Thursday, February 29, 2024

2024 Topps Series 1 Breaks

My wife drove to Rochester, NY to get a dog one weekend recently and I was bored so I decided to track down some 2024 Topps.  Luckily I did not have to go far.  I ended up grabbing a blaster and one of those jumbo hanger packs.  Here are the Red Sox cards:

1.  David Hamilton.  This is the only card I got in the hanger pack.  Hamilton was one of the prospects acquired when Boston sent Hunter Renfroe to the Brewers for Jackie Bradley Jr.  He made his Major League debut last year and speed is his best tool.  He played in 15 games and stole two bases while hitting .121.  He is going to have to improve on that if he is going to be given another shot in the Majors.

2.  Connor Wong.  Can't complain here.  I got the base card right away.  I have been buying up parallels, but left the base card.  I have not gotten a lot of Wong cards in packs, but there have been a few.

3.  Nick Robertson.  Robertson was one of the players acquired when Boston sent Enrique Hernandez back to the Dodgers.  He appeared in nine games with the Red Sox with a 6.00 ERA, striking out 13 and walking five in 12 innings.  Robertson was traded to the Cardinals after the season as part of the package in exchange for Tyler O'Neill.

4.  Masataka Yoshida.  One player I do not have any trouble pulling cards of is Yoshida.  This is one of the Holiday parallels.  Yoshida is expected to primarily play DH this season.  I love that this card features the City Connect uniform.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

A Wong Patch

This is the Panini National Treasures Purple parallel.  It is serial-numbered to seven and has an autograph and a huge patch.  The patch appears to be one corner of the Red Sox logo.  That's pretty damn cool.  Wong has been slowed somewhat by elbow soreness, but has hit when he has been in the lineup.  I am looking forward to seeing if he has improved over the offseason.

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

More Mailday Madness Pt. 7

Here we go again.  Let's get into this, shall we?  Not all of these are trades, there are a couple of Ebay buys in here.

1.  J.D. Martinez.  This was actually a one-card trade.  The person who offered it didn't have a lot of stuff but had a player collection of Jake Lamb and wanted one of my cards.  Even though it was such a small trade, I decided to do it.

2.  Eric Hosmer.  It occurs to me that I have not talked about Hosmer in the context of a One-Year Wonder post.  Not that he would possibly unseat Nick Esasky for One-Year Wonder First Baseman.  Hosmer played in just 14 games and hit .244/.320/.311 with no home runs and just four RBIs.  

3.  Tanner Houck.  I firmly believe Houck has the stuff to be a closer.  He also seems to have the mentality to do it.  Let's see that happen.

4.  Mo Vaughn/Fred Lynn.  Two Red Sox MVP winners separated by 20 years.  Lynn won in 1975 when he was also the Rookie of the Year and Vaughn won it in 1995.  

1.  Tanner Houck.

2.  Jarren Duran.

3.  Tris Speaker.  Speaker holds the all-time career record in doubles with 792.  His career high was 53 which he accomplished in 1912.  

4.  Trevor Story.

5.  Roger Clemens.  One of these days maybe Clemens will get into the Hall of Fame.  

6.  Alex Verdugo.

7.  Rafael Devers.  This is one of those manufactured patch things.  I don't tend to focus much on these.  I get them in trades but rarely buy them on my own.

I turned down a trade offer that had this cool Dwight Evans insert in it because the other party made a comment about requiring cards in near-mint condition.  I refuse to make any guarantees about condition because some people are too nitpicky, so the trade didn't work.  The other card in the deal was a Bowman prospect autograph of someone who seems less than likely to make the Majors.  I really wanted the Evans card though so I tracked it down on Ebay.

This is my first relic of Kenley Jansen.  I usually like to get these All Star Stitches cards, particularly with a player who would be new.  I do have to say I strongly dislike the fact that the All Star games do not feature players wearing their team uniforms any more.  

This was a pretty good trade I think.  I got the Independence Day parallel of Reese McGuire, serial-numbered to 76 in exchange for an Aaron Judge parallel.  

Monday, February 26, 2024

Wong Update

It's been a little while since I have done one of these and I only have one card to show off today.  Yes, I am still focusing on the Wong collection.  I have been trading for a lot of cards and just buying Wong cards.  He is in the 2024 Topps Series 1 set, so there will be more coming soon.  But for today, this is it:

This is the 2022 Bowman Chrome Rookie Autograph Gold Refractor.  These used to be the top cards people chased in the early years of prospecting Bowman cards.  Now, it is just one of several colors offered.  They still seem to be a bit more expensive than some of the other parallels, even those with lower serial numbers.

Anyway, Wong made his Spring debut today at DH due to some elbow soreness.  He was 2-2 with a double and two RBIs.

Sunday, February 25, 2024

More Mailday Madness Pt. 6

Yep.  Still going strong.  One of these days I might actually be caught up on these.

1.  J.D. Martinez.  Martinez is one of those free agents that still have yet to get a new home even though Spring Training has already started.

2.  Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts has been moved to second base with the Padres.  That contract is getting worse and worse.

3.  Trevor Story.  Hoping for a fully healthy Story this season.

4.  Babe Ruth.  Ruth is another of those players I never get tired of seeing in sets.  Obviously Red Sox cards only.  

5.  Enrique Hernandez.  Hernandez, like Martinez, is still out there as a free agent.

6.  Rafael Devers.  Devers already has 172 career home runs.  He will not turn 28 until October.  He has a very real chance of breaking 200 home runs this season.  400 home runs seems very much in play for him.

7.  Trevor Story.

8.  J.D. Martinez.

9.  David Ortiz.  Ortiz is #2 on the Red Sox all-time home run list with 483.  

10.  Miguel Bleis.  Bleis has slipped a bit in the prospect rankings after spending most of last season on the Injured List.  He still has a lot of talent though and hopefully will get back on track in 2024.

