Tuesday, October 30, 2018


What a season. What a series. The Red Sox are world champions again, for the fourth time in fifteen years. 

This is the same franchise that sold Babe Ruth, that couldn't get Ted Williams a title. That iconic Carlton Fisk homer came in a series the Sox lost. And then there was Bucky bleeping Dent... Bill Buckner... Aaron Boone...

It's 4 to 1 Boston since 2000

This century is starting off a lot like the last one did. The Red Sox have now won four of the last fifteen World Series. Boston won five of the first fifteen World Series played from 1903 to 1918. Then they didn't win again for 86 years. 

So for those of you who are (understandably) sick of seeing the Sox win..there's always the chance that this '18 title will be the last of our lifetime. 

I doubt this is of any consolation to the Dodger fans out there... but this was the hardest one for me to enjoy. In 2004, it was all about breaking the curse. In 2007 it was about proving '04 was no fluke. I liked the Rockies and Todd Helton (former New Haven Raven) but I had no problem rooting against the still-new franchise. In 2013 Boston played the Cardinals (again) - a flagship franchise I had a lot of respect for - but one that had just celebrated two seasons prior. 

The Dodgers though..I like the Dodgers a lot. They were the first World Series champion of my baseball-loving life. They were my favorite aunt's favorite team. I was cheering for them last year. In that post I mentioned a picture I took at a photography studio in Cooperstown, posing as a 'lil Dodger. Here it is:

It's nice to see Dodger Stadium host two straight World Series, and it's great that Vin Scully and Tommy Lasorda and Sandy Koufax are still around and cheering for the boys in blue.

L.A. has always had great pitching, from Koufax and Drysdale to Fernando Valenzuela, Orel Hershiser, Clayton Kershaw, and now Walker Buehler. And they've been finding hidden gems like Max Muncy and Chris Taylor to plug in around Cody Bellinger and Justin Turner. Nearly all of their starters can play multiple positions. Dave Roberts has been a wizard with that roster.

Win or lose, the Red Sox-Dodgers series would have been memorable for that reunion alone.

Yes, Yasiel Piug is a weirdo and Manny Machado is kind of a jackass (Henry pointed out that Manny made the last out of the WS. Poetic justice I suppose.)

Which leads me to another reason I enjoyed this season less, despite the 108 regular season wins and the playoff wins over the hated Yankees and defending champion Astros...

The one guy who was injured all year..the one guy who didn't contribute..was my guy

Dustin Pedroia is my favorite Red Sox player and has been for a decade. Some Boston fans may be souring on him, but not me. I'll always admire his heart, his hustle, his max-effort swing and second base play. The guy's a grinder. He's the last link to the 2007 team, and one of the last two links to the 2013 team. (Then-rookie Xander Bogaerts is the other.)

Pedey and David Ortiz are the only Sox this century with three rings. Ortiz did it all in '13; he carried that team to the title and was pretty much the only player coming through in the clutch. Pedroia got one hit in '18. Total. All year.

This will be the crown jewel of a career for some potential Hall of Fame players. Mookie Betts. David Price. Craig Kimbrel. Chris Sale. Possibly Ian Kinsler and Xander Bogaerts. 

My latest COMC purchase. I also picked up a 1933 Goudey card...of a Dodger.

And now that they have the ring, it's time to get paid. Kimbrel and Kinsler are free agents, and Price can join them if he opts out. He's said he won't ..but that was before he did what the Sox paid him to do.

Sale, Bogaerts, and Rick Porcello are unsigned beyond next year. J.D. Martinez can opt out after the '19 season; he's as good as gone. Hope you enjoyed this group, Sox fans.

Kershaw can opt out of his Dodgers contract this winter. I hope he doesn't - or if he does, I hope it's only so he can sign a long-term deal to stay in L.A. 

Sky-high salaries are one thing. But these opt-out clauses are ridiculous. Basically, if you do what you're supposed to, you get to leave and/or make more money. If you suck, the opposite should be true...right?

Think this will work on David and J.D.? Yeah...neither do I.


Saturday, October 27, 2018


Well...that was exhausting. 

The Dodgers outlasted the Red Sox in an 18-inning marathon last night/this morning, winning 3-2 in the longest World Series game of all-time in the history of ..ever. 

