Saturday, December 31, 2022

Topps Series One Zippy Zapping

I was Zapped a couple of times this last year.  I need to repay the favor at some point soon.  This was the first time and it resulted in a couple of base singles I needed:

1.  Eduardo Rodriguez.  I was extremely disappointed when E-Rod left Boston.  I have been a pretty big fan of his since his debut.  He emerged as a very good pitcher in 2019 and he had a sneaky good season in 2021.  With Boston he was 64-39 with a 4.16 ERA and 892 strikeouts in 947.2 innings pitched.  His best season in 2019 saw him win 19 games, strike out 213 batters in just 203.1 innings pitched and finish sixth in the Cy Young vote.

2.  Connor Wong.  I have talked several times about Wong recently.  Hopefully he can break out in 2023.

Thanks Kenny!  I promise to get something out soon.

Friday, December 30, 2022

Topps Now: March 23, 2022

After the lockout finally ended last year, a bunch of players still needed to sign somewhere.  One of those was Trevor Story, the Rockies former shortstop.  Boston had been rumored to be going after someone to play second base all offseason, with most reports having them looking at Javier Baez.  But Baez signed with Detroit.  I personally wanted them to sign Marcus Semien.  

On March 23, Story signed a six-year deal with the Red Sox for $140 million.  His first season in Boston did not start off real well as he had some personal matters and minor injuries.  He suffered a wrist injury later in the season that hampered his performance and eventually ended his season in early September.

When he was on the field though, he was a revelation defensively at second base.  He didn't hit a ton, due to his injury, but finished with an OPS of .737 with 16 home runs and a team-leading 13 stolen bases.  That in just 94 games.  If he is healthy in 2023, he will help make up for the loss of Bogaerts.  He may be moving back to shortstop though.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

2022 Topps Heritage Team Set

I decided to give in and just buy the team set here.  I have not had great luck with buying packs of Heritage over the last few years.  I bought the base team set first, then bought the short-prints later.  All of them will be shown here.

1.  Rafael Devers.  Devers was Boston's big power hitter in 2022, hitting 27 home runs and driving in 88 runs.  His numbers could have been higher, but he missed about 20 games and had a bit of a slump due to some nagging injuries.  He hit .295/.358/.521.  Boston better re-sign him.

2.  Nick Pivetta.  I had a feeling Pivetta would start to make some appearances in 2022.  He had a solid 2021 season and made an impact in the postseason.  Pivetta was one of the more consistent starters for Boston in the first half of 2022, but struggled down the stretch.  

3.  Rich Hill.  FINALLY!  Hill was named in four Red Sox With No Cards posts.  He was previously with Boston from 2010-2012 and then again in 2015.  This is his very first card with the Red Sox though.  Sure, it's air-brushed, but still.  I'm just happy to finally add him to the collection.

4.  Alex Verdugo.  Verdugo seemed to find himself in the second half in 2022.  Hopefully he can build on that and finally break out in 2023.  I think he will.

5.  Connor Wong.  Wong is currently ticketed to be the backup catcher in 2023.  He seems to be a pretty good defensive catcher.  Hopefully his bat catches up.

6.  J.D. Martinez.  Martinez struggled greatly at times in 2022.  He ended up with a decent batting line, but he hit just 16 home runs.  Still, he was an All Star.

7.  Enrique Hernandez.  Yet another nice action shot for Hernandez, who seems to have a gift for that.  Hernandez struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness in 2022.  Hopefully he is ready to go in 2023.

8.  Jarren Duran.  Duran's defensive struggles became impossible to ignore in 2022 and his development has been stunted.  We will see if he can get going again in the upcoming season.  If he can, his speed will be a welcome addition to the team.  He was third on the team in stolen bases, despite playing just 58 games.

9.  Bobby Dalbec.  Dalbec has hit 45 home runs in his career thus far.  Not bad considering he has played just over two full seasons.

10.  Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts's power numbers took a dip in 2022, but he still led the team in WAR.  He improved defensively and had a great batting line.

11.  Matt Barnes.  Barnes is now the longest-tenured member of the team.  Barnes has been with Boston since 2014.  He was drafted in the first round in 2011.  Barnes was an All Star in 2021 when he had a terrific first half as the team's closer.  He has saved 47 games for Boston so far.  He will not be the closer in 2023, but should continue to be a big part of the bullpen.

12.  Enrique Hernandez.  This is a highlight card.  Hernandez had a HUGE postseason for Boston in 2021 hitting five home runs and logging 20 hits.

13.  Nathan Eovaldi.  Yet another member of the 2018 World Championship team that is now gone.  Eovaldi signed a deal with the Rangers this week.  He will always be remembered for pitching six innings in relief in Game 3 of the 2018 World Series and his Wild Card Game mastery over the Yankees in 2021.

14.  Christian Vazquez.  I love the action shot here.  I am still disappointed Boston traded him away and then did not bring him back.  He seemed to love being in Boston.  Players like that should be kept around.

These are the short prints:

15.  Cy Young.  Cy Young's 511 wins will probably never be broken.  He won 192 with Boston, which is tied with Roger Clemens for the all-time team record.

16.  Christian Arroyo.  Arroyo seems to have a lot of talent, but cannot seem to stay on the field.  Since coming to Boston, he has hit .273/.320/.427 with 15 home runs and 69 RBIs.  He can play a number of positions as well.

17.  Travis Shaw.  Shaw made his second stint with Boston in 2021.  His biggest contribution was a walk-off grand slam against the Rangers in his first game back with Boston.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

2022 Topps Opening Day Blaster

This blaster was pretty good to me.  Boston played the Yankees on Opening Day and lost 6-5 in extra innings.  It was a harbinger of things to come.

1.  Wally the Green Monster.  Honestly, I do not really care for mascot cards.  By the time Boston introduced Wally the Green Monster, I was well into my teens and so the whole idea was kind of lame to me.  Teen angst, I know.  But yeah, mascots do not really do it for me.  I do not seek them out, but will keep them if I get them.

2.  David Ortiz.  This is the Bomb Squad insert.  Ortiz was of course, elected to the Hall of Fame for the 2022 class as the sole electee by the BBWAA.  It was his first year on the ballot.  It is therefore not surprising to see Ortiz cards in 2022.

3.  Xander Bogaerts.  One of the players in this post who actually played on Opening Day, Bogaerts had a good game, going 3-5 with two runs and an RBI batting third.  He hit his first double of the season.

