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, February 26, 2010

Correction to the Quest

While communicating with a few other collectors pursuing the 1991 Orioles Crown set we came to a conclusion, our collections will never be complete. Aside from the stubborn Albie Pearson and Hank Foiles refusing to sign this specific set, there were a few Orioles to pass away before the printing of the cards.

I knew there were a few but didn't think the final count would come to 36. With these statistics my goal of collecting signed versions of all 501 cards is impossible. I am not scrapping the whole idea, just tweaking the numbers. And no I didn't work for Enron. The total cards possible in the set is actually 465.

Here is a list of the Orioles who passed before they were commemorated in this set.
Adair, Jerry - d. 87
Bickford, Vern - d. 60
Brideweser, Jim - d. 89
Brown, Dick - d. 70
Byrd, Harry - d. 85
Carreon, Camilo - d. 87
Courtney, Clint - d. 75
Cox, Billy - d. 78
Evers, Hoot - d. 91
Finigan, Jim - d. 81
Fox, Howie - d. 55
Gastall, Tommy - d. 56
Goodman, Billy - d. 84
Green, Gene - d. 81
Hamric, Bert - d. 84
Hardin, Jim - d. 91
Jackson, Lou - d. 69
Jones, Sam - d. 71
Kellert, Frank - d. 76
Kokos, Dick - d. 86
Koslo, Dave - d. 75
Lau, Charlie - d. 84
Luebke, Dick - d. 74
Majeski, Hank - d. 91
Nieman, Bob - d. 85
Palica, Erv - d. 82
Portocarrero, Arnie - d. 86
Reinbach, Mike - d. 89
Rice, Del - d. 83
Stephens, Vern - d. 68
Trout, Paul (Dizzy) - d. 72
Waitkus, Eddie - d. 72
Wertz, Vic - d. 83
Wiggins, Alan - d. 91
Wilson, Jim - d. 86
Young, Bobby - d. 85

Keep 'em Coming

Wayne Garland 1991 Orioles Crown #152

The third time was a charm for Wayne Garland after he came out of high school. He was drafted by the Pirates in 1968 and the Cardinals in 1969 before finally signing with the Orioles following the July amateur draft in 1969. His first three seasons from 1973-75 were lackluster, but things changed in 1976. Wayne went 20-7 during his last season in Baltimore before using free agency to escape to the Cleveland Indians. Wayne never regained his form of 76 and ended his career with Cleveland in 1981 a career 55-66 pitcher.

John Pacella 1991 Orioles Crown #346

John Pacella's Oriole career spanned a mere six games and 14.2 innings during the 1984 season. He bounced around the bigs playing with five teams in six major league seasons.

Chris Tillman 2009 Topps Update & Highlights #UH-108

My second TTM success of spring training is personalized and will bounce out his Bowman Sterling Autograph I traded for earlier this month. Anyone need a Tillman auto for their collection?

Koji Uehara 2009 Topps Chrome X-Fractor #203

Koji was my biggest wild-card from spring training this year. I haven't been sure of his signing habits and was extremely pleased to see two successes from him today. I like the way the X-Fractor auto looks in person even if it doesn't translate to the computer so well. His signature is fuller on this card which is why I am keeping this one.

Koji Uehara 2009 Topps 206 #23

Number two is still a sweet autograph but I like the X-Fractor slightly more. So far this spring I have received 3 of my 16 requests. Still a long way to go.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Latest and Greatest

Manny Alexander 1992 Classic #119

Manny has been a tough autograph to come by after his MLB days ended. Steroids and a lack of consistency bounced Manny from the majors after 2006. He played baseball in Italy in 2008 which is probably why there hasn't been a recorded success since 2007. I want cards featuring the player as an Oriole whenever possible but I am prepared to settle whenever necessary. Hopefully this will be quickly upgraded.

Dave Pagan 1991 Orioles Crown #347

Pagan made his way to Baltimore in 1976 via the New York Yankees, alongside fan favorites Rick Dempsey, Scott McGregor and Tippy Martinez. His entire Bird career spanned 20 games, most of which were as a reliever. His tenure was short here as he was selected as the 29th pick in the 1977 expansion draft by the Seattle Mariners.

