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

Friday, August 31, 2012

Reggie! Reggie! Reggie!

I had a great time at The National and made a ton of great pickups.  I have two still left to show and they are my favorites.

The same friend that helped me with Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Cal Ripken Jr., had a couple more tricks up his sleeve.
Reggie Jackson 1991 Orioles Crown #217
The Orioles served as the bridge between Reggie's two most remembered franchises.  The Orioles traded for Reggie in 1976, hoping to make another push to the World Series before free agency pulled him away.  Unfortunately, the Birds finished second in their division and Reggie would not make Baltimore a long term stay.
Not much to say about Reggie as an Oriole, just another Hall of Famer crossed off the list.  

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bowman Platinum Blast Off

Picked up a blaster today, much to the dismay of Wifey.  Whoops.  Well here is what I got, pack by pack.
Pack 1:
Miguel Cabrera #6-Tigers
Drew Pomeranz #69-Rockies
Stephen Strasburg #80-Nationals
Taijuan Walker Prospect Autographs Green Refractor #AP-TW #'d 92/399
Even a $30 card right off the bat didn't make Wifey happy.  Oh well, I am.  Hopefully this could help pay for the blaster.  Not a bad pack to start us off.

Pack 2:
Derek Jeter #24-Yankees
Paul Konerko #58-White Sox
Carlos Gonzalez Cutting Edge Stars #CES-CG-Rockies
Wily Peralta Prospects #BPP33-Brewers

Pack 3:
Jose Bautista #22-Blue Jays
David Price #28-Rays
Rickie Weeks #42-Brewers
Billy Hamilton Prospects Refractors #BPP16-Reds

Pack 4: Texas Rangers Hot Pack
Mike Napoli #29-Rangers
Ian Kinsler #39-Rangers
Will Middlebrooks Top Prospects #TP-WMK-Red Sox
Jurickson Profar Prospects X-Fractor #BPP35-Rangers

Pack 5:
Lance Berkman #15-Cardinals
Matt Moore #99-Rays
Clayton Kershaw Gold #55-Dodgers
Allen Webster Prospects #BPP47-Dodgers

Pack 6:
Ichiro #8-Mariners
Roy Halladay #93-Phillies
Oscar Taveras Prospects #BPP51-Cardinals
Alex Gordon Emerald #62-Royals

Pack 7:
Pablo Sandoval #77-Giants
Justin Morneau #84-Twins
Matt Holliday #97-Cardinals
Starling Marte Prospects Refractor #BPP24-Pirates

Pack 8:
Desmond Jennings #53-Rays
Brad Peacock #60-Athletics
Madison Bumgarner #73-Giants
Matt Davidson Prospects #BPP96-Diamondbacks

I feel that I did extremely well.  A bunch of good prospects and the hit.  Can't beat that.  As always, all are for trade or sale, just LMK.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Some 2012 Ginter Available

I have picked up a few packs of Ginter and I looking to trade or sell any of them.  LMK.

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Highlight Sketches BH-5 Brooks Robinson
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Baseball Highlight Sketches BH-16 David Freese
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Historical Turning Points HTP-9 Discovery of New World
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Historical Turning Points HTP-1 Declaration of Independence
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Murder in Willow Cove NNO Willow Cove High School
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Murder in Willow Cove NNO Klugman Residence
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-6  Ryan Braun
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-13 Carl Crawford
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-28 Elvis Andrus
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-40 Jemile Weeks
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-50 Mike Schmidt
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-61 Jim Thome
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-72 C.C. Sabathia
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-77 David Price
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-92 Paul Goldschmidt
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter What's in a Name WIN-96 Ozzie Smith
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter World's Tallest Buildings WTB-2 Taipei 101
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter World's Tallest Buildings WTB-10 Metlife Building
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Framed Black Relic AGR-BB Balloon Boy

2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Black 62 Michael Cuddyer
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini Black 298 Dee Gordon
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini A&G Back 140 Mike Trout
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini A&G Back 209 Coco Crisp
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini A&G Back 246 Torii Hunter
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini A&G Back 258 Doug Fister
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini A&G Back 281 Matt Cain
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini 31 Jackie Robinson
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini 95 Felix Hernandez
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini 148 Carlos Gonzalez
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini 151 Jose Valverde
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini 152 Ryan Vogelsong
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini 160 Shane Victorino
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini 176 Babe Ruth
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter Mini SP 307 Jhonny Peralta

Short Prints
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP 304 Kyle Farnsworth
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP 309 Bela Karolyi
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP 318 Mike Moustakas
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP 327 Jon Lester
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP 332 Guy Bluford
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP 337 Matt Holliday
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP 342 Ryan Dempster
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP 346 Lefty Kreh
2012 Topps Allen & Ginter SP 348 Chase Headley

Base Cards

Looking For Some Help

I won't grovel, it just doesn't suit me, but I can definitely use some help.  I have recently fallen behind in my head to head writing with Spankee and need your votes to propel me to victory.   

