Friday, August 31, 2018

Topps Now: July 29, 2018, July 2, 2018 and More

I have not been picking up many Topps Now cards this year, but sometimes, I need to make an exception.  And one of those times is now:
On July 29, 2018, newly acquired starting pitcher Nathan Eovaldi shut down the Twins in his Red Sox debut.  He was incredibly efficient, throwing just 82 pitches over seven innings.  Eovaldi had been acquired for minor league pitcher Jalen Beeks a few days previous.  I am always concerned when Boston acquires players during the season that they will appear on any cards.  So I grab them when they pop up, and this was one I did not even have to think about.  Eovaldi may yet appear in Topps Update, in fact he probably will, but just in case he doesn't, I have this card.  Addison Reed, Boston's major deadline pickup last year, never appeared in a Red Sox uniform on cardboard, so you just never know.

That is not all that came in.
2018 Topps On Demand Then & Now.  I am not sure what the Topps On Demand cards really are, but I threw in a cheap bid on this one.  Devers has been somewhat disappointing this year, but the power is real and he could be the best power hitter Boston has developed since Mo Vaughn, or maybe even this guy, Jim Rice.

And finally:
This card was released in 2015 to celebrate three big-name players coming to Boston.  Things did not work out real well though.

Hanley Ramirez got off to a hot start in 2015, but hit a wall, literally and figuratively, and his numbers declined sharply the rest of the season.  He was terrific in 2016 though, hitting the 30 homer and 100 RBI marks.  The next season he declined again and, after a decent start to 2018, again declined and was released.  His numbers in Boston ended up being .260/.326/.450 with 78 home runs and 255 RBIs over four seasons.

As bad as Hanley Ramirez was during his time in Boston (not counting 2016), Pablo Sandoval was much worse.  Sandoval could barely stay on the field, much less produce with the bat, and he was terrible defensively.  He played less than a full season's worth of games stretched out over parts of three seasons.  He was only reasonably healthy in his first full season with the Red Sox, but hit a paltry .245 with just 10 home runs.  And that was his best season.  His numbers in Boston ended up being .237/.286/.360 with 14 home runs and 59 RBIs.  He was released in 2017.

The best player of these three ended up being Rick Porcello, who is still in the Red Sox rotation, so his numbers are not yet complete.  Porcello also got off to a rocky start in Boston, finishing with a 9-15 record and a 4.92 ERA.  He turned it around in a big way though, winning the Cy Young Award in 2016 with a 22-4 record and 3.15 ERA and recording 189 strikeouts.  But then, in 2017 he led the league in losses with 17.  This year, he has been acceptable, with a 15-5 record and a 4.04 ERA but shows flashes of his 2016 brilliance.

None of these three ended up being quite what Boston had hoped when they were acquired, other than that glorious 2016 season for Ramirez and Porcello.  Only Porcello is still with the team and both of the other two were unceremoniously released.  Too bad.

And finally:
One of those times Porcello was brilliant occurred on July 2, taking on Max Scherzer and the Nationals.  Porcello pitched the Red Sox to a 4-3 victory over one of the best pitchers in the game, but it was not his pitching that turned heads, it was his bases-loaded double off of Scherzer, the first extra-base hit of his career.  Porcello has since added another double to his totals against Philadelphia.  I can not really ignore a pitcher-at-the-plate card.  There are so few for the Red Sox.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Two Blasters of 2018 Topps Archives

I always look forward to Archives.  I love the Fan Favorites autograph set, though I do wish they would turn Archives back into the Fan Favorites sets from 2003 to 2005.  Topps seems to be a bit lazy with the Archives set lately.  Especially with the Fan Favorites autos, as they no longer use set designs that make any sense for the players.  Well, this weekend, I picked up two blasters.  Hopefully there will be some good stuff here.

These are the Red Sox cards I need:

2018 Topps Archives: Andrew Benintendi, Andrew Benintendi/Mookie Betts, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Wade Boggs, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Bobby Doerr, Jimmie Foxx, Nomar Garciaparra, Dustin Pedroia, Chris Sale

2018 Topps Archives Fan Favorites Autographs: Marty Barrett AU, Rafael Devers AU, Keith Foulke AU, Derek Lowe AU, Rico Petrocelli AU, Dave Roberts AU

2018 Topps Archives Coming Attractions: Rafael Devers

And here is the break.  Each box contains seven packs of eight cards and two coins.  

Hercules (Other: 1)
Scotty Smalls (Other: 2)
Well the coins include just a couple from The Sandlot, a terrific movie, that I watched several times growing up.