4.  Connor Wong.  Wong is one of the players received in the Mookie Betts trade, the third part of the three players.  Unfortunately, now that Jeter Downs has been released, it is up to Wong to try to show some value.  As of right now, he is part of the catching platoon going into the season with Reese McGuire.  Wong played well defensively last season and had some decent moments offensively, but ended up hitting just .188/.273/.313.  That trade is not looking good right now, especially with the financial flexibility supposedly being the whole purpose of it not being used to keep Xander Bogaerts around.

5.  Chris Sale.  Sale was on the Injured List on Opening Day.  We will see if he is back this upcoming Opening Day.

6.  Rafael Devers.  Devers had just one hit in four at-bats on Opening Day, but it was the team's first home run of 2022.  He drove in two runs.

7.  J.D. Martinez.  Martinez had one hit in five at-bats on Opening Day.  His hit was a double and he drove in a run.

8.  Alex Verdugo.  Designated Yankee Killer Verdugo had two hits among his five at-bats on Opening Day.  He also drove in a run.  If he can stop trying to sell out for power and just be a contact hitter, he will become the player the team expected when he was the primary piece in the Mookie trade.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

My Second 2022 Topps Break

My second 2022 Topps Series One Break resulted in three new base cards.  

1.  Jarren Duran.  Taking over for Bobby Dalbec in 2021 as the rookie that is going to be overexposed in the new year is Jarren Duran (2023 will be Triston Casas).  Duran is kind of the forgotten man coming into 2023.  He has some obvious skills, such as his game-changing speed, but has not yet harnessed it and his deficiencies (plate discipline and defense) are so glaring that it is hard to keep putting him out there.  I would love to see him succeed, but, like Dalbec, it is becoming increasingly likely that that will not happen in Boston.

2.  Hunter Renfroe.  Renfroe took over as my All-Time One-Year Wonder Right-Fielder for his terrific 2021 season.  Renfroe blasted 31 home runs and drove in 96 runs, while displaying a rocket for an arm.  And then, Boston dealt him to the Brewers for the return of Jackie Bradley Jr. (ill-fated as it was) as well as prospects David Hamilton and Alex Binelas.  I have said it before, I kind of love the City Connect jerseys.

3.  J.D. Martinez.  Martinez's bat will probably be missed in 2023.  It looks like Justin Turner, former Dodgers star and GoT wildling stand-in, will be Boston's DH in 2023.  We will see how that works out.  Martinez goes down as one of the top major free agent signings of all time.

Monday, December 26, 2022

My 2021 Topps Now Postseason Autograph

I posted that I bought this set clear back in July.  The postseason Topps Now Red Sox had three autograph signers and any of the three would have been nice.  Bobby Dalbec, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez were the three signers and I did not have autographs from any of them.  Devers was the preference though, since he is the big Boston star.  Luckily, that worked out:

This is the blue version, numbered to 49.  It is my first Devers autograph.  I am not sure why it took so long to get one, but here we are.  Hopefully he will be in Boston for a long time, but things are not looking overly promising.

Friday, December 23, 2022

2022 Topps Series One Blaster Break

This is how far behind I still am.  This set came out in February and I bought this blaster soon after the release.  It is going to take awhile to catch up, but I am working on it.

Anyway, here was the break from my first blaster of 2022.

1.  Enrique Hernandez.  Hernandez is quickly becoming the king of great action shots in Topps products.  Every single card picture tends to be an impressive shot.  Hernandez signed an extension during the 2022 season and will be back in 2023, barring an unforeseen trade.

2.  Jose Iglesias.  The only non-base card from my break was this Royal Blue parallel.  Iglesias was acquired late in the season in 2021 to play the middle infield and went on a tear.  He hit .356 during his second stint with the Red Sox.  

3.  Christian Vazquez.  I am disappointed that Boston traded Vazquez and did not bring him back after the season.  He was one of my favorite players on the team.  It's been a rough few years for my fandom.  

4.  Bobby Dalbec.  Here, Dalbec is cursed with the Future Stars label.  Dalbec took a big step backwards in 2022 in almost all facets of the game.  Triston Casas looks like he may be supplanting him as the first-baseman in 2023.  Dalbec is still on the team.

5.  Xander Bogaerts.  And here is another favorite player who is now gone from the team.    

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Hall of Fame Worthy? Pt. 19: Johnny Damon


I have not done one of these in a long time.  It looks like I talked about Vern Stephens back in 2013.  I have been thinking a lot about some under-the-radar players that could be re-evaluated in light of the Eras Committees softening standards for the Hall.  In the last few years, we have seen Fred McGriff, Gil Hodges, Jim Kaat, Minnie Minoso, Buck O'Neill, Tony Oliva, Ted Simmons, Lee Smith and Harold Baines get in.  Many of those players took years and years to get in.  Baines in particular was a shocking inclusion.  

So, what Red Sox players could get in in the future?  I think guys like Curt Schilling, Dwight Evans and Luis Tiant should be obvious selections soon.  We just need to get them back on the ballot.  But who else?  Maybe Nomar Garciaparra?  Don't laugh.  If Don Mattingly gets in some day, and he finished second on the last ballot, I think Nomar is in line.  Who else?

Well, since I got this card, let's look at Johnny Damon.  Damon had an 18-year career and finished with close to 3,000 hits.  He was certainly a famous player, particularly during the 2004 and 2005 seasons when he was basically the public face of the Boston Red Sox, even writing a book during that time period.  Oddly, Damon does not look as fondly upon his time with the Red Sox as he does with the Yankees.  

He had good numbers, particularly when considering how long he played.  Damon finished with a line of .284/.352/.433, good numbers for a center fielder.  He was not blessed with a lot of power, but he finished with 235 home runs.  He was a leadoff hitter, so his RBI number is a little low (1,139).  He stole 408 bases and had 2,769 hits, 522 doubles and 109 triples.  Despite a poor throwing arm, he was regarded as a good defensive outfielder, though he never won a Gold Glove.  

He did accumulate 56.3 WAR, 18th all-time among center-fielders.  Damon had a higher WAR than 14 Hall of Fame center fielders.  Several of those were Negro League players who obviously had lower scores given the number of games played, insufficient record keeping and limited years to play, but there are some noteworthy names in there as well: Kirby Puckett, Lloyd Waner, Hack Wilson, Earle Combes and Earl Averill.

So there are certainly some promising things to consider, but what about barriers?  Well, let's start with his OPS+, which is a not overly-exciting 104.  That is due to the fact that he did not have a ton of power, despite hitting 20 or more home runs three times, and he was not elite at getting on base.  His career OBP was .352 which is slightly above-average, but you want a leadoff hitter getting on base a lot more.  He only led the league in categories three times in his career, stolen bases and runs in 2000 with the Royals, and triples in 2002 with the Red Sox.  He was also never really considered among the great players in the game.  He was only an All Star twice, 2002 and 2005 with the Red Sox, and only received MVP votes four times.  The highest he finished was 13th in 2005.  


