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

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

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bringing Home Belle

Albert Belle has been elusive for autograph seekers, dating back to his playing days. He was known to be standoffish rarely taking the time to sign. He has even gone so far as to request his address not be listed in autograph publications. That is determination from a man who just will not sign. That is unless he was paid to do so by the major card companies during his playing career. I had to revert to the old eBay for one. He only has two major issue autographs as an Oriole and the Sweet Spot Auto was just too pricey.

Albert Belle 2001 Fleer Autographics Silver #'d 88/250

For someone as reluctant to sign as Belle I am shocked at how good his signature is. He is one of the few guys to sign a legible version of his name and directly on the card no less. I know there are purists out there that will only collect on the card autographs and pass on sticker signatures, I am not one of those guys. Sure it is cooler to know Belle had this card in his hand instead of a sheet of stickers, but the man with the pen is more important to me.

Albert grew up a fan of the Orioles, citing Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer as his two favorite players as a kid. When he signed with the Orioles I am sure he was as excited as the fans. However, the highest paid player in the game suffered from osteoarthritis in his hip and retired after finishing two of the five seasons on his contract. Even injured and splitting time between the outfield and DH he still led the team in Home runs during both the 1999 and 2000 seasons. He remained on the Orioles 40-man roster after 2000 for insurance purposes but October 1, 2000 was the end of Albert Belle the baseball player. He ended it in the only way he knew how, homering in his final at-bat.

He was boorish, mean and unwavering in his approach to the game of baseball but all was forgiven because he could swing a bat. Many people chastise him for the way he acted, but it was allowed and tolerated by management and fans as long as it came with wins. When he was unable to perform he was caught under an avalanche of sour grapes. I think that was unfair. We can't expect to like every player personality and Belle pulled no punches. He is who he is and I respect him for that, and his crushing of a baseball.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Alex Cintron and Lou Montanez

The continued trade with Javier brought current New York Mets farmhand Alex Cintron and current Oriole farmhand Lou Montanez to me. Montanez was an unexpected surprise as he was not a discussed part of the trade. He was needed for the collection so is welcomed with open arms, or nine pocket sheets.

Alex Cintron 2009 Topps #393

Cintron played 61 games for the Birds in 2008, rotating between first, second and third base. He had one of his better seasons for average, but had no power numbers to speak of. He filled a lot of gaps in the infield and was serviceable in that role. Over the last two years he has bounced around to the Nationals, Mariners and currently the Mets in a similar role.

Lou Montanez 2009 Topps #509

Lou has popped in an out of the majors for the last three seasons. This season he has spent time at A, AA, AAA and the big league levels. His numbers have been lackluster and with the crowded outfield in the majors a full time position may be too much to ask. Outfield is one of the few areas the Orioles are stacked and Montanez may be a minor league staple for a few years.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Puerto Rico Revisited

No I didn't travel to Puerto Rico again, or once for that matter. I reconnected with Javier from The Bench to make another trade for some Puerto Rican players I needed. I am splitting up the trade into past and current players.

Juan Beniquez 1987 Donruss #371

Beniquez definitely keeps up with the Latin ballplayer tradition of being difficult to track down when their career ends. There is no good address for him and unless you live in PR, he is invisible. Javier seems to be able to track down all past players in the entire country and I will try to get as many needs met as I can. He played one full season of his 18 year career in Baltimore, rotating between the outfield and corner infield positions. He hit an even .300 during the 1986 campaign, with 36 runs batted in. He was never a power player but was solid and consistent. I am hoping to reach out to Javier to have his and other players Crown cards signed for my collection.

Raul Casanova 1998 Pacific #84

Casanova had one of the shortest tenures in Baltimore, totalling two games and a sole at-bat. He recorded a strikeout in that lone plate appearance. His career started well in Detroit and the Milwaukee but after 2002 he struggled to stay in the Major Leagues. At last check Casanova was playing in the Mexican League for the Broncos De Reynosa. His signing habits leave a little to be desired, he is just tough to track down. TTM is out of the question so an in person autograph is all he has out there, and nothing as an Oriole.

In return for my needs I traded Rick Dempsey, Terry Kennedy and Mike Devereaux doubles.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Addition By Waiting

Brandon Snyder made his major league debut tonight in a 6-3 win versus the Detroit Tigers. Now I can finally put this card into my collection.

Brandon Snyder 2006 Bowman Sterling #BSP-BS

I added this card when I first started collecting Orioles autographs. I had just started going after anything I could get my hands on, not having a roster handy. Anything that said Orioles on it and was signed I tried to grab. Once I got the roster together I realized my error, but held on to this one and a few others just in case.

Tonight was just that case. Snyder debuted in the bottom of the ninth inning as a defensive replacement for Corey Patterson who pinch ran for Jake Fox. Koji Uehara retired the side 1, 2, 3 in the inning, recording two fly outs and a strikeout. At first base, Snyder was not involved in the ninth in any way, not even during the throw-around following the K. However, he is now officially a major leaguer and immortalized forever in the baseball almanac. As well as this blog. Welcome Brandon.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hightopps Strikes Again

Yesterday I made my third pilgrimage to Hightopps Backstage Bar and Grille in Timonium for another autograph signing. This time I was able to get Scott McGregor for my Crown set among other cards.