11.  Rick Ferrell.  Ferrell was the first major player Tom Yawkey acquired after buying the Red Sox in 1933.  He was a worthwhile pickup too as he was eventually elected to the Hall of Fame, though there is some controversy about that.  One theory goes that voters mistook him for his brother Wes. 

12.  Enmanuel Valdez.  Tough to say where Valdez fits in.  The guy can hit, but he's so horrible defensively that you cannot really put him anywhere.

13.  J.D. Martinez.

14.  Alex Verdugo.  This is actually a really nice card where you cannot tell Panini does not have a license.  

15.  Ted Williams.  Another player I always enjoy getting cards of.  The team's franchise player should be in a whole lot of sets.

1.  Hanley Ramirez.  Ramirez was my first attempt at focusing on a Red Sox prospect.  I picked up a lot of cards of him in 2003 and followed him very closely into his Major League debut in 2005.  Then, Boston traded him.  I'm glad he eventually came back and played with Boston and had a great year in 2016.  He hit .286/.361/.505 with 30 home runs and 111 RBIs.  But Boston missed out on the dynamic player he was in his early years with the Marlins.

2.  Brock Holt.  Holt is probably the most random Red Sox All Star during my fandom.  His All Star season of 2015 saw him hit .280/.349/.379 with two home runs and 45 RBIs as a utility player.  Boston had better options, particularly David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia.

3.  J.D. Martinez.

4.  Jay Groome.  Now 25 and coming off a season in which he had an ERA above 8.00, time is probably running out on Groome.  

5.  Bobby Dalbec.  Dalbec is already raking in Spring Training.  That is always the case though.  It would be nice if he could carry that over.

6.  Adam Duvall.  Another free agent still out there.  After a blistering start to the 2023 season, Duvall cooled off quite a bit, but still hit 21 home runs.

That will be it for today.  More to come.

Saturday, February 24, 2024

2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th Pt. 14: Pedro Martinez

NAME: Pedro Martinez

POSITION: Starting Pitcher

WHY IS HE HERE?:  One of just a few active players in the set, Martinez had only been in Boston for three years by the time this was released, but won the Cy Young Award twice and finished second in the other season.  He was an All Star all three seasons and finished second in the MVP vote in 1999 as well as winning the All Star Game MVP.  He led the league in wins once, and ERA and strikeouts twice while setting a new team record in strikeouts in a season with 313 in 1999.  That record still stands.  

WOULD I PUT HIM IN IN 2001?:  Yes.  It was just three seasons at that point, but they were amazing seasons and he was already putting up some of the best numbers by any pitcher in team history.

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

WOULD I PUT HIM IN NOW?:  Absolutely.  He didn't win another Cy Young Award, though he deserved at least one, but he only added to his legacy, helped the team win a World Series and entered the Hall of Fame with a Red Sox cap on his plaque.

ANY BETTER CHOICES NOW?:  Again, the only better choices (and that's a debate) are already in the set.  There really was no one like Pedro Martinez from 1998-2004.

Friday, February 23, 2024

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 32: Jack Russell

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.

Jack Russell actually had a lengthy career.  This is even more surprising when one considers his .376 career winning percentage at a time when winning games was everything.  Russell spent most of his time pitching for terrible teams, which somewhat made up for his abysmal winning percentage.

Russell came up with the Red Sox at the age of 20 in 1926, appearing in 36 games with five starts and 98 innings pitched.  He was 0-5 with a 3.58 ERA (114 ERA+, 3.82 FIP), which was his best mark during his eight seasons in Boston.  He had his best season with the Red Sox in 1928 when he had a record of 11-14 with a 3.84 ERA (105 ERA+, 3.82 FIP) in 201.1 innings pitched.  He struck out 27 while walking 41.  He followed that up with a 6-18, 3.92 ERA season in 1929, then led the league in losses in 1930 when he went 9-20 and this time pitched as poorly as his record with a 5.45 ERA (85 ERA+).  He improved somewhat in 1931.

1932 was Russell's final season with the Red Sox, and he did not make it all the way through the year.  He pitched in just eleven games with the Red Sox before being traded to Cleveland in June for Pete Jablonowski (Appleton).  At the time of the trade he was just 1-7 with a 6.81 ERA.  His numbers improved after the trade.  

After the trade, Russell became a reliever primarily.  He was an All Star for Washington in 1934, a year after he went 12-6 with a 2.69 ERA and a league-leading 13 saves.  He was traded back to Boston in June of 1936 in exchange for Joe Cascarella and went 0-3 with a 5.63 ERA in 23 games, mostly in relief.  He was released after the season.

In eight seasons with the Red Sox, Russell's record was 41-94, but his ERA was 4.58 (94 ERA+, 3.85 FIP).  He threw 1,215 innings with 202 strikeouts and 294 walks.  He was generally a much better pitcher than his record showed and was generally pretty good at avoiding walks and fielding.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

More Mailday Madness Pt. 5

Yep, still going on this.  I am getting close.  Ish.  There is going to be another large one here soon, which will probably delay things just enough for a whole lot of other packages to come in.  Which will be annoying, but still.  

Anyway, several packages will be in this one.

1.  Chris Sale.  I am looking forward to my first Vaughn Grissom card.  I have run out of things to talk about with Sale.  Unfortunately his Red Sox tenure was downhill from buckling Manny Machado's knees for the final out of the World Series in 2018.

2.  Andrew Benintendi.  This is from Benintendi's game-saving catch for the last out of Game 4 of the ALCS in 2018.  The bases were loaded with two outs and Craig Kimbrel pitching against Alex Bregman.  Bregman smashed a sinking liner that Benintendi dove for and came up with.  It was a great play from an underrated defensive outfielder.

3.  Carlton Fisk.  Fisk of course had some big moments in the postseason himself.  His game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series is one of the most famous home runs of all time.

4.  Rafael Devers.  Devers has yet to have a signature moment in the postseason, but he has hit .303/.382/.573 with eight home runs and 26 RBIs in 26 postseason games.  Those are damn good numbers.  I targeted this card in particular.