If you stayed up to watch the whole thing, I tip my hat to you - especially if you're in the Eastern time zone. In yesterday's post I assumed that the game would end after 1 a.m. due to it being in Los Angeles. (Forgot about the east coast bias; the game started at 8 p.m. est)

Clearly I was wrong.

When it was 1-1 I thought Oh good, an old-fashioned pitcher's duel. This should be over in three hours. That was wishful thinking. Due to a very vivid and slightly odd dream about Anna Kendrick, I was awake at 4:30 a.m. on Friday. I didn't go back to bed (mistake #1) and I didn't nap yesterday afternoon despite having the day off (mistake #2.) 

As the game kept going and going, and both teams spent their reserves (Boston was playing Christian Vazquez at first base) I was running out of gas - as I'm sure both bullpens were about to. I couldn't make it through the 13th inning; I went to bed at 1 a.m.

The Dodgers had Scott Alexander pitching in the 12th, a guy I had never heard of until then (looking over the rest of the Dodgers' pen, it seems that he's the only guy I didn't know.) Boston brought out Nathan Eovaldi, who was scheduled to start today. He did give the Sox six innings, and he did get a decision on his scheduled start date. But...damn.

I'm not mad at Nate. I'm mad at the trend in baseball, of pulling starters in the 5th inning and spending reliever after reliever until you run out of reliable arms in the 10th inning. This was bound to happen to someone..Unfortunately it happened to "us."

I spent some money at Target yesterday. Pulled three Cody Bellinger cards ...and no Red Sox.

I'm a little mad at myself for not having the energy to watch the end of this classic game. Sure I would have been annoyed that I stayed up until 3:30 a.m. only to see my team lose. But it's a badge of honor for a sports fan. I can still remember watching a Flyers-Penguins 5-overtime playoff game that kept going and going, for about as long as last night's did. I had to see when this marathon would finally end. And I didn't care about either team.

Games like these take a lot out of a team - especially the losing team. Boston has to get up off the mat, find someone who can pitch, and try to piece together win #3 tonight. 

It would help if the bats would wake up.  


Friday, October 26, 2018

Dream Journal

We were there to celebrate Anna Kendrick's birthday.

I seemed to be the only one who remembered that. The hallways lacked decoration - aside from a festive pumpkin or two - and the signs were geared toward the upcoming election. Vote for this guy! Vote for this issue! No indication of why we were there - why I was there - revealed itself until I entered the room.

This was less a ball room and more of a buffet line. Not at all suitable for a campaign rally, or a celeb's birthday. But no one was treating Anna like a famous actress.

A line of dignitaries formed to my right. I heard them before I saw them. The grandfatherly Joe Biden was the only one I recognized. He was whispering to the other men, all dressed in expensive suits. All barely paying lip service to the occasion.

One of those men, a younger gentleman than Joe, was whispering louder. "You'd better do something, Joe. We're sick of losing. We're sick of being embarrassed. And if you don't do something, I'll have to--"

A small canister fell from Joe Biden's hand, clanging against the metal pot atop the buffet table, before rolling to the ground. "Oh, would you look at that? I dropped something." He bent down to pick up what appeared to be a palm-sized can of Burt's Bees lip balm. "..What timing."

As he bent down to pick it up I hit the ground myself, using the buffet table as cover. I guided Anna down to the floor with me. "He's gonna make this about him."

Anna was attired in a maitre'd uniform - a white blouse with black accents - like she was catering the affair rather than the reason for it. I suspected that Joe was going to announce his run for President and suck away all the attention I felt she deserved. It became my mission to celebrate her - even if I was the only one doing so.

"I'll have that drink now." She said to me. The dignitaries had worn her down with their riff-raff. She needed an escape. We searched for a secluded place to talk, and drink. Outside the industrial-style building we found a trolley car. 

The room at the back was occupied by an already-tipsy woman in a magenta dress, flailing her legs over the seat. She appeared to be in her mid-50s, still trying to be sexy - and kind of pulling it off. "Oh, come on!" an exasperated Anna said when she spotted her. I got the feeling the two women were related.  

