Friday, March 31, 2023

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 19: Gordon McNaughton

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. 

Gordon McNaughton does not have any cards.  That is how obscure he is.  But, his life is interesting for one reason, which I will get to.

McNaughton's baseball career was not terribly exciting.  He pitched in just one season in the Major Leagues, of course that being the 1932 season with the Red Sox.  McNaughton was just 21 years old when he made his Major League debut.  His stint consisted of just six games, including two games started and two games finished.  The right-hander pitched 21 innings and had a record of 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA.  He walked 22 batters, while striking out six.  McNaughton pitched a few games in a couple of seasons in the minors with the Red Sox and Tigers organization, but 1932 was his only year in the Majors.

Now, for that interesting tidbit.  Apparently, at the age of 32 in 1942, McNaughton was at a hotel with a woman who was not his girlfriend.  His girlfriend walked in on him and shot him in the chest, killing him.  There is some additional information that the gun used belonged to a policeman who was fired for being neglectful of his weapon and later killed himself.  It's a very odd situation.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

The Jason Varitek Quest for 1,000: #985

I have mentioned before that my collecting goal for 2023 is to get Rafael Devers up to 300.  Well, I should add one.  I want to FINALLY make my goal of 1,000 Jason Varitek cards.  There are plenty of parallels from some of the recent singles, so I would think it is within my grasp sooner rather than later.

#985 is the mini parallel from 2022 Topps Allen & Ginter X.  15 to go.

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Red Sox With No Cards: 2020

Oh man, the 2020 season.  There were a shocking number of players who played for the Red Sox in the 2020 season, particularly since it was just a 60 game season.  Some key pitchers were unable to contribute due to injuries or other health issues.  Boston had to try to patch together a pitching staff, which proved difficult.  The Red Sox finished in last place, with a record of 24-36.  Among the players who DID appear on a cardboard were such short-term guys like Yairo Munoz, Jonathan Lucroy, Zack Godley, Josh Osich and Austin Brice.

Covey spent three seasons with the White Sox as a starting pitcher before 2020.  He had a rather atrocious record of 6-29 with an unsightly 6.54 ERA in 63 games (45 games started).  In 250.1 innings pitched, he struck out 173 and walked 114.  Covey was originally drafted by the Athletics, but was selected by the White Sox in the Rule 5 Draft in 2016.  After the 2019 season, Covey was non-tendered and the Rays picked him up, but he never pitched for them.  The Red Sox acquired him in July, ahead of the season.  Covey pitched in eight games with the Red Sox, all in relief.  He finished two games and threw 14 innings.  He did not have a record and he struck out eleven batters while walking just two.  Unfortunately, he also gave up eleven earned runs and had a 7.07 ERA.  He has not pitched since, but apparently recently signed a contract with the Dodgers in hopes of resurrecting his career.

Grullon was a fairly highly-regarded Phillies prospect before Boston acquired him in 2020.  In 2019, he hit .283/.354/.496 with 21 home runs and 77 RBIs in Triple-A.  He was not very good defensively though, which made him somewhat expendable.  He did see his first Major League action in 2019, but played in just four games, getting one hit in nine at-bats.  Grullon was selected off of waivers by the Red Sox from Philadelphia in September.  He played in just one game with the Red Sox, getting four plate appearances.  He walked and singled, driving in a run.  His line was .333/.500/.333.  To date, that is the last time he has appeared in the Majors.  He has jumped from organization to organization since, shuffling between the Reds, Rays, Mets and White Sox.  He spent the 2022 season in the Red Sox organization, hitting .250 in 20 games.  He is still just 26, so he could make it back some day.  Grullon does have minor league cards in the Red Sox organization.

There were raves about Hall's stuff after he was acquired by the Red Sox.  It was thought that he was a good, low-risk acquisition.  Unfortunately, things did not work out well.  Hall was drafted in the sixth round of the 2015 draft by the Tigers.  Boston acquired him in a trade for minor league catcher Jhon Nunez.  Hall struck out 106 batters in just 86.2 innings in the minors in 2019 and struck out 27 in 23.1 innings for the Tigers.  Hall ended up pitching in just four games with the Red Sox in 2020, starting one game as an opener.  He threw 8.2 innings, striking out nine, but walking ten.  He had a record of 0-3 and a deplorable 18.69 ERA.  He stayed in the Red Sox organization and had a 7.36 ERA in 28 games in the minors for Boston in 2021.  He was released late in the season.  Hall pitched in the Giants system in 2022.  He has not appeared in the Majors since 2020.  He does have cards with the Red Sox minor league organization in 2021.

