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

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Foster Castleman

Apparently I forgot to post this eBay pick-up from a few months ago.

In researching Castleman there isn't a whole lot of personal information I could find. That leaves us with his stats.


He played four years with the New York Giants and played his final season in Baltimore. He only appeared on seven baseball cards in his career, but only one that really matters.

Foster Castleman 1991 Orioles Crown #71

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Jumping on the Ginter Train

This past week has been nerve racking. End of month with my company coupled with a promotional interview wore me out. The 100+ degrees didnt help things either. But it was worth it as I earned another promotion, my second within five months.

Unfortunately, my new position comes with a commute, an hour long one. Seeing as my furthest commute had been 12 minutes it will be a major change in the coming weeks. Wifey and I haved started the new home search already. I spent the afternoon looking at a few houses and driving all over Maryland. I was a good patient husband all day and I felt like a needed a reward.

Wal-Mart delivered seven rack packs, all they had left. I love how Ginter looks, it is such an awesome set, but I won't go nuts for it. All the weird inserts and ridiculous people (Corn Hole Guy) kinda get to me. I am a baseball collector only and I can never seem to move any of the abnormal stuff. Anyone in the market let me know?

Base cards:

Short Prints
312 Cody Ross Giants
313 Leo Nunez Marlins
337 Drew Storen Nationals

Mini 177 Aaron Crow
Mini 280 Adam Wainwright
Mini SP 338 Lance Berkman
Mini A&G Back 20 Jeremy Hellickson
Mini Black 260 Alex Rodriguez

Hometown Heroes HH-6 Dan Haren
Hometown Heroes HH-10 Ryan Braun
Hometown Heroes HH-19 Nick Swisher
Hometown Heroes HH-43 Joba Chamberlain
Hometown Heroes HH-72 Billy Butler

Ascent of Man
AOM-7 Chordates
AOM-9 Placoderms

Minds That Made the Future MMF-1 Leonardo Da Vinci
Baseball Highlight Sketches BHS-4 Roy Halladay
Minds That Made the Future MMF-15 Isaac Newton

Portraits in Penultimacy PP-6 Tonto
Portraits in Penultimacy PP-8 Sancho Panza

And the hit
A.J. Burnett 2011 Topps Allen & Ginter Relics

Damn Yankees all over these packs. Gint-A-Cuffs would have scored only 32 pts for those interested in that kind of stuff. All are for trade.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hot Hot Hot

What do you do when it's 99 degrees outside with 100 percent humidity? Hopefully you stay in an air conditioned building, spend time with your family, swim or do anything to stay cool.

What did I do? Went hunting for autographs of course.

Wifey scored tickets from work and she was open to braving the heat for me. We got to the stadium before the gates opened and waited for about 30 minutes before being allowed in. Wifey had no intention of standing in the blistering sun with me so she went to our seats in the covered lower reserve section.

I was one of the first twwo fans into the seating area. I made my way to the first base line and saw Willie Randolph B-lining toward the dugout. The other fan called out to him and he actually stopped. He signed for both of us. Shocked.

Willie Randolph 2008 Topps #280

Mike Gonzalez was running by himself and I asked him to sign and was told he'd get me later. Very few fans had made their way to the rails so I slid next to the dugout as another player came out. His jersey was covered and his hat was pulled down covering his face. I wasn't sure but I whispered, "Troy". He stopped and turned to me as I scrambled to pull his card out.

Troy Patton 2008 Bowman #211

More pitchers emerged from the pen and were running in the outfield so I again moved along the line. Jake Arrieta and Alfredo Simon were throwing, a football. I guess even pro baseball players are looking forward to football. Alfredo Simon looked as if he had never thrown a football and quickly ended the game.

Alfredo Simon 2009 Topps Heritage #126

This one is staying in the collection and a Orioles Crown blank is now available for trade. Simon was more than generous as he signed everything I had brought with me.

Alfredo Simon 2009 Upper Deck O-Pee-Chee #592

Gonzalez remembered his promise and came directly to me when he was done warming up. This guy is a great signer. I can always count on him to give my sharpie a workout.

Mike Gonzalez 2007 Fleer #51

Mike Gonzalez 2011 Topps #381

It seems as Mike has started to add his number to his scribbling. His signature actually looks decent on this one, replacing his 2010 Topps Update from earlier this year.

Saturday's pitching star Brad Bergesen was in a great mood and made his way down the line signing for everyone.