We found another trolley car and talked.. or started to. A swarm of young kids dressed mostly in sports jerseys interrupted us, jumping up at the windows and shouting questions at me. "Hey, did you tell her?" "Did you kiss her yet, man?" "Did you tell her?" 

I was flabbergasted. 

"Well, I can't if I don't get some privacy!" I snapped back. Worried that one or more of them would start crying and ruin my chances with Anna, I quickly softened. "I'm sorry for yelling. But, you know..we have to bond, click, connect, huddle..well, not huddle."

Why did I say that? That word "huddle" didn't fit at all, and yet it made sense to misuse it. It seemed like the kind of disjointed thought pattern Anna would relate to. 

Some time later we all gathered in a small theater. A burgundy rug divided the room. I sat front row center, glancing over my shoulder at the faceless crowd behind me. Was Joe Biden one of them? Was anyone paying attention?

Anna was on stage. She peeked out from beneath the big red curtains. I couldn't tell if she was feeling nervous, or underappreciated, or both. "You got this." I mouthed to her. She rocked back a bit, hesitating. I wasn't sure she'd go through with it. And then she sang....

She didn't actually sing this in my dream. Some other unrelated thing happened and then I was trapped in a storage unit and then I woke up. At 4:30 a.m. And I couldn't fall back to sleep (my body had decided it was fully rested for some reason) so I wrote this down because I like to memorialize dreams like these...and then I did some COMC challenges.

Anyway, I've got to take a nap this afternoon so that i don't fall asleep during the Red Sox-Dodgers game, which will probably end after 1 a.m. since it's in Los Angeles. So if this post seems bizarre to you, blame the sleep deprivation ;D

Thanks for reading this random story. Have a great weekend. Go Sox!


Thursday, October 25, 2018

Quick PSA post

I know I said my next post would be about baseball..but I wanted to get this PSA out to those of you who shop on eBay. Apparently I missed out on the $5 off coupon, but there is a 10% off coupon on there now that expires tomorrow at 8am. Wouldn't want you guys to miss out on it if you choose to use it. 

For my 10% off purchase, I added a 1984-85 O-Pee-Chee single to my slabbed set, which I've nicknamed the "Money Pit" because I'm well aware that there are much better ways to blow my meager sports card budget than to pay upwards of $15 on common cards from the 1980s.

That said, this Tom Fergus card cost "only" $7.95. I saved a whopping 44 cents off the BIN price of $4.39. Shipping was $4, which is high even for a slabbed card. But I can't be picky at this point; I only need 82 cards in the 396-card set and affordable singles are drying up.

I hadn't been adding to my OPC set much this year, until a couple of recent purchases. Last week I came across an eBay seller from Pittsburgh who had two singles I needed. After some back-and-forth best offers I decided to purchase both cards, which arrived today:

This completes my first '84-85 OPC team set, which is interesting for two reasons. I'm at over 79% completion of the entire set..and it's taken me this long to finish one team

Also, the 1983-84 Penguins were one of the worst teams in hockey history...which (as I mentioned in my Pittsburgh post) enabled them to draft Mario Lemieux in 1984. 

I still need this card..and while I wouldn't get it PSA graded I would consider it part of my set. 


Monday, October 22, 2018

The Basketball card Diaries

I am in the process of adding every single card in my collection to the Trading Card Database. With any luck, this project will be completed by the end of 2018. I'm starting with the sport I have the least amount of cards: basketball. 

Instead of advertising when this project is complete, I thought I'd share some of my random thoughts about my initial experience with TCDB, the cards I have to trade, and the cards I want to keep (or acquire.) And so, here is the first installment of...

I've actually never seen this film. Is it good? Would you recommend?

Let me start by acknowledging that thousands of basketball cards were issued before 1986. Some of them are pretty fantastic, and if I had unlimited funds and unlimited time I would definitely add a few dozen key cards to my collection. 

But one way to (slightly) narrow my card collecting focus is to bypass any issues that were before my time. It's an unwritten and not-always enforced rule I've made for every sport -- except baseball, of course. 

It's very easy to follow this rule with basketball. I don't consider myself an expert on the players or teams (or even card sets) of the pre-MJ era, and with all due respect to the Star sets of the early-mid 1980's I feel like the rebirth of Fleer in 1986-87 is a good place to start my wantlist.

