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.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Backups Backup

When the Orioles realized Matt Weiters may be out for a while, or the season, they needed a veteran presence to support Caleb Joseph.  It cost the team reliever Troy Patton, but the experience Nick Hundley had behind the plate outweighed the loss.

Nick Hundley 2005 Bowman Draft & Prospects #BDP-90
Hundley is a better hitter than Joseph, but misses the mark behind the plate.  He has only cut down 14% of would be base stealers this season and is 27% for his career.  The catcher position is likely to platoon the entire year, going back and forth between Hundley, Joseph, Steve Clevenger and maybe some young Norfolk Tide. 

Is it bad that once players are called up mid season and I grab an autograph, I hope they fade away.  I am not looking to have to go after an Orioles Postcard of players that hang around for two months, make little impact, then disappear.  Make an impact and I will gladly hunt you down as an Oriole (not meant as a threat).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Back In The Swing Of Things

While I haven't been active blogging, I have been trying to organize the collection and my needs.  As roster changes and moves add names to the list, the effort is ever changing. 

I was able to discern many of my easier needs and decided to try and make some moves.  Looking at SCN I found rockinace had a few cards I could use.  That is usually the issue, I can use em, but nothing to go in return.  This was not the case. 

I was able to secure four new players and four upgrades.  All I had to send was:
Andre Dawson
Zack Britton
Kevin Correia
Mike Bordick
Dylan Bundy-
Alfredo Simon
Cesar Devarez

The card that first caught my eye was:

Caleb Joseph 2010 Bowman Prospects #BP-55
 Yep, a light hitting catcher charged with filling the shin guards of a perennial All-Star was the catalyst to a trade.  I just happened to be searching on the site for anything of Caleb and came across this one.  I do a lot of trading on SCN without looking at scans.  I don't know what I was expecting, but this was not the image I thought was showing up.

Caleb has been int he organization since being drafted in the 7th round in 2008.  Caleb made his debut on May 7, 2014 and then was thrust into starting duty four days later.  Matt Weiters' elbow injury has forced Caleb into a more prominent role than he was expecting.  He has performed admirably behind the plate throwing out 52% of base runners.  The batter's box is a different story.  Caleb has looked over matched at the plate at times, but has recently found some power. 

I'm not expecting Matt Weiters type production, but growth is necessary for Caleb yo stay in the big leagues.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day Finds?

It may be a little misleading, but I did not find these cards on Sunday. I grabbed them two weeks ago, before vacation, just opened them yesterday.

I found these at a yard sale from a family that used to be in the collectible business. They still do flea markets but their inventory doesn't renew. 

I paid $2 for:
1983 Donruss Action Allstars (3)
1988 Donruss All-Stars
1981 Topps Stickers (Football)

Nothing Earth shattering but some interesting old wax that had me intrigued. 

Here is what they yielded. 

1983 Donruss Action Allstars
Cal Ripken #52
Look at the "Action Shot". A topped ball directly into the dirt. This was either a foul ball or an easy 2-3 put out. This entire set     pushes the limits of "action". It should be 1983 Donruss Pictures of Guys on the Field Allstars. 

Rod Carew #38

Cal was the first card pulled and proved to be the best of the bunch as well. These cards had a hold in me since I was a kid, bigger and different then anything else. I bought my first pack in the early 90's. 

Reading the back of these cards is awesome. Insight into contract status, free agency and hobbies had to be riveting to the card collecting youth. Here's a few tidbits for you; 
Willie Wilson likes to bake. Fernando Valenzuela has no hobbies. Jim Sundberg owns a travel agency. And Bob Horner likes video games. So he enjoyed Pong is what that tells us, fascinating. 

Not sure if anyone out there is working on a set, but here are all the ones I have. 

1983 Donruss Action Allstars
#4 Greg Luzinski
#15 Ron Guidry
#21 Ron Cey
#26 Jim Sundberg
#32 Willie Wilson
#41 Bruce Sutter
#44 Carl Yastrzemski
#43 Carlton Fisk
#46 Bob Horner
#47 Dave Concepcion
#49 Kent Hrbek
#50 Lance Parrish
#53 Fernando Valenzuela 
#58 Gary Carter
#59 Fred Lynn 
#60 Checklist
Mantle Puzzle pieces #'s 7,8,9,28,29,30,49,50,51

1988 Donruss All-Stars
Mike Scott Pop-Up
Cal Ripken #5

Again Cal was the first card pulled and absolutely the best as well. Anyone else notice the progression of the Allstar (1983) to All-Star (1988)?  Who made the call to add the hyphen?  Made my life difficult when cataloging my Ripken collection as a kid. And now typing this post from my phone has me annoyed at the ponctuation yet again. 

1981 Topps Stickers Football
Ok, no cheating. Who can name any of the players below. I was hell no-4 with the pictures and still 0-4 with the names. Granted I was one year old when these were produced.

I will have another post with my other purchase later this week. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Talk About Your All-Time Backfire

I have done my best to steer my son toward my passion of baseball.  His first word was "ball" and he continues to be obsessed with playing ball.  He recognizes the Oriole Bird from my hat, and hearing a child say "O-we-ol" is heart melting.  At a year and a half he could recognize Cal Ripken from posters.  I couldn't be happier.

In an effort to bring my love of baseball into parenting, I bought a few things from Target to use as rewards.  Toilet training is difficult and any incentive is a welcome one.  Candy works too well but stickers are fun and don't set a bad precedent.

So I bought a pack of 2014 Topps Stickers to use in the Potty.  It was riddled with Yankees players.  At first I was bummed but quickly realized the only place for a Yankee should be the bathroom.

For something a little different I also snagged a 2013 Topps Big League Mini pack to give him a new baseball toy.  I got this guy:

In case you can't tell, it's Derek Jeter.  The epicenter of my dislike for the Yankees.  Yuck.  Gross.

Time to throw it out right.  Nope.  My son loves it and even referred to it as "his Dad."  Several times.

Good thing he has the attention span of a two-year old.  I will be leaving this guy in a restaurant in the near future

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Taking Stock

I haven't been nearly as active as I would like over the last few months.  With the baseball season in full effect, it would stand to reason my collection would be suffering greatly. 

Thanks to the Orioles limited roster moves this season, I am not doing so bad.

I currently have 872 of the 977, 89.25%.  So damn close to my 90% goal.  Only eight autographs stand in my way.  That got me thinking.  Eight should be real easy.  Should be the operative word.

Of the 105 autographs I need, 61 players are deceased.  Thus, they are expensive and aren't readily available.

Of the 34 living players only 9 are active, with a handful of them being good signers.  I am going to need to work hard to get myself over 90% before the Orioles start calling up players during the stretch run.  I am sitting on 10 signed cards of players that may be called up.

I am hoping to make some dents in the next few weeks, or at least start posting a little more.  Wrangling a 2 year old during the day and then working the night shift has sapped any creative energy I had.  Looking forward to reading more about your exploits out there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In a Fantasy World

My new company car has satellite radio, and like a true dork, I have been listening to the Fantasy Sports channel.  Yep.  Every time I am in the car it's mock drafts, ADP, auction values and super deep sleepers.

This constant baseball talk has brought me back from a decade long hiatus from the game.  It had previously been too much to keep up with a whole season, but times are different.  I am different. 

So I made my own league.  It's a 12 team, mixed league, Rotisserie League drafting on Saturday March 29 at 8pm.  I am looking for anyone to take it seriously, $25 on the line.

Let me know if you are interested.