Thursday, July 21, 2022

2021 Topps Update Group Break

I did another of those group breaks on Ebay for Topps Update.  There were a lot of players I was excited about in the set.  

Here is the break:

1.  Manny Ramirez.  This is one of the Silver Pack cards from jumbo boxes.  Ramirez is one of the few massive free agent contracts that actually worked throughout the life of the contract.  He ended up spending just under eight seasons with Boston and hit .312/.411/.588 with 274 home runs and 868 RBIs.  He was an All Star every season and won six Silver Sluggers, as well as being named the World Series MVP in 2004.  He was absolutely worth the money.

2.  Franchy Cordero.  Cordero was the only player with Major League experience acquired in the Andrew Benintenti deal.  He struggled greatly in 2021, but was starting to play pretty well at the beginning of this season.  He has been slumping recently.  This is a Rainbow Foil parallel.

3.  Garrett Richards.  Richards pitched in a variety of roles in 2021, starting in the rotation and then pitching out of the bullpen.  He even notched a few saves.  At times he was virtually unhittable, but had difficulty remaining consistent.

4.  J.D. Martinez.  This is an All Star insert.  Martinez was one of five Red Sox All Stars, including Nathan Eovaldi, Matt Barnes, Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts.

5.  Martin Perez.  Perez was an All Star this year with the Rangers.  I do not think anyone expected that after he was 10-13 with a 4.65 ERA for Boston the last two seasons.  He notably had a complete meltdown in the ALCS against the Astros.

6.  Franchy Cordero.  This is the base card.

7.  Garrett Whitlock.  What a find Whitlock was.  The Rule V pick out of the Yankees organization was 8-4 with a 1.96 ERA with 81 strikeouts and 17 walks in 73.1 innings pitched.  He picked up a couple of saves as well.

8.  Marwin Gonzalez.  The utility player extraordinaire did not really work out in Boston.  He hit just .202/.281/.285 with two home runs and 20 RBIs.  It was an ugly season.

9.  Adam Ottavino.  Ottavino was essentially acquired for nothing.  Boston agreed to take on his contract from the Yankees and also got a decent reliever prospect.  Ottavino went 7-3 with a 4.21 ERA and saved eleven games, second on the team.  He struck out 71 and walked 35 in 62 innings pitched.  

10.  Alex Verdugo/Enrique Hernandez.  Verdugo and Hernandez were teammates with the Dodgers for a few seasons before Verdugo was traded to Boston.  After a season away from each other, Hernandez came over to Boston to be reunited with his old teammate.  I like this shot because of the City Connect jerseys.

11.  Hunter Renfroe.  Renfroe had a big season in 2021, leading the league in assists and hitting .259/.315/.501 with 31 home runs and 96 RBIs.  He was traded after the season for Jackie Bradley Jr. and a couple of prospects.

12.  Hirokazu Sawamura.  Sawamura came over from Japan prior to the season.  The sinkerball specialist turned in a nice season overall.  He had a record of 5-1 with a 3.06 ERA.  He struck out 61 and walked 32 in 53 innings pitched.

13.  Rafael Devers.  2021 was Devers's first All Star appearance.  He should have been an All Star in 2019.  

14.  Bobby Dalbec.  Dalbec had a nice rookie season and was great in the second half.  He hit 25 home runs and drove in 78 runs.

Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Topps Now: October 15, 2021

October 15, 2021

Man, Enrique Hernandez was such a good pickup for Boston in 2020.  He settled into the leadoff spot and became one of the best defensive center fielders in the league.  He was also an absolute force in the postseason.  Boston lost the first game of the ALCS to the Astros, but not because of Hernandez.  He had a four hit game with a double and two home runs.  He drove in two runs.  

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

HUGE COMC Order - Plus The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #s 972 and 973

Lots to unpack here.  Oh boy.  I placed this order to fill in some random holes, get some vintage, and a whole lot more.  I am also writing this on the day of the All Star Game, so that will be a big part of this post.

1.  Ken Keltner.  Keltner spent almost his entire career in Cleveland.  Except for 13 games in his final season, which he spent in Boston.  He hit .321 with a couple of doubles in 1950 for Boston though.  Keltner was a seven-time All Star.

2.  Rafael Devers.  It is becoming impossible to ignore Devers.  Boston NEEDS to lock him up long term.  He is having a terrific season.  Devers was named to his second All Star team this year and was voted to start.

