Last man standing

In the season finale doubleheader in Philadelphia, Ted Williams goes 6-for-8 and raises his batting average to .406 for the year. Williams also ended the season with an amazing on-base percentage of .553. That would stand as the highest mark until Barry Bonds topped that in 2002 (.582) and then again in 2004 (.609). Teddy Ballgame still holds the career mark for on-base percentage at .481.

2014 Panini National Treasures “Legends” #17 Ted Williams

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This was another beautiful relic booklet I picked up earlier this summer. It’s nice to see a different shot of Ted, unlike Topps who can’t help themselves by using the same photography every year. The layout works too in that you don’t miss not see any team logos.

That .406 mark still stands as the last time a major leaguer has topped .400 for a season. It was also the first time since 1930 when New York Giants’ Bill Terry (.401) eclipsed that mark. The last American Leaguer — Detroit’s Harry Heilmann in 1923 with a .403 average.

Shoot em up Tex

On this date September 27, 1942…

A day before Ted Williams, Dom DiMaggio, and Johnny Pesky enter military service, Sox hurler Cecil “Tex” Hughson strikes out only one batter. That one strikeout was enough to tie Buck Newsom for the American League Strikeout Crown with 113. Not since Cy Young in 1901, had a Red Sox pitcher led the league in strikeouts. Tex also won 22 games that season, also leading the junior circuit. Boston would go on to win 7-6

1949 Bowman #199 Cecil “Tex” Hughson

img_3832img_3833Tex Hughson was a big right-handed power pitcher out of the University of Texas who principally wore the number 21 during his tenure with the Red Sox, just like another big Texan, Roger Clemens. Despite military service and arm problems, Hughson pitched his entire big-league career for the Red Sox during the decade of the 1940s with three straight all-star selections.

Tex was especially effective against the World Series-bound Yankees in 1942, going 5-1 and prompting the quote below.

“I would rather beat the Yankees once than any other team twice … They were the best, and they were cocky, particularly in New York with those Yankee pinstripes on. It was as if you ought not to beat them. You ought to just go out there and rather politely lose.”

Along with his 96-54 career record, Hughson had a 2.94 ERA, 10th on the Red Sox all-time list (through 2014) among pitchers with at least 1,000 innings. He struck out 693 and walked only 372 in 1,375 2/3 innings. His 99 complete games place him 10th on the Red Sox all-time list, and his 19 shutouts place him in a tie for seventh place on the list. The 13 consecutive wins at home in 1944 tie him with Boo Ferris for the Red Sox record in that department.

I picked up this card earlier this summer as I was obtaining members of the Red Sox Hall of Fame. Cecil “Tex” Hughson was inducted on November 14, 2002.

Stand up, stand out

Here’s another purchase that is fairly recent and there’s something about these 1964 Topps Stand-Ups that I love. While the only image is of silhouetted player on top of the yellow and green backdrop, the colors just pop like a sunshine filled, afternoon at the ballpark.

1964 Topps Stand-Up Frank Malzone


Thirty years after a similar issue, 1934-36 Batter-Up, these blank-backed cards follow the standard-sized (2 1/2″ by 3 1/2″) and where sold in both one cent and five cent packs. Only 77 cards man the checklist, and due to the distinctive look, as well as player selection, these cards are still fairly popular today.

I picked up the Frank Malzone, because A.) the Carl Yastrzemski is a short print that even ungraded, goes for more than what my budget allows, B.) the Dick Stuart is a short print as well and Dr. Strangeglove is pictured sporting a Pittsburgh Pirates jersey with a Boston “B” airbrushed onto his cap.

Malzone was a decent player back in the late 50’s, early 60’s making eight all-star teams and winning three straight gold glove awards before some guy named Brooks Robinson came along. Similar ballplayers to Malzone are Charlie Hayes, Doug Radar, Hubie Brooks, and Melvin Mora. All had decent years sprinkled out through their careers. Frank also finished second in the 1957 ROY ballot to Tony Kubek.

Malzone burst on the scene like … “a delayed-action bomb.” He was such a quiet, modest, and unassuming ballplayer that Red Sox traveling secretary Tom Dowd averred, “If he wasn’t on the roster, I wouldn’t know he was on the club.”

In 1995, Frank Malzone was one of the inaugural class of inductees into the Red Sox Hall of Fame cumulating a career with the Red Sox organization for more than 60 years, save for one season playing for the California Angels. in 1966.

The Big Books of Papi

First off before I jump into a quick post as we all head into the weekend … Thank you all so far who have followed me on Twitter and left comments there and on the blog. It’s good getting back to writing about this great hobby. It allows me some down time to catch my breath and learn something I did know about this card or that player. For example when I wrote about Earl Wilson, I had no idea he being the first African-American to throw a no-hitter in the American League. I will say though, I had to tweak the language from what the Boston Globe used on that day in 1962—let’s say it’d would fly in these times.

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2014 Panini National Treasures NT Star Jumbo Booklets David Ortiz (jersey patch)

Was busy photographing a number of cards for future posts and thought these would be a change of pace from the vintage posts the last couple of days.  Saw these one day on eBay and thought they were really beautifully designed—even if they are missing the MLB logos.

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I have a number of relics and used to want all I could find years ago, but you can only have so may white, red, or, gray squares of uniform. So I started only looking for Sox jerseys that showed some form of a patch. As you can see with this jumbo swatch, there’s a nice section of what is the “3” in his uniform number “34.”

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2014 Panini National Treasures NT Star Jumbo Booklets David Ortiz (bat nicknames)

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Next is a Big Papi nicknames bat booklet. I actually had picked this one up prior to the jersey book above. Both cards are really beautiful and I need to see about finding magnetic cases for these so I can keep flat instead of in a plastic team set box. I think I have seen them online but I know the LCS does not carry them.

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David Ortiz will probably go down in history around New England, as the greatest Sox player they ever saw … okay maybe not “greatest”but right up there on the Mounth Rushmore of Sox players (I think Ted just turned in his cryogenic sleep tube) …  but definitely greatest clutch moment player that Red Sox Nation has seen.

Hope you enjoyed the Big Papi books and thank you again for reading. Go Sox—magic number is only 5!!