I will pre-emptively apologize for the bad scan. I decided to try to cram all ten cards into one scan. There is not much exciting here, mostly just base cards with a couple of minor parallels so I will not be spending a lot of time on it.
Saturday, April 24, 2021
Friday, April 23, 2021
I still have no idea why it is SO hard to find any packs anywhere. I have generally been able to find maybe one blaster of each new product before it is gone. The Walmart shelves have been empty for weeks now. I was lucky last Fall to grab one box of Topps Gallery. Here are the Red Sox:
Thursday, April 22, 2021
Today I am showing off my first Mitch Moreland autograph card, acquired after Moreland had already been traded to the Padres (and he is with Oakland this season). But Moreland was a favorite during his time in Boston, so I guess it is time to talk about him.
Wednesday, April 21, 2021
There were not a lot of Topps Now cards for the Red Sox in 2020. There was not much to cheer about. But, late in the season, the Red Sox brought up pitching prospect Tanner Houck, and he was extremely impressive. His first two starts led to Topps Now cards.
Tuesday, April 20, 2021
2020 was a mess for a lot of reasons. Obviously with the COVID-19 pandemic, the season consisted of just 60 games and there were no fans in the stands. Watching games was not as much fun without the energy of the crowds. Of course the biggest issue was that prior to the season, the Red Sox traded superstar Mookie Betts to the Dodgers. Without their biggest star of the last several seasons and missing both Chris Sale and Eduardo Rodriguez, due to health issues, and a managerial change due to Alex Cora being suspended for his pat in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, the team played poorly. Ron Roenicke stepped in and did the best he could, but this was a rough roster.
FIVE FAVORITE PLAYERS
Shortstop Bogaerts stepped in to Mookie Betts's shoes as the leader of the team in 2020. He tied for the team lead in home runs (eleven), doubles (36) and led the team in stolen bases (eight). Bogaerts hit .300/.364/.502 and had the highest OPS (.867) and OPS+ (131) on the team. His defense was still somewhat suspect, but he is one of the best-hitting shortstops in the league.
JACKIE BRADLEY, JR.
FAVORITE MID-SEASON ACQUISITION
Not a lot of choices here. I suppose I could have gone with Christian Arroyo, but he was not quite as impressive. Pivetta was acquired in the Phillies trade for Heath Hembree and Brandon Workman, but was not the primary part of the deal. He made two starts at the end of the season, going 2-0 with a 1.80 ERA in ten innings pitched. He notched 13 strikeouts while walking five.
With a pitching motion that looked like a right-handed Chris Sale, and some electrifying stuff, Houck made a big impact when he made his Major League debut. Houck started three games at the end of the season, throwing 17 innings. He had a 3-0 record, striking out 21 and walking nine batters. The former first-round pick was a big boost to the depleted rotation.
Martinez had a really rough season in 2020 after two great seasons as the Red Sox designated hitter. Part of the issue was the inability to review his at-bats in-game as the sport cut down on video review. Martinez hit just seven home runs with a line of .213/.291/.389. He had 22 runs scored, 45 hits, 16 doubles and 27 RBI.
In what turned out to be his final season in Boston, Benintendi started the season as the leadoff hitter, made it into 14 games, and then was injured and missed the rest of the year. When he was healthy, he was bad. Benintendi ended his final season in Boston hitting just .103/.314/.128 with four hits, four runs scored, one double, one RBI and one stolen base.
Monday, April 19, 2021
This is a pretty random package with some odds and ends in it, but the last card is from 1961 Topps. I keep meaning to get into more vintage stuff, but it is definitely harder to come by.
Sunday, April 18, 2021
Thomas was still a force to be reckoned with in 1995, even though he dropped to eighth in the A.L. MVP vote. He still led the league in walks (136), while hitting .308/.454/.606 with 40 home runs, 111 RBIs and 102 runs scored. He was an All Star for the third season in a row. Thomas also tied for the team lead in doubles (27) with Ray Durham.