3.  Andrew Benintendi.  Benny is an All Star this season with Kansas City, his first such appearance.  He is a free agent at the end of the season and possible trade bait by the deadline.

4.  Al Evans.  Evans spent almost his entire career in Washington.  Except for 12 games in his final season, which he spent in Boston.  He hit .125 though and was not really a star player.  Most of his career, he was a backup catcher.  He still got a card with Boston though.

5.  Chris Sale/J.D. Martinez/Andrew Benintendi/Mookie Betts.  Kind of an odd-looking card here.  It reminds me of the Score All Star cards in the early 1990's.  All the players had big heads.  Sale was an All Star with Boston twice.  Martinez has been an All Star four times.  Betts was an All Star four times with Boston.

6.  Mitch Moreland.  I am not sure how Moreland did not get a Major League job this season.  He will always be remembered for his clutch home runs, particularly the three-run pinch-hit shot in Game 4 of the World Series in 2018.  Moreland was an All Star for the first and only time in his career in 2018.

7.  Blaze Jordan.  Jordan is one of the top power prospects in the Red Sox system.  If he can develop into a decent hitter, that power will make him an interesting player.

8.  Mitch Moreland.

9.  Jackie Bradley Jr.  JBJ probably is not going to be a big league regular for much longer.  He has struggled greatly this season.  Still great defensively though.  Bradley was an All Star for Boston in 2016.

10.  Jimmie Foxx.  The Beast was an All Star six times with the Red Sox.  Only three times with the A's.  Of course, All Star games did not start until well into his career.  So that explains that.  Foxx wears a Red Sox cap on his Hall of Fame plaque.

11.  Babe Ruth.  Ruth had most of his success prior to the inception of the All Star Game.  Thus, he was only twice named to the game, both while with the Yankees.

12.  Carl Yastrzemski.  Notably, Yaz was the All Star Game MVP in 1970, after he had a four-hit game, including a double.   Yaz was an All Star 18 times.  That is incredible.  

13.  Christian Vazquez.  I was disappointed that Vazquez was not named to the All Star team this year.  He has better all-around numbers than Jose Trevino, for example.  Vazquez has not been an All Star yet.

14.  Ted Williams.  Williams holds the team record with 19 All Star Game appearances.  He has generally played well in the games too.  He also holds the career record in OBP.  .482.  That's right.  For his CAREER, he got on base just under half the time.

15.  Carlos Quintana.  I used this order to fill in a few holes in my Carlos Quintana collection.  Quintana was never an All Star.

16.  Jackie Bradley Jr.

17.  Mo Vaughn.  Vaughn made three All Star teams and started in the 1996 game.  He probably should have made a couple more, but first base was LOADED in the 1990's.  Frank Thomas had a stranglehold on the position, but there were several other big stars there too.

18.  Alex Verdugo.  Verdugo has yet to be an All Star.  Maybe some day.  He is having an uneven season, but has been decent in the past.    

19.  Alex Verdugo.

20.  Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts was named to his fourth All Star team this season.  Boston will have a decision to make with him after the season.  Hopefully they will keep him.

21.  David Ortiz/Rafael Devers.  Ortiz was an All Star nine teams.  He is the only Red Sox player to win the Home Run Derby, which he did in 2010.  Ortiz will be inducted into the Hall of Fame next weekend.

22.  Eduardo Rodriguez.  I still think E-Rod should have been an All Star in 2019, when he was Boston's best pitcher.  I was disappointed when he signed with the Tigers last offseason.  He was always a favorite of mine.  

23.  Rafael Devers.

24.  Darren Lewis.  Lewis was brought in for his speed and defense in 1998.  He led the team in stolen bases his first season with 29.  He won a Gold Glove for the Giants in 1994.  

25.  Pete Runnels.  Two-time batting champ Runnels was an All Star three times with the Red Sox.  Those were his only appearances in the Game.  He probably should have made a couple of other appearances.  Runnels was the batting champ in 1960 and 1962 and came in second in 1958, to Ted Williams.

26.  Carl Yastrzemski.

27.  Murray Wall.  I may have to look into this one.  Wall apparently was traded by the Red Sox to Washington, along with Billy Consolo for Dick Hyde and Herb Plews.  But, three days later, Wall and Hyde were returned to their respective teams.  Wall managed to appear in a game for Washington, but Hyde did not play for Boston.  Wall played parts of three seasons with Boston.  

