Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Past Present and Future

 You would think with a title like that I was going to talk about some young Red Soxs an how they compare to some older red Sox.  Instead I am showing off one of my 1/! Virdon cards.

This came from a set called 2014 In The Game Past, Present, and Future.  This was a high end set and cards came six to a pack.  Each pack contained five autographs and a fifth card that was either a: Slabbed Memorabilia Card, Graded Vintage RC of a Key Player (that is exactly how they labeled it Key Player}, Slabbed Vintage Card, or a Cut Signature.  The cut signature list was pretty darn good.  There was a Babe Ruth, Cy Young, Ty Cobbs, Jackie Robinson, and Joe DiMaggio.  

I opened zero packs and just bought the Virdon off of eBay. 

Friday, June 28, 2024

Updated E27 Teddy's Trophies

 Five years ago I posted about my 1910 E27 American Caramel Teddy's Trophies collection.  In the past five years I have made a little more progress on this set.  

Five years ago I only had ten of the thirty cards in this set.  I am up to twenty five of thirty now, maybe.  I say maybe because one is missing.  I can't find the Hartbeast card.  I can see where I bought it on eBay but I don't know where it is now.  It has to be around here somewhere.  When I was putting these all together to scan them I noticed that they are so soft and flimsy that they stick to one another like crazy.  I lost the Zebra like four times today and the Gorilla twice.  They kept sticking to other cards and I couldn't find them minutes after having them.  That Hartbeast is probably stuck to another card somewhere here in my desk.

That first group of cards I scanned were all oriented the same way.  This second group I had to scan twice because when I put them on the scanner I turned all the backs the same direction and three came out upside down on the front and I had to redo it.  I would like to have scanned them all in order but the couple vertical cards in the set messed that up for me and I had to do them separate.  

It is kind of hard to imagine but I have a bunch of doubles too.  These cards are 114 years old and I have doubles, that is crazy to me.  I have kept my cost to a few dollars a card on this set.  I have done that by buying off condition and in many cases I bought them in lots.  Buying in lots is what created the doubles. 

Thursday, June 27, 2024

2023 TRSTSOCAAT #185 Bryan Bello


Bryan Bello was the Red Sox opening day starter in 2024.  I myself didn't understand how they chose him as the best starter on the team I would have given opening day to Tanner Hauk.  That said Bello was really good in 23.  His 2023 season started off real bad but he turned it around.  At the beginning of the season he was only 23; starting for the Red Sox has to be a lot of pressure on such a young kid.  He caught his stride in June and was great the rest of the season.

This year has been a challenge for him.  The year started off good for him going 3-1 in April but then he got hurt.  He missed a couple starts and hasn't been as sharp since returning.  He hasn't been really bad or anything he just misses his spots at times.  I think that he is going to get better and better over the next few years, as long as he can stay healthy.  

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

2023 TRSTSOCAAT #165 Jeter Downs

Jeter Downs played zero games for the Red Sox last year.  He had played a handful of games for the Red Sox at the end of 22 but was put on waivers in December of 22 where he was picked up my the Nationals.  He was supposed to be the main piece we got back in the Mookie trade but in actuality he was the one that didn't do anything.  It would be hard to live up to being the main return on Mookie leaving town.  Just as bad in a different way, he was picked up by the yankees this offseason and has to play there with the Jeter name. 

 RC logo and it looks like he hit a gapper.  That's all I got on this one. lol

Monday, June 24, 2024

Some More COMC Boxing Cards

 In addition to the 1951 Ringside I posted the other day my COMC order included some 1938 F.C. Cartledge Famous Prizefighters cards.  These were boxing cards that had a really low cost so I grabbed them up.  

It is a set of 50 cards with two number 13s and two number 19s, so 52 cards total.  I own seven of them now.  They are tobacco sized cards and in 1938 England you got one of these cards with each Knock Out Razor Blade you bought.  Cards 1-30 are all drawings and 31-50 are photos.  

I don't know any of these boxers because as you can see on the back of this Isaac Perrins card he was born in 1750 and died in 1800.  Since the the camera was invented in the early 1820 I assume the first thirty cards are all drawings because all of those boxers represented predate photography.  It is pretty cool that if you got 50 cards even if there were doubles they would trade you a whole set in an album.  They charged .03 for shipping and handling but that is a pretty good deal that no baseball card manufacturer ever would offer.

Even today I'm not a fan of sports cards where people are in their every day clothes.  At least I assume that was every day clothing back in the late 1700s.  He doesn't look like a boxer to me he looks like a random schlub.   It reminds me of those early Bowman RCs were guys are in their high school clothes. 