1.  Jarren Duran.  Duran is expected to be the leadoff hitter for the Red Sox this season and will likely play left field, moving Masataka Yoshida to DH and allowing Ceddanne Rafaela to play center.

2.  Andrew Cashner.  Cashner was once traded for former Red Sox prospect Anthony Rizzo.  He was Boston's big trading deadline pickup in 2019 when he was 9-3 with a 3.83 ERA for Baltimore.  His numbers immediately tanked though and he went 2-5 with a 6.20 ERA with the Red Sox.  He was even removed from the rotation.  That was his last Major League action.  Luckily Boston did not give up much to get him.

Meet Roman Anthony.  These are my first cards of Anthony.  He was the second round draft pick in 2022 and had a fantastic season in 2023.  He was so impressive that some sources have him as the Red Sox top prospect, edging out Marcelo Mayer.  I am not that sold on him yet, but another strong season may change my mind.  

1.  Ryan Kalish.  Kalish was once a highly-regarded prospect whose career was mostly wrecked by injuries.  He had an impressive rookie season in 2010 when he hit .252/.305/.405 with four home runs, 24 RBIs and ten stolen bases while playing impressive defense in 53 games.  

2.  Rafael Devers.  This is one of the image variations.  Check out the Santa hat.

3.  Bobby Dalbec.  Dalbec has been talked up this Spring and could make the roster as a bench bat.

4.  Nomar Garciaparra.  Derek Jeter gets a lot of credit for his postseason success, but Nomar's slash line was better, granted in significantly fewer games.  He hit .321/.386/.589 with seven home runs and 24 RBIs in 32 games.  

5.  Kevin Youkilis.  Youkilis had some huge offensive seasons for Boston in 2008 and 2009.  He was the 2008 AL Hank Aaron Award winner when he hit .312/.390/.569 with 29 home runs, 43 doubles and 115 RBIs.  He was third in the MVP voting.

1.  Kenley Jansen.  Jansen may be a future Hall of Famer.  He has 420 career saves with a 2.52 career ERA and 1,159 strikeouts in 813.2 innings pitched.  He has a few years left and could possibly get close to 500 saves.  I am rooting for him.

2.  Ellis Kinder.  Don't get too excited, these 1954 cards are just reprints, not the vintage cards.  Kinder was a very important part of the Red Sox rotation in the late 1940's and had some great seasons in relief in the early 1950's.  Kinder had a record of 86-52 in eight seasons with the Red Sox.  He had a 3.28 ERA and notched 93 saves.  In 1949 he was 23-6 with a 3.36 ERA and finished fifth in the MVP vote.  His best year in relief was 1953 when he was 10-6 with a 1.85 ERA and a league-leading 27 saves.

3.  Ted Lepcio.  Lepcio was a part of the youth movement that manager Lou Boudreau pressed into action at the expense of established stars like Bobby Doerr, Dom DiMaggio and Johnny Pesky.  Lepcio was a utility infielder and only once played in more than 100 games.  His best season was in 1956 when he hit .261/.335/.454 with a career-high on 15 home runs (he never hit more than nine any other season) and 51 RBIs.

4.  Buster Mills.  Mills was a coach at this time, but he was a very good One-Year Wonder in 1937.  That year he hit .295/.361/.418 with seven home runs and 58 RBIs, along with eleven stolen bases.  He was then traded to the Browns along with the well-traveled Bobo Newsom for Joe Vosmik.

5.  Hal Brown.  Brown was originally with the Red Sox system, but was traded to the White Sox prior to making his Major League debut.  He was then re-acquired by the Red Sox in a trade that sent Vern Stephens to the White Sox.  His best season in Boston was in 1953 when he went 11-6 with a 4.65 ERA.  He then spent several seasons as a back-of-the-rotation starter in Baltimore.

6.  John Burkett.  Burkett had some great years with the Giants early in his career, once finishing fourth in the Cy Young vote.  He spent his last two seasons with the Red Sox going 25-17 with a 4.85 ERA.  He was past his prime but ate up some valuable innings with a roughly league-average ERA, particularly in 2002.  

7.  Manny Delcarmen.  Delcarmen was a local kid who was an underrated part of the Red Sox bullpen in 2007.  He appeared in 44 games with a 2.05 ERA in 44 innings, striking out 41 and walking 17 and notching one save.  He had another good year in 2008 before his career started going downhill.

8.  Enrique Hernandez.  Hernandez had one of the greatest power displays I have seen in a postseason by a Red Sox player.  He hit five home runs in the 2021 postseason.

9.  Shea Hillenbrand.  Hillenbrand's best season was 2002 when he was elected to his first All Star Game and hit .293/.330/.459 with 18 home runs and 83 RBIs.  He was generally a good hitter whose defense made it difficult to keep him in a lineup.  

10.  Angel Santos.  Santos was a fourth-round pick of the Red Sox in 1997 and made his Major League debut in 2001.  He played in just nine games with the Red Sox and hit .125/.211/.188 with two hits, including a double and an RBI.  He was traded in 2003 to the Indians for Jamie Brown.

11.  David Murphy.  Murphy was the Red Sox first-round pick in 2003.  He played in parts of two seasons with the Red Sox, hitting .250/.357/.500 with his first Major League home run.  He was the primary piece sent to the Rangers in 2007 for Eric Gagne.  He spent several seasons as a solid outfielder with the Rangers.  He signed back with the Red Sox in 2016, but did not make it out of Spring Training.

12.  Paul Schreiber.  Schreiber was a pitching coach in the early 1950's.  His Major League career consisted of 12 games over three seasons with the Dodgers and Giants.

13.  Alex Verdugo.  Verdugo is going to look very different with the Yankees this season.  The facial hair and jewelry will have to go.  I suspect his stay in New York will be short.

