Thursday, August 31, 2017

Topps Now: August 8, 2017

I really could not resist this one.  This is my first card of Eduardo Nunez with the Red Sox.  Nunez is the biggest in-season acquisition of the year to this point.  He will likely be featured in Topps Update later on, but I had to jump at a chance to add one earlier.  Nunez was on a tear early in his Red Sox career and tied the record for most hits by a player in his first ten games with a team.  He has cooled off since, but remains a very good hitter.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Topps Now: August 1, 2017

This was a wild game.  Chris Sale and Carlos Carrasco were the pitchers and a pitching duel was expected.  No one expected what happened.  Sale apparently has issues with the Indians and they rocked him for seven runs in five innings.  Meanwhile, Carrasco gave up five in 1.2 innings.  Boston was in the lead going into the top of the ninth, but Kimbrel gave up two runs and the Indians were in the lead.  It came down to Christian Vazquez with two runners on, and he delivered the game-winning home run.  Vazquez does not get a lot of cards, so a Topps Now card was welcome.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Topps Now Road to Opening Day Bonus

Part of the appeal of the Topps Now Road to Opening Day sets (other than the autograph, the Chris Sale I got it is a big deal) is that there would be bonus cards issued throughout the year if a member of the team made a certain milestone or if the team was in first place in its division at the All Star Break.  Well, no Red Sox player has hit for the cycle or thrown a no-hitter yet (hopefully one of those things will happen, I would love another bonus card), but the team did finish in first place at the All Star Break, so I got this card of the three dynamic outfielders in the middle of their Win-Dance-Repeat tradition after games.  I will take it.

Friday, August 25, 2017

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #927

This is the Orange foil, Black and White parallel of Varitek from Stadium Club.  I still do not have the regular base version and I am also missing several parallels.  At some point I will probably be going back and filling in a bunch of new holes.  There are several Varitek cards from this year that should be easy to find that I just have not taken the time to locate yet.  That should make it easy to increase the numbers though.  As it stands, I need 73 more to get to 1,000.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #926

This is the 2016 Topps High Tek Gold Rainbow card, serial-numbered to 60.  I now have ten variations on the 2016 High Tek card.  That is nowhere near the number that I have of 1998 Tek Sandy Alomar Jr. cards, but it is impressive in its own right.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Topps Gold Brock Holt

It is very disappointing that Brock Holt is struggling as much as he is this year.  He has had some injury issues, including a concussion and vertigo, so perhaps that is the reason.  His numbers are way down and he has been a liability at the plate.  Nevertheless, Holt is one of my favorite players due to his versatility.  He was an under-the-radar All Star in 2015, Boston's only All Star that season.

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: 925...And More

Not many trades bring in new Jason Varitek cards for me, but this one did.  It also provided a bunch of other new cards.
1.  2014 Topps Update Gold Koji Uehara.  Koji will go down as one of my favorite relief pitchers during my lifetime.  He was a blast to watch and had some great numbers for the Red Sox.  He had a relatively short stint with Boston (four years), but he was so much fun.

2.  1997 Pinnacle Passport to the Majors Mo Vaughn.  This one folds to look like a passport on the front.  But that's boring, so I elected to show this shot of the inside.

3.  1969 Globe Imprints Tony Conigliaro.  I am not sure of the story behind these cards, but anytime I can add a Tony C. vintage card, I am there.

4.  2010 Bowman 1992 Throwback Kevin Youkilis.  Youk is another of my personal favorites from his time in Boston.  For a couple of years (2008-2009), he was quite possibly the best hitter in the league.

5.  2013 Topps Tier One On the Rise Autographs Felix Doubront.  For a brief period, I had a mini-player collection of Doubront.  Somehow I never added this one.  

6.  2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary Factory Set Limited Edition Jason Varitek.  Finally, the new Varitek.  This is from a factory set and I honestly did not know it existed.  I could have added several other players, but let's be honest, the Varitek is the key for me.

7.  1976 SSPC Carlton Fisk.  All I need now is the Yaz for this set.  I really want to start getting the later SSPC set, but those are really hard to find.

8.  2002 Topps Archives Reserve Wade Boggs.  We are well into a bunch of random wantlist needs.
9.  1974 Topps Carl Yastrzemski.  This is just a classic-looking shot of Yaz.  He was starting to decline, but was still productive enough to stay in the lineup for several more years.

10.  1974 Topps Bernie Carbo.  This is one of the cards that it is obvious the player changed teams before the season.  Carbo was a big World Series hero in 1975 for Boston.

