Wednesday, August 28, 2013

My 100 Favorite Red Sox Cards - 50 Through 26

Here's the next set of 25 cards as I countdown my 100 favorite Red Sox cards from my humble collection...

#50 - 1975 Topps Mini Dwight Evans

Most collectors agree that 1975 Topps Minis are some of the greatest minis of all time.  I don't have as many as I should, maybe a dozen or so, but this one is great.  I have around 40 Evans cards, and this is actually my second favorite.  My favorite will be appearing later in this post.

#49 - 2012 Topps Red Sox Team Set Dustin Pedroia

If you're a Red Sox fan, it's hard not to like Dustin Pedroia.  It's also hard to describe him without using a million cliches, but he seems to be genuine and just enjoy playing hard.  He's going to be around for many years to come thanks to the deal he signed this season.  I knew I wanted him on the list and this card has the best photo of any of my Pedroia cards.  I chose the Red Sox team set version because of the Fenway Park 100th Anniversary foil stamp.

#48 - 1964 Topps Johnny Pesky

1964 Topps is one of my favorite '60s sets.  I've never bothered actually ranking them, but I think if I did '64 Topps would take home the silver medal (with '60 Topps being my favorite and '65 Topps slating in just behind '64).  This one is really a shining example of 1964 Topps done right.  I sort of regret that I didn't rank it higher actually.

#47 - 2008 Upper Deck Baseball Heroes Jon Lester Auto/Relic #'d/50

This one makes the list because of what's written in the upper right corner.  The Red Sox have won two championships in my lifetime, and it's not an impossibility that they'll be the only two I ever see.  This card commemorates Lester winning the World Series clinching game in 2007 at Coors Field against the Rockies.

#46 - 1960 Topps Billy Jurges

An all-around fantastic card.  True, mine's got a big crease through the middle and some paper loss, but I don't think it detracts all that much from the visual appeal.  Maybe I'll upgrade it someday, but I'm in no rush.

#45 - 1982 Fleer Dennis Eckersley

I know there are much nicer Eckersley Red Sox cards out there, but this is the best one I've got so far.  It's a decent pitching shot, even if it is '82 Fleer quality with a bunch of blurry Red Sox fans mulling about in the background.  Actually, I can't believe I ranked this one so high.  Can I start over again?

#44 - 2009 Topps Updates & Highlights Tim Wakefield All-Star

I always liked this card for what it represents.  Tim Wakefield was pretty much the consummate teammate for so many years with the Red Sox.  He would start or pitch out of the pen, didn't matter.  He'd stay out there and eat innings during a blowout, no questions asked.  Finally, in 2009, after so many long years, he was named an All-Star, at age 42!  With all the players who don't seem to give a damn about being named an All-Star, it was refreshing to see a selection that actually meant something.

#43 - 1975 Topps Luis Tiant

I can't imagine there would be many collectors out there who'd disagree with this choice.  An iconic card from an iconic set.  I don't think there's one thing I'd change about this Tiant if I could.

#42 - 1952 Bowman Fred Hatfield

This one may seem a bit high on the list, but there's a reason.  This is the third vintage card I ever received in my life, probably as an 8 year old or somewhere thereabouts.  I know it's not worth much, but to me this was one of the most valuable cards in existence for many years.  Besides, it really is a nice looking piece of cardboard.  Now you see why the early '50s Bowman sets have always been favorites of mine.

#41 - 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces Carlton Fisk Green Linen Parallel

Masterpieces was such a great set when it was done right.  I would say this card, depicting one of the franchise's infamous moments on cardboard, is an example of that.  Cards like this make me miss Upper Deck.

#40 - 1969 Topps Jim Lonborg

This one was selected almost purely for the great photo.  Also interesting that some dummy at PSA spelled his last name Longborg.

#39 - 1952 Topps Maurice McDermott

I admit I felt sort of obligated to select this card.  1952 Topps is such an iconic set, and this is the only '52 Topps Red Sox card I own.  When I someday track down a Gus Niarhos from this set, Maurice here will be off this list faster than you can say Topps.