When I started this project I thought it was a novel idea and I was the only person doing it. I was quite wrong, but I smartly became acquaintances with those who had been doing it longer and better. Ryan Salsman is one of those guys and the next two cards are from him on credit. He read my post about missing out on Felix Pie and Nate Snell at FanFest and took pity on me, I will hook him up when I can. Thanks.

Felix Pie 2009 Topps #504

Pie started the 2009 campaign like I thought he would, slowly. I didn't think that he would turn it around and show glimpses of the five-tool talent he had been touted as, I was wrong. I feel he has a better feel for center field than Adam Jones but will be hard to move a gold-glover to another position. Now that my expectations are up for Pie this year I am expecting to be let down, at least I have a card from this notoriously difficult signer.

Nate Snell 1986 Fleer #288

I am getting closer to the Snell card I want, 1991 Crown, by moving my over sized postcard out of the personal collection. I traded for the postcard last week because Ryan was not bound to send me this card, but I am happy to receive it. This card is closer in size and age to my white whale and I will eventually snare it.

Monday, February 22, 2010

From Florida With Love

Today was filled with a mixed bag in the mailbox. I got a RTS from Javy Lopez, a gamed used card from a Hall of Famer and my first spring training success from a former ace.

Let's start with the bad. I sent to Lopez on February first to receive an envelope marked Unable to Forward, sweet. The address I sent to was 3475 Oak Valley Rd. NE Apt 1530, Atlanta, GA 30326. Does anyone have a good address for him or know what he is up to now?

Luis Aparicio 2001 Upper Deck Cooperstown Collection Hall of Famers Bat #B-LA

Aparicio came today via a trade from Todd Jones on The Bench. Oddly enough I traded him some Todd Jones cards. Not sure if its the real deal or just his namesake, but either way it's a HOFer to add to my game used collection. I am only keeping HOF game used in my collection having liquidated all others I had. The card doesn't list any information that says the bat was used in a game as an Oriole, but since he's pictured on the card as an Oriole, it works.

My first success from spring training.

Jeremy Guthrie 2009 Topps #194

I sent close to twenty requests out in the beginning of February which have just started to come back. I was told I sent to early, obviously not. I am a big fan of Guthrie and think he will be the pitcher to benefit the most Kevin Millwood having signed in the off-season. Without the pressure and the responsibility of taking on each team's #1 pitcher I am expecting 14 wins this year. But what do I know, I'm just a baseball card collector.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Another Huge Mail Day

Friday was the second huge day this week. If this keeps up I will be hitting my 50% goals for the set and overall collection right quick.

I received three TTM successes but the bulk of the cards I added were from two trades. Big thanks go out to Aaron and Jason for helping me out. Aaron and I have had parallel collections for some time, starting with Ripken, then Markakis and now Orioles autographs. He and I have helped each other numerous times and now that I have dismantled the Markakis collection I had another opportunity.

Tommy Davis 1991 Orioles Crown #97

Mr. Davis was a last minute addition to my trade with Aaron. He threw it in after our initial trade offer because he received a double, I'll take it.

Hank Foiles Index Card

The postcards I got in this trade are the first to go into the personal collection. Mr Foiles will not under any circumstance sign a 1991 Crown card because he never gave permission for his likeness to be used. I don't have much in the way of vintage so this will have to suffice, for now.

Bobby Grich 1991 Orioles Crown #165

Updating the collection with this success in just over a month. I'm sending a 1983 Fleer card I traded for last year. Just keep plugging away at the Crown collection, one card at a time.

Phil Huffman 1991 Orioles Crown #207

Huffman had an interesting major league career. He broke into the league with the Blue Jays in 1979 and pitched in 31 games going 6 and 18. His next stint came for the Orioles in 1985, lasting a mere two games. That was it for his big-league career, 6 wins, 18 losses, 1 shutout and an ERA over 6.

