Friday, November 30, 2018

More Random Hits

Someone on the trading forums recently put up a lot of Red Sox cards for a fixed price, no doubt hoping to capitalize on the team's recent World Series win.  Apparently he had the lot up for a little while with no takers.  Lucky me.  There was some pretty good stuff in there for a Red Sox fan like myself.  I grabbed it.
There were quite a few duplicates in the lot, but there were four cards that absolutely sold me on it.  The Brian Johnson autograph was the first.  Johnson is probably not going to last much longer in Boston, but he has had some good moments.  The Clay Buchholz jersey card was the second one.  I also really liked the Chris Sale card, though not so much that it convinced me to buy the lot.
Wil Cordero was the third card.  This is an Artist Proof and it looks fantastic in person.  The fourth card was the clincher.  It is the Drew Pomeranz auto.  Even though he is likely not going to be in Boston much longer either, I had to add an auto of him.  He had a great 2017 season, but was mostly disappointing otherwise.  The other base cards all knocked stuff off of my wantlist. 

So this was a pretty good buy.  For a decently low price, I added autographs of Johnson and Pomeranz and a relic of Buchholz, as well as a great parallel card of Cordero, plus some other randomness.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Golden Lin (Gold-Lin?)

It slipped my mind that this parallel existed.  Well I managed to get it when it popped up, weirdly after the 1/1 Black.  NOW I really do have the full run of the non-autographed version of this card.  I still need the Gold and Black autographs.  

This makes 88 Tzu-Wei Lin cards.  The only current Red Sox of whom I have more cards are Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, and Jackie Bradley Jr.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Gobbling Up Red Sox

Coming back from Thanksgiving weekend, my mail box was full of trade packages.  That was a lot of fun to come home to.  Most of the cards in the packages were from my wantlist, something I am focusing back on now that the Tzu-Wei Lin cards have dried up a bit.
This package mostly included Topps inserts from this year.  Craig Kimbrel and Rafael Devers each show up with two cards.  Devers is likely to take off in my collection next year, while I feel that this is probably the last gasp for Kimbrel.  I also grabbed one of the Update base cards I needed, the forgotten Kyle Martin.  Somehow he got a card in Update despite not pitching in Boston at all this year.  I feel like they should have had Lin in the set instead, or maybe someone like Ryan Brasier who still does not have any cards.
Package #2 was filled with stars from the past.  And Jeremy West.  Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx and Pedro Martinez.  Potential future Hall of Famer Curt Schilling.  Former stars Johnny Damon and Nomar Garciaparra.  And Jeremy West. 
Here is a Topps Gallery-centric package.  I have resisted the urge to buy any packs of this as I am taking a break from pack-ripping due to the holidays and the lack of interesting stuff to buy.  I like the two base cards, but the Devers and Benintendi inserts are terrific.
And this is the last trade.  The most interesting cards here are the Kimbrel, Pomeranz, and Martinez cards.  These are apparently from team packages from National Baseball Card Day.  I had no idea this was actually a thing, but each team had 10 exclusive cards in packs.  Apparently they did it last year too.  I had no idea.  Now I have to find them. 

That's it for the mailday roundup.  There are still several more trade packages out there.  And more.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 14: Carney Lansford

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not?
When I was a kid and getting into baseball, I thought it was so cool that a Red Sox player won the batting title the year that I was born.  That player, obviously was Carney Lansford.
Lansford was in his fourth season in the Majors in 1981, and his first with the Red Sox.  He came up with the Angels in 1978 and was third in the Rookie of the Year vote.  He was traded to Boston, along with Mark Clear and Rick Miller in exchange for long-time fan favorites Rick Burleson and Butch Hobson.  Injuries derailed Burleson and Hobson in California, so this trade ended up working out better for Boston.
Taking over for Hobson at third, Lansford turned in one of, if not the, best seasons of his career.  His power was noticeably absent as he hit just four home runs, but that may have had something to do with the strike during the season.  But he hit .336/.389/.439, driving in 52 and stealing 15 bases.  His average was a career high.  He also won a Silver Slugger Award, in the first season the awards were given out, and finished sixth in the MVP race.