#38 - 1982 Squirt Jerry Remy

This card came from an oddball lot that I won on eBay a few months ago now, and it sure is bright.  I wanted to include Jerry Remy in the countdown because of his fantastic broadcasting work for the team.  I've spent countless hours of my life listening to Remy and counterpart Don Orsillo call the Sox games nightly.  Jerry's become sort of a local legend in Boston now, and even has his own small restaurant chain.

#37 - 1991 Topps Wade Boggs

1991 Topps was a fantastic set for Red Sox fans.  Wade here is actually the first of three cards from the set to make the countdown.  This has got to be one of the nicest patches of sky ever featured on a trading card.

#36 - 1971 Topps Carl Yastrzemski

It's appropriate that Yaz would follow Boggs on the countdown, as I think they are featured on the most cards in the countdown of any individual player (6 for Boggs, 5 for Yastrzemski).  The '71 Topps Yaz is a beauty, man do these cards look nice in relatively good condition.

#35 - 2007 Upper Deck Masterpieces '2004 World Series Champions'

Here's another one from the first Masterpieces set that seems like an easy choice.  There are some franchises that still don't know how it feels to win it all, and I can still remember where I was when the Red Sox finally did so in 2004.  Even Manny Ramirez being front and center isn't enough to ruin this card.

#34 - 1969 Topps Dick Williams

An interesting guy, with a long, storied baseball past.  Coach of the 'Impossible Dream' 1967 Red Sox team.  Plus, check out this card back:

#33 - 1988 Topps Mike Greenwell

This one was featured here quite recently, as it was the inspiration behind Greenwell's 2013 Topps Archives card.  1988 Topps at its finest.

#32 - 2007 Upper Deck Ultimate Fergie Jenkins Ultimate Team Materials Patch #'d/25

I'm not huge on super short prints or patch cards, or anything like that, but when I won this one in a group break hosted by Saints of the Cheap Seats years ago it was still a relatively new concept to me, and I thought the card was really unique.  Wow, that was over 4 years ago now.  Sometimes I forget how long I've been at this.

#31 - 1952 Bowman Johnny Pesky

Another 2013 pickup.  I know I'm very biased towards '50s Bowman, but this is my countdown.  This isn't the last '52 Bowman you'll see on the list, either.  Just warning you.

#30 - 2008 Topps Updates & Highlights Jon Lester Highlights

Wow, a 2008 Topps card that actually looks nice.  They do exist!  Like I said previously, if you throw a no-hitter you make the countdown.  A great capturing the moment card.

#29 - 1991 Topps Dwight Evans

I've made it no secret that I love a good horizontal card, and this is one of my favorites from any set.  Really good perspective here.  This is the second of three 1991 cards, the last one will be in the final batch of 25.  I bet you already know which card it is.  Shouldn't be hard to guess.

#28 - 1966 Topps Rico Petrocelli

A solid, reliable fielder with good pop in his bat, Rico played his entire MLB career with Boston.  He was a two-time All-Star and is a member of the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.

#27 - 1995 Upper Deck Minors Nomar Garciaparra

It was practically impossible to be a young, impressionable Red Sox fan in the '90s without getting caught up in the Nomar hysteria.  He was my absolute favorite Red Sox player for a few years there.  I have a lot of fond memories of watching him play (usually on TV), such as his two-grand-slam, 10 RBI game against Seattle in 1999.

#26 - 1967 Topps Carl Yastrzemski

Closing things out today we've got another Yastrzemski card.  This one gets extra points given the significance of the year 1967 in the team's history.  It's not my favorite Yaz card though, that will be coming in the final installment of the countdown this weekend...

Sunday, August 25, 2013

My 100 Favorite Red Sox Cards - 75 Through 51

Continuing on with the countdown, let's bite off another chunk of 25 and look at cards 75 through 51 today...

#75 - 2008 Upper Deck Jason Varitek

Quite a few good arguments for this one.  2008 Upper Deck, World Series Championship trophy (and sweatshirt), and team captain.  Is this the best Jason Varitek card in existence?  It's the best one I've got cataloged so far anyway.

