Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Revised List of 36: Best Players I’ve Seen Play In Person

Oooh, it's been a while since I've updated this list. It looks like the lack of a 2021 Hall of Fame class got me out of practice just a little bit. But, let's do it once again, and look at the the 36 best players I've seen play live. 

As I’ve said, I make this list based mostly on awards. After all, my grandkids are more likely to ask me if I’ve seen a former MVP than some player who played well for a while. I also assume a Hall of Fame probably automatically makes the list.

So, as I mentioned there was no 2021 Hall of Fame Class. Looking at the 2022 inductions, I've obviously seen David Ortiz play, so he makes the list. The rest of that class played well before I was going to games. So, they don't make the cut. 

How about 2023? I've seen Scott Rolen play. Oddly enough, he didn't play in the game I went to in Philadelphia. At that game they were selling "Battle of the Rookies of the Year" tee shirts since he and Nomar were 1997 ROYs. (Always thought that was odd (pathetic?) that they were hyping up two guys because they were both rookies a few years ago. Although, I guess they were both pretty good.) I saw McGriff play with the Rays, so he's another add to the list. 

The 2024 class? Adrian Beltre played a year with the Sox, so he was an easy add to the list. I saw Todd Helton at least once. Add him as well. Joe Mauer played so long in the AL, he's practically an automatic. So he gets the nod as well. 

So, that's six players who weren't on the list but are now in the Hall of Fame. What does it say that hardly anyone in the last few elections was good enough to make the list on their own before being elected? Who gets the bump? Right now, almost all of the list are Hall of Famers, so they’re safe. Ryan Braun? Out. Jose Canseco? Definitely has the name recognition. But there's just no room. Dustin Pedroia no longer has a spot. Mo Vaughn has finally seen his time come. I have a hard time removing Bonds, Clemens, and ARod. So I need to actually start eliminating active stars...Bryce Harper, and Miguel Cabrera. Miggy will be back on the list when he gets elected. At that point, he'll likely be bumping off another Hall of Famer. Probably one of the guys that just bumped him.

So, here’s the new list.

1. Roberto Alomar (HOF)
2. Adrian Beltre (HOF)
3. Wade Boggs (HOF)
4. Barry Bonds (MVP)
5. Roger Clemens (MVP, CYA)
6. Dennis Eckersley (HOF)
7. Tom Glavine (HOF)
8. Ken Griffey Jr (HOF, All-Century Team)
9. Vladimir Guerrero (HOF) 
10. Todd Helton (HOF)
11. Rickey Henderson (HOF)
12. Derek Jeter (HOF)
13. Randy Johnson (HOF)
14. Chipper Jones (HOF)
15. Greg Maddux (HOF)
16. Edgar Martinez (HOF)
17. Pedro Martinez (HOF)
18. Joe Mauer (HOF)
19. Fred McGriff (HOF)
20. Mike Mussina (HOF)
21. David Ortiz (HOF)
22. Mike Piazza (HOF)
23. Kirby Puckett (HOF)
24. Albert Pujols (MVP)
25. Jim Rice (HOF)
26. Cal Ripken (HOF)
27. Mariano Rivera (HOF)
28. Alex Rodriguez (MVP)
29. Ivan Rodriguez (HOF)
30. Scott Rolen (ROY, HOF)
31. John Smoltz (HOF)
32. Ichiro Suzuki (ROY, MVP)
33. Frank Thomas (HOF)
34. Jim Thome (HOF)
35. Mike Trout (MVP)
36. Larry Walker (HOF)


Who’s on your list?

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

2022 Topps Heritage Minor Leagues Hobby Box Opening

This was a fun product to open, especially a couple seasons after the release. It gave the players, who were minor leaguers, the chance to establish themselves a bit. If I had opened this box in 2022, I’m not sure the Elly De La Cruz would have stood out to me yet. Even so, this is likely a product that I’ll have to sit on for a bit before really seeing what I got. What I do know? The Marcello Mayer cards and Elly SP are great pulls, and the rest is just the icing on the cake. I hope you enjoy the video.

How did the box go? I'm glad you asked!


Here's the Box. With Mayer right on the front there.


Great start to the box, as Mayer was one of the three bot topper cards!


Another Mayer, as a shortstop prospect.


Nice to be able to go back to not wanting Jeters again. I got another Jeter in the box too.


The best card in the box? Any time I can add a Casas to the collection, I'm happy.


Future Red Sox ace Brayan Bello.


And again, this time as a pitching prospect.


And another Casas, who is obviously a first base prospect.