Kickham appeared in six games with the Red Sox in his first Major League appearances since 2014.  He was originally drafted by the Giants in 2010 and moved fairly quickly through their minor league system, making his Major League debut with 12 games in 2013.  He had a 10.16 ERA and a record of 0-3.  The next season, he appeared in just two games, with a 22.50 ERA.  He then began an odyssey that took him through the minor league systems of the Cubs, Mariners, Rangers, back to the Giants and then to the Marlins, before winding up with the Red Sox in 2020.  Kickham appeared in six games with the Red Sox, starting two and closing two.  He pitched 14 innings, striking out 17, while walking five.  But he gave up 12 earned runs and had an ERA of 7.71.  He was granted free agency and signed with the Dodgers in 2021.  He appeared in just one game with the Dodgers in 2021 and has not pitched since.

Originally an undrafted international free agent, Leyer spent several seasons in the White Sox organization with middling results.  He then moved to the Reds and Mariners system before the Red Sox acquired him in June of 2019.  He was primarily a reliever by this point in his career.  Leyer made his Major League debut with the Red Sox in 2020, pitching in six games.  He started one game as an opener.  Leyer pitched in just 4.2 innings, striking out nine, but walking eight and giving up eleven earned runs.  He had an ERA of 21.21 and a record of 0-0.  He moved on to the Twins organization in 2021, but has not pitched since then.  Leyer has just a handful of cards issued and no Major League cards.  He has none with the Red Sox organization.

Well, this is a first.  Not only does Mazza not have any Boston Red Sox cards (or any Major League cards for that matter), but I cannot even find a scan of any of the three minor league cards he does have.  Mazza was drafted in the 27th round by the Twins in 2011.  After a few years in the Twins organization, he was released and caught on with the Marlins organization.  He then went to the Mariners and was picked up by the Mets in the Rule 5 Draft in 2018.  He spent the 2019 season with the Mets, pitching in nine games with a 5.51 ERA.  The Red Sox picked him up off of waivers from the Mets in December and he spent most of the 2020 season in the Red Sox rotation.  Mazza pitched in nine games, making six starts and pitching 30 innings.  He struck out 29 batters while walking 15 and giving up 16 earned runs.  He had a record of 1-2 with a 4.80 ERA.  He was impressive enough to be traded to the Rays after the season in a deal with prospects Ronaldo Hernandez and Nick Sogard.  Mazza appeared in 16 games with the Rays over the next two seasons.  

Outfielder Puello was once a highly-regarded prospect in the Mets organization.  He spent the first several years of his career in the Mets system before starting a long journey that took him through the Yankees, Rangers, Angels, Rays, Diamondbacks, Giants and Marlins systems before joining the Red Sox in 2020.  He appeared in the Majors with the Angels, Rays and Marlins.  2019 was his first extended look in the Majors as he appeared in 12 games with the Angels and 32 with the Marlins, hitting .248/.356/.384 with four home runs and 18 RBIs.  Puello appeared in five games with the Red Sox, hitting .375/.500/.375 in eleven plate appearances.  Puello had two assists and two double plays in the outfield.  During the 2021 season, he returned to the Mets, but did not play in 2022.  

After Red Sox manager Alex Cora was suspended for the entire 2020 season due to his involvement in the Astros cheating scandal in 2017, bench coach Roenicke was tabbed to manage the Red Sox.  Roenicke had been the Brewers manager from 2011 to 2015, leading the team to a first-place finish in 2011, winning the division series against the Diamondbacks, but being eliminated by the Cardinals in the NLCS.  He was unable to replicate that success though.  Roenicke had an eight-year career in the Majors with the Dodgers, Mariners, Padres, Giants, Phillies and Reds.  He hit .238/.353/.338 with 17 home runs and 113 RBIs.  His best season was 1986 with the Phillies when he hit .247/.381/.356 with five home runs and 42 RBIs while playing left and center field.  Roenicke was relieved of his managerial duties when Alex Cora returned from his suspension in 2021.  

The southpaw Springs was originally drafted in the 30th round by the Rangers in 2015.  Despite this, he moved quickly through the minors and made his Major League debut in 2018, appearing in 18 games.  He had a 3.38 ERA in 32 innings pitched.  He had a 6.40 ERA in 2019 in 32.1 innings pitched.  The Rangers traded Springs to the Red Sox in January of 2020 for former top prospect Sam Travis.  Springs pitched in 18 games with the Red Sox in 2020, finishing eight.  He had a record of 0-2 with a 7.08 ERA in 20.1 innings pitched.  He notched 28 strikeouts against just seven walks though, numbers that were intriguing enough that the Rays wanted him included in the deal with Chris Mazza for Ronaldo Hernandez and Nick Sogard.  Since then, Springs has blossomed into an impressive pitcher.  He had a 3.43 ERA as a reliever in 2021, striking out 63 in 44.2 innings.  In 2022, he had a record of 9-5 with a 2.46 ERA, striking out 144 and walking 31 in 135.1 innings pitched.  He looks to be an important member of the Rays rotation moving forward.