Is Johnny Damon Hall of Fame-worthy?  I would have to say no.  At least in light of the standards as they currently are.  He was better than Harold Baines, but I don't think the standards are that low yet, despite his election.  There are better candidates among center-fielders that need to be considered first, including Andruw Jones, Carlos Beltran, Kenny Lofton and Jim Edmonds.  That's quite a few before you can get down to looking at Damon.  So no, I don't think Damon is getting in anytime soon, if ever.

If he were to get in, what cap would he wear?  I mentioned he doesn't look as fondly on his time with the Red Sox as he does with the Yankees, and I think he has mentioned his preference would be a Royals cap.  I think it would be Royals.  He spent more time there and had one of his best seasons there.  I think publicly he is more remembered for his time with Boston though.  This card is a big indicator of that.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Schwarber Mini


Not much to say about this one, just another player who got away.  Schwarber has been gone for over a year now.  He goes down as one of the better trade deadline moves the Red Sox ever made.  But boy, it did not start out that way.  The move was widely questioned because he was injured at the time.  Boston needed a first-baseman and Schwarber really did not have experience there.  Not to mention the fact that he has often been rather abysmal in the field.  But, it worked out.

In 41 games, Schwarber hit .291/.435/.522 with seven home runs, ten doubles and 18 RBIs.  His hitting helped lead Boston into the postseason.  He hit three more home runs and drove in six more runs in the postseason.  Schwarber seemed to embrace the atmosphere in Boston and would have made a great longtime Red Sox player.  But, the team did not seem to do much to keep him around and he moved on to the Phillies.  Schwarber led the N.L. in home runs in 2022 with 46.  It would have been nice to have him around.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

2021 Topps Gallery Break (Goodbye J.D. and X)

This was a pretty relevant post to put up.  Both players in this break have recently left Boston as free agents.

J.D. Martinez recently signed a two-year deal to join friend and former teammate Mookie Betts with the Dodgers.  Martinez will go down as one of the best free agents Boston has ever signed.  He signed a five-year deal with Boston prior to the 2018 season and immediately paid dividends by helping the team to the World Championship.  He spent five seasons in Boston, making the All Star team four times and winning two Silver Slugger Awards, both in the same season.  He was fourth in the MVP vote in 2018.  Martinez hit .292/.363/.526 with 130 home runs and 423 RBIs for Boston.

Xander Bogaerts will go down as the second or third best shortstop of all time in Boston.  He spent ten seasons with the Red Sox and was an All Star four times and won five Silver Slugger Awards.  He finished fifth in the MVP race in 2019.  Bogaerts hit .292/.356/.458 in his ten seasons and contributed 1,410 hits, 308 doubles, 156 home runs and 683 RBIs.  Bogaerts recently signed a deal with the Padres.  He looks like a decent chance at putting together a Hall of Fame career if he can keep his numbers up the next few seasons.

Monday, December 19, 2022

1978 SSPC Team Set (Minus George Scott)

I have been searching for this set for a long time.  I admit I was not really sure of how to find it, how this set was originally released.  Apparently they were inserts in a magazine that you had to remove and separate.  I decided to buy the magazine.  I had gotten the George Scott in a previous order, so it will not be shown here.

JIM RICE: (1974-1989, LF/DH).  Rice is a Hall of Famer, elected in 2009 by the BBWAA.  He is an eight-time All Star, two-time Silver Slugger and was the AL MVP in 1978 when he led the league in hits, triples, home runs and RBIs and had 406 total bases.  He finished in the top five of the MVP race five other times.  He led the league in home runs three times and RBIs twice.  He hit .298/.352/.502 with 383 home runs and 1,451 RBIs.  He spent his entire career with the Red Sox.

ALLEN RIPLEY: (1978-1979, P).  Ripley spent his first two Major League seasons with the Red Sox after being signed as an undrafted free agent.  He was 5-6 with a 5.36 ERA in 137.2 innings pitched.  He struck out 60 and walked 37.  Prior to the 1980 season, he was sold to the Giants.  He later played for the Cubs.

CARL YASTRZEMSKI: (1961-1983, LF/1B/DH).  Like Rice, Yastrzemski was a Hall of Famer who spent his entire career with the Red Sox.  He was elected by the BBWAA in 1989.  He was an All Star 18 times and won seven Gold Glove Awards.  He was the AL MVP in 1967 when he won the Triple Crown, it was his only time leading the league in home runs and RBIs.  He won three batting titles for his career.  For his career, Yaz hit .285/.379/.462 with 3,419 hits, 452 home runs and 1,844 RBIs.  

JERRY REMY: (1978-1984, 2B).  Remy started his career with the Angels and was acquired in a trade prior to the 1978 season for Don Aase.  Remy was an All Star in his first season with Boston and stole 30 bases for the fourth season in a row.  Remy hit .286/.334/.334 with 98 stolen bases and 802 hits.  He retired in 1984 and later built an incredibly successful career as a broadcaster of Red Sox games.

BERNIE CARBO: (1974-1976, 1977-1978, OF).  Carbo spent two stints with the Red Sox, while also spending time with the Reds, Cardinals, Brewers, Indians and Pirates.  He finished second in the Rookie of the Year vote for the Reds in 1970.  The Red Sox acquired him from the Cardinals along with Rick Wise for Reggie Smith and Ken Tatum.  He hit a clutch home run in the 1975 World Series for Boston.  He was traded to the Brewers in the middle of the 1976 season for Bobby Darwin and Tom Murphy, then re-acquired by the Red Sox after the season along with George Scott for Cecil Cooper.  Carbo hit .261/.388/.460 with 45 home runs and 157 RBIs for Boston.

FRANK DUFFY: (1978-1979, IF).  Duffy spent his last two seasons in Boston after playing for the Reds, Giants and Indians.  The Red Sox acquired him in a trade with the Indians just prior to the 1978 season for Rick Krueger.  In 70 games for the Red Sox, Duffy hit .252/.298/.299 with five doubles and four RBIs.

FRED KENDALL: (1978, C).  Kendall spent his first nine seasons with the Padres before going to the Indians, then to the Red Sox, then back to San Diego.  Kendall was part of the package acquired by Boston along with Dennis Eckersley in exchange for Rick Wise, Mike Paxton, Ted Cox and Bo Diaz.  In just 20 games, he hit .195/.205/.220 with a double and four RBIs.  He left as a free agent after the season.  He is the father of longtime Pirates catcher Jason Kendall.

