Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top 5 Greatest Red Sox All-Star Game Performances



Tonight, baseball's best gather together for the All-Star Game. My Red Sox will be well represented, with 5 players selected, including two (Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez) elected to start. In honor of the greatest exhibition game in sports, I decided to list my choices for the Top 5 Greatest All-Star Game performances by a Red Sox player:


5. Roger Clemens, 1986

1986 Donruss Highlights #26 Roger Clemens

3 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 2 K
Talk about setting the bar high! Roger started the Mid-summer Classic in 1986 and pitched 3 perfect innings. Among the 9 batters he faced were 5 future Hall of Famers (Tony Gwynn, Ryne Sandberg, Gary Carter, Mike Schmidt, and Ozzie Smith). He won the award as the game's MVP.


4. Carl Yastrzemski, 1970

2017 Topps - All-Time All-Stars #43 Carl Yastrzemski

4-6, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI
Yaz became the first Red Sox player to win the All-Star Game MVP in 1970 despite playing for the losing team. He played all 12 innings in the game best remembered for Pete Rose running over Ray Fosse.


3. J.D. Drew, 2008

2008 Topps Updates & Highlights #UH221 J.D. Drew

2-4, 1 BB, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 SB
The longest All-Star game in history had an amazing 4 Red Sox players elected to start, yet it was reserve OF Drew who took home the MVP award. J.D. entered into the game in the 7th inning and swatted a 2 run homer run to tie the game.  I'm giving Drew bonus points here because he did this at Yankee Stadium, which I'm sure irked a lot of Yankee fans.


2. Pedro Martinez, 1999

2017 Topps - All-Time All-Stars #11 Pedro Martinez

2 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 5 K
The game was held at Fenway Park, and was most remembered for the the pre-game ceremony honoring the All-Century Team, with legend Ted Williams being surrounded by awe-struck All-Stars. Once the game started, Pedro set the tone by striking out all three batters in the first inning, then striking out two more in the second inning. The only base runner he had, Matt Williams, reached on an error by Roberto Alomar and was caught stealing for the final out of the inning.


1. Ted Williams, 1946

1974 Laughlin All-Star Games #46 Ted Williams (Field Day)

4-4, 1 BB, 2 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI
The All-Star Game MVP Award was named after Williams in 2002, and it's easy to see why. This was the first All-Star Game after WWII ended, and Ted's first after 3 years serving as a pilot. Once again, Fenway was the home to arguably the greatest All-Star game performance ever. Now that starters only play a few innings, it's doubtful we'll ever see a stat line like this again.



Monday, July 16, 2018

Time Travel Trading Update #15


The dreams were getting stronger, and definitely weirder. Carlos Correa tossed and turned, all the while imagining himself playing basketball for the Rockets, then hockey with Canadians, even singing in Las Vegas with Neil Diamond. These were dreams, right? No, something felt real, felt familiar. He had gone through this before, but when?

"He's dreaming again..." said the doctor to her assistant, more of an offhanded explanation for the spike in the neurological readings than an observation. "He may not be able to handle a second travel." They stared at the man as he slept. It took him two months to come back from the last time, and although he looked the same, it was well known he was not. Still, it was important to see how repeated travels affected the human body and mind. The trip would go on as scheduled.

*****

Fastball looking. Swing and a miss. Fastball looking. The batter stood frozen in the box as Tom Seaver threw strike after strike. "98 MPH. Not bad!" said the coach nearby. "You look almost as good as you did at your peak!"

"Bull!" Seaver retorted. "I've never thrown better!" He knew it too, but he couldn't explain how. He had gone to sleep after a benefit dinner in Cincinati, and when he awoke he was at least 40 years younger. Now he was, down in an undisclosed Spring Training facility in Florida, trying to see if he could pitch again. Oh, to be on that mound again!

"Mr. Seaver, a word if you please." The man in the dark suit walked right onto the field as if it were home. "I'm Mr. Black, and I know how you got here. You've been given a gift, Mr. Seaver, and you now have the opportunity to help other ballplayers come back too."

