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, April 30, 2010

From the Video Game to My Collection

Anyone who has played PlayStation 2 or 3's series MLB: The Show will recognize the voice of my most recent success, maybe not his signature. Rex Hudler spent 13 seasons in "The Show" and another playing over in Japan before lending his voice to the game, literally and figuratively.

For 10 seasons he was the play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and became known for his rhyming and off-the-wall calls. He did both radio and television work but fans outside of California may know him better from the video game franchise. For the past five installments of the game Hudler teamed up with Dave "Soupy" Campbell and Matt Vasgersian to supply the voice over work for the game.

But most importantly, "Wonder Dog", was a Baltimore Oriole. For one season.

Rex Hudler 1991 Orioles Crown #206

Rex was drafted by the Yankees and started his career in New York but was traded after just two seasons with Rich Bordi in exchange for Gary Roenicke and Leo Hernandez. Baltimore used Hudler in 1986 primarily as a defensive replacement, playing in 14 games but only making one plate appearance. His career stat line with the Orioles: 0 hits, 1 at-bat, 0 walks, 1 stolen base and one run scored.

After Baltimore he spent time with the Montreal Expos, St. Louis Cardinals, Yakult Swallows of Japan, California Angels and Philadelphia Phillies. For me, I always thought of him as an Angel because I only had cards of him on that team. I guess he thought so too, going to work for them and all.

Orioles Prospect Trade: 2 for 1

I just received my end of a pretty good trade featuring three of the Orioles best prospects. I added Matt Wieters and Jake Arrieta to the collection while dealing a Chris Tillman certified autograph I had. I like to think it was a sweet deal, especially when Arrieta gets called up later this year.

Matt Wieters 2007 Tristar Prospects Plus #53

Wieters is among the few bright spots on a club that hasn't had a lot of success so far in the season. His average is over .300 and he is showing glimpses of star power. When he was drafted I remember feeling like the fate of the franchise was solely hinged on his success, but I feel the team built around him will alleviate that pressure. My ideal auto is as an Oriole, but our minor league affiliate will work for now. Anyone have a signed 2010 Upper Deck Wieters they want to deal for this beauty?

Jake Arrieta 2008 Bowman Draft Pick Prospects #BDPP-92

Yes, I am assuming Arrieta will make his way to the big club by seasons end, hell maybe even by weeks end. He is putting up ridiculous numbers in Norfolk and I am not sure how long they can keep him down there. I have a collector trying to snag a few autographs for me down there, but I hadn't heard back, so I made the trade. Here's to a short lived AAA stint for Arrieta.

As I was looking over the Orioles current roster I was struck by how few autographs I have of the current roster. I own an auto from all outfielders (Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, Lou Montanez, Nolan Reimold) and DH's (Luke Scott), but only one infielder (Wieters) and merely three pitchers (Jason Berken, Jeremy Guthrie, David Hernandez). That's not the kind of coverage I want, but there are a ton of new faces on this team. Just means more work for me.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

My Puerto Rican Connection

My collecting pursuits have introduced me to a lot of collectors all over the place, just registering my first couple trades in Puerto Rico. In PR, I have found a friend that is also tremendously passionate about baseball cards, namely Puerto Rican ballplayers. Today I received another autograph I needed from him and a little glimpse into his baseball world.

Luis DeLeon 1984 Topps #38

Deleon spent most of his career with the the San Diego Padres fighting for a spot on the big-league roster. He was a serviceable reliever, claiming his best years in a closing role during the 1982 and 1983 seasons. After '83 he was unable to maintain a spot in the bigs and shifted through the minors. He was signed by Baltimore in 1986 and made his O's debut in June of 1987. His time in Baltimore was brief only lasting 11 games. Once he left Baltimore he emerged one last time in 1989 with the Mariners for one game, making his only major league start, a no decision. He prolonged his career in the minors spanning another six seasons.

According to mi amigo Javier, Deleon and a bunch of other retired ballplayers show up for the Puerto Rican Winter League. Hopefully he will be able to help me out with a few players I need who migrate that way in winter.

He also sent me a ticket stub from one of the games he went to this past winter:

$6 a ticket, you can't beat that at all. I am definitely holding on to the ticket, a cool addition to my baseball display, even though I've never seen a game there.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Standing on Second

I decided to save myself a little coin in reaching my milestone, $.44 to be exact. I could have sent a TTM request or had him done 50/50, but since Casey Blake has no Oriole cards I decided to make a trade and save one stamp. That may not seem like much but if I do it again, that's a whole TTM request. Then who knows?