Julio Teheran (Braves: 1)
Max Fried (Braves: 2)
Francisco Mejia (Indians: 1)
Bruce Sutter (Cardinals: 1)
Ozzie Smith (Cardinals: 2)
Alex Verdugo/Walker Buehler/Kyle Farmer (Dodgers: 1)
Ervin Santana (Twins: 1)
Starling Marte (Pirates: 1)

Two Braves and two Cardinals.  Walker Buehler seems to be haunting me lately.

Goose Gossage (Padres: 1)
Don Mattingly (Yankees: 1)
David Ortiz (Twins: 2)
Zack Cozart (Angels: 1)
Raisel Iglesias (Reds: 1)
Walker Buehler Black (Dodgers: 2)
Yadier Molina (Cardinals: 3)
Trea Turner (Nationals: 1)

See what I mean about Buehler?  Also, a non-Red Sox David Ortiz card, seriously?

Mike Piazza (Mets: 1)
Willy Adames (Rays: 1)
Justin Turner (Dodgers: 3)
Jose Berrios (Twins: 3)
Mike Trout/Shoehei Ohtani (Angels: 2)
Yu Darvish (Cubs: 1)
Freddie Freeman (Braves: 3)
J.P. Crawford (Phillies: 1)

I used to pull a bunch of Trout cards, until I started doing this.  The box cut-out does not really count.

Eddie Murray (Orioles: 1)
Nicky Delmonico (White Sox: 1)
Josh Bell (Pirates: 2)
Tommy Pham (Cardinals: 4)
Teoscar Hernandez (Blue Jays: 1)
Yeah-Yeah The Sandlot (Other: 3)
Robin Roberts (Phillies: 2)
Joe Morgan (Reds: 2)

Another card from The Sandlot.

Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks: 1)
Luis Castillo (Reds: 3)
Lorenzo Cain (Brewers: 1)
Carson Fulmer (White Sox: 2)
Nick Markakis (Braves: 4)
Alex Verdugo (Dodgers: 4)
Chipper Jones (Braves: 5)
Alex Rodriguez (Mariners: 1)

Well, at least A-Rod doesn't show up with the Yankees since they have Ortiz with the Twins.

Aaron Nola (Phillies: 3)
Luke Weaver (Cardinals: 5)
Richie Ashburn (Phillies: 4)
Jim Bunning (Tigers: 1)
Chipper Jones Topps Rookie History (Braves: 6)
Jon Gray (Rockies:1)
Ichiro (Mariners: 2)
Daniel Mengden (Athletics:1)

I love Mengden's moustache.

Anthony Rendon (Nationals: 2)
Addison Russell (Cubs: 2)
Johnny Bench (Reds: 4)
Derek Jeter (Yankees: 2)
Nolan Arenado (Rockies: 2)
Nolan Ryan Turn Back the Clock (Astros: 1)
Robinson Cano (Mariners: 3)
Max Scherzer (Nationals: 3)

Well that break pretty much sucked.  No Red Sox.  Hopefully the second box will be better.

Cody Bellinger (Dodgers: 1)
Squints (Other: 1)

I was wondering whether there were actual baseball players in the Coins set.

Giancarlo Stanton (Yankees: 1)
Duke Snider (Dodgers: 2)
Tyler O'Neill (Cardinals: 1)
Austin Hays (Orioles: 1)
Scotty Smalls Sandlot (Other: 2)
Catfish Hunter (Yankees: 2)
John Smoltz (Braves: 1)
Nolan Ryan (Rangers: 1)

And another Sandlot card, plus two Yankees.  Things are not going well.

Rafael Devers (Red Sox: 1)
A.J. Pollock (Diamondbacks: 1)
Tommy Lasorda (Dodgers: 3)
George Brett (Royals: 1)
Jack Morris (Tigers: 1)
Ian Kinsler (Angels: 1)
Joey Votto (Reds: 1)
Cody Bellinger (Dodgers: 4)

Finally, my first Red Sox card.  Hopefully not the only one.

Lucas Giolito (White Sox: 1)
Brian Dozier (Twins: 1)
Dee Gordon (Mariners: 1)
Pedro Martinez (Expos/Nationals: 1)
Ryan McMahon (Rockies: 1)
Pedro Martinez Topps Rookie History (Dodgers: 5)
Ervin Santana (Twins: 2)
Starling Marte (Pirates: 1)

I thought the Ortiz was bad.  This is two Pedro Martinez cards in a single pack and neither of them are Red Sox cards.