"Hard pass, pal." Seaver replied, then focused on the catcher to deliver another pitch.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Seaver. That wasn't a request." The needle penetrated the skin of his neck before Tom Seaver could so much as blink, and field grew dark around him.

*****

Dan Frisella sat on the couch and rubbed his temple. It was impossible to believe, but the stranger had provided the proof: a newspaper sports section from January 2, 1977 - almost 3 months from now. The headline was as he had said. On New Year Day, Dan Frisella was going to die in a freak accident. Frisella looked at the stranger, who had refused to give a name and yet seemed so familiar. It was that sense of familiarity that made him trust that this man was indeed from the future. "OK, that settles it. No dune buggy rides for me!" Frisella shook the strange man's hand and walked him to the door.

As he got in his car, the stranger looked back at Dan Frisella and his pregnant wife. He hoped he did enough to earn the chance to meet see him again someday. A son could only hope...

*****

The trades continued to come in! 3 more offers!

First trade came in courtesy of  Chris from the blog The Collector. This is Chris's 2nd time travel trade, and he snagged 5 cards off the stack. The return package included a variety of cards, including:

Some modern cards


Some older cards:


Checklists:


And a really great vintage from the 50's:


A TCDB member became my 20th Time Travel Trade partner and snagged the 1971 Tom Seaver card. In exchange for one Hall of Famer, he sent me 4 Hall of Famers:


Eric from Old Red Sox Cards also got in on the fun. He picked up some early 70's cards, and responded with some great cards from the 60's:


There's just so much good stuff here! You know the deal by now! Make me an offer, either through this post or on the TCDB (Member Name: Kep75).

The Time Travel Trade Stack:


2016 Topps Heritage - Baseball Flashbacks
#BF-EM Eddie Matthews

2015 Topps Heritage
#273 NL Aces (Adam Wainwright/Clayton Kershaw)

2012 Topps
#396 Yoenis Cespedes (RC)

1993-94 Fleer (basketball)
#224 Michael Jordan (LL)

1991 Conlon Collection TSN
#13 Red Ruffing (HOF)

1990-91 Hoops (basketball)
#168 Glen Rice (RC)

1990 Topps
#18 Carlos Quintana

1986 Sportflics
#64 Bert Blyleven/Jerry Koosman/John Denny
#122 John Tudor

1986 Topps
#2 Rose Special '63-'66
#3 Rose Special '67-'70
#4 Rose Special '71-'74
#5 Rose Special '75-'78
#6 Rose Special '79-'82
#7 Rose Special '83-'85
 #401 Fernando Valenzuela (Turn Back The Clock)