1982 was Lansford's second, and last, season in Boston.  He had another good year, hitting .301/.359/.444 with 11 home runs and 63 RBIs.  Unfortunately for him, Boston had a young third-baseman who made his debut in 1982, named Wade Boggs.  Lansford was traded to Oakland along with Garry Hancock and a prospect for Tony Armas and Jeff Newman.  He would play the rest of his career in Oakland.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Slightly More than One-Year Wonder Pt. 6: Dave Henderson

These players made it longer than one full season, but less than two seasons. They do not qualify as one-year wonders. They lasted slightly too long. But they still spent a brief part of their careers with the Red Sox.
When I first started watching baseball, the Oakland Athletics were THE team.  They had been to the World Series each of the previous three seasons, winning in 1989 and had great hitters up and down their lineup, terrific starting pitching, and one of the greatest closers of all-time in the middle of his terrific run of success.  They had a truly outstanding outfield consisting of Jose Canseco in right, Rickey Henderson in left, and Dave Henderson in center.  All three would play for the Red Sox at some point, but at that point in time, Dave Henderson was the only one who had played for Boston in his career.  It was intriguing to me that this great team had players who were once Red Sox (of course Dennis Eckersley and Carney Lansford had also spent time in Boston).  

"Hendu" came up through the Seattle Mariners system and had a few good seasons but was largely viewed as not yet reaching his potential when he was sent to the Red Sox.  Boston was in the middle of a terrific season in 1986, on their way to the AL pennant, but had a couple of holes in their lineup: shortstop and center field.  At short, they were relying on the shell of Glenn Hoffman and the disappointing Rey Quinones.  In center, Tony Armas was well-past his prime.  Boston shored up both positions in a single deal by acquiring Spike Owen and Henderson for Quinones and three players to be named later.  

While neither player hit all that well the rest of the season, they were both instrumental in the postseason.  Henderson hit just .196/.226/.314 with just one home run and three RBIs.  He also stole a base.  He did not hit much in the ALCS against the Angels, but did hit one huge home run.  In the top of the ninth inning in Game 5, Boston was facing elimination 5-2.  Don Baylor homered to pull within one.  After the second out was recorded, Rich Gedman was hit by a pitch and Henderson was up with the season on the line.  He hit one of the biggest home runs in team history, putting Boston ahead.  The Angels would tie it back up, but Henderson came through yet again in the 11th driving in the winning run with a sac fly.  Henderson continued his hot hitting in the World Series by hitting .400/.448/.760 with two home runs and five RBIs.  It certainly was not his fault Boston lost the World Series.

Henderson went into the 1987 season as the team's starting center fielder.  He did not hit particularly well then either.  He played in 75 games with a line of .234/.313/.418 but did hit eight home runs and 25 RBIs.  Boston had two terrific prospects at center field in the minors in Brady Anderson and Ellis Burks.  Burks was ready to go and quickly took over.  Boston attempted to move Henderson, but did not find a taker until September when he was traded to the Giants for Randy Kutcher.  Henderson did very little for the Giants and joined the A's after the season.

Finally, Henderson was able to reach his potential with a terrific 1988 season.  He went on to be a major part of the Athletics semi-dynasty.  It is unfortunate that he never really played well for the Red Sox, but he will always be remembered for his heroics in the 1986 postseason, particularly Game 5 of the ALCS. 

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Red Sox Awards History: Rolaids/Mariano Rivera Relief Award

The Rolaids Relief Man Award was been given to the best relief pitcher in each league from 1976-2012.  After a one-year hiatus, a new award was born, named after two all-time great relief pitchers from each league.  The National League has the Trevor Hoffman Award.  The American League has the Mariano Rivera Award. 

Three Red Sox relievers have won the Relief Man Award:

I don't get this, and I have talked about it before.  How exactly did Sparky Lyle win the Cy Young Award?  Bill Campbell won this award though, for the second year in a row.  Campbell signed a huge (for the time) free agent contract with the Red Sox before the 1977 season.  He was 13-9 with a 2.96 ERA, leading the league with 31 saves.  He also struck out 114 in 140 innings.  