On second thought, since I don't have any 1986-87 Fleer cards in my collection and the cost of adding them outweighs my interest in them (except maybe the Olajuwon RC), I'm starting with the year after - and the year before the year I bought my first basketball cards - 1987-88.

The two oldest cards in my star box are of HOFer Moses Malone. 

  • In order to ensure that every single card was added to the Database I had to remove the commons from my base card binders, merge them with my traders, and sort them chronologically (to the best of my knowledge). Then I added the star player base cards and any RCs/inserts/parallels the pile. This disturbs the uniformity of my collection - all of my base cards are in binders - but it might prove to be a good way to keep an entire sport in one place (I don't have any favorite basketball players/teams, and very few singles worth over $10) while also freeing up the binder pages for other collections.

It took me a moment to figure out the options I had when marking each card in my TCDB collection; it's very convenient to assign a card to your collection, trade/sell list, or wantlist. Since the first Fleer sets are small I decided to flip through each card and add a few to my wantlist.

In some ways, 1987-88 Fleer cards look like they could have been from the late 1970s. A lot of the photos are too close-up, the backgrounds are too dark, and the colors are kinda off. The old Clippers and Kings uniforms are interesting to me, though. And I found myself pausing at names I'd only known from the back panel of a Starting Lineup figure: Steve Stipanovich. Alton Lister*. David Greenwood.

When I started adding cards to my want list I got a bit of sticker shock. Then I realized a lot of the cards I wanted were second-year issues of legendary players. (Not MJ though. I couldn't afford his Fleer cards if I wanted to.)

 *Actually, Lister never had an SLU. I'm not sure how I know his name.

It took about two minutes to go through 1988-89 Fleer - a set I'm passively collecting. I added the few singles in my box and clicked "add all missing cards in this set to wantlist" (love this feature, btw) Boom. Done. Except...I have graded cards for this set. 

At some point I'll have to figure out how to add these to my collection and specify their slabbiness. (Is that a word? If not, it is now.)

The "add all missing cards in this set to wantlist" feature is now determining which sets I attempt to complete. A few years back I bought a discounted box of 1989-90 Hoops and ended up at least 50 cards short of the full set. These cards brought back great memories for me, but I didn't feel like finishing the set was worth the time and money. I thought I'd broken up a good chunk of it, but according to the TCDB meter I still have over 61% of it.

Wait a second...there were short prints in that set?! No wonder some of these cards do not look familiar to me. At least they're all obscure bench warmers that Hoops probably figured no one would miss. (Unlike Topps, who blatantly SPs many of the best players.)

Almost Immediately after adding these overproduction-era commons to my wantlist I got my first trade offer. Having added all of my 2015-16 Donruss dupes to my tradelist before creating a wantlist gave me some inventory to offer. I'm now sending six superstars to Sweden in exchange for a chunk of '89-90 Hoops singles - some of which I shipped off to Roy (Bulldog) a couple of weeks ago. Easy come, easy go.

  • Once I got into the 1990s it was a lot more time-consuming to flip through every card and decide if I should add it to my wantlist. I gravitated toward star players I liked, interesting photos, and defunct teams like the Sonics and (original) Hornets. Most of my commons got posted to the "for sale/trade" list, not because I expect to exchange Vernon Maxwell cards for Karl Malone cards, but as a way to help out any set builders out there. So far I've only been notified of one match: someone needs two of my 1991-92 Upper Deck singles. 

1991-92 Skybox is one of my favorite 'old school' basketball sets. Your definition of 'old school' may vary, but for me I was quite literally in school at the time. However I decided against going for the set because it is Huge. Instead I'm focusing on '92-93 and '93-94 Fleer Ultra. Again, I had not planned on doing so before the TCDB project began. But I s'pose I need something to acquire - in case no one wants to part with their Reggie Miller or Hakeem Olajuwon cards. Also, I'm adding a lot of team logo and checklist art cards to my wants. Obscure players are tempting me, as are UConn alums, but I'm holding off on those for now.