Connie Johnson Index Card (Deceased)

Mr. Johnson ended his pitching career with the Orioles from 1956-58. He was a good pitcher with an ERA hovering around 3, but the wins never accumulated. He recorded 22 complete games in three years here in Baltimore before his career ended. Mr. Johnson passed away on November 28, 2004 at the age of 82.

Jimmy Key 1988 Collector's Choice #42

Aaron and I had agreed to the trade before I received my Key TTM success last week. I really like his signature on this card and it should be easy to deal because he doesn't have a ton of stuff as an Oriole.

Fred Marsh Index Card (Deceased)

Mr. Marsh was one of the first requests I ever sent TTM, unfortunatley it was after he passed away in 2006. His wife however, sent me a letter in response explaining that he had passed and how fondly he remembered his time in baseball. This index card from Aaron is a great addition for me, and it comes with a nice little story.

Melvin Mora 2003 Topps Total #534

Sweet Swinging Melvin Mora has been a long time coming for me. I had passed up opportunities to trade for him in the past because of how easily accessable his autos are. I even sent to him this year for spring training after he signed with the Colorado Rockies. I am guessing I won't hear back from him this year, so it was about time he found a place in my collection.

Gary Roenicke 1991 Orioles Crown #392

Another addition from Aaron to replace a 1983 Fleer card I had.

Oscar Salazar 2008 Topps Update & Highlights #UH311

This was the second trade I received this week on a much smaller scale. I gave up a Larry Bigbie Topps Auto I had in reserve. Salazar was a position player from 2008-09 that was dealt to the Padres at the end of last season. There are not many cards featuring him as an Oriole so I had to jump on this one.

Mickey Scott 1991 Orioles Crown #410

This is one of the most interesting autographs I have received to date. He really doesn't leave a whole lot of empty room on the card. The signature itself is extremely clear and I am a big fan. Mr. Scott also completes my first nine pocket sheet of autographs. A total of ten straight players, it's a big achievement for me.

Nate Snell 2010 Orioles FanFest Postcard NNO

So I got this one from Aaron a little more than a month after I was supposed to get him at FanFest. Snell was a no-show in my line but signed elsewhere instead, so this card is reparations. I would have preferred the Crown card but will have to make a deal for that one later, I didnt want to turn down a player I needed.

Dave Trembley 2008 Topps Gold Foil #589

Even though Trembley never played for the O's I feel he and other managers are owed a place in my collection, so I traded for him.

Dick Williams 1991 Orioles Crown #486

I have steered clear of paying a lot of cash for autographs. I know it is inevitable but I have a limited budget so I hadnt sent to Mr. Williams and others yet. Aaron was nice enough to deal me this card for a 2007 SPX triple game used of Markakis, Roberts and Tejada.. This is a great Hall of Fame addition to my collection, thanks again.

Mark Williamson 1991 Orioles Crown #488

Williamson has been hit or miss for me. I had a success with him over a year ago, then last month received a RTS. I had to make the trade to finally get his Crown card into the collection.

Overall it was a great day. 15 autographs, 6 Crown cards, 2 deceased players, 1 HOFer, all cobine for one helluva day. Friday increased all of my collection statistics by over a full percent, making it my signle best day as of yet. Saturday didn't bring any successes so hopefully next week will start back up. Thanks for the read.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Last Man Standing, In the Mailbox

Things have slowed down in my mailbox, only a success today. Hard to think the onslaught would continue, but consistency is nice. Another Crown hit so I am slowly chugging toward 50%. Lets keep it up fellas.

Dave Boswell 1991 Orioles Crown #

Dave Boswell is a local boy who played the majority of his final season in the major leagues with his hometown team in Baltimore. The first seven seasons were spent in Minnesota with a quick stop in Detroit after his time here.

In Minnesota he was a starter, registering a 20 win season in 1969, but ended his career in the pen. In that same season he heroically pitched against the Orioles in the ALCS, giving up one ER in the top half of the 11th inning, and taking the defeat. When he retired from baseball he ranked in the top 50 players for K's/9 innings.

