Monday, February 11, 2019

#32 - Craig Breslow

What’s that Turtle doin’? This is probably technically a live game photo from the field of play. There would be no way or much reason to worry about knowing for sure. I am going to Blogger label it a "Candid" as it does contribute nicely to some baseball card variety in this set.

The only action on the card is the standard habit of a Pitcher rubbing the baseball vigorously to improve his grip on it. Though only, probably - the viewer can't confirm that a baseball is actually present in Breslow's hands. But I bet it would take a little while to find another baseball card depicting this particular baseball playing activity, so that makes me like this card.

Given the overall relaxed nature of the image, I like the torso-only approach here, which is perfectly framed/composed.

The other items of interest in the image are no less than 3 shoulder accessories to consider. For the classic red socks the Red Sox wear on their left shoulder, on the road uniform only, this is probably the best card in the set for showing them off. And probably one of the best examples of them on a baseball card I can think of. Sometimes using a from-the-uniform logo in the design of a baseball card can result in duplicative or even triplicate usage of the logo, sometimes in close proximity on the card design and the player photo, and that can get a little nutty on some cards. Two pairs of Sox, as on this card, feels just fine though.

Also interesting are the 2 items on Breslow's right shoulder. The "Fenway 100 Years" patch was worn by the Red Sox in 2012 and the best on-card example of it could be (we'll see...) a 'manufactured patch' card I included in the post for the first Red Sox card in the set, #15 - Dustin Pedroia.

What do I mean about a 2nd item on his right shoulder? There is also a black armband being worn, something easy to miss on a baseball card. This is a memorial effort for Boston Red Sox all-around everyman with the club, Johnny Pesky. He died on Aug. 12, 2012 after a near complete lifetime in a Red Sox uniform, as a player (debuted in 1940), manager, coach, broadcaster, front office employee, roving instructor, and general historical lodestar for decades; he was sometimes referred to as "Mr. Red Sox." 

The black armband was only worn on the road uniform for the balance of the 2012 season, due to the use of the red socks patch on the left shoulder. On home uniforms at that time, a more traditional round uniform # (6) patch was worn on the left shoulder. I can't recall seeing a clear image of that on any Topps Baseball card, but I will certainly be watching for even traces of it on all my 2013 Boston Red Sox baseball cards.

Uniform Hero? As with the previous card, another technical "yes." Placing a basic journeyman reliever amidst all the star power in this checklist sequence is basically the third wtf? on this idea.

I suspect that here again, a player team change may have resulted in just an ordinary player assuming this card #. The most famous player to wear #32 in 2012 was Josh Hamilton, who's star was still burning it's way brightly onto many Topps cards in 2013 releases. However he had signed with the California Angels in mid-December 2012 as this set was being assembled; he would appear on a couple insert cards in Series One as a Texas Ranger and in Series Two as a California Angel, and more importantly, his base card was issued in Series 2.

Quite likely, it was simpler to just plug in any other random Uni #32 player right here and keep on makin' more baseball cards.

Where’d the egg hatch? Craig Breslow was originally drafted by the Brewers in the 26th round in 2002, making him the highest draft round selection in the set so far.

How about the migrations? He eventually debuted in MLB action with the Padres, commencing a fairly normal career arc for a reliever that included pitching for 7 teams, and 3 of them twice. Across his career, he would appear on only 4 Topps Baseball cards, this one being his third.

Perhaps being placed in this checklist spot created excellent luck for Breslow as his 2013 season was probably his best, statistically, and he was able to enjoy being a key cog in a bullpen for a World Series winning team.

Breslow would remain in Boston through the 2015 season and retire after the 2017 season, his 12th. In the winter of 2019 he was hired to work in the Chicago Cubs organization on the strength of his reputation in the game as being one of the smartest players around, a rep slightly fore-shadowed on the back of this very baseball card...

Don’t flip over real Turtles.

Now that is the kind of just exactly perfect uselessly entertaining / entertainingly useless information one enjoys reading on the back of a Topps Baseball card, particularly for one featuring a player in New England.

Can the Turtle Catch the Rabbit?

CAREER CHASE: With 358 games pitched, Breslow is 894 away from Jesse Orosco's all-time record of 1,252.

This is a new record chase to consider, although this is still only the fourth Pitcher card in the set. Still I doubt anyone having already read a passel of these nerdy little baseball card back lines expected to consider a Jesse Orosco All-Time record on the back of this one, or already knew that Jesse Orosco held an All-Time record. Topps, keeping you connected to The Game.

For a middle reliever, this is of course the perfect record to consider. I expect we won't see this Career Chase very much until we reach the Update cards, several baseball seasons from now.

Craig Breslow pitched in 576 Major League Baseball games in his career.

Subspecies? Nope.

Bling That Shell Given the Hall of Fame future of this particular page of 9 Topps Baseball cards, I am always surprised when I look at this page at how things worked out for this card in particular. That probably traces back to a mixed lot purchase of some of these parallels, which supplied the next card in the checklist and in turn probably made using one of the parallels with the 2 highest prints (unknown in total) for one of the 2 most common players on the page -- a bit of a fait accompli here:

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