"Flash" is the Red Sox single-season leader in saves after he notched 46 of them in 1998.  He briefly owned the record for consecutive saves with 54, which he did during the 1998 season into the 1999 season.  Gordon led the league in saves and was 7-4 with a 2.72 ERA and 78 strikeouts in 79.1 innings with 25 walks.  Gordon had been a starter earlier in his career and switched to closer in 1997.  

Kimbrel was a two-time winner of the National League Award while with the Braves.  He picked up the win in the American League after an incredible 2017 in which he was 5-0 with a 1.43 ERA and saved 35 games.  He struck out an amazing 126 batters and walked just 14 in only 69 innings.  

The biggest surprise I think is that Jonathan Papelbon never won the award.  

Saturday, November 24, 2018

David Price Wins Comeback Player of the Year

David Price is the eighth Red Sox player to win the Comeback Player of the Year.  Price was injured for much of the 2017 season, making it into just 16 games (11 starts).  He was effective when he was on the field though, going 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA and 76 strikeouts in 74 innings.  Price was even used in relief during the postseason.  So this award is a little puzzling.  Price was healthy all season this year and for an extended stretch of time, he was the best pitcher in the Red Sox rotation.  His ERA this season was a little down (3.58), but Price pitched 176 innings and struck out 177 and finished with a 16-7 record.  Of course he was truly great in the postseason.  Price has redeemed himself in the eyes of Red Sox fans after his 2018 season.

Friday, November 23, 2018

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 11: Smead Jolley

Failure is often even more fascinating than success. I am definitely intrigued by the 1932 Boston Red Sox, the worst Red Sox team of all time. The team finished with a record of 43-111, for a winning percentage of .279 and very little went right.
Well, here I am coming off of quite possibly the greatest Red Sox season of all time, still talking about the worst Red Sox season of all time.  That's alright.  It's kind of fun.

Let's start with the good things about Smead Jolley.  He led the 1932 Red Sox in home runs (18) and RBIs (99), despite starting the season with the Chicago White Sox.  He had a great hitting line of .309/.345/.480.  He did not strike out much, with just 29 in 560 plate appearances.  He knocked 27 doubles and five triples.

And now for the bad.  He was caught stealing five times in 1932 without a single successful stolen base.  He was woefully inadequate as a fielder.  Stories have widely circulated of him once making three errors on the same play (rolled through his legs, caromed off the wall and rolled back through his legs, then thrown away), though that does not seem to be entirely correct.  Although there is definitely truth to him being a bad fielder.  Despite his excellent hitting numbers (career .305/.343/.475), he spent just four years in the Majors.  Jolley was born to be a designated hitter.

Jolley spent the first two-plus seasons of his career with the White Sox, though he was already 28 when he made his debut.  He had a terrific rookie season in 1930.  He was traded to the Red Sox in late April of 1932 along with Bennie Tate and Johnny Watwood for catcher Charlie Berry and utility man Jack Rothrock.  He quickly became one of the top hitters on the team.  

1933 was Jolley's last season in the Majors.  He was a little disappointing, hitting .282/.325/.445 with nine home runs and 65 RBIs for the Red Sox.  He was traded to the Browns after the season for Carl Reynolds and returned to the minors for several more successful seasons.  

Jolley was always a terrific hitter.  If he could have played just a little bit of defense, he might have had a long Major League career. 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Mailday Roundups

I am working on getting some trades going on the forums again.  Particularly since there are a ton of cards on my wantlist from the last few years yet.

The first package did not help with the last few years of my wantlist, but helps nevertheless:
1997 Donruss Team Set Pennant Edition Reggie Jefferson.  One of my favorite things to come from the 90's were team-specific parallel sets.  This is the parallel to the base set, only my second one.  I previously had the Nomar Garciaparra due to exceptionally good luck with a few loose packs I opened.  I have mentioned before that Jefferson was one of my favorite under-the-radar players in the late 90's.  He was a very good hitter.

Up next is another Lin card.  Because of course. 
This is the Black and White auto from Archives Snapshots.  I was beginning to wonder if this was coming.  The tracking number indicated it was delivered, but to an address in Oregon.  That is not me.  But it made it after all. 

