Tuesday, May 5, 2009

36 Years of Red Sox Cards (Part IX)

Once more, with feeling…

1987 Donruss Mike Grenwell
Mike Greenwell was a fine player during his Red Sox career. He did his best to keep up the noble progression of Red Sox left fielders. Following Williams, Yaz, and Rice is no easy task. But, he gave it a go. This is one of Greenwell’s better rookie cards. It’s a nice design, but led to collecting headaches. First, the black border made defects pop right out. Any white chipping of the edges could be seen a mile away. The baseballs on the sides made it real easy to see if a card wasn’t centered properly as well. If one side had more baseballs than the other, it was a bad cut. It just made it all the better when you found a nice one.

1994 Topps Stadium Club Draft Picks Nomar Garciaparra
Once upon a time, the Red Sox drafted this kid shortstop with a big nose. He went on to become one of the most beloved players in team history, before being rudely shipped out of town during the 2004 season. This card is one of the first ones to picture Nomar as a member of the Sox. He had an earlier card in 1992, but it depicted him as a member of the US Olympic team (the same set featured another member of the Olympic team, Jason Varitek) So, for Sox fans, this was the beginning of the frenzy.

2005 Donruss Champions Doug Meintkeiwicz
I like this card for several reasons. First, it has the word “champions” on the front. I can’t be reminded enough of the Sox triumph in 2004. Plus, it’s of Doug Mientkiewicz, who played a big role in that season. He was in the trade that got rid of Nomar. He caught the last out of the World Series clincher. I spent all summer trying to learn how to properly spell his name. I also like this card since it pictures Mientkiewicz in his Boston uniform, and contains a piece of the uniform from the historic season. What more could you ask for in a card?

1988 Topps Sam Horn
Sam Horn was another hotshot call-up. In his first 46 games with the Sox in 1987, Horn slugged 14 home runs. Instantly, the projections start. That works out to almost 50 dingers in a full season! This guy’s going to be a stud! So, his 1988 rookie cards were hot commodities. Of course, things never worked out that way. Horn lasted for parts of 8 seasons in the bigs, playing 103 games over three seasons with the Sox. He may be best remembered now for lending his name to a much overrated Red Sox fan website. I especially like this card since it shows Horn at first base. His appearances at first for the Sox were certainly few and far between. But, it’s still a nice memory of a very popular player.

1980 Lou Brock/Carl Yastrzemski HL
Another highlight card. Once again, the Topps company needed only one card to picture two future Hall-of-Famers. 1979 was a big year for Yaz and Brock. Each player reached 3000 career hits during the season. Yaz also slugged his 400th career home run. What better reason to include an extra card of those players?

1998 Topps Finest Pedro Martinez
Awkward crotch shot aside, this is a great card. Pedro Martinez came over to the Red Sox in a trade following the 1997 season. He was the obvious new ace for the Sox, and everyone was excited to see him get started. While action shots are nice on cards, I think this posed shot captures the mood quite well. It’s simply Pedro, sitting there with a big grin on his face. Here I am, I’m ready to pitch, watch me go. This is going to be fun. The Finest brand is nice too. It makes for a very crisp card, with just enough flair to do Pedro justice. It’s still one of my favorite Pedro cards.

So, there we are. 36 years of Red Sox baseball cards explored. The good players, the not so good. The memories they invoke, the fears they bring up. It’s what collecting cards is all about.

That’s my list. Which cards would make yours?

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