Friday, June 30, 2023

My First Reddit Trade

I determined that I am chasing someone with more Connor Wong cards than I have.  He doesn't know I am chasing him at this time.  He posted that he recently surpassed 300 cards.  When I started this collection, I would have said I would not hit that for a long time.  That does not seem crazy now.  The reason I bring him up is that I made a trade with him on Reddit.  He posted some Red Sox cards for trade, including a Connor Wong duplicate that I needed.  

This was the starting point:

1.  Panini Prizm Green Donut Circles.  Wong is struggling offensively a bit right now.  Some time off might help him.  He has not gotten as much rest lately due to the injury to Reese McGuire.

Then, the trade expanded:

2.  Trevor Story.  Story is working his way back from injury and may be ready in a few weeks.  His defense and bat will be welcome.

3.  Roger Clemens.  I like the fact that this card appears with the 1986 set design.  1986 was Clemens's coming-out party as an ace.  That was the year he struck out 20 batters in a game for the first time as well as winning the Cy Young and MVP awards.

4.  Jarren Duran.  Duran is climbing the stolen base leader chart.  I would not be surprised to see Adam Duvall traded to allow Duran to be the starter in center field.

5.  Alex Verdugo.  Boston's All Stars have yet to be announced, but I suspect Verdugo has a good chance of making it for the first time.

6.  Matt Strahm.  Strahm had a decent season in his only year in Boston.  He parlayed that into a good contract with the Phillies.

7.  Ted Williams.  This card celebrates first years in the Majors.  Williams had a great one, hitting .326/.436/.609 with 31 home runs and a league-leading 145 RBIs.  

8.  Ceddane Rafaela.  One of Boston's top prospects, Rafaela was recently promoted to AAA Worcester.  His defense would play in the Majors now and his bat looks great right now.  

9.  Manny Ramirez.  Ramirez's banner season according to this card was 2004, the year he won the World Series MVP in Boston's first World Championship since 1918.

10.  Hunter Renfroe.  The trade of Renfroe was pretty baffling, but the Red Sox got a couple of minor leaguers who are starting to show some promise.  A lot of "fans" on Twitter seem to only remember it being a one-for-one deal for Jackie Bradley Jr.

11.  Alex Binelas.  Binelas was one of those players acquired for Renfroe.  He hit 25 home runs last season, but had a low batting average.  The other player was David Hamilton who is currently in the Majors and impressing with his speed.

12.  Miguel Bleis.  Unfortunately Bleis's development was dealt a serious blow with a season-ending injury.  He was really coming into his own as a top prospect.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Epic Wong Post: The Return

Once again, let's just get moving.  We all know what is coming.

Topps Orange Foilboard.  One of the many crazy number of parallels from Topps.  Serial-numbered to 299.

Topps Chrome Aqua Refractor.  One of the more interesting colors from Topps Chrome.

Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Signatures White Mojo.  As I have said before, I think I have more parallels of this autograph card than any other one.

Panini Chronicles America's Pastime Material Signatures Green.  Ah, something really rare and interesting.  This is one hell of a patch, along with an autograph and numbered to just five.  It looks like the patch comes from one of the letters (most likely the O) from the team name.

Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Signatures Purple.  Here is yet another parallel from this auto.

Panini Chronicles Origins Signatures Holo-Silver.  This is my third 1/1 in my Connor Wong collection, and my first autographed 1/1.  It will not be the last.

Topps Purple.  This card and the next nine all came from a COMC order.  

Stadium Club Chrome Blue Refractor.  I am still kind of disappointed that the Stadium Club Chrome colored refractors only had the color change in the logo and foil.  A tint would have been better.

Bowman Orange.  Another Bowman parallel.

Panini Select Carolina Blue.  There is also a Light Blue parallel.  One of the reasons behind doing the COMC order was missing out on a Carolina Blue autograph from Panini Prizm.  So I grabbed the Carolina Blue parallels I found on COMC, including this Select parallel.

Panini Diamond Kings Blue Frame.  I try to get as many parallels of this card as possible, it is one of my favorites.

Finest Flashbacks Gold Refractor.  This is another of my favorites.  Unfortunately, I have no hope of completing this run.  The Superfractor showed up on Twitter and sold.  I doubt it will make it back out on the market.  But, maybe.

Panini Prizm Navy Blue - Carolina Blue Prizm.  This was the other Carolina Blue parallel I grabbed.  I remember at one point early on thinking I was not going to attempt to super-collect Wong.  Clearly, that has changed.

Topps Chrome Purple Refractor.  This card took a weirdly-long time to add to my collection for a relatively common parallel.

Topps Chrome Sapphire.  I love this set.  Very cool-looking cards.  Unfortunately, my attempts to get parallels of this card through group breaks has not been going well.