1982 Donruss
#NNO Checklist 545-653

1982 Fleer
#660 Specials Checklist

1981 Topps
#63 Steve Renko
#704 Bill Travers

1980 Topps
#143 Bruce Bochte
#157 Willie Wilson 
#671 A's Future Stars

1979 Topps
#130 Bob Watson

1978 Topps
#24 Don Money
#193 Rich Chiles
#347 Terry Forster
#445 Mike Ivie
#471 Roy Smalley
#581 Lynn McGlothen

1977 Topps
#294 George Medich
#524 Rowland Office

1977 Topps (football)
#206 Cleveland Browns (CL)
#269 Archie Griffin (RC)

1974 Topps
#17 Doug Bird (RC) 

1974 Topps - Team Checklists
#NNO Montreal Expos

1973-74 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#53 Richard Lemieux

1973 Topps
#18 Leroy Stanton
#36 Steve Barber
#98 Dick Woodson
#99 Carl Taylor

1970 Topps
#47 Bob Miller
#103 Frank Reberger

1970 Red Rose and Blue Ribbon North American Wildlife In Danger (non-sport)
#32 Polar Bear

1969 Topps
#453 Mike Cueller

1969 Topps - Deckle Edge
#13 Mel Stottlemyre

1969 Topps (football)
#73 Bennie McRae
#154 Sam Baker

1968 Topps
#4 1967 AL RBI Leaders (Yastrzemski/Killebrew/Robinson)

1968 Topps (football)
#7 Earl Gros

1967 Topps
#206 Dennis Bennett

1967 Philadelphia (football)
#109 New York Giants (TC)

1966 Philadelphia (football)
#104 Rams vs. Browns

1965 Philadelphia (football)
#193 John Paluck

1964 Philadelphia (football)
#172 Ken Gray (RC)

1964 Topps
#60 Frank Malzone
#79 Bob Heffner (RC)
#305 Jack Lamabe
#352 Eddie Bressoud

1963 Topps
#111 Al Jackson
#155 Bill Stafford
#246 Lee Strange
#343 Johnny Pesky (MGR)

1962 Post Cereal
#58 Frank Malzone

1962 Topps
#278 Ken Johnson

1960 Topps
#95 Frank Thomas

1959 Topps (football)
#80 Joe Perry

1958 Topps
#341 Pittsburgh Pirates (CL, TC)
#371 Marty Keough (RC)

1958 Topps Zorro (non-sport)
#83 Rude Awakening

1957 Topps
#66 Brooks Lawrence
#235 Tom Poholsky
#249 Dave Pope
#371 Bob Lennon

1956 Topps
#103 Willie Miranda (white back)
#156 Johnny Antonelli

1956 Topps Flags of the World (non-sport)
#70 Jordan

1955 Topps
#126 Dick Hall (RC)

1954 Bowman
#16 Jim Wilson
#73 Don Mueller

1952 Bowman
#57 Clyde Vollmer

1938 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Tenth Series (J9-6) (non-sport)
#2 Black-throated Green Warbler

The Time Travel Trading Project is simple in concept. I started out with a random pack of 2018 Topps Series 1 baseball cards. My aim was to trade every card in that pack for something older. Each card I receive in turn is then made available for trade, with the goal to get the oldest card I can get.

Number of trades completed: 21
Unique trading partners: 17

Number of cards mailed out: 39
Year of oldest card mailed out: 1956

Number of cards received: 108
Year of oldest card received: 1938

Friday, July 13, 2018

Payday Pack - Water Doesn't Flow Like That

Another payday, another pack of Series 2 Topps! What photographic wonders await? Let's find out!

3rd Place

2018 Topps - 1983 Topps All-Stars #83AS-11 Corey Kluber

I love All-Star cards, and the subset from 1983 was one of the good ones. I'm glad Topps redid these, and it's hard to argue with one of Kluber. You don't often hear him mentioned with Kershaw, Verlander, and Scherzer, but he's building a strong Hall of Fame portfolio himself!

2nd Place

2018 Topps #352 Cincinati Reds

Photographs capture moments in time, and love when that moment captures the fluidity of water. Look at that bottle in the upper right - the water spewing forth is going in directions you'd never catch in real-time!

1st Place

2018 Topps #518 Andrew Toles

Toles is stretched out, practically touching both sides of the card. You get the impression that one millisecond later his other foot has left the ground and he's flying for just a brief moment before gravity has its say. Plus, it looks like a yoga pose...

Other Not Appearing On Stage
#655 Andre Ethier
#683 Adam Eaton
#512 Mike Napoli
#AJ-28 Aaron Judge 2017: Silver Slugger Award (Aaron Judge insert)
#676 Chad Green
#571 C.J. Cron
#480 Aaron Hicks
#419 Fernando Rodney
#693 Brandon Kintzler

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Repack Haiku #59 (Shawon Dunston)

Eleven year Cub
Quickly bounced around the leagues
Seven year journeyman

1998 Fleer Tradition #543 Shawon Dunston

Monday, July 9, 2018

Hockey Cards From Cardboard History - Pack #7

Billy from Cardboard History continues to brings the goods! I'm down to the final two packs, so let's try and get this set knocked out before hockey season starts up again!