DWIGHT EVANS: (1972-1990, RF/1B/DH).  Aside from his last season in the Majors with the Orioles, Evans spent the rest of his 20-year career in Boston.  He made three All Star teams and won the Gold Glove Award eight times and the Silver Slugger twice, all with Boston.  Evans led the league in home runs once, runs once and walks three times.  He finished in the top five of the MVP voting twice.  Evans hit .272/.370/.470 with 385 home runs and 1,384 RBIs while with the Red Sox.  Evans is a player whose career should be revisited by the Eras Committee of the Hall of Fame.  

FRED LYNN: (1974-1980, CF).  Lynn was the first player in Major League history to be named the MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same season when he accomplished the feat in 1975 for the Red Sox.  He was an All Star six times with Boston and three more times after leaving as a free agent.  He also won four Gold Glove Awards.  He led the league in runs and doubles in 1975 and won the batting title in 1979.  For Boston, he hit .308/.383/.520 with 124 home runs and 521 RBIs.  Lynn was traded to the Angels with Steve Renko for Frank Tanana, Joe Rudi and Jim Dorsey after the 1980 season.  He later played for the Tigers, Orioles and Padres.  

BOB BAILEY: (1977-1978, DH).  Bailey spent parts of the last two seasons of his 17-year career with the Red Sox after being acquired from the Reds for a minor leaguer.  He spent most of his career with the Pirates, Dodgers and Expos.  In 45 games with the Red Sox, Bailey hit .188/.322/.344 with four home runs and nine RBIs.   

BUTCH HOBSON: (1975-1980, 3B).  Hobson spent six of his eight big-league seasons in Boston as the primary third-baseman.  He hit a career-high 30 home runs and drove in 112 in 1978, receiving some minimal MVP support.  Hobson hit .252/.296/.439 with Boston, slugging 98 home runs and driving in 397 runs.  After the 1980 season, Hobson was traded to the Angels, along with Rick Burleson, for Mark Clear, Carney Lansford and Rick Miller.  Hobson returned to the Red Sox in 1992 as manager.  He was the manager through the 1994 season and had a record of 207-232.

TED WILLIAMS: (1939-1960, LF).  Williams is the all-time franchise player for the Red Sox and holds several team records.  At the time of this card, he was a sometime coach.  Williams was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1966 in his first year of eligibility by the BBWAA.  Williams was the MVP in 1946 and 1949 and won the Triple Crown in 1942 and 1947.  He is the last player to bat over .400, hitting .406 in 1941.  All three of those seasons saw Williams finish second in the MVP voting.  He also finished second in 1957.  Williams won six batting titles and was an All Star 19 times.  He led the league in home runs and RBIs four times.  He is the all-time leader in on-base percentage (.482).  For his career, Williams hit .344/.482/.634 with 521 home runs and 1,839 RBIs.  He spent his entire playing career with the Red Sox.  

LUIS TIANT: (1971-1978, SP).  Tiant rose to stardom with the Indians, but he struggled for a few years before joining the Twins and then the Red Sox.  He won the ERA title in 1972 with the Red Sox and would go on to win 20 or more games three times with the team.  He was an All Star three times in his career, twice with Boston.  He finished in the top five of the Cy Young vote twice, both times with the Red Sox.  For Boston, he had a record of 122-81 with a 3.36 ERA and 1,075 strikeouts.  After leaving the Red Sox, he pitched for the Yankees, Pirates and Angels.  Like Evans, Tiant is a player whose career should be re-evaluated for the Hall of Fame.

RICK BURLESON: (1974-1980, SS).  Barely recognizable in this card without his mustache, Burleson was one of the greatest defensive shortstops in team history.  He won only one Gold Glove Award (1979), but probably could have won more.  Burleson was an All Star three times with the Red Sox, and once with the Angels.  He finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year vote in 1974.  For the Red Sox, he hit .274/.326/.362.  He was not blessed with a lot of power, hitting 38 home runs and 203 doubles.  He drove in 360 runs and stole 67 bases.  After the 1980 season, he was part of the trade that sent Butch Hobson to the Angels for Carney Lansford, Mark Clear and Rick Miller.  He later played for the Orioles.

CARLTON FISK: (1969-1980, C).  The fourth Hall of Famer in this post so far, Fisk spent more time in his career with the White Sox, but wears a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.  He is primarily known for his walk-off home run in the sixth game of the 1975 World Series.  Fisk was the unanimous pick for the AL Rookie of the Year in 1972 and won his only Gold Glove that season.  Fisk was an All Star eleven times, seven with the Red Sox.  For his time with the Red Sox, Fisk hit .284/.356/.481 with 162 home runs, 207 doubles and 568 RBIs.  After the 1980 season, he was allowed to become a free agent after not being tendered a contract by the deadline and he signed with the White Sox, for whom he spent the rest of his career.  Fisk was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000.

DON ZIMMER: (1976-1980, MGR).  Zimmer was a longtime coach who spent five seasons as the Red Sox manager.  He had a 12-year playing career with the Dodgers, Cubs, Mets, Reds and Senators.  He was an All Star in 1961 with the Cubs.  Prior to managing the Red Sox, he managed the Padres.  His biggest success in Boston came when he led the Red Sox to a one-game playoff in 1978.  He had a record of 411-304 with Boston, which was the best record of any of the teams he managed.  Zimmer had a contentious relationship with some of his players, which led to his dismissal as manager.  He later managed the Rangers and Cubs and then was a longtime coach with the Yankees.

DENNIS ECKERSLEY: (1978-1984, 1998, SP,/RP).  The fifth Hall of Famer in this post, Eckersley is primarily known for his time as the closer for the Athletics.  He won the Cy Young Award and the MVP in 1992 for Oakland.  Eckersley started his career for the Indians before being traded to Boston in the deal discussed previously with Fred Kendall.  Eckersley was a starting pitcher in his first stint with the Red Sox and finished fourth and seventh in the Cy Young vote his first two years in Boston, which included his only 20-win season.  He was an All Star once with Boston, and six times overall.  He had a record of 88-71 with a 3.92 ERA and 771 strikeouts with the Red Sox.  During the 1984 season, he was traded to the Cubs with Mike Brumley for Bill Buckner.  He was later to the A's for whom he built his Hall of Fame case.  Later, he pitched for the Cardinals before returning to Boston for his final season. 