Topps 1st Edition Red Foil.  This is the last card from the COMC order, but not the last card from the post.

Panini Mosaic Choice Fusion Autograph. I was starting to wonder if this card was going to come in.  It showed as "Delivered" on the tracking number, but did not actually come in for several days.

Panini Chronicles Spectra Rookie Jersey Autographs Splatter.  Here is that patch again.  I see this a lot in my Wong cards, but I have no idea what it is.

Panini Select Rookie Jumbo Tri-Color.  This is my third version of this card.  

Panini Diamond Kings Plum Frame.  And yet another parallel of this card.

Topps Japan.  One of the few base cards I had left to get (sort of).

Donruss Optic Blue.  This card is serial-numbered to 75.  

Panini Prizm Rookie Autographs Snakeskin.  This is a really bizarre-looking parallel, but I kind of love it.  This is another card that took a weirdly long time to receive and seemed like it got stuck in one place for about a week.  I am very glad it showed up finally.

Topps Vintage Stock and Topps Gypsy Queen Blue.  I grabbed these two cards together from a Beckett Marketplace seller.  This is the first time I have seen the Vintage Stock parallel.  The Blue Gypsy Queen is one I thought I had, but I actually had the Indigo.

Bowman Chrome Rookie Autograph Refractor.  I did not know there was a regular refractor version of this card at first.  I finally grabbed it though.

Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Signatures Carolina Blue.  And the third time a parallel of this card shows up.  This is still not the one I missed on though.

And that is the last of the cards for this post.  Still more to come, obviously.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Hall of Fame Worthy? Pt. 21: Jon Lester

I am not sure voters really know what to do with starting pitchers these days.  Obvious selections like Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and others made it into without any problems.  It is the next tier that is giving voters fits.  Curt Schilling was not able to get elected.  Andy Pettitte is still out there.  Mark Buehrle has struggled to gain any meaningful support.  Pitchers like Tim Hudson and Johan Santana have dropped off the ballot.  This has not been exclusive to the latest generation.  David Cone, Kevin Brown, Bret Saberhagen, Dave Stieb and Luis Tiant all failed to gain election.

So where will Jon Lester fall?  Well, first let us look at his case. 

Lester pitched 16 seasons in the Major Leagues, primarily with the Red Sox and Cubs, but also with stints with the Athletics, Cardinals and Nationals.  He was a second-round pick of the Red Sox.  He was an All Star five times and finished in the top five of the Cy Young vote three times, though not winning it.  He led the league in wins, winning percentage, shutouts and strikeouts per nine innings once each.  He had a career record of 200-117 with a 3.66 ERA (117 ERA+).  In 2,740 career innings, he struck out 2,488 batters and walked 892.  

He was extremely impressive in the postseason.  In 26 games pitched in the postseason, Lester had a 9-7 record, but a 2.51 ERA.  He threw 154 innings, striking out 133 and walking 40.  He was named the NLCS MVP in 2016 when he had a 1.38 ERA in two games against the Dodgers.  He was a part of three World Championship teams.  

On top of all of that, there were some truly fascinating events during Lester's career.  His career was derailed early on by a cancer diagnosis in his rookie season.  He missed most of the 2007 season while undergoing treatment but made it back at the end of the season.  He pitched Game 4 of the World Series, the deciding game.  He threw a no-hitter the next season.  Lester was then a major part of the Cubs winning the World Series for the first time since 1908.

All of those things are in favor, but Lester's career WAR of 43.5 probably does not cut it.  The average Hall of Fame starter is at 73, far above Lester's number.  According Baseball Reference, Lester is the 152nd best starting pitcher by WAR, which does have him higher than some Hall of Fame starters.  Lester is higher than Jack Morris, Jack Chesbro, Lefty Gomez and Catfish Hunter.  That is not necessarily helpful as those are generally not highly-regarded choices.  


From a pure statistics standpoint, I do not think Lester's case is strong enough.  Where he is helped out is his postseason success and the intriguing storylines.  His chances depend on how much weight those are given by voters.  Honestly, I would be pretty shocked if he was able to do more than stick around on the ballot.

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th Pt. 6: Fred Lynn

NAME: Fred Lynn

POSITION: Center field

WHY IS HE HERE?  The first player to win both the Rookie of the Year and MVP in the same season, Lynn was a six-time All Star and four-time Gold Glove winner.  He won a batting title in 1979 and led the league in runs scored, doubles and on-base percentage once and slugging percentage twice.  He hit .308/.383/.520 with 124 home runs and 521 RBIs with the Red Sox.

WOULD I PUT HIM IN IN 2001?  Definitely.

ANY BETTER CHOICES IN 2001?  All of the better choices are already in the set.


ANY BETTER CHOICES NOW?  I would not say better choices.  Players like Johnny Damon, Jacoby Ellsbury and Jackie Bradley Jr. probably would deserve to be in the set, but not at the expense of Lynn.