Brad Bergesen 2011 Topps #442

After Bergesen signed, the masses started to pour into the stadium. I moved yet again, this time behind home plate hoping to get guys coming out to warm up. I was alone there for a long time when Arrieta came back out to run. He told me he would get me after running and almost forgot. He signed for the entire first baseline when done and came running back to the clubhouse, head down. I called out and he said, "I gotta get inside", without looking up. Then he raised his head, saw it was me and stopped short. He came over, signed for me, then ducked inside. Thanks for remembering me Jake.

Jake Arrieta 2010 Bowman Sterling #11

I really like this set so I am holding on to this one. I have a 2008 Bowman Draft Picks available to anyone in need.

Robert Andino was the last player to sign, keeping up his reputation as an awesome signer.
Robert Andino 2010 Upper Deck #81

As for Wifey, she sat in the shade reading a book the whole time, never fussing. Man I lucked out on that one.

If anyone is interested in my duplicates, let me know.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A "Big Fun" Contest

I am hoping to get a spot in the Big Fun Game, hosted by Napkin. It's a sweet concept I have watched but never had the opportunity to participate. Hopefully that will change this time round.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pirates for Orioles

The two losingest franchises over the last 20 years have come together in an autograph trade. Obed over at The Bench has a tremendous Pirates autograph collection. He also has 15,000,000 autographs available for trade or sale. OK, I embellished slightly, he only has 1,500, but it's still a lot.

I shipped over:
Walker, Neil 2010 Topps National Chicle (IP Autograph) 265 Pirates
Williams, Mike 2000 MLB Showdown (IP Autograph) 355 Pirates
Wilson, Jack 2008 Upper Deck (IP Autograph) 207 Pirates

All I asked for in return was:

Ray Miller Orioles Postcard

This postcard was already shipped to Ryan at the end of last month.

Marty Brown 1990 Donruss Rookies #39

Not much to say about Marty Brown's playing career. He played in nine games for the Orioles in 1990, garnering three singles. After the 1991 season he found a new home in Japan playing for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp. He came back to the States to make one last attempt to reach the bigs, falling short in the Rangers organization. Brown has pin-balled back and forth from Japan as a manager and is currently the manager of the Las Vegas 51's. Now that he is stateside, I am thinking of testing his TTM habits.

Wifey Likes Baseball Cards

I never thought those words would ever purse my lips or spew from my fingertips, but she does. If you don't believe me, would you believe the most reliable form of media, Facebook?

Now for the explanation.

For my birthday, I pulled this card:

Wifey bought me a scanner for my birthday as well so that she didn't have to scan all my new cards at work. It was perfect.

I scanned my new card, listed it for trade and sale and looked forward to the payday. But, the scanner wasn't the right one. We needed to exchange it. The next morning I grabbed the re-packaged scanner and went to return it. Got my new scanner and all was good.

Fast forward a week when trade talks for the Chapman redemption heat up and I can't find the card. I looked everywhere and came to the only conclusion I could. I returned it to Wal-Mart with the scanner. Wifey and I were upset and begrudgingly I wrote off the card. That was until today when wifey came home with my mojo pull in her hand.

To say Wal-Mart was aware of her dealings isn't exactly true, but it was our property. No harm, no foul.

I love my wife.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A New May Addition

I haven't lost my mind and two months time. I have finally added Lee May to my Orioles collection. Not Lee Maye the R&B singer. Not Lee May the minor league hitting instructor. Lee May, the Reds, Astros, Orioles and Royals first baseman from the 60's, 70's and 80's.

The power-hitting Lee May who amassed 354 career home-runs and over 1200 RBI's. The same Lee May who is one of 11 players to drive in more than 100 runs for three different teams. The same Lee May who doesn't sign TTM, but will sign for a price. The very same Lee May to appear on 1991 Orioles Crown #285

The Lee May who is now crossed off my need list.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mike Fornieles

Mike Fornieles 1991 Orioles Crown #141

48 years ago today Mike Fornieles ended his 12 season major league career as a member of the Minnesota Twins. He was a hybrid pitcher during his career, starting and finishing games, only moving to the "closer" role in 1959 with the Red Sox. Mike excelled in this role, being selected to the 1961 All-Star team and leading the league in saves (14) in 1960. Just a little perspective, 31 different pitchers eclipsed that mark in 2010.

Mike was a bird in the latter part of 1956 and early in 1957. He pitched 2 of his 4 shut-outs wearing the orange and black, but was dealt to the Red Sox for Billy Goodman before he flourished. All-in-all, he pitched in 45 games, went 6-13, struck out 96 and saved one game for the O's.

He toiled in the minors from 1963-67 before retiring for good. He passed in 1998, at the age of 66.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Private Sessions

I have been following Chris Potter Sports for a while, waiting for the opportunity to get involved. Then, a few months ago, three players aligned at one signing and I had to make a move.