Casey Blake 2008 Topps #231

Many people don't know much about Casey Blake's career, and I was one of them. He started with Toronto in '99, Minnesota '00-'01, Baltimore in '01, Minnesota again in '02, before working his way to prominence in Cleveland in '03. His Baltimore stint lasted a mere six games amassing only two hits at 1B and DH. He is an extremely versatile player having spent significant time at 1B, 3B and all OF positions. The only positions he has never played is P and C.

The bulk of his career numbers came as an Indian before being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers as the Indians were purging salary in 2008. He was traded in 2008 along with cash for Joe Meloan and Carlos Santana, all I gave up was a Darnell McDonald 1998 Best card. I think Marty must have forgot my money, maybe next time.

Standing on second base
Having achieved my 50% goal for the collection, I decided to take a look back at how I got here. Started the autograph collection in July of 2008 when it was becoming harder and harder to find Rick Dempsey, Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts cards I needed. After only six months it was clear the autograph side was becoming a huge part of my collecting. My Dempsey collection had been pretty hard to make additions to, but Markakis quickly began to take a backseat. I never thought my Roberts collection could fall out of favor, but then again I never thought Ripken would have met that fate as well.

So, two years in and I am extremely happy with where I have been. My knowledge and respect for Orioles history has grown and I have renewed my passion for collecting. My animosity to the business side of autograph collecting remains yet it is more palatable. I hope in two more years to be cresting the 80% mark, but 90% would be even better.

Thanks to all for their encouragement, help, support and time in reading about my endeavors, it means a a lot to me.

Current Collection: 444/887=50.05%

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The O's best "Nolan" Since Joe

I may have jumped the gun trading for a certified autograph of our Nolan Reimold, but I get antsy at times. I have a TTM request out to him that I am hoping comes back but I am just hedging my bets here. It is also a decently valuable card, so if the TTM request does come back, should be easy to move, or bring in some nice auto's.

Since I am liquidating my player collections of Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts, I may as well bolster my Orioles collection. I traded this Dual Autograph of both of them for Reimold:

Nolan Reimold 2009 Topps Chrome Blue Refractors Autograph /199 #231

Reimold burst onto the scene last season posting big numbers out of the gate, posting better power numbers than highly touted rookie Matt Wieters. He ended the season with a .279 batting average and 15 homeruns. Coming into the 2010 season he and Felix Pie were to platoon in left, but the injury to Pie left Reimold alone. But his slow start thus far has allowed Lou Montanez to take away some at bats in the last week. Nolan still has a ton of potential and upside and if this team ever turns it around I have a feeling he will be a catalyst.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Six-Pack of Latin Flavor

I didn't plan it I swear. Just made two different trades that happened to only include 1990's cards of Latin American players. The only one of the signers with a halfway decent track record of signing is Armando Benitez, and even he is around 60%.

Armando Benitez 1995 Topps #346

Sid Fernandez 1995 Donruss #270

Chris Gomez 1993 Collector's Choice #110

Leo Gomez 1994 Score #55

Chito Martinez 1992 Triple Play #192

Fernando Tatis 1999 Pacific Paramount #196

I still need to get Leo Gomez and Chito Martinez on Orioles Crown cards, but when they sign at 9% and 16% respectively, I had to jump at any opportunity to make the additions. I also have a request of to Chris Gomez for a 2008 Topps Heritage card featuring him as an Oriole, so hopefully that longshot will come through. Tatis is still in the Majors, as a member of the Mets, and I am looking for someone to 50/50 him for me. I just bought up a bunch of base cards of players with limited exposure as a Bird in hopes of upgrading a few sigs in the collection.

Anyone graph the Mets and wanna help a brotha out?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tracking Down Some Tough Signers

My fourth deal with Obed added the index cards from earlier and five additional tough signers on Orioles cards.

Jim Gentile 2004 Maryland Lottery #36
When Gentile made the cross country trip from Los Angeles to Baltimore in 1960, his career skyrocketed. He made three consecutive All-Star games from 1960-1962, and brought a good bit of power to the lineup. 1961 was his best season but unfortunately was forced to compete with two guys named Maris and Mantle. His season was a .302 BA, 46HR, 141 RBI and 96 Runs, a tremendous year. He was traded to the Kansas City Athletics in 1963 and his numbers were never the same.