This pack contained 56 cards, mostly from the 92-93 Fleer Ultra set


That blue shading doesn't look right. It make him look like Yondu or one of the Avatar aliens. Here are the highlights of the stack:

1992-93 Ultra #106 Mike Keane

One of the small amusements you can get from a Fleer Ultra set is looking for cards where the photograph matches with the Ultra logo. You can find a few baseballs in the baseball Ultra sets that look like they are being thrown/batted by the subject matter. This was the best hockey equivalent I could find in the pack. Keane sees the flaming puck coming towards him, and looks like he might just take a whack at it.

1992-93 Ultra #157 Eric Lindros

An Eric Lindros rookie! Not bad, not bad at all! OK, so maybe it isn't his true rookie, but still...

1992-93 Ultra #186 Brett Hull

I don't care what logic you throw at me - no goal! Stinking Hull...

1991-92 Upper Deck #546 Derian Hatcher

Many a human being fell to their knees and wept at the sight of this mullet of pure beauty.  Hatcher surely had his fair share of groupies...

1991-92 Upper Deck #547 Rod Brind'Amour

We'll wrap up this pack with a man flying over the ice rink. I feel sorry for the hockey player behind him getting the full force of those sharpened skates!

My collection of hockey cards continues to grow from just a smattering of random cardboard to something worthy of being called a collection. Thank as always Billy! (And if anyone out there is still not soaking up the wealth of knowledge Billy shares on his blog, then you really need to click over there next: Cardboard History)

Friday, July 6, 2018

Someone Stole My Cards, But It's All Good!

It's hard to get upset over cards that you technically never had in your possession, especially when you pilfered them from someone else in the first place. Johnny from the blog Johnny's Trading Spot gave away some cards as part of a "Big Fun Game" If you're unfamiliar with these games, they're played like a Chinese Auction. Players are assigned a picking order, and the person who goes first picks a random number. The prize is revealed, and Player #2 has the choice of stealing a revealed prize or picking a new number. Play continues until everyone everyone has a prize. Often there's a limit on how many times a prize can be stolen.

As you can guess, I was a willing and grateful participant. There were 24 players in all, and 29 prizes. I was ceded at spot #14 - a good spot, as it allowed me to see a decent number of prizes. When my turn came, I decided to steal one of the previously revealed prizes - a lot of rookie cards. (It was hard to pass up a Pedro!)

Alas it was not to be. That lot of rookies was in turn stolen from me. Most other times that I've played this game, if your prize is stolen then you immediate get your turn to pick a new prize or steal something else. However, Johnny changed things up a bit. Instead of picking next, you got to be a part of a second round that included any unclaimed prizes.

Round 2 came, and since I used up my one chance to steal, I had to pick a number. I decided to follow the old Topps rule of good cards end in "0" and picked #20.  That turned out well:

1966 Topps





1965 Topps




Early 60's Topps


34 Vintage cards from the 60's! Granted, they're not in the best shape. All but one had writing on it. I think it gives them some personality! I was quite happy with it, as I didn't have many cards from before 1970 to begin with. (Actually, my total was only at 6, not counting the cards in my Time Travel Trade stack of course!)

Johnny even threw in some guy named Mantle:


That one may not be vintage, but it sure does have the look! Thanks again Johnny for the cards! Your BFG was truly big and fun!


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Repack Haiku #58 (Chuck Knoblauch)

Never seen someone
Crash and burn quite like Knoblauch
Could not fix "the yips"

1992 Donruss #390 Chuck Knoblauch

I hope everyone has a happy and safe Independence Day!

Monday, July 2, 2018

Time Travel Trading Update #14



Andrew Benintendi was one of the up and coming new stars of baseball. His talent was undeniable, and he was generally well-liked by everyone. Still, he thought it was odd when the National Organization of Temperamental New York Sports Enthusiasts (NOT-NYSE) invited him to accept their award for Outstanding MLB Rookie of the Year. He would have thought that a NY based group would have given their award to Aaron Judge, seeing as how he was the actual Rookie of the Year winner. Still, he was raised to be grateful, so he accepted the invitation to a dinner ceremony.