DICK DRAGO: (1974-1975, 1978-1980, RP).  Drago spent two stints with the Red Sox, primarily as a relief pitcher.  After a few seasons as a starting pitcher for the Royals, the Red Sox acquired him in a trade for Marty Pattin.  After the 1975 season, he was traded to the Angels for three minor leaguers who never played for the Red Sox.  The Red Sox re-acquired him as a free agent prior to the 1978 season.  During his time in Boston, Drago had a record of 30-29 with a 3.55 ERA.  He struck out 305 while walking 184 in 547.1 innings.  He saved 41 games, with a high of 15 in 1975.  Drago also pitched for the Orioles and Mariners.

MIKE TORREZ: (1978-1982, SP).  Torrez spent 18 seasons as a starting pitcher with the Cardinals, Expos, Orioles, Athletics, Yankees and Mets, as well as the Red Sox.  Torrez was signed as a free agent by the Red Sox away from the Yankees prior to the 1978 season.  Torrez's time in Boston is primarily known for starting the ill-fated one-game playoff in 1978 against the Yankees and giving up the home run to Bucky Dent.  Torrez had a record of 60-54 with a 4.51 ERA and 480 strikeouts in 1,012.1 innings pitched.  He pitched more innings for Boston than any other team.  He was traded to the Mets prior to the 1983 season for a minor leaguer.

BILL CAMPBELL: (1977-1981, RP).  Campbell was Boston's first major free agent signing.  He was coming off of a season in which he led the league in games pitched and won 17 games as a reliever with the Twins.  In his first season in Boston, he led the league in saves (31) and finished fifth in the Cy Young vote.  He made his only All Star team that season.  Unfortunately, over-use impacted his career negatively over the next couple of seasons.  Campbell's record for the Red Sox was 28-19 and an ERA of 3.57.  He struck out 240 batters while walking 142 in 335 innings pitched.  He saved 51 games.  Campbell later pitched for the Cubs, Phillies, Cardinals, Tigers and Expos.  

REGGIE CLEVELAND: (1974-1978, SP).  After spending his first five seasons with the Cardinals, Cleveland was acquired by the Red Sox along with Terry Hughes and Diego Segui for John Curtis, Mike Garman and Lynn McGlothen.  Cleveland spent four full seasons in the Red Sox starting rotation, notching double-digit wins in each season.  He was sold to the Rangers early in the 1978 season.  Cleveland had a record of 46-41 with Boston and had an ERA of 4.04.  He struck out 342 batters in 752.2 innings pitched.  He also pitched for the Brewers.

BOB STANLEY: (1977-1989, SP/RP).  The Steamer spent his entire 13-season career with the Red Sox.  He was the 7th overall pick in the 1974 draft.  Stanley was a starter most of the time in his early seasons, but gradually moved to more of a closer role.  He was an All Star twice in his career, one of those seasons being when he set the then-single season team record for saves.  When he retired, Stanley held then-team records for games pitched and saves.  Stanley had a record of 115-97 with an ERA of 3.64.  He pitched in 1,707 innings over 637 games.  He struck out 693 batters and walked 471.  He notched 132 saves in his career.     

RAMON AVILES: (1977, 2B).  Winning the award for the most obscure player in this post is Aviles, whose entire Red Sox career consists of two innings played at second base and one sacrifice hit in one plate appearance.  He did not even have an official at-bat.  Aviles was an undrafted free agent in 1969 and made his Major League debut with Boston.  He was sold to the Phillies prior to the 1978 season and played a few seasons as a utility infielder.  Aviles is the uncle of former Red Sox shortstop Mike Aviles who played for Boston from 2011-2012. 

JIM BURTON: (1975, 1977, RP).  Burton's two non-consecutive seasons in Boston comprised his entire Major League career.  Burton was a fairly useful reliever in 1975 for the pennant-winning Red Sox, but he pitched in just one game in 1977.  Burton was the fifth overall pick in the 1971 draft by Boston.  He pitched in 30 games, spanning 55.2 innings and had a record of 1-2 and a 2.75 career ERA.  He picked up a save, 42 strikeouts and 20 walks.  He was traded to the Mets for a minor league infielder prior to the 1978 season, but never made it back to the Majors.

BILL LEE: (1969-1978, SP/RP).  The Spaceman was a fan favorite for the Red Sox due to his eccentric personality.  He was primarily a reliever early in his career, but eventually moved to the starting rotation, winning 17 games three seasons in a row.  Lee was an All Star in the first of these three seasons.  Over his ten seasons in Boston, Lee had a record of 94-68 with an ERA of 3.64 in 1,503.1 innings pitched 321 games.  He struck out 578 batters while walking 448 and saved 13 games.  Lee was traded after the 1978 season to the Expos for utility infielder Stan Papi, a trade that was widely reviled by Red Sox fans.  

JACK BROHAMER: (1978-1980, IF).  Brohamer was primarily a utility infielder for the Red Sox during his three seasons.  He played for the Indians and White Sox before signing with Boston as a free agent.  Brohamer primarily played third for Boston as a backup to Butch Hobson.  In 166 games, Brohamer hit .256/.313/.329 with three home runs, 23 doubles and 42 RBIs.  He was sold back to the Indians during the 1980 season.  

Saturday, December 17, 2022

What Could Have Been...


Every team has tragic figures.  Players who died too soon or suffered career-ending injuries or maladies while still in the prime of their careers.  Then there are players who never get going because of a health issue early in their career.  Ryan Westmoreland is one of those stories.

Westmoreland was a 5th round draft pick, but he could have easily been drafted higher.  He was one of the top high school players in the region and was considered a true five-tool talent with tremendous potential.  Scouts raved about him.  He played extremely well in his first professional season in 2009, playing in the New York-Penn League.  Just 19, he hit .296/.401/.484 with seven home runs, 35 RBIs and 19 stolen bases in just 60 games.  The sky looked to be the limit.

Unfortunately, that turned out to be the end of Westmoreland's playing career.  He was shut down in March 2010, when a cavernous malformation was discovered on his brain stem.  He had surgery to remove it and missed the entire season.  He attempted to rehabilitate during the 2011 and 2012 seasons to hope to make it back to the field.  Unfortunately, he had a setback in 2012 and had to have a second surgery.  The next year, he elected to retire instead of pursuing more rehabilitation.

We will never know what could have been, but Westmoreland looked to be the real deal.  His health is the most important thing obviously, and by all accounts, his life seems to be going well.  It's just a shame we could not see what could have been.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

All I Want for Christmas from the Red Sox...

Is a Rafael Devers extension.

