Sunday, September 17, 2017

NBA Finals Game Worn Jersey Card

After the 2000 NBA Finals, Topps got ahold of the jerseys that the two participants wore and made finals jersey cards out of them.  The teams were my beloved Los Angeles Lakers and the Indiana Pacers.  Topps made three variations of the jersey cards; Topps Total, Topps Gold Label, and Topps Final Piece.  Total and Gold Label had both home and away versions while Final Piece only had away jerseys.  When these came out I was brand new to ebay and along with Aaron Sele cards they were my main targets at the time.  So here we are sixteen years later and there were still three that I need.  Last week on ebay I picked up one of those three.

It's the 2000-01 Topps Gold Label Finals Jersey (away jersey) of Ron Harper.  It's been a couple of years since I've seen any available anywhere.  Those who have them must be holding onto them.  Here's the back of the card.

I have two left, both of A.C. Green.

Saturday, September 16, 2017

In the Mail from eBay

A couple of packages arrived in the mail this week.  They were both ebay purchases.

The first was this 2006 Fleer card of Jonathan Papelbon.  It's the last one I needed from that team set.  But I still need a bunch of 2006 Upper Deck.

The other one was a 1986 Fleer team set of the Bosox.  I had a couple of the cards from this set already, but it was far cheaper to pick up this team set than to buy the remaining cards individually.  I now have doubles of Wade Boggs and Roger Clemens.  Let me know if you want them.

Here's an update on my Red Sox team set project.  Starting in 1981 when multiple brands became available, my goal is to acquire every Red Sox team set from the main flagship sets.  I'm now complete from 1981 up to 1992.  The oldest one I'm still piecing together is the 1993 Pacific.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Bonus Cards from Amazon

A couple of weeks ago I finally got around to cleaning out old email, something I don't do often enough.  I came across a coupon for which I had received for filling out some online survey eleven months ago.  It was for $10.  I went to their site and found out that it was still good!  I've never bought cards off amazon before, but I know they're there.  I figured what a better way to spend this unexpected bonus than to knock some cards off my want list!  Here's what I picked up for only $1.43 after shipping and coupon.

2016 Bowman Prospects Andrew Benintendi

2014 Bowman Prospects Mookie Betts

2016 Bowman Prospects Yoan Moncada

2017 Donruss Rated Rookie Yoan Moncada.  This was my #8 most wanted baseball card!

2006-07 Finest Refractors Shaquille O'Neal

It pays to clean up your email now and then.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Minor League Cards - Pawtucket Red Sox

The 2017 Pawtucket Red Sox set is a really sharp looking set.  Choice was the manufacturer, and they used the same basic design as they did with the Salem Red Sox set.  There are more players in this set that played for the Red Sox than I care to scan, so here are the ones that got the most playing time.

Blaine Boyer had a 2.93 ERA in eleven relief appearances for Pawtucket.  He also made 27 relief appearances for Boston.  He's been up and down between AAA and the majors this year, but was called up this past week for the home stretch.  At age 36, he's made 23 different minor and major leagues stops over 17 seasons.

Brian Johnson got moved up to a starting spot in the Boston rotation, making 5 starts and going 2-0 early in the year.  Then he went back down to AAA Pawtucket where he spent most of the year with OK results.

Deven Marrero was Boston's first round draft pick in 2012.  Despite average numbers at best, he benefited from Boston's infield woes this season and appeared in 61 games.  He played first, second, and third base, and shortstop.  He's on their roster again for the home stretch.

Robbie Ross was having a good season before going down with an elbow injury.  He had a 1.50 ERA for Pawtucket and had made eight relief appearances for Boston.

Ben Taylor had a 2.70 ERA at Pawtucket and made 14 relief appearances for Boston.

Sam Travis is supposed to be Boston's future first baseman in waiting.  He was average at AAA this year, and made it into 21 games for Boston.  He's currently on the big league roster for the stretch drive.

Hector Velazquez is someone to watch in the future.  He was 8-4 with a 2.21 ERA at Pawtucket this year.  And with Boston he's 3-1 in five games and two solid starts.  He's on the big league roster for the duration, and there's talk of him being in the starting rotation should there be playoff games.

Brandon Workman was with Boston for so much of the season that I don't think of him as a minor leaguer any more.  A terrific relief pitcher, he was 4-1 with a 1.55 ERA for Pawtucket.  Since being called up to Boston, he's posted a 2.18 ERA in 25 appearances.

Bryce Brentz pounded 31 home runs for Pawtucket this year.  He also led the team with 85 runs batted in.  He never saw big league action though.  He is extremely unfortunate to be so talented yet play outfield behind the triumvirate of Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Andrew Benintendi. Brentz is older than all three of those guys too.  I'm not sure what the future holds for him.  I'm sure he doesn't want to play AAA forever.