To me even though it isn't an in action card like the first one I pictured the fact that he looks like he is dressed to fight makes a big difference to me.  I doubt I ever "chase" this set down and try to build it.  I'll just keep plucking them up one by one when I see a cheap one offered. 

Thursday, June 20, 2024

2023 TRSTSOCAAT #152 Nick Pivetta

Back to my 2023 Topps review after the short COMC mail day posts.

I was excited when the Red Sox picked up Pivetta during Covid year.  He was a guy that had put up good numbers then had a bad year.   He usually isn't lights out but he is competitive every time on the mound and has been a reliable starter and reliever since we got him.  Not great, not bad, just steady every team needs a pitcher or two like that.

I hate the Red Sox City Connects uniforms!  I know they are supposed to represent the Boston Marathon but the gaudy yellow is absolutely terrible.  Some people like them because the Sox have had good luck when wearing them (30-8 all time) but I hate them.  

It may just be me but does Pivetta not look like motocross/supercross/rallycross/racer of anything with (and without) wheels, Travis Pastrana?  

Wednesday, June 19, 2024

1951 Ringside Boxing COMC Mailday

The other day I said that I might post some of the boxing cards I got if people were interested and since I got a comment about them here they are.

51 Ringside Boxing cards is a 96 card card set that was released in two series.  The first series seems to be way more plentiful because while I have about a third of the set almost all of them are from the first series.

Most of the boxers in the set I have never heard of.  It has many famous boxers like Marciano, Lamatta, and Lewis but there are way more Goldstein's than stars.

Of the cards I got in this batch Beau Jack is the only guy I heard of, probably because of his four fights with Bob Montgomery.  Although he was a two time champion his most famous fight was his fourth bout with Bob Montgomery in 1944.  It is known as the War Bond fight and the only way to get a ticket to the fight was to buy war bonds.  Purchasing a 100,000 war bond got you a ringside seat. They sold almost 16,000 tickets and brought in $36 million, a record at that time.

Every now and then I will search COMC for 51 Ringside cards and sort by the lowest price.  Each of these cost me $3 or less.  I used to get them for less than $2 but the prices on common boxers has kept rising over the years.

1951 Ringside has that little logo showing the guys who were champs.  Out of curiosity I looked up Bartolo.  He was called The Pride of East Boston and won the title in 1944.  He lost the title in 1946 to Willie Pep who is considered by many to be the greatest Featherweight of all time.  He is probably most famous for winning a round without ever throwing a punch. 

Oddly enough when I think 1951 Ringside I think of the backs of the cards.  To me, they have the best numbered cards of all time, baseball, football, you name it; these are my favorite numbered cards.  They are big, they stand out, and they feature a boxing glove outline.  

Monday, June 17, 2024

A New To Me Virdon

 We interrupt the 2023 TRSTSOCAAT posts with a COMC mail day.  I bought this in August of 2022 but it didn't come in the mail until this week.  It sat in my inventory for almost two years before I requested shipping.  I requested the shipment on 4-19 and it got here on 6-12.  I waited two years to ship it so there was no reason to pay the extra for fast shipping.  

1986 TCMA All-Time Huston Astros #12

I didn't know that this card existed until the day I bought it.  I knew there was a 1986 TMCA All-Time Astros Bill Virdon and I have had it for years, however I didn't know that there was a variant until I saw it listed on TCB.  I went straight to COMC and made my purchase.  

The variation is the MLB logo at the bottom.  It isn't even listed in The Standard Catalog of Baseball Cards.  Without someone adding it to COMC I would likely never have known it existed.  

This is one card of eleven I had shipped from COMC and I may post some more of them but nine of them a boxing cards so I don't know how interested anyone would be to see them.

Friday, June 14, 2024

2023 TRSTSOCAAT #146 Alex Verdugo

Alex Verdugo was always kind of a strange player to me.  He played like one of Boston's Dirt Dogs but he sure didn't act or look like a Dirt Dog.  With his abundance of gold necklaces he was just way to flashy.  When it happened, he was seen as the best part of the Mookie trade but Conner Wong as since past him as the best part of the Mookie trade.  When I say best part I just mean the best guy coming to the Red Sox because no Red Sox fan likes that Mookie trade.

This looks like an out.  A long fly ball but an out just the same.  It is weird that you can't see gold necklaces flying here because I don't ever remember him batting without having to fiddle with them between pitches.  

This year he was part of a rare Red Sox-yankees trade.  I don't know at all how he is doing in New York but the guy we got for him as been good.  Wiessert has a nasty nasty looking Bugs Bunny like sinker and is one of the biggest reasons the Sox bullpen is doing as good as it is. 