Up next is an order I placed on Beckett's marketplace.  There are two parts to it. 
This is the first part.  The Choice Pawtucket Red Sox card.  This is my second minor league card of Lin.  Both are with Pawtucket. 

This is the second part:

1.  1955 Topps Milt Bolling.  Bolling was one of the many bonus babies the Red Sox signed in the early 1950's that never panned out.  His best season was 1954 when he hit .249/.337/.368.  That is not terribly impressive, though he was a middle infielder.

2.  1954 Topps Mel Parnell.  This is a well-loved card.  Parnell was a legitimately great starting pitcher early in his career.  Injuries took their toll on him however.  His best season was 1949 when he was 25-7 with a 2.77 ERA.

3.  1956 Topps Sammy White.  White was a somewhat underrated catcher in the 1950's.  He was an All Star in 1953 when he hit .273/.318/.435 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs.

Always nice to add some vintage.  I need to focus a little more on it.

And next is a trade for a bunch of High Tek and a couple more refractors:
Some nice stuff here.  I have no intention of ever buying packs of High Tek so it is nice to work out trades for the cards I need. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Underrated Player of the Year: 2018

In this series, I look at one player per year from 1991-the present who came out of nowhere or had a great year that no one really noticed or expected.
I considered going with Steve Pearce here, but winning the World Series MVP kind of disqualified him.  There really is no one better than Ryan Brasier anyway.  

Brasier had a long, winding road to make it to the Majors this year.  He was originally drafted by the Angels in the sixth round of the 2007 Draft.  It took several years but he made it to the Majors in 2013 with the Angels.  He appeared in just seven games as a reliever.  He threw nine innings, striking out seven and walking four with a 2.00 ERA.  He then missed all of 2014.  

The Athletics grabbed him as a minor league free agent in 2015 and he spent the next two seasons in the minors.  In 2017 he went to Japan to play for the Hiroshima Carp.  He pitched well enough that the Red Sox took a flyer on him for the 2018 season.  He spent Spring Training mostly as a closer and was assigned to Pawtucket once the season started.  He pitched so well in Pawtucket (13 saves, 1.34 ERA) that he got the call-up to Boston.

The 30-year-old gradually built up enough trust that he started getting thrust into more and more important situations.  Brasier soon became a set-up man.  For the season, he pitched in 34 games with a 2-0 record and a 1.60 ERA.  He struck out 29 batters while walking just seven batters in 33.2 innings.  Surprisingly, he is still technically eligible as a rookie in 2019.  

The biggest sign of the trust he had gained from his manager was his inclusion on the post-season roster.  Brasier struggled a bit in his first appearance, but was able to adapt.  His barking at Gary Sanchez to get in the box and stop stalling endeared him even more to his teammates and fans.  He appeared in nine games in the postseason, with a 1.04 ERA and seven strikeouts.

There is no way to be sure what Brasier will become, but he had a terrific 2018 season, capped off by being on a World Championship team.  Hopefully he will get a Major League card made soon.  Maybe in 2019 Topps or Heritage.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Lin Camo

One of the sets that I am most interested in finding for my Tzu-Wei Lin collection is the 2017 Topps Update set.  I have not made much progress with it, only finding the base, gold, rainbow foil, negative, and clear parallels.  A lot of the harder to find ones have eluded me.  Until now:
This is the Memorial Day Camo parallel, serial-numbered to 25.  It is these special color ones that I am most interested in.  

As for his chances of making it to the Red Sox roster next season, I am a little concerned.  Boston has a logjam of infielders, especially with Eduardo Nunez deciding to exercise his option to stay for another year.  I thought that was Lin's best chance.  He will have to compete with Brock Holt, Marco Hernandez, and Blake Swihart to make a superutility role.  There are two spots still available on the position player part of the roster and Lin can play in the outfield.  He also hit well down the stretch.  I think there is a reasonable chance he will make it onto the Opening Day roster.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Season in Review: 2018

After two straight AL East Division titles and two straight seasons in which they were bounced in the first round, the Red Sox changed out their manager.  John Farrell was fired and Alex Cora was brought in.  The Red Sox won the most games in franchise history, finishing with a record of 108-54.  They then rolled through the postseason, defeating the Yankees in four games in the ALDS, the Astros in five games in the ALCS, and then the Dodgers in five games in the World Series.  This will likely go down as one of the greatest seasons in Red Sox history.  I am happy to have witnessed it.