Don Aase 1991 Orioles Crown #1

Aase has held a spot in my collection from the beginning. He was one of the first cards I traded for years ago and now that 1987 Topps card is available. Aase was once a consistent TTM signer but his habits have changed over the last few years. I felt cornered I needed to pay for his signature on a Crown card or never get it.

Mike Pagliarulo 1994 Score #489

Mike does not sign TTM. I could only find two recorded successes over the last decade. I definitely didn't want to waste stamps. I was expecting his cost to be a little higher, given his propensity to not sign. But his cost was reasonable and it was a no brainer.

Albie Pearson 1991 Orioles Crown #356

My history with Albie was documented here in a post about the 2010 National Convention. I had heard he wouldn't sign the Crown card but apparently when paid he is less discerning with the signing tastes. He was my main reason for getting involved in the signing. I think it was a $45 well spent, you?

Friday, July 8, 2011

There Must Be Something Wrong

I am back to trading. Something I took a break from for a little while, by accident. I wasn't very organized, at least to my standards so took some time to get things in order. Then I bought more 2011 and mucked up the works. But my break led to two trades, this being the second.

Hiflew from Cards From the Quarry checked out my list and a trade was born. I sent him some 2011 Rockies and a little something extra. Hope he enjoys.

Did I mention I hate my scanner. It prints, but will not recognize the software to scan a picture. New drivers have been installed to no avail. Anyone know of any ways to fix or troubleshoot the problem. If not, I will be going "Office Space" on the damn thing.

That being said, I will pilfer a few photos of the highlights.

2011 Topps base:
Zach Britton #418

Chris Tillman #636

2011 Inserts:
Brian Matusz 2011 Topps Toppstown #TT2-38

Adam Jones Diamond Parallel #396
Mike Gonzalez Diamond Parllel #381 Perfect timing, I just ran out of Gonzo cards.
Cal Ripken 60 Years of Topps (83) #60YOT-91

2009 Upper Deck Goudey
Cal Ripken #20

Also included from Goudey: Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis.

Ty Wigginton 2010 Upper Deck #79.

As far as trading goes, the Ripkens, Roberts, Markakis and Wigginton cards are available. The rest will be prepped for signatures.

It's weird. The three players I used to collect are now all on the trading block, Ripken, Roberts and Markakis. Strange.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Trade With Ryan G.

Ryan is the genius behind The Cardboard Zoo or This Card is Cool. You won't be disappointed following either one, but should just follow both. The zoo is his insane attempt to collect a card from every set ever produced. EVER. Completely certifiable. Completely awesome.

Anyway, he tracked me down for some Topps II cards he needed and we worked out a sweet little trade. The only picture I have is for the gem of the trade, to me at least.

Joe Gaines 1964 Topps #364

So far, Joe is the lone '64 in my collection, looking all sad and lonely in his nine pocket sheet. He would like some company. Anyone have some of his teammates looking for a change of scenery?

To round out the deal Ryan sent along current O's, some new additions, retired players, HOFers and a few inserts for good measure. A very eclectic trade package. Here is the breakdown.

Benny Ayala (1)
Kevin Bass (1)
Daniel Cabrera (1)
JJ Hardy (1)
Adam Jones (2)
Derrek Lee (1)
Mark Lewis (1)
Chad Moeller (1)
Eddie Murray (1)
Russ Ortiz (3) Yes he was an Oriole for a hot second.
Felix Pie (2)
Mark Reynolds (2)
Brooks Robinson (1)
Frank Robinson (1)
Miguel Tejada (1)
Justin Turner (1)
Koji Uehara (1)
Mike Young (1)

The current players will make their way to the In Person box to try and have signed this year. Hardy and Lee Gypsy Queens will be on the top of the list. Russ Ortiz will hopefully sign TTM for me and I am working on tracking down Mark Lewis.

I appreciate the time to make the trade and that you follow the blog. Anyone else interested in trading? Let's do this thing.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dipping Into the Well...Again

Ryan of The Great Orioles Autograph Project has a ridiculous collection if you haven't checked it out, do so now. I am so envious of his collection and his numbers are completely staggering. At least I have hope that I can get close. Whenever possible I pilfer his leftovers.

I decided not to collect managers at the same time he decided to start, I sent three his way. Ryan is looking for Oriole managers and coaches autographs if you have any lying around.

This was one of my biggest hauls to date.