Friday, June 7, 2024

2023 TRSTSOCAAT #92 Triston Casas

I let a week slip by without a post.  At least it wasn't a couple years again.  

I mentioned before every year there is someone on the team I refer to as The Kid.  Casas is the current The Kid on the Red Sox team.  Actually I refer to him as The Big Kid because he looks huge on TV.  He is 6-5 244 but somehow looks like he's in high school still.  He put up 24 HRs in 2023 which is not bad for a rookie though you kind of expect more from a first baseman his size.  He reminds me a lot of Jim Thome.  Both are lefty first baseman about the same size, they strike out at about the same rate, and they get on base at about the same rate.  But mostly it is that they both always seem so happy.  Thome hit 20 HRs his first season and just kept getting better.  If Casas can keep improving, well you never know...  If he can stay healthy that is...


My first thought when looking at this card is he starting a home run trot.  But after some closer inspection I think he's watching a short right field pop up.  Triston is looking up and far away but the crowd behind him doesn't seem to be responding.  Nobody is standing and nobody has their phones out taking a picture.  How weird in 2024 that I can look at a baseball card and use the fact nobody is taking pictures on their phones to come up with what is happening on the card?  

Thursday, May 30, 2024

2023 TRSTSOCAAT #76 Josh Winckowski

Josh is another guy that came to the Red Sox in the Benintendi trade just like Frenchy did.  When he made the majors there were high expectations for Benintendi.  The fan base labeled him the next big thing one day and then he was a liability the next.  When that trade happened I thought we really should have traded him a year sooner when everyone was still high on him.  It just felt like they could have got so much more for him than a couple no name prospects.  It turns out one of those prospects has been a MLB average pitcher that has been a mainstay for three years while Benintendi is getting paid 17M a year and batting .176.  I guess that is why I am a fan and not a GM.

Josh got the RC logo in 2023 even though he started 21 games for the Red Sox in 22 and has both a 2020 and a 2021 Bowman card. RC logos and Bowman are both a scourge on collecting.  

On his card you can see Wichkowski's Circle Changeup Grip.  I have to say, I could never grip a baseball like that and make it go where I wanted. Just looking at it makes me wonder why anyone would have even tried to throw a ball like that in the first place.  It really worked for Josh last year because opposing batters only hot .154 off his changeup.  Not quite as good this year when they are hitting .313 off of it.  The Topps design this year is not good at all for Red Sox cards.  The placement of the sox right under the players screws up so many cards in this team set.  

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

2023 TRSTSOCAAT #42 Franchy Cordero

Frenchy came to the Red Sox in the Benintendi trade.  He spent two years with the Sox and to be honest I don't remember much about him other than he was pretty darn good for a part time player bouncing back and forth between the majors and AAA.  The thing I remember most about him is his name.  How many MLB players have been named Franchy?  As far as I know just one.  I plugged Franchy into Baseball Reference and he is the only one that came up so unless there is a better way to look it up, he is the only one.  Franchy spent the entire 2023 season with the yankees.  He went unsigned this past offseason and ended up in Japan.  

I did a terrible job cropping this card.  That means I did a terrible job getting it on the scanner straight.  A straight scan usually means a good crop and a  crooked scan equals a bad crop.  

The placement of his legs and that logo make for a bad photo.  It is like he has those stupid giant red boots that celebrity's were wearing a few years ago. 

I haven't really given my thoughts on the 2023 design yet.  It's, fine I guess, nothing great but not bad.  It looks like it has two o those little corner things that hold papers into a scrapbook in the bottom two corners except they are two different sizes witch is off-putting.  The little stars on them is fine the different sizes is what throws it off.  That and the horizontal cards put the corners on one side instead of the bottom.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

2023 TRSTSOCAAT #11 Rafael Devers

 Card number two of the 2023 Red Sox Team Set is Devers.

That headshot sure makes him look young.  He was 26 going into the 2023 season and that headshot sure looks younger that that.  Rafael is pictured at the tail end of a bat flip for what I assume is a home run.  At first glance I thought maybe he was going to high five the first base coach as he ran past but then I noticed the bat.  Also at first glance it looks like that guy is flipping everyone off but I think really he's holding up a #1.  I don't know what everyone is doing over his let shoulder.  The gaggle of arms look like people reaching for a foul ball but if Devers' is bat flipping the ball there is no foul to catch.  If they are holding up a camera, either it isn't aimed at the ball or Devers isn't looking at the ball.  Red shirt guy at the bottom is looking the same direction as Rafael but red shirt guy over his right shoulder is pointing at the Monster so who knows. 

