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

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's Good to be Back

It's been a slow week for baseball card collecting, only pulling in three new additions to the collection. Life on the other hand has been a whirlwind. Work continues to push me each day and my wife and I just celebrated our first anniversary. All-in-all, it's been a great week.

All three requests were returned in less than three weeks and only Rich Amaral is a replacement autograph.

Lyle Mouton 1997 Score #218

Mouton was a part of the Orioles attempt to stop their window of relevance from closing. He was not signed or traded for, but he was bought from the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese League. Lyle was among more than 10 veteran players brought in during the year to fill gaps in the lineup, rotation and pen. Mouton performed well during his 18 games, hitting above .300, driving in seven and scoring five runs.

Rich Amaral 2000 MLB Showdown #49

I love this autograph. It truly pops off the orange and white. It's also quite the nice autograph. Amaral only appeared on one card as an Oriole and this baby is it. I am replacing his 1996 Leaf Signature Autograph as a Mariner if anyone has a need for it.

Dave Vineyard 1991 Orioles Crown #468

Vineyard's entire big league career came during the 1964 campaign. His major role was in relief but he did make half a dozen starts in 18 appearances. Although his "cup of coffee" only lasted 18 games, he had a lengthy nine year career in the minor leagues, mainly with the Rochester Red Wings.

A Little Something Extra:
These were sent as a protective measure, but came back nicely signed.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The End of a Long Week

Work is a drag. I was stuck working another Saturday, all the while just looking forward to not being there. Spent the afternoon with the lovely wife, which eased the pain of a rough working week. When we got home, one success staring up at me. Not exactly what I was hoping for, I would have settled for six or so.

Today was:

Mike DeJean 2004 Topps Total #678

In just over two weeks I received this card and an identical twin from former Orioles reliever DeJean. Mike was signed as a free agent before the 2004 season, but his stay was short lived. After on 37 games and a high ERA, he was traded the the New York Mets for Karim Garcia. He thrived in New York, recording a 1.69 ERA to finish out the year.

In a weeks time I've made a decent dent my needs. I added 13 different players to the collection and crossed off another need from the Crown set. I am currently waiting on 30 plus TTM requests sent in the last month, so hopefully will have more to talk about.

My trading sites are treating me well still so I am counting on more additions that way. If anyone has anything they want to unload, I am always open for offers.

Friday, May 14, 2010

All Over The Place

A strong mix of trades and requests kept me busy this week. Each day had me ripping open envelopes, searching for the next name to cross off my list. In only three days, I've added six new players, two prospects and one Orioles Crown card to my collection.

Rich Amaral 1997 Leaf Signature Series Autographs

Amaral spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Seattle Mariners, only to sign in Baltimore before the 1999 season. He had always been a solid player who did pretty much everything on the diamond and he started out that way here. He played every base and outfield position in 1999, while hitting .277 and being a presence on the base paths. 2000 was not a stellar season and Amaral retired at seasons end. I gave up a Joaquin Arias 2007 Topps Moments & Milestone Autograph to add this bad boy to my collection.

Mike Hart 1991 Orioles Crown #185

Mike Hart 1988 Topps #69 (x2)

For some reason this request sat on my desk unaddressed for almost a year. Once I sent it out, I received the cards back signed in two weeks. I probably should not have waited so long.

Trenidad Hubbard 2001 Orioles Postcard

Hubbard came to town with Fernando Lunar and Luis Rivera during the 2000 season. His tenure in Baltimore lasted only 31 games before moving on to his seventh major league club. I sent him a 2001 MLB showdown card I bought, and received this postcard in return. Either way it works, I'm just happy it was an Oriole postcard.

Chad Moeller 2010 Upper Deck #82

Last season Moeller was the one of the veteran pieces that was to pave the way for Matt Weiters' future success. Only time will tell if his and Gregg Zaun's tutelage will pay dividends. I sent to him care of the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees and received my card back in about two weeks.

Jim Traber 1990 Upper Deck #268

All it took for me to acquire this notoriously difficult signer was one easy signer, Rick Schu. It's a trade I gladly made. Now if only I could obtain a Crown card of his so easily.

Tim Worrell 2004 Topps #38

The year 2000 has become a trend this week. Worrell pitched only five games for the Birds during the season. He had an awful time in Baltimore, after which he signed with the Chicago Cubs and was a rock-star. Five games wasn't nearly enough time to have an Orioles card produced, so the Giants will have to do.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Black & Blue

So, I received a trade today of six in person autographs from a fellow Oriole collector and for the first time realized he was a black guy. That is, one who uses black sharpies for autographs, of course. My brother on the other hand is a blue guy. I've never really delved into what color sharpie I like, I just want a clear signature.

I really think red sharpie should be the best. Not too many cards, jerseys and pictures are dominated by red so the sharpie would really pop on many cards. Black and blue seem to be on every jersey and background making many autographs difficult to see/read. Red would be a great autograph color, if it didn't actually look so bad. Cases in point:

Here is what I received today from Aaron, my collecting doppelganger.