11.  1974 Topps Rick Miller.  Miller had a couple of stints with Boston.  He was mostly a backup outfielder, but he pretty valuable to the team.  He had some speed and he was a great pinch hitter.

12.  1971 Topps Gary Peters.  Peters had a couple of good seasons as a starting pitcher for the Red Sox in the early 1970's.

13.  1969 Topps Russ Gibson.  And here we have the final card from the trade, a vintage Topps card of a Red Sox catcher.  Gibson was mostly a backup catcher and did not hit much in his three years with the Red Sox.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

More Wantlist Hits

1.  2017 Topps Heritage David Ortiz.  Starting things off with an SP.  I have not been very good about getting all of the short prints from Heritage.  I still need four more of these.  There were a lot for the Red Sox.

2.  2017 Topps 5 Tool Yoan Moncada.  Sale was beaten last night, but Moncada is hitting just .182 in 26 games with the White Sox.

3.  2017 Topps Heritage New Age Performers Mookie Betts.  I always like the New Age Performers insert set, but for some reason there have never been many Red Sox cards in those sets.  In fact, Betts is the first one since 2014.

4.  2017 Topps Heritage 1968 Game Mookie Betts.  I have all of the original 1968 Game Cards.  This is the last one I needed for this 2017 insert set.

5.  2017 Bowman 1948 Yoan Moncada.  This is the card that led to the trade.  Moncada will always be a curiosity in my collection, a player signed to a huge deal before becoming pro that was traded before he had a chance to live up to it.

6.  2017 Topps Gold Steven Wright.  I have not been getting as many Wright cards this year.  He had a great season last year, but this season was completely lost to injury.

7.  2017 Topps Memorable Moments Babe Ruth.  This card celebrates the first home run of Ruth's illustrious career.  It was hit in 1915, his second season.  It was the Deadball Era and he was a pitcher.

8.  2017 Topps Golden Glove Mookie Betts.  Will Betts be a Gold Glover again this year?  Most likely.  Although I would bet money on JBJ.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Wantlist Trade

I was briefly very active on one trading forum and worked out a number of deals for some wantlist hits, mostly from this season.  This one is kind of all over the place.

1.  2017 Bowman's Best Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts continues to make a push.  Among the current team, Bogaerts is currently third-most, behind Dustin Pedroia and Mookie Betts.  It had been pretty close between Betts, Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr. for awhile, but Betts pulled away and now Xander is pulling away from JBJ.

2.  2017 Bowman Chrome Rafael Devers.  Devers has proven he belongs in the Majors.  He is the next big star of the team after his game-tying home run in the ninth inning off a 103 mph fastball by Aroldis Chapman.

3.  2017 Bowman Chrome 2017 ROY Favorites Andrew Benintendi.  Benintendi has emerged from his slump and hit three home runs against the Yankees last weekend and he has continued his hot hitting.  Any other year he would be a top contender for the Rookie of the Year, but Judge, despite his recent struggles, has had too good of a year.

4.  2017 Diamond Kings Hanley Ramirez.  This is a short-printed card and I really like the Diamond Kings set.  It would be nice if Hanley would hit down the stretch this year the way he did last year.

5.  2017 Diamond Kings Originals Pedro Martinez.  An insert from the same Diamond Kings set.  Martinez is still the most recent Red Sox player to go in to the Hall of Fame with a Boston hat on.  Curt Schilling or Roger Clemens may get in soon.

6.  2017 Donruss Rookies Yoan Moncada.  I am still disappointed Boston traded Moncada, but getting Sale was a huge help to the team, and quite frankly, I would rather have Sale.  Certainly right now, but we'll see in the future.

7.  2017 Topps Bunt Programs Rick Porcello.  Porcello has struggled a bit this year, but his record is worse than his year would suggest.  He really has not been THAT bad.

8.  2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Hand-Drawn Art Xander Bogaerts.  I'm not really sure what these cards are.  The back almost suggests it is something like a relic.  Still, another Bogaerts.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Ortiz Silver Slugger

Just a one-card mailday today.  This is the Topps insert showing David Ortiz as the Silver Slugger Award Winner for designated hitter last year.  Not real exciting today, but Ortiz had one of the greatest final seasons in history.  He hit .315/.401/.620 with 38 home runs and 127 RBIs.  He led the league in doubles (48), RBIs, slugging percentage, and OPS (1.021).  He finished his career with an impressive .286/.380/.552 with 541 home runs and 1,768 RBIs. He was a nine-time All Star, won eight Silver Sluggers, a Home Run Derby championship, and both the ALCS and World Series MVP.  He was a part of three World Championship teams in Boston.  He is a good candidate for the Hall of Fame.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Bowman Platinum Trade

Nothing much to see here, just a quick three-card Bowman Platinum trade:
Craig Kimbrel, Xander Bogaerts, and Chris Sale are the new acquisitions in this trade.  Bogaerts is making a big push in my collection of late and Kimbrel is steadily moving along.  Chris Sale is the big card in this group.  Sale is having an outstanding season and looks to be the favorite for the Cy Young Award.  He may even be making a push for MVP.