Mookie Betts
What is there really to say about Betts's season?  He was the AL MVP and won the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove Awards.  He became just the second Red Sox player to join the 30/30 club, hitting 32 home runs and stealing 30 bases.  He is the first Red Sox player to win the batting title (.346) since Bill Mueller in 2003.  It was an absolutely incredible season for the leadoff hitter.  The only criticism is that he struggled in the postseason.

Chris Sale
For the second straight season, Sale looked like the best pitcher in the league until the last month or so of the season when injuries slowed him down.  Sale had to settle for fourth in the AL Cy Young vote and did not pitch enough innings to even qualify for the ERA title.  As it was, Sale turned in another terrific season, going 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA and striking out 237 while walking 34 in just 158 innings.

Xander Bogaerts
This was the breakout season we have all been waiting for from Bogaerts.  He has had good seasons in the past, but he truly reached expectations in 2018 by hitting .288/.360/.522 and crushing 23 home runs.  He knocked in over 100 runs for the first time, finishing second on the team with 103.  He also hit 45 doubles.  Bogaerts was steady in the field, but not exceptional.

Andrew Benintendi
Benintendi had a year very similar to his rookie season.  It was very good, just not quite the step forward that people were expecting.  As it was, he was somewhat overshadowed by his more famous teammates, though he did hit .290/.366/.465.  His home runs were down to 16, but he did drive in 87 runs, stole 21 bases, and hit 41 doubles and six triples.

Jackie Bradley Jr.
JBJ really struggled at the plate in the first half of the season, but came on strong in the second half.  He did continue to play outstanding defense and won his first Gold Glove Award.  He hit just .234/.314/.403 with 13 home runs and 59 RBIs.  He also stole 17 bases.  Bradley was the ALCS MVP despite having just three hits.  But each of those hits was huge.

David Price
While Sale was down with a shoulder injury, David Price carried the team on his back.  He started the season somewhat unevenly but went on a massive hot streak for a significant portion of the year.  That allowed Price to finish with a record of 16-7 with a 3.58 ERA.  He struck out 177 batters and walked 50 in 176 innings.  Price saved his best for the postseason.

Eduardo Rodriguez
One of these years E-Rod is really going to break out.  This felt like the season until he suffered some injuries.  As it was, he finished with a record of 13-5 with a 3.82 ERA.  He struck out 146 and walked 45 in 129.2 innings.  He had a great, gutsy performance in World Series Game 4.

Brock Holt
The utility man extraordinaire had one of his best seasons in 2018.  He provided his typical versatility, mostly playing second base.  He had a late-season power surge that allowed him to finish with a line of .277/.362/.411 with seven home runs and 46 RBIs.  Holt became the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle in a postseason game when he did the deed in Game 3 of the ALDS.

J.D. Martinez
Who else could it be?  Martinez signed late in the offseason and provided the kind of production at DH that Red Sox fans came to expect from David Ortiz.  He challenged for the Triple Crown at one point, but ended up only leading the league in RBIs (130).  He came in second in batting average (.330) and home runs (43).  He won the Hank Aaron Award and two Silver Sluggers, something that has never been done before.

Steve Pearce
Acquired in a June trade with the Blue Jays, Pearce did what he does best: crush lefties.  Pearce had an epic game against the Yankees when he hit three home runs against them.  For the Red Sox, he hit .279/.394/.507 with seven home runs and 29 RBIs.  

Nathan Eovaldi
Eovaldi was picked up in a trade with the Rays, the first major trade those two teams have ever completed.  He immediately helped stabilize the rotation and in particular did some damage against the Yankees.  He pitched in 12 games for the Red Sox and was 3-3 with a 3.33 ERA and struck out 48 while walking 12 in 54 innings.

