Wednesday, December 17, 2014

My T206 Gifts to Myself

Photos: Jimmy Williams and Charlie Rhodes T206s.  These are not the exact same two cards mentioned in the story below.  The two pictured here are in Near Mint condition and worth about $550 each.  And I ain't payin' that.  These pics are from a great T206 card site,

So, if you've read the last few entries, you may be wondering: "Did he get any T206s for himself?"

Well, I did, and I'm ecstatic about them.  I got two, and both for the price of what the Grimes or Stark would've cost.

First, I got a Jimmy Williams SGC 3/40 VG T206 card.  This means that SGC, a top-notch card grading company (I only buy graded cards now, which is necessary but sort of sad.  That's another entry for another day.), graded the card at the third-lowest level, which is Very Good.  That's an actual grade, and not just someone at the company saying, "Wow, that's in very good condition."

Anyway, as I explained before, Very Good condition is more than good enough for me, as anything higher than that can get silly expensive.  Very Good cards will look great, and are far better than Poor, Poor/Fair, Fair and Good condition cards.  I'm actually happy with cards in Good condition, though that's the lowest condition I'll buy in, unless we're talking HOF T206 ballplayers.  Those guys are often expensive even in Poor condition, because they're HOFers and everyone wants them, so they're at a premium, even in bad condition.  I have T206s of about 7 HOFers, and they're in either Poor, Fair or Good condition.  Anything higher than that will be over $100 apiece, minimum.  Often, they'd be in the hundreds or thousands of dollars.

So, the book value--I use Beckett's Graded Card Price Guide--of this exact Jimmy Williams card, in this exact condition, was $60.  That's a little high for me at Christmastime (and during most other times), but I figured I'd watch the bidding and give it a shot.  I've made a few extra bucks recently--not much, but enough to buy myself one or two affordable (ie--inexpensive) cards for Christmas and New Year's.  Or Thanksgiving and Christmas, if I want to be naughty and get myself another one for New Year's, which I probably will.  And then another a month later for my birthday...

But I digress.  So the shipping for this card was $3.50, and the BV was $60, as I mentioned.  I'd watched the Babe Ruths and Ty Cobbs and the Magie error card and the Grimes card and the Dolly Stark card come and go by now, and I wanted something, so I tried for this one.  (Jimmy Williams was a nobody player--a common card, in the hobby--and by far the least valuable of all the names I just mentioned.)  The highest visible bid was up to just $22 or so.  (If you've bid on Ebay before, you know the highest visible bid is often far below the actual highest bid.) 

I'm old hat at this kind of thing, so I knew that a common T206 in Very Good condition will often hit the $40 or $50 mark.  If it did, I wouldn't bid.  The BV was $60, and the shipping was $3.50, but you don't want to spend the book value price, and you certainly don't want to spend over the BV price.  (If you read the previous two entries, you know what I mean.)  Like the Dolly Stark card, which was more valuable, I didn't want to spend over $45 total.  I mean, I've bought HOF T206s in Poor or Good condition in the $40s and $50s, so I wasn't going to do that for a common card, even in VG condition.

As I've mentioned, you have to have a set dollar figure in mind--including shipping, which is not part of the card's value but yet is still money you have to pay--and never exceed that.  Otherwise, this Ebay thing can get out of hand in a hurry and suddenly you're in debt.

So I put in my max dollar amount, and I wait until the proper number of seconds remain before I post my bid.  (I ain't tellin' you my bid or the number of seconds I wait for.  Cuz I'm silly and unrealistic like that.)  And in the last ten seconds, the bids go from $22 to $23, $24, $24.55 and to $30 before my bid wins.

I've just watched the Dolly Stark sell for $63--admittedly, a fair price, since the BV was $80, but it was still more than I wanted to spend.  Another card, Josh Devore, had sold for $82, and the BV was $150, but still the $82 was more than I wanted to spend, though that one stung a little when it got that high.  (It had been in the $30s for awhile and I was hoping.)  The Magie error card went for over fourteen grand, and I saw Cobbs and Ruths sell for thousands, and I'm still waiting.  (This all took about half an hour, by the way, in case you thought I'd wasted my night doing this.)