Monday, June 26, 2023

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 30: John Tudor

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

The Red Sox in the early 1980's were able to develop a startling number of good starting pitchers.  Obviously the big name was Roger Clemens, but they also developed Oil Can Boyd, Bruce Hurst, Bob Ojeda and John Tudor.  

Tudor was drafted in the third round of the secondary phase of the 1976 draft.  The southpaw moved fairly quickly through the minor league system and made his Major League debut in 1979.  He had a rough stint that first year, starting six games, but with a 6.43 ERA.  He was good in 1980, going 8-5 with a 3.02 ERA in 16 games, 13 starts.  

He made it into 18 games, starting eleven, in 1981.  He pitched 78.2 innings with a record of 4-3 with a 4.78 ERA.  He struck out 44 and walked 28.  Tudor also notched his first, and only, career save and threw two complete games.  

Tudor was able to build on this and turn into a solid, if unspectacular starter.  He won 13 games each of the next two seasons.  1982 was the better year as he went 13-10 with a 3.63 ERA in 195.2 innings.  He notched 146 strikeouts and 59 walks.  The next year he was 13-12 with a 4.09 ERA in 242 innings, but his strikeouts dipped to 136 and he walked 81.  

After the season, Boston had a surplus of young pitching and needed some more offense.  Tudor was shipped to the Pirates in exchange for Mike Easler.  Tudor had a good season, but the Pirates did not hang onto him either and he was sent to the Cardinals for George Hendrick.  He had his best season there, finishing second in the Cy Young vote, going 21-8 with a 1.93 ERA.  He was never quite as good again, but had several more good years with the Cardinals and Dodgers.

Tudor had a 39-32 record with the Red Sox with a 3.96 ERA over five seasons.

Sunday, June 25, 2023

Boxscore: June 20, 2021

The second game was not nearly as good

The Red Sox lost this game 7-3, despite Nathan Eovaldi pitching during his greatest season.  The defense kind of fell apart and Eovaldi really did not have it on this day.  He pitched just four innings, giving up seven hits and four runs.  He struck out four and walked just one.  After him, Darwinzon Hernandez, Yacksel Rios and Matt Andriese all pitched to varying degrees of success.

Boston could not solve Mike Minor.  The offense mustered eleven hits, but only scored three runs.  Two of the runs were scored on home runs by Enrique Hernandez and Rafael Devers.  Devers's homer was an absolute bomb.  Hernandez also doubled and J.D. Martinez tripled.  Bobby Dalbec had another two-hit games.  Martinez and Hernandez also had two-hit games.  

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Boxscore: June 19, 2021

I forgot about doing these.  A couple years ago, I spent a weekend in Kansas City and took in two Red Sox games.  That was pretty much the only reason I went.  

The first game I saw was an afternoon game and it was damn hot.  I had seats out in the left field bleachers and came very close to catching a home run ball off the bat of J.D. Martinez.  Boston rolled to a 7-1 victory behind the pitching of Martin Perez, who threw five innings of one-run, three-hit ball.  He walked two and struck out three.  Garrett Whitlock, Hirokazu Sawamura and Brandon Workman finished out the game, allowing four hits and four strikeouts between them.  

Offensively, Bobby Dalbec was the big star, putting up three hits and coming a double short of the cycle.  He drove in three runs and scored twice.  As mentioned, Martinez also homered.  Alex Verdugo hit a double and Danny Santana, Xander Bogaerts and Enrique Hernandez all singled.  

It was a great game, but man, I wish I could have caught Martinez's homer.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Boom. Yoshi-ed.

I received another package from the Zippy-Zapper.  It was the 2023 Topps base card of Masataka Yoshida, who continues to hit well.  There was a one-week period earlier in which Yoshida did not swing and miss a single time.  He is just simply a fantastic hitter with a great eye.  Every once in awhile he seems to slow down, which coaching has caught up on the signs, they give him a little rest and he comes back strong.

There is still a lot of season left, but Yoshida has to be one of the leaders in the A.L. Rookie of the Year race.  I understand that he played professionally for several seasons, but he still qualifies here.  If he keeps going like this, he may just win it.

Thanks Kenny!  Email me your address and I will send you something.

Thursday, June 22, 2023

Epic Wong Post

Buckle up, this is gonna be a long one.

Panini Chronicles Contenders Optic Ruby Wave.  Serial-numbered to 199.  The Chronicles Contenders Optic is one of my favorite cards.  Obviously I try to get everything I can, but variations of this is one of the cards I jump on when I see them.

Topps Heritage Black Border.  So far Heritage is Wong's only card in 2023.  Hopefully that will change soon, but with no Panini sets with current players in it, I do not have a lot of hope that it will until possibly Topps Update.