The early nineties color wheel - all on one card

I have to say that whatever concerns I had about once again reshuffling my cards from the binders to the box are mitigated by the convenience of having a list on TCDB. That will save me from having to pluck them out of the boxes unless I'm shipping them off in a trade or I mistakenly identify the year of a card - which happens a lot with inserts and unnumbered special cards. Also I learned that some of the cards I had were from either a McDonald's set I was unaware of, or an Italian version of a base Upper Deck set. 

Some other observations:

  • Michael Jordan insert cards are expensive AF. I kinda knew they would be but...damn.
  • There are very few rookie cards from 1990-94 that interest me. Maybe a Shaq Topps RC (which the store I worked in was selling for like $25 at the time of its release) ..or this:

1990-91 Hoops was a huge part of my childhood, but this is the only card I want back. I can't explain why.

  • I have too many Chris Dudley cards. Seriously, take them off my hands. My Connecticut collection can survive without Brett Kavanugh's drinking buddy.
  • I have too many B.J. Armstrong cards. He appears in my collection more frequently than any non-HOFer except Otis Thorpe. But I liked Otis and the Rockets, so that's understandable. Less understandable is why I can't stop pronouncing his name like I'm Denis Lemieux in Slap Shot.

I hope you enjoyed the first installment of The Basketball Card Diaries. I'll have another entry up once I finish the '90s..which I plan to do during the World Series. Did you know Mookie Betts was named after basketball player Mookie Blaylock and not baseball player Mookie Wilson?

For you non-NBA fans you can bet that my next post will be about baseball.  ;-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

5 Minute Post* - Pack Attack

If you've read any of my previous posts (like the critically-acclaimed Sports Card Tour series) you know that I write very long, article-length posts here..so I wasn't even going to attempt this five minute posting challenge that's made its way 'round the blogosphere. 

That said, I am interested to see how quickly I can complete this post (scanning time not included) and since my daughter has a soccer game in about an hour I'll attempt a timed post starting... now. 

A couple months ago I reached out to Roy (aka Bulldog) about a potential football card trade. I had organized all my binders and boxes, and had lots of room for star player base cards. Roy is one of the few football card collectors on my blogroll, and offered to send me a bunch of Packers cards. 


The box he sent me was loaded with well over 300 cards of the green and gold. Lots of inserts, and Packers greats. This post wont be able to capture a fraction of Roy's generosity. 


I have been waiting to discuss these cards until after a Packers win; and we got one last night when Aaron Rodgers led the Pack to a 33-30 victory over San Fran. He truly is The Franchise. (I missed out on an Adrian Peterson insert from that set because I was out of cash and needed one more COMC challenge. Someone bought it to flip. The next day I was able to earn $3 in challenge credit...

...which left me about a dollar short in buying this card. However, it was discounted further while I was on my lunch break. I had to sell a card I needed from my set (Thnks Fr Th Mmrs, Walter Tavares) at a 3 cent loss so I could snag this gold parallel #d/99. But it's mine now.


I got my first cards of Yancey and Fackrell, and first Packers card of Jimmy Graham thanks to Roy. So happy for Mason Crosby after the crappy game he had against the Lions. The 27-yard winner wasn't pretty but it got the job done.

I still haven't finished sorting all the cards Roy sent. I was only able to go up to 2012 with the 9-pocket pages and binder space at my disposal. Also, our office moved away from the comic book shop I used to hit up for supplies and packs of Topps baseball. I mss that place already.

Also, I now have loads of Packers dupes to trade. I'm working on adding my traders to TCDB so I wont be blogging as much as I'd like until that's done. Speaking of which...

 See? I told you I can't write a post in five minutes.

Wisconsin sports teams had a good night last night. I'm hoping Travis Shaw gets to face his old team in the WS - even though they've got a couple of jerks on the Brew Crew I find myself pulling for the small-market squad that has never won a WS and rarely even makes it to the postseason. I wouldn't mind if the Dodgers won the NLCS, but I definitely don't want a repeat of last year. ;)


Saturday, October 13, 2018

The Franchise

One of my favorite inserts of the 1990s was Score's The Franchise, particularly the 1993-94 edition. Not because it was flashy or rare, but because the black backgrounds and smooth, semi-glossy coating were like an oasis among the dull, white-bordered base cards.

I opened a lot of '93 Score baseball, football, and '93-94 hockey - probably more than any brand in a single year. These were my peak years of card collecting, so I can't say for sure that I had more Score than any other set. However I am certain that I had more of this design than any product that year, due to the sameness across all three sports.