Jim Busby 1957 Topps #309

Will Clark 1996 Leaf Signature Autographs #46

Omar Daal 1994 Topps #29

Charles Johnson 1993 Upper Deck #435

Roger McDowell 1992 Upper Deck #484

Mark McLemore 1994 Flair #5

Rafael Palmeiro 1994 Collector's Choice #605

Oswaldo Peraza 1989 Score #571

Allan Ramirez 1984 Donruss #332

Steve Reed 2002 Upper Deck 40 Man #855

Nelson Simmons 1986 Topps #121

Thanks again for another trade.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Getting A Hit For My Birthday

When I was celebrating with my family for the 4th, my brother and nephew couldn't wait any longer to give me my birthday gift. Today I turn the big 31. They had to give me my present because they both wanted to watch and "help" me open it. I got my first hobby box of the year, Topps Series II.

As I stated last week, I am a much bigger fan of the 2nd series than the 1st. So I was quite happy to bust packs with my family.

Still no scanner so here are the goods again:
Topps 60
T60-56 Roberto Alomar Indians
T60-60 Mel Ott New York Giants
T60-61 Tom Seaver Mets
T60-64 Jorge Posada Yankees
T60-67 Andrew McCutchen Pirates
T60-72 Eddie Mathews Milwaukee Braves
T60-78 Francisco Liriano Twins
T60-85 Johnny Bench Reds

60 Years of Topps
60YOT-102 Manny Ramirez Indians
60YOT-107 Roy Halladay Blue Jays
60YOT-112 Alex Rodriguez Derek Jeter Yankees
60YOT-60 Yogi Berra Yankees
60YOT-62 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers
60YOT-69 Stan Musial Cardinals
60YOT-79 Gaylord Perry Giants
60YOT-85 Don Sutton Dodgers
60YOT-88 Ron Guidry Yankees
60YOT-90 Steve Garvey Dodgers
60YOT-99 Larry Walker Expos

60 Years of Topps Original Backs
93 Andre Dawson Expos

Before There was Topps
BTT-5 1933 Goudey

Topps Black #'d/60
394 Austin Jackson Tigers

Diamond Anniversary
300 Walter Johnson Senators (SP)
417 Miguel Cairo Reds
437 Jordan Schafer Braves
440 Grady Sizemore Indians
449 Austin Kearns Indians
487 Chris Snyder Pirates
542 Mike Pelfrey Mets
545 Jose Tabata Pirates
548 Ryan Franklin Cardinals
555 Madison Bumgarner Giants
579 Jeff Niemann Rays

Diamond Duos
DD-1 Roy Halladay Roy Oswalt Phillies
DD-16 Josh Hamilton Joey Votto Rangers/Reds
DD-27 Josh Johnson Justin Verlander Marlins/Tigers
DD-30 Sandy Koufax Clayton Kershaw Dodgers
DD-4 Adrian Gonzalez Carl Crawford Red Sox
DD-7 Frank Thomas Adam Dunn White Sox
DD-9 Adrian Beltre Elvis Andrus Rangers
DS-13 Jason Heyward Braves
DS-14 Miguel Cabrera Tigers
DS-17 Matt Holliday Cardinals
DS-22 Ryan Howard Phillies
DS-5 Joey Votto Reds
DS-6 Buster Posey Giants

Topps Gold
356 Alfonso Soriano Cubs
402 Jack Cust Mariners
452 David Freese Cardinals
463 Will Venable Padres
566 Jordan Zimmerman Nationals

Kimball Champion Minis
KC-59 Tony Gwynn Padres
KC-61 Greg Maddux Braves
KC-62 Luis Aparicio White Sox
KC-64 Jackie Robinson Brooklyn Dodgers
KC-69 Robin Roberts Phillies
KC-75 Bob Feller Indians
KC-89 Duke Snider Dodgers
KC-98 Gary Carter Mets

Topps Toppstown Series 2
TT2-10 Justin Upton Diamondbacks
TT2-3 Cliff Lee Phillies
TT2-30 Carl Crawford Red Sox
TT2-34 Ike Davis Mets
TTW-26 Trevor Cahill Athletics

Week 1 & Week 9 Hobby Shop Redemption cards.
I am happy to look at lists for base cards, I have close to the complete set.

Oh... I almost forgot the hit. My first ever auto pulled from Topps base product.

Aroldis Chapman Topps 60 Autographed Relic/50....................

Bummed it's a redemption but happy I beat the odds of 1:4500 packs. The card books at $80, not too shabby. As usual all are for trade for Orioles autos, base, prospects I need. If the Chapman doesn't have any takers, it will be bound for the Bay.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Redeeming Qualities

I have been trading card on The Bench for years and really like the results. As a autograph collector though, things have stalled a bit. My collection is growing and the autos I need are becoming more scarce. So when I trade there are a lot of offers for mid-2000's graphs of prospects that never panned out.