Here is the link to my post.

Here is the link to vote.  You can forget all about that Spankee fella too.

Don't let Baba down.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Do You Love Me?

Nachos Grande has given us our new assignment and here is mine:

The assignment is to use this image and write about what comes to mind.

So what does come to mind?

Cincinatti Reds? 
First place?
Hall of Fame?
Safe Call?
Measurement Tool?
John Valentine?
A true baseball card post?

Nope.  None of that.  When I see this image,

 naturally I think of my Baba (Grandmother).  Why on earth would I think of an 82 year old Ukrainian woman when looking at a recent Hall of Famer?  It's the arms. 

When I was a little kid she used to ask me if I loved her.  My patented response was always "Yes!.  This Big!" while holding my arms as far apart as possible.  See for yourself, my Little League Photo.  I too played for the Reds.
The resemblence is uncanny. 

She has supported me in all my sports endeavors and baseball card collecting.  We routinely went to her LCS, The House of Cards, and my stockings were always wrought with packs.  In 1993, she took me to my first major sports card convention and bought me my very first autographed 8x10 of Cal Ripken Jr.  Unfortunately, it is probably a fake.  Regardless, it is proudly mounted in the man cave.

My Baba and Dido are celebrating thier 60th year of marraige this year and I couldn't resist this opportunity to pay homage to our relationship.  If I lose so be it.  Just know you will be breaking an old woman's heart if you do not vote for me.  And we're Catholic, so beware the guilt.

Voting is not live yet, but you can check here tomorrow.

Money to Burn: Arnie Portocarrero

Arnie Portocarrero 1958 Topps #465
Drafted in 1949 by the Philadelphia Athletics, Arnie toiled in the minor leagues for a few seasons, toiled in the military during WWII and debuted in 1954.  The Athletics organization was not kind to Arnie and he never posted a winning season.  He was traded to the Orioles in 1958 and he took off, for a season.  He posted a career high 15 wins during the season.  He came back down to earth during his final two seasons in Baltimore, his last in the majors.  Arnie passed away in 1986 making a Crown card impossible.

This particular card was snagged from Hollywood Collectibles in my most expensive purchase of the National.  All in all, 32 names crossed off the list and one upgrade.  Also, 23 of those are deceased.  Not a bad haul for four days work.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Money To Burn: Charley Lau

Here Topps goes being all confusing again. First it was Charlie "Charley" Maxwell. Then it was Willy "Willie" Miranda. And now Charley "Charlie" Lau. It seems as if the 1950's and 1960's were not the age of quality control. It makes for confusing and scary autograph searches, but again this meets all examples and comes from a reputable source, Rich Altman and Hollywood Collectibles.
Charlie Lau 1966 Topps #368
Lau was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in 1952 but did not make his debut until 1956.  A little thing like WWI got in the way as Lau was serving his country.  Lau had two tours of duty with the Orioles but suffered greatly from inconsistency.  He followed up every good hitting season with a poor one. 

His work behind the plate deteriorated as his career progressed, due in some part to improper injury care.  Lau asserted that steroid injections to an injured arm allowed him to play before the injury truly healed.  This limited his ability to throw effectively and catch would be base stealers.

Lau's second career as a hitting instructor garnered him more attention than his playing career.  He started with the Orioles and eventually worked his way to the Kansas City Royals where his "absolutes" of hitting caught fire.  He is credited with helping George Brett and Hal McRae develop their batting stances and lay the foundation for their careers.  He authored the book "The Art of Hitting .300" in 1980, using George Brett as cover boy.  Lau passed away in 1984 after a battle with cancer.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Money To Burn: Dave McNally

I had made some decent sized purchases, picking up a bunch of cards at a time, that cost a pretty penny.  But I was torn on how to make my mark on Saturday at the National.  Did I want to bust some wax?  Damn right I did.  The thought of pulling a game changer at the Convention was almost too much to overcome.  But I did overcome the urge.  I instead bought up a few tough to come by vintage Orioles autographs, three to be exact.

First up:
Dave McNally 1965 Topps #249
I love researching the players that played for the Birds during their hay-day.  I knew they were good, maybe even great and had amazing players.  I knew of the four 20 game winners (Cuellar, McNally, Palmer and Dobson), the 1966 World Series sweep.

What I didn't know is that Dave McNally is in the Hall of Fame.  Or at least his bat is.  OK, it's Curt Motton's bat.  McNally used Curt Motton's bat to hit the only Grand Slam in World Series history.  See what pitchers could do before the Designated Hitter?  They were athletes.  Ballplayers.  Not just coddled premadonnas.