And those weren't even all the Red Sox farmhands in the box. So, not bad. Really, the only thing missing is a Mayer base card. (Or, and I guess a Red Sox numbered or autographed card). No complaints.

If you want to see the rest of the box, including the two autos, go check out the opening on my YouTube video. And feel free to like/subscribe while you're there.

How did your box go?

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

2022 Topps Update Blaster Box Opening!

I like how Topps has taken the “Update” series and really found its niche. In addition to the new players on new trams concept, they’ve added in the “rookie debut” cards as well as all stars and combos. So, what was once a set made up of players you’ve never heard of and an occasional star that changed teams has become absolutely stuffed with stars and key rookies. In this case, I was able to get both. Bobby Witt Jr is definitely an up and coming star, while Corey Seager is just now coming off an MVP campaign. Great to be able to hit both in a single blaster.

How did this blaster go? I'm glad you asked.


As always, the box. Can't have you sneaking a peek at the good stuff via thumbnail.


And, the good stuff. Or, at least stiff. The yellow jerseys are growing on my, but they have a long way to go before I think they're not just bad.


Hopefully Devers will be delivering at the plate a lot this year. The Sox need him for their playoff push.


Right. Rich Hill was on the Red Sox.


As was Nick Pivetta, pitching quite well for the Sox.

So, not bad. I mean, you can't expect to get more Red Sox in a single box than that one. I guess no complaints.

If you want to see the rest of the box, go check out the opening on my YouTube video. And feel free to like/subscribe while you're there.

How did your box go?

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Check Out My Casas!

That's what COMC stands for, right? Because it's time for another COMC mailday. This one was very baseball heavy. Well, OK, it was almost entirely Triston Casas. See, it occurred to me that the Red Sox rising star wears number 36. How did I not have a massive collection of his cards? So, I decided it would be fun to collect the rainbow of his Topps rookie card. Or, maybe it's not a rainbow since I'm involving several brands. Basically, anything that looks like his base Topps RC. You'll understand when you see them.

Wanna see? I'm only going to show the Red Sox cards. There are other baseball, football, and basketball cards in the shipment. If you want to see everything, Check Out My YouTube video!

But, enough chatting, let's get to the cards!


We'll start it off with this Pedro 2008 Topps Moments and Milestones. I don't know if I really want to dedicate myself to these cards. But, always glad to add a Pedro...especially one with a big "36" on the front. 


Speaking of 36, let's roll with the Casas cards! Thankfully COMC adds a slip of paper saying what each card is. Otherwise, not sure I'd know this is his 2023 Topps Chrome refractor.


And here is his Topps Chrome pink refractor!


Switching to his regular Topps, but the Gold Star Parallel version.


And his Meijer Purple parallel.


Another set...his 1st edition. I don't even know what that is.


Followed by his Topps Holiday. Always love this set.


This is apparently his Topps Collector's Box Silver Pattern Foil. If you say so.


And this would be his slightly less interesting base rainbow foil.


Back to Topps Chrome for his Sepia refractor.


Best guess? That's his Topps gold foil.


This one might be his Topps Chrome Prism refractor.


While this one sure looks like his Topps Chrome Logofractor.


Which leaves this one as his Topps Chrome x-fractor!

And there you have it. Thirteen new Casas RCs to add to the rainbow. Wonder how many I can eventually end up with. I'm starting to just need the big boys at this point.

That may have to wait for the next shipment.

Which one is your favorite?

2022 Topps Stadium Club Blaster Opening!

Topps Stadium Club is known for its photography. Always has been. I’ll admit that, especially these days, it seems a bit weird to have a set dedicated to “the good pictures”. It was one thing when Topps was paying photographers and had limited choices. But if you can choose from every picture ever, why not always pick the best ones? I suppose the theory is that the base sets are “ID Cards” that just show the player as they are, while TSC goes for the artistic portrait versions? Whatever the reason, I’m a huge fan. I love making the picture the focus. I suppose that goes along with the player selection as well. The base set doesn’t have Hall of Famers like Chipper Jones or Dave Winfied, who we pulled in this blaster. It also has the hottest rookies like Julio Rodriguez…another pull. So, it’s a wonderful combination.

How did this blaster go? I'm glad you asked...


As always, here's the box. Why doesn't Pete Alonso get more hobby love? He plays in New York, and has more home runs the last five years than Aaron Judge. 


Look at this magnificent shot of Rafael Devers here. This is the sort of card Stadium Club is famous for.  I love how the foil information just hides itself and lets the photos take all the glory.

Believe it or not, that was the only Red Sox card in the blaster. At least it was a good one.