Jordan Zimmermann (Tigers: 2)
Adrian Beltre (Rangers: 2)
Garrett Cooper (Marlins: 1)
Alcides Escobar (Royals: 2)
Travis D'Arnaud (Mets: 1)
Yadier Molina (Cardinals: 2)
Trea Turner (Nationals: 2)
Yu Darvish (Cubs: 1)

A couple of doubles here.

Jack Flaherty (Cardinals: 3)
Orlando Cepeda (Cardinals: 4)
Hunter Pence (Giants: 1)
Robin Yount (Brewers: 1)
Bob Feller (Indians: 1)
Amed Rosario/Dominic Smith/Tomas Nido (Mets: 2)
Freddie Freeman (Braves: 2)
J.P. Crawford (Phillies: 1)

And more doubles.

Jim Thome (Indians: 2)
Sandy Koufax (Dodgers: 6)
Manny Machado (Orioles: 2)
George Springer (Astros: 1)
Didi Gregorius (Yankees: 3)
Wil Myers (Padres: 1)
Robin Roberts (Phillies: 2)
Joe Morgan (Reds: 2)

Jake Odorizzi (Twins: 3)
Tyler Glasnow (Pirates: 2)
Stephen Piscotty (Athletics: 1)
Anthony Rizzo (Cubs: 2)
Joc Pederson/Yasiel Puig/Matt Kemp (Dodgers: 7)
Chipper Jones (Braves: 3)
Alex Rodriguez (Mariners: 2)
Jon Gray (Rockies: 4)

Both blasters were pretty bad for my Red Sox collection.  I am glad to add something, but one Red Sox out of 112 cards is pretty bad.  There's a lot of doubles too.  It would have been nice to exchange any of those for Red Sox cards.  Here is the breakdown to date:


So, pretty major shakeup at the top.  The Cubs and Yankees are now tied for most and with the Red Sox pathetic showing, the Dodgers and Cardinals pass Boston and the Mariners tied them.  The Diamondbacks and Padres remain mired in last place with even The Sandlot stuff passing those two teams.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Another Topps Big League Blaster

Here we go again.  These are fairly inexpensive and there are still a lot of Red Sox left to get.  So, I decided to pick up another one.  I am probably not going to be getting too many more of these.  I am not having much luck with the blue cards.  I have not gotten any so far.  I also have not pulled any of the Weekend Nickname Variation cards.  I do still need the Tzu-Wei Lin base card though.  And it would be great to get one of the parallels of him too.  So maybe more blasters after this.

Below is the updated wantlist from Topps Big League.  Let's see if we can knock any of these out:

2018 Topps Big League: Mookie Betts SK, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Roger Clemens ATG, Rafael Devers, Craig Kimbrel SK, Tzu-Wei Lin, Pedro Martinez ATG, Dustin Pedroia, Rick Porcello, Chris Sale SK, Chris Sale SK, Chris Sale SK, Chris Sale SK, Ted Williams ATG

2018 Topps Big League Players Weekend Nickname Variation: Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers

Up first is the cut-out green parallel.  This time I made sure it was not Aaron Judge:
Mike Trout Green (Angels: 1)

And for the blue pack:
Matt Harvey (Mets: 1)
Francisco Lindor (Indians: 1)
Chris Sale/Ervin Santana/Justin Verlander (Red Sox: 1/Twins: 1/Astros: 1)
Clayton Kershaw/Max Scherzer/Stephen Strasburg (Dodgers: 1/Nationals: 1)

Well, I finally pulled a Red Sox card from the blue pack.  Not bad.  I already pulled a Matt Harvey blue card in the last blaster, so that is annoying.

And next for the actual packs:

Mikie Mahtook (Tigers: 1)
Joe Panik (Giants: 1)
Jorge Alfaro (Phillies: 1)
Freddie Freeman (Braves: 1)
Felix Hernandez (Mariners:1)
Sean Newcomb (Braves: 2)
Logan Forsythe (Dodgers: 2)
Hunter Renfroe (Padres: 1)
Bryce Harper Ministers of Mash (Nationals: 2)
Nelson Cruz Gold (Mariners: 2)

Hey, the Padres make a rare appearance.  I am really good at pulling Nelson Cruz cards.