After a couple of seasons of lead-up, Vaughn truly broke through in 1995. The big first-baseman was named A.L. MVP in a rather controversial vote, but was also an All Star and won the Silver Slugger. Vaughn tied for the league lead in RBIs (126), while hitting .300/.388/.575 with 39 home runs, 98 runs scored, 165 hits, 28 doubles and eleven stolen bases.
In his second full season in the Majors, the Cleveland right-fielder hit made his first All Star game and won his first Silver Slugger, while receiving some MVP consideration. Ramirez hit .308/.402/.558 with 85 runs scored, 26 doubles, 31 home runs and 107 RBIs.
After an injury-plagued season in 1994, McGwire came back in a big way. He was named to his seventh All Star team and led the A's in home runs (39) and RBIs (90), while hitting .274/.441/.685, all while playing in just 104 games.
Gonzalez played in just 90 games for the Rangers in 1995 due to injuries. Despite this, he finished second on the team in home runs (27) and RBIs (82). He hit .295/.324/.594 while accumulating 57 runs scored, 104 hits and 20 doubles.
In his last season north of the border, Alomar was named to his sixth All Star game and won his fifth Gold Glove. The second-baseman hit .300/.354/.449 with 71 runs scored, 155 hits, 24 doubles, seven triples, 13 home runs and 66 RBIs. He also stole 30 bases, while being caught just three times. He led the team in hits, triples, stolen bases and batting average.
Salmon is probably one of the best players to never be named an All Star, obviously of those that played when there were All Star games. He had his best individual season in 1995, winning the only Silver Slugger Award of his career and finishing seventh in the MVP race. Salmon hit .330/.429/.594 with 177 hits, 111 runs scored, 34 doubles, 34 home runs and 105 RBIs. He led the team in the slash categories, hits, doubles and home runs.
Had the Giants been a little better, Bonds might have had an argument for N.L. MVP. All he did in 1995 was lead the league in walks (120), on-base percentage and OPS (1.009) while hitting .294/.431/.577 and turning in a 30/30 season (33/31). He also scored 109 runs and drove in 104 while making the All Star team.
Gwynn won his sixth batting title in 1995, hitting .368/.404/.484. He also led the Major Leagues in hits (197), while also accumulating 82 runs scored, 33 doubles, nine home runs, 90 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. He finished ninth in the MVP vote and was an All Star and a Silver Slugger recipient.
Sanders had the best season of his career in 1995 as he was named to the All Star team for the only time in his career and finished sixth in the N.L. MVP vote, the only time he received any consideration. Sanders hit .306/.397/.579 with 28 home runs, 91 runs scored, 36 doubles, 99 RBIs and 36 stolen bases.
The Rockies acquired Walker in a marquee free agent deal prior to the 1995 season, which would ultimately prove to be the move that led him to the Hall of Fame. He finished seventh in the MVP race after hitting .306/.381/.607 with 31 doubles, 36 home runs, 101 RBIs and 16 stolen bases.
Still just 23 years old, Martinez was starting to develop into the Hall of Fame pitcher he would become at this point. He led the Expos staff in most major pitching statistics. Martinez had a record of 14-10 with a 3.51 ERA. In 194.2 innings pitched, he notched 174 strikeouts while walking 66 batters.
The Pirates were horrible in 1995 and very little in the way of quality players. King, a former first overall draft pick, had the best season of his career to that point (he would have better seasons in the next couple years). King led the Pirates hitters in home runs (18) and RBIs (87), while hitting .265/.342/.456.
First-baseman Grace had the best season of his career in 1995, finishing 13th in the MVP race while winning a Gold Glove and being named to the All Star team. He led the league in doubles (51). He hit .326/.395/.516 with 180 hits, 97 runs scored, 16 home runs and 92 RBIs. He was the team's OPS leader.
Maddux had an outstanding season in 1995, winning his fourth Cy Young Award in a row and finishing third in the MVP race. He also won a Gold Glove. Maddux led the league in wins and winning percentage (19-2 record), ERA (1.63), complete games (ten), shutouts (three) and innings pitched (209.2). He struck out 181 batters while walking just 23.
