Monday, March 27, 2023

Random Bello Buy

I already talked at length about Brayan Bello recently, so there is not much else to add.  I grabbed this card for fairly cheap.  It is a Panini Draft Picks blue parallel.  I have not added a lot of Bello cards yet, but I suspect that will change in 2023 as he starts to appear in almost every Topps set.  Triston Casas is my pick for this year's rookie that will appear in every set, taking the throne from Jarren Duran in 2022, Bobby Dalbec in 2021, Michael Chavis in 2020, etc.  Bello though, will be close behind.  

Sunday, March 26, 2023

2022 Topps Heritage High Numbers Blaster

With still no sign of 2023 Topps Series One in stores around me, I decided one night to try out another blaster of Heritage High Numbers.  There were still a few base cards I needed, plus some other stuff.  So, I took a shot.

I will start by saying that there were actually five Red Sox in this break, including three in the same pack, but two of those were Kevin Plawecki and Chris Sale, who I already had.  This was probably my most successful break since that Diamond Kings blaster that resulted in the Alex Verdugo relic.

1.  Xander Bogaerts/Rafael Devers.  This is an insert card.  It is kind of sad that Devers and Bogaerts are no longer on the same team.  They seemed to have a close, almost brotherly friendship.  Still, this gets me to 226 Devers cards.  74 to go.  He does not gain on Bogaerts though.

2.  Connor Seabold.  This is a short print, the only one from Heritage High Numbers for the Red Sox.  Seabold has been traded to the Rockies after an extremely rough stint in the Majors that saw him go winless in five starts with an ERA north of 11.  I am not sure how Topps chooses which players to be short-printed, but this would not have been my pick.

3.  Trevor Story.  I expect Story to start to skyrocket in my collection.  This card puts me at 10.  He signed late, so he did not appear in a lot of sets in 2022.  I am disappointed it will be another year before we have a chance to see a fully healthy Story in Boston.  Hopefully he will come back strong later this season.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Cardbarrel Order

I heard about Cardbarrel recently and decided to take a shot at it.  I will say I found it a bit difficult to navigate.  I had to know exactly what I was looking for.  I wanted to track down some older wantlist stuff and had to navigate by year and set.  Most of the older stuff is not designated by team, so I could not simply search for "Red Sox".  I likely would have gotten more stuff, but it took a long time to find the stuff I did. 

Anyway, enough of that, here is what I did find:

1.  Rob Woodward.  Woodward was a 3rd round draft pick by the Red Sox in the 1981 draft.  He spent parts of four seasons in the Majors with the Red Sox, never appearing in more than nine games.  He had a 4-4 record with a 5.04 ERA in 100 innings, starting 14 out of his 24 games.  He struck out 45 and walked 36.  After the 1989 season, he went to the Orioles system for a couple years.

2.  Jim Rice.  This card completed the 1986 Sportflics team set for me.  Rice had his last great season in 1986 when he hit .324/.384/.490 with 20 home runs and 110 RBIs.  He had 200 hits and 39 doubles and scored 98 runs.  He was an All Star and finished third in the MVP vote.

3.  Dwight Evans.  This card completes the 1990 Score Superstars insert (?) set.  Evans was in his final season with the Red Sox in 1990.  Primarily the DH, he hit .249/.349/.391 with 13 home runs and 63 RBIs.  

4.  Luis Rivera.  1992 Bowman has eluded me for the most part.  I have still not finished the set.  Rivera was one player I needed.  Rivera is probably the player I liked the least when I started watching baseball in 1991.  I realize now that that was kind of irrational.  He had his best season in Boston in 1991 when he hit .258/.318/.384 with eight home runs and 40 RBIs.  

5.  Scott Taylor.  Taylor was a 28th round pick in the 1988 draft.  He spent parts of two seasons with the Red Sox in 1992 and 1993.  In 20 games, he had a record of 1-2 with a 6.31 ERA.  The southpaw pitched in 25.2 innings and struck out 15 while walking 16.

6.  Jeff McNeely.  This card completed the 1992 Donruss Rookies team set.  McNeely was a second round pick in the 1989 draft.  I was pretty excited about him early on, thinking he would be a decent hitter with a lot of speed.  He ended up playing in just 21 games with the Red Sox in 1993, but he hit .297/.409/.378 with six stolen bases.  He was eventually traded to the Cardinals in the deal for Luis Alicea.  His 21 games were his only Major League experience.

7.  Babe Ruth.  I got several of the Conlon Babe Ruth Collection Red Sox cards.  There are a small handful of them left.  This card looks at his World Series pitching experience.

8.  Babe Ruth.  This one looked at his 1916 season when he led the league in ERA.

9.  Babe Ruth.  This one looks at his pitching duels against Walter Johnson.  Ruth came out on top more often than not.

10.  Babe Ruth.  This card looks at his nine shutouts in 1916.

11.  Babe Ruth.  This card looks at his record in World Series play.

12.  Babe Ruth.  This card reviews Ruth's first Major League victory in 1914.

13.  Babe Ruth.  And this is a trivia card.

14.  Nate Minchey.  Minchey was the subject of several trades in his career.  He started out with the Expos and was traded to the Braves before making the Majors in the deal that sent Zane Smith to the Expos.  He was notably the primary return the Red Sox got when they sent Jeff Reardon to the Braves.  He made his Major League debut with the Red Sox in 1993 and pitched in 13 games with the Red Sox over three seasons.  He had a 3-7 record with a 6.53 ERA.  He was traded to the Cardinals before the 1995 season in the same Alicea deal along with McNeely, but returned to Boston in 1996.

15.  Frank Rodriguez.  Rodriguez was one of the biggest prospects I remember from my earliest days of collecting.  He was a two-way player and there was some question whether he would play shortstop or pitch.  He eventually settled on pitching and made his way up to Boston in 1995.  It was a big deal when he made his debut.  Unfortunately, he did not do much in Boston, winding up with a 0-2 record and a 10.57 ERA in 15.1 innings.  He was traded to the Twins at the deadline for closer Rick Aguilera, a trade that worked out for Boston.  Rodriguez never became the ace he was expected to be.