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #924

And we keep on rolling for the goal.  With the increase in more modern buybacks this year, it became possible to add Jason Varitek buybacks.  I will not get into the absurdity of having buybacks that are less than ten years old, but I am always happy to add more Varitek cards.  This one has gold foil stamping.  I am not familiar with the rarity of the various colors, but gold seems like it would be somewhat rare.  I have only seen two of these.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Zippy Zapped Again

I recently received another Zippy Zapping from everyone's favorite Luis Torrens supercollector.  Actually the package was addressed from Torrens in San Diego, but I could see through that.  Torrens has not been given much game experience so far this year and it is likely San Diego will send him back to the minors next season for more seasoning, but they have to keep him up this year to avoid sending him back to the Yankees.

Anyway, on to the package:
1.  Roger Clemens.  This is from the All-Time All Stars insert set, which featured quite a few Red Sox cards.  Clemens won the 1986 All Star Game MVP, the same year he won the Cy Young Award and the AL MVP.  Unfortunately for Boston, he struggled a bit in the postseason.

2.  Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts has been struggling again of late.  He needs to figure out how to play well all season long.  He still has solid numbers but his power is way down from last year.

3.  Craig Kimbrel.  Kimbrel has been a beast.

4.  Chris Sale.  Sale is cruising toward his first Cy Young Award.  He has been amazing, which is good because I was apprehensive about giving up both Yoan Moncada and Michael Kopech to get him.

5.  Xander Bogaerts.  

6.  David Ortiz.  With the way he has been appearing in sets this year, you would think he was still playing.  I wish he was, because Boston needs some power.

7.  Mookie Betts.  It has been a down season for Mookie.  Hopefully he will make the necessary adjustment and get back to his 2016 production.  I almost wonder if he has some nagging injury.

8.  Xander Bogaerts.  I saw this card in Zippy's clone break post.  When he approached me about a trade, I was hoping it would be included.

9.  Blake Swihart.  A couple of minor league cards made an appearance.  Swihart is trying to get back on track right now.
10.  Matt Barnes.  Barnes has been a big part of the Red Sox bullpen this year and has quietly turned in a nice season.

11.  John Valentin.  Nice wantlist hit here.  My wantlist is my primary focus at this point.

12.  Jagger Rusconi.  You can always count on Asian-only cards from these packages.  Rusconi's versatility is his strongest asset.  That will not likely help him make it to the Majors unless he can start hitting more.

13.  Tate Matheny.  Mike Matheny's son has put up solid, if unspectacular hitting numbers.

14.  Rafael Devers.  This, along with the Bogaerts purple parallel is the best card in the package.  Devers arrived in Boston ahead of schedule to solidify third base and looks like the real deal.

Thanks Kenny!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How About Some Red Sox Tek?

Of course my big goal with 1998 Topps Tek is to track down the remaining eight patterns I need to have all 90 Sandy Alomar Jr. cards.  But I also like to occasionally add Red Sox.  This is just my second Mo Vaughn pattern, joining three Pedro Martinez patterns and four Nomar Garciaparra patterns.  Mo Vaughn was one of my early favorite players and was an offensive force in the mid 1990's for the Red Sox.  His career declined rapidly after he left Boston.

Friday, August 11, 2017

Topps Now: July 16, 2017

This is the first Jackie Bradley Jr. card I have seen from Topps Now this year, and it celebrates a fantastic defensive play.  JBJ leapt at the center field wall to steal a home run from Aaron Judge of the Yankees in a game the Red Sox eventually won.  It was a terrific play and one of the best catches I have seen all year.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

2017 Bowman Platinum Pack Breaks

I bought a few random packs the other day, including two Bowman Platinum packs.  The Bowman Platinum packs really paid off.

1.  Jason Groome.  Boston's top pitching prospect at the moment and the most promising Red Sox pitching prospect since Roger Clemens.  Groome was drafted 12th overall last year and has been impressive in the minors.

