech)
Clayton Kershaw 2020 Dodgers (this is pretty cool actually)
Aaron Hill Peak Performance Blue Jays
Joe Morgan Turkey Red Reds (I miss
Mark Buehrle White Sox
Emilio Bonifacio Marlins
Carlos Guillen Tigers
Mike Napoli Angels

So that was a bust.

Wade LeBlanc Padres
Brandon Webb Diamondbacks
Mike Pelfrey Mets
Travis Ishikawa Giants
Clete Thomas Tigers
Babe Ruth/Lou Gehrig CL Yankees
Jhoulys Chacin Rockies
Trevor Crowe Indians
Kevin Kouzmanoff Athletics
Raul Ibanez Phillies
Red Sox Team Card w/ Youkilis, Francona, Ellsbury, Varitek, Bates (of course I already have this)
Phil Hughes Yankees
Reggie Jackson Vintage Legends Yankees
Bo Jackson Royals/Justin Upton Diamondbacks Legendary Lineage
Josh Johnson Attax Marlins
Chien Ming Wang Nationals
George Sherrill Dodgers
Michael Bourn Astros
Brendan Ryan Cardinals

Another bust. One Red Sox (that I already had), too many Yankees.

Vladimir Guerrero Rangers
Chase Utley Xfractor Phillies
Nick Markakis Orioles
Aramis Ramirez Cubs

Bust. Nice Utley though.

A.J. Burnett Yankees
Vernon Wells Blue Jays
Jason Bay Mets (damn, former Red Sox again)

Yet another Yankee. No Red Sox cards

Justin Upton Diamondbacks
Wilson Ramos RC Xfractor Twins
Howie Kendrick Angels
Tommy Hanson Braves

Beginning to rethink this whole thing.

Miguel Tejada Orioles
Vernon Wells Refractor Blue Jays
Derek Jeter Yankees
Shin-Soo Choo Indians

Absolutely no Red Sox in this whole thing. I could have saved myself some money.

Ryan Dempster Cubs
Jose Reyes Mets
Jason Giambi Athletics
Chris Young Diamondbacks
Roy Halladay Blue Jays

A.J. Burnett Yankees
Josh Beckett Red Sox (finally)
Randy Johnson 20th Anniversay Retrospective Diamondbacks
David Wright Mets
Stephen Drew Diamondbacks

Ervin Santana Angels
Brian McCann Braves
Alfonso Soriano Foil Cubs
Derrek Lee Cubs
Albert Pujols Cardinals

Magglio Ordonez Tigers
Corey Hart Icons Jersey Brewers (the "hit" of the box)
Ken Griffey Jr. Mariners

Ichiro Mariners
Kosuke Fukudome Cubs
Johan Santana Mets
Garrett Atkins Rockies
Carlos Beltran Mets

Akinori Iwamura Rays
Chad Billingsley Dodgers
Willie Stargell 20th Anniversy Pirates
Matt Holliday Athletics
Hanley Ramirez Marlins (I wish the Red Sox had not traded him, but he did bring two key components to the 2007 World Series Champs)

Nick Markakis Orioles (seem to be pulling a lot of him today)
Joakim Soria Royals
Carlos Quentin White Sox
Michael Young Rangers
Jay Bruce Reds

Daisuke Matsuzaka Red Sox (finally)
Ryan Howard Phillies
James McDonald RC Dodgers 885/999
Cliff Lee Indians
Russell Martin Dodgers

Adam Dunn Nationals (could he be a Red Sox next year?)
Joe Mauer Twins
Jon Lester Red Sox (that's three new ones, four overall)
Tim Lincecum Giants
Alfonso Soriano Cubs

PACK 10:
Dan Uggla Marlins
Ryan Zimmerman Nationals
Rudolf Giuliani 20th Anniversary (what's this doing here?)
Ryan Ludwick Cardinals
Josh Hamilton Rangers

So that's it. I should have just bought the Icons box. Three Red Sox out of less than 50 cards is a pretty good ratio. The way I figure it, I should be pulling Red Sox once out of every 30 cards for an approximate percentage of 3% of the time.

Today's ratio: 4 Red Sox out of 98 total: about 4%. A little ahead of the game. But, I pulled 7 Yankees (and generally better cards too, a refractor and a couple of inserts). Ah well. I expect these posts to keep track of how I am doing with pulling Red Sox from packs and will also keep track of the Yankees. I have a theory that Yankees cards are easier to pull.

Unknown Heroes

I have a feeling there may not be a ton of posts on here until next season starts. This post is just a preview. When I became a fan of the Red Sox, I tended to root for the lesser-known players. Don't get me wrong, my favorite players were usually superstars. Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Mo Vaughn, and Nomar Garciaparra have all been favorite players, but after Nomar was traded, my favorite player became Jason Varitek and he remains my favorite today. Mixed with the stars though, I have been big fans of less well-known players, not players in the second tier like Mike Greenwell, Ellis Burks, John Valentin, and others, but players even below that. I will have a series that I will start which will introduce some of these players that I came to really enjoy watching, for sometimes inexplicable reasons.

Monday, October 18, 2010

My First Red Sox Game

I went to my first Red Sox game in Kansas City in 1997 on August 2nd. Unfortunately, the team was not particularly good in 1997.

Aaron Sele started the game and he was going through a ridiculously uneven year. You never knew which Aaron Sele you were going to get on any given day. Unfortunately, the bad Aaron Sele showed up at this game and he lasted less than three innings. He was relieved by Mark Brandenburg, Butch Henry, Kerry Lacy, and Ron Mahay, none of whom were terribly impressive or lasted long with the Red Sox.

