The Quest

The Baltimore Orioles have been in town since '54 and have had over 900 men don their uniform. My goal is to obtain a signed card of each player. If you have something I need, or see something you want, don't be shy, we can make a deal.

Collection Statistics

Total Players 877/977 = 89.25%
1991 Orioles Crown Set
Total Players 309/465 = 66.45%
Alive Players 274/369 = 74.25

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Not To Be Outdone

The football card Gods are striking back, vying for my affection. And they seem to be doing a good job. I have been active on the trading market and have pulled in a few guys, much to the chagrin of my brother (more on that later).

Their most recent gifts:

Gibran Hamdan 2003 Bowman's Best Autograph #144

Alright, I know what you are thinking, who is this guy? He is the only former Indiana Hoosier, Redskin, Seahawk, 49er, Seahawk (again), Dolphin, Bill, Amsterdam Admiral and Toronto Argonaut to be of Pakistani descent, that's who. He was drafted by the 'Skins in the 7th round in 2003, making his only NFL appearance in the final game of the season. He never found the field again in the NFL, except in Europe, where he was named the 2006 Most Valuable Offensive Player. Even with impressive numbers in Europe he struggled to keep a roster spot and recently retired from professional football.

Chip Lohmiller 1993 Topps #69

I remember him to be a good kicker but didn't know how good. He was a second round draft pick, mighty high for a kicker and lived up to it while in Washington. He was a pro-bowler in 1991, leading the league in scoring and outscored the entire Indianapolis Colts team that season, 149-143. He grew up in Minnesota, went to school at the University of Minnesota, won a Super Bowl title in the Metrodome in Minneapolis and now coaches high school football in Minnesota. I think the man like Minnesota.

Joe Theismann 1991 Pro Line Portraits #56

This may very well be my favorite card ever and not just because of the signature. Everything about this card screams of Theismann, from the smug look on his face to the sheer ridiculous nature of the picture. I'm not a Theismann hater, but having listened to the guy over the last 10-15 years I have picked up a little conceit in his voice. It makes me want to break out some sweat pants with elastic on the bottom, so stylish. From this day forward, this card will be the only image I think of when I hear his voice, and I will laugh every time.

My brother is currently undertaking the same project, or at least thinking about it and keeps giving me grief that I trade for autographs. He wants to send away TTM for all his signatures. I am not that patient, I want to get my number up. Sure TTM is cool and feels good but to me, they all count. I could see this getting ugly as our collections grow, so I posed the question of a joint collection.

Am I crazy? Does anyone have joint collections that work?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

What's This? A Baseball Success?

Just when I was about to be converted to a football collector I received a sign to stay the baseball course. Two signs actually, one of the 1994 Bowman variety and another of the religious kind.

Joel Bennett 1994 Bowman #287

My second success of the month of November took nearly three months to make its way back and came at the best time. Bennett was a 22nd round pick by the Red Sox, from East Stroudsburg University, in the 1991 draft. After seven seasons in the minors he got his break with the Orioles and it was brief. He mopped up in two games in July of that year before returning to the minors, only allowing one run. At seasons end he was signed by the Phillies where he appeared in five games during the 1999 season recording his only two major league wins.

After '99 he pitched in the minors and independent leagues until 2007. He was a winner at every level but A ball, posting multiple 10 win seasons. After baseball Joel has stayed active, as a middle school Physical Education teacher and I am guessing baseball coach.


This is my religious sign, literally. On the reverse of this card, as with a lot of ballplayers, is the story of Joel's relationship with God. Normally I would keep the major issue card and put an oddball issue into the tradeable pile, but the signature is so much better than the Bowman. I wasn't able to track down a different card of his so the dark Bowman was all I could send. It shows pretty well on the scan, but in person is quite dark. If anyone is looking to add him to their collection he is available.

Friday, November 26, 2010

The Wrong Sport

I have been bitten by the Football bug. With a nip in the air and smash mouth football each weekend, I have been wooed away from my baseball autograph collection, momentarily. The last few weeks I have been developing a comprehensive list of all Washington Redskins to play since my birth (1980) and that has led to little baseball progress. Coupling the time commitment with a lack of TTM requests (40 waiting returns), blogging just hasn't made since. Until today.

I completed my first trade for a football autograph that showed up this afternoon. I know I am different from most Orioles fans by liking the Redskins, but I hope you can still enjoy this new endeavor.