When he arrived, they led him on stage to a big throne-like chair. "OK, this makes more sense", he thought. "The New Yorkers are going to roast a Red Sox player and have some fun at my expense." He was expecting some good-natured kidding, but as soon as he sat down his arms and legs were clamped down. He couldn't move, and the men and women of NOT-NYSE closed in around him with evil grins on their faces. 

"It's a shame Mookie gave us some lame excuse to not show up, but at least now we won't have to worry about you ruining our chances for another title!" 

*****

Guillermo was a man of precise organization. If a job did not satisfy every item on his checklist, it wasn't considered done. The men under his command knew this well, and knew that is what made him an ideal leader on this particular project. Soldiers and scientist alike stood in a straight line as Guillermo walked slowly down with clip board in hand.

Every minute detail was rattled off, from the calibration of the time quartz crystals to the latest fire extinguisher tests. If he didn't hear a resounding "check!" from one of his underlings, everything would stop until that task was completed to his satisfaction. Failure was not an option, not when it involve sending a human being back in the past. For the first time in a long time, every checkbox was marked as planned. Tonight was going to be a good night, he believed.

*****

The man they called "Spaceman" was tired of sitting around. Through the wonders of time travel, he found himself in same physical condition as he was 40 years ago. And yet, the opportunities in Major League baseball were few. His preferred team, the Red Sox, didn't have any openings in their rotation, and his second preference, the Expos, no longer existed. he had a few minor league contract offers from a few other clubs, but the truth was, no one thought he could still pitch. Maybe they're right, he thought. After all, kids these days are throwing 100 MPH pitches with ease. 

Bill Lee took a look at an old photograph hanging nearby. It showed him at the All-Star game, a giant among giants. Perhaps he needed to go back to the 70's, possibly even the 80's. With the knowledge he had now, the statistical reports available, why, he could outsmart any of those guys. Lee would know every pattern, every swing. Yeah, it's time to go back...

*****

Since the last update, I agreed to three separate trades! As long as I have new cards to show off, I won't need to put cards on the proverbial chopping block. Hopefully I won't need to do that for awhile.

My trade drought was broken a few weeks ago by Doe from Now and Zen. Doe came right back at me with another trade offer, this time for the 1979 Topps Bill Lee. In his initial offering, he teased a "a 1970 tea card card that will add a wild flavor to the adventure!" I was more than willing to find out, and as promised this wild card gets added to the stack:


This cute little polar bear is from a 1970 Wildlife set by Red Rose and Blue Ribbon. Pretty cool, huh?

Tom form the blog The Angels In Order likes to collect checklists. So I sent him the checklist from 1966, and in return, this slightly mis-cut 1956 beauty is now available to add to your collection:


(I have to admit, it was tough coming up with a story centered around a checklist!)

There's a trader on the Trading Card Database who has for all intent and purposes become the "Patron Saint of the Time Travel Trading Project". The majority of vintage cards that you'll find in the stack have come from him. He offers up a one-for-one trade, and the card he offers is usually well beyond what I would consider to be a fair return. That card alone would make me happy, but he always sends more. I recently completed a third trade with him, and he continues to follow this pattern. In exchange for a 2018 Topps Opening Day insert of Andrew Benintendi, he sent me...


Another 1954 Bowman! This was the original agreed upon card for the trade. I told you it was more than what could be considered fair. But of course, that's not all I received. The Patron Saint included some more recent cards:


Some early 70's baseball:


A quartet of Red Sox from 1964:


Some vintage football/hockey:


Oh, look! More vintage baseball, this time from the 50's!


No, not done yet:


And, to wrap it all up, a great card from the classic TV show Zorro!