16.  Scott Cooper.  Cooper had his first All Star season in 1993 when he took over third base from Wade Boggs.  Cooper hit .279/.355/.397 with nine home runs, 29 doubles and 63 RBIs.  Probably not the most deserving of All Stars.

17.  Mike Greenwell.  Greenwell hit .315/.379/.480 in 1993, it was his final season hitting over .300.  He did finish his career with a .303 career batting average.  Greenwell had 170 hits, 38 doubles, 13 home runs and 72 RBIs.  Greenwell walked more than he struck out, walking 54 times versus 46 strikeouts.  

18.  Jose Malave.  Malave was a power-hitting outfield prospect that could not make the transition to the Majors.  My hometown of Lincoln, Nebraska has an independent league baseball team called the Saltdogs.  I went to a game in the early 2000's I think and Malave was playing for the other team.  

19.  Sad Sam Jones.  Jones was an underrated pitcher in the Deadball Era.  He represented the primary return the Red Sox received in the trade of Tris Speaker to the Indians.  In 1918, Jones led the league in winning percentage when he had a record of 16-5.  He had a 2.25 ERA that season.  Jones would be a 23-game winner in 1921 before he was traded to the Yankees like so many of Boston's best players in those days.

20.  Bobby Doerr.  With this card of the HOF second-baseman, I completed this Conlon set.  I was thinking about this the other day.  I wish there were sets like this still, that had a focus on baseball from prior to World War II.  I would especially like to see some more stuff from the Deadball Era and the 1920's.  

21.  Tony Pena.  Pena was an early favorite player due to his unique catching stance and his Gold Glove Award in 1991.  That seemed like a very big deal to me at the beginning of my fandom.  It didn't hurt that that was the last Gold Glove a Red Sox player would win until 2005.  Sort of insane when you think about it.

22.  Gar Finnvold.  Finnvold was a 6th-round draft pick by the Red Sox in 1990.  Despite poor records in the minor leagues, he had decent ERA numbers and made his ML debut in 1994.  He pitched in eight games, but had a record of 0-4 and a 5.94 ERA in 36.1 innings pitched.  He struck out 17 and walked 15.  He had injury issues the next two seasons, and that was it for his career.  

23.  Ryan McGuire.  McGuire was a 3rd-round pick by the Red Sox in the 1993 draft.  He had decent numbers in the minors but was traded to the Expos prior to the 1996 season.  He was part of the package Boston sent in exchange for Wil Cordero.  McGuire did make it to the Majors, playing for six seasons with the Expos, Mets, Marlins and Orioles.  He hit .211/.306/.311 with seven home runs and 55 RBIs in his career.

24.  Aaron Sele.  I remember Sele coming to the Majors in 1993.  He finished third in the Rookie of the Year voting that season, behind Tim Salmon and Jason Bere.  Sele was 7-2 with a 2.74 ERA in 111.2 innings pitched over 18 games.  Injuries slowed his development, particularly in 1995.  

25.  Mike Greenwell.  In 1994, Greenwell had one of his worst seasons.  That year he hit .269/.348/.453 with 11 home runs, 25 doubles and 45 RBIs.  He still walked more than he struck out.  Greenwell had a very underrated career.  

26.  Greg Blosser.  Blosser seemed to be an eternal prospect in the early years of my fandom.  Every year there would be cards promising a great career.  He was the 16th overall pick in the 1989 draft and had some huge power in the minors.  He played in just 22 games in the Majors though with a .077 average and no home runs.  

27.  Billy Hatcher.  I remember Hatcher being acquired in the 1992 season for Tom Bolton.  Hatcher provided an immediate spark, stealing home in one game.  He was one of my favorite, underrated players in 1993 when he hit .287/.336/.400 with nine home runs and 14 stolen bases.  Hatcher was eventually traded to the Phillies in a deal for Wes Chamberlain.

28.  Otis Nixon.  Nixon was a huge deal to me when he was acquired.  The Red Sox are not typically known for having players who steal a lot of bases.  Nixon's 42 stolen bases in 1994 was the most by a Red Sox player since Tommy Harper set the then-team record of 54 in 1973.  And it would be the last time a Red Sox player stole 40 until Jacoby Ellsbury's rookie season of 2008.  Nixon could have broken the team record had the season not ended due to the strike, and then he was traded to the Rangers for Jose Canseco.

29.  Rich Rowland.  I love this Sportflics card, it has a really cool action shot that is not clear in this scan.  Rowland was acquired in a deal that sent John Flaherty to the Tigers.  He had a decent rookie season in 1994, hitting .229/.295/.483 with nine home runs and 20 RBIs in 46 games as the backup to Damon Berryhill.

30.  Aaron Sele.  And I will close out the package with another Sele card.  Sele would eventually be traded to the Rangers in a deal that brought Jim Leyritz and Damon Buford to the Red Sox.

I do anticipate using Cardbarrel in the future, but I would need some significant time to find stuff.

Friday, March 24, 2023

Hiro Auto

I grabbed my first Hirokazu Sawamura auto because I like his signature and because I was kind of a fan of his during his short stint with the Red Sox.  This is from 2021 Panini Mosaic Scripts.  It was Sawamura's rookie season in the Majors.

Sawamura was signed as an international free agent to solidify the bullpen prior to the 2021 season.  He had previously pitched primarily for the Yomiuri Giants in the Japanese League.  Sawamura was already 33 years of age when he was brought to the Majors.  Sawamura pitched in 53 innings over 55 games, all in relief.  He had a record of 5-1 with a 3.06 ERA.  His splitter was lethal when it was on.  Sawamura struck out 61 batters, while walking 32.  He pitched in three games against the Astros in the postseason with a 4.50 ERA.