I didn't spend the $63 or the $82 because I was able to get a T206 in Very Good condition (same condition as the other two) for just $31, plus $3.50 shipping.  And then, just a few minutes later, I was fortunate enough to get a Charlie Rhodes T206, also in Very Good condition, for just $28, plus $3.50.

Unfortunately, these two cards weren't from the same place, so I couldn't save on shipping, which I always try and do.  But, anyway, the bottom line is that I was able to get two VG condition T206s for a total of $66, including shipping.  Which is why I didn't spend $66.50--including shipping--for the one Dolly Stark card (though that would've been nice, and remains a personal thing with me), or the $85.50 for the one Josh Devore card--both in the same condition as the two I did get.  I'd rather spend $66 total for two VG T206s than over $20 more than that for one VG T206.

That's my Christmas present to myself.  I'm going to pay for those right now and log off from Ebay and not log back in for at least another month.  That's what I do--jump in, buy one or two, and then shut it down for at least a couple of months.  So as not to go crazy and in debt.  I can see why people would get addicted to this and drive themselves bankrupt.

And so that's it.  Happy Holidays and Happy New Year to my readers.  Be good to yourself this holiday season and this New Year's.  Get something inexpensive for yourself, too.  You deserve it!

Monday, December 8, 2014

The Dolly Stark Situation

Photo: The Dolly Stark Southern League T206 card, from  This is not the exact card in the story below.  BMWcards, by the way, is a company that sells really high-end, really high-quality, great-conditioned and highly-graded cards.  In other words, I can look, but I can't buy.
I almost bid on a Dolly Stark, which is a tougher-to-find Southern League card, and worth more than other commons in the set.  I can't tell you how many times I've bid on a Dolly Stark card.  So often, it's become a bit of a thing with me.  I have to get one--but not go crazy to do so.  This one was an SGC 30 2, which means it was graded by SGC, and graded a 30, which is SGC's way of saying it's in Good condition.  A 2 also means Good condition.  Good, in this case, is an actual grade, not just someone saying it's in good condition, if you know what I mean.  I'm a bit stingy, because I'm a bit poor, so buying a T206 in Good condition is okay with me.  It's not for most serious collectors. 

So I looked it up in what I call The Book--Beckett's Graded Card Price Guide.  It says that this exact card, in this exact condition, has recently sold for, on average, $80.  (This is not the same as saying it's "worth" $80, but it's as close to an immediate, go-with-it value you can get on short, convenient notice.)  When I saw it, the bid was $27. 

(Side note: Do not ever buy an item like a baseball card as a BUY NOW on Ebay, because if there's something wrong with the item--and there usually will be, or it wouldn't be BUY NOW, it'd be auctioned--Ebay will not reimburse you, and neither will the seller.  Only static items, like baseball card plastic sleeves, for example, or anything else you'd buy off a shelf or a rack, should ever be bought as a Buy It Now.) 

Anyway, I knew the bid would go up, but I hoped not by much, and a common card usually won't escalate tremendously.  I had my bid all set after there was less than one minute to go.  (I place my bid when there's a specific number of seconds left; not tellin' ya what that is.)  My bid was for $41.51, because the shipping was $3.50, and I didn't want to spend more than $45 total, even though the value was $80.  I try not to pay more than half what a card is worth, including shipping.  But as this Dolly Stark situation has become personal at this point, I splurged by a few bucks.  With 5 seconds left, the bids went from $27 to over $30 to over $40, etc., finally settling on $63.00.  That's not bad, spending $66.50 total for a card "valued" at $80--a savings of $13.50, but that was more than I wanted to spend on one T206 card, even though it was a Southern Leaguer (which are more rare and more expensive) and a personal situation, too.  There were other cards I was looking at, and I needed to save my money. 