Zach Britton (Orioles: 1)
Christian Yelich (Brewers: 1)
Brad Miller (Rays: 1)
Andrew Stevenson (Nationals: 3)
Sandy Alcantara (Marlins: 1)
Justin Hays (Orioles: 2)
Frank Thomas (White Sox: 1)
James McCann (Tigers: 2)
Aaron Judge Weekend Players Nickname (Yankees: 1)
Aaron Judge/Jose Altuve/George Springer (Yankees: 2/Astros: 2)

Oh man, here it comes.  This is going to be one of THOSE blasters.

Anthony Rizzo (Cubs: 1)
Stephen Strasburg (Nationals: 4)
Justin Bour (Marlins: 2)
Brad Ziegler (Marlins: 3)
Justin Smoak (Blue Jays: 1)

I like the Ziegler photo and I love the Canada Day uniform on Smoak.
Ernie Banks (Cubs: 2)
Jose Ramirez (Indians: 2)
Ernie Banks Statue (Cubs: 3)
Buster Posey Caricature (Giants: 2)
Aaron Judge Gold (Yankees: 3)

Yep, that's three Aaron Judge cards so far.  I am cursed.

Brandon Woodruff (Brewers: 2)
Anthony Rendon (Nationals: 5)
Johnny Bench (Reds: 1)
Carlos Correa (Astros: 3)
Tzu-Wei Lin (Red Sox: 2)

YES!  Now that is exciting.  That is the first ever Lin card I have pulled from a pack.  #10 in my collection so far.
Orlando Arcia (Brewers: 3)
Daniel Murphy (Nationals: 6)
Brandon Drury (Yankees: 4)
Aaron Judge/Khris Davis/Joey Gallo (Yankees: 5/Athletics: 1/Rangers: 1)
J.T. Realmuto (Marlins: 4)

That is now four Judge cards.  More than most teams.

Yolmer Sanchez (White Sox: 2)
Travis D'Arnaud (Mets: 2)
Ted Williams (Red Sox: 3)
Jeff Samardzija (Giants: 3)
Reynalo Lopez (White Sox: 3)

Classic Williams pose.  Nice bubble on Sanchez.
Matt Harvey (Mets: 3)
Zack Cozart (Angels: 2)
Joey Votto/Matt Carpenter/Kris Bryant (Reds: 2/Cardinals: 1/Cubs: 4)
Ernie Banks Statue Black & White (Cubs: 5)
Tyler Saladino Gold (White Sox: 4)

And that is it.  Let's get a look at the updated team totals:
Chicago Cubs: 25
New York Yankees: 24
Boston Red Sox: 22
Seattle Mariners: 18
Houston Astros: 17
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos: 17 (1 Expo, 16 Nationals)
St. Louis Cardinals: 16
Cleveland Indians: 14
Los Angeles Dodgers: 14
Texas Rangers: 14
Chicago White Sox: 13
Milwaukee Brewers: 13
Baltimore Orioles: 12
Kansas City Royals: 12
Toronto Blue Jays: 12
New York Mets: 11
Detroit Tigers: 10
Oakland Athletics: 10
Philadelphia Phillies: 10
Colorado Rockies: 9
San Francisco Giants: 9
Atlanta Braves: 8
Cincinnati Reds: 8
Los Angeles Angels: 8
Miami Marlins: 7
Minnesota Twins: 7
Pittsburgh Pirates: 7
Tampa Bay Rays: 4
Arizona Diamondbacks: 2
San Diego Padres: 2

Man, what is the deal with the Padres and Diamondbacks?  This is nearly 300 cards and only two of each of those teams.  I kind of get it with the Padres, but the Diamondbacks have Goldschmidt and Greinke, two major stars.  The Cubs maintain a small lead, but the Red Sox fall back behind the Yankees, on the power of four freaking Aaron Judge cards.  

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


Just a one-card mailday today.  This is the 2018 Topps Inception Purple parallel of Tzu-Wei Lin that I picked up with a barely serious Ebay bid.  I guess maybe I am doing this mini player collection thing.  So, who has Tzu-Wei Lin cards?

The weirdest thing about this collection is that I only have one base card of him out of my nine cards of him so far.  I have the 2013 Bowman Chrome base card, but everything else is either a parallel or an insert.  I do not have the 2017 Topps Update, 2018 Stadium Club, 2018 Gypsy Queen, or the 2018 Topps Inception, but I have parallels of most of them.  So there is definitely room to add more.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Trade Roundup

Here is a roundup of some recent trades.

First up, I recently pulled a Darryl Strawberry auto from Topps Big League.  I found a Mets fan that I have previously traded with on the forums and, after trying for some young star autos, offered it up for a package of some rare Red Sox, and a Hall of Famer autograph.  He adjusted my offer somewhat, but I still got a lot of what I really wanted out of it.