Sultan McCullough 2003 Playoff Contenders Season Ticket #168

McCullough was a speed back from the University of Southern California, regarded as the fastest player in school history before becoming a Redskin. His career spanned one game, a 21-14 loss at the Dallas Cowboys on November 2, 2003. He carried the ball once for 9 yards and recorded three receptions for 13 yards. That equates to 2.5 fantasy points for those that can't separate fantasy from reality. Since his brief stint with the Skins he has played for the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL and appeared on the Cleveland Browns practice squad.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A 13 Day Major League Career

Tom Dodd was the 7ht overall pick in the 1980 draft by the New York Yankees, but didn't make his major league debut until 1986. He grinded it out with four minor league organizations and a second stint with the Yankees, until being called up by the Orioles on July 25.

His career spanned eight games and 13 at-bats during his short stint in Baltimore. He registered his two RBI's on his lone home run in 7-3 win versus the Texas Rangers. That game was the only he started, mainly making pinch hitting appearances for Jim Traber and Larry Sheets. After four more seasons in the minors Dodd called it quits.

Tom Dodd 1991 Orioles Crown #110

After his big league career Dodd moved back to Portland Oregon where he signs autograph requests in three weeks. Much appreciated.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Off Season Acquisitions

The Orioles haven't made any moves yet, but that hasn't stopped me. I dipped into a familiar well on this one, trading again with Aaron. I picked up a few guys who eluded me during the season and a Crown need, while giving up a few tougher signers. I think I did well.

Matt Albers 2008 Topps Update #UH-62

Albers was solid in the pen this year, recording a career high in wins with five. He was a go to guy in the pen appearing in 62 games. He gives the bullpen greater depth from the right side on the mound and a good foundation in relief. I like his stuff a lot and hope he can build on 2010 to make a big impact next season.

Leo Gomez 1991 Orioles Crown #158

Gomez may have been known more for his over sized glasses than his play on the field from 1990-95 (of course he took them off for this portrait). His numbers were better when he was a day-to-day starter in 1991 and 1992, but fell off when he was splitting time. He was a good infielder playing on the left side next to Cal. I remember getting his autograph on a ball as a kid but then ran out of baseballs to play with so took it to the field. I know for certain this one will stay safe, right in the personal collection.

Cesar Izturis 2009 Topps Update #UH-254

Izturis starts the trend of this trade of illegible autographs from professional players. "Cesar" is readable but the last name doesn't even seem to be there. At least the "3" is perfect.

Kevin Millwood 2010 Topps Heritage #248

Alright, I don't know where Millwood is going with this autograph. The "K" is sorta there, but that's it. It's fitting. A disappointing signature for a disappointing season. I for one was expected slightly more than four wins. He did lead the league in one category, losses. Ouch. I don't know why but I don't feel like Millwood will re-sign hear during free agency.

Will Ohman 2006 Upper Deck #556

Will was my favorite player to watch during this season. The guy was fearless and tried to dominate on every pitch. It wasn't always successful but the man went for it. And then he got sent away for Rick Vandenhurk. Ohman is a free agent this year so the trade makes sense because of the money he would demand, but I liked having him back there as a specialist. He's played for five professional teams but only has cards as a Cub, so this will have to do. Unless anyone has an extra Orioles postcard available.

Ty Wigginton 2009 Topps Update #UH-194

Wiggy was one of my first spring training successes this season, on a Mets card. No I didn't send him a Mets card, that's just what I got back. I was snuffed by him twice this season and was unable to reach him at a Wendy's fast food appearance, so trading was the only was to go. I have a 2002 Fleer Tradition Update Mets card available, need one?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Happiest Oriole

John Habyan 1991 Orioles Crown #171

Seriously, Habyan must have just gotten his first big league paycheck before this picture was taken. Either that, or he is elated at just being asked to pose for a photograph during spring training, as a major league player. I am sure the same could be said for me had I ever been in that position. Since I have not, I will judge.

Habyan is another tougher signer, only 32% on SCN, and it only took 10 days. I noticed a trend with his signing habits though, he signs mainly in the off season. It may be out of habit or just when things slow down for him personally, but post-season baseball seems to make Habyan happy with the sharpie.

Anyone need a 1988 Fleer signed card of his? I picked it up at the National this year and is now available with this newest addition.