He may be best known for fighting teammate Bob Allison on the Twins, then being busted up by his manager Billy Martin. Welcome to the collection, try and play nice.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Huge Mail Day

The Federal holiday must have backed up the mail because I received a hefty dose of Orioles graphs today. I'm not complaining. The mail-bag was full of Orioles Crown hits, Bobby Bo, extras and even a trade. Keeping me busy with the scans, but on with the goods.

1991 Orioles Crown
Tom Matchick 1991 Orioles Crown #282

Dyar Miller 1991 Orioles Crown #301

Bob Molinaro 1991 Orioles Crown #311

Bob Oliver 1991 Orioles Crown #342

Mike Parrott 1991 Orioles Crown #354

Orlando Pena 1991 Orioles Crown #357

It's pretty cool to get six cards from the 1991 Orioles Crown set back on the same day, making a full percent dent in the statistics. Mr. Miller is the only succes that wasn't original. It's kind of funny looking at my successess because you can tell I work in alphabetical order for the most part with all Crown successes being between M-P. Each of these were sent February 1, and received in just over two weeks. I really appreciate the fast responses.

Dyar Miller 2006 Memphis Redbirds #27

Dyar Miller 1975 Topps #614

Both of these cards were additions added by Mr. Miller as I only had his Crown card. He also responded to my letter wishing myself and the Orioles a good 2010. Unfortunately the cards were smudged when he returned them to me with the Crown card having ink remnants on the back.

Bobby Bonilla 1996 Topps #329

Bobby Bonilla 1996 Select #75

Bobby Bonilla 1996 Leaf #120

Bobby Bonilla 1996 Studio #27

I went 4 for 4 with Bobby Bo and was extremely excited to get them back so quickly. I received all four successes in two weeks. I was also surprised to receive all four cards back. I have a ton of his cards and figured what the hell and it paid off. I am disappointed in his signatures, just a "B O". Come on. I know you were called called Bobby Bo, but just a little effort in the signatures would be nice.

Brian Roberts 2008 Sweet Spot Signatures Red/Blue Stitching Red Ink #S-BR

Brian Roberts 2008 Sweet Spot Signatures Red Stitching Blue Ink #S-BR

These two sweet cards are a by-product of a 2009 Travis Snider Finest Autograph redemption that I just traded away. Can't go wrong with two for one autograph trades especially since I need both for my Brian Roberts Collection. I am a huge fan of the Sweet Spot product, just wishing they were a little thinner so storage was easier. I can't have it all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Oh...There You Are!

The Northeast has been tormented by snow this last week and somehow my driveway, walk and cars were not spared. In total 40+ inches of snow has needed to be cleared, not fun. Oh I also work in the car rental business and have had to clear a parking lot and two dozen cars there as well, twice. I am a tired, sore boy.

Each night after coming home from work or finishing up my shovelling I open the mailbox in hopes of a little respite from my day. Just a little token from the baseball community to remind me Spring Training is right around the corner. I was continually let down. mail. mail. Monday...mail! mail. mail. mail.

Seriously, six days of available mail delivery and five of those without even a piece of junk mail? Nothing at all except Monday, and Monday paid off pretty well. However, since I praised the postal service for Wayne Krenchicki, I will blast them for this week. Doesn't the USPS realize that my sanity hinges directly upon whether or not I receive baseball cards in the mail? How thoughtless of them.

What I did receive warmed my core a little, finally a few names I can cross off my lists.

Jimmy Key 1998 Pinnacle #41

It only took seven days for this success and its a good thing it came. His limited time in Baltimore only supplied me with one card of his. 1 for 1 and I didn't have to go looking for base cards, that's efficiency baby.

Chris Tillman 2009 Bowman Sterling Autograph #BS-CT

This card came via trade with a collector Luis from It's the first autograph trade I have made in a while and had to give up a Saul Rivera and Jose Morales autograph in return. I, and all of Baltimore for that matter, have extremely high hopes for Tillman. I am looking forward to seeing how he develops in the young staff we have this year.