The other thing I liked about The Franchise cards was in the name. Score chose each team's most indispensable player. I hadn't seen anything like that before on a baseball card; it was like a cross between the Topps Team Leaders of the '80s (which identified the longest-serving player or "dean" of each franchise) and the Team MVP cards Upper Deck produced later in '93.

Some teams had an obvious Franchise player nearly every fan/collector could agree on. It was less obvious if a team had too much talent (or not enough), or if there was a significant amount of roster turnover. For example: Barry Bonds was the National League MVP in 1992 and 1993 but he was not a Score Franchise player because he had left the Pirates after the '92 season and signed with San Francisco.

Since this is the 25th anniversary of the first Franchise insert set* I thought I'd go through each team's franchise player - Then and Now.

I'm not counting '92 Franchise; there are only three subjects - legends who were long retired at the time

The 1993 Franchise players were selected based on their 1992 status; my 2018 picks will be based on the just-completed season. Here they are:

Arizona Diamondbacks
1993: team did not exist
2018: Paul Goldschmidt Led the Snakes in WAR. Approaching the franchise record for games played.

Atlanta Braves
1993: Terry Pendleton The 1991 NL MVP led the team in WAR in 1992.
2018: Freddie Freeman 2018's team leader in WAR has been a Brave for the entire decade.

Baltimore Orioles
1993: Cal Ripken The 1991 AL MVP had one of his worst seasons in '92.
2018: Adam Jones Has probably played his last game as an Oriole, but I can't think of a worthy successor.

Jon (A Penny Sleeve For Your Thoughts) sent me this 1997 Score Franchise Ripken recently. I had never seen these Franchise inserts until he posted this card on his blog. The '97 set only has nine subjects - including two from the Orioles and two from the Braves, which defies "Franchise" logic IMO.

Boston Red Sox
1993: Roger Clemens 1992 was Rocket's last great season with the Sawx.
2018: Mookie Betts A top contender for this year's AL MVP award. He's gotta step up in the postseason though.

Chicago Cubs
1993: Ryne Sandberg Greg Maddux won the Cy Young in '92 before leaving the Windy City for Atlanta.
2018: Javier Baez Tough to choose between Baez and "Bryzzo", but Javy had a monster year in '18.

Chicago White Sox
1993: Frank Thomas The "Big Hurt" was just entering his prime in the early '90s.
2018: Jose Abreu 7th on the Sox in WAR this year. Reynaldo Lopez led the team. I'm not picking Reynaldo Lopez.

Cincinnati Reds
1993: Barry Larkin Reds legend was an NL All-Star 12 times - but not in '92.
2018: Joey Votto Still the man in Cincy, but Eugenio Suarez is ready to take the reigns.

Cleveland Indians
1993: Carlos Baerga Tough call between Baerga, Kenny Lofton, and Albert Belle.
2018: Francisco Lindor Also a tough call. Corey Kluber has two CYs and Jose Ramirez is an MVP contender.

Colorado Rockies
1993: David Nied A Braves prospect in 1992, he was the Rockies' 1st pick in the expansion draft.
2018: Nolan Arenado The best all-around third baseman in baseball.

Detroit Tigers
1993: Travis Fryman All-star and silver slugger award winner in 1992, when he took over for injured Alan Trammell at shortstop.
2018: Miguel Cabrera Miggy's career might be near its end but I'll stick with him over Nick Castellanos.

Houston Astros
1993: Jeff Bagwell Score made the right call, even though he had only played two seasons with the 'Stros.
2018: Jose Altuve I'm going with the 2017 AL MVP here. The defending champs scare me as a Sox fan.

Kansas City Royals
1993: Gregg Jefferies I don't know about you, but when I think of the Kansas City Royals I think of Gregg Jefferies.
2018: Salvador Perez Alex Gordon has been in KC longer, but Salvy is a six-time All-Star.

Los Angeles/California/Anaheim Angels
1993: Mark Langston The Angels' roster was pretty bland in '92. Langston was their only All-Star.
2018: Mike Trout No explanation needed.