Rusney Castillo led Pawtucket in batting average and stolen bases this year.  He too plays outfield and is in the same boat as Bryce Brentz.  What's worse for Castillo is that he's even older than Brentz and has a huge salary that will be difficult to move to another team.

Pawtucket finished fourth in the International Leagues's Northern Division with a 67-75 record.  With over half the roster seeing big league action, it goes to show the importance of a good farm system to a major league team's success.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Minor League Cards - Portland Sea Dogs

The 2017 team set of Boston's AA minor league team, the Portland Sea Dogs, was produced by Grandstand.  Three players from the set moved all the way up and played with the Boston Red Sox this season.

Rafael Devers has been the biggest impact player from the group of three.  He put up good numbers for AA Portland before moving up to AAA Pawtucket in early July.  Sixteen days, nine games and a .400 batting average later he was called up to the bigs.  He hasn't looked back.  You probably know all about the big splash he's been making for Boston.

Tzu-Wei Lin took a slightly different path this year.  He started in AA Portland and got off to a terrific start.  At the end of June he got called up directly to Boston as they were in a pinch in the infield.  Less than a month later he went back to AAA Pawtucket and has struggled.

Austin Maddox is a relief pitcher who's been a yoyo this season.  He's been up and down between AA Portland, AAA Pawtucket, and Boston all season.  He's spent the most time at Pawtucket.  For Boston, he's pitched 7.2 innings with an ERA of 0.00.  Yep, that's zero.  Does that mean he doesn't have an ERA?

Although they haven't played in the majors yet this year, the following Portland players have bright futures.
Jeremy Barfield wields a big stick.  He led Portland in runs, home runs, runs batted in, slugging and OPS.  He moved up to Pawtucket on September 1 and batted .455.  He has 55 home runs over the past two seasons.  His dad is Jesse Barfield of Toronto Blue Jays fame.
Danny Mars spent the whole season in Portland.  He led the team in runs, hits, triples, stolen bases, and batting average.
Trey Ball was Boston's 2013 #1 draft pick.  He's been on a lot of Red Sox prospects cards since then.  He led the team in wins, but his win-loss percentage and ERA were not stellar.

The Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs were 65-74 this year.  They were 4th in the Eastern League's Eastern Division.  Now that's east!  Looking at their roster, it appears they were a revolving door of players moving up and down the minors during the season.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Minor League Cards - Salem Red Sox

We continue our journey through the team sets of the Boston Red Sox minor league teams.  Today we're up to advanced A.  Choice was the maker of the 2017 Salem Red Sox set.  They did a different design than they did with the Greenville Drive set.  Still very nice for the minor leagues.  Here are the cards of some of their interesting players.

Michael Chavis led the team in home runs, batting average, slugging, and OPS, all in less than half the season.  He was promoted to AA Portland midway through the season.  Chavis's combined stats between A and AA show why he has a very promising future. (31 HR and 94 RBI)  He was the Red Sox #1 draft pick in 2014.
Tate Matheny led the team in runs, hits, triples, and stolen bases.
Josh Ockimey led the team in runs batted in despite moving up to AA Portland three-fourths of the way through the season.

Dedgar Jimenez led the team in wins with 10.  Later in the season he moved up to AA and went 5-0.  He looks like a great prospect.
Matthew Kent was 7-7 and led the team in strikeouts with 142.
Travis Lakins was super hot for Salem, going 5-0.  He then moved up to AA and went 0-4 the rest of the way.

The Salem Red Sox (Salem, Virginia) went 73-66 this year, good for second place in the Carolina League's Northern Division.  Their manager, Joe Oliver, played for the Boston Red Sox for five games in 2001.

Unlike Andrew Benintendi in 2016, 2017 saw no player advance from A all the way to the majors in the Red Sox farm system.  We'll get our first peak at major leaguers in the AA Portland Sea Dogs set.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Minor League Cards - Greenville Drive

The Red Sox middle A minor league team is the Greenville Drive of the South Atlantic League. They finished first in the Southern Division with a record of 79-60. They are playing their first playoff game tonight. Their card set was produced by Choice, who I must say have done some really nice sets over the years.

2016 first round draft pick Jason Groome went 3-7 with Greenville this year. He was also in the Lowell Spinners set. His name is Jay on this one.
Darwinzon Hernandez led the team in strikeouts. He was tonight's winning pitcher.
Hildemaro Requena led the team in wins with 11 and had an ERA of 1.98.

Roldani Baldwin led the tram in home runs.
Lorenzo Cedrola led the team in batting average.
Bobby Dalbec had an all around solid season.

Santiago Espinal led the team in hits. 
Nick Lovullo was the highest riser of this set. After only 27 games he was promoted to high A Salem. By the end of the year he rose even further to AA Portland! Nick is the son of former Red Sox coach Torey Lovullo, now manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. 
Ryan Scott led the team in home runs and runs batted in. 

Still no sign of any players who played in the majors. Will that change with the Salem Red Sox set?  Stay tuned.