28.  Joe Cronin.  Cronin was an All Star five times with the Red Sox, and twice with Washington.  He was the starting shortstop in the first All Star Game.  This was the only relic in the entire order.

29.  Tim Wakefield.  Despite his long career and several very good seasons, Wakefield was only an All Star once.  That happened in 2009 and seemed like more of a recognition for his career.  2009 was not one of his best seasons overall, but he did have a really good first half.

30.  Gene Stephens.  No relation to Vern, Gene Stephens was a highly-regarded outfielder when he came up.  But he never lived up to his potential and could not break into a Red Sox outfield that was filled with stars Ted Williams, Jackie Jensen and Jimmy Piersall.  His best season was 1953.  That year, he hit .293/.374/.459 with three home runs and 18 RBIs.   

31.  Joe Dobson.  One of the best pitchers on the team in the late 1940's, Dobson was an All Star in 1948, a year after his best season.  Dobson had a 106-72 record with Boston over nine seasons and had a 3.57 ERA.  In 1948, he was 16-10 with a 3.56 ERA.  

32.  Carlton Fisk.  Fisk was an All Star with Boston seven times.  He was an All Star with the White Sox just four times.  That kind of surprised me, given his reputation.  There were a few years that were particularly surprising.  The only seasons he missed with Boston were due primarily to injuries.

33.  Xander Bogaerts.

34.  Tim Wakefield.

35.  Carlos Quintana.

36.  Don Buddin.  Buddin's defense was so suspect that he was often called "Bootin' Buddin".  Buddin was a decent hitter for a middle infielder in the late 1950's/early 1960's.  His best season was in 1961 when he hit .263/.394/.398 with six home runs and 42 RBIs.  He was traded after the season for the actually good Eddie Bressoud.

37.  Mo Vaughn.  

38.  Carlos Quintana.

39.  Tom Brewer/Dave Sisler.  Brewer was an All Star for the Red Sox in 1956 when he was 19-9 with a 3.50 ERA in 244.1 innings pitched.  He spent his entire eight-year career with the Red Sox.  Sisler, the son of Hall of Famer George Sisler, never made an All Star team.  He never quite reached his potential with Boston.  Later in his career, he was a decent reliever.

40.  Chris Sale.  Sale started both All Star Games he pitched in for Boston.

41.  Jason Varitek.  Varitek was a three-time All Star for Boston.  He was voted the last man in 2003 and voted to start in 2005, the year after Boston won the World Series.  

42.  Jason Varitek.  These two Stadium Club variations are the two new cards for the Varitek collection.

43.  Mookie Betts.  

44.  George Scott.  Boomer was an All Star three times in his career, including twice with Boston.  He was an All Star in his rookie season of 1966 and then in 1977.  In 1977, he hit a home run in the game, in Yankee Stadium.

45.  Dennis Eckersley.  Eck was only an All Star six times in his career.  Four of those were as the closer for the A's.  He appeared in a game with Cleveland and one with Boston.  Despite great seasons for the Red Sox in 1978 and 1979, Eck only made it to the 1982 game with Boston.  

46.  Carlos Quintana.

47.  Tim Naehring.  Had he not gotten hurt, Naehring may have been headed to the All Star Game in 1997.  He was hitting .286/.375/.467 with nine home runs, 18 doubles and 40 RBIs in 70 games before he went down with an injury in mid-June.  That was it for his career unfortunately.

48.  Smoky Joe Wood.  Wood also played his entire career well before the inception of the All Star Game.  He almost certainly would have made it in 1912 when he was the best pitcher in the game.  That year he was 34-5 with a 1.91 ERA and 258 strikeouts in 344 innings pitched.

49.  David Ortiz.

50.  Nathan Eovaldi.  Eovaldi made his first All Star team in 2021.  That year, he finished fourth in the AL Cy Young race.  He led the league in games started, FIP and walks per nine innings.  

51.  Ted Williams.

52.  Eduardo Rodriguez.

53.  Bobby Dalbec.  Dalbec may not last longer in Boston if he doesn't get something figured out pretty soon.  I like Dalbec, but he has struggled immensely all season.

54.  Xander Bogaerts.

55.  Rafael Devers.

56.  Carlton Fisk.

57.  Kevin Pillar.  Pillar only spent the first half of 2020 with Boston.  In 30 games, he hit .274/.325/.470 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.  He was traded to Colorado at the trading deadline.  