Looking back at this box score, one thing really strikes me. I had no idea Shane Mack stayed with the Red Sox as long as he did. He was in this game, although he didn't do much. Nomar Garciaparra, Darren Bragg, and Mike Benjamin all had multi-hit games. Benjamin and Reggie Jefferson each hit doubles, and the runs were all driven in by Jefferson and Mike Stanley, towards the end of his tenure with the Sox. Mike Benjamin committed two errors.

I remember seeing Tom Gordon playing long toss before the game, and it was not long before he was converted into a reliever.

Wil Cordero took some abuse from the crowd as this was soon after he was arrested for domestic abuse.

Walt McKeel, Jesus Tavarez, Troy O'Leary, and Jeff Frye all saw some action as well.

Glimpses Into My Red Sox Obsession

I was thinking about this recently. Since I just started the blog, I wanted to give some insight into how my Red Sox obsession started out. Which I did on Saturday. Today, I want to show you how deep my obsession goes. It has seeped into almost every fabric of my being. I have tons of Red Sox paraphernalia at home and even more baseball cards.

But this is where it gets a little strange. In my education, I have done four, yes four, school projects involving Red Sox players. That's bizarre.

1. In fifth grade, we had to do research reports. I can't remember if it had to be a biography or just a general report. Anyway, my report was on Ted Williams.

2. In seventh grade, we had to write a biography on a famous person. We then had to dress up like that person in order to do a presentation to the class in that persona. I already did Ted Williams, so this time, I chose Joe Cronin. My memory of this is that since I did not own a Red Sox jersey at the time, I had to take a gray t-shirt and put the words "Red Sox" on using red electrical tape.

3. In my senior year of high school, in Spanish class we had to do a presentation, all in Spanish, of a famous living person of Spanish heritage. My choice this time was the somewhat ambiguous Nomar Garciaparra.

4. Finally, in my senior year of college, I took Conflict Resolution. We had to do a research paper in that class as well. My subject was Kevin Millar. You see, at the time, there was a big controversy because the Florida Marlins had sold Millar's contract to the Chunichi Dragons in Japan. In order to clear the major leagues though, Millar had to be put on waivers and it was an unwritten agreement among the clubs that other teams would not put in a waiver claim on a player being sold to a Japanese League team. Theo Epstein however, decided to put in the claim and bring Millar to Boston, so there was some animosity between Chunichi and Boston.

So there you have it. Not even my education was safe from my Red Sox obsession. At least I got A's on all of those projects.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

How I Became a Red Sox Fan

This story is embarassing. But here it goes anyway. What I am about to tell you very few people knew before. But I was 10 years old, what do you expect?

Anyway. When I was 10, it was 1991 and we were on summer vacation. I had gone to a garage sale across the street the day before and bought two very cheap baseball cards. One was a 1990 Score Charles Nagy Indians card and the other was a 1990 Upper Deck Dave Johnson Orioles card. My older brother had collected baseball cards sporadically a couple years earlier but started to become more interested since I was now considering collecting. Well he and I walked to the Kwik Shop just a block away and each bought a pack of 1991 Topps. Back then, a pack of baseball cards cost $0.50 and you got 15 cards. Man, I sound old.

I don't remember exactly what was in the pack except for two cards. One was Dennis Lamp and the other was Tom Bolton. Both Red Sox cards, neither player was exactly a star, more like role players. Bolton had a decent year as the number four starter and Lamp was toward the end of his career. Well I wanted to decide on a favorite team. This is where things get embarassing. I usually tell people that it's because I got two Red Sox in my first pack that I became a Red Sox fan. That's only part of the story.

I played eenie meenie minie moe. That's right. I decided on the Red Sox because they were "it".

I was 10, what do you expect? Rationality?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Red Sox Avoid Arbitration with Saltalamacchia

Red Sox Avoid Arbitration with Saltalamacchia

Well the first transaction of the Red Sox offseason is complete. Catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, owner of the longest name in Red Sox history (beating Fritz Ostermueller) has avoided arbitration by signing a split deal with $750,000 for major league and $250,000 for minor league service. This goes a short distance towards clearing up the catching situation. We know Salty will be in the mix, but will he be the starter, backup, or in the minors? We still don't know what will become of Jason Varitek and Victor Martinez.

I am a huge fan of Jason Varitek and have been since he was acquired. He is quite simply my all-time favorite player. Seeing him play with another team would be heart-breaking. That being said, I recognize that he is not the player he once was. Victor Martinez was a good offensive catcher, but not a good defensive one. I could live with him signing elsewhere, but I would prefer the team re-sign him and rotate him between first base, designated hitter, and catcher, and also re-sign Varitek to be the backup catcher for one more year and bring Saltalamacchia along slowly. Salty has not proven he is ready for a full-time position yet. Let's wait and see.

I'm a Little Concerned

Red Sox owners buy soccer team.

My issue with this is the fact that in the late 1910's, Harry Frazee was the Red Sox owner and had some outside interests, namely his Broadway plays. He sold off Babe Ruth to the Yankees in part to fund a play. My concern now is that the Red Sox ownership group is spreading themselves too thin by engaging in ownership of a soccer team. I'm bothered by what could seemingly be considered a lack of interest in the major league team. The Red Sox fans deserve to have their owners devoted to the team. I am not sure what this says.

If I'm wrong, great. But I am concerned.


Hello and welcome to my new blog. I also post on the blog Metallattorney, which is about my love of heavy metal music and some personal information. I started that blog with the intention of talking about my love of horror movies, metal music, baseball, and everything else, but it has taken on a life of it's own in the form of metal. Baseball, however, is my first love. This blog will feature my thoughts on the Boston Red Sox in particular, and baseball in general. I may discuss baseball cards at some points and other assorted baseball-related topics. I do not know if this blog will be as involved as my other blog. Only time will tell.

Thanks for coming.