In 2022, he pitched in 49 games, throwing 50.2 innings.  His record was 1-1 and his ERA climbed to 3.73.  His strikeout numbers dipped to 40 and he walked 27 batters.  Due to the decline in his numbers and some really rough outings, the Red Sox released him in September.  Sawamura returned to Japan for the 2023 season with the Chiba Lotte Marines, a team he played for late in 2020, before he signed with Boston.

His final numbers in Boston were a record of 6-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 103.2 innings pitched.  He struck out 101 and walked 59.  

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 42: Dick Williams

Years in Boston: As player: 1963-1964 (.224/.301/.376, seven home runs, 23 RBIs); 
As manager: 1967-1969 (260-217)
Best Year in Boston: 1967 (92-70)

Dick Williams is not in the Hall of Fame for his playing career.  He had a 13-year career as a utility player with the Dodgers, Orioles, Indians, Athletics and Red Sox.  He was probably at his best with the Athletics, for whom he hit .276 with 28 home runs over two full seasons.  

The Red Sox acquired Williams in a deal with the Houston Colt .45's in exchange for pinch hitter extraordinaire Carroll Hardy.  Williams was with the Red Sox as a player in 1963 and 1964.  In 140 total games with the Red Sox, he hit .224/.301/.376 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs.  His best season was 1963 when he hit .257/.329/.360 in 79 games.  Williams played left field, third base and first base during his time with Boston.  His playing career was over after his last season in Boston in 1964.  

After his playing career was over, Williams managed in the minor leagues.  He was given his first opportunity as a Major League manager in 1967.  This was the Impossible Dream season and Williams inherited a young and hungry team.  Williams was a strict disciplinarian, a management style that had been lacking on the Red Sox in a long time.  The team responded well to it and began playing well early in the season and improving over time.  Williams helped lead the team to the World Series.  Despite losing it to the Cardinals, the Red Sox had re-captured the love of the city.  Williams was named the Manager of the Year after his impressive improvement of the team.  

Unfortunately, things declined in 1968, primarily due to injuries.  By 1969, Williams was on his way out with the team stuck in third place.  He was fired with just a handful of games remaining in the season.  His time in Boston was over.  He had a record of 260-217 with the Red Sox.

Williams would go on to manage through the 1988 season.  He served stints with the Athletics, Angels, Expos, Padres and Mariners.  He won the World Series with the Athletics in both 1972 and 1973.  He also led the Padres to the World Series, but lost to the Tigers, in 1984.  

Williams had a career managerial record of 1,571-1,451.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2008.  He wears an Oakland A's cap on his plaque, primarily due to leading them to the title twice.  He did not spend much more time with the A's than the Red Sox.  Williams began his lengthy managerial career with the Red Sox and made a name for himself there.  As a major part of the Impossible Dream season, he is a Red Sox legend.  

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 25: Dave Schmidt

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not?  

Dave Schmidt has exactly one card made of him, and he shares that card with Bruce Hurst and Julio Valdez.  There are two Dave Schmidts to play in the Majors Leagues, this one is the catcher.  The other one was a reliever who managed to be a Diamond King in 1989 Donruss.

Schmidt was drafted in the second round of the 1975 draft by the Red Sox.  Their first round pick that season, Otis Foster, never played in the Majors.  The draft also produced Ed Jurak, Dave Stapleton, Mike O'Berry and Mike Paxton.  Not the most impressive draft output.  Schmidt produced reasonably well in the minors and had some decent power.  His best season was in 1979 when he hit .332/.453/.571 with 19 home runs, 73 RBIs and ten stolen bases in Double-A.  Unfortunately, it was downhill from there.

Despite less-than-impressive output in the next two seasons, Schmidt was able to make the Majors in 1981.  He played in 15 games with 49 plate appearances.  He hit .238/.347/.405 with ten runs scored, a double, two home runs and three RBIs.  But that was it for his Major League career.  He spent the next season in the minors, but did not hit and was done.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

One Year Wonder Pt. 30: Travis Lakins

Our next recent One-Year Wonder is reliever Travis Lakins.  Lakins was drafted by the Red Sox in the sixth round of the 2015 Draft out of Big 10 power house Ohio State.  Lakins moved steadily through the minors, accumulating impressive pitching numbers.  His best season was in 2018 when he had a 2.32 ERA in 54.1 innings pitched over 36 games.  

Lakins made his Major League debut in a doubleheader against the Tigers.  He pitched 2.2 innings, giving up a run and striking out two while walking none.  Lakins came up a couple of times throughout  the season.  He started three games as an opener, which Boston experimented with heavily in 2019 and 2020.  Lakins made it into 16 games in 2019, throwing 23.1 innings.  He had a record of 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA.  He struck out 18, while walking 10.  He looked like a potential bullpen piece going forward.

Lakins was traded to the Cubs in January of 2020 for Jhonny Pereda, mostly in order to open up a roster spot.  He never pitched for the Cubs as he was placed on waivers ten days later.  The Orioles snatched him up and were able to keep him on their roster.  He had a very good season in 2020, pitching to a 2.81 ERA in 22 games.  Boston definitely could have used him that year as their bullpen was in shambles.  Unfortunately, he has not been able to replicate that success in the next two seasons.  He pitched in just six games in 2022 and has yet to catch on with a new team.

His one season in Boston was decent, but it was definitely not enough to unseat All-Time One-Year Wonder Right-Handed Reliever Takashi Saito.

Monday, March 20, 2023

2022 Donruss Optic Jumbo Pack

The week the new Topps Series One came out, my local retail stores did not get it in.  I had already bought into a group break anyway, so I was not sure I really wanted to buy any, but I wanted to get something.  So, I picked up a jumbo pack of Donruss Optic.  16 total cards, so not great odds of pulling any Red Sox.  Nevertheless, I got one.