58.  Carl Yastrzemski.

59.  Alex Verdugo.

60.  Gilberto Jimenez.  One of the prospects in this package.  Jimenez is a decent outfield prospect.  His numbers are down a bit this season and he could find himself on the move since he could be part of the roster crunch at the end of this season.

61.  Tony Pena.  This is some kind of prototype card for Pacific.  I was pretty happy to find it.  He was a five-time All Star, four with the Pirates and once with the Cardinals.  He did win a Gold Glove with Boston though.  He just was not much of a hitter by the time he came to the Red Sox.

62.  Jarren Duran.  Duran has blazing speed.  If he can be a passable hitter and defender, he could be an outfielder for a long time.  

63.  Kevin Pillar.

64.  Rafael Devers.

65.  Jackie Bradley Jr.

66.  Jim Rice.  Rice was an All Star eight times, obviously all with Boston.  He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009 and spent his entire career with the Red Sox.  His best year was in 1978 when he was the A.L. MVP and had 406 total bases.

67.  Travis Lakins.  The only autograph from the package, Lakins pitched in 16 games for the Red Sox in 2019 and had a 3.86 ERA.  He made three starts as the opener that season.  He had a record of 0-1 with 18 strikeouts and ten walks in 23.1 innings pitched.  He was traded to the Cubs before the 2020 season.  Boston probably could have used him that season as he turned in a decent season for the O's in relief.

68.  Eduardo Rodriguez.

69.  David Ortiz.

70.  Rafael Devers.

71.  Christian Vazquez.

72.  Ted Williams.

73.  Carlton Fisk.

74.  Xander Bogaerts.

75.  Nick Yorke.  My first card of Yorke.  Yorke was Boston's first round draft pick in 2020 and tore up the league in 2021.  He has dealt with injuries this season but still has a bright future.  

76.  Wade Boggs.  Boggs notably hit a home run in the 1989 All Star Game immediately after Bo Jackson.  He was an All Star eight times with the Red Sox and four times with the Yankees.

77.  Carlton Fisk.

78.  J.D. Martinez.

79.  Carlos Quintana.

80.  Mo Vaughn.

81.  Pete Runnels/Dick Gernert/Frank Malzone.  Gernert had a few decent seasons with the Red Sox.  He hit 101 home runs with Boston, hitting more than 20 twice.  His high was 21 in 1953.  Frank Malzone is one of the better third-basemen in Red Sox history.  He was an All Star six times with the Red Sox.  Oddly, he was not an All Star in 1962 when he hit a career high 21 home runs.  

82.  J.D. Martinez.

That was exhausting.

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Topps Now: October 11, 2021

These things are going to be a little out of order from this point on.  It took some sellers a long time to get stuff to me.  Others were very fast.  Hence why we have cards of the last game of the ALDS well before even the Wild Card Game.

October 11, 2021

Game 4 of the ALDS proved to be the deciding game.  Boston sent Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound, and he was good enough, pitching five innings and giving up just two runs.  The bullpen blew it though.  Garrett Whitlock ended up pitching the final two innings and eventually got the win.  Rafael Devers, who was terrific in the postseason, went 3-4 and hit a three-run home run in the third inning.  Enrique Hernandez, who was also terrific in the postseason, eventually won the game on a sacrifice fly in the ninth inning, driving in Danny Santana.  It was quite the ending to a surprising series.  Boston was not expected to take out the Rays. 

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Another Silk Card

I always kind of liked these Topps Silk Collection cards.  They made a big deal about them for a few years about ten years ago, but you do not really see them anymore.  I still track them down occasionally though.  I showed off my Jose Iglesias a few days ago.  Here is my latest:

This Bill Hall is one that I always wanted.  Hall only played the one season for Boston in 2010 and his only cards are variations on his Update card.  That's unfortunate.  I really liked Hall.  He was so versatile that he was my All-Time One-Year Wonder utility player.  He played all three outfield positions, second, third, shortstop and even pitched a game.  Most of the time was split between left field and second base.  Hall played in 119 games, hitting .247/.316/.456 with 18 home runs, 46 RBIs and nine stolen bases.

Friday, July 15, 2022

2021 Bowman Chrome Blaster

I tried my luck at a Bowman Chrome blaster.  Not bad.  Not great, but it could have been much worse.