Plus, once you've settled on a dollar amount you're willing to spend, you absolutely cannot go over that amount.  If you do, you will again, and suddenly you've gone Ebay crazy and spent your mortgage.  Craziness.  So I never sent my bid for this card.  The Dolly Stark situation still remains a personal thing.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Sherry Magie Error T206 Card Sold on Ebay

Photo: The one you see here is valued at $90,000.  Yes.  90 grand.  Or, half the value of a good house.  The super-famous Magie (Magee) error card, from  The card in this picture is not the same exact one in the story below. 

I just watched a Sherry Magie (correct spelling: Magee) error card from the T206 set--one of the most sought-after, rare and expensive cards in the hobby--sell on Ebay.  Just watching, mind you.  Why?  Because it was in PSA 3 VG condition, which means the grading company PSA said it was in Very Good condition, which is an actual grade, and not somebody saying, "Hey, that's in very good condition."  The 3 means that this is the 3rd-lowest grade for a card, which is good if you're a serious, but financially limited, collector like me.  (Most serious T206 collectors are not financially limited.)  So I'm thrilled to get a card in VG condition, but most serious collectors prefer cards at least a good three stages higher, at least Excellent or Excellent-Mint condition.  If I had the money, I'd be the same.  But I don't, so I'm not, and I'm okay with that.

Anyway, Beckett's Graded Card Price Guide says that this exact error card, in this exact graded condition, has sold recently, on average, for $20,000 (Yes, twenty grand for a baseball card of someone you've never heard of.) and that this dollar "value" has gone up since Beckett's last report.  This is not the same as saying that the card is "worth" $20K, but for our purposes here we can think about it that way.

Suffice it to say, I don't (and most of you probably don't) have twenty grand to spend on a baseball card, so I'm just watching this take place.  At about five minutes before the end of the auction, the highest visible bid (if you've bought off Ebay before, you know the highest visible bid is often nowhere near the highest actual bid) is at about $12,000.  Now, this kind of famous card, an error card, a card that every serious T206 collector (including me) wants to have, will often go crazy in the last 10 seconds of bidding, so I'm fully expecting this thing to jump violently and quickly from $12K to $14K (seeing a baseball card jump in seconds by a few grand is a very rare thing to see), and so on, to come close to $20K or, as I expected, to exceed it.

To my utter shock--and, I'm sure, to the seller's worst nightmare--it doesn't.  It sells for $14, 544.  Someone out there just got one of the hobby's most sought-after cards at a savings of over $5,000.  Well, $5,456, to be exact.  Which means the seller, who should have expected the card to sell for something close, if not more than, $20,000, just took a hit of over five grand.

Meanwhile, I just saw a Burleigh Grimes 1933 Goudey, in PSA Good condition, with a book "value" of $50, just sell for $81.26, plus $3.50 shipping.

So some guy got a card at a savings of over $5,000--and he can very easily just re-list it himself sometime and sell it on some Friday or Saturday night, far away from Christmas time when people are buying presents and going broke, for the $20K, and make a nice $5,000 profit for himself by doing absolutely nothing.  Well, besides using a little common sense.  I would never auction off a super-valuable card around Christmastime.  I'd wait until February, or March, when people are depressed and miserable and will overspend.

Anyway, so some guy underspent by five grand and got a world-class card, while someone else vastly overspent on the Grimes card by $33.76, which in its own way is just as shocking.  Overspending by almost $34 on a card that's only worth $50 is an astoundingly financially unfeasible thing to do.

Ebay giveth and Ebay taketh away.  That's the risk you run putting something up for bid.  If you just get a sparse crowd, you're going to lose out, big-time.  The company selling the Magie card was not one of the mega-name card companies I'm familiar with on Ebay.  If it had been, with the established and serious client base those companies have, the card would've sold for closer to the $20K.

Craziness.  But the company's fault for putting it up for bid when it did.  Even if that's what the client asked the company to do (these guys often auction things for someone else, and get a cut of the sale price for doing so; that's called consignment), I can't believe the company wouldn't convince the card owner that he'll lose a few grand selling it now.

If I'd only had the money myself...