1.  Jarren Duran.  Like I said yesterday, I cannot escape Duran.  This is a nice The Rookies insert, so better than just a base card, though with just 16 cards, I would have been perfectly happy with a base card as long as I pulled something.  I recently looked into the top five current Red Sox players in my collection and Duran is currently in fifth place, behind Rafael Devers, Chris Sale, Alex Verdugo and Bobby Dalbec.  That's how many Duran cards there have been flooding the marketplace.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

The Red Sox in Order

I made a recent trade with Tom over at Angels in Order.  All of the cards he sent were off of my wantlist.  Here are the cards he sent my way:

1.  Doug Mirabelli.  I am still not convinced this isn't Jason Varitek in the picture.  It just does not look like Mirabelli.  I note that he is wearing Mirabelli's chest protector, but that doesn't mean everything.  I am just not sure.  Mirabelli was a favorite of mine too, just not on the same level, obviously.  Mirabelli provided Boston an excellent backup catcher for several seasons.  He hit .281 with nine home runs in 2004 when Varitek hit .296 with 18 home runs.  That is excellent production from the catching platoon.

2.  Mike Lowell.  During Lowell's five-year stint with the Red Sox, he hit .290/.346/.468 with 80 home runs and 374 RBIs.  He was an All Star in 2007 and won the World Series MVP.  That year he finished fifth in the A.L. MVP vote.  Lowell was something of an afterthought when Boston acquired him along with Josh Beckett, but he was a great player during his time in Boston.

3.  Kevin Youkilis.  For a two-year span, Youkilis was one of the best hitters in the game.  From 2008 to 2009, he hit .309/.401/.559 with 56 home runs, 79 doubles, 190 runs scored, 318 hits and 209 RBIs.  He was an All Star both seasons (three total), and finished third and sixth in the MVP voting.  He also won the Hank Aaron Award in 2008.  

4.  Pedro Martinez.  This is a World Series Heroes insert from 2005 Upper Deck.  Martinez was of course coming off of the 2004 World Series victory over the Cardinals.  Martinez pitched Game 3 of the World Series and pitched seven innings of three-hit, scoreless ball.  He struck out six and walked two.  It was not his most dominant performance, but it was exceptional.  He won the game of course.  He would pitch two more World Series games, both with the Phillies against the Yankees, but he was nowhere near as good as his first World Series game with the Red Sox.

5.  Roger Clemens.  There were four Clemens cards in this trade.  I am missing a lot of Clemens cards from the mid 1990's when I was not as excited about him.  That's why I put my full wantlist together, to get some of those cards.  Clemens is tied with Cy Young for career victories with the Red Sox at 192.  

6.  Roger Clemens.

7.  Roger Clemens.

8.  Roger Clemens.

9.  Kevin Youkilis.

10.  Andy Yount.  Yount was Boston's first round pick in the 1995 draft, 15th overall.  Unfortunately, he suffered a bizarre injury and never made it close to the Majors.  Roy Halladay was selected two picks later.

11.  David Ortiz.  I have no idea what more there is to say about David Ortiz.  I am working on a post (or series) in which I look at every player I have more than 100 cards of.  Ortiz is the third-biggest player in my collection, behind only Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek.

12.  David Eckstein.  I have covered Eckstein several times on this blog.  He never actually played with Boston, even though he was drafted by them.  He looked like a possible Major Leaguer, but Boston needed a third-baseman right away and re-acquired Lou Merloni.  In order to make room on the roster, they DFA'd Eckstein and he was claimed on waivers by the Angels.  They probably should have just kept Eckstein.

13.  Jarren Duran.  The newest card in the package is this Duran card.  I can't escape Duran.

14.  Josh Beckett.  I remember Beckett as maddeningly inconsistent from year to year in Boston.  He was second in the Cy Young race in 2007 and ninth in 2011.  He was an All Star three times.  He had a record of 89-58 with a 4.17 ERA with 1,108 strikeouts and 338 walks in 1,240 innings pitched.  He was the ALCS MVP in 2007.  If he is not yet in the team Hall of Fame, he should be.

Thanks Tom!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th Pt. 1: Carl Yastrzemski

NAME: Carl Yastrzemski

POSITION: LF, primarily.  Also played first base, designated hitter and the other outfield positions

WHY IS HE HERE?:  He's a Hall of Famer and holder of a number of team hitting records, including hits (3,419).  He had the longest tenure in Red Sox history (1961-1983), spending his entire career in Boston.  He had one of the greatest individual seasons in team history in 1967 when he won the Triple Crown and was the A.L. MVP.  He was an 18-time All Star and won seven Gold Gloves.  In short, he was one of the greatest players in team history, certainly the longest lasting.

WOULD I PUT HIM IN IN 2001?:  Uh, yeah.

ANY BETTER CHOICES IN 2001?:  The only better choice is already in the set.

WOULD I PUT HIM IN NOW?:  Absolutely.  Yaz's spot has not been taken.

ANY BETTER CHOICES NOW?:  Again, the only better choice than Yaz is coming up.

Friday, March 17, 2023

2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th Introduction

I am going to do something different with my next series.  This is an introduction post to the series.

In 2001, Fleer released a 100th Anniversary set dedicated to the Red Sox.  It was not a large set, made up of just 100 base cards.  There were a couple of insert sets, as well as a game-used bat set, a game-worn jersey set and an autograph set.  I, of course, loved this set.  I think it should have been bigger though.  

This series is going to look at one card for each post in the series.  I do not think I will go so far as to do the autograph and relic sets, particularly since I do not have all of them, but I will decide that later.  I will discuss the player on each card, whether that player was a good choice at the time, and whether that player would still be a good choice if this set came out today.  Finally, who might have been a better choice at both time periods.