#74 - 2006 Bowman Heritage David Ortiz Pieces of Greatness Game-Used Bat

I had to include a David Ortiz card on the list.  I chose this one because it was one of the very first game-used cards in my collection.  I remember purchasing this one at a hobby shop (that's no longer there) back in 2007 and thinking it was the greatest card.  Obviously relic cards aren't really what they used to be, so this one's slid all the way to #74 on the list.

#73 - 1961 Topps Billy Muffett

Don't know a thing about Billy Muffett, this one is on the list for the classic pose and awesome ballpark backdrop.  That's about it.  I don't even really care much for '61 Topps.

#72 - 2011 Topps Lineage Ted Lepcio Autographed '52 Reprint

One of the few autographs to make the list.  I just think this is a gorgeous card, but it's a super expensive high-number and I don't have a real one (yet).  This autographed reprint card from 2011 Topps Lineage is a good substitute.  Besides, it's kind of cool to think that Lepcio held this one in his hand and signed it more than 60 years after he was featured on the original.

#71 - 1956 Topps Tom Brewer

Here's one that made the list because of the set, not the player.  Don't really know a thing about Tom Brewer, but I sure do love 1956 Topps.  This is one of maybe four or five Red Sox that I have from the set, and it's my favorite of the bunch do to the awesome background scenery.

#70 - 2003 Topps Derek Lowe Season Highlights

Derek Lowe tossed the first no-hitter during my lifetime as a fan.  This was way back in 2002.  I was in college at the time and still remember it (although vaguely if I'm being honest).  This is the perfect tribute card, with the team celebrating and again the no-hitter box score featured on the background scoreboard.

#69 - 1994 Collector's Choice Trot Nixon RC

Trot would play for a few franchises in a short period during the twilight of his career, but to me he was the consummate Red Sox player.  He was drafted by the Sox in the first round of the 1993 entry draft (7th overall).  While he suffered some injuries (only played 140+ games in a season twice), when he was in the lineup you knew he was going to go all out.  Sort of like a Dustin Pedroia but with much less natural talent.  Maybe this one shouldn't have been ranked quite this high, but I'm not going back now.

#68 - 1965 Topps Team Checklist

What's not to love about this card.  Obnoxious yellow, the great 1965 Topps pennant design, and the old school "red sock" logo.  I can even easily look past the mystery black spot below the team on my copy.  I like that Topps uses more creative photos for the team checklist cards now, but I still appreciate the older group photo style.

#67 - 2012 Topps Archives Adrian Gonzalez '67 Sticker Insert Printing Plate

When I collected cards as a kid, there were precious few certified autograph cards, and things like game-used and printing plates certainly didn't exist.  I think the concept is pretty cool though, and it's an interesting way to own a small piece of the card-making process, as well as a "1/1".  This one from 2012 Archives is my favorite of the few that I do own.

#66 - 1953 Topps Dizzy Trout

Of course I had to include one of my favorite sets of all-time, 1953 Topps.  The Red Sox star power in this set is diminished due to the lack of a Ted Williams card, so I selected Trout here.  Although he's better known as a Detroit Tiger, his glasses and name are the main driving forces behind selecting him to this list.  In fact, his career ended after 1952 and he never threw an inning in '53 for the Red Sox.

#65 - 2012 Topps Red Sox Team Set Fenway Park Circa 1912

As I mentioned earlier, I absolutely adore Fenway Park.  On a nice summer night, there are few places I'd rather be than under the lights at Fenway enjoying a cold one and watching the Sox.  I don't have a total but if I had to guess I'd say I've been fortunate enough to attend between 75 and 100 games there throughout my life.  That's why I was excited when Topps dedicated three cards to the park in the 2012 Red Sox team set.  This first one depicts the park circa 1912.  Amazing how different things were back then, what a great photo.

#64 - 2012 Topps Red Sox Team Set Fenway Park Circa 1967

The next one shows the park circa 1967.  This is a familiar view to me, looking East across the Boston skyline from the infield grandstands.