I also watched a 1933 Goudey Babe Ruth #181 PSA 6 EX-MT Condition, sell for $6,100.  Shipping: $20.  (This is the classic card where he's grimacing and looking over his shoulder, his arm on the red Big League Chewing Gum ad.)  The book value: $5,000.  I can't decide if someone overspent by over a grand, or if this is a worthwhile and legitimate value.  A $1,100 profit on a $5K card is a pretty good haul.  This Ruth Goudey card is also one of the hobby's most recognizable cards.  Though not as much as the Napolean Lajoie (who's from RI) 1933 Goudey card.  A Near-Mint one of those recently sold for $60,000.  Yes, $60K for one baseball card.  This company was one of the mega-names, which I think accounted for the profit made by the card.  Sad, but true.  Why the owner of the Magie error card didn't consign it through one of the mega-name companies is a mystery.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Derek Jeter

I know I'm a little behind on my HOF posts, and on my posts in general for this site.  Having said that, a few words about Derek Jeter, after his last game today at Fenway Park:

--Obvious HOF because of his lifetime stats, most obvious his 3,464 hits, 6th most all-time.

--Also top-10 all-time in ABs, PAs, Runs Scored and Singles.  Considering he batted 1st or 2nd the vast majority of the time, these are excellent things for him to be amongst the greatest of all-time.  Probably the greatest second-in-the-order hitter ever.

--Some surprises (all this is courtesy of

-12th all-time in Times-on-Base.  If you consider the all-time greats of Ted Williams (okay, shorter career), Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, etc., all those you'd think of as all-time super-stars, the fact that Jeter got on base via a hit, walk or HBP 12th amongst all these guys is very impressive.

-His Offensive Winning % is 45th-best, ever.  That includes everybody--pitchers and position players.  That's Clemens, Grove, Cy Young, Pete Rose, people better defensively than he was...everyone.  This is very high.

-His 1,909 Runs Created is 27th-best, all-time.  This is runs scored, runs batted in and everything in between.

-13th-most strikeouts ever.  I know he batted a ton of times, but this is still surprising to me.

-21st-most total bases, ever.  Again, considering all the big boys--Williams, Ruth, Gehrig, Aaron, Mays, Mantle, etc.--being 21st is very high.  Especially when you consider that those guys hit homers and Jeter hit singles and doubles.  That's a lot of singles and doubles to party with those guys in TBs.

-Player of the Week just 3 times--and Player of the Month just once!

-Never won MVP, though he did finish 2nd and 3rd a few times.  But, Pedroia excepted, American League MVPs usually go to the home run guys.

-5 Gold Gloves.  Granted, GGs are given just as much for offensive performance as it is for defensive excellence (though of course it shouldn't be that way), but, still, 5 Gold Gloves is a lot for a guy who's often ridiculed for his defense.

-Having said that, baseball-reference says he owes the Yanks 9.7 games over his career for his defense.

-But he's won them 95.3 games over his career due to his offense.  Divided by 17 or 18 full years, that's about 5 1/2 games a year, just him.  That's a lot.

-He's had 650 post-season ABs.  That's another full season.

-He had a .308 batting average and a .374 OBP during that "extra season."  Keep in mind, this is the playoffs, so this would be against the better pitching staffs in all of baseball.  The .374 OBP is more impressive than the .308 BA considering this.

-The same website has compared him to the HOF shortstops already enshrined, and had this to say:

JAWS Shortstop (12th), 71.7 career WAR/42.2 7yr-peak WAR/57.0 JAWS
Average HOF SS (out of 21) = 66.7 career WAR/42.8 7yr-peak WAR/54.7 JAWS

In other words, he's a little to quite-a-bit better than the average HOF shortstop.  In short, he's a HOFer.

The two things I'll remember most about Jeter:

1) The infamous 2004 game, weeks before Nomar got traded, in a game that Nomar refused to play, Jeter jumped into the stands to catch a foul ball--and got a bloody chin and cheek for it.  At Fenway.  Later in the game, Nomar refused to pinch-hit--for Cesar Crespo, if I'm not mistaken.  I know Salad will correct me if I am wrong about this.  :-)

The story goes that this so angered Red Sox brass that it was the last straw, and they were intent on trading Nomar after this.  In other words, if Jeter hadn't played all-out that game (as he admittedly did for all his games), then the Sox front office wouldn't have shopped Nomar--and the Sox don't win the 2004 World Series.