I considered doing this as a separate blog, the way Night Owl is currently doing the 1993 Upper Deck set, but I figured it would work just as well in this format.  It just may take a very long time to get through it.  So, buckle up.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 18: Marty McManus

Failure is often even more fascinating than success. I am definitely intrigued by the 1932 Boston Red Sox, the worst Red Sox team of all time. The team finished with a record of 43-111, for a winning percentage of .279 and very little went right. 

I was a little surprised when I looked into Marty McManus's stats.  He was a pretty good player for quite a long time.  I had been aware of him for awhile, since I pulled a card of him out of a Conlon box early on.  McManus spent most of the 1932 season as player/manager for the Red Sox.

McManus came up with the Browns in 1920 and spent the next seven years in St. Louis.  He played primarily second base and became a very good contact hitter.  He batted over .300 three times with the Browns and led the league in doubles in 1925.  After the 1926 season, he was traded to the Tigers and had a few more strong seasons, including leading the league in stolen bases in 1930 while hitting .320 and driving in 89 runs.  

Late in the 1931 season, McManus was traded to the Red Sox for catcher Muddy Ruel.  In 17 games the rest of that season, he hit .290/.371/.403 with four doubles, a home run, nine RBIs and a stolen base.  He split that time between second base and third base.

Which brings us to 1932.  McManus spent time primarily between second and third, with more time at second.  He did play the other infield positions as well.  After the first 55 games in which Boston went 11-44, manager Shano Collins was dismissed and McManus became player/manager.  Under him, the team had a record of 32-67.  He took a bit of a back seat in playing time, but still played in 93 games, hitting .235/.317/.374 with five home runs and 24 RBIs.  

He seemed to figure out how to balance the two roles in 1933.  The team was still not great, but improved.  The Red Sox had a record of 63-86.  His numbers improved as well, as he hit .284/.369/.413 with 30 doubles, three home runs, 36 RBIs and three stolen bases.  It would be McManus's last year with the Red Sox, but not in Boston, though there was a short stint in time that he was in the Dodgers organization.  McManus finished his Major League career with the Braves in 1934.  

For his career, McManus hit .289/.357/.430 with 1,926 hits, 401 doubles, 120 home runs, 992 RBIs and 126 stolen bases.  Much better numbers than I expected.  McManus was near the end of his career when he went to the Red Sox, but he still put up a line of .264/.348/.396 with 53 doubles, nine home runs and 69 RBIs in 216 games over two-plus seasons.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Red Sox With No Cards: 2019

I have not done one of these for awhile.  I think it is time to look back at 2019.  The Red Sox had a disappointing year in 2019, suffering a major hangover after the amazing 2018 season.  They finished in third place at 84-78.  The team suffered a lot of injuries to key players, which meant there was quite a bit of fluctuations in the roster.  Players like Gorkys Hernandez, Ryan Weber and Bobby Poyner were among the short-time players who did appear on cardboard.  Then there are the players that follow.

Centeno has never been able to break through into the Major Leagues for long.  Since being drafted in the 2007 draft out of high school, Centeno has spent the bulk of every season in the minor leagues.  He made appearances in the Major Leagues each year from 2013 through 2019 with the Mets, Brewers, Twins, Astros, Rangers and Red Sox.  The only time he played in more than 25 games though was 2016 with the Twins.  He had a decent year as a backup catcher, hitting .261 with three home runs.  The Red Sox signed him as a minor league free agent after the 2018 season.  He spent the majority of the 2019 season in the minors, except for seven games.  He had 18 plate appearances and hit .133/.278/.133 with just two singles and two walks.  He drove in two runs and stole a base, odd for a catcher.  Centeno was re-signed by Boston for the 2020 season, but did not play due to the COVID situation.  He has played in the Tigers and Diamondbacks systems the last two seasons, but has not played in the Majors since his Red Sox stint.  Centeno does have minor league cards for the Red Sox organization.

The biggest name player in this post is Chacin, who has had a lengthy, and sometimes very successful career.  Chacin came up with the Rockies and spent his first six seasons there before starting on a trek across Major League Baseball with stops in Arizona, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Diego, Milwaukee, Boston, and then back to Atlanta and Colorado.  His best season was in 2013 when he had a 14-10 record with a 3.47 ERA in 197.1 innings pitched for the Rockies.  It was a legitimately good season for a pitcher in the mountains.  He also won 15 games for the Brewers in 2018.  2019 saw him start the season with the Brewers, but he struggled with a record of 3-10 and a 5.79 ERA.  The Brewers released in late August and the Red Sox took a flyer to try to stabilize their rotation.  Chacin appeared in six games, making five starts.  His numbers did not improve and he turned in a record of 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA.  He did strike out 21 batters in 14.2 innings, but also walked seven.  Chacin pitched for the Braves in 2020, then returned to Colorado as a reliever.  He was still active as of late 2022.

A side-arming right-handed reliever, Kelley was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the 36th round of the 2015 draft.  Kelley moved steadily through the minor league system of the Red Sox by posting low ERAs and decent strikeout numbers.  He only once had an ERA above 3.00 in the minors before 2019, and that was his first professional season.  Kelley had been 5-5 with a 1.79 ERA in the minors in 2019, saving 12 games and striking out 63 batters in 65.1 innings.  The Red Sox brought him up and he appeared in ten games, pitching 8.1 innings.  His ERA though was 8.64 and he had a record of 0-3.  He struck out six and walked five.  Kelley was placed on waivers after the season to make room for other signings and the Phillies took a chance on him.  Since 2019, Kelley has appeared in 22 Major League games with the Phillies and Brewers.  He was with the Brewers in 2022, but had a 6.08 ERA.  Kelley recently signed a deal with the Rays for the 2023 season.  If anyone can turn him around, it's the Rays.