We have already lost one major franchise player.  They need to lock up the one that is left.  Devers has a serious chance at being special.  I know it is going to be expensive.  Too bad.  It would have been cheaper if they had locked him up last year at this time.  They didn't and now the market has exploded.  That's on them.  They need to keep someone around to build around.  If it's not Devers, there is no one else around.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #978

Card #978 comes from 2021 Topps Dynasty.  It has been a little bit since I had gotten a really high-end Varitek card.  This is serial-numbered to just 10 and features both an autograph and a three-colored patch that is clearly from lettering or numbering on one of the team's red alternate jerseys.  I definitely had to grab this one.  Plus it came reasonably inexpensive for a card of this type.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

The Top Prospect

Well I had to show off my first card of Boston's top prospect at this point.  Marcelo Mayer was drafted fourth overall in the 2021 draft out of high school.  It was one of the highest profile picks the Red Sox have ever made.  Mayer was largely considered one of the top talents in the draft, so for him to fall to Boston was extremely exciting.  He is just 19 years old and looks like the shortstop of the future for the Red Sox.  He made it to High A ball last year and looks like he could be in Double A by the end of 2023.  At this rate, he could make it to the Majors by 2024.  Hopefully Boston holds on to him.  Talents like him do not come around often.  He looks like the real deal.

Sunday, December 11, 2022

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #977

Card #977 is from the Brooklyn Collection from 2021.  This is actually the orange parallel and is serial-numbered to just 20.  The thing I like about this one is that it is photo that I have not seen before.  That is sort of unusual for Topps.  Plus, it's a photo with most of the catching equipment on, and of course I like catcher cards.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

2023 Hall of Fame Ballot

2023's Hall of Fame vote is going to be interesting.  There are no slam dunk candidates among the new players on the ballot.  There are a few holdovers, but most of them have been slowly building towards election without anyone real close.  Time will tell if anyone gets elected, though I think it unlikely there will be a total shutout.


TEAMS: Astros, Phillies, Yankees, Dodgers, Mets
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2x All Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Maybe by an Eras Committee?

Abreu has a sneaky good case for the Hall of Fame.  His line of .291/.395/.475 is a lot better than I thought it would be.  He was not often a standout star, which I think hurts his candidacy, but the numbers are decent.  He also hit 288 home runs and stole 400 bases, which I think is the most surprising number.  He was a 30/30 man twice in his career.  I could see his stock rise as a result of more analytical voters in the same way that Larry Walker, Edgar Martinez and Bert Blyleven were boosted.


TEAMS: Pirates, Red Sox, Reds, Diamondbacks

Arroyo had a solid career, mostly with the Reds.  He was never really a standout pitcher, but he did lead the league in games started twice, innings pitched once and shutouts once.  He won 15 or more games three times during his career.  He received some MVP votes one year and Cy Young votes another.  He had a career record of 148-137 with an ERA of 4.28 and 1,571 strikeouts.  Arroyo was a reliable innings eater, but he was never really a star.  It will be surprising if he receives any votes.


TEAMS: Royals, Astros, Mets, Giants, Cardinals, Yankees, Rangers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Rookie of the Year (1999), 9x All Star, 3x Gold Glove, 2x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Maybe after a year or so.

Beltran is easily the best player of the new players on the ballot.  Unfortunately, his candidacy is marred by his involvement with the 2017 Astros cheating scandal.  I could see voters punish him for a year or two as they did with Roberto Alomar.  It's also possible he never recovers from it.  For his career, Beltran hit .279/.350/.486 with 435 home runs, 312 stolen bases and 1,587 RBIs.  He only led the league in one category: games played.  He played on one World Championship team (the aforementioned Astros) and played in the World Series with the Cardinals in 2013.


TEAMS: White Sox, Marlins, Blue Jays
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 4x Gold Glove

The southpaw Buehrle was a member of the 2005 World Champion White Sox and pitched a no-hitter in 2007.  Buehrle was consistent and durable, pitching more than 200 innings 14 years in a row and winning more ten or more games 15 years in a row.  He led the league in games started twice and innings twice.  Buerhle has been on the ballot for a few years now, but he has always stayed just above the five percent needed to stay on the ballot without gaining much traction.  I do not think that is likely to change.


TEAMS: Giants

Cain pitched a perfect game and was a starting pitcher on two World Championship teams.  Beyond that, there is not much to say about him.  He did make it to three All Star teams and he did finish in the top ten of the Cy Young vote twice, but injuries really derailed his career.  Lifetime, he was 104-118 with a 3.68 ERA and 1,694 strikeouts.  There are not a lot of starters in the Hall of Fame with losing records.  There are five in fact.  Four of them were closers (Rollie Fingers, Lee Smith, Trevor Hoffman, Bruce Sutter).  The other one was Hank O'Day, who seems not to have been elected due to his playing  career.  I cannot see Cain getting in.  I would be shocked if he got a single vote.


TEAMS: Rangers, Mariners, Twins, Mets, Blue Jays, Braves
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Cy Young (2012), All Star, Gold Glove

Dickey had a weird career.  For the first several seasons of his career, he could not seem to stick in the Majors.  He made his debut in 2001, but spent the entire 2002 and 2007 seasons in the minors.  It was not until 2008 that he seemed to stick, and even then, he pitched mostly out of the bullpen.  He started throwing a knuckleball and then shocked the world by winning the 2012 Cy Young Award for the Mets, leading the league in strikeouts and winning 20 games.  After that though he reverted to being a slightly above-average starter again.  He has a career 120-118 record with a 4.04 ERA and 1,477 strikeouts. 


TEAMS: Red Sox, Yankees
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: All Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger

Ellsbury's primary weapon was his game-changing speed.  His speed was legendary.  It allowed him to steal home twice.  He holds the Red Sox single season stolen base record with 70 in 2009 and was the team's first 30/30 man in 2011.  He led the league in stolen bases three times.  In 2011, he finished second in the MVP race, leading the league in total bases and hitting .321.  Unfortunately, he is another player whose career was derailed by injuries.  He finished his career with a line of .284/.342/.417 with 104 home runs 512 RBIs, 749 runs scored, 1,376 hits and 343 stolen bases.  That's not going to get him in Cooperstown, but he will likely be a Red Sox Hall of Famer.


TEAMS: Dodgers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2x All Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger

Ethier spent 12 years in the Majors, all with the Dodgers after being acquired from the Athletics.  He hit more than 20 home runs four times and drove in more than 100 runs once.  In 2009 he finished sixth in the MVP vote.  For his career, he hit .285/.359/.463 with 162 home runs and 687 RBIs.  There is not much to say about Ethier.  He was good for several seasons, but not really a standout for more than a couple of seasons.  His numbers do not come close to Hall-worthy.


TEAMS: Brewers, Twins, Orioles
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 2x All Star, 3x Gold Glove, Silver Slugger

Hardy had some impressive power for a shortstop.  He hit more than 20 home runs five times in his career and finished with 188.  He was also a decent defensive shortstop as his three Gold Gloves attest.  But, he was wildly inconsistent and not a great hitter.  Hardy hit .256/.305/.408 in his career and had a lifetime OPS+ of 91.  His defense was not good enough to make up for his offensive deficiencies.