2.  In a 2001 playoff game against the A's, a throw gets away from the cut-off man and Jeremy Giambi (surely one of MLB's all-time bad baserunners) tries to score.  Jeter, who was roaming the infield, runs about 100 feet out of his shortstop position, grabs the ball that's trickling on the 1st-base line about 15 feet from home, and throws a shovel-pass to the catcher, Jorge Posada, who tags Giambi out.  (Giambi looks back in shock, though the real surprise is his refusal to slide, as he's tagged on his foot.)

This is ballgame with-it-ness that can't be taught.  Not too many guys have his head in the game so much to make that play.  (I played awhile, and I can honestly say that I would've watched with my mouth agape as the ball rolled away and the run scored.)  The Yanks win this playoff game 1-0, too.  Neither of these two plays show up in Jeter's defensive stats, and he was not a particularly gifted defensive shortstop like Alex Gonzalez or many others.  But Jeter has to be one of the headiest ballplayers of all-time, a player for whom the stats will not do total justice.  This says a lot, since he has Hall-of-Fame stats.

More than anything else, worthy of the Hall for his Hall-of-Fame consistency.  Offensively and defensively.  And for just the intangibles, which is usually a BS word, but not in his case.

And, finally, it's oversaid, but it's not wrong: Jeter's a guy who respected the game and the people in it.  He wouldn't have slapped the ball out of Bronson Arroyo's hand, for example.  Or put pine tar on his wrist, and then on his neck, as did the pitcher who started and won Jeter's last game.  He played the game right, and he has the $600+ million dollars and--soon--the HOF plaque to prove it.

A great player--even if he never made an appearance in my last Fenway game of this season, this past Friday, the day after his You-can't-make-it-up last game at Yankee Stadium.  Still, a great player.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Free Contest to Win A T206--1,400 T206s for Auction at Saco River Auction Co. January 2015

[Free contest to win a free 1909-1911 T206 explained at the bottom of this entry, in the P.P.S.  Contest ends midnight, Sept. 30, 2014.]

Yeah, that's right.  If you're into baseball cards at all, you know the T206s.  I've posted a few pics of the few I have.  This is the set that has the Honus Wagner card, formerly owned by Wayne Gretzky and others, worth literally millions of dollars.

Well, in January 2015, the Saco River Auction House, in Biddeford, Maine, will auction off the Portland Trove of T206s.  One thousand, four hundred of them.  All in good condition, or better.  All of them.  At an average of $50 per card--a very low estimate, considering there are Christy Mathewson cards, Walter Johnsons, Ty Cobbs, etc.--that's still $70,000 worth of T206 baseball cards being sold.  The real fetching price will most likely by ten times that, or more than $700,000.

To show you the awesomeness of this, look at the pics:

Can you believe that?!?  Oh, my goodness.  This makes me want to vomit in jealousy and greed, except I can't stop looking at the pics and wishing I had them.

Of course, since there are only 527 known cards in the set (though variations pop up even now, every so often), there are going to be some duplicates.  My guess is--the piles you see on the tables in the pics are the duplicates of that card.  So if a John Anderson, let's say, (in the second-to-last pic, he's in the second row from the bottom, all the way to the right; looks like he's praying) is on a small stack of three cards, I'm going to bet there are three John Andersons in the collection.  (There's only one John Anderson in the set.)  How did this happen?  Simple: The story is that a gentleman living in NYC in 1909 or so started smoking.  His choice of smoke was the El Principe de Gales--one of the rarest backs in the set!  Anyway, he smoked the stuff and kept the card the pouch came with.  And often, it'll come with a card he already had.  Like getting a duplicate in the wax packs we bought as kids.

So, if you're not doing anything on a particular day TBA in January 2015, and if the weather isn't too bad, I might just take a drive up to 2 Main Street in Biddeford, Maine--about a three hour drive, or so.  Hopefully the auction is on a Friday or Saturday night!  I might save up a little bit by then, and take my list of cards.  If you're into T206s, maybe I'll see you there.  Save your pennies: All of the cards in this trove were graded by SGC, and they're all in good condition or better.