This card was the first of my expensive purchase from Rich Altman and Hollywood Collectibles.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Mish-Mash of Awesome

Just looking through the binders of autographs from Phillip Marks, I had a history lesson.  The man knew so much about players, cards, what is on the market and sale prices of everything.  I guess you learn a lot when you work for PSA and eBay in their autograph fraud departments.  I figured I could trust him, or he would have the best fakes ever.  These are all real, and all awesome.

Mark Belanger 1982 Topps #776

 Chico Carrasquel 1985 TCMA Playball 1948 #74 

Jim Dyck Index Card

 Billy Hitchcock 1983 Topps 52 Reprint #182

Art Houttermann 1985 TCMA Playball 1948 #4
All deceased and all big holes filled in the collection.  Thanks for the history lesson.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Double Dip

With all the price checking I was doing at the National, I delayed a lot of purchases and shied away from impulse buys.  That being said, I did have to make multiple trips to a few vendors to make my final selections.  Just the case with Main Line Autographs.

My second trip brought home:

Harvey Haddix 1964 Topps #439
Proof that Cal Ripken Sr. actually did play for the Orioles.  Nope, that is actually Harvey Haddix, owner of arguably the best pitching performance of all time.  It was before his two year tenure in Baltimore, during the 1959 season.  As a Pittsburgh Pirate, he retired 36 straight batters in 12 perfect innings, only to lose in the 13th.  Just brutal.  His Orioles career lasted only two seasons from the pen where he was very effective.  He turned to coaching following his playing career, landing multiple gigs.  He succumbed to emphysema in 1994.  There may be some signed Orioles Crown cards out there, but not many.

Hoyt Wilhelm 1994 Topps Archives 1954 #36
Harvey and Hoyt were the last two purchases I made and my cash was a little low.  I had to make the best deal to add the best cards I could.  That is why I bypassed a few high priced vintage Wilhelm autographs featuring him as an Oriole.  One vendor in particular had a few I needed priced at the very top of the scale but refused to negotiate.  Discounts were available at $250 or more, a little steep for me.  SO I bought this reprint on the cheap from Main Line.  A Hall of Fame autograph for less than $10?  Yes sir.

This is the last of the Hall of Famers I needed from the Orioles.  Now let's see if I can't pull some "Barter Kings" magic and turn the brown into a little orange.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Just Manny Being Manny

Welcome to the Majors Manny. 

Not a bad way to start, a triple.

Let's hope for a long and illustrious career and many fewer errors from the hot corner, shortstop or second base.  Wherever he can find a home. 

My current Manny Machado autograph.
Hopefully there will be ample opportunity to add an in person autograph to the collection in the weeks years to come.

Orioles Autograph Index

This year at the National there seemed more autograph guys than as two years ago.  Maybe it was that I was only really looking for one day in 2010 and four in 2012.  Regardless, I had 4 different pages of notes on which booth had cards I needed, which cards and pricing.  I was then able to decide on best pricing and what vendor had the best options.

Saturday, my final day, was when I started making moves, and lots of em.  I had spent a good hour with ??????? going over his lists of cut signature and index cards.  He was organized, which I love, and was offering 30% off, which I needed.

All in all I knocked eight more names off the list.  It would have been 13, but my diligence allowed me to find signed cards at similar pricing.  My haul in alphabetical order.

Cal Abrams Orioles 1954-1955 D.1997

Frank Bertania 1964-1967 D.2010 

Sam Bowens Orioles 1963-1967 D.2003

 I love the detail of the autograph index cards that were used in the 1960's.  Received in 1966 and for only 4 cents.  That's a pretty sweet deal.  Then you add all the detail of the collector and dealer notes and it makes for a great piece.  I had a few to choose from and went with this one because of the address portion.

Bob Chakales Orioles 1954 D.2010

Whitey Lockman Orioles 1959 D.2009

Norm Siebern Orioles 1964-1965

Gordie Sundin Orioles 1956
Sundin has the distinction of being the only Oriole pitcher I have come across to never record an out in his entire career.  He also never allowed a hit.  He walked two batters in his appearance, one of which scored. He has an infinite career ERA and never made it back to the big leagues.  I have tried him before TTM to no avail, but I wanted to try again on a Crown card.  Either way, I love his story, kinda like a Moonlight Graham, but with the infinite ERA thing.

 Bill Wight Orioles 1955-1957 D.2007
Many of these players were also available on eBay but I didn't want to take a chance.  Many of the prices are too good to be true and who knows what you are actually getting.  This way I was able to get my items from a reputable dealer, willing to put himself amongst a thousand experts.  I definitely trust these signatures.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Synchronized Baseball

Baseball pundits will do just about anything to have their sport reinstated into the Olympics after being ousted from the 2012 games.  Baseball and softball reside with Polo as being the only sports being voted out of Olympic Competition.  Any comparison with Polo, can't be a good thing.