Owings was once a reliable utility man with the Diamondbacks, filling in at both middle infield positions and in the outfield.  He also won a batting title in the minors.  He played in more than 100 games three times and even led the league in triples in 2016.  That year, his best in the Majors, he hit .277/.315/.416 with five home runs, 49 RBIs and 21 stolen bases.  Owings signed with the Royals before the 2019 season, but was released in June after hitting .133 in 40 games.  The Red Sox brought him in and he split time between the Majors and minors.  In Pawtucket, he hit .325 with 11 home runs in 44 games, which gave him a chance at the Majors.  He spent 26 games with the Red Sox and hit .156/.255/.267 with two doubles, a home run, five RBIs and a stolen base.  He played second, short, third, designated hitter and outfield.  He has bounced around several organizations since leaving Boston, appearing in the Majors with the Rockies and, last year with the Orioles.  Owings has minor league cards showing him with Pawtucket.

Nicaraguan-born righty Ramirez has had some varying success in the Majors.  He originally came up with the Mariners in 2012 and spent a few seasons trying to crack the rotation for good.  He was then traded to the Rays and won 11 games with a 3.75 ERA and looked like he had finally met his promise.  Unfortunately he struggled the next season.  The Rays eventually traded him back to the Mariners.  Boston signed him prior to the 2019 season and he spent the entire season, except for one game, in the minors.  He was 6-8 with a 4.74 ERA in Pawtucket.  His only game in Boston occurred early in the season.  He pitched three innings, finishing a game against the Yankees.  He pitched three innings, giving up four runs, striking out one and walking one.  He has bounced around since 2019 and had a very impressive season in Washington in 2022 as a reliever.  He had a 2.92 ERA in 60 games for the Nationals.  Ramirez also appears in minor league sets with Pawtucket.

Smith was drafted by the Reds in 2010 draft in 21st round.  He spent several seasons in the minors, making his Major League debut in 2015.  He pitched in nine games that season, starting seven, with an 0-4 record and a 6.89 ERA.  The next season he appeared in a career-high 32 games, throwing 59.2 innings.  He only made two starts and struck out 48 while walking 26.  The A's snagged him off of waivers the next season and kept him in their bullpen for 26 games.  Smith signed with the Red Sox early in the 2018 season, but spent the entire year in the minors.  He spent most of 2019 in the minors as well, other than an 18-game stint in Boston.  Smith started two games and pitched in relief in the others.  He threw 31 innings, striking out 29 and walking eight, but had a record of 0-3 and a 5.81 ERA.  He did notch his first career save.  Smith was allowed to leave as a minor league free agent and pitched for the Marlins in 2020.  He has not appeared in the Majors since, and did not pitch in 2022.

Once again, none of these guys played much for Boston.  Chris Owings played in the most games, followed by Josh Smith.  None of the players even provided a positive WAR.  Three of these players (Owings, Jhoulys Chacin and Erasmo Ramirez) have had lengthy Major League careers though.  I suppose if I had to pick one player I would have liked to have seen on a card, it would be Jhoulys Chacin, just because he has had the most successful Major League career.  At times, he looked like a potential ace.  

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Red Sox in Cooperstown Pt. 41: Billy Herman

Years in Boston: 1964-1966 (128-182)
Best Year in Boston: 1966 (64-82)

It is safe to say, based on the numbers posted above, that Billy Herman is not in the Hall of Fame due to his managerial stint with the Red Sox.  Despite the card posted, Herman was only a manager with the Red Sox.  Herman's playing career lasted from 1931 to 1947.  He batted .304/.367/.407 with 2,345 hits as primarily a second-baseman.  He was an All Star ten times.  He played with the Cubs, Dodgers, Braves and Pirates.  He got his first taste of managing during his stint with the Pirates.

Herman was a coach with the Red Sox starting in 1960.  He was still the coach in 1964 under manager Johnny Pesky when Pesky was fired toward the end of the year.  Herman took the helm and the Red Sox won the last two games of the season.  1965 would be his only full season as manager and the team finished 62-100.  That team featured a number of young stars such as Carl Yastrzemski, Tony Conigliaro, Rico Petrocelli and Jim Lonborg.  Most of them had yet to realize their full potential though, and the team struggled.  The team improved under Herman in 1966, but it was still not good and Herman was fired late in the season.

Herman was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1975 by the Veteran's Committee.  He wears a Cubs hat on his plaque.  It is pretty obvious why he does not wear a Red Sox hat.

Monday, March 13, 2023

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 24: Joe Rudi

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not?  

It is fairly common knowledge, and I have certainly mentioned it before, but it bears repeating, Boston acquired Joe Rudi before 1981.  Back in 1976, the Red Sox purchased the contracts of both Rudi and Rollie Fingers from the Oakland A's.  The deals were finalized and the players came to Boston.  There are pictures of them in Red Sox uniforms.  But three days later, both purchases were voided by commissioner Bowie Kuhn as "not in the best interests of baseball".  It's a shame, because Boston could have used them.

By the time Joe Rudi was acquired once again by the Red Sox in 1981, he was basically washed up.  Rudi was part of the return Boston received from the Angels in exchange for Fred Lynn and Steve Renko.  Frank Tanana and Jim Dorsey were the others.  Rudi had been declining the previous couple of seasons, but he still hit 16 home runs in 1980.

In 1981 though, Rudi was a disaster.  Limited to designated hitter and pinch-hitting duties, he played in just 49 games.  He hit .180/.239/.352 with six home runs, three doubles and 24 RBIs.  His OPS+ was 65.  At just 34 years of age, he was basically done.  After the season he was granted free agency and returned to Oakland for his final Major League season.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

One Year Wonder Pt. 29: Andrew Cashner

I chose to do an Andrew Cashner post as part of the One Year Wonder series since he was not close to taking down Hideo Nomo as the All Time One Year Wonder Right Handed Starter or Takashi Saito as the All Time One Year Wonder Right Handed Reliever.  I will get to all of that.