Dennis Martinez 1982 Donruss #79

Martinez had a great 11 year career in Baltimore from 1975-86, but decided to turn it on once he reached Montreal in 1986. There is a lot of information out there on Denny, but most people do not know that he played baseball with my honeymoon guide. That's right, my Costa Rican, ATV/horse guide, played semi-professional baseball in Nicaragua with Denny Martinez. I was so close to greatness.

Pete Richert 2004 Upper Deck Legends Timeless Teams #48

Richert continues the All-Star trend as Richert was selected to the 1965 & 1966 games as a member of the Washington Senators. His tenure in Baltimore led to 30 wins a sub 3.00 ERA and multiple World Series appearances. He pitched in the 1969, 70 and 71 series', never allowing a single hit, but allowing the game winning run in game four. He inherited two runners, then made a throwing error to first to allow the game ending run to score, never recording an out. Dick Hall took the loss. His career spanned another three years after Baltimore before ending in 1974.

Chris Singleton 2002 Fleer #421

This fleet-footed center fielder played six major league seasons, patrolling Camden Yards during the 2002 campaign. He was always known for speed and defense, taking 21 bases and only committing four errors in Baltimore. Once his career ended he has gone the analyst route, making stops on SportsCenter and Baseball Tonight, giving the player perspective.

Walter Young 2006 Topps Heritage #216

Young's lone major league season lasted 14 games in 2005. He hit over .300 as an Oriole but was selected off waivers by the Padres at seasons end. He has never made it back to the bigs and his 2009 season was played entirely in Sioux City, Iowa of the Independent League. Hopefully his big bat will one day make its way back to the Majors.

Mystery Package Revealed

So, I finally had a chance to go to the P.O. today to claim my postage due package. Walked in to no line, a first, with my trusty George Washington firmly in hand. Gave the lady my form and she came back with my package. A small envelope self addressed to me. The same type envelope I have sent hundreds of times for TTM requests. Yet this one miraculously cost $1.22, when all others only needed a lone $.44 stamp. I asked the lady at the counter why this one cost so much and she had no response. I handed her my dollar, which she then gave back to me with my package. Thanks Postal Lady! I hope the U.S. Government doesn't miss my $.78, just tack it to my taxes next year.

Once I sat in my car I couldn't wait and I tore open the envelope, inside I found:
Gary Matthews Jr. 2003 Topps #509

Gary Matthews Jr. 2003 Upper Deck #316

Even with these cards sitting at the Post Office for almost a week, they still only took less than three weeks to arrive. When I sent to him as the season was beginning I thought it was a lost cause, only 30% successes I had seen. Apparently I found him at a good time as there are other reported successes of his last week. Timing IS everything. Now, silver is not my first choice to sign with and I may even prefer pen, but a sig is a sig. And I went 2 for 2.

Monday, April 19, 2010

West Coast Connection

Attempts to get autographs from my local team have stalled, forcing me to concentrate my efforts elsewhere. Enter all of MLB baseball. I have sent a good amount of requests to O's who currently play ball in other cities.

It is a little weird that a lot of ex-Orioles play for the Dodgers, Casey Blake, Russ Ortiz and George Sherrill. I know what you are thinking, Casey Blake and Russ Ortiz? Yep. Six games for Blake and 20 for Ortiz. Who knew?

I went 2/2 from Sherrill in just over two weeks. Apparently relievers have a little time on their hands to sign some cards.

Sherrill came into prominence when given a chance to close in Baltimore during the 2008 campaign. He was elected as the Orioles representative in the All-Star game and wowed a lot of fans in Baltimore. Last season began as the closer in Baltimore and ended as the set-up man in Los Angeles. During the Dodgers stretch run last season he was nearly untouchable ringing up a .065 ERA. Once the playoffs began, Sherrill was again solid, until the Phillies put an end to his season.

George Sherrill 2008 Topps Update & Highlights #UH90

George Sherrill 2009 Topps #18

Again an Oriole pitcher, or ex-pitcher, likes to personalize his autographs. They must teach a class on this or something. I really like the picture on the 2009 Topps card but it looks like it got a little smeared en route, bummer. Anyone looking for a George Sherrill signed card addressed To Kirk? Oddly enough, I have one available.

Index Card Quiz

Just made a trade for a bunch of tougher autographs I needed and had to settle for a few on index cards. Figured a cool way to go about it is to leave them nameless and see how easy or hard they are to guess. I will give the years they played professionally and see how people do. *Note* Every player has spent time on the Orioles roster.