1.  Triston Casas.  Casas was Boston's first-round pick in 2018 and looks like a rising star coming into the season.  

2.  Christian Arroyo.  Another former first-round pick (though by the Giants), Arroyo never really put it together.  His best season was 2022 when he hit .286/.322/.414 with six home runs and 36 RBIs as a utility man.  Arroyo will try to catch on with the Brewers this year.

3.  Ted Williams.  My favorite stat is Williams's career OBP was .482.  That is utterly insane.  For his entire career, he got on base almost half the time.  

4.  Roger Clemens.  Clemens was an All Star five times with Boston, though not in 1984 as per this card's design.  That was his rookie season.  

5.  Carlos Quintana.  Closing things out today with one of my early favorites.  There are not many Quintana cards still out there for me to get unfortunately.  

And that's it for today.

Monday, February 19, 2024

Second Stadium Club Blaster

I tried my luck at a second blaster of 2023 Stadium Club recently.   I had decent luck last time, pulling two Red Sox out of 40 cards.  So, I thought, why not try again?  I actually did slightly better this time.

1.  Triston Casas.  This card is amazing.  A shot of Casas at first with a large shot of the stadium in the background, complete with Samuel Adams giant sign.  This is one of my favorite shots in a long time.

2.  Carlton Fisk.  I believe this is a shot from the 1975 Game 6 World Series home run, but it is from a different angle and time.  There are a lot of cards from that home run, but they mostly focus on either him waving the ball fair or jumping up after realizing it was a home run.  Not many from just after hitting it.

3.  Alex Verdugo.  And here is a clubhouse shot of Verdugo.  These are kind of interesting at times.  You get an idea of the player's personality off the field.  Not the most exciting though.

Sunday, February 18, 2024

More Mailday Madness Pt. 4

That's right, we are still doing this stuff.  I am still working my way through all of the recent TCDB trades.  But, sometimes it takes awhile before I can get around to taking pictures of the cards in order to get posts together.

So, here's the next batch.

1.  Roger Clemens.  1995 Studio was kind of odd.  I have no idea why they did the cards to look like credit cards.  Anyway, this is the gold parallel version.  Clemens had a bounceback year in 1994 after his career-worst year in 1993.  He led the league in ERA+ (176) and hits per nine innings (6.5).  He was second in ERA and strikeouts in the strike-shortened year.  1994 is an underrated season by The Rocket.

2.  Jonathan Papelbon.  It's hard to remember now, but Papelbon actually came up as a starter.  He made three starts in 2005 and had a 3-1 record with a 2.75 ERA in 17 total games.  He didn't notch his first save until 2006 when he took over the closer role.  There was some talk that he would go back to the rotation in 2007, but that did not happen.

3.  Noah Song.  I talked a lot about Noah Song just recently.  He could still have some promise, but at 26, it's no sure thing.  It will be interesting to see how he looks in Spring Training.

1.  Jose Canseco.  When I did this trade I did not realize at first that these two players were actually traded for each other.  Canseco was coming off two decent, but injury-riddled, seasons with the Red Sox and wanted to be traded away after Kevin Kennedy was fired as manager.  Boston accommodated him, but I always felt like they maybe could have gotten more for him.

2.  John Wasdin.  Wasdin was a former first-round pick but had a couple rough seasons in Oakland.  Things would not really improve in Boston.  He pitched in a variety of roles, most commonly as middle relief, but he started a handful of games and even saved a couple.  His ERA in 170 games in Boston though was 4.66 (103 ERA+).  He was eventually traded to Colorado in the deal that brought Rolando Arrojo and Mike Lansing over.

This is the first scan from this trade.  It featured ten of the Pacific Tom Seaver cards, all of the remaining cards Red Sox cards I needed from the set.  Seaver is one of my absolute favorite One-Year Wonder players in Red Sox history.  It's so interesting to me that he spent the last half of his final season with the Red Sox.  If only he had been healthy to play in the World Series against the team for which he was most famous.

That trade also included a Bobby Dalbec relic.  I do not get a ton of relic cards these days, but I am always interested in getting at least one for every player available.  This is my first Dalbec relic.

1.  Babe Ruth.  Yeah, there's some other guy on this card too.  Ruth was the original two-way star.  He did not actually do the two-way thing for a lengthy amount of time.  He was almost exclusively a pitcher from 1914 through 1917, though he made some pinch-hitting appearances.  In 1918 he started playing the field a little bit and was more of an outfielder than a pitcher by 1919.  Oddly, Ruth never appeared in right field for Boston.  He primarily played left field (47 games in 1918 and 110 in 1919) with some center field and first base thrown in.

2.  Connor Wong.  Surprisingly, this member came to me with a Connor Wong I did not already have.  This is the Silver Foilboard parallel from 2023 Update.  

3.  Rafael Devers.  DEVERS!

4.  Trevor Story.  Story may finally be healthy.  Let's see what he can do in Boston.

5.  Nick Pivetta.  Pivetta has taken something of a leadership role among the pitchers recently.  That is sorely needed with Chris Sale gone.  Pivetta has been a solid pitcher in Boston and he may be ready to have a big season.

6.  Jarren Duran.  There have been some trade rumors swirling around Duran.  I kind of hope they do not trade him because he is a very exciting player to watch.  Though it would open up an opportunity for Ceddanne Rafaela.

That's it for now.  Still much more to come.

Saturday, February 17, 2024

2001 Fleer Red Sox 100th Pt. 13: Carlton Fisk

NAME: Carlton Fisk


WHY IS HE HERE?:  He was elected the A.L. Rookie of the Year unanimously in 1972 and was a seven-time All Star while in Boston.  He was a Gold Glove winner in 1972 as well and finished in the top ten in MVP balloting three times.  He was the holder of multiple team records for a catcher when he left.  He hit one of the most famous home runs in team history with his game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series.  He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000, his second year on the ballot.  

WOULD I PUT HIM IN IN 2001?:  Yes.