1.  J.D. Martinez.  Martinez is now in his fifth season with the Red Sox and is probably the second or third best designated hitter in team history.  David Ortiz is obviously number one.  The competition is Jim Rice, I think.  Martinez has been an All Star four times and won two Silver Sluggers.  He has hit 123 home runs with the Red Sox.

2.  Jeter Downs.  This is one of those Mojo Prospect Refractor cards.  Downs was one of the big pieces Boston acquired in the Mookie Betts deal.  He recently made his Major League debut and had a big series against the Yankees last weekend, driving in the tying run and scoring the winning run in the third game.  Downs could be trade bait at this point, unless Boston is unable to lock up Xander Bogaerts.  Even then, Marcelo Mayer and Nick Yorke are coming.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Plawecki Auto

I had to grab this card:

Autographs and relics have generally not been as important to me as they were about 15 years ago, but I still generally try to grab at least one for each player.  So when something shows up for say, a backup catcher, you know I have to track it down.  That is what happened here.

Kevin Plawecki has been the Red Sox backup catcher since 2020.  He was my Underrated Player of the Year that first year.  Generally, defense has been his strong point, but Plawecki has shown an impressive ability for contact hitting.  He was very good at putting the ball in play last year, which led to him being used in some important clutch moments.  Unfortunately, he has declined dramatically this season, leading likely to the end of the road for Plawecki in Boston.

This is the purple version of the Donruss Optic Signature Series card.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

2021 Donruss Optic Break

I bought a blaster of this product, essentially Panini's version of Chrome for the Donruss brand.  Not much to show for it, unfortunately, just a couple of base cards.

Alex Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec join the collection.  Verdugo has struggled at times this year, but generally performs well in the clutch.  He essentially won a game against the Yankees a few days back.  Dalbec is getting REALLY frustrating.  He looks absolutely lost at the plate lately, swinging at pitches that are non-competitive and not playing well on defense.  I have a hard time seeing him sticking around at this rate.

Monday, July 11, 2022

Topps Now Postseason Set

Every year Topps sells sets for each of the postseason teams for a ridiculous price.  Yet, I still end up getting them.  Last year was no different.  The set was only ten cards this year.

1.  Bobby Dalbec.  As the hot team rookie in 2021, of course Dalbec was going to be in the set.  Dalbec though, barely played, primarily due to the acquisition of Kyle Schwarber.  He made it into eight games, getting 12 at-bats.  He failed to register a single hit or walk and struck out five times.

2.  Nathan Eovaldi.  Eovaldi started and won the Wild Card game against the Yankees, pitching 5.1 innings, giving up just one earned run while striking out eight.  He pitched five innings against the Rays, again striking out eight, but taking a no-decision.  He struggled a bit more in the ALCS, pitching three games, but starting two.  He got the win in Game 2, but losses in Games 4 and 6.  He had a 6.97 ERA in the ALCS, but he added nine more strikeouts.

3.  Christian Vazquez.  Vazquez was a star in the ALDS after sitting out most of the Wild Card game.  He played in four of the five games and hit .375.  He drove in four runs and had one of the biggest moments of the series, homering to walk off the Rays in Game 3.  He drove in two in the ALCS while playing in each of the six games.

4.  Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts was one of the big hitting stars for Boston throughout the postseason.  He homered and drove in two runs in each of the rounds.  All told he hit .261, but that number was depressed by a lackluster showing in the second half of the ALCS, like most players not named Rafael Devers.

5.  Rafael Devers.  Speaking of Devers, he is quickly becoming one of the most impressive and prolific Red Sox hitters in postseason history.  In 2021, all he did was .295 with five home runs, eleven runs scored and twelve RBIs.  He already has eight home runs in his postseason career.  Not bad for a player who is just 25 years old.

6.  J.D. Martinez.  Martinez played in just three of the ALDS games, but hit .467 with a home run and four RBIs.  He also hit a couple of home runs in the ALCS against the Astros with six RBIs.  One of those home runs was a grand slam.  Not bad for a player whose participation in the postseason was at risk due to an ankle injury.

7.  Hunter Renfroe.  Renfroe struggled for most of the postseason.  He had some decent moments in the ALDS and was involved in a weird play in which a fly ball bounced off the wall, off of him, and then over the wall for a ground-rule double.  He had just two doubles among his seven hits and only drove in one run.

8.  Kyle Schwarber.  Schwarber was the big trade deadline acquisition in 2021.  He was acquired to add another power bat to the lineup, and he lived up to it.  He homered once in each round, including a grand slam in the ALCS.  He drove in six runs in the postseason and even stole a base.