Speaking of card collections, do you have one?  If so, what's your favorite?  Or do you have a favorite specific card, or set?  If you don't collect cards, what do you collect, and which of those is your favorite?

P.S.--Speaking of T206s, I've got a few extras, so I'll be having contests on this blog every now and then and giving one away for free.  Caveat: None of the ones I'm giving away are professionally graded.  They're known as "raw" cards, and they'd list in Poor, Poor / Fair, or Fair condition, but will still be worth at least ten bucks each, even in bad condition.  (I mean, they're free, so waddaya want?)  I'll mail it in a tobacco card toploader.  Stay tuned.

P.P.S.--In fact, what the hell.  I'll have a contest here and now.  Just answer the question(s) above the P.S. in a comment to this blog entry and I'll enter you in a random drawing to win one of my extra T206s from 1909-1911.  Each is worth somewhere between $10 to $25 and can be easily mailed to you.  If you're the winner, I'll ask that you send me an email.  When you do, I'll email you pics of the ones I've got available, and you can pick whatever one you want.  I'll mail it to you free of charge as well.  It can fit in a regular envelope, after all. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Forever (Unfairly) Known As A Screw-Up

Photo: My Fred Merkle T206 Card

Have you ever noticed that some very nice people are known for the very one worst thing they ever did? 

Even an action that in the great scheme of things--like a baseball game--are not that big a deal? 

Are you one of these people?

Fred Merkle was.  This one-second event would stay with him the rest of his life.  And it gave him his nickname, that even now you can see on his page: Bonehead.

The incident even has its own Wikipedia page, as does Merkle himself.  (And most of his page covers the play.)  The play is infamously called "Merkle's Boner."  (Before you giggle, I should note: The definition of the second word: "Mistake.")

From Merkle's Wikipedia page:

On September 23, 1908, while playing for the New York Giants in a game against the Chicago Cubs, while he was 19 years old (the youngest player in the National League), Merkle committed a baserunning error that became known as "Merkle's Boner" and earned him the nickname "Bonehead."

In the bottom of the 9th inning, Merkle came to bat with two outs, and the score tied 1–1. At the time, Moose McCormick was on first base. Merkle singled and McCormick advanced to third. Al Bridwell, the next batter, followed with a single of his own. McCormick trotted to home plate, apparently scoring the winning run. The fans in attendance, under the impression that the game was over, ran onto the field to celebrate.

Meanwhile, Merkle ran to the Giants' clubhouse without touching second base. Cubs second baseman Johnny Evers noticed this, and after retrieving a ball and touching second base he appealed to umpire Hank O'Day, who would later manage the Cubs, to call Merkle out. Since Merkle had not touched the base, the umpire called him out on a force play, meaning that McCormick's run did not count.

The run was therefore nullified, the Giants' victory erased, and the score of the game remained tied. Unfortunately, the thousands of fans on the field (as well as the growing darkness in the days before large electric light rigs made night games possible) prevented resumption of the game, and the game was declared a tie. The Giants and the Cubs ended the season tied for first place and had a rematch at the Polo Grounds, on October 8. The Cubs won this makeup game, 4–2, and thus the National League pennant.

From the incident's Wikipedia page:

 The play was immediately controversial. Newspapers told different stories of who had gotten the ball to Evers and how. Christy Mathewson, however, who was coaching first base for the Giants, acknowledged in an affidavit that Merkle never made it to second.[22] One newspaper claimed that Cub players physically restrained Merkle from advancing to second. Retelling the story in 1944, Evers insisted that after McGinnity (who was not playing in the game) had thrown the ball away, Cubs pitcher Rube Kroh (who also was not in the game) retrieved it from a fan and threw it to shortstop Tinker, who threw it to Evers. (By rule, after a fan or a player who was not in the game touched the ball, it should have been ruled dead.) A contemporary account from the Chicago Tribune supports this version.[23] However, eight years prior to that, Evers claimed to have gotten the ball directly from Hofman. Five years after the play, Merkle admitted that he had left the field without touching second, but only after umpire Emslie assured them that they had won the game. In 1914 O'Day said that Evers' tag was irrelevant: he had called the third out after McGinnity interfered with the throw from center field.[24] Future Hall of Fame umpire Bill Klem said Merkle's Boner was "the rottenest decision in the history of baseball"; Klem believed that the force rule was meant to apply to infield hits, not balls hit to the outfield.