ANY BETTER CHOICES IN 2001?:  No.  As of 2001, Fisk was still the top catcher in team history. 


ANY BETTER CHOICES NOW?:  There are no better choices now.  Jason Varitek should certainly be in the set since he has broken a number of the team records for catchers, but that is due more to longevity.  He should not replace Fisk, but he should be in it alongside Fisk.      

Thursday, February 15, 2024

The Worst Red Sox Team of All Time Pt. 31: Jack Rothrock

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 feel like I have talked about Rothrock a lot lately, but that doesn't seem true.  I did discuss him briefly when I was covering MVP voting from the 1920's, but that was not really that much.  So, here we are.  

Rothrock was a pretty good player developed by the Red Sox in the mid-1920's.  He was extremely versatile and played every position at least once during his Major League career, though his pitching and catching stints were mercifully short.  He only spent more than 100 games at each of the three outfield positions, but came up as an infielder.  

He had some good seasons in the late 1920's with the Red Sox and received some MVP consideration in 1927 (.259/.302/.360) and 1929 (.300/.361/.408, six home runs, 59 RBIs, 24 stolen bases).  He then had some injury problems in 1930 before rebounding with a .278/.343/.383 line in 1931.  

Rothrock played in just 12 games with the Red Sox in 1932.  He hit .208/.283/.229 with ten hits, three runs, a double, three stolen bases, before being traded to the White Sox.  In late April, the two Sox teams engaged in a five-player deal sending Rothrock and Charlie Berry to Chicago in exchange for Smead Jolley, Bennie Tate and Johnny Watwood.  Rothrock's numbers declined further the rest of the season and he did not play in the Majors again until 1934 when he re-emerged as a member of the Gashouse Gang Cardinals with one of his best seasons.

In his eight seasons in Boston, Rothrock hit .278/.335/.375 with 14 home runs, 172 RBIs and 57 stolen bases.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Living Set: Mo Vaughn

It is so cool to see so many Mo Vaughn cards being made lately.  I said recently I have been feeling kind of nostalgic about Mo Vaughn, an early favorite player of mine.  Vaughn was a rookie the year I started watching baseball, so I kind of felt like I grew up watching him.  Plus, he was SUCH a great hitter during his time in Boston.  I had difficulties seeing Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens and Mike Greenwell leave Boston, but I think the one that really hurt the most was Mo Vaughn.  He is someone who really should have spent his entire career in Boston.  

Monday, February 12, 2024

2023 Stadium Club Blaster Break

I have been watching for Stadium Club for a little while now.  It is always one of my favorite sets of the year due to the incredible photography.  And so, when I saw it on the shelves at Walmart recently, I grabbed it.  There were only 40 cards in the blaster, so I did not have great odds to get many Red Sox cards, but I was going to try anyway.  I ended up pulling two, beating the odds.

1.  Ted Williams.  I'm not 100% sure what the object Williams is holding is.  I think it's a trophy for winning the batting title, but I could be wrong.  Still, it's great to see a Williams photo I have never seen before.  What a great shot.

2.  Rafael Devers.  An interesting shot in a photo studio.  It's another terrific picture.  

I prefer the Williams personally, but the Devers photo is great too.  This is why I love Stadium Club.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

It's the Big One

This may be the largest trade I have ever worked out.  I didn't send out a ton of cards, but there were some big modern rookies in the package.  Will it come back and bite me like when I traded my Barry Bonds autograph card in 2000?  Maybe, but I don't really care.  I'm a Red Sox collector.  I barely know what else I have.

1.  Ted Williams.  This is my first Project 2020 card.  I got a handful of the Project 70 cards, but never grabbed one of the previous year's project.  Not really sure why, there are definitely some interesting ones out there.  This is not the most exciting of cards, but I do kind of like the vintage shot of Williams in the background.

2.  J.D. Martinez.  I am probably not going to spend a ton of time talking about each player in this post, particularly with players I have talked a lot about lately.  I do want to point out though that I was about eight feet away from catching Martinez's 100th Red Sox home run in KC.

3.  Niko Kavadas.  There are going to be a lot of prospects in this post.  Kavadas has a lot of power, but not much else going for him.  I would be pretty surprised to see him make the Majors.

4.  Jeter Downs.  Downs will be with the Yankees in Spring Training, which seems appropriate.  He didn't do much in Boston, but did hit his first ML home run off the Yankees, Gerrit Cole if I remember right.

5.  Blaze Jordan.  Jordan in particularly will be in this post a lot.  He really likes like he could turn into a legitimate prospect.  The question is whether he will be traded first.

6.  Blaze Jordan.

7.  Blaze Jordan.

8.  Marcelo Mayer.  Despite some injuries, Mayer is still in the top 20 or so prospects according to pretty much every prospect ranking, sometimes still in the top ten.

9.  Kutter Crawford.  Crawford has kind of gone under the radar a bit, but he had a solid 2023.  If he can take another step forward, he can be a decent back-of-the-rotation starter.  His 113 ERA+ in 129.1 innings was one of the bigger surprises on the team in 2023.

10.  Enrique Hernandez.  He had a horrific 2023, but I will never forget his amazing postseason run in 2021 when he hit eight home runs.

11.  Xander Bogaerts.  I wonder what Bogaerts thinks after signing a mega deal with the Padres.  He made comments at the time about the organization being clearly dedicated to winning, yet they have been shedding salary and losing players at an alarming rate.  Currently, there is only one player on their roster who has played outfield at the Major League level, and that is the displaced shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr.  I can't view Bogaerts's signing as anything but a mistake for both parties, even if he did have a decent offensive season.

12.  Ted Williams.  I love this card of Williams in his flight uniform.

13.  Enrique Hernandez.

14.  Wade Boggs.  Boggs never finished higher than fourth in an MVP vote.  If he was playing today, with his high slash lines (even though he didn't hit many home runs, he hit a ton of doubles), he likely would have won at least one MVP.