9.  Alex Verdugo.  Verdugo got to play in the postseason for the first time in 2021 and made the most of it, hitting .310 in the three rounds.  He homered in the ALDS against the Rays and drove in six total runs.  He also stole a base, scored five runs and walked five times as opposed to three strikeouts.  

10.  Chris Sale.  Sale was injured most of 2021, coming back from Tommy John surgery.  He struggled in his first game in the ALDS, giving up five runs in just one inning, but pitched significantly better in the ALCS.  He started two games, pitching eight innings with nine strikeouts and three walks.  He had an 0-1 record, but a 3.38 ERA.  

There were some notable absences from this set.  The biggest one was one of the biggest stars of the postseason: Enrique Hernandez.  He hit five home runs and drove in nine runs and might have been the ALCS MVP had Boston moved on.  Very little of the pitching staff was represented either.  Nick Pivetta had a huge performance, as did Eduardo Rodriguez.  And Garrett Whitlock was Boston's best rookie and held down the late innings.  So, this set should have been a little bigger.  I did get the autographed version of the set, and my card came earlier this year.  I will show it off eventually.  

Sunday, July 10, 2022

Topps Now: September 2 and September 22, 2021

Let's dive in to some more Topps Now cards.

September 2, 2021

I had to get this one.  Garrett Richards just seemed like one of those players that cards were going to be hard to come by.  He never really seemed to have a set role on the team and was not exactly dominant most of the time.  He definitely seemed unlikely to get many Topps Now cards.  So, I made sure to grab this one.  

On September 2, the Red Sox took on the Rays in Tampa.  Eduardo Rodriguez started the game and pitched well, throwing six innings of four-hit ball with no runs, one walk and six strikeouts.  Boston could not muster any extra base hits but were leading 4-0.  Enter Richards in the seventh, who pitched the last three innings, giving up just one hit and one walk while striking out four for a nice, three-inning save.  It was his second save of the season.  He finished the season 7-8 with a 4.87 ERA, three saves, 115 strikeouts versus 60 walks in 136.2 innings.  

September 22, 2021

The Red Sox rolled over the Mets in Boston, winning 12-5.  Trade deadline pickup Kyle Schwarber had a huge game, going 3-4 with two home runs.  Apparently Schwarber owns the Mets, which I am sure the Phillies had in mind when signing him.  Schwarber's other hit was a double.  He drove in four runs, scored four runs and walked once.  Chris Sale started the game, pitching five effective innings, giving up just two runs and striking out eight.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Unknown Heroes Pt. 46: Jose Iglesias

I have not done one of these in something like six years.  I am sure I could come up with a few more if I thought about it (looking at you Tzu-Wei Lin).  Getting the below card was a good reason to resurrect this series.

This is one of the Silk Collection cards that were fairly big for a few years.  This came from Iglesias's first stint with the team.  He made another one last year.

Iglesias was signed to a big bonus as an international free agent in September of 2009.  The Cuban-born infielder was spectacular defensively, but had a questionable bat.  His first season in the minors saw him hit for a decent average, but no power.  He made it up to the Majors for the first time in late 2011, but only played in ten games, mostly as a defensive replacement, though he did have two hits in just six at-bats.  He had a little more of a look in the Majors in 2012 when the team struggled to a last-place finish, but he hit just .118 in 25 games.  

Spring Training in 2013 saw Iglesias put on a show.  He was so impressive that he made the Opening Day lineup.  He was sent back down to the minors after a week, but came back in late May.  Iglesias was a sensation, splitting time between shortstop and third base and hitting for a shockingly high batting average.  Iglesias's strengths were his exceptional defense and his ability to make contact.  He also had some impressive speed that allowed him to beat out plays at first base.  Iglesias was hitting above .400 as late as July 6 before his average finally started coming down.  He struggled after that for a few weeks.  On July 30, Iglesias was hitting .330/.376/.409 with one home run, ten doubles, two triples, 19 RBIs and three stolen bases.  That was the end of his first stint with Boston.

As good as Iglesias had been, Boston had a better player waiting in the wings at shortstop.  Xander Bogaerts represented the team's future.  Boston had a glut of shortstop prospects in fact.  That made Iglesias expendable.  What the team needed was more starting pitching to contend for the postseason.  And there was a pretty good one on the table in Chicago, but Boston did not have quite enough to make the move.  Enter the Detroit Tigers, who needed an infielder.  A three-team deal developed in which Boston sent Iglesias to the Tigers and some prospects (one of whom was Frankie Montas currently a top starter with the A's) to the White Sox.  The Tigers sent power-hitting outfielder Avisail Garcia to the White Sox, and Boston had their pitcher: Jake Peavy.

