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 9, 2014

Wednesday: The Best of the Rest

OK, all of the rest.  I pulled in a total of nine autographs on that day, pretty good haul and some names to cross off my list.  My timing paid off being able to cross a few September additions off the list as soon as they came to town.

Brand New Orioles

Quintin Berry Baltimore Autograph Card

  Kelly Johnson Baltimore Autograph Card

The players available for trade:

Brad Brach 2012 Topps #637

 Jason Bourgeois 2008 Bowman #193

Sam LeCure 2011 Topps Update #277
For the night I was able to go home with two new names crossed off the list and hopefully some trade bait.  I am hoping the collectibility of the Reds is high and I can turn my long day into some names I need for my collection.

Monday, September 8, 2014

In Person Autographs: All-Star Edition

The weather on Wednesday was so much better than the day prior.  I didn't feel like I was melting and sweating all over my cards when out all day.  It made for a much better atmosphere and it seemed to pay dividends with the players.  All in all I was able to take home seven new autographs, four of which were former All-Stars.

Check em out.

Adam Jones 2012 Bowman International #45
 Yep, he picked up a sharpie.  I was as shocked as the other seven graphers outside prior to the game.  It wasn't planned but Jones may have been tricked into thinking only two people were waiting.  The shade just made a lot more sense.  He reluctantly signed for us all and didn't say anything except, "I don't like to take pictures" when asked.  It didn't bother me, I was just happy he signed making the morning worth it. Now I have this absolutely beautiful card in my collection, with another nice one on the trading block.

Evan Meek Baltimore Autograph Card
 In the starkest of contrasts to Adam Jones, I give you Evan Meek.  Evan was absolutely fabulous.  He came over with little prodding and first thanked us, the fans, for supporting him and the team.  He gushed that he could not have been happier to be back in Baltimore.  Once he signed for everyone, he asked if there was anyone he missed and posed for photographs.  The whole time he had a huge smile on his face before thanking us again.

Oh yeah, he was the 2010 All-Star selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates, even though he never made it into the game.

Aroldis Chapman 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter #70
 Three time All-Star Chapman was unassuming when he came out the dugout.  I didn't even hear his name called, he just sort of appeared.  It didn't take long for word to get out and he was absolutely mobbed.
Mat Latos 2013 Allen & Ginter SP #309
OK, this is a stretch.  Latos never made the MLB All-Star game, but was selected to the 2009 Futures All-Star game.  I am sure he has been deserving, so this is my homage to him and his career (I already had the concept for this post set, so I decided to be stubborn and not change).  Ginter is a set that I like signed much more tan I like busting packs of.  They lend themselves very well to autographs and are collectible.  Anyone looking to add these to their sets?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Reds vs. Orioles September 2, 2014

Tuesday was a hot, humid, disgusting, uncomfortable day.  Temperatures in the 90's with 90% humidity coupled with the start of the school year, severely depleted autograph seekers before the game.

Only a handful of coaches and players were dropped off by taxis and recognition was difficult.  Not a single big name Red was visible so the likes of Manny Parra, Jumbo Diaz and Jake Elmore  escaped without being asked to sign.

I was fortunate to recognize the two players below.

Ramon Santiago 2014 Topps
Ramon was not a fan of the heat and humidity in Baltimore as he high-tailed it into the stadium.  He gladly signed for the few of us waiting, but you could tell all he wanted to do was get inside the stadium.  Ramon was accessible all three days of the series, but this was the only card I had of his.  And I traded it away the following day

Carlos Contreras 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP65
 Contreras was a difficult face to pinpoint.  He, Daniel Corcino, Nelson Antigua and Ramon Santiago all look a lot alike.  I quietly questioned "Carlos?", when he passed by.  He looked up slightly and the rest was history.  I am a huge fan of this card and how the signature pops off the white of the uniform.  When Chrome cards sign well, they are some of my favorites all around.

Apparently, Ubaldo Jimenex and Mike Bordick are as close to guarantees as there is with this team.  Neither hesitated when asked and signed multiples for anyone that wanted.  And that was it for the Orioles outside the stadium.

 Ubaldo Jimenez 2011 Bowman Platinum #42
 I just received a trade in the mail for an Ubaldo and this accompanies it on my trade list.

Ubaldo Jimenez 2012 Bowman #177
There is not much to his autograph, but I like how fluid it is.  This card will stay in the collection...until an Orioles card can be secured.

Mike Bordick 2002 Upper Deck #583
Not much to say about Bordick.  He's a super guy, great signature and great card.  I have a few others that are just as awesome, so this beauty is available for trade.

Inside the stadium, the Orioles were brutal again.  The stadium opens to fans as Oriole BP is ending.  All the big name players are in the clubhouse relaxing as we are filing in.  The rest of the team was unable to stop for a moment.

The Reds on the other hand were glad to pick up a pen.  I was without items for Jake Elmore, Chris Heisey and Ryan Dennick as they were signing.  But I was not shut out.

Todd Frazier 2014 Topps #580
Frazier had a ton of family in town for the game.  Being originally from New Jersey his family made the trek to see him and they all made their way to the third base line.  When he connected with his family he made time for all the fans waiting and signed about 100 autographs.  He was not pleasant or making small talk, just seemed like he was all business.  First All-Star signature of the week.

David Holmberg 2014 Gypsy Queen Mini Red #290
 Normally, I am always a blue sharpie kinda guy.  But this card is so damn small, my normal blue wouldn't have worked.  He had a hard time handling the card and pen, but it was all I had.  I don't have a normal size reference to see how much the mini impacted his autograph.

Brandon Phillips 2014 Topps
 Dat Dude.  Awesome Dude.  After realizing that he started in the middle of the third base line, he redirected and went to the furthest point to start again.  He literally signed until they made him stop before the National Anthem.  He took pictures with anyone asking, shook hands and always had a smile on his face.  He apologized to the few people he was unable to get to at that time.  All-Star number two.

So day one was miserable and two hours of rain delays didn't help things at all.  Even with a limited number of autographs the quality was definitely there.

How did I follow it up?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

What To Do With Vacation Days?

I get over four weeks vacation each year and never come close to using them all.  My rollover happens in September so I needed to take some time.  So like any normal person, I took a week to go to Orioles games and get autographs.

I was able to score tickets to the entire series versus the Reds and ended up putting in some long days trying for autographs.

What did I learn?

1. The Orioles still have an aversion to the sharpie.  Many of the players have started using hand gestures indicating they will sign inside the stadium instead of having to say "no".  The problem, nearly all of batting practice is finished by the time fans get inside.  Few players have the time.

2. The organization has made it more difficult to graph the visiting team.  All cabs and town cars are now allowed to go under the stadium.  This ensures no opportunity to ask players as they walk into the stadium.  Rumor has it that the Yankees and Indians complained that their players got wet, so the Orioles kowtowed.  Bummer.

3. The Reds are a good signing team.  Apparently they have a team directive that encourages signing for fans, and their players/stars listen for the most part.

I did really well with the Reds. The Orioles, not so much.  I will be posting my haul in the coming days.