Of course, as I alluded to, the blaster had several non-Sox hits. If you want to see the rest of the box, go check out the opening on my YouTube video. And feel free to like/subscribe while you're there.

How did your box go?

Thursday, February 29, 2024

2024 Topps Fat Packs Opening

The first cards of 2024! Ok, well, the first cards of the 2024 baseball brand year. You get the idea. It's 2024 Topps! There’s nothing quite like opening the first back of a new base set. I really love the design of the 2024 Topps set. It has a more vintage feel, as opposed to going space age like several of the past releases. I know that "neon" may not scream "vintage" to prople, but I was getting tired of all the geometric shapes in gray steel. This has an older, simpler, feel to it. Even with the neon. It’s also nice that I haven’t read up on the checklist very much, so there were some fun surprises included. I had no idea there would be Grffey inserts, for instance.

How did the packs go? I'm glad you asked.


Here are the packs. If you're super observant, you'll see that they've already been opened. You'll just have to excuse my forgetfulness and trust that they are the right packs. 36 cards in each of these packs, which is obviously the perfect number.


The first Red Sox card of 2024! Kenley Jansen gets the honor this time. Jansen has been showing up on this blog a lot lately. I guess as last year's only all-star that's allowable.


A super shiny card of Enmanuel Valdez! No idea what parallel this is, but when a card is this shiny it's good to flip it over.


There we go, numbered to 199. Always nice to pull a card like this because I doubt I'd ever acquire it another way.

And there you have it. Out of the 72 cards, I pulled two Red Sox. Not bad, I suppose. I'm sure I'll be opening plenty more of this as the year goes along.

If you want to see the rest of the packs, go check out the opening on my YouTube video. And feel free to like/subscribe while you're there.

Open any of this yet?



Tuesday, February 27, 2024

2023 Topps Archives Blaster Opening!

I really like the Topps Archives brand. It’s a nice way to add variety to a set, both in design and player selection. You can get stars from years ago like Carl Yastrzemski, and the hottest rookies like Triston Casas. And the milti-design aspect to the base set means you’re never bored flipping through the packs. Just look at all the designs we had in this one blaster. I do wish the designs weren’t repeated quite so often year to year and brand to brand. I always thought Topps should have a system. Heritage keeps plugging along. The base set can have inserts sets of designs celebrating their 70th, 50th, and 30th anniversary. Archives can have 60th, 20th, and 10th anniversary. That way, a set wouldn’t be repeated for ten years, but every set gets to play along.

How did this blaster go? I'm glad you asked...


Here's the box, in case you're curious.


Here's a nice looking Devers. But, this is what I was talking about. Topps just did the '65 design as an insert set. Do we really need to see it again so soon in the Archives set? With so many designs to choose from?


The best card in the set, obviously. Hard to complain about Casas in the '56 design. But, still, '56 again?


The 2003 design is fairly rare, and so is Yaz himself. So, this one works for me.


Another '56. But, I mean, it's Nomar. Nothing wrong with this card.

So, all in all a pretty good haul. Lots of Red Sox representatives covering 60 years of Sox stars. Can't ask for much more.

If you want to see the rest of the box, go check out the opening on my YouTube video. And feel free to like/subscribe while you're there.

How did your box go?

Monday, February 26, 2024

Go Red! 2014 Topps Red Hot Foil Jake Peavy

February is American Heart Month. As a nod to the Go Red for Women activities going on this month to help raise awareness, I thought I'd contribute several "red" themed posts sprinkled throughout the month.

Let's talk about this card...


Peavy was a midseason pick-up for the Sox during their run to the 2013 World Series. He put up a 4-1 record for the Sox, which was just what they needed as a way to solidify the team down the stretch. He did the same during the playoffs, doing just what the team needed him to do to ear the duckboat parade after the season. He easily became one of the fan favorites after he purchased the duckboat he rode on to keep as a souvenir of the season's success. Can't ask for much more from a player when it comes to adopting a new fan base.

The card itself...lets just say sometimes less is more. It's hard enough to read the names on regular cards since Topps keeps insisting on writing them in foil. Now, the whole card is also shimmery foil? Talk about overdoing it. But, I suppose it does add interest to a collection.

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I'm sure you all remember Miss District of Columbia
Jude Maboné from her interview with us. Her "heart health" community service initiative is, obviously, quite relevant this month. As such, she's supporting the Simon's Heart campaign this month (and every month). I highly recommend you join her efforts with a donation if you are able. You can find the link here.

Support her efforts, and Go Red!