Here is my haul for the Strawberry auto:
1.  2013 Topps Museum Collection Autographs Jim Rice.  I already had a couple of Rice autos, but I wanted at least one decent auto for the Strawberry auto.  This was the best I could do, and Rice is a Hall of Famer, so no problems here.

2.  2018 Diamond Kings The 500 Manny Ramirez.  Ramirez is one of four players to hit their 500th home run with the Red Sox, including David Ortiz, Ted Williams, and Jimmie Foxx.  This insert featured every one but Foxx, unfortunately.

3.  2014 Topps Update Edward Mujica.  It does not look like much, but you have to look very carefully at the bottom of his glove.  You can see a sparkle, making this one of the ultra rare Sparkle Variations.  I am not sure why they chose Mujica for this, but that just makes it that much more interesting.

4.  2016 Topps Throwback Thursday 1969 Mod Squad Mookie Betts/David Ortiz/David Price.  Using the 1969 Mod Squad set as a design for three players for each team, Boston's picks were fairly easy for 2016.  This was one of the cards I most wanted to find, and so it feels good to finally add it to my collection.

Not a bad haul for a Strawberry auto.

Up next is a trade that added my eighth Lin card:
1.  2018 Stadium Club Red Foil Tzu-Wei Lin.  So far, this is my favorite photo appearing on a Lin card.  I love the Fenway backdrop, and an angle we do not often see on cards.

It also came with these:
2.  2018 Stadium Club Red Foil Craig Kimbrel.  The red foil cards were the beginning of the trade.  I tried to get Sale as well, but someone else got him first.

3.  2018 Topps Gallery Masterpiece Mookie Betts.  I love the classic Topps Gallery design here.  Just terrific.

4.  2017 Topps Holiday Mookie Betts.  Terrific action shot.

5.  2018 Topps Legends in the Making Mookie Betts.  How about three Mookies?

6.  2007 Topps Update Gold Doug Mirabelli.  Mirabelli is probably my all-time favorite backup catcher.  He did a terrific job offensively and defensively and was Tim Wakefield's personal catcher.  There are unfortunately far too few cards of him available.

7.  2010 Topps Update Gold Josh Reddick.  One of multiple young players Boston traded for relief help that turned into stars.  Jed Lowrie, Mark Melancon, Travis Shaw, and Manuel Margot are some others.  They need to stop doing that.

And finally, a Topps Chrome trade:
1.  2018 Topps Chrome Chris Sale.  He looks angry.

2.  2018 Topps Chrome Craig Kimbrel.  He looks like he just completed a save.

3.  2018 Topps Chrome Purple Refractor Andrew Benintendi.  I do not really understand the different picture from his base Topps card.

4.  2018 Topps Chrome 1983 Rafael Devers.  Devers is having a disappointing season, but he should not be given up on.  Xander Bogaerts did too and looked what he turned into.

Sunday, August 26, 2018

COMC Blaster

I recently decided to do one of my own "COMC Blasters", buying some Red Sox cards for the price I would normally pay for a retail blaster.  I had a few goals in mind, a little vintage, some buybacks, three players who have eluded me so far, at least one new Tzu-Wei Lin (this was a little before deciding on the new mini player collection), and then I would play it by ear.

Here are the results: 
1.  1959 Topps Bill Renna.  The 1959 Topps team set remains one of my primary goals to complete.  I have not made any progress on that in a long time, so I figured it was time.  Renna was apparently a very effective pinch hitter in 1958 for Boston, logging seven hits in 24 at-bats, including a homer.

2.  2017 Topps Heritage Rookie Performers.  Andrew Benintendi continues to grow quickly in my collection as he becomes a superstar.

3.  2012 Bowman Draft Silver Ice Austin Maddox.  I missed this card when it came out and Maddox played in the Majors last year with Boston.  He was a player I had to track down.  He actually had decent numbers, a 0.52 ERA and 14 strikeouts versus two walks in 17.1 innings.  He has been injured much of this season or he would probably be given a chance again.

4.  2017 Topps Heritage Joe Kelly.  I like Kelly, despite his recent struggles.  I used a scan of this card recently in a post and realized I did not already own it.  Oops.

5.  1975 Kellogg's Luis Tiant.  What's better than a '70's Kellogg's card?  A '70's Kellogg's card featuring Luis Tiant of course.