That's 25 cards he contributed to the stack. With these new trades, the Time Travel Trade Stack is at a whopping 75 cards! There's something for everyone here, and now is the time to stake your claim on any of these cards. As always, my condition is that I get a card older than what I send you. Baseball cards are preferred, but it's nice to have variety too! Make me an offer, either through this post or on the TCDB (Member Name: Kep75).

The Time Travel Trade Stack:


2018 Topps Opening Day - Team Traditions and Celebrations
#TTC-SC "Sweet Caroline"

2017 Bowman
#9 Carlos Correa

2016 Topps Heritage - Baseball Flashbacks
#BF-EM Eddie Matthews

2015 Topps Heritage
#273 NL Aces (Adam Wainwright/Clayton Kershaw)

1990-91 Hoops (basketball)
#168 Glen Rice (RC)

1990 Topps
#18 Carlos Quintana

1986 Topps
#2 Rose Special '63-'66
#3 Rose Special '67-'70
#4 Rose Special '71-'74
#5 Rose Special '75-'78
#6 Rose Special '79-'82
#7 Rose Special '83-'85
 #401 Fernando Valenzuela (Turn Back The Clock)

1981-82 Topps (basketball)
#14 Moses Malone

1981 Topps
#63 Steve Renko
#704 Bill Travers

1980 Topps
#143 Bruce Bochte
#671 A's Future Stars

1979 Topps
#130 Bob Watson

1978 Topps
#24 Don Money
#193 Rich Chiles
#347 Terry Forster
#445 Mike Ivie
#471 Roy Smalley
#581 Lynn McGlothen

1977 Topps
#294 George Medich
#524 Rowland Office

1976-77 Topps (hockey)
#129 Jacques Lemaire

1974 Topps - Team Checklists
#NNO Montreal Expos

1973-74 O-Pee-Chee (hockey)
#53 Richard Lemieux

1973 Topps
#18 Leroy Stanton
#36 Steve Barber
#98 Dick Woodson
#99 Carl Taylor

1972 Topps
#293 Danny Frisella
#374 Jack Heidemann

1971 Topps
#160 Tom Seaver
#563 San Francisco Giants (TC)

1970 Topps
#47 Bob Miller
#103 Frank Reberger

1970 Red Rose and Blue Ribbon North American Wildlife In Danger (non-sport)
#32 Polar Bear

1969 Topps
#453 Mike Cueller

1969 Topps - Deckle Edge
#13 Mel Stottlemyre

1969 Topps (football)
#73 Bennie McRae
#154 Sam Baker

1968 Topps (football)
#7 Earl Gros

1967 Philadelphia (football)
#109 New York Giants (TC)

1966 Philadelphia (football)
#104 Rams vs. Browns

1965 Philadelphia (football)
#193 John Paluck

1964 Philadelphia (football)
#172 Ken Gray (RC)

1964 Topps
#60 Frank Malzone
#79 Bob Heffner (RC)
#186 Roman Mejias
#305 Jack Lamabe
#352 Eddie Bressoud

1963 Topps
#111 Al Jackson
#155 Bill Stafford

1962 Post Cereal
#58 Frank Malzone

1962 Topps
#278 Ken Johnson

1960 Topps
#95 Frank Thomas

1959 Topps (football)
#80 Joe Perry

1958 Topps
#341 Pittsburgh Pirates (CL, TC)

1958 Topps Zorro (non-sport)
#83 Rude Awakening

1957 Topps
#66 Brooks Lawrence
#235 Tom Poholsky
#249 Dave Pope
#371 Bob Lennon

1956 Topps
#103 Willie Miranda (white back)
#156 Johnny Antonelli

1956 Topps Flags of the World (non-sport)
#70 Jordan

1955 Topps
#126 Dick Hall (RC)

1954 Bowman
#16 Jim Wilson
#73 Don Mueller

1952 Bowman
#57 Clyde Vollmer

1938 Church & Dwight Useful Birds Of America Tenth Series (J9-6) (non-sport)
#2 Black-throated Green Warbler