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.

Monday, May 13, 2024

My All Time Favorite Parallel Set

Museum Collection is my all time favorite parallel.  Pinnacle made them from 1995 to 1998.

You can't really tell from the scan but these things really pop!  

The back is exactly the same as the base set with the addition of the Museum Collection logo on it.

 In the 90s I mainly collected football, not baseball cards so that is where I got my introduction to Duffex, though at the time we didn't know that is what it was called.  In football it was called Trophy Collection instead of Museum.  I probably have a few in boxes from old football player collections I haven't looked at in 30 years.  

This isn't a skinny David Ortiz this is the light hitting Dominican Luis Ortiz.  Luis is currently the assistant hitting coach of the Red Sox.  I find it odd that the Red Sox assistant hitting coach only batted .223 with 2 career home runs. 

I keep telling myself that I will chase these down.  These three came from a COMC order and have been in my desk waiting on me to pick up some brothers for about 3 years now.  

Friday, May 10, 2024

Why Are There So Many 84 Topps Blank Backs?

 I have 55 saved eBay searches.  Multiple times a day I open my eBay app and go to saved searches and see if something popped up.  Obviously one is Virdon but I have dozens of others that are Virdon with a second word.  One of them is the word blank.  The reason being if a Blank Back Virdon shows up on my regular search I was afraid I would miss it when I scan through them because the picture it shows will be the front and my brain automatically says, "you have that, keep scrolling".  That Blank search has worked a few times. 

This is a 1984 Topps Blank Back Virdon (would be number 111)

It has worked so well in fact that I now have three 84 Blank Backs

I bought them all separate times.  When bought numbers two and three I did so without consulting my list because I thought it must be rare so I snatched whatever BIN it was listed at.  So now I have three.  So now I wonder why are there so many 84 Topps Blank Backs?  Why do I not see them in other years?

Thursday, May 9, 2024

2023 Stadium Club Red Sox Team Set Review

 I know, I'm a year behind everyone else but all these cards are new to me still.  I'm going to go trough the whole team set card by card.  I don't think I have ever done that for a team set before here on the blog.  

How fitting is a card of Trevor Story on a recliner.  When the Sox got him in 22 it was an odd pick up since we still had Bogaerts.  Little did Red Sox nation know the guy we thought would be a lifer would be let go and Story was going to be out future SS.  While Bogaerts time is San Diego hasn't been what everyone thought it would it hasn't been near as disappointing as Story has in Boston.  When he can play he is great but he missed half of 22 and only played 43 games in 23.  After 8 games in 24 he is out for the year.  

Another fitting card; Verdugo is pictured with his suitcase and this offseason he was traded to the yankees.  Verdugo always felt a little odd to me.  His play made him seem like a dirt dog but at the same time he had a too much "flash" to be a dirt dog.  It is kind of hard to explain.  

 "Back to Foulke. Red Sox fans have longed to hear it: The Boston Red Sox are World Champions!" - Joe Buck

I am assuming there is some kind of Red Foil parallels in Stadium Club and this is one of them.  I thought maybe is was for retired players but you will see soon that is not the case.  I am going to just pretend this is the normal version and binder it, it is close enough for me.

I don't know if I have said it on here before but I hate the city connect uniforms.  Baby blue and yellow are terrible together and makes them look like a minor league team.  Somehow I do like the socks though.  There are usually only like two guys on the team with their socks showing but the giant B on the socks I like. Chris Sale is doing Chris Sale of old things in Atlanta.  It is hard to hate on a guy that was such a big part in sinning a World Series.  

This card is the epitome of 23 Stadium Club.  It is a good picture but at the same time it is weirdly off putting.  It kind of looks like a painting but I think what it is, is a colorized version of a black and white photo.  I looked and never found the same black and white photo.  Is Topps using AI photos now?  If not, I bet we see it soon.

This is my favorite card in the set.  Not only does it have the best photo and the best layout it shows Boggs doing what he does best, getting a hit. The next card is a close second.  

I have a friend that I watch and talk a lot of Red Sox with.  We refer to Casas as the kid.  He is the current kid in a long line of kids.  Before Casas the kid was Duran, Devers, Betts, Xander, and Pedroia.  Somehow a young pitcher can't be a kid.  Casas gets the extra moniker of giant or huge, as in giant or huge kid.  Duran had the fast moniker.  In a few years this card may pass the Boggs as my favorite because it is such a good photo but for now the nostalgia of the Boggs wins out.

2024's Opening Day starter Brayan Bello.  It was today typing this post that I realized he uses such a strange spelling of Brian.  Not Bryan but Brayan. It makes me think is should be pronounced different but I know the Red Sox announcers pronounce it the same as regular old Brian.

Has there ever been a bigger smile in baseball that a happy David Ortiz?  

This is the worst of all the Stadium Club cards in the team set.  Yoshida doesn't even look like a player here; he looks like a middle aged salesman.  The way he is picted behind the fence makes him look even more like a fan than a ball player.  There is a photo variant of this card that I do not have I am tempted to chase because this one is so bad.  

I said the Yoshida was the worst card but this one may be dead even in worstness.  There are thousands and thousands of pictures of Devers and this is what they go with?  
 It is a photo of getting a photo taken.  I'm sure it is meant to be artsy but it isn't, its just dumb.  Topps photographers must not actually watch any baseball or they would know that if they wanted a picture of Devers that was "different" they just need to photo him between pitches.  Then they would get him making faces, talking to himself, hitting himself, popping his jaw, you just never know what he is going to do between pitches.  I don't know if it is superstitious or what but whatever he goes with he uses that an entire game and then changes it the next game.  

To me this is the worst Stadium Club release that I can remember.  It still has the crystal clear photos that we have come to expect but they are just off.  It is almost like the tone of the whole set is wrong.  Maybe I just expect more from Stadium Club and it didn't reach far enough this year or maybe it was just the Red Sox team set that fell flat.

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

2015 Cardboard Icon 55th Anniversary of the 1960 Pirates World Series

 Originally I scanned these for TCD but the scans were too big to let me upload them.  I had already put them away in their binder pages and I am not about to get them out and rescan them so I am going to post them here instead.  

These are 5x7 cards that you could only buy from the Topps website in 2015.  It is hard to see but they are serial numbered to 199 in silver on the left border right above the World Series Trophy.  Silver Serial Number on a Silver Border, great idea Topps.

These are blown up replicas of the 1960 Topps Team set.  I had to buy the whole team set just to get the Virdon.  To be honest because these have been in a binder for nine years I don't even know what I did with the rest of the team set.  I may have traded it off or it might be sitting in a box somewhere. If I remember right the silver team set was $25.

There is a gold version too, they are all numbered to 49.  And they set me back 50.  The Gold on Gold serial numbers shows up way better than the silver does but still a bad decision.  They should have put it on the white border or even on the back.

When I saw that nobody had scanned them into TCB I couldn't find them.  For some reason they were the very last page of my card binder.  I maybe justified it that I got them from Topps so they are obviously cards so I put them in the card binder.  The fact that I couldn't find them when I was looking for them tells me that they need to be in the oversized binder.