1990 Upper Deck – Wade Boggs
So, Wade Boggs was a pretty decent hitter. Even though he sold his soul to the Yankees in December 1992, and ended his career with Tampa Bay about a decade before they were good, he still had 3010 hits and a career batting average of .328. I guess you could say it made sense that Upper Deck wanted to use some fancy technology to show us his swing (turn your head sideways, it kind of makes sense).
However, Wade Boggs might be more famous because of the legend that claims he once drank 64 beers on a cross-country flight from Boston to Los Angeles. Regardless of what the actual number was, I think it’s pretty clear that Boggs liked a little drinky drinky in his day, and we should help keep the legend alive for future generations of high-functioning alcoholics.
1986 Fleer – 84 & 85 AL Batting Champs
In 1984, Don Mattingly hit .343 as a 23-year old and won the AL batting title, also leading the league in hits and doubles.
In 1985, Wade Boggs hit .368 (!), which got him the AL batting title that year. Only two players in the American League have hit higher than .368 since – Nomar Garciaparra in 2000 and Ichiro Suzuki in 2004.
In 1986, Fleer recognized that they both had spectacular mustaches, and made the baseball card you see above.
You see, there is value in the mustache.
1991 Donruss - Greg A. Harris
1991 Donruss - Greg W. Harris
Two Greg Harrises pitched in the Majors in 1990: Greg Allen Harris, who played for Boston that year, and Gregory Wade Harris, who played for San Diego.
How we know they’re different people:
Greg Allen Harris was known not only for being both a mediocre starter and a mediocre reliever, he also wore a funny-looking glove that could be worn on either hand, because he had the ability to throw with either hand. He even demonstrated this ability on 1991 Score.
Gregory Wade Harris, meanwhile, posted some pretty decent numbers as a reliever before being converted into a mediocre starter himself. He threw with his right hand only.
How we’re not sure they’re different people because we’ve never seen them in the same room together:
They both pitched, and for the most part they pitched in opposite leagues. Back before interleague play and the Internet, who really knew what was going on in the other league? There’s almost no way to tell that these alleged Greg Harrises were not just one person going back and forth from league to league, being average.
In 1993, there was a not particularly young pitcher (27 at the time) named Tim Wakefield.
1994 Topps - Tim Wakefield
Wakefield had burst onto the National League scene in 1992, but struggled mightily with the Pirates after that, to the point where he spent 1994 in Triple-A Buffalo. He wasn’t very good there, either.
In April of 1995, the Pirates released the by then 28-year-old Wakefield, and he signed a deal with Boston. He went on to pitch 17 pretty successful seasons with the Red Sox before finally retiring just a couple of days ago at the age of 45.
2011 Topps - Tim Wakefield
You can now find Wakefield somewhere in Florida with his grandkids, teaching them the ancient art of the knuckleball, something that he demonstrates for the young folk, above, on 2011 Topps.
1990 Upper Deck - Daryl Boston
I can totally understand why Daryl Boston looks confused here. His last name is Boston, but he’s playing in Chicago. I know what he was thinking: shouldn’t there be a big green wall in left field? Why are they all forgetting Bucky Dent’s middle name, “Fuckin’?” Maybe he’d just been sent to the wrong Sox.
The weird thing is, by 1990, Daryl Boston had been in Chicago for six years. You’d think it would have made sense by then.
In his defense, it sure confused me as a kid. I hear you, Daryl. Boston is not Chicago.
1989 Donruss - Spike Owen
Everywhere I looked (which included Wikipedia, Baseball Reference and the back of this baseball card), it looked like Spike Owen’s actual, real first name is Spike. That is incredible.
Obviously, I wanted to know more. Could this be real? Could a professional baseball player’s given name be Spike? I then found this.
Real name, Spike. Real awesome, yes.
Hats off to you, Spike Owen’s Parents.
1987 Donruss - Dwight Evans
Sometimes, in posed photos, ballplayers smile for the camera. Sometimes, they just sit there reluctantly. Sometimes, they are Dwight Evans on 1987 Donruss and they look like they’re going to jump off the cardboard and beat the shit out of you.
That is a mean looking scowl. I credit the mustache.
1990 Upper Deck - Oil Can Boyd (Lo Series)
1990 Upper Deck - Oil Can Boyd (Hi Series)
Things that need to be pointed out here:
-Awesome name… Oil Can. You just don’t see that anymore, it’s too bad.
-Red Sox uniform: hat perched way up high for that “I can do whatever the fuck I want” effect
-Expos uniform: glasses off for that “Clark Kent/Superman” effect
-Both cards: just a hint of the mass of gold chains Oil Can was famous for wearing. I remember one big delay in a game against the Blue Jays when someone had to come out and take them off for him, the umpires said it was distracting or something.
1984 Topps - Bill Buckner
When the 1984 season started, Bill Buckner had never even played a Major League game in Boston.
He had become a productive first baseman who had led the National League in doubles in 1983.
A ball had never gone between his legs in Game Six of the World Series.
Red Sox Nation hadn’t yet bestowed all their 68 years of hostility upon him.
But above it all in 1984, did he ever rock that mustache.
1986 Topps Traded - Tom Seaver
More Topps Traded airbrushing amazingness from the 1980’s, this time featuring Tom Seaver, who pitched in a total of 16 games for Boston in 1986 before calling it a career.
It’s disappointing to see such an all-time great wearing such a horribly airbrushed Red Sox hat, or any kind of Red Sox hat, for that matter. It’s like seeing Gretzky in a Blues jersey, Jordan playing for the Wizards, Reggie Jackson (in his prime, no less) suiting up for Baltimore, or that time Steve Carlton got his 4,000th strikeout during a six-game stint with the San Francisco Giants. It just doesn’t seem right. The airbrushing only makes it worse. Thanks, Topps.