6.  2017 Elite Extra Edition Aspirations Daniel Flores.  This card breaks my heart.  Flores was one of the top picks in the international free agency period last year and Boston worked hard to get him signed.  He already had elite defensive skills at catcher and had the chance to be a truly special player.  Unfortunately, he died in the fall from complications from cancer treatment.  He was just 16 years old.  Truly heartbreaking that a terrific kid and special talent is gone so young.

7.  2017 Topps Update Gold Mitch Moreland.  I just love this photo.

8.  2015 Topps The Originals Buyback 1975 Topps Danny Cater.  Cater is infamous for being part of the return the Red Sox received when they sent lefty relief ace Sparky Lyle to the Yankees, the other being Mario Guerrero.  That was not a good trade for Boston.
9.  2015 Topps The Originals Buyback 1979 Topps Bob Bailey.  Bailey was at the end of the line when he joined Boston in 1977 and hit just four home runs for Boston in his last season and a half.

10.  1976 Shakey's Pizza Joe Cronin.  Well, since I just finished that biography on Cronin, I thought I should add another card of him.

11.  2017 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Steven Wright.  The knuckleballer was my most recent mini player collection, which kind of fell by the wayside when he struggled and was injured last year.  I still want his cards though, and I missed a lot apparently.

12.  2017 Topps Heritage Now & Then Andrew Benintendi.  I do not even know if I intended to pick up two Benny cards.  It just worked out that way.

13.  2018 Topps Gold Matt Barnes.  Boston's most consistent bullpen performer this year is Barnes, who was once a first round draft pick by the Red Sox.

14.  2017 Donruss Silver Marco Hernandez.  Like Maddox, Hernandez had been eluding me.  I did not even know this card existed.  It was only available in Panini Chronicles as an extension of the Donruss set.  Hernandez looked like a decent bet to be the new Brock Holt before injuries curtailed his career.  He is currently on the DL.

15.  2017 Topps Update Gold Ben Taylor.  And here is the third player from last year that has eluded me.  Taylor was a surprise addition to the Opening Day roster last year and the second 2015 draftee to make the Majors (Benintendi was the other).  He pitched well early but was then sent down.  He was waived and picked up by the Indians prior to this season.

16.  2017 Topps Rediscover Gold 1989 Topps Carlos Quintana.  Ah, the first mini player collection.  Quintana is still one of my favorite players to pick up, so I jumped at the chance to add a buyback.

And finally, some Linsanity:
17.  2017 Panini Chronicles Gold Tzu-Wei Lin.  This is just my seventh card of Lin as my collection is still in its infancy, but there is more to come.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Topps Now Road to Opening Day Bonus #4

The Topps Now Road to Opening Day team set was a pretty good buy for me this year.  This year Topps expanded the times a bonus card would be produced to include three homer games and 15 strikeout games to go along with no hitters and cycles.  The other one is the team is in first place in their division at the All Star Break.  And that was the case last year, which was the only bonus card I got that year, as well as this year.

That card came in:
Let's see, we have from left to right: Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, and J.D. Martinez.  A little different than the Killer B's outfield we usually see.  But we definitely need J.D. Martinez on the card as he is a big reason for the team's success this season.

Here is the back:
And from left to right (I think): Martinez, Rafael Devers, Mitch Moreland, and Xander Bogaerts.  As I am writing this, there are two more bonuses that are going to be made, one of which I am really excited about because I was concerned the player may not get a card with the Red Sox.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Red Sox Awards History: Manager of the Year

I was a little surprised when doing research for this post that only two Red Sox managers have ever won the award.  For some reason I had it in my mind that there have been a few other winners (Joe Morgan, Terry Francona, and John Farrell all failed to win one, even though they may have deserved one each).  The Manager of the Year Award has been given out to one manager in each league since 1983.  There are no clear criteria for the award.

Here are the Red Sox winners:

The Red Sox of the early 1980's were pretty boring and one-dimensional.  But it was during that time that the team was beginning to develop some truly impressive young pitching (Roger Clemens, Bruce Hurst, Oil Can Boyd, Al Nipper, John Tudor, Bob Ojeda).  And it all came together in 1986 when the team rolled through the regular season with a 95-66 record and followed that up by beating the California Angels in the ALCS and taking the World Series to Game 7 against the Mets.  McNamara made some questionable decisions in the World Series (standing by Bill Buckner at first base instead of putting in Dave Stapleton for defensive purposes), but his regular season performance was mostly impressive.

