Sunday, April 3, 2016

Signature Sundays - Xander Bogaerts (and Opening Day Bonus Material)

The 2016 baseball season is finally upon us, which to me means it's officially spring.  True, it snowed maybe 2" here today, which is odd, but when compared to its predecessor this past winter in New England didn't seem so bad.

To celebrate warm weather, green grass and baseball, I've queued up an autograph of my current favorite Boston Red Sox player, Xander Bogaerts, for your enjoyment:

Now that's a bright card, certainly appropriate for spring.  I'm a big fan of the design Topps went with for Finest in 2014, in fact they're some of my favorite shiny cards of the past few years.  My only gripe is that there are just three Red Sox players on the checklist.  They're three solid choices though in Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, and the rookie card of shortstop Xander Bogaerts.  Bogaerts appears in the rookie autographs set as well. 

There are a number of different signed refractors, the one you see here is the blue version, serial numbered to /125.  I'm not crazy enough to try full-on player collecting a guy like Xander whose cards actually demand a decent price most of the time, but as he's my favorite current player on the roster I did want to pick up a few nicer cards this past off-season to better represent him in my Sox collection.  I'm certainly very pleased with this one.

The 2014 season was a little rough for Xander.  He swatted just .240, while management undermined his confidence by shifting him to third base for a while.  Xander really bounced back in impressive form last year though.  His power dropped a bit (12 HR in 2014, 7 in 2015), but he raised his average an amazing 80 points to .320 (team best, and the only regular player to even top .300).  Bogaerts came tantalizingly close to 200 hits, registered 35 doubles, 3 triples, drove in 81 runs, and won the AL Silver Slugger at shortstop, and all in his age 22 season!

Xander even improved defensively, cutting down his errors from 20 in 2014 to 11 last year.  More than anyone else on the team I'm looking forward to seeing how his 2016 season unfolds and what kind of numbers he can put up in his third full season in the league.  We'll see beginning tomorrow!

And now, in honor of Opening Day, here are half a dozen baseball cards I grabbed at random from the pile here on my desk...

Creases and rounded corners be damned, there are few cards from the 1950s that look better than '56 Topps.  Combine that with the fact that the Brooklyn Dodgers are my second favorite old-time team (behind the Red Sox, of course), and you've got a winner.

Jumping ahead 60 years, here's a brand-spankin' new insert from Topps Heritage, featuring the great Yaz alongside Chris Davis.  I was lucky enough to receive this card in a great PWE from the ever-generous Nick from Dime Boxes.  It was an amazing little envelope for sure, I hope to have a full post up later this week.

I've gone on record numerous times as admitting that I'm addicted to the Topps Buybacks cards.  I know some people think they're gimmicky, and I can truly see why, but I love them nonetheless.  When I saw this one featuring a classic shot of one of the greatest defensive catchers of his day in the dollar bin at my local hobby shop, I was helpless.

Here's one of the many colors of parallels that existed in the flagship sets for those years when they had solid white borders.  This was another dollar box grab.  I can't see turning away any versions of this card given the historically significant moment it depicts.  Who knows, it could be another 86 years before Boston sees another World Series championship.

Cranking up the dial on the totally random factor, here's a minor league card featuring one of the greatest names in all of sports card history, Wonderful Terrific Monds.  I'm sure most of you have seen or heard of this guy by now, 20 years after the fact.  If by chance you haven't though, here's a look at the back.  It's easier to make out the name plus features an interesting bat rack photo:

Last card for today, one I picked up very recently actually.  What a beauty, huh?  This is one of those Legends variations that were a part of flagship for a few years there.  They're a serious guilty pleasure of mine, but this one in particular has a photo that is simply jaw-dropping.  I'd rank this one right up there with the Roy Campanella card from 2009 in terms of my favorites.

Well, that's all for today.  Enjoy the season baseball fans, and good luck to all of your teams (unless you follow the Yankees, Blue Jays, Orioles or Rays)!


Casey said...

That Bogaerts is niiiiiiiiice!

I have a season ticket for the Sea Dogs this year, 3rd base line, front row. I'll try and grab you as many autographs as possible throughout the season, hopefully on a game-used ball. You have my word!

defgav said...

Love the Xander! I've got a stickergraph from him, but would hope to someday score a nice big on-card auto like that one.

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