Iglesias continued to play well defensively for his new team, but his average continued to fall.  At the end of the year, his line was a still decent .303/.349/.386 with three home runs and 29 RBIs.  He ended up finishing second in the A.L. Rookie of the Year vote to Rays outfielder Wil Myers.  Iglesias continued along the same lines for several more seasons, even making the All Star team in 2015.  He played for the Tigers, Reds, Orioles and Angels.  Then, he returned to Boston.

The Angels in 2021 were not going anywhere.  Despite reasonable numbers, the team decided to cut Iglesias.  Boston, needing some help due to injuries brought him back.  And Iglesias went on a tear.  Playing mostly second base, Iglesias played in 23 games down the stretch and hit .356/.406/.508 with one home run and seven RBIs.  He was also a strong clubhouse presence, taking over the role of chief laundry-cart pusher during home run celebrations.  Due to not joining the team until September, he was not eligible for the postseason roster.  He stayed with the team though to continue pushing the laundry cart.  

After the season, Iglesias signed a deal with the Rockies.  He is still just 32, so it is entirely possible he could make a third stint with the Red Sox.  If he does not though, his career line with Boston is a very impressive .293/.346/.382 with three home runs and 28 RBIs.  And of course, he played some terrific defense.  

Friday, July 8, 2022

Panini Prizm Group Break

I tried out another one of those group breaks for Panini Prizm last year.  I do not remember how many boxes it was though.  It was not massively successful, but there was some decent stuff.


Four cards among three players here.  All three are currently with the Red Sox as of today and all are homegrown.  Base cards include Xander Bogaerts, who is the senior member of the Red Sox roster at this time as he started back in 2013, and Tanner Houck, who is currently the team's closer.  Bogaerts was signed as an international free agent out of Aruba.  Houck was a first round draft pick in 2017.

After the base cards are an insert of Rafael Devers.  Devers, like Bogaerts, was an international free agent, though he was from the Dominican Republic.  This is from the Fearless insert set.  Then, there is a green parallel of Houck as well.

This was not a great break, but there was some decent stuff here.  

Thursday, July 7, 2022

I Have No Title for This

These random cards were picked up from the same seller (I think) on Ebay.  There was no real rhyme or reason for them, they just kind of caught my eye.

1.  Kevin Pillar.  This was the Royal Blue parallel from Topps Update.  I probably should have done an update post to my All-Time One-Year Wonder post for right fielders for Pillar.  He was signed as a free agent prior to the 2020 season and was playing very well for Boston before being traded at the deadline to Colorado.  Pillar ended up hitting .274/.325/.470 with four home runs, 13 RBIs and seven doubles in just 30 games.  It would not have been enough to unseat Cody Ross (who was eventually replaced by Hunter Renfroe's 2021 season), but it was a good year.

2.  Xander Bogaerts.  This is a 2017 Gypsy Queen image variation of Bogaerts.  I have always felt Bogaerts was somewhat underrepresented in my collection, so I grabbed this one.  That doesn't appear to actually be true as he is close to passing Mookie Betts, but as long as he has played for Boston, he should be much higher.

Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Topps Now: September 8 and September 18, 2021

Time for more Topps Now cards.

September 8, 2021

Boston took on Tampa Bay at Boston, winning the game 2-1.  It was a low-scoring game, which Hunter Renfroe provided all of the offense.  Boston was trailing 1-0 going into the bottom of the 8th inning after a strong pitching performance by Nathan Eovaldi.  The bullpen gave up the sole run in the top of the inning.  Renfroe came on with Kyle Schwarber on base and homered, giving the Red Sox the lead, and eventually, the win.

September 18, 2021

The Red Sox blew out the Orioles on September 18 9-3.  Xander Bogaerts provided most of the offense, collecting three hits in five at-bats.  He scored two runs and drove in four on two singles and a home run.  Tanner Houck took the win.  Boston notably wore their City Connect jerseys which garnered a bit of a cult status among fans which continues to this day.