Larry Brown 1991 Orioles Crown #55

Mr. Brown has been a good signer recently and this success took just over a month. Brown only spent one season in Baltimore near the end of his 12 year major league career. He had below average offensive numbers but his defense was what kept him around.

Ken Rudolph 1991 Orioles Crown #398

Yet another seven day return from a strong TTM signer. This is a good solid autograph getting me another card closer to 50% for the set.

Travis Snider 2009 Finest Autograph Redemption #152

I hate redemptions. It took almost nine months for this to come back to me and it's a high serial number. Of course it takes nine months to sign cards when he;s required to sign 500+. I like the premise of these cards but the letters are so small few signatures look good to me. This card has already been traded on The Bench for two Brian Roberts Sweet Spot Autographs I need for my player collection. At least I get something I need for waiting so long.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Welcome to the Party Pal

Received these two successes earlier this week and am just now getting around to posting them up. Thank goodness for 25 inches of snow, finally giving me the chance to find time to aimlessly type. This request was sent in late September, taking just over four months to make its way back. Welcome home boys.

Wayne Gross 1991 Orioles Crown #168

Continuing the string of additions to the Crown Set. It's a clear signature, sweet stache and in blue sharpie, can't ask for much more.

Wayne Gross 1986 O-Pee-Chee #233

When I was collecting Cal Ripken I picked up a 1986 O-Pee-Chee Orioles team set that I really like. This is the second autograph from that set and I really enjoy the look. It doesn't hurt that this is probably the first set I remember collecting.

Wayne Gross 1985 Fleer #179
Wayne Gross 1985 Fleer TTM Autograph
This card was acquired in a trade earlier last year, before I sent to Mr. Gross. With the new additions this card is now a double, looking for a loving, caring, smoke-free home. Anyone want to adopt this lovely little fellow?

Even though I have not been posting I have been busy with the collection. I am taking my lunch hour to print, address, stamp and mail more TTM requests. Seeing as I can't access the Internet from work, lunch is the only time during the day I can work on the collection.

Just this week I have sent out over 50 TTM requests. I sent out the last Oriole Crown requests that I have addresses for and have turned my attention to some newer players. Roberto Alomar emerged last year to sign pretty well TTM and I sent to him as well as others from the 1997 A.L. East Championship team. I also sent about 15 requests to Spring Training. Many of the players I am going after are pitchers and catchers and am hoping to get a jump on the rest of the autograph seekers. Hopefully the stadium accepts the requests and doesn't return them all. I am keeping my fingers crossed on that one.

Also it seems that trading has heated up a bit. Made a few trades and have a few more in the works. If they all pan out there should be a bunch of new additions in the short-term.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My First Time

Not what you think. Please kindly remove your minds from the gutter. I am talking about my first autograph, of course.

The Quest has got me thinking, when, where and with whom did this all begin? I can trace my autograph lineage back to one man and one exact day. The only problem, I don’t remember it. I know when and where because he signed a program from that day, that’s all. Since I found this autograph I have been trying to remember the day but I think I am just making things up in my head and really have no clue what happened.

What I do know is that on October 22, 1988, my autograph collecting began. I came away from a little league baseball awards banquet with a personalized Paul Blair autograph on the program. I wasn’t even on a team, I was the bat boy for my brothers championship team. One problem Mr. Blair, my name is Kirk, not Curt. A slight oversight I know, and just one of many to haunt me every day of my life thus far.

I had forgotten about this autograph for years. Expecting it to have met a horrific fate like so many other objects, unlucky enough to have been caught in my room. I recently came across this piece as my father was clearing, some junk from my childhood home, coincidentally right as I was starting to collect O’s auto’s again. It proudly sits in an autograph binder, reminding me that my name will always be misheard.

Upon further review, I am not entirely sure it says "To Curt" like I had always believed. I think it says "Go Curt" and was his polite way of getting rid of me. Or maybe trying to pump up an eight year-old, either one.

I would like to hear about anybodys first autograph. I’m interested to see/hear/read how you all got hooked.