Andrew Cashner had been a quality starting pitcher for a lot of bad teams during his career.  He previously played for the Cubs, Padres, Marlins, Rangers and Orioles before joining the Red Sox.  He came up with the Cubs and was traded to the Padres in the deal that brought former Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo to the North Side.  Cashner was a dependable starter for the Padres, but I am guessing they would like a do-over on that trade.  After a few seasons, he was traded to the Marlins in a deadline deal that did not go well for the Marlins.

Cashner had a decent season with the Rangers the next year, which he parlayed into a multi-year deal with the Orioles.  He was 9-3 with a 3.83 ERA when the Orioles traded him to the Red Sox in a mid-July deal when Boston needed pitching help to contend.  Boston sent two minor leaguers to the O's who have yet to make any significant noise.  Again, Cashner struggled greatly.  He ended up struggling so much that he was removed from the rotation altogether.  He ended up pitching better in the bullpen.

In 25 games with the Red Sox, Cashner made six starts and pitched 53.2 innings.  He had a record of 2-5 and notched 42 strikeouts and 29 walks.  His ERA was an unsightly 6.20.  One thing that Cashner did do in Boston that he had never done before was to pick up his first Major League save.  After the season, Cashner filed for free agency, but was unable to sign a contract prior to the COVID season of 2020.  He has not pitched in the Majors since.

Cashner probably qualified more as a reliever than a starter for the purposes of determining if he could unseat the All Time One Year Wonder.  It really doesn't matter because his numbers were not close to qualifying at either position.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Season in Review: 2022

After the surprising success of the 2021 season, there was reason for optimism in 2022.  Chris Sale was supposed to be healthy and the team was bringing back a lot of players from the 2021 season, but with a few new players meant to improve the defense.  Unfortunately, the team got off to a slow start with their offense.  They started rolling in May, then a series of key injuries decimated the team.  They ended up finishing in last place, with a record of 78-84.


Bogaerts was Boston's WAR leader in 2022.  Despite reduced power numbers, he still hit .307/.377/.456.  He led the team in average, on-base percentage, runs (84) and hits (171).  He hit 38 doubles, 15 home runs and drove in 73 runs while stealing eight bases.  Bogaerts was named to the All Star team and won his fifth Silver Slugger Award.  He finished ninth in the MVP voting and was a finalist for the Gold Glove.  Unfortunately, it was his last season in Boston.

Devers was once again Boston's biggest power threat.  The third-baseman led the team in home runs (27), RBIs (88), slugging percentage (.521) and OPS (.879).  He also tied Bogaerts for the lead in runs scored (84).  Devers improved his defense at third and hit .295/.358/.521.  He was second on the team in doubles (42) and third in hits (164).  His numbers would have been even better had he been healthy all season.  He was still an All Star and finished 14th in the MVP voting.

Verdugo struggled with some injuries early on and tried to do too much at the start of the season.  When he changed his approach, his numbers improved dramatically and he had a huge second half of the season.  He ended up hitting .280/.328/.405 with eleven home runs and was second on the team with 74 RBIs.  He was also second on the team with 166 hits.  He contributed 39 doubles and 75 runs scored.  Verdugo is a breakout candidate going into 2023.

Boston's top starting pitcher from 2021 had some injury issues in 2022 that limited him to 20 starts.  That has long been an issue for Eovaldi.  Despite this, and some truly horrific home run numbers, Eovaldi still had a 6-3 record with a 3.87 ERA.  In 109.1 innings pitched, he struck out 103 batters, while walking just 20.  Eovaldi tied for the league lead in shutouts (one) and led the team in complete games (two).  It was also his final season in Boston.

He played in just 84 games because the Red Sox traded him at the deadline, but he was still one of my favorite players.  Vazquez was having a pretty decent year when he was traded.  The catcher had become a pretty reliable contact hitter who did not strike out a lot.  He was hitting .282/.327/.432 with eight home runs, 20 doubles and 42 RBIs.  He was traded to the Astros at the deadline for a couple of prospects.


Whitlock was another player who struggled with some injuries in 2022.  The team also could not really figure out what his best role should be, trying him out as a starter and then moving him back to the bullpen.  Despite all of that, he had a record of 4-2 with a 3.45 ERA in 78.1 innings pitched.  He started nine games, but also notched six saves.  He struck out 82 batters and walked just 15.  Whitlock is one of the most talented pitchers on the team, they just need to figure out how best to use him.

Everything I said about Whitlock's role above, also applies to Houck.  Houck was given a bit more of an extended look at closer and tied for the team lead with eight saves.  He also started four games.  Houck pitched 60 innings over 32 games and had a 5-4 record with a 3.15 ERA.  He struck out 56 batters and walked 22.  Like Whitlock, his role is also unclear, though he appears to work better as a multi-inning reliever.  He will not be the closer though as Boston signed one for the 2023 season.

Pivetta looked like the ace of the team for awhile.  Early on in the season, he was essentially carrying the team on his back.  He led the league in games started (33), and there is a lot to say about a pitcher able to stay healthy and make every game.  He struggled at times and that led to a record of 10-12 with a 4.56 ERA, but he led the staff in innings pitched (179.2) and strikeouts (175).  He will be counted on to be a dependable starter again in 2023.


Certainly the biggest name acquisition, if not the best acquisition, Story had an injury-plagued year.  He was limited to just 94 games due to a series of nagging injuries.  He struggled early on too, due to illness.  When he was on though, Story left little doubt why he was acquired.  Switching to second base, Story was an elite defensive player and a dynamic offensive player.  He hit .238/.303/.434 with 22 doubles, 16 home runs, 66 RBIs and led the team with 13 stolen bases.

Boston's best pick-up for the 2022 season though was Wacha.  Wacha solidified the rotation when he was healthy.  He made 23 starts and led the team's starters in a number of pitching categories, including wins and winning percentage (11-2), ERA (3.32), WHIP (1.115) and tied Eovaldi for the league lead in shutouts (one).  Wacha threw 127.1 innings and struck out 104 batters while walking just 31.  He made an impression in 2022, but will not be back in 2023 as he has signed on with the Padres.