Originally drafted as a catcher by the Cardinals in the second round of the 2009 draft, Stock eventually transitioned to the mound.  Stock moved around quite a bit before making his Major League debut with the Padres in 2018.  He spent time in the organizations of the Astros, Pirates, Reds and Phillies as well.  Stock had a successful 2018 season with the Padres, appearing in 32 games and pitching to a 2.50 ERA in 39.2 innings.  He was not as successful in 2019 though and found his way to Boston just before the 2020 season.  Stock pitched in ten games with the Red Sox, all in relief and finishing four games.  He pitched 13.1 innings with a 4.73 ERA and a record of 0-1.  He struck out 14 and walked ten.  Since then, he appeared in a couple games with the Cubs and Mets and recently signed a minor league deal with the Brewers.

Tapia was signed by the Mets as an international free agent and spent several seasons in their organization, looking like a future reliever.  After the 2016 season, he signed on with the Reds for a couple seasons.  Boston signed him as a minor league free agent prior to 2019 and he spent the entire season in the minors, pitching to a 5.18 ERA in 66 innings over 44 games.  He struck out 52 and walked 32 while saving two games.  Tapia made his Major League debut in 2020 with Boston, pitching 4.1 innings over five games.  He struck out four and walked two and had an ERA of 2.08.  Impressive enough numbers that the Mariners claimed him on waivers after the season.  He pitched in two games with the Mariners in 2021 before being sold to the Royals.  In Kansas City, he pitched in 32 games with a 2.84 ERA and a 4-1 record.  He struck out 25 and walked 14 in 31.2 innings.  He pitched in eleven games with the A's in 2022, but had an ERA of 8.47.  He signed a deal with the Padres for 2023.  Tapia has minor league cards with the Red Sox organization from 2019.

Yet another pitcher with a long journey that led him to Boston in 2020, Triggs was originally drafted by the Royals in 2012.  He then hopped to the Orioles and then the Athletics before making his Major League debut in 2016.  Triggs spent the next three seasons in Oakland trying to break through as a starting pitcher.  In 50 games (29 starts), he had a record of 9-8 with a 4.53 ERA in 163 innings pitched, striking out 148 and walking 50.  Triggs started the 2020 season with the Giants, but pitched in just one game, giving up three earned runs in just one-third of an inning.  The Giants waived him and the Red Sox brought him in.  Triggs pitched in four games with the Red Sox, making two starts and pitching eight innings.  He struck out seven and walked three in eight innings and had a 4.50 ERA and a record of 0-1.  Triggs has not appeared in the Majors since.

Dominican-born right-hander Valdez was one of Boston's best rookies in 2020.  Originally signed to a deal with the Indians, Valdez also pitched in the Nationals system before making his Major League debut with the Rangers in 2019.  He appeared in eleven games that year with a 3.94 ERA and 18 strikeouts over 16 innings, parlaying that performance into a minor league deal with the Red Sox in 2020.  Valdez appeared in 24 games with the Red Sox, pitching 30.1 innings and had a 1-1 record and a 3.26 ERA.  All of his games were in relief, and he finished five games.  Valdez struck out 30 and walked 16.  He continued to pitch for the Red Sox in 2021 and 2022 and will be showcased again in those posts later.  

There are a LOT of pitchers in this post.  The only position players were Deivy Grullon and Cesar Puello, and neither of them played in more than a few games.  In fact, that is mostly true of the pitchers too.  Phillips Valdez easily appeared in the most games, with Jeffrey Springs a distant second.  Springs has been able to have the best Major League career, by quite a large margin.  If I had to pick just one of these players to appear on a card though, it would have to be Valdez.  He was easily the most impressive of the players.  In fact, he was good enough that I kept expecting him to appear in either Topps Total or Heritage the next year.  He never did though.  And thus, he will be another multi-year player in these posts.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

2023 Topps Series One Jumbo Case Break from Nachos Grande

I recently bought into the 2023 Topps Series One Jumbo case break over at Nachos Grande recently.  Of course I bought the Red Sox, and I was also randomly given the Blue Jays.  I will just be showing off my Red Sox cards, of course.

Up first is the box topper:

1.  Rafael Devers.  This is an over-sized box-topper card, a 1988 League Leaders card.  This is referring to 2019 when Devers led the league in doubles (54) and total bases (359).  I do not tend to get many over-sized cards since I prefer to keep my Red Sox in a binder, but I do not turn them down when I get them.