That is where innovator and visionary Lou Collier draws the line, the third base line that is.  Along with other "retired" players of the 90's Lou is working to resurrect their careers and their sport.  Lawrence Orback, President of the The World United Synchronized Sports Entente (pronounced Wuss-ee) has given his full support to the Synchronized Baseball founder.

W.U.S.S.E. President Lawrence Orback
Orback released a statement after confidential training photos of Collier's Synchronized Baseball baseball team were leaked to the press.

It read:
I personally understand the trials and tribulations that come from being a sports pioneer.  I was laughed at, mocked, spit on and beaten severely on many occasions, but my passion would not be thwarted.  I rose above the nay sayers and critics and have made W.U.S.S.E. the most powerful synchro organization in the World, albeit the only one.
I have the utmost respect for Lou and hav confidence that he can overcome this security lapse in order to perfect his craft.

I am no synchro connoisseur but it looks as if there is a lot of work to do.  The glove completely missed the corner of the bag and the standing teammates are facing in opposite directions.  Very amateurish.  So much work to be done, but they have two years before the Olympic Committee will make their rulings for the 2016 games in Rio.

 Rumors have stirred that many former professional baseball players will be participating in Synchro-Ball as they are calling it.  Tim Raines, Otis Nixon, Tim Teuffel and Royce Clayton are rumored to be in the lightweight division, while Cecil Fielder and John Kruk will be anchoring the heavyweights. 

Gerald Orback has mentioned coming out of retirement to add a little star power to the men's Synchro-ball team.  We advise he put a shirt on first.

If only this were actually true.  I love the Olympics and am sure I would stay up until 5am to watch Synchro-Ball.  Please make sure to go vote for me in Nachos Grande's contest.  I will let you know when voting goes live.

This Contest Is Over.

First, I wanted to "Thank You" to everyone that reads my blog and the donations to the National fund was greatly appreciated.  I had a great time.  Hopefully you are enjoying the cards I was able to grab.  I have more coming this week as well.

Well, let's get to it.  I randomized the list 8 times in honor of Cal Ripken Jr. and here are the results:
Congratulations to :
Brad Rauer
SmithA from The Bench
Plopowitz from The Bench

Again, here are the prizes:
Contest prizes are:
Jim Palmer Autographed Orioles Program

2011 Topps Lineage Base Set

Mickey Mantle Metallic Images Set

1995 Cal Ripken Metallic Images 10 card set w/tin

Please email me at to claim your prizes.  Brad has first selection and so on and so on.  Deadline to let me know is one week, 8/15/12 at 6:00pm.

Mainlining Autographs

Main Line Autographs was the last booth I saw on Wednesday evening.  I didn't have enough time to sit down and look over their thousands of autographs.  So Thursday I spent more than four hours looking over their binders. 

One of the few purchases I made on Friday were these four well thought out additions to my collection, and the only upgrade of the entire show.

Juan Bell 1989 Bowman #11
 I had thought about picking up a Juan Bell autograph many times before and never pulled the trigger.  I couldn't pass up a $1 opportunity to add someone who never signs TTM.  I will be trying a few creative ways to reach him TTM.  We shall see if if they are successful or not.

Todd Cruz 1985 Topps #366
 This is the only upgrade from the entire show.  I thought really hard about picking this up or not and the signature made me get it.  His signature is awesome and the blue truly pops off of his jersey.  There is now a very nice 1983 Fleer card of Todd as a Mariner available for trade.

Odell Jones 1987 Donruss #582
 I screwed up a couple months back and missed an opportunity to have Odell sign for me through a private signing with Chris Potter Sports.  I still have the crown card and wil work on Odell in the future, possibly another private signing.  I enjoy the pre-game photographs on cards.  Canned studio portrait shots don't belong in major release issues.

Curt Schilling 1989 Donruss #635
Does this guy look like one of the most dominant pitchers of the late 90's and early 2000's?  Nope.  He looks more like a High School histoy teacher.  Everyone knows about the worst trade in the history of the franchise, so I wont rehash that.  But, Curt wasn't exactly tearing it up in his three seasons.  They thought they were trading a relief pitcher with good stuff to help a bullpen.  That was his best role in Baltimore, a reliever. He was very not good as a starter.  I got such a good deal on this card I was able to overlook the fact it is not a Crown card.

Frank Zupo 1958 Topps #229 
Wally Moon is know for his eyebrows, but people are sleeping on Mr. Zupo here.  Had he played more than 16 games in his career and collected more than three hits, he would be the Eyebrow King.  Hands down.  His limited experience and time in the majors allowed for only thins card to be produced during his career.  He appears in the 1991 Crown set, but I have only seen that particular card signed once before.  Guees who has it?  He does.