The Red Sox in 1999 finished second in the division to the Yankees, but with a very impressive 94-68 record.  The team did win the Wild Card however.  The Red Sox of that season had some terrific offense led by Nomar Garciaparra, Troy O'Leary, Brian Daubach, and others but were mostly hampered by a lack of good starting pitching, after Pedro Martinez, and troubles in the bullpen, as well as the departure of Mo Vaughn.  So the Red Sox were not really expected to do as well, but they managed to win the Wild Card anyway.  They beat the Indians in a thrilling ALDS three games to two, but lost to the Yankees in the ALCS, only winning one game.

I am really surprised Terry Francona never won the award with the Red Sox.  He has won it twice with the Indians, somehow.  Depending on how they finish, I suspect we might see Alex Cora win it this year.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

2017 Topps Update Fat Pack and Another Big League Blaster

And here we go again.  I identified two sets based on needing cards of my new mini player collection to try to find.  There are a couple more out there, but these seemed like the most likely to be able to find cards of him.

Up first is a fat pack of 2017 Topps Update.  This features 36 cards.  I still need a number of base cards and quite a few inserts.  Here are the Red Sox cards from my wantlist:

2017 Topps Update: Andrew Benintendi, Doug Fister, Tzu-Wei Lin, Mitch Moreland, Ben Taylor, Sam Travis

2017 Topps Update Base Variations: Andrew Benintendi, Andrew Benintendi, Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Roger Clemens, Craig Kimbrel, Pedro Martinez, Chris Sale, Ted Williams

2017 Topps Update 1987 Topps: Andrew Benintendi, Chris Sale

2017 Topps Update Hank Aaron Award: David Ortiz

2017 Topps Update Heroes of Autumn: Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz

2017 Topps Update MVP Award Winner: Roger Clemens, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski

2017 Topps Update MVP Award Medallions: Roger Clemens, Ted Williams, Ted Williams, Carl Yastrzemski

2017 Topps Update All Rookie Cup Reprints: Carlton Fisk, Nomar Garciaparra, Dustin Pedroia

2017 Topps Update Salute: Andrew Benintendi, Chris Sale

2017 Topps Update Untouchables: Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Rick Porcello

Barrett Astin (Reds: 1)
Alexi Amarista (Rockies: 1)
Mitch Moreland (Red Sox: 1)
Kendrys Morales (Blue Jays: 1)
Steve Pearce (Blue Jays: 2)
Brock Stassi (Phillies: 1)
Brett Eibner (Dodgers: 1)
Marc Rzepczynski (Mariners: 1)
Taijuan Walker (Diamondbacks: 1)

Finally, the Diamondbacks make an appearance.  I love the shot on the Mitch Moreland card and he is a player I have been hoping to add some more cards of to my collection.

Joaquin Benoit (Phillies: 2)
Joe Smith (Blue Jays: 3)
Robinson Cano (Mariners: 2)
Orlando Arcia (Brewers: 1)
Andrew Moore (Mariners: 3)
Hector Velazquez (Red Sox: 2)
Casey Fien (Phillies: 3)
Jonathan Schoop (Orioles: 1)
Antonia Senzatela Salute (Rockies: 2)

Unfortunately, the Velazquez is a duplicate.

Jason Grilli Foil (Rangers: 1)
Derek Fisher VAR (Astros: 1)
2006 Cardinals Postseason Celebrations (Cardinals: 1)
1907 Cubs Storied World Series (Cubs: 1)
Brian Holman 1990 Rediscover Topps Buyback (Mariners: 4)
Clayton Kershaw (Dodgers: 2)
Matt Boyd (Tigers: 1)
Alex Wood (Dodgers: 3)
Miguel Sano (Twins: 1)

I am not sure who Derek Fisher is, or why he gets a variation card, but oh well.  I never pull decent buybacks.

Justin Turner (Dodgers: 4)
D.J. LeMahieu (Rockies: 3)
Max Scherzer (Nationals: 1)
Derek Fisher (Astros: 2)
Tuffy Gosewich (Mariners: 5)
Jorge Bonifacio (Royals: 1)
Paul Goldschmidt (Diamondbacks: 2)
Stephen Strasburg (Nationals: 2)
Yulieski Gurriel (Astros: 3)

And somehow I ended up with an extra card:

Brandon Moss (Royals: 2)

Up next is the 2018 Topps Big League Blaster.  These are the Red Sox from my want list:

2018 Topps Big League: Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts SK, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Roger Clemens ATG, Rafael Devers, Craig Kimbrel SK, Tzu-Wei Lin, Pedro Martinez ATG, Dustin Pedroia, Rick Porcello, Chris Sale, Chris Sale SK, Chris Sale SK, Chris Sale SK, Chris Sale SK, Ted Williams ATG

2018 Topps Big League Players Weekend Nickname Variation: Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers

I forgot to look at the blaster before grabbing it and ended up with the one player I should have been avoiding.