Monday, July 4, 2022

Joe Rudi Watercolor

Just a quick one-card post today.  This is the Joe Rudi card from the 2021 Topps Spotlight 70 set featuring a bunch of fan favorite-type players.  The cards were watercolor representations of older cards.  I did not get nearly enough of these cards yet, which is disappointing because there was a surprising amount of Red Sox representation in the set.  For one, there is this card.  Now, most people do not associate Joe Rudi with the Red Sox.  And for good reason.  Rudi was actually originally acquired by Boston in 1976 along with Rollie Fingers in the famous deal voided by Bowie Kuhn.  He was later acquired in the deal along with Frank Tanana in the trade that sent icon Fred Lynn to the Angels.  Rudi did not play well for Boston, hitting just .180/.239/.352 with six home runs in 49 games.  He played just just one more season in the big leagues, returning to Oakland, the team for whom he had his most success.  So yeah, pretty shocking this card was chosen.  It is also not the most interesting-looking Topps card.  The 1982 set had a decent design, but this was just a profile shot.  He has great looking cards in 1971, 1973 and 1974.

As I said, this set had some decent Red Sox representation.  In the 70 card Series One set, there were five Red Sox.  Including Rudi, there were also cards of Jim Rice, Rich Gedman, Luis Tiant and Mo Vaughn.  Series Two featured five more with Dustin Pedroia, Tim Wakefield and then short-lived Red Sox tenured Hall of Famers Tom Seaver, Juan Marichal and Fergie Jenkins.  I need to track down some more cards.

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Forgotten Stars Pt. 10: Dave "Boo" Ferriss

When a team that has as long a history as the Red Sox it is natural to have players who have been largely forgotten. These are some players who simply do not get mentioned anymore or are largely forgotten.

Technically I covered Ferriss in a previous post, but he shared the post with Tex Hughson.  And plus, I get to show off this card in this post:

This is a Diamond Signatures autographed card of Ferriss, released in 2006.  This set had a number of autographed cards of players from the 1940's.  I may have to grab a couple more, particularly the Mel Parnell.

Ferriss was signed as an amateur free agent by the Red Sox prior to the 1942 season.  He spent that year in the minors and showed some promise.  He spent the next two seasons in military service then made it to the big leagues in 1945.  That year he turned in one of the best rookie seasons by a Red Sox pitcher ever.  Ferriss was an All Star and finished fourth in the MVP race after compiling a record of 21-10 with a 2.96 ERA in 264.2 innings pitched.  

1946 saw Ferriss lead the rotation with a 25-6 record en route to the American League pennant.  His ERA was 3.25 and he struck out 106 batters while walking 71 in 274 innings pitched.  He was an All Star again and finished seventh in the MVP vote.  He pitched in two games during the World Series, going 1-0 with a 2.03 ERA in 13.1 innings pitched.  Unfortunately, pitching that many innings early on in his career caused some major issues with his arm.  He had a 12-11 record with a 4.04 ERA in 218.1 innings pitched.  1948 saw him pitch more out of the bullpen, but he was just 7-3 with a 5.23 ERA.

Ferriss pitched in five games the next two seasons.  He pitched in the Red Sox minor league system until 1952.  He never made it back to the Majors and retired at the age of 30.  Ferriss did not pitch long, but he was a big part of the rotation in the mid 1940's.  He was one of the team's top pitchers in 1946.  

Friday, July 1, 2022

More Topps Now Cards: August 26, 2021

Topps Now cards have been much easier for me to come by than anything else recently.  Which kind of sucks in a way.  But that's just how it has been with my isolation over the last couple years.  Here are some more, all of which are from August 26, 2021, which must have been a slow day for other teams.

On August 26, 2021, the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 12-2.  There were several standout performances.

Chris Sale made the start in his continued return from Tommy John surgery, something I predicted he would eventually need years ago, even before coming to Boston.  Sale pitched just over five innings, giving up two earned runs, two walks, and striking out eight.  But in the third inning, he pitched his third career immaculate inning, striking out all three batters faced on nine straight strikes.

Rafael Devers became just the third player in franchise history to have multiple 30 home run seasons before turning 25.  The others?  Some guys named Ted Williams and Nomar Garciaparra.  Pretty good company.  Devers was 2-5 on the night with three RBIs.  He also stole a base.

Rookie Bobby Dalbec was the big star of the night though.  All Dalbec did was collect three hits in four at-bats and drive in seven of the team's runs.  Five of those RBIs were collected on his two home runs that night.  It was a big night for the rookie power hitter.