In his final Major League season, Mattingly FINALLY appeared in the postseason for the first time. The first-baseman hit .288/.341/.413 with seven home runs and 49 RBIs. He notched 132 hits with 59 runs scored and 32 doubles. To his credit, he did make the most of his first and only postseason appearance, hitting .417 in the ALDS loss to the Mariners.
Jefferies settled into a new team in 1995, joining the Phillies after two successful seasons with the Cardinals. He split time between first base and left field, and continued to hit, batting .306/.349/.448. He led the team in hits (147), runs scored (69) and tied for the team lead in home runs (11). He drove in 56.
Curtis was acquired in a deal with the Angels prior to the 1995 season in which Tony Phillips was sent out West. His first season in Detroit was fairly successful as he led the league in plate appearances (670), while hitting .268/.349/.435 with 96 runs scored, 157 hits, 29 doubles, 21 home runs, 67 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.
In the mid 1990's there was a lot of hype around a trio of Mets pitching prospects, collectively known as Generation K. Isringhausen and Bill Pulsipher each made their Major League debuts in 1995, with Paul Wilson coming the next season. Isringhausen made an impact right away, pitching in 14 games and going 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA, striking out 55 and walking 31 in 93 innings pitched. He finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year vote.
Surhoff, like Jeff King above, was a former first overall pick that took a long time before his career started to take off. 1995 was his first really good season as he played multiple positions and hit .320/.378/.492 with 13 home runs, 26 doubles and 73 RBIs.
Conine was the 1995 All Star Game MVP and received some minor league MVP consideration. He hit .302/.379/.520 with 72 runs scored, 146 hits, 26 doubles and a team-leading 25 home runs and 105 RBIs. It was Conine's best season.
In a shocking turn of events, Puckett was in his final season in 1995 after suffering an eye injury. Puckett retired while still productive, hitting .314/.379/.515 with 83 runs scored, 169 hits, 23 home runs, 99 RBIs and 39 doubles. He was an All Star and received some minor MVP consideration.
Bell was acquired in the massive trade the Astros swung with the Padres. Unfortunately, receiving Ken Caminiti AND Steve Finley meant that the Padres got the better end of the deal. Bell had a few good years in Houston though, and in 1995 he received some MVP votes for the only time in his career as he hit .334/.385/.442 with eight home runs, 86 RBIs and 27 stolen bases.
In Joyner's last year with the Royals, he led Royals hitters in on-base percentage and was second in batting average. Joyner hit .310/.394/.447. He accumulated 69 runs scored, 144 hits, 28 doubles and was third on the team in home runs (12) and second in RBIs (83).
After playing in the NFL for three seasons, Jordan turned his attention full-time to baseball in 1992. 1995 was his first full season and his breakthrough year. Jordan hit .296/.339/.488 for the Cardinals and led the team in runs scored (83), hits (145) and triples (four). He also had 22 home runs, 24 stolen bases and 81 RBIs.
The Mariners made the postseason for the first time in their history in 1995 and Martinez was a big part of that. The designated hitter finished third in the A.L. MVP vote by winning the batting title and leading the league in on-base percentage, OPS (1.107), runs scored (121) and doubles (52). He hit .356/.479/.628 with 28 home runs and 113 RBIs.
Nomo was a high-profile rookie making his Major League debut for the Dodgers in 1995 after coming over from Japan. Nomo was a sensation, winning the Rookie of the Year and starting the All Star Game while finishing fourth in the Cy Young vote. Nomo led the league in strikeouts (236) and shutouts (three) while finishing with a record of 13-6 with a 2.54 ERA in 191.1 innings pitched.
Mussina finished fourth in the Cy Young vote in the American League, primarily as a result of leading the league in wins and shutouts (four). He had a record of 19-9, with a 3.29 ERA. In 221.2 innings pitched, he struck out 158 batters while walking 50.
Saturday, April 17, 2021
Today, we have just a two-card package with base cards from a parallel set. It's not terribly exciting, but any time I can knock off a couple cards from my wantlist is good. Both of these guys are united by a close awards vote with Justin Verlander.