TEAMS: Rockies
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 3x Gold Glove, 4x Silver Slugger

I feel comfortable saying Helton will eventually be elected, and it's about time.  His voting numbers have increased each year.  It probably will not happen this year, but maybe very soon.  He made it to 52% last year.  Helton was one of the most consistent hitters in the game.  In his early years, he was a good power hitter.  Though his power declined over time, he remained a terrific hitter.  He won a batting championship in 2000, and that season he led the league in hits, doubles, RBIs, OBP and slugging percentage while hitting 42 home runs.  For his career, Helton hit .316/.414/.539 with 369 home runs and 1,406 RBIs.  


TEAMS: Twins, Angels, Tigers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 9x Gold Glove, 2x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Maybe by an Eras Committee?

Hunter barely stayed on the ballot last year and it is certainly possible that he may never be elected.  I think in this current state with the Eras Committees electing so many players that Hunter could certainly get in some day.  Hunter was widely renowned for his impressive defense.  He probably could have won even more than his nine Gold Gloves.  He was a pretty decent hitter too.  For his career, he hit .277/.331/.461 with 353 home runs and 1,391 RBIs.  It would not shock me to see him get in some day, but it will not be this year.  Or next.  Or even soon.


TEAMS: Braves, Dodgers, Rangers, White Sox, Yankees
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 5x All Star, 10x Gold Glove, Silver Slugger

Jones is an even more impressive version of Torii Hunter and is therefore closer to election.  He has been on the ballot a few more years and cracked the 40% mark last season.  He could get in in the next couple of years, but probably not this year.  Jones is widely regarded as one of the greatest defensive center fielders of all time.  He also hit quite a few more home runs in his career than Hunter.  The stumbling block with Jones is that his career fell off a cliff after hitting 30 years of age.  But, his career numbers were .254/.337/.486 with 434 home runs and 1,289 RBIs.  He was second in the MVP race in 2005 when he led the league with 51 home runs and 128 RBIs.  


TEAMS: Blue Jays, Mets, Indians, Giants, Astros, Dodgers
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: MVP (2000), 5x All Star, 4x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Maybe by an Eras Committee

Kent is in his final year on the BBWAA ballot, but he only made it on to 32% of ballots last year.  It looks like his time has run out in this phase.  Kent probably should be getting more attention, even if it is just on the basis of his career record for home runs by a second-baseman (377).  In his 17-year career, Kent hit .290/.356/.500 and drove in 1,518 runs.  Those are certainly impressive enough numbers.  For several years there were just too many other candidates.  Now that that logjam has eased up, he has too much ground to make up in just one year.  I just do not see it happening.    


TEAMS: Angels, Red Sox, Cardinals, Cubs

Lackey was a dependable starting pitcher for several seasons, but rarely stood out.  He did finish fourth in the Rookie of the Year vote in 2002 and third in the Cy Young vote in 2007 when he went 19-9 and led the league with a 3.01 ERA.  Lackey's standout quality was his ability to pitch in big games.  He was a part of three World Championship teams, including winning the clinching game of the 2013 World Series.  Unfortunately, this is not enough to qualify him for the Hall of Fame.  His career numbers of 188-147 with a 3.92 ERA and 2,294 strikeouts are not impressive enough for the Hall.  He will be off the ballot after one year.


TEAMS: Angels, Rangers, Red Sox, Indians
IF ELECTED, CAP WOULD BE: Angels?  A legitimate argument could be made for any of his teams.

Napoli never led the league in any category and was an All Star just once.  He had a lot of power, especially for a catcher as he was for most of the beginning of his career.  He eventually moved to first base and designated hitter full-time.  Napoli was known for his leadership abilities and for his gritty play, most on display with being a member of the 2013 World Champion Red Sox and 2016 AL champion Cleveland Indians.  Unfortunately, the numbers just are not there.  He hit 267 career home runs over 12 seasons and hit 30 or more twice.  His career line was .246/.346/.475 with 744 career RBIs.  That just is not getting him in.  Nor will he get much support.


TEAMS: Indians, Tigers, Cardinals

Peralta hit 20 or more home runs and was an All Star three times as primarily a shortstop.  He even garnered some MVP support one year.  Unfortunately, his career was far too inconsistent to make any real headway towards Hall of Fame support.  His line was .267/.329/.423 with 202 career home runs and 873 RBIs.  He also struck out a lot, striking out more than 100 times nine times.  He was a solid player for 15 years, but nowhere near enough for the Hall of Fame.  I would be surprised if he received any votes.


TEAMS: Yankees, Astros
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Probably not.

Pettitte was a great post-season performer and one of the best starting pitchers for the dynasty Yankees of the late 1990's/early 2000's.  This has led to a perception of him being a bit better than he was.  He was certainly good, and he finished in the top five of the Cy Young vote four times.  But he benefitted from pitching for great Yankees teams most of his career and being durable.  He only led the league in any major category once: wins in 1996, which is a result of playing for the Yankees.  He had a record of 256-153 with a 3.85 ERA and 2,448 strikeouts.  I do suspect there will be a following to try to get him in, but he does have inclusion in the Mitchell Report to contend with.  


TEAMS: Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox, Rays
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 12x All Star, 9x Silver Slugger

Had Manny not been suspended twice for PED test failures, he would already be in the Hall of Fame.  There is zero question about his numbers or his accolades.  He finished second in the Rookie of the Year vote in 1994 and in the top five for the MVP four times.  He has won a batting title and led the league in home runs and RBIs.  He has a career stat line of .312/.411/.585.  Those are CAREER numbers.  He hit 555 home runs and drove in 1,831 runs.  And he could have done more had he not been suspended twice.  This is his seventh year on the ballot and he has yet to crack 30%.  I do not see him getting in any time soon, even if his numbers would merit inclusion.


TEAMS: Mariners, Rangers, Yankees
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 3x MVP (2003, 2005, 2007), 14x All Star, 2x Gold Glove, 10x Silver Slugger

Rodriguez has basically the same problem as Manny Ramirez.  He was suspended for an entire season due to PED usage.  He admitted to a large amount of use during his time with the Rangers in particular.  Again, like Ramirez, his numbers would easily merit induction.  He was one of the best players in the game during his career and would be on a list of the greatest players of all time just looking at his numbers.  He hit .295/.380/.550 with 696 home runs (fifth all time) and 2,086 RBIs.  In his early years, he even stole quite a few bases, being one of just four players to make the 40/40 mark.  The baseball writers did not elect Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds, there is no way they will elect Alex Rodriguez or Manny Ramirez.