Starting Off Easy:
#1) 1970-1977

#2) 1974-1990

A Little Tougher:
#3) 1987-1990

#4) 1975-1984

#5) 1971-1979

Good Thing The Name Was on the Back:
#6) 1992-1993

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Weekend Off to a Rocky Start

The O's have been in a tail spin since the beginning of the season. I was hoping a trip out West would help the team regroup and come together as a club. It seems as though this was not in the cards. They have dropped the first two games in Oakland, including another ninth inning loss on Saturday and have lost nine straight games. I will always have faith in the team, but if injuries continue to pile up this could be a difficult season.

On a happier not, yet still Rocky, I have another addition to the collection.

Rocky Cherry 2007 Topps '52 #126

After being traded from Chicago with Scott Moore in 2007, Cherry appeared in 28 games over the next two seasons. He was ineffective as a stopper in the bullpen recording an ERA above 7.00. After the 2008 campaign he was selected by the Mets in the Rule 5 draft, but never made the big club. He pitched for Portland (Padres) and Pawtucket (Red Sox) in AAA last year.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Baseball Card Karma

You can call it Karma.

Yin and Yang.

Give and take.


I call it crappy.

I was riding the euphoric wave of adding 20+ cards to my collection only to suffer a minor wipe-out at the mailbox today.

USPS Form 3849, postage due. OK, $.78 is not the end of the world, it won't break me, I hope. Hell, I can't even be sure the package is baseball cards, but what else could it be? The only other mail I get are bills and if they start making me pay postage to receive bills, there will be hell to pay. And postage of course.

Just when I was about to come up for air, another karmic wave landed on my head. An empty return envelope neatly marked "RECEIVED WITHOUT CONTENTS".

Really? Really?

It doesn't appear to have been moistened, wettened or even licked to prevent it's contents from spilling out anywhere from "Sin City" to the "City that Reads" (Ha). I went digging through my notes and the lost soul is most likely John Lowenstein, or anyone else in Las Vegas I sent to before recording everything. I really just want to know who it was so I can try again to add to my collection. Or maybe this is just a sneaky trick veterans are pulling to keep my cards. I am on to you Mr. Lowenstein.

Let's see what tomorrow will bring down on me.


The title only truly works when said as Adam Sandler's character Billy Madison, but yesterday was nothing short of winning the lottery. The autograph lottery. At least for me.

A total of 21 different Orioles Crown autographs were waiting me when I came home last night, following my first visit to Camden Yards this year. It was a shame the Orioles lost, such a promising start, but I won. BIG. Every card I added was of a difficult to find autograph, deceased player or player who charges for signatures. I am reluctant to pay out a ton of money for autographs, so a trade is right up my alley.

I gave up 40 or so Brian Roberts 2008 Topps Moments & Milestones variations, including three 1/1's, but all was well worth it. I am hoping he will need more stuff from me in the future because there are still a ton of goodies I need to pluck from his list.

It would take days to write about each player in depth so for once, I will let the pictures do the talking.

"The Dearly Departed"
Mike Blyzka 1991 Orioles Crown #38

Bob Boyd 1991 Orioles Crown #46

John Buzhardt 1991 Orioles Crown #66

Joe Coleman 1991 Orioles Crown #80

Sandy Consuegra 1991 Orioles Crown #83

Moe Drabowsky 1991 Orioles Crown #112

Jim Fridley 1991 Orioles Crown #146

Woodie Held 1991 Orioles Crown #192

Bob Kennedy 1991 Orioles Crown #236

Billy Klaus 1991 Orioles Crown #242

Lou Kretlow 1991 Orioles Crown #249

Dick Kryhoski 1991 Orioles Crown #250

"Earth Bound"
Mike Adamson 1991 Orioles Crown #5

Ray "Buddy" Barker 1991 Orioles Crown #21

Marv Breeding 1991 Orioles Crown #50

Leo Burke 1991 Orioles Crown #62

Mark Corey 1991 Orioles Crown #85

Dave Duncan 1991 Orioles Crown #116

Ryne Duren 1991 Orioles Crown #117

Ron Kittle 1991 Orioles Crown #241

Brad Komminsk 1991 Orioles Crown #246

My stats are creeping toward 50% on the total roster and total Crown set. Lets keep that momentum rolling.