Friday, October 22, 2010

John Bale Trade

When John Bale was in Baltimore he was perfect. Finishing his Baltimore career with a 1-0 record. He pitched in 13 games during the 2001 season, his first as a consistent member of a big league roster. After spring training the following season he was dealt to the Mets for outfielder Gary Matthews.

He has bounced around all levels of professional baseball, recently finding a steady gig in the Kansas City Royal bullpen. As a reliever his ERA is average but he just doesn't have the opportunity to win games, only three in his 109 appearances.

I tried reaching him in KC and the minors this year, both garnering return to sender responses so I had to make a trade. I gave up a Jimmy Key Collectors Choice autograph I had in reserve.

John Bale 2000 Fleer Tradition Update #U-30

I am tempted to try and have this card completed, partial dual autographs just don't look right to me. Anyone know where to find Clayton Andrews, he hasn't had a registered success in over a year?

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bringing Home a Baker

Frank Baker was the first TTM success from my last batch of 3o requests. I picked up a couple Crown sets to make up for misses I have had and those holes should start to fill in shortly. Bakers success came back in only nine days, all the way from Mississippi.

Frank Baker 1991 Orioles Crown #17

Baker was selected by the New York Yankees in the second round of the 1967 amateur draft. Three years later he was a big leaguer, appearing in 35 games and posting the best numbers of his career. Unfortunately they weren't great. 1971 was again spent in New York before being traded to the Orioles for Tommy Matchick. The change of scenery did not improve his numbers, but did allow Baker to see the postseason. He made two appearances against the Athletics in 1973 and 1974, never recording an at-bat. Following the '74 post season, Baker hung up the spikes, returning home to Mississippi to answer autograph requests of die-hard fans like myself.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Revisiting The Ghetto... For Football Cards

As some of you may remember, Ghetto is not a place, but a person. A card collecting person at that. His collecting exploits can be found here. Ghetto and I have been friends for over a dozen years but only trading for the last couple. That is if you don't count the cards I bought from his parents at card shows when I was a kid.

He and his dad are collecting base cards of the Orioles and Phillies and I decided to help. I have a ton of base cards that I don't need signed so I am shipping them his way. He put together a sweet care package of cards for me and may have started me off in a bad direction. Washington Redskins autographs, only 1000+ players on the all-time roster.

Fred Davis Autograph

Malcolm Kelly

Santana Moss

Clinton Portis I

Clinton Portis II

I know what you are thinking, only one autograph is not enough to start me off on a thousand autograph hunt? Wrong. He also included 100 base cards from the 70's and 80's, along with a couple team sets. Can you say football TTM Autographs? I think I can.

And since this is Eutaw Street Cardboard, here are the Orioles that came along.

Brian Burres 2007 Topps Chrome Autograph #347

Jon Knott 2007 Artifacts Autofacts #AU-JK

Scott Moore 2008 Topps Update & Highlights Autographs #HA-SM

Matt Riley 2000 Just Autographs #BA-25

The Burres makes its way into the collection by default, it fits in my nine pocket sheets. I have an oversized Sweet Beginnings Autograph that is now up for grabs. If anyone is looking these are all available.

Ghetto, thanks again for getting me psyched for Redskins autographs.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Minor League TTM Success

I guess since the minor league season is over they're not truly from the minors, but close enough. In exactly five months Omir Santos responded to my TTM request and it only took one month from Matt Tucker.

Omir Santos 2010 Topps Heritage #212

I had made a trade for a different Santos card after I had waited three months, not thinking it would show. I was wrong and am happy to add a card from the other New York team to my collection. A 2006 Bowman Heritage card featuring him as a Yankee very happily is available for trade. Getting a Yankee card out of the collection feels almost as good as crossing a name off the list. I just really hate the Yankees.

Matt Tucker 2010 Bowman Prospects #BP-72

Tucker spent the entirety of this season as a member of the Bowie Baysox but only appeared in 16 games. He had very little success this year while still struggling to find a consistent position on the field. He played SS, 2b, 3b, RF, LF and DH while failing to finish above the Mendoza line. Hopefully 2011 will be a return to form for Tucker and we may see him as a utility player at some point in the bigs. I have a double of this card signed if anyone is looking to add him as well.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Ending The Season With A Boog

Sunday was cold, rainy and miserable. Great day for a race and some Major League Baseball. If you want to read how I started my day, click here to read wifeys blog.