15.  Jarren Duran.  Duran has been the subject of some trade rumors recently, primarily to San Diego.  That makes sense, and I could see him getting moved, but they better get some pitching in the deal.  Duran is a very exciting player, when he's healthy and playing well.  We finally saw some of that last season.

16.  Kyle Schwarber.  Schwarber goes down as one of the greatest Red Sox trade deadline pickups of all time.  Jason Bay and Victor Martinez are probably the best though because they each played a full second season with Boston.

17.  Jarren Duran.

18.  Jarren Duran.

19.  Xander Bogaerts.

20.  Alex Verdugo.  Verdugo's batting average and OPS+ declined each year he was in Boston.  He could still turn into a productive player, but it was probably time to move on, particularly with a bunch of outfield prospects coming up.

21.  Rafael Devers.  Of course there will be Raffy cards in this post.  Quite a few in fact.

22.  Nomar Garciaparra.  If the Hall of Fame starts looking closer at peak years, Nomar has a legitimate shot at making it in.  He was clearly one of the greatest players in the game from 1997 through 2003, which is a good length of time.  What kills him is that he provided very little value after 2003.

23.  Babe Ruth.  I still love finding Ruth cards with the Red Sox.

24.  Jim Rice.  Panini has done a nice job of including former players in their sets in 2023, not that Rice was a completely out-of-the-box pick, but it's fun to get cards of retired players.

25.  Nomar Garciaparra.

26.  Triston Casas.  I'm anticipating a big year from Casas.  30-35 home runs seems like a likely possibility.

27.  Rafael Devers.

28.  Chris Sale.

29.  Chris Sale.

30.  Trevor Story.  Another player I am expecting big things from.  Story has taken on a leadership role with the infielders this offseason, and that is something that is great to see.

31.  Masataka Yoshida.  And another player I think will have a big season.  I predict he will contend for the batting title.

32.  Alex Verdugo.

33.  Enmanuel Valdez.  It is difficult to see where he fits in, if only he could play even a little defense.  His bat is very impressive.

34.  Reese McGuire.  McGuire will be back as the backup catcher in 2024.  I thought he might get non-tendered, but that did not happen.

35.  Triston Casas.

36.  Alex Verdugo.

37.  Josh Taylor.  Taylor was great when he was healthy for Boston.  He had a 3.04 ERA in 2019 and 3.40 in 2021.  But he was hurt so often that he was tough to rely on.  He was traded for Adalberto Mondesi prior to 2023, a trade that did not work out for anyone as Taylor had an ERA of 8.15 with the Royals and Mondesi never played for Boston.

38.  Kevin Pillar.  Pillar had a nice partial season with Boston in 2020, hitting .274/.325/.470 in 30 games before being traded to the Rockies.  He is mostly a backup outfielder now.

39.  Pedro Martinez.  Since there was no All Star Game in 2020, Topps honored past performances.  Martinez was the 1999 All Star Game MVP.  

40.  David Ortiz.  

41.  David Ortiz.  Here is a card honoring Ortiz's 2010 Home Run Derby victory.

42.  Andrew Benintendi.  Benintendi really looked like the real deal through the first half of the 2018 season.  His numbers just collapsed after that and he never got back while with the Red Sox.

43.  Mookie Betts.  Apparently Betts is moving to second full-time in 2024.  He came up as a second-baseman and got moved to the outfield due to Dustin Pedroia, then it seemed a shame to waste his athleticism at second.  We will see if he can make the late-career move back, but he's so good, he should be fine.

44.  Roger Clemens.  Clemens was the All Star Game MVP in 1986.

45.  David Ortiz.

46.  Michael Chavis.

47.  Pedro Martinez.

48.  Roger Clemens.

49.  Ted Williams.

50.  Team Card.  I never know quite what to do with these cards.  Do I consider them cards of the players focused on in the photo?  Or just general team cards?  This one is particularly interesting because the man holding his right hand up is 2020 manager Ron Roenicke, who otherwise did not have a card with the Red Sox and was included in my No Red Sox cards post for that year.  I will at least consider it a Roenicke card.

51.  Ted Williams.

52.  Xander Bogaerts.

53.  Pedro Martinez.

54.  Kyle Schwarber.

55.  Xander Bogaerts.

56.  Xander Bogaerts.

57.  Kyle Schwarber.

58.  Xander Bogaerts.

59.  Connor Seabold.  Strange how trades work out sometimes.  When Boston traded Brandon Workman to the Phillies in 2020, they got two pitchers, one of whom, Seabold, was a legitimate prospect.  The other was a mostly failed starter on his third organization, Nick Pivetta.  Yet, it is Pivetta who has been a workhorse pitcher for Boston and Seabold was DFA'd and pitched, poorly, with the Rockies in 2023.

60.  Babe Ruth.

61.  Pedro Martinez.

62.  Pedro Martinez.

63.  David Ortiz.

64.  Trevor Story.

65.  Mikey Romero.  Romero was Boston's first round pick in 2022.  I was sort of underwhelmed by this pick at the time and he has not played particularly well.  Luckily, they saved some money on this pick and used it toward their next pick, Roman Anthony.

66.  Masataka Yoshida.

67.  Enrique Hernandez.

68.  Pedro Martinez.

69.  Masataka Yoshida.

70.  Narciso Crook.  I am still shocked he has made it in to so many sets as a Red Sox player, since he has never played a game with them.

71.  Trevor Story.

72.  Masataka Yoshida.

73.  Eduardo Rodriguez.  We have come to perhaps my favorite card from this trade.  This is one of the rare black parallels.  I do not even have the Connor Wong from this set.

74.  Rafael Devers.

75.  Andrew Benintendi.

76.  Xander Bogaerts.

77.  Michael Chavis.

78.  Rafael Devers.

79.  Shane Drohan.  Drohan had pitched reasonably well until 2023.  He was selected by the White Sox in the Rule V Draft, but I would be kind of surprised if he doesn't get returned at some point.  It's possible, they never got Thad Ward back.