#63 - 2012 Topps Red Sox Team Set Fenway Park Modern Day

Closing out the trio is a shot of modern-day Fenway Park.  Just a great photo here with many familiar elements of the park in view.  You've got Pesky's Pole, the Green Monster, the Texaco sign, etc.  Maybe I shouldn't have included all three of these but I like seeing the stadium evolve over the years.  When I do this list again someday I might knock one or two of these off of it I guess.

#62 - 1984 Topps Traded Bill Buckner

Even at a very young age, before I could appreciate what it meant, I have memories of family members making Bill Buckner jokes.  The older I got I came to realize that while yes, he should have had that grounder, Bill really got an unfair rub over the years.  Nowadays I blame the coaching staff for having this guy out there in such a key defensive position.  However you feel about it, Buckner is certainly one of the most polarizing figures in the team's past.  I'm glad to see that fans have forgiven him in recent years, I'm sure it must have been miserable for Buckner for a while there.

#61 - 1952 Bowman Walt Masterson

Walt's not a household name, but this one is on the list purely for the aesthetics.  1952 Bowman is one of my favorite vintage sets, and this one's got a lot to like including the cloudy blue sky and those awesome specs.

#60 - 1960 Topps Beantown Bombers

I've talked a few times about my love for the vintage Topps combo cards.  There are a few featuring the Red Sox.  I don't have all of them unfortunately, but of the ones I do have this is my clear-cut favorite.  Just an excellent piece of vintage cardboard right here.

#59 - 2003 Topps Rickey Henderson

Let's face it, Rickey's career was all but over when he came to Boston for the 2002 season.  Nonetheless, this is another great career sunset card of one of the best pure speed guys ever to play the game.

 #58 - 1967 Topps George Scott

One of the under-rated players of his day, George could club the hell out of the ball and was a very reliable fielder as well.  A 3-time All-Star and 8-time Gold Glove Winner, Scott led the AL in home runs and RBI with the Brewers in 1975.  This is my favorite Scott card, in large part due to the Topps All-Star rookie cup.

#57 - 2012 Topps Opening Day Wally the Green Monster

Maybe this one shouldn't be so high on the list, I'll grant you that.  Something about Wally the Green Monster in front of the actual Green Monster just makes this one a winner.  Is it just me or does the guy shaking Wally's hand seem a bit too old?

#56 - 1972 Topps Carl Yastrzemski In Action

I don't think much explanation is needed here.  I always thought Yaz's In Action subset card from the '72 Topps set was better than his standard base card.  Love those stirrups!

#55 - 1981 Fleer Don Zimmer

No explanation necessary.

#54 - 1990 Score Mo Vaughn RC

Selection of this Mo Vaughn rookie was heavily influenced by the fact that I was a childhood collector during the junk wax era, and Vaughn was the rookie card to get for a while there.  He sort of faded in his final years there, but this guy was an absolute beast teamed up with Garciaparra in the lineup.  He's qualified to make this list based on winning an MVP award while with Boston alone.

#53 - 1976 Kellogg's Bill Lee

One of my favorite dollar box finds ever.  I know the card's not worth much, but the 1976 Kellogg's design just works absolutely perfectly for the Red Sox, resulting in a really nice card of a smiling Bill Lee.  Besides, in a checklist dominated by mainstream sets it's nice to get an oddball in here.

#52 - 1958 Hires Root Beer Pete Runnels

This one's a recent pick-up.  When you can combine vintage and oddball (not to mention one of my favorite sodas), you've got a winner!

#51 - 1986 Donruss "Oil Can" Boyd

This card is freakin' awesome.  My favorite Oil Can Boyd card, hands down.  There are so many things to like here.  Obviously the jacket is the highlight, but the towel, glasses, and lurking Roger Clemens (at least I think that's him) all contribute to make this one of the best Red Sox cards of the '80s as far as I'm concerned.

Hope you enjoyed this batch of 25, I'll have the next group up sometime this week...
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