Aaron Judge (Yankees: 1)

Matt Harvey (Mets: 1)
Jacob DeGrom (Mets: 2)
Tyler Austin (Yankees: 2)
Nomar Mazara (Rangers: 1)

This is a very New York-centric blue pack.

Mitch Moreland (Red Sox: 1)
Willson Contreras (Cubs: 1)
Miguel Sano (Twins: 1)
Clint Frazier (Yankees: 3)
Mikie Mahtook (Tigers: 1)

Rougned Odor (Rangers: 2)
Zack Granite (Twins: 2)
Adrian Beltre (Rangers: 3)
Jon Gray (Rockies: 1)
Juan Lagares Gold (Mets: 3)

Trea Turner (Nationals: 1)
Chris Sale (Red Sox: 2)
Joe Panik (Giants: 1)
Zach Britton (Orioles: 1)
Gregory Polanco (Pirates: 1)

Matt Chapman (Athletics: 1)
Rhys Hoskins (Phillies: 1)
Andrew Miller (Indians: 1)
Hector Neris (Phillies: 2)
Harrison Bader Gold (Cardinals: 1)

Ryan Braun (Brewers: 1)
Marco Estrada (Blue Jays: 1)
Christian Yelich (Brewers: 2)
Aaron Nola (Phillies: 3)
Luke Weaver (Cardinals: 2)

Johnny Cueto (Giants: 2)
Kevin Kiermaier (Rays: 1)
McCovey Cove BL (Giants: 3)
Francisco Lindor Players Weekend Nickname (Indians: 2)
Raisel Iglesias (Reds: 1)

Andrew Benintendi (Red Sox: 3)
Eric Thames (Brewers: 3)
Brad Miller (Rays: 2)
Anthony Rizzo (Cubs: 2)
Brandon Woodruff (Brewers: 4)

Salvador Perez (Royals: 1)
Jedd Gyorko (Cardinals: 3)
Stan Musial Statue BL (Cardinals: 4)
Nelson Cruz Ministers of Mash (Mariners: 1)
Whit Merrifield Gold (Royals: 2)

Kendrys Morales (Blue Jays: 2)
Manny Machado (Orioles: 2)
Walker Buehler (Dodgers: 1)
Anthony Rendon (Nationals: 2)
Yolmer Sanchez (White Sox: 1)

Evan Longoria (Giants: 4)
Gary Sanchez (Yankees: 4)
Jose Berrios (Twins: 3)
Jose Altuve/Eric Hosmer/Elvis Andrus (Astros: 1/Royals: 3/Rangers: 4)
Matt Carpenter (Cardinals: 5)

Not a bad break for the Red Sox.  Two Mitch Moreland cards is pretty interesting and new cards of Sale and Benintendi.  I love the action shots on the Update Moreland and on the Benintendi.  No inserts or parallels is a little disappointing.  And no Tzu-Wei Lin cards either.

So here is the updated team by team breakdown with the new stuff added on:
Chicago Cubs: 20
Boston Red Sox: 19
New York Yankees: 19
Seattle Mariners: 16
St. Louis Cardinals: 15
Houston Astros: 14
Texas Rangers: 13
Cleveland Indians: 12
Kansas City Royals: 12
Los Angeles Dodgers: 12
Toronto Blue Jays: 11
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos: 11 (1 Expo, 10 Nationals)
Baltimore Orioles: 10
Milwaukee Brewers: 10
Chicago White Sox: 9
Colorado Rockies: 9
Oakland Athletics: 9
Philadelphia Phillies: 9
Detroit Tigers: 8
New York Mets: 8
Pittsburgh Pirates: 7
Atlanta Braves: 6
Cincinnati Reds: 6
Los Angeles Angels: 6
Minnesota Twins: 6
San Francisco Giants: 6
Miami Marlins: 3
Tampa Bay Rays: 3
Arizona Diamondbacks: 2
San Diego Padres: 1

The Cubs continue to lead.  The Red Sox have tied the Yankees for second place and only one card behind the Cubs.  After that things get bunched up.  The Diamondbacks have finally made an appearance and have pulled ahead of the poor Padres.