Monday, May 27, 2024

2023 Topps Red Sox Team Set One Card At A Time #10 Treaver Story

 After this I am renaming the series 2023 TRSTSOCAAT.  It doesn't quite flow off the tongue but it is way shorter of a title to a blog post. The first card in the 2023 Topps Team Set is #10 Trever Story.

Horizontal action shots in front of the Monster are always welcome.  It is fitting that his Story's card is of him fielding because he is an excellent fielder.  He handled moving from SS to 2nd Base in 2022 like he had always played there and last year moved back to SS without a problem.  

I don't know why Topps listed him as 2B because he only played one game at 2nd all year.  Topps puts zero effort into things because him moving back to SS wasn't any kind of surprise or secret as soon as Bogaerts signed with the Padres.   I know I am looking at it from the future but the whole sporting world knew Story was going to be the SS going into the 2023 season except for the people at Topps.

That said this is a picture of Story playing second.  You can tell he's flipping the ball to his right to whom you would assume is the the SS on the bag.  That WB Mason logo is in the far left corner and the angle camera guys have from their section would put that sign behind him if he was playing second.  If they shot him at SS he would be in front of the left field stands.  

Friday, May 24, 2024

2023 Wrapped Up

 When I started blogging again I mentioned that I might review every single 2023 Topps card one at a time.  That team set has been sitting on my desk for three weeks just waiting for me to get to them.  Well today I scanned the whole thing, all 35 cards.  Then I paged them up and put them in my 2023 Binder.  

Unless I get a hankering for unlicensed Panini cards, in sets that I never heard of, or I find a good deal on an A&G mini team set than I am done with 2023.  

I know my binders don't match, that's fine with me.  If I win the lottery maybe then I'll replace them all but until then I use what I have/find.  The three matching binders that hold 2019, 2020 (unlabeled), and 2021 came from goodwill.  I got them for 1.99 each; I know that because I made such a mess removing the first price tag I left the other two alone so they are still on there.  Last year I ran out of 9 card pages and ordered more off amazon and when I did I bought that blue Ultra Pro binder because it was cheap.  Amazon has black ones too but black costs more than blue for some reason.  I don't know where the Topps binder came from that I put 2023 in.  It was laying empty on top of my shelf for a long time, so long I had to remove a thick layer of dust.  It is the only Topps binder that I have and maybe the only one I have ever seen.  I am all out of 3: binders so next year I have a decision to make.  I have like ten 6" binders that are sitting empty but no empty 3" binders.  I may combine some years into a 6" and that will get me through until 2026, we'll see.   Odds are I am going have to order more pages for 2024 team sets anyway so I might just grab a binder when I do.  (the white 6" binder next to 2023 is my Virdon Card binder and next to that, not pictured, is another 6" binder for non baseball card sized Virdon's.)  So there it is, 2023 Red Sox Team Sets are in the book, literally. 

Friday, May 17, 2024

Negative Scanning

 Most Collectors have heard of Brace and Rowe postcards.  brace and Rowe printed a lot more than just postcard photos, many of the team issues in every size were Brace/Rowe photos.  Over the years I have bought any of the Virdon stuff I could find in about every size you can imagine. Recently some of the Virdon Rowe negatives came up for sale, so I bought them all.

Oh what a pain scanning a negative is.  This took me about 19 scans to figure out how to get it this good.  The final product came from closing my scanner bed about three quarters of the way and shining my phone flashlight onto the white backing of my scanner top.  That light strip is the glare from my light. I also scanned it backwards and I only realized that as I am posting so you all get a reverse negative because I am not doing it a 20th time. 

This is a scan of an 8x10 made from this negative.  I may have had this for ten years before I got it's negative.  Was it team issued or was it an order from Virdon himself so he would have photos to autographed, I might not ever know.  

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Exactly What I Asked For

 When giving and receiving gifts at the holidays we all know there is usually some room for error when you ask what someone would like as a gift.  When grandma asks what your kids want for Christmas and you say that they like Avengers that can be anything from toys to underwear.  (I had and I'm sure many others all had Underoos as a kid)  Amazon gift lists have taken most of the "not quite what I wanted" out of the gift giving season but it doesn't work well with collectables.  Telling someone I like Red Sox and Virdon baseball cards leads to junk wax and doubles.  This is double edged too when your wife says I want something from Athleta there is so much room for error, trust me!  This year me wife came to me Mid-December and asked if I already bought her present.  I told her I already know what I was getting her but I had not yet braved the crowds at the mall to obtain that present yet.  There was something that she really wanted and it was a little more that we had "extra" right at Christmas time but if I spent the money that I earmarked for her gift than she would be getting exactly what she wanted for Christmas there would just be no surprise Christmas morning.  It just so happened that there was something on eBay that had showed up the day before that I wanted but I had no "extra" to buy it so when she made her pitch, I countered with "you know there is this thing on eBay right now that would make a perfect gift for me.  