Olivia (wifey) and I braved the elements for the final game of the 2010 Orioles season, a 2-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers. The loss ended a four game winning streak, the longest of the season. With stats like that it is easy to see why we finished in the cellar of the A.L. East yet again. But I digress.

I thought with the Baltimore Ravens having a huge contest at the same time the stands would be sparse. I was mistaken. I saw the most people all season and the first base line was crowded with autograph seekers. It wasn't worth it to me to push and position with my wife in tow, so we walked around the stadium.

On Eutaw street there was a huge line of people waiting for Boog, the man, not the BBQ. He was sitting on a stool outside the BBQ stand holding court. About 50 people were in line to get an autograph or a picture and we stepped in line for the sure thing autograph. When we were about 5 people away I told Olivia she would be getting the graph, and she got a little nervous. She doesn't care for the autograph world and wasn't sure how to go about it.

She handled it like a true hound and walked away with this:

Boog Powell 1991 Orioles Crown #367

However, this is not her first baseball autograph. Wally Westlake sent her a personalized autograph when I sent him a TTM request. Olivia lived on the same street as Wally when she was living in Sacaramento, yet they had never met. I am trying to convince her to start her own collection but the bug hasn't hit her.

Wally added this one for me so I wouldn't feel bad.

The Boog is another double available for trade but was all we came home with.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Randy Miller Success

Jus my second TTM success of the month took quite some time to return. I purchased duplicates of sets I & II of the Crown set and plan on sending out a bunch of requests this week. I need to fill a few holes and bring home a few upgrades. Hopefully this one is the first on many to come.

Randy Miller 1991 Orioles Crown #303

Miller was the fifth round pick of the Orioles in 1974 out of the University of California, San Diego. He had phenomenal success in A and AA ball, prompting the Orioles to call him up in September of 1977. His lone appearance of the season came on September 7, with bad results. He six batters over .2 innings, allowing four hits and three runs for a 40.50 ERA.

After the season he was traded along with Rudy May and Bryn Smith for Joe Kerrigan, Gary Roenicke and Don Stanhouse. The rest of his major league career spanned five games with the Expos in 1978. I was unable to find anything interesting about him online, my usual go-to, wikipedia, proved quite useless. Anyone have anything on him?

Monday, September 27, 2010

An Inadvertent Break

It wasn't planned and wasn't on purpose, it just happened. I have been severely unmotivated the last week or so. I am not sure if it's the new season of Fall shows to watch on DVR, a ridiculously hard puzzle, football season or being completely drained following work. Whatever it is I haven't wanted to do anything, let alone write a blog post.

I still have a couple of old trades to catch up on, and even a TTM success if you can believe it.

So I am not posting any new stuff, just pictures of two of my favorite autographs, and the most expensive. Oddly enough neither of these autographs are in my Oriole collection, just hanging out in my Rick Dempsey collection.

2005 Donruss Signature INKcredible Combos Jim Palmer/Rick Dempsey #13

2005 Donruss Signature INKcredible Trios Cal Ripken/Jim Palmer/Rick Dempsey #44

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

On The Market

These guys were just added to the trade list if anyone is interested.

Antonio Alfonseca 2008 Upper Deck #194

Armando Benitez 1995 Topps #346

Jason Botts 2002 Topps #682

Josh Hall 2004 Playoff Prestige X-tra Bases Green #54

Dustan Mohr 2003 Leaf Press Proofs Red #61

Dustan Mohr 2005 Topps Gold #485

Fernando Seguignol 1999 Fleer Tradition Warning Track #W-99

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Tumultuous Year of Darren Holmes

Darren Holmes made his major league debut for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1990 as a reliever. Over the next nine seasons he was a serviceable reliever on four different rosters, until 2000.

Holmes started his second season with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2000 but did not last very long. He was released before the close of April and quickly picked up by St. Louis Cardinals. His numbers did get better as a Cardinal but that still meant a 9.75 ERA in five games.

Then it was on to Baltimore, a stop Holmes would surely like to forget. His ERA nearly tripled to 25.07 and he was released for the third time that season. The Diamondbacks gave him a second chance, or fourth depending on how you look at it. Amazingly, with a 9.20 ERA for the season, Holmes only recorded one loss, with no wins of course. He sat out the entire 2001 season before resurfacing with the Atlanta Braves for 2002 and 2003.