Tuesday, February 20, 2024

2023 Topps Chrome Update Blaster Opening!

Unlike the "Sonic" box from last time, I both understand and enjoy this product. As a fan of the Topps Chrome brand, this is a fun box to open. I like how Topps has taken the “Update” series and really found its niche. In addition to the new players on new trams concept, they’ve added in the “rookie debut” cards as well as all stars and combos. So, what was one a set made up of players you’ve never heard of and an occasional star that changed teams has become absolutely stuffed with stars and key rookies. In this case, I was able to get both.

How did this box go? I'm glad you asked.



Here's the box.


With a very shiny Kenley Jansen card. A card that special must be numbered, right?



Yup. Out of only 250. Nice pull of a Red Sox All-Star.

Unfortunately, that was the only Sox card from the box. At least it was a good hit. Can't complain about that.

If you want to see the rest of the box, go check out the opening on my YouTube video. And feel free to like/subscribe while you're there.

How did your box go?

Monday, February 19, 2024

Go Red! 2023 Topps Heritage High Number Kenley Jansen

February is American Heart Month. As a nod to the Go Red for Women activities going on this month to help raise awareness, I thought I'd contribute several "red" themed posts sprinkled throughout the month.

Let's talk about this card...




Kenley Jansen was an all-star closer for the Red Sox in 2023. It will be interesting to see what his role will be moving forward. Whether it's in a modified closer role, or with another team. It's always hard to take public comments from management at face value. But, it seems like Breslow wouldn't object to the "closer by committee" approach. Whether tht would only apply if Jansen is dealt first remains to be seen. But, either way it will be an interesting season for Jansen. 

The card itself is on the bland side. The blurry player name certainly doesn't help. But, the red is really forced into the design. With all the different colored parallels Topps produces, it's probably hard to make sure every one workes with every individual card design. But, this one misses the mark for me.

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I'm sure you all remember Miss District of Columbia
Jude Maboné from her interview with us. Her "heart health" community service initiative is, obviously, quite relevant this month. As such, she's supporting the Simon's Heart campaign this month (and every month). I highly recommend you join her efforts with a donation if you are able. You can find the link here.

Support her efforts, and Go Red!

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

2022 Topps Chrome Sonic Hobby Lite Box Opening!

I’m not sure I understand this product. While I love Topps Chrome as much as anyone, and more than some, I think that’s probably enough. If Topps wanted to have a set with Pulsar refractors or whatever they’re calling them, they could just add that to the regular Chrome set. There are already 36 million chrome parallels in the standard set. Why create a whole new set just to add a couple more? But, all that aside, this is still a fun box to open. Like I said, I like Topps Chrome. And, this is just more of that. So, file this under “Useless, but good”.

How did this box go? I'm glad you asked.


Here's the box. Let's just skip right past that.


Here's a nice horizontal card of Devers. Virtually identical to the standard Topps Chrome Devers. I don't feel like squinting to notice a code written on the back of the card means I have a new card. 



OK. So this Schwarber card here is completely differnt than his regular Chrome card. You see, if you look closely, the "Topps Chrome" logo is in the upper left of this card. On his regular Chrome, it's on the upper right. It's as different as night and later that night.

And there you have it. I guess it went well. Got two "different" Red Sox cards. Although, I'm annoyed I needed to get a new binder page for this "new" set. Getting new cards is always good.

If you want to see the rest of the box, go check out the opening on my YouTube video. And feel free to like/subscribe while you're there.

How did your box go?

Monday, February 12, 2024

Go Red! 2021 Topps Stadium Club Red Foil Chris Sale

February is American Heart Month. As a nod to the Go Red for Women activities going on this month to help raise awareness, I thought I'd contribute several "red" themed posts sprinkled throughout the month.

Let's talk about this card...



This is a really nice card of the Red Sox departed former ace. Stadium Club is known for its photography, and this card is no exception. Sale is nicely framed and the ball is captured in flight. That always makes for a fun element in a show. I suppose if I had one minor criticism, it's the cropping of Sale's left hand. They couldn't shift the picture over a millimeter to avoid cutting off the tip of his index finger?  

Of course, after his run with the Sox, Sale has moved to Atlanta. While he wasn't quite everything we hoped he would be during his time in Boston (Not everyone is Pedro, after all) he brought the city another title and closed out the deciding game in style. That's one of those moments that lives with you, and makes any stint with the Sox a successful one.

---

I'm sure you all remember Miss District of Columbia
Jude Maboné from her interview with us. Her "heart health" community service initiative is, obviously, quite relevant this month. As such, she's supporting the Simon's Heart campaign this month (and every month). I highly recommend you join her efforts with a donation if you are able. You can find the link here.

Support her efforts, and Go Red!

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