Roberto Alomar 2000 Skybox Dominion #160

Alomar should have made the Hall of Fame last year, but hopefully will not have to wait too long. There are a lot of his autographs floating around out there, but I haven't been able to grab any as an Oriole, so Indian will have to suffice for now. I had heard that he started signing TTM again last year as the HOF balloting was being done and hope that trend continues this year as I have a request out to him.

Robert Andino 2006 Topps #313

How old was Andino when this picture was taken, 16? Apparently 21. I never would have served him. He is currently all grown, playing with AAA Norfolk, trying to make it back with the big club. If not for Ty Wigginton's power explosion he may have gotten a shot to come back with Brian Roberts out. The O's need someone to set the table and be explosive on the base paths. Not sure if Andino is that guy, but nothing else has worked in the lead-off spot. I have a 50/50 in the works for a few of the players in Norfolk, so this may be an Oriole upgrade shortly.

Alberto Castillo (P) Blank Orioles Crown

At least I think this is Alberto Castillo the pitcher, not the catcher. Any clarification Aaron? I like what he does with the blank Crown cards. I am planning on stealing his idea for a few guys without any major cards. Hope he doesn't mind.

Cla Meredith Blank Orioles Crown

I really didn't pay much attention to the team at the end of last season. At FanFest this year I thought Cla Meredith was a minor leaguer fighting for a roster spot, not a big cog in the bullpen. I definitely know better now. He is a huge bright spot in a pen that has stabilized recently, recording his first major league save to go along with a 2.00 ERA.

Nolan Reimold 2005 Bowman Heritage #256

Reimold is still struggling at the plate this season. My acquisition of his Topps Chrome autograph last month did little to affect his play on the field. I was sure it was exactly the boost he needed. Luke Scott and Lou Montanez haven't caught fire either allowing for some platoon action.

Miguel Tejada 2007 Upper Deck First Edition #51

Almost two years into this thing and I finally got a Miguel Tejada autograph. It's about time. I am still holding out hope for a TTM request to come back, but I'm a realist. I am excited to have Miggy back in the lineup, but a little hesitant with him in the clean-up spot. He, along with Wigginton and Nick Markakis, has been the main sources of offense on this struggling club. He already has four home runs, a third of what I would have thought for the year, and has taken quickly to third base. Welcome back Miggy. Now if only they can win a few.

So are you Black, or Blue?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Doubling Up

So they say good things come in 3's, today they came in pairs.

Travis Driskill 2002 Fleer Tradition Update #U-4

These beauties came in only ten days care of the Corpus Christi Hooks where he is the pitching coach. Driskill spent his first nine years in professional ball in the minors before making his debut in 2002 with the Orioles. His 14 years of professional pitching experience has allowed him to move into his second career, coaching. The last three years have been with the Astros minor league system developing pitching talent.

I was wary about the cards I sent having so much dark space but I like the way he signed them. I thought he would've signed over the orange but am glad he kept it over the jersey.

Scott Klingenbeck 1994 Bowman #86

My next set of twins came in the same time-frame, only 10 days. The hardest part for me was finding Orioles cards to send to Scott who signs at 100%. I picked up some base cards online and sent to him as soon as I could.

It looks as if he started with a dry pen, but switched it up with his following signatures.

Pair number three.

Scott Klingenbeck Index Cards

Klingenbeck wasted no time getting to the big show, debuting less than two years after being drafted by the Orioles. He started with the team the next season, 1995, before being traded to the Minnesota Twins for Scott Erickson. The trade worked well for the O's as Erickson was a stalwart in the rotation for six seasons, while Klingenbeck only made 28 appearances during his year plus in Minnesota. He emerged again with the Reds in 1998, but ended his career after a minor league stint in 1999.

If anyone is looking I have the dry autograph available or two more 1994 Bowman if you want to try sending to him.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

50/50 Love

I found a hound willing to do a 50/50 on former Orioles catcher Terry Kennedy and jumped at the opportunity. Kennedy is currently the Manager of the Portland Beavers, AAA affiliates of the San Diego Padres, and apparently a good signer. I sent my cards late in April and received less than two weeks later, not a bad turnaround considering a fan got them signed for me.

Terry Kennedy 1991 Orioles Crown #237

Terry Kennedy 1991 Fleer #263

I decided to have the 91 Fleer signed because I love that set, and so do other autograph collectors. Hopefully someone out there will have a need to him and can help with my collection as well. I also have a 1988 Score card signed by Kennedy that is now for trade with the acquisition of his Crown card. Anyone need?

Second Time's a Charm

Bob Kuzava pitched in 10 games for the Orioles, starting in their inaugurial season of 1954 and ending in 1955. When I started my autograph collection he was one of the first players I sent to, for a few reasons.