TEAMS: Angels, Mets, Brewers, Orioles, Tigers

Hall of Fame elections have been pretty inconsistent when it comes to closers.  Of course Mariano Rivera is the only player to be elected unanimously.  It is kind of a crapshoot with other closers.  Rodriguez's major claim to fame is that he holds the all-time single season saves record with 62 saves in 2008.  He led the league in saves three times and has 437 in his career.  Rodriguez was an elite closer who also managed to finish in the top five of the Cy Young vote three times.  He had a career ERA of 2.86 and struck out 1,142 batters in 976 innings pitched.  I could see Rodriguez sticking on the ballot and maybe garnering support as time goes on.  Billy Wagner has.  But Joe Nathan was similarly dominant and he dropped off the ballot after one year.  Closers are a crapshoot.


TEAMS: Phillies, Cardinals, Blue Jays, Reds
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Rookie of the Year (1997), 7x All Star, 8x Gold Glove, Silver Slugger
IF ELECTED, CAP WOULD BE: Phillies maybe?
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Yes.  Likely this year.

Rolen is the most likely player on the ballot to be elected this time around.  He has been steadily building support over his five years on the ballot and made it to 63% last year.  With no obvious new candidates and a big logjam from the last few years broken down, it is likely he gets in this year.  Rolen was a terrific defensive third-baseman who could hit a little too.  He had a stat line of .281/.364/.490 with 316 career home runs and 1,287 RBIs.  He finished fourth in the MVP vote in 2004 with the Cardinals.  Third base is underrepresented in the Hall of Fame and Rolen was arguably the best National League third-basemen during his generation.  That is usually enough to get someone in.  


TEAMS: Phillies, Dodgers, White Sox
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: MVP (2007), 3x All Star, 4x Gold Glove, Silver Slugger

Rollins stayed on the ballot last year, but finished with just under 10% of the vote.  Rolen did just a little bit better than that in his first year on the ballot, so anything is possible.  Rollins had a pretty good career that included an MVP award in 2007 and playing on a World Championship team in 2008.  He led the league in runs once, triples four times and stolen bases once, so there is some black ink on his Baseball Reference page.  For his career, he hit .264/.324/.418 with 231 home runs, 936 RBIs and 1,421 runs scored.  He also had 2,455 hits, so he was not far from 3,000.  He stole 470 bases.  And he was a shortstop.  I think he has a sneaky good candidacy that could easily pick up steam over time.  


TEAMS: Brewers, Padres, Marlins, Dodgers, Braves, Yankees, Tigers, Mets
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 9x All Star, 5x Silver Slugger
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Possibly at some point by an Eras Committee.

Sheffield has similar numbers to Manny Ramirez, though slightly less.  He does not have the PED suspensions that Ramirez had, but his name came up in the BALCO investigation.  That, coupled with his surly temperament and ability to wear out his welcome with every team he played for has made it difficult for him in the voting.  He has been on the ballot for eight years now, and has been stuck at 40% for the last two.  Time is running out.  His numbers are certainly there: .292/.393/.514 with 509 home runs and 1,676 RBIs.  I just don't see him getting voted in by the BBWAA.


TEAMS: Athletics, Rockies, Padres, Angels
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Rookie of the Year (2005), 2x All Star

Street is one of three closers on the ballot this year and he has the least chance being elected of them.  He is also the most likely to be one and done on the ballot.  That is not to say that he was not a great closer.  He won the Rookie of the Year in 2005 and saved 324 career games in 13 seasons.  He had a career ERA of 2.95 and was below 2.00 in four seasons.  He had a record of 42-34 with 665 career strikeouts.  Those numbers are just not enough to keep him on the ballot, much less get him in the Hall of Fame.


TEAMS: Mariners, Indians, Giants, Rangers, White Sox, Blue Jays
ACCOMPLISHMENTS: 3x All Star, 11x Gold Glove
WILL HE BE ELECTED?: Looking less and less likely.

Three years ago it looked like Vizquel would build enough support to get elected.  In his third year on the ballot, he cracked the 50% mark.  But then, some less than savory information came out that hurt his candidacy.  His support since then has shrunk to below 25%, lower than he even started out.  I am okay with this.  I have covered Vizquel several times and have called him a highly overrated candidate.  He was a terrible hitter for most of his career, finishing with an OPS of .688 and an OPS+ of 82.  His 2,877 hits were due to playing 24 seasons.  His defense is what kept him in the league as he won 11 Gold Gloves, but advanced defensive metrics suggest that he was overrated.   


TEAMS: Astros, Phillies, Mets, Red Sox, Braves

I have come around on Wagner over the years.  Right now, I think he will probably get in in the next couple years.  He is running low on time, this is his eighth year on the ballot, but he is heading in the right direction.  He appeared on 51% of the ballots last year and appears to have gained a few already this year.  Wagner was a dominant closer, striking out 1,196 batters over just 903 innings pitched and saving 422 games.  He had a career ERA of 2.31.  I think he will get in while still on the BBWAA ballot, with an outside chance of making it this year.  


TEAMS: Angels, Padres

In looking at Weaver's career, he is better than I remembered him being.  Maybe I had him confused with his brother Jeff.  Of course, I still doubt he receives more than a vote or two, and most likely none.  He did finish in the top five of Cy Young voting three years in a row, with a high of second to Justin Verlander in 2011.  He led the league in wins twice and strikeouts once.  His career record was 150-98 with a 3.63 ERA and 1,621 strikeouts.  It looks like he started to struggle in his 30's then dealt with injuries and that was pretty much it for his career.


TEAMS: Blue Jays, Dodgers, Phillies, Nationals

Werth was a slugging outfielder who primarily played for the Phillies and Nationals.  He was a big bat in the lineup for the 2008 World Champion Phillies and hit more than 20 home runs six times during his career, with a career high of 36.  But, he was an All Star just once and only led the league in one category one year throughout his career (doubles), and he never drove in 100 runs.  His career stat line was .267/.360/.455 with 229 home runs and 799 RBIs.  That just is not getting it done.


1.  Scott Rolen is the only player to get elected.

2.  Jeff Kent makes a big gain, but it is too little, too late and he drops off the ballot.

3.  Todd Helton, Andruw Jones and Billy Wagner all make big gains, positioning them to be elected in the next couple of years.  

4.  Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez make modest gains, but continue to stagnate.

5.  Carlos Beltran and Francisco Rodriguez are the only newcomers to remain on the ballot.  None of the other newcomers receive even one vote and drop off.