Friday, August 11, 2017

Beyond Yaz and Teddy

2017 Stadium Club #260 Ted Williams

Since I've restarted my interest in baseball cards, two sets stick out as favorites: Topps Archives and Stadium Club. I love how Archives take me back to my youth with the older designs, and Stadium Club has photographs that belong in art galleries. They also share the trait of mixing in retired stars from baseball's past.

When Stadium Club came out recently, I checked to see what Red Sox were in the set. The retired stars this year: Jason Varitek, Johnny Damon, Carl Yastremski, and Ted Williams. (Oh, and David Ortiz technically, only he just retired this past season.)

I was happy see former captain Varitek and fan favorite Damon in the set, but Yaz and Williams - well, they seem to always be in these sets don't they? Maybe it's just me, but I decided to dig a little deeper and find out.

Here's the Red Sox retired stars for each set:

2017 Stadium Club (5): Johnny Damon, David Ortiz, Jason Varitek, Ted Williams, Carl Yastremski
2017 Archives (7): Damon, Bobby Doerr, Nomar Garciaparra, Perdro Martinez, Ortiz, Williams, Yaz

2016 Stadium Club (5): Wade Boggs, Nomar, Curt Schilling, Williams, Yaz
2016 Archives (6): Doerr, Nomar, Jim Rice, Babe Ruth, Willams, Yaz

2017 Topps Archives #34 Carl Yastrzemski

See what I mean? 4 sets, and Williams and Yaz have been in all of them! In fairness, my familiarity with these sets end here. I decided to continue back even further:

2015 Stadium Club (2): Roger Clemens, Rice
2015 Archives (8): Boggs, Doerr, Dennis Eckersley, Rick Farrell, Carlton Fisk, Nomar, Rice, Williams

2014 Stadium Club (4): Boggs, Clemens, Pedro, Williams
2014 Archives (4): Nomar, Pedro, Manny Ramierez, Williams

2013 Archives (6): Boggs, Ellis Burks, Dwight Evans, Mike Greenwell, Fred Lynne, Williams

2012 Archives (3): Boggs, Rice, Luis Tiant

Breaking it down by player, with total appearances in parenthesis:
Ted Williams (8)
Wade Boggs (5)
Nomar Garciaparra (5)
Jim Rice (4)
Carl Yastremski (4)
Bobby Doerr (3)
Pedro Martinez (3)
Roger Clemens (2)
Johnny Damon (2)
David Ortiz (2)
Ellis Burks (1)
Dennis Eckersley (1)
Dwight Evans (1)
Rick Farrell (1)
Carlton Fisk (1)
Mike Greenwell (1)
Fred Lynne (1)
Manny Ramierez (1)
Babe Ruth (1)
Curt Schilling (1)
Luis Tiant (1)
Jason Varitek (1)

2016 Topps Archives #101 Babe Ruth

So out of 10 sets, Teddy Ballgame has appeared in all but 2 of them.  Yaz surprisingly was never included before last year, and it looks like Topps is making up for lost time here. Nomar and Boggs are the only other players featured in at least half the sets.

Aside from being a little top-heavy, Topps seems to be doing a decent job of getting in other players from the team's history. I loved the inclusion of a Babe Ruth card last year, and I'm happy to see other old time Hall of Famers like Doerr and Farrell too. My one complaint really is the high number of cards from players during the "junk wax" years like Boggs and Rice. I have over a hundred of their cards already, and their not expensive. I really don't need more. I'd like to see more players from before I was born, or at least a few more modern fan favorites.

I'll end things with a list of 5 players I'd like to see make an appearance in future sets. (Are you listening, Topps? )

1952 Topps  #15 Johnny Pesky
Johnny Pesky - The only non-Hall of Famer (besides the recently retired David Ortiz) to have his number retired by the Red Sox. From his playing days up until his death in 2012, he was a beloved favorite at Fenway Park.

1997 Upper Deck #25 Mo Vaughn
Mo Vaughn - OK, so he also falls into that "junk wax" era, but Big Mo won the MVP award in 1995 and was a fan favorite as well.

1978 Topps #295 Bill Lee
Bill Lee - You just have to include the Spaceman at some point! I'd love to see a card capturing his sense of humor.

1934 Goudey #19 Lefty Grove
Lefty Grove - One of the greatest pitchers of All-Time.

1937 O-Pee-Chee Batter Ups (V300) #106 Jimmy Foxx
Jimmie Foxx - Jimmie is actually in this year's Archives set, but depicted with his original team, the Athletics. I would love to see him in a Red Sox uniform too.

Come on Topps, lets add some new faces next year, OK?


  1. I hear you on the player selection. The Cubs portion of products almost always seem to include Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, and (lately) Andre Dawson. The cubs have had plenty of storied Hall of Famers - I sure wouldn't mind if they dug a little deeper once in a while.

  2. It's a problem in my sport, too. Endless cards of the same legends, but no cards at all of entire decades not counting the one or two token player from then. I honestly think they only include people that they can get to sign autographs in their NBA sets.