Los Angeles Dodgers
1993: Brett Butler Veteran leadoff man stole 41 bases for the '92 Dodgers (their worst-ever season in L.A.)
2018: Clayton Kershaw Small chance he could leave for greener pastures this off-season - if there are any.

Miami/Florida Marlins
1993: Bryan Harvey Florida's first veteran star got MVP and CY votes after a monster '93 season.
2018: J.T. Realmuto When he is inevitably traded, Brian Anderson will be The Franchise. Yikes. 

Milwaukee Brewers
1993: Robin Yount Score got this one right (ahem) though Yount was nearing the end of his great career.
2018: Christian Yelich The first-year Brewer is a favorite for NL MVP. I'll take that over Ryan Braun's (ahem) legacy.

Minnesota Twins
1993: Kirby Puckett One year removed from his unforgettable postseason in 1991.
2018: Jose Berrios I'm going with a wild card here, since Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano have disappointed.

Joe Mauer and David Wright were an early inspiration for this blog post, but I was too busy to post it as they concluded their careers. While neither are all-time greats (Mauer has a chance at eventually getting to Cooperstown) I appreciate that they played with just one Franchise. The "lifers" list is a short one - and it will surely get shorter this winter.

New York Mets
1993: Bobby Bonilla Throwback to when the Mets were paying Bobby Bo for actually playing for them.
2018: Jacob deGrom Can he win the Cy Young after winning just ten games?

New York Yankees
1993: Don Mattingly Throwback to when Steinbrenner was banned "for life" and Gene Michael rebuilt the farm.
2018: Aaron Judge Start spreadin' the news...Thaaaa Yankees lose. (sorry, I had to!)

Oakland Athletics
1993: Dennis Eckersley Eck won the AL MVP and Cy Young award in 1992.
2018: Khris Davis If you'd prefer Matt Chapman I won't argue with you.

Philadelphia Phillies
1993: Darren Daulton "Dutch" won a silver slugger in 1992 and led the NL in RBI.
2018: Aaron Nola He'll get plenty of Cy Young votes but I can't see him winning it over deGrom and Scherzer.

Pittsburgh Pirates
1993: Andy Van Slyke Became their best outfielder after Barry Bonds went to San Fran.
2018: Starling Marte Became their best outfielder after Andrew McCutchen went to San Fran.

St. Louis Cardinals
1993: Ray Lankford I'm kind of surprised Score didn't select Ozzie Smith...
2018: Matt Carpenter ...that said, I'm passing on Cardinal icon Yadier Molina.  

San Diego Padres
1993: Gary Sheffield Had a higher WAR and batting average than Tony Gwynn in '92. But I'd still pick Mr. Padre.
2018: Wil Myers Tied for the team lead in WAR despite playing only half the season.

San Francisco Giants
1993: Will Clark Score was unaffected by the Giants' addition of NL MVP Barry Bonds.
2018: Buster Posey Still the man in San Fran. Still young enough to bounce back from a sub-par season.

Seattle Mariners
1993: Ken Griffey, Jr. Score declared Griffey the Franchise player of all Franchise players.
2018: Edwin Diaz Cano and King Felix are declining, so why not a guy with 57 saves and an astounding 15.2 K/9?

Tampa Bay Rays
1993: team did not exist
2018: Blake Snell Give this guy the AL Cy Young award #winsstillmatter

Texas Rangers
1993: Juan Gonzalez Led the AL in home runs in '92 and '93.
2018: Adrian Beltre It's possible he'll retire or sign with another team. 

Toronto Blue Jays
1993: Roberto Alomar Of the five future HOFers on the '92-93 Jays, Robbie was the only one in his prime.
2018: Justin Smoak Marcus Stroman took a big step back and Kevin Pillar doesn't hit well enough.

Washington Nationals (Montreal Expos)
1993: Larry Walker Won his first gold glove and sliver slugger awards with the Expos in '92.
2018: Max Scherzer Even if Bryce Harper doesn't leave, Max is the man in DC. Scherzer's WAR was nearly 8 points higher than Harper's.

If you've read this far, I'd be happy to hear your thoughts on each team's Franchise player, or your favorite Score Franchise cards. I'll try to write a similar post about hockey or football if there's interest (and time). Hope you all have a great weekend! Go Sox!