Ryan Brasier
Brasier came into the season as a complete unknown.  The 30 year old had not pitched in the Majors since 2013.  He quickly came to be one of the most important members of the bullpen though.  He pitched in 34 games in relief and finished with a 2-0 record and a 1.60 ERA.  He struck out 29 and walked seven in 33.1 innings.

Rafael Devers
After a terrific rookie season, Devers experienced some growing pains in 2018.  He struggled defensively at third base, and had a rough season at the plate.  He still displayed flashes of the player he could become however.  Devers hit .240/.298/.433 with 21 home runs and 66 RBIs.  

Drew Pomeranz
Pomeranz was terrific in 2017, not so much in 2018.  He struggled with injuries for most of the season and was ineffective when he was on the mound.  After winning 17 games in 2017, he was just 2-6 with a 6.08 ERA.  He struck out 66, but walked 44 in 74 innings.

Steve Pearce
Well obviously I am going to start out with the World Series MVP.  Pearce hit .333/.500/1.167 with three home runs and eight RBIs.  Two of those home runs were in the clinching Game 5.  He became a folk hero in Boston this postseason.

Nathan Eovaldi
Eovaldi was lights-out in the post-season.  He was also willing to do whatever was asked of him, starting games in the ALDS and ALCS and appearing in relief in four more games across the postseason.  All told, he pitched 22.1 innings with a 1.61 ERA, winning two games and notching two holds.  He struck out 16 and walked just three.  His biggest moment was pitching seven innings in relief in Game 3 of the World Series.  Though he ended up losing the game, he managed to keep it close and saved David Price from having to come in.  Which brings us to...

David Price
It has always been a criticism that David Price did not perform well in the postseason, so much that he was called one of the worst postseason pitchers of all time.  After Game 2 of the ALDS against the Yankees, it was looking like more of the same.  But then Price pitched reasonably well against the Astros in Game 2 of the ALCS.  And then he turned in three straight fantastic starts against the Astros and Dodgers, even winning the clinching game of the World Series.  Price is no longer a postseason joke.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Mookie Betts Wins 2018 AL MVP

I am planning a post on MVP winners sometime soon.  Mookie Betts won the award this year with an incredible season in which he won the batting title and joined the 30/30 club.  Betts narrowly missed out on the 2016 AL MVP vote to Mike Trout finishing 45 points down.  This year, the two flipped places and Betts beat out Trout.  Betts also led the league in runs (129) and slugging percentage (.640).  He hit .346/.438/.640 with 32 home runs and 80 RBIs while stealing 30 bases.  He also played exceptional defense, winning his third Gold Glove.  Betts was a deserving choice for AL MVP.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

I Had No Choice. It Had to be Done.

I have previously resisted the urge to ever buy one of those booklet cards.  They do not fit at all in my binders.  I just have not taken the plunge.  But one came out recently that left me with no alternative.  I had to buy it.  It would be terrible if I did not.

Here is the front:
Yes, that is a card of Al Simmons with the Red Sox.  I do not believe there is a single other card out there that depicts "Bucketfoot" with Boston, other than exceptionally rare Panini cards.  As such, my collection was missing a Hall of Famer.

Sure, Simmons is not in the Hall of Fame because of anything that he did in Boston.  I covered that here.  He played in just 40 games with Boston in the penultimate season of his career when he was 41 years old.  That is old now, it was ancient for players in that time period.  It was a war year and teams were just looking for warm bodies to fill their rosters.  Simmons qualified though he did not hit much, with just a .203/.248/.263 line.  He did hit his final home run in a Red Sox uniform.

I can not let a Hall of Famer be absent in my collection.  It is bad enough that there are no cards available of so many players.  There are other Hall of Famers absent from my collection, like Jesse Burkett, Jack Chesbro, and Waite Hoyt.  But you can bet I would do the same thing if one popped up like this one.

Here it is open:   
I have no idea if he is actually wearing a Red Sox uniform, though it is possible.  But it is clearly identified as a Red Sox card.  I have not even mentioned that it is a bat relic card.  I have not been buying a ton of relics lately, but you can bet I will if it is a player like this. 