Hopefully my latest trade won't fall into that category.

Manny Machado 2011 Bowman Redemption

This didn't come cheap, but I feel it was well worth it. I gave up 30 or so Mets base cards and inserts for it. I think I did alright seeing as though the Mets cards were not highly sought after.

Machado was called up to Frederick recently so in person signings may be a ton easier. I need to get my hands on some base cards to give them a go. Anyone trying to unload some?

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Visitors To The Blog

The Cardinals have a reputation of being the Yankees of the National League regarding signing. What I saw, could not have been further from the truth.

Many Cadillacs and sedans made their way under the stadium, hiding visiting players from view. The handful that made their own transportation plans though, treated us fans well.

Matt Holliday signed for one person without slowing down and barely looked at the item. It could not have been a great signature.

Yadier Molina walked down the street pretending like he didn't speak English. It worked.

The rest of the club signed for every fan.

Jake Westbrook 2011 Topps #2

Ryan Theriot 2007 Topps Heritage #78

Ryan Theriot 2011 Topps Diamond Anniversary #438

Colby Rasmus 2011 Topps Opening Day #180

David Freese 2011 Topps #452

Jason Motte 2009 Finest Refractors #135

Jon Jay 2011 Topps #295

I traded an extra card of Jay for the Jakubauskas I got signed later. Very good move.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Outscored and Out-Signed

I love my Orioles I truly do, but they are a last place team with a first place attitude when it comes to autographs. I know each person has a different experience at the park and players can't sign for every single fan but most players won't even acknowledge a fans existence.

Before Thursday's 9-6 drubbing by the Cardinals I was posted along a railing pleading with professional athletes to "Sign please?", with little luck. Many of the players avoid the hassle of being asked by sneaking down a back stairway or driving under the stadium. They stay as far away as possible as to not give false hope.

Then comes the golf cart. This allows players to easily carry their bags to the clubhouse but also to ignore fans face-to-face. Now I don't mind not getting a signature, but I can't stand the brush off. The players aren't deaf, we know that, yet they stare blankly forward, eyes averted from the hoards of screaming fans (sarcasm font).

I want something from my players. A gesture, a head nod, a wave. Maybe even a smile when my plea is being dismissed. That's all I ask. Oh, that and "Mr. baseball player, can you sign please?". Not every player is dismissive every time, my successes are a testament to that but I would like to feel recognized. I don't want to think up snide comments about being brushed off, I just can't help it.

Our questions did work, twice.

Blake Davis took a cab to the stadium and then walked down the line signing for every waiting pen. I didn't have a card for him so used up my last blank. I think he was just happy to be recognized.

Blake Davis 2011 Orioles Topps Stadium Card

Brad Bergesen arrived fairly early, 12:30 and signed for us fans. His 12:30 signing was the last for the Orioles outside the stadium.

Brad Bergesen 2009 Topps Update #211

Anyone following uber-Oriole-autograph hound Ryan at The Great Orioles Autograph Project may know why I got the Bergesen card signed, the orange jersey. He is collecting Orioles clad in orange and this one will be heading his way to complete our zillionth trade. More on our billionth later.

Inside I was nearly denied season ticket access because the usher had never seen tickets like mine before. Fan assistance quickly put out the fire before I made an ass of myself. I made my way to my seats and posted up, determined to knock some names off my list.

Luke Scott came over and signed because that is what he does. I have never seen him not sign in some fashion. I can't turn down a signature so I added another to the trade section.

Luke Scott 2011 Orioles Topps #BAL8

After a lot of pleading and more blank stares I became truly shocked. Zach Britton grabbed a sharpie. Many graphers said he hadn't signed much at all this season. His signature made my day. A difficult graph in the majors and another name crossed off the list.

Zach Britton 2010 Bowman Platinum #PP7

The Orioles went into the clubhouse and I was tempted to see what the Cardinals would bring but decided against it. Chris Jakubauskas emerged from the dugout and went to chat with Lance Berkman. On his return he stopped to sign for the 10 die-hards that decided not to chase Mark McGwire around.

Chris Jakubauskas 2010 Upper Deck #453

When BP was over and the Orioles came back out to stretch Jeremy Guthrie was the only player to sign. He went up the first base line for easily ten minutes. I didn't want to relinquish my spot and hopes for Vlad. I shoulda gone and grabbed another Guthrie instead of wasting my breath.

All told I got five Orioles on the day, putting in five hours of pursuit. Three players can be crossed off the list, Bergesen will find a new home and Scott is looking for one.

Before entering the stadium, six Cardinals signed seven cards, beating the Orioles 7-5 in autographs.