Up next are the inserts and parallels:

2.  Trevor Story.  This is a 1988 Blue parallel.  I think these are somewhat limited, but they are not serial-numbered.  

3.  Josh Winckowski.  This is the only gold parallel from my break.  Winckowski gets the unofficial award of first new Red Sox player added through 2023 cards.  He actually has some earlier cards, but this one is my first.

4.  Xander Bogaerts.  This is a City Connect manufactured patch card.  I have said before how much I like the City Connect uniforms.  I am a little surprised to see Bogaerts here instead of Devers.  

5.  Brayan Bello.  As will be seen, Bello is one of the biggest gainers in this break.  This is from one of the Silver Packs.

6.  Brayan Bello.  And here is a Rainbow Foil.

7.  Brayan Bello.  And here is a Gold Foil.

8.  Rafael Devers.  This is from the 2022 Greatest Hits insert set.

9.  Wade Boggs.  And now we get to the 1988 inserts.  Boggs has a nearly-iconic card from 1988 Topps.  I like this shot pretty well, but it is not as good as his original.

10.  Rafael Devers.  Devers also appears quite a bit in this break.  In fact, he and Bello tied for the most with four.

11.  Jeter Downs.  Downs was one of the players sacrificed to make room for new players on the roster.  The move caused some controversy among Red Sox fans since Downs was the big prospect acquired in the Mookie Betts trade.

12.  Triston Casas.  You read it here first: Casas will be the Rookie of the Year in 2023.

And next up is the base cards:

13.  Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts finished third in the league in batting average, behind Luis Arraez and Aaron Judge.  It was his second time in the top five, he finished second in 2015.  The last Red Sox player to win the batting title was Mookie Betts in 2018.  I still care about these things.

14.  Matt Strahm.  Strahm is one of the players here who will be with a new team in 2023.  Strahm signed with the Phillies after a successful season in which he had a 3.83 ERA and 52 strikeouts in 44.2 innings pitched.  He also saved four games.

15.  Rafael Devers.  Here is the base card of Devers, and I really like this shot.  Devers of course is Boston's biggest star at this point.  He has been trending that way for awhile, and now that Bogaerts is gone, it's his team.

16.  Brayan Bello.  Bello has been slowed by forearm tightness so far in Spring Training.  I do not expect him to start the season with Boston, but he will probably be in the Majors sooner rather than later.  

17.  Trevor Story.  This is probably the best photo for the team so far.  Notably, Enrique Hernandez has not appeared yet and he ALWAYS has great action shots.  Story will start the season on the 60-day IL.

18.  Josh Winckowski.  Winckowski was probably the top prospect the Red Sox acquired in the Andrew Benintendi deal.  He has been pretty impressive in the minors and was 5-7 with a 5.89 ERA in 15 games in his first stint in the Majors last year.  In 70.1 innings pitched, he struck out 44 and walked 27.  That strikeout rate probably doesn't cut it as a starting pitcher, unless he can limit hard contact.

19.  Nick Pivetta.  Pivetta led the league in games started in 2022 and was, for a time, a very impressive starter.  He needs to work on his consistency, but he has been a dependable pitcher since being acquired from the Phillies in 2020 in the Brandon Workman deal.

20.  Franchy Cordero.  Cordero will be with the Orioles in 2023.  He was the Major League player acquired in the Benintendi deal.  He could never put together consistent at-bats and was something of a disaster in the field.  He hit .219/.300/.397 with eight home runs and 29 RBIs in 2022 with Boston, including a walk-off grand slam that was one of the highlights of the season.

21.  Triston Casas.  His average was just .197, but thanks to his terrific eye at the plate, Casas had a .358 OBP.  He also crushed five home runs in just 27 games.  Casas looks to have the inside track on the first base job in 2023.

22.  Tommy Pham.  Pham will be with the Mets in 2023.  After being acquired at the trading deadline, Pham hit .234/.298/.374 with six home runs and 24 RBIs.  I really liked Pham and was hoping Boston would bring him back as a backup in 2023.  

23.  Team Card.  I counted this card as Alex Verdugo, Xander Bogaerts, Trevor Story and Bobby Dalbec.

24.  Jarren Duran.  Obligatory Duran card.  He has been great the first few games this Spring, but he is running out of time to lock down a roster spot.

25.  Jeter Downs.  Downs will be with the Nationals in 2023.  The Nationals are not really going anywhere in 2023 so they can afford to give Downs time to figure out if he is going to stick in the Majors.  Downs hit .154/.171/.256 in 14 games with the Red Sox.  He did hit his first home run off of punching bag Gerrit Cole.

26.  Alex Verdugo.  Verdugo is my pick for biggest breakout in 2023.  He was great in the second half last year.  If he builds on that, he could be an All Star.

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.