80.  Jay Groome.  The opposite of Mikey Romero, I was very high on this selection.  Groome was one of the best pitchers in that draft, but injuries have wrecked his career.  He was traded to the Padres in 2022 in the Eric Hosmer deal and continued to struggle.

81.  Gilberto Jimenez.  Jimenez has a lot of tools, but has yet to harness them.  He's still just 23, but has yet to make Double-A.

82.  Triston Casas.

83.  Jarren Duran.

84.  Jeter Downs.

85.  Babe Ruth.

86.  Xander Bogaerts.

87.  David Price.  Price had been saddled with the reputation of being a poor postseason pitcher.  That reputation was solidified early in his Red Sox tenure.  But then, in the ALCS, he figured something out in his mechanics and was basically unhittable since.  In the World Series he was 2-0 with a 1.98 ERA in three games, throwing 13.2 innings and striking out ten while walking six.

88.  Rafael Devers.

89.  J.D. Martinez.

90.  Eduardo Nunez.  Nunez had a huge pinch-hit home run in Game 1 of the 2018 World Series that sealed the win for Boston.

91.  Jackie Bradley Jr.  JBJ was the ALCS MVP in 2018 with two key home runs, driving in nine runs.

92.  Jackie Bradley Jr.

93.  J.D. Martinez.

94.  Team Card.

95.  Xander Bogaerts.

96.  David Price.  This is apparently called a Topps Clear Travel card?  I have no idea what that is.

97.  J.D. Martinez.

98.  Xander Bogaerts.

99.  J.D. Martinez.

100.  David Ortiz.

101.  Mookie Betts.

102.  Chris Sale.

103.  Shane Drohan.

104.  Shane Drohan.

105.  Jay Groome.

106.  Gilberto Jimenez.

107.  Triston Casas.  

108.  Jarren Duran.

109.  Nick Yorke.  I was skeptical about Yorke's first-round selection in 2020, but he has been mostly decent when he's been healthy.  He could make the Majors this year, or be traded.

110.  Jeter Downs.

111.  Michael Chavis.

112.  David Ortiz.

113.  Carl Yastrzemski.  Yaz is the owner of Boston's all-time best season by WAR.  His incredible Triple Crown season had a WAR of 12.4 helped out by his terrific defense.

114.  Michael Chavis.

115.  Mookie Betts.

116.  Chris Sale.

117.  J.D. Martinez.

118.  Anderson Espinoza.  Espinoza was Boston's top pitching prospect when he was traded in 2016 for Drew Pomeranz.  It was not a well-received move, but Pomeranz had a very good 2017 season and Espinoza suffered major injury setbacks.  He finally made the Majors in 2022 with the Cubs, but only pitched in seven games.

119.  Sam Travis.  I had high hopes for Travis.  He did play in 111 games with Boston and hit seven home runs, but I thought he would be a decent first-baseman.  

120.  Xander Bogaerts.

121.  Nick Yorke.

122.  Xander Bogaerts.

123.  Chris Sale.

124.  Tanner Houck.  Houck could be in line to be the closer if Boston ends up trading Kenley Jansen.  I think he could do it, he seems to thrive on high-stakes and has the mentality of Jonathan Papelbon.

125.  Noah Song.  Song is an interesting story.  He was a highly-regarded draftee, but due to Navy commitment, he was unable to pitch for a few years even in the minors.  He finally was switched to reserve status to begin his professional baseball career and was selected by the Phillies in the Rule V Draft in 2022.  But, because he had been away so long, the Phillies could not justify a ML roster spot for him and had to return him.  Song is now 26 and is a question mark going forward, but Boston has him again.

126.  Triston Casas.

127.  Xander Bogaerts.

128.  Bryan Mata.  Mata is out of options this season, so he has to make the Red Sox roster or get traded.  He was once a promising pitching prospect, but has struggled with control.  I think it is more likely he will be traded.

129.  Masataka Yoshida.

130.  Triston Casas.  This is another of my favorite cards from this package.  These Bowman Spotlight cards are really cool.

131.  Nick Yorke.

132.  Marcelo Mayer.

133.  Bobby Dalbec.

134.  Bobby Dalbec.

135.  Blaze Jordan.

136.  Marcelo Mayer.

137.  Marcelo Mayer.

138.  Roniel Raudes.  I really liked Raudes.  He showed some amazing control early on in the minors.  He made it to High-A, but then stalled.  He's still just 25, so some team could take a flyer on him.

139.  Josh Ockimey.  Another prospect I liked that couldn't make it.  He kind of got stuck in Pawtucket and had some big home run numbers and a decent OBP, but his low batting averages prevented him from making the jump.

140.  Blaze Jordan.

141.  J.D. Martinez.

142.  Rafael Devers.

143.  Alex Verdugo.

144.  J.D. Martinez.

Whew.  That was a long one.  I still have more to come, but that was all in one package and it was large enough as it was.

Friday, February 9, 2024

More Mailday Madness Pt. 3

Still going here.  I just have not had the patience or motivation to get through more than a few packages at a time.  So, here is the third post in a row.  Let's see how far into this we can get.  The first package is full of oddballs and reprints.

1.  Tony Perez.  Perez is one of many Hall of Famers who had a brief stop in Boston.  He spent three seasons in Boston and had his last great season there in 1980.  That season, Perez hit .275/.320/.467 with 25 home runs and 105 RBIs.

2.  Jake Jones.  Jones spent parts of two seasons in Boston in 1947 and 1948 after being acquired in a trade with the White Sox for Rudy York.  He was the primary first-baseman in 1947, but hit just .235/.310/.403 with 16 home runs and 76 RBIs.  After a slow start in 1948, he was replaced by rookie Billy Goodman.