(Me again.) 

And so there you have it.  A man who played in five (!) World Series (that's a lot for 1900-1920, before Babe Ruth's Murderer's Row teams and the beginning of the Yankees dynasty; in fact, the Yankees--or the Highlanders, as they were also called--were often a last-place team in those years), who finished in the top-10 in the league in homers four times and in RBIs five times, will forever be known as the guy who didn't touch second base (as most baserunners didn't when the game-winning run scored) and cost his team the pennant.  Though, even if it's not said on Wikipedia, the truth is that his team lost to a rookie pitcher at least four times in the last two weeks.  (This I remember from The Glory of Their Times.)  A win in any one of those games--or in any other that they lost after this particular game--would've given them the pennant.

As Bill Buckner wasn't solely responsible for Boston's 1986 World Series collapse--sorry to bring it up, but the comparison's too obvious--so too was Merkle not solely responsible here.

And he was never known for anything else.

Not even for those five World Series appearances with a few different teams.

All five which he, of course, lost.

No one, it is said, is the best thing--or the worst thing--he's ever done.

Even if it is all he's remembered for.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Baseball as of June 9, 2014

Photo: Albert Pujols' 2001 Upper Deck Rookie Card

Hard to believe it's been so long!  Well, you can see how the Sox's season has gone, so there's not too much for me to add.  So a few quick things:

--Last year the Sox supremely overachieved; this year they're supremely underachieving.  They weren't as good as they looked last year, and they aren't as bad as they look this year.  Both are extremes, and their true ability is the average...

--...but I'll take a World Series-winning year and a subpar year anytime over two ho-hom average years.  Gimme two years of 100-62 and 62-100 over two years of 81-81 and 81-81 anytime.  The first pair gets you a World Series ring and a good draft pick.  The other two?  Nothing.

--This year is what last year was supposed to be--a transition year.

--The difference?  Last year they had unbelievable comebacks and unbelievable pitching.  This year they have mostly good / very good pitching--but not unbelievable--and very few comeback wins.  They're simply not hitting with RISP.  If they were, at all, they might be in first place in the very mediocre American League East.

--The Sox and the Blue Jays have essentially flip-flopped seasons compared to last year.  The Jays should've been great last year and fizzled.  With almost exactly the same team, they're excelling.  The Sox excelled last year and are floundering this year with essentially the same team--minus Ellsbury, of course.

--But the Jays are not this good.  Normally I'd say that they're going to start to sink, but, again, they're the Sox of last year.  Ya never know.

--R.A. Dickey so far is having a Tim Wakefield year when Wake would reel off 10-12 straight wins in the mid-90s.  Such is the nature of the knuckleball, though to be fair Dickey throws a lot of curves and "fastballs" as well.

--The Yanks may have a decent year, but they won't win the division, and may not even make the playoffs.  I'd be surprised if any Wild Card team comes from the A.L. East this year.

--Ellsbury's impact is truly being felt as the Sox flounder.  People forget how good offensively he was, and how much his speed effected the pitches Pedroia and Victorino saw.  The latter two are great fastball hitters, and that's what they got with Ellsbury on first base.  He made everybody else in the lineup better, plus he tired out the pitcher when he threw to first a lot.  He also drove in a lot of runs for a leadoff batter, and had good power from the leadoff spot.

--Having said that, I wouldn't have resigned him for more than three or four years, either.  The Yanks had better win with him now, because they surely won't with him in the fifth through seventh years of his contract.

--I have a graded NM-MT+ Pujols Upper Deck RC, so I need him to have a monster comeback year.