Bowman Red.  I was pretty surprised when this one popped up.  I snatched it right away, because it was numbered to just five.  The Bowman cards are odd because they list Wong as a catcher/second-baseman.  When he was in the minors, it was thought he would be more of a super-utility player, then his defense started getting notice.

Topps Chrome Aqua Mini Diamond Refractor.  TCDB has listed this and an Aqua Speckle Refractor.  I suspect they are the same thing because they are both numbered to 199.  I have not been able to confirm that though.  It is interesting that Cardboard Connection does not list either of them.  

Panini Prizm Red Velocity Prizm.  I'm not sure why this design means "Velocity", but it is a common Panini design.

Panini Select Rookie Jersey Autographs Orange Pulsar.  This one is numbered to just 15.  I really need to know what this patch is.  I have seen it on a few of my Wong cards so far.

Topps Chrome Green Wave Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 99.

Panini Select Rookie Jersey Autographs Cracked Ice.  This is another variation like the Orange Pulsar above.  I kind of like the Cracked Ice parallels.  This is serial-numbered to 25.

Bowman Sterling Gold Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 50.  This is a shot that is not super-overused.  It does appear on the Topps Transcendent 1/1 cards, of which I have one so far.

Finest Flashbacks Prism Refractor.  I worked out a deal on the forums for this card, which was a little surprising that someone there had something so rare.  This is serial-numbered to 35.  I am thrilled to add it, because this is another one I really like.  Unfortunately, the superfractor showed up on Twitter of all places and was grabbed before I had a chance.  Extremely disappointing.  It was a decent price too.

Panini Chronicles America's Pastime.  Just a simple white swatch here.  This is an over-used photo, but a good one for Panini to use.

Topps Heritage Black & White.  This is the last of the Heritage variations I needed.  At least those that are listed on TCDB at this time.  These are supposed to be fairly rare I think.

Topps Chrome Magenta Speckle Refractor.  Serial-numbered to 350.

Panini Immaculate Black Socks.  I am pretty sure that's what this one is.  There's a lot of variations of this card.  The material looks like socks to me.  It is serial-numbered to ten and features an autograph in silver ink.  It is a bit of a unique item.  

Topps Now Blue and Purple.  To date, the only Topps Now appearance Wong has made is for his first Major League home run.  I grabbed a couple of the parallels recently.  I bought the base right away when it was released, long before I started this collection.  I am still annoyed he did not get a Topps Now card after his 4-for-4 day with two home runs and a double.  

Donruss Optic Pandora Red Prizm.  This is serial-numbered to 99.

Bowman Sterling Mini Diamond Refractor.  

Topps Chrome Blue Refractor.

Topps Chrome Sonic Edition.  The base cards from this set are pretty boring.  The only difference between them and base Chrome is that the Topps Chrome logo and RC logo are flipped and the RC logo is larger.  I got this in a trade on TCDB.  It was supposed to be a larger trade, but I still got one Wong card.  Plus, this came off my larger want list.

Topps Heritage Red.  This is big.  This was one of the cards that was cancelled on me.  I managed to find someone on TCDB who had it in his collection, but it was not for trade.  I contacted him and he was willing to part with it.  I also grabbed these other two cards which increased my numbers of Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Alex Verdugo and Jackie Bradley Jr.  It was a good deal.  I still need to find the Panini Mosaic Orange Fluorescent.  Unfortunately, there might be another card joining it as one I bought but never received.  Hopefully not.  Nothing frustrates me more than that in this hobby.

Topps Gold.  These are weirdly hard-to-find and expensive.  I guess they only fall one per box now, even though the 2022 serial number is reasonably high.

Panini Chronicles Contenders Rookie Ticket Autograph Blue.  Serial-numbered to 99.  I don't love the photo on this card, and it is used in other places as well.  With the lack of a logo, it looks more like a minor league or even college uniform.  I am sure it is just Spring Training or something, but still, it doesn't look like a Major League uniform.

Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Signatures Blue Mojo.  One of these days I need to figure out what card I have the most variations of.  This is probably the leader among the autographs, and there are a few more coming in.

Panini Absolute Tools of the Trade Jumbo Signature Spectrum Blue.  This is my first parallel of this card.  There are a few out there that I just have not grabbed yet.  

Donruss Optic Rated Rookie Signatures Navy Blue Stars.  Here's another of the Optic autograph parallels.

Topps Chrome Blue Wave Refractor.  Tough to beat the Topps Chrome parallels for good-looking parallels.  It certainly helps that they do have the MLB license.

Topps Chrome Rookie Autographs Refractor.  And finally, the last card of the post is this, which I was not aware existed.  Or rather, I kept forgetting about it.  I had the base version, but forgot about the normal refractor.

That's it for today, but there are more to come.