So there it is.  My very first booklet card.  My very first Al Simmons card.  I had no choice.  It had to be done.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Blue-Wei Lin

I have restrained from doing many stupid pun titles lately and it has actually been a whole week since I did a Lin update.  Today's mailday provided a perfect opportunity to break both streaks though.
Here we have two blue parallels from the Topps Archives Snapshots set: the autograph and the base variation.  There are just two more cards that I need to have the master Lin set from Archives Snapshots.  One of them is on its way.  The other is going to be tough to find.  I am now up to 84 Lin cards.  100 does not seem too far out of reach.  But to get there I may have to pick up a bunch of the Rize cards.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Topps Now Postseason Bonus #3: World Series

That didn't take too long.  This is the final Topps Now Bonus Card and it is kind of an awkward picture I think.  I am pretty sure this one was taken in the locker room during the trophy celebration.  I can actually name all of the players whose entire faces we can see.  From left we have: Sandy Leon, Mookie Betts, Christian Vazquez, Jackie Bradley Jr., Mitch Moreland, and Brock Holt.  Still debating whether I will consider this card a card of those players or a team card.

Of course by now everyone knows Boston beat Los Angeles (sorry Night Owl) 4-1.  Other than a loss in the 18th inning in Game 3, the Red Sox pretty much dominated the Dodgers.  It is the fourth time I have seen the Red Sox win a World Series.  It does not get old.  I really enjoyed this year because, despite having a lot of big work projects, I was really able to sit and watch the games.  That was not really true in 2013 when I was in the process of moving to a new house or 2004 when I was in law school.  I did watch 2007 when I lived completely on my own with only two cats for company.  It was a great year this year.  There is one last thing to happen before I can turn my attention to next year's team. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

2018 Topps Update Blaster #3

This is likely to be the last pack break of the year for me.  I was hoping to go out with a bang, but it did not happen.  I still have a ways to go to get the team set, and I really want to get the Kinsler base variation.  

Here is the wantlist:
2018 Topps Update: Mookie Betts/J.D. Martinez, Craig Kimbrel AS, Kyle Martin, J.D. Martinez, Marcus Walden

2018 Topps Update Base Variations: Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Ian Kinsler, J.D. Martinez, Pedro Martinez, Ted Williams

2018 Topps Update 1983: Rafael Devers, J.D. Martinez

2018 Topps Update All Star Stitches: Mitch Moreland JSY

2018 Topps Update An International Affair: Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Pedro Martinez, David Ortiz, Ted Williams

2018 Topps Update Legends in the Making: J.D. Martinez

2018 Topps Update Postseason Preeminence: David Ortiz

2018 Topps Update Salute: Mookie Betts, Pedro Martinez, Ted Williams

2018 Topps Update Storybook Endings: David Ortiz

Instead of doing scans of everything, I will just scan the trade bait stuff and the Red Sox.  If anyone wants to trade and has some Red Sox stuff from my wantlist, please let me know.  

Here are the Red Sox:
I pulled four Red Sox, but two were duplicates (there were a lot of duplicates yet again).  The first is the veteran combo card with J.D. Martinez and Mookie Betts.  And the second is the International Affair Pedro Martinez insert, easily my favorite of the two.  

And here is the trade bait:

This is the tally from each team for this break:

And here is the updated team tally:

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Topps Now Postseason Bonus #2: ALCS

Here we have the celebratory photo after the Red Sox finished off the defending World Champion Houston Astros in the ALCS 4-1.  I used to try to identify every player in these big photos and count them as a card for each player.  That got too difficult to keep track of so I stopped.  We do have Jackie Bradley Jr. pretty much right in front, which is notable since he was the ALCS MVP.  I think Tzu-Wei Lin is the dude in the gray hoodie over J.D. Martinez's left shoulder on the left of the photo. 

I long thought that if the Red Sox could just beat the Astros in the ALCS that they would likely win the World Series.  Turns out I was correct on that front.  But I also thought the ALCS would go the full seven games.  That did not happen.

I should be getting the last bonus card soon.  I am still waiting on my Postseason set with the autograph card and my World Champs set with the autograph.  I am anxious to see what I get.  Hopefully soon.