3.  Hal Wagner.  Wagner spent parts of three seasons with the Red Sox and was an All Star in 1946.  That season, he hit .230/.354/.322 with six home runs and 52 RBIs.  How that got him in the All Star Game, I am unable to guess.

4.  Tom Seaver.  There are going to be a lot of Seaver cards coming soon.  This is one of the Broder cards.

5.  George Kell.  Like Perez, Kell is a Hall of Famer who had a brief stop in Boston over the course of three years.  He was an All Star in 1953 when he hit .307/.383/.483 with 73 RBIs and a career-high 12 home runs.  He also had 41 doubles.  

6.  Sammy White.  White spent nine seasons in Boston and was an All Star in 1953 when he hit .273/.318/.435 with 13 home runs and 64 RBIs.  It was not his best season, but it was his only All Star season.

1.  Tom Burgmeier.  Burgmeier was an All Star in 1980 with the Red Sox after going 5-4 with a 2.00 ERA in 62 games (99 innings pitched).  He notched 24 saves (fifth in the A.L.), struck out 54 and walked 20.  

2.  Nick Esasky.  Esasky is one of the greatest One-Year Wonder Red Sox in history.  He hit .277/.355/.500 with 30 home runs and 108 RBIs in his only season in Boston.  He signed a big free agent deal with the Braves for the 1990 season, but suffered from vertigo and had to retire early.

3.  David Eckstein.  The very popular diminutive middle infielder came up through the Red Sox minor league system, but never played in Boston.  The Red Sox DFA'd him to make room for Lou Merloni in 2000 when Boston was desperate for third base help.  Merloni had his best season, but Eckstein might have helped a bit more.

4.  Eduardo Rodriguez.  Surprisingly Rodriguez has yet to make an All Star team.

5.  Dustin Pedroia.  Pedroia was an All Star in 2008 through 2010 and then in 2013.  I am not sure how he missed the All Star selection in 2011, his best season.  That year, he was a 20/20 man, setting career highs in home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, triples, OBP and walks.  He did win the Gold Glove that year, one of four.

6.  Rafael Devers.  Devers has been an All Star twice so far, in 2021 and 2022.  Third base is something of a stacked position these days.  He certainly had the numbers for selection in 2019 and 2023.

7.  Wade Boggs.  Boggs was an All Star every year from 1985 through 1992 with Boston.  Memorably, he and Bo Jackson hit back-to-back home runs in 1989.

8.   Bobby Dalbec.  I am not sure what Boston is going to do with Dalbec coming into this season.  It is kind of surprising he is still there.

1.  Jonathan Papelbon.  Pap recently hosted the Red Sox fan festival question and answer session in a state of increasing inebriation.  Still, he is a surprisingly funny guy and fun to follow on Twitter.  He was an All Star four times with the Red Sox from 2006 through 2009.

2.  J.D. Martinez.  Martinez was also an All Star four times with the Red Sox, since this seems to be a random theme tonight.  

3.  Chris Sale.  Sale was only an All Star twice with the Red Sox, 2017 and 2018.  He started both games.

4.  Eduardo Rodriguez.

1.  David Ortiz.  Ortiz was a 10-time All Star (2004-2008, 2010-2013 and 2016).  He won the Home Run Derby in 2010 and took part in five of those.  

2.  Alex Verdugo.  It's kind of disappointing that Verdugo is no longer with the team, though I saw it coming.  I'll probably surpass 100 cards of him in the near future.  

3.  Trevor Story.  I am looking forward to seeing if Story can return to his pre-injury form.  I think he could be in for a big year this year.

4.  Chris Sale.

5.  Alex Verdugo.

6.  Rafael Devers.

7.  David Ortiz.

8.  Dustin Pedroia.

9.  Brayan Bello.  Bello is a player that seems to appear a lot in posts lately.

10.  Justin Turner.  Turner's One-Year Wonder post is coming soon.  Is his year enough to unseat one of the All-Time One Year winners?  I guess that depends on if I should consider him a DH or a utility player.  He spent most of his time at DH, but appeared in 41 games at first, ten at second and seven at third.

1.  Rico Petrocelli.  Petrocelli was an All Star twice, in 1967 and 1969.  1969 was the season he hit 40 home runs, a record for A.L. shortstops that held until 1998.  It's sort of surprising Petrocelli received virtually no support in his only year on the Hall of Fame ballot.

2.  Felix Mantilla.  Mantilla was an All Star in 1963, the year after he hit 30 home runs for the only time in his career.  In 1963 he hit .275/.374/.416 with 18 home runs and 92 RBIs.  The RBIs were the only number more than his 1962 season.

3.  Joe Cronin.  Cronin was an All Star five times with Boston and was an original All Star in 1933.  He appeared in 1935, 1937-1939 and 1941.

4.  Mo Vaughn.  Vaughn was an All Star in 1995, 1996 and 1998 for the Red Sox.  First base at that time period was stacked with great hitters.  That's how great Vaughn was that he managed to still make it to the game.

5.  John Smoltz.  Another Hall of Famer with a brief Red Sox stint.  Smoltz started eight games with the Red Sox in his final season before being released and finishing up with the Cardinals.

1.  Connor Wong.  Nope, I have not moved away from my Connor Wong collection.  There just have not been a ton of cards out there lately.

1.  Babe Ruth.  This is an inverted variation short print from the 2023 Topps Archives set.  I snagged this for a pretty good price after turning down a trade for it where the other person wanted way too much for it.

1.  Chris Sale.

2.  Michael Chavis.  Chavis never made it close to matching his numbers from his 2019 rookie season.  He did hit 14 home runs for the Pirates in 2022, but his .654 OPS and 83 OPS+ was not getting it done.

3.  Andrew Benintendi.  Benintendi is another player who has never been able to match his rookie season.  In 2017, he hit .271/.352/.424 with 20 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 90 RBIs.  He has had some good years with average, but his power and speed are almost non-existent at this point.

That's it for now.  The next package is a big one that might need its own post.