I ran into two friends working there that I used to work with in the restaurant business, which was a nice surprise. One of em even bought me a couple beers. Free is always good.

After my first drink I started looking for Mr. McGregor but couldn't find him. He was so incognito, Chris the bartender didn't even realize he was signing. The manager and a timely visit by a friend of mine shed a little light onto his whereabouts.

No on with the free stuff.

Scott McGregor 1991 Orioles Crown #290

Scott McGregor 1988 Topps #419

I gave away my fourth '88 Topps and traded a fifth for this:

Scott McGregor 1978 Topps #491

All-in-all a good Tuesday. Two free beers, two old co-workers, two friends and five Scott McGregor autographs. Anyone have a need for three 1988 Topps Scott McGregor autographs? If so, I am your man.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Karim Garcia Trade

Although he spent two different seasons with the Orioles, Karim Garcia never appeared on an Oriole card. I was forced to stray from the orange and black to add a little Dodger blue to my collection.

Karim Garcia 1996 Score #383

Garcia was first traded to the Orioles in 2000 as part of a conditional deal from the Detroit Tigers. In eight games he failed to record a hit before being sent down and released following the season. He resurrected his career with the Cleveland Indians before playing for both New York franchises. The Mets dealt Garcia back to the Orioles in 2004 for Mike Dejean. Apparently Baltimore was not a good place for Garcia, he hit .212 in his 23 games here that year. His last major league game was in August of 2004, but he re-emerged in the Mexican league in 2007, hitting .374. Not a bad comeback.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Lenn Sakata Saga

I have talked about my first real collecting experience and what got me involved, but never my first card. My friend, PK, gave me the book Cardboard Gods and it got me thinking. Which can be dangerous.

But I started thinking back to my first cards. I wish I had taken meticulous notes or scoured over every inch of the cards like Josh Wilker, but I didn't have the attention span. What I do remember, is this card:

I don't know where I got it or anything about the card except for how I kept it. Sakata was surrounded by the entire 1985 Topps Orioles team set and happened to be in the center of a 9-pocket sheet. I know Cal Ripken and Eddie Murray were with him but Sakata's card is the lone vivid memory.

Seeing this card as a kid I thought he was looking at me for a sign. Swing away of course. At five that's the only play I knew. Hit the ball. But now as a 30 something I have a different view on this card. Lay down the suicide squeeze. Score the run, win the game. I understand baseball slightly better know and have a little gamble in me. I really wish more teams employed the squeeze play, let alone the suicide variety.

I'm not sure if Sakata ever laid down a squeeze bunt of any variety, but in my mind that is just what he did here. Successfully, I might add.

Pre-dating my 1985 Topps card, is his 1984 Fleer card I added from my Oriole Autograph collecting counterpart, Ryan.

Lenn Sakata 1984 Fleer #19

I still need Sakata for the Crown set but haven't sent to him in Japan yet. That's on the list of things to do.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

2007 Topps '52 Guillermo Rodriguez

Guillermo Rodriguez signed with the O's before the 2009 season. He was given an opportunity last year, seven of them to be exact. And he didn't exactly make the best of his opportunities. He failed to register a hit in his seven at-bats last season and has yet to be recalled this year. He was used mainly to spell Matt Wieters at the end of ballgames. It must be disheartening to be a back-up to the "savior" of the Baltimore Orioles. Rodriguez hasn't had a card produced since 2007, the Giants card will have to due unless he makes the roster again.

Guillermo Rodriguez 2007 Topps '52 #77

Thanks again to Ryan, for another addition to collection.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Oh Brother

My family got together last month for a few birthdays and I did exactly what anyone would do, scoured a couple hundred autographs for Orioles I need. My brother was so kind to help my alienation.

It was quick going because a lot of the cards were from team sets I couldn't break up, so didn't even need to look. I was able to pick up a few graphs I needed and another upgrade.

Mike Gonzalez 2003 Leaf #213
I still need Gonzalez on a 2010 Orioles card but definitely needed to upgrade my smeared IP graph from this season. Injury derailed his season and he has been nothing but gracious in how he has handled the entire situation. Being brought in as the sole closer, he has had to deal with that roster spot being filled. Players and coaches alike have called him a team player and applauded his efforts in the clubhouse and the pen. I am hoping he stays around and may be able to sure up our bullpen next year.

Luis Terrero 2001 Bowman #151

Terrero has achieved much greater success in the minors than the major leagues. His average is almost 60 points higher in the minors, explaining why he has only enjoyed 5 seasons in the bigs. His 27 games in Baltimore were uneventful, hitting .200 with one home run and six RBI's. He popped up with the Chicago White Sox again in 2007 but has never sustained a spot. He is currently in the Cincinnati Reds organization, hoping for a chance to crack the September roster.

Jack Voigt 1994 Fleer #23

His most successful season was also his first in 1993. He had career highs in all offensive categories while playing in 64 games for the Birds. After his playing career ended he made the natural transition to coaching. He came back to the organization that started it all in 2001 as Field Coach for the Frederick Keys. The following year was his first as a manager for the Keys and last in the organization. Currently he coaches with former Oriole Ricky Bones with the Buffalo Bison.