This might look like a card in the picture but it is not.  This is Bill Virdon's belt buckle from the 1951 Piedmont League All Star Game.  The picture doesn't do it justice at all.  All the detail is so sharp it feels machined and not cast; even though it was obviously cast because in 1951, with no CNC, there is no way they could have machined a whole teams worth of belt buckles all exactly the same with this much detail.  

In 51 Virdon spent the year with the yankees B team (back then B League was like the current lower A teams in MiLB).  The Norfork Tars won back to back titles and both Bill Skowron and Whitey Herzog were on that same team.  (though Whitey was only there 5 games)

For scale here it is with a regular sized baseball card. I haven't really figured out what to do with it yet, it needs displayed but it is small enough that it really need to be part of a bigger display.  I probably have enough small really cool oddball stuff to fill a shadowbox frame but I am not artsy enough to pull it off myself.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Friends And Foes

 I don't really know a lot about this set.  I don't know what company produced it or how it was distributed or anything.  The cards all have PSA paperwork with them so maybe PSA produced them?

All the cards in the set are cut autos.  It is called Friends and Foes because Friends and Foes sounds better than Teammates and Foes. They do not say One of One on them anywhere and they feel very 1/1 to but I have two if this Virdon/Skinner so they are not 1/1.

Every card is a booklet card with two teammates or two guys that are somehow foes.

I do not have any of the Foes cards to show but they are mosly odd pairings like Boggs and Pudge.  Yeah they both played at the same time but what do they have to do with each other?  

There is one more Virdon from this set floating around out there somewhere.  TCB has a Friend card of Harvey Haddox and Bill Virdon that I haven't seen yet.  

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

2023 Topps Archives Red Sox Team Set

Archives is usually a fun set.  New guys on old design cards has been a Topps mainstay for years and yeas now.  

I am writing this on 5-9, the Red Sox just played the Braves and Chris Sale's pitches were FILTHY last night!!!!  He looked like the Chris Sale that helped win a World Series in 2018.

Casas has been out for a week with a broken rib and as soon as he went to the IL the Red Sox quit scoring runs.  Maybe it's just luck and the way the ball bounces but the timing sure makes it look like Casas was the difference. 

Has anyone went from most beloved to has been for a club than Nomar.  He was the Red Sox for so many years and then The Sox win the World Series without him and he's all the sudden a footnote.  I keep thinking that I am going to see Nomar cards flooding the market as people finely let go of them but I haven't really seen it yet. 

They shouldn't try colorize these pictures they just look odd.  The card design already looks odd enough squeezed into the modern size card rather than the original oversized.

I'm glad Archives kept the designs in numerical order and didn't just number them all willy-nilly.  I wanted to scan all the 1956s together but five horizontal cards just don't lay out correctly.  

Is it weird to show a pitcher batting or would it be more weird to show Ruth pitching?  With no DHs anymore is this the only 2023 pitcher batting card?

When he's clean shaven, Valdez looks just like my friend I watch Sox games with.  It is uncanny the resemblance.  

I think Devers changed up his plate approach this year.  Less power but getting on base more.  I the really elite have an OBP aver .400 so I don't know if it's sustainable.  

Speaking of OBP the next card happens to be the beer drinking chicken eating OBP machine Wade Boggs. 

The Jays are struggling this year but Turner isn't.  He is like the little engine that could.  Every year people count him out and he just keeps going and going...  

This is the craziest photo of Yaz I have ever seen.  It doesn't look anything like the Yaz I ever saw or have even seen pictures of.  This photo looks like right handed Nomar.  Never in another photo have I thought they looked the same before.  If Topps put this on a Nomar card and said it was a reverse negative I don't think anyone would bat an eye.  

Terrible picture of the Splendid Splinter!  The insert photo reminds me of a goofy commercial. If you can't treat a legend's card right, don't make it.

2003 Topps is an okay set.  It feels to new to use in a throwback way but it has been 20 years.  

I wonder why Topps uses Enrique on Kiki's cards.  No baseball announcer calls him Enrique; at least they didn't in Boston, I haven't seen many Dodger games so I haven't noticed there. 

Bello was only 4 years old when 2003 Topps came out.  

I wanted it to be the long season, the travel, and the new food as the reason that Yoshida wasn't exactly what we thought we were getting from Japan but so far 2024 has been really similar to 2023.