2.  Andrew Benintendi.  A lengthy slump has taken some of the shine off of his rookie season, but he will get it going again.  He is too good a hitter not to.

3.  Rafael Devers.  This is the card I am most happy about.  It is an insert and Devers has been extremely impressive since being called up from the minors.

I do not even remember what the other packs were.  They did not produce Red Sox cards, so they must not have been too interesting.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 10: Garry Hancock

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not?
What is the record for number of times one player was drafted?  I have no idea of the answer to that question, but I have to believe that Garry Hancock is up there.  He was drafted six times from 1970 through 1976, including three times in the first round, before he finally signed with the Cleveland Indians.  The Indians actually drafted him twice.  Nevertheless, they still traded him to the Red Sox in 1977 for Jack Baker.

Hancock had been a top prospect for the Red Sox in 1979 when he hit .325/.361/.505 with 15 home runs and 58 RBIs for Pawtucket after a brief stint in the Majors the previous season.  In 1980, he had a decent run with Boston again and was expected to stay in the Majors in 1981.  Unfortunately, injuries decimated his season as he appeared in just 26 games.  He managed to hit just .156/.191/.222 with three RBIs.  It was a disappointing season for a once promising prospect.

He would never really get it going in Boston.  He returned to the minors in 1982 after his lost 1981 season, where he had a fine season, and then appeared in just eleven games with Boston.  He was part of the trade to the Athletics the next season that brought Tony Armas to the Red Sox and he had his only full season in the Majors.  The next season, he struggled once again and was released by Oakland.  That was it for his career.  

Hancock died in 2015.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Slightly More than One-Year Wonder Pt. 4: Don Baylor

I had not originally planned on making one of these posts today, but unfortunately, Don Baylor passed away today.  So I felt it was an appropriate time for a tribute.
Don Baylor spent about a year and a half with the Red Sox, but he was a big part of the 1986 team.  He was brought over in a rare challenge trade between the Red Sox and Yankees involving each team's designated hitter.  Both teams got a decent deal, but for different reasons.  Baylor was more of a pure power hitter while Easler was more of a contact hitter.  Baylor was the AL MVP for the Angels in 1979 when he hit .296/.371/.530 with 36 home runs and a league-leading 139 RBIs.

In 1986, Baylor helped lead the Red Sox to the AL pennant with a very good year, hitting .238/.344/.439 with 94 RBIs and a team-leading 31 home runs.  Baylor was a veteran presence in the lineup and a calming influence in the clubhouse for a mostly young team.  He won the Silver Slugger Award and even picked up some MVP votes.  Baylor was also a well-known postseason performer and hit .346 in the ALCS before slumping in the World Series.

Baylor started out the 1987 season as the team's starting DH, and was on the verge of a similar season to his 1986 campaign as he was hitting .239/.355/.404 with 16 home runs and 57 RBIs when he was traded to the Twins on September 1 for the stretch drive.  Boston received a minor leaguer named Enrique Rios in the deal, who never made it to the Majors.

After playing one more season with the Athletics, Baylor's playing career came to an end.  He was able to become a Major League manager for several years, first with the expansion Colorado Rockies, and later with the Cubs.  Baylor was a well-regarded personality and popular with teammates and players.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

A Couple of Packs and a Team Set

I have not talked much about my job on this blog.  I think a few readers might have an idea, but many others probably don't know, and many probably don't really care.  Well, my job recently led me back to my hometown and a chance to go to the card shop I used to frequent growing up.  I am a criminal defense attorney and I currently work in a more rural area.  Last week, I had to go back to my hometown to meet with a client in the prison in preparation for a sexual assault trial.  This part of my job is not ideal and oftentimes it is nice to take my mind off of things a bit.  And now for the distraction:

Up first I bought a few loose packs.  I was mostly looking to pull an autograph, and lo and behold, I did, just not a Red Sox auto.  Here are the Red Sox:
1.  2017 Stadium Club Johnny Damon.  I love this shot.  This is from one of Damon's two home runs in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.  That is the Johnny Damon I prefer to remember.

2.  2017 Topps Archives Blue Nomar Garciaparra.  This was a very nice pull.  This card is serial-numbered to just 75.

And now for the auto:

I picked up the 2017 Topps team set, with a number of new cards:
It did finally add the Topps rookie card of Yoan Moncada, which was the big missing piece.  I am more interested in the Chris Young, Brock Holt, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Steven Wright cards.  These are players that are somewhat underrepresented in my collection, so I love adding cards of these guys.  

It was not the most productive trip to the LCS, but I got some nice stuff.  I love the Nomar card in particular.