Green Monster Greats: 10 Most Collectible Boston Red Sox of All-Time
The Boston Red Sox are one of the marquee teams in all of sports. They have a storied history that includes many superstar players that have had strong places in the hobby.. These players brought plenty of drama to Fenway. After decades of heartbreak and waiting for next year, the Red Sox finally reclaimed the World Series in 2004. They haven't looked back since, taking home the championship again in 2007 and 2013.
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That 2004 World Series, their first since 1918, brought about a new crop of heroes and a new level of notoriety. But how do they stack up against the greats who seemingly did it all in Boston except win a championship?
Below is a list of the top 10 Red Sox stars from a hobby perspective. Narrowing more than a century of baseball to just ten names means that several great players didn't make the cut. For some, it was because they split time with other teams. For others, they played so long ago that they don't have a huge place in today's hobby. Among those receiving consideration were Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Cy Young, Jimmie Foxx, Tris Speaker, Dwight Evans and Dustin Pedroia.
But enough about those who didn't make it, let's look at who did.
Top 10 Boston Red Sox Hobby Superstars
Babe Ruth isn't remembered nearly as much for being a member of the Red Sox as he is a Yankee. But we're talking Babe Ruth here. He rose to fame with the Red Sox as one of the league's best pitchers before heading to the Big Apple and becoming a slugging legend. In recent years, there have been a growing number of cards featuring the Bambino in his early years with Boston.
Manny's exit from New England was unceremonious. The fallout from being busted for PEDs was even worse. But even still, Ramirez was a key figure in Boston's 2004 and 2007 World Series wins, including being named the MVP of the 2004 series in which the Red Sox finally broke the dreaded curse.
Manny Ramirez cards don't enjoy the same popularity they once did. But history takes the long-haul into consideration. There will come a time when a lot of fans will remember the good times more than the dramatics that followed.
One of the most dominant pitchers of the 1990s and into the early part of the new millennium, Pedro Martinez won the Cy Young Award three times. He was also an instrumental part of Boston's 2004 World Series win. A character on and off the field, Martinez frequently found his name in the headlines while with the Red Sox.
Since retiring, the pitcher has appeared somewhat regularly in newer products. This includes a steady flow of autographs and memorabilia cards.
Remember when Nomar Garciaparra's name was whispered alongside those of Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez? Injuries may have derailed the shortstop's career, but Nomar still commands a lot of respect in the hobby. He may not have set a lot of records, but he was the face of the franchise was the hobby was going through a reinvention of sorts. As a result, there are plenty of interesting inserts to chase from the late 1990s.
Designated hitters don't get a lot of attention in the hobby. David Ortiz is one of the few exceptions. He was a key part in Boston's 2004, 2007 and 2013 World Series. Already a hobby star, Ortiz raised his standing even further in 2013, become a voice for the Boston Strong attitude that took over the city following the tragic bombing at the Boston Marathon early in the season. Ortiz capped the year off with a masterful World Series that included a World Series MVP trophy and lots of iconic photos of him celebrating with a helmet and ski goggles.
Wade Boggs was one of baseball's most dependable hitters in the 1980s. He was the AL batting champion five times between 1982 and 1988. Along with Roger Clemens, he was one of Boston's biggest stars during their challenge for the World Series in 1986.
Boggs' stellar play came at a time when the hobby was going through unparalleled growth. While this means an overabundance of many Wade Boggs cards, it also means that a lot of longtime and returning collectors have fond memories of the third baseman. He continues to appear somewhat regularly in current sets.
Carlton Fisk willing the ball fair in Game 6 of the 1975 World Series is one of baseball's most dramatic moments. And while the catcher went on to spend a good chunk of his career with the Chicago White Sox, it's the Red Sox that are on his Cooperstown plaque.
Fisk is one of the more affordable Hall of Famers. It seems that almost every modern set that has retired players features his instantly recognizable autograph in some form.
While with the Red Sox, Roger Clemens was one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball. He might not carry the same clout in the hobby as he once did thanks to high-profile allegations of performance enhancing drugs, but Clemens is still very popular in the hobby.
Most of his high-end cards come from his post-Boston playing days. He has a handful of early autographs with the team, but not many. There could be a renewed interest if Topps or another company is able to get Roger Clemens autographs in a Red Sox uniform.
Carl Yastrzemski spent his entire career with Boston and is one of their most decorated hitters. A perennial All-Star, he was the first American League player to top 3,000 hits and 400 home runs. Until Miguel Cabrera accomplished the feat, Yaz was also the last player to hit for the Triple Crown.
Yastrzemski is a vintage standout in the hobby. In addition to cards from his playing days, he's appeared in many modern sets including autographs and memorabilia cards.
Regarded by many as the game's greatest hitter, Ted Williams cards remain big draws in modern sets. While he doesn't have a lot of signed cards due to his death in 2002, he did sign some, most notably in 1992 Upper Deck Baseball. Collectors won't have to look too hard to find memorabilia cards though. For most, though, it's likely to be vintage Ted Williams cards that have the most appeal.
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