Pham did not have the best numbers of the mid-season acquisitions Boston brought in at the deadline, but Reese McGuire does not have any cards yet.  Pham was pretty decent though.  In 53 games, he hit .234/.298/.374 with six home runs, 12 doubles and 24 RBIs.  He seemed to play hard and had some big hits down the stretch.  


Boston tried out a number of rookie pitchers, but only Bello showed enough to believe he could be a legitimate starting pitcher in the Majors.  Bello struggled early on, as he was clearly rushed to the Majors, but as the year went on, he settled into the role.  In 13 games (eleven starts), Bello had a record of 2-8 with a 4.71 ERA.  He threw 57.1 innings striking out 55 and walking 27.  


Martinez suffered a significant power outage in 2022.  The designated hitter was still named to the All Star team and still hit 43 doubles to lead the team, but he managed to hit just 16 home runs and drive in 62 runs in 139 games.  There were long stretches of time between home runs.  Martinez hit .274/.341/.448 with 76 runs scored and 146 hits.  It was not a typical season for the slugger.

Sale continued to struggle with injuries.  He missed the first couple months of the season, then finally made his season debut with a strong start in July.  Unfortunately, in his next start he suffered a broken finger after being hit in the hand with a line drive.  Then, while rehabbing, he suffered another setback that shut him down for the season.  He was 0-1 with a 3.18 ERA, five strikeouts and a walk in 5.2 innings pitched.

Friday, March 10, 2023

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 17: Jud McLaughlin

Failure is often even more fascinating than success. I am definitely intrigued by the 1932 Boston Red Sox, the worst Red Sox team of all time. The team finished with a record of 43-111, for a winning percentage of .279 and very little went right.

Well after we had a long-time legitimate Major Leaguer in the last post, it is only fair to return to a much more obscure player this time around.  Justin "Jud" McLaughlin's Major League career spanned three seasons, but only 16 games.  All of those games were in relief.  

McLaughlin signed with the Red Sox right out of high school and made his big league debut in 1931 at the age of 19.  He appeared in nine games that season, pitching 12 innings while giving up 16 earned runs.  His ERA was 12.00.  He struck out three and walked eight.  

In 1932, McLaughlin appeared in just one game.  He pitched three innings, giving up five runs and four walks without striking anyone out.  He made his first plate appearance and struck out.  He spent the rest of the season in the minors.

1933 saw him appear in six more games, throwing 8.2 innings.  He had an ERA of 6.23, a marked improvement.  He walked five and struck out one.  He spent most of the season in the minors.  He was in the minors in 1934 as well, but never made another Major League appearance.

McLaughlin spent his career with the Red Sox, but had a record of 0-0 in 16 relief appearances.  In 23.2 innings pitched, he had an ERA of 10.27.  He struck out just four batters while walking 17.  

Thursday, March 9, 2023

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #981 and 982

We have a two-fer today.

Up first is Jason Varitek card #981, which also happens to be card #402 for Dustin Pedroia and card #610 for Manny Ramirez.

This is the 2022 Topps Triple Threads Autograph Relic Trio Amethyst.  It is serial-numbered to 27 and contains autographs and jersey pieces for the three players I mentioned.  Ramirez, Varitek and Pedroia played together from late 2006 to mid 2008 and were starting position players on the 2007 World Championship team.

1.  Manny Ramirez.  This is my second Ramirez autograph card, I believe.  Ramirez hit .250 in the 2007 World Series.  He had a double and two RBIs.

2.  Jason Varitek.  I have no idea how many Varitek autograph cards I have.  A lot.  Varitek hit .333 in the World Series with two runs, a double and five RBI.  

3.  Dustin Pedroia.  This is my third Pedroia autograph.  He homered in his first at-bat in the World Series, which was also the Red Sox first at-bat.  He hit .278 with two runs, a double, a home run and four RBIs.

And here is card #982:

I mentioned I could get a lot of parallels from this set to add more Varitek cards.  This is the prism refractor that came four to a mega box.  This is my fourth parallel of Varitek from the set.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 23: Jim Rice

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not? 

I have covered Jim Rice at length in several other posts, so I do not really feel the need to go over his entire career again in this post.  I think it is enough to say that he was an incredible player, a terrific power hitter, and of course, a Hall of Famer.  

Rice was drafted by the Red Sox in the first round of the 1971 draft, 15th overall.  He made it to the Majors in 1974 and had his official rookie season in 1975.  That year he teamed up with Fred Lynn to form a fantastic rookie tandem for the Red Sox to help make it to the World Series.  Rice finished second to Lynn in the Rookie of the Year vote and third in the MVP voting.  Unfortunately he missed the postseason due to an injury.  

After an adjustment in 1976, Rice became the feared slugger he was reputed to be starting in 1977.  That year, he led the league in home runs and total bases for the first time.  He won the A.L. MVP in 1978 when he led the league in a number of offensive categories, including home runs, hits, RBIs and slugging percentage.  His numbers declined a bit the next two seasons.

By the time the 1981 season came around, Rice was deep into his prime offensive seasons.  He was in the middle of the period in which he was the most feared slugger in the game.  He had a bit of a down year, but still managed to hit .284/.333/.441 with 17 home runs and 62 RBIs.  He led the league in at-bats with 451 and accumulated 128 hits, 51 runs scored and 18 doubles.  He was second on the team in home runs and RBIs to Dwight Evans.  Rice spent most of the season as the left-fielder.

Rice continued to put up big numbers through the 1986 season, leading the league in home runs and RBIs in 1983 once more.  After the 1986 season, he declined dramatically, eventually retiring after the 1989 season.  Rice spent his entire Major League career with the Red Sox and later became a hitting coach and then a broadcaster with the team.  He is a deserving Hall of Famer.