His team hopping in 2000 didn't allow time for any cards to be produced so I made a trade to go old school. A Joe Orsulak 1993 Score was all it took.

Darren Holmes 1990 Albuquerque Dukes CMC #6

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Carving Out His Own "Nook"

As part of the 50/50 deal that brought home Papa Raines, I sent a bunch of player cards I had to try and broaden my tradeable autographs. In stepped Nook Logan. I had a good amount of his cards so I sent eight and received four back for trade.

Nook Logan 2003 Donruss #58

Nook Logan 2003 Fleer Showcase #133

Nook Logan 2007 Topps Heritage #442

Nook Logan 2008 Topps Heritage #31

I thinks it's cool that he inscribes each autograph with the number he wore for the team pictured on the card. I have seen a few where the guy inscribes "his" number but never wore it for that particular team.

I am not sure if I am going to trade the Nationals autographs or give them to my nephew. For some odd reason my brother hasn't corrected his being a Nats fan. Entertaining any offers though.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Like Father, Like Son

Anyone who knows anything about Baltimore Orioles baseball knows about the father son connection of Cal Ripken Jr. and Cal Sr. But not everyone knows about Rock Raines and Tim Raines Jr.

Rock was a seven time All-Star outfielder that played mainly for the Montreal Expos, before bouncing around to end his 23 year major league career. His son, Tim, had a less distinguished three year career, all with the Birds. The father/son duo had the distinction of being the first and only combo to play against each other in a professional game. The elder Raines was a member of the Ottawa Lynx, while Junior was playing for our Rochester Red Wings. Maybe it was a coincidence, but directly after the game, Rock was recalled to the major leagues. You think the team wanted him to make history? Maybe just a little.

Before seasons end, Senior was traded to the Orioles as part of a conditional deal, joining his son on our roster. The reunion lasted until the end of the season and dad moved on to the Florida Marlins to end his career.

I made a 50/50 deal to bring both of these players to me at once.

Tim Raines Sr. 2002 Fleer Platinum #75

Somehow a man entering his 23rd season appears in a so called RC set. Anyone else find that a little odd? God bless the old way of producing cards, well before Christmas, to drive that holiday revenue. Senior appeared in only four games for the Birds in 2001 and was released November 6th. I guess that wasn't enough time to pull him from the set. Raines had a stellar career and is fighting his way toward greater HOF consideration, garnering over 30% of votes on last years ballot. Not sure he will ever get to 75%, but now that I have him as an Oriole, I would vote for him.

Tim Raines Jr. 2002 Upper Deck Vintage #61

Tim Raines Jr. 2000 Frederick Keys Grandstand #7

Junior spent parts of three seasons in the majors, all in the outfield and all with different jersey numbers. The changing jersey wasn't the only inconsistent thing with his game, he could not get it going at the plate. He also never developed into a base running threat like his father. After the 2003 season he was demoted to the minors before being released in 2005. Raines has been unable to crack a big league roster since then, but not for lack of trying.

Both of Tim Raines Jr's cards are available for trade if anyone is looking.

Friday, September 17, 2010


While looking on eBay for my Albert Belle autograph I came across A Brian Bass Orioles auto. Sort of.

Brian Bass 2008 Upper Deck Documentary Seasonal Signatures #BR

OK, he's not in an Orioles uniform but the card lists him as an Oriole. One out of two ain't bad. He never had a base card produced as an Oriole and only one other autograph.

Bass played in five games for the Birds in 2008 and 48 last season with decent results. He recorded six victories and averaged more than a strikeout an inning while in town. He was granted free agency in the off-season and signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His 2010 campaign has been pretty bad, spending more time in the minors than with the big club.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Send An Autograph Request, Receive Some Religion

Three weeks ago I sent another round of TTM requests and among them was Mickey Weston. I received my Orioles Crown card I sent to him along with a tri-fold personal religious statement. It is the most elaborate and wel done custom card I have received back as of yet. There are a total of five pages of text telling his personal story and relationship with God.

As I have said before I don't mind the religious responses, I just wouldnt respond the same way. I appreciate both autographs he sent to me and am happy about crossing another name from the Crown list.

Mickey Weston 1991 Orioles Crown #481

Mickey Weston Custom Card