First off, I had a card of him. It's kinda difficult to get someone's card signed when you don't have one. Sewcondly, statistics of his signing habits had him an almost lock to sign, 94% to be exact. With a few lost envelopes, incorrect addresses, insufficient postage and even forgetful seekers, 94% IS a lock. And Mr. Kuzava did sign for me, two postcards he included, not my Orioles Crown card.

I was bummed, especially when I learned a fellow collector received his Crown card signed, that same week. The postcards themselves are pretty sweet, especially the Senators one, but as I was starting out I was quite particular about my graphs.

It's hard to tell that there are stamped logo's of each team on the postcards, but rest assured, they are there. Sorry my scanner is crappy.

Last week I started pulling apart some more sheets of Crown cards, yes they are perforrated sheets, and tried my luck again. No need for a third time, my second was the charm.
Bob Kuzava 1991 Orioles Crown #251

Before Baltimore, Bob was used to winning, a lot. He was a member of three consecutive Yankee World Championship teams directly preceeding his tenure in Baltimore. His two seasons in town were as a member of seventh place teams, a slight departure to what he was used to. He started nearly have of his appearances in the bigs, totalling 99 in his career. Kind of staggering is the fact that he completed 34 of those games. His last major league action was in 1957 with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he pitched another three minor league seasons before hanging up the spikes.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A Little More, A Little Less

Last Friday I mailed a half dozen requests and have already started to see a few successes trickle in. My two new acquisitions represent the give and take of TTM requests.

In just seven days I got Chris Sabo and Tom Dukes back, Sabo only signing 1/2 and Dukes adding an extra photograph. Advantage: push. I was excited to see both successes as neither player was a lock to return.

Tom Dukes 1991 Orioles Crown #115

Dukes' lone season in Baltimore came during the 1971 push to a World Series title, ended by the Pittsburgh Pirates. During the regular season his numbers were good, but he shut down the Pirates in his two appearances in the series. He appeared in games 3 and six, both losses, but never allowed a run in his four innings of relief. The next season he spent his time in the organization with Rochester before being dealt to the California Angels, retiring after the season.

Dukes added an inscribed Orioles postcard of himself with my Crown card, thus the "Little More".

Sabo has been a very streaky signer, successfully completing under 50% of his requests according to I was one of the lucky ones. The majority of his documented successes are within one or two weeks, and all use the same address. I guess I must have made an impression. Or I was just on the top of the pile. Either way, SCORE! Sabo did however, decline to sign an additional 1994 Collector's Choice card I included ("Little Less").

Chris Sabo 1995 Pinnacle #405

An extremely appropriate selection for Chris to sign. I recognize the first kid's 1993 Upper Deck card from the back design, what a dork I am. How cool are those three kids, forever immortalized on a major league baseball card? I would settle for that as my 15 minutes of fame. Instead it's playing the lead snowman in my 2nd grade play. Again, dork.

Monday, May 3, 2010

A Few Quick Turnarounds

The last few days have been great for some very quick returns.

Saturday's Spoils:
In just four days Scott Kamieniecki signed and returned the two O's cards I have of him.

Scott Kamieniecki 1997 Ultra #498

Scott Kamieniecki 1998 Pacific Online #91

In the same timeframe I received another addition to the Crown collection, my first in about a week. I have spent some time sending out about 50 total requests, so hopefully the returns will continue to roll in.

Jeff Rineer 1991 Orioles Crown #381

Started this week off right:
Monday I received four envelopes in the mail, from varying genres and requests.

My 50/50 Success
Lance Cormier 2008 Topps Update & Highlights #UH-199

Cormier was a member of the Orioles bullpen during the 2008 season before moving on to the Tampa Bay Rays. I sent four cards to a collector in Tampa to have two signed and returned, I only received one back signed and he got to keep both of mine. This was only my second attempt and success at 50/50 and I am pretty happy with the result.

From the Minors:
Chris Waters 2009 Upper Deck #543

Chris had spent time with the big club each of the last two seasons, but failed to find a home, being granted free agency in December. He is currently playing for the Nashville Sounds, the AAA affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. My success came in merely five days, during the season. Possibly my quickest success for a player involved in a season, not too bad. I sent him two cards so I do have an extra if anyone is looking, it looks just like the one above.

From the 70's
Bob Reynolds 1991 Orioles Crown #376

In the era before free agency Bob Reynolds moved around as much as any one player. His major league career spanned six major league seasons, playing with six different teams. He was traded for the likes of Mike Torrez, Ted Kubiak, Curt Motton and Fred Holdsworth. Baltimore was his only stop lasting more than a year, staying three plus in town. He was tremendous in relief making 106 appearances, winning 14 while keeping his ERA at 2.43. The 1973 and 1974 seasons were his only two playoff appearances, having his season ended both times by the A's. After leaving Baltimore in '74, he pitched for three teams in 1975 before his last professional season in AAA. I received my success in five days.

I Love the 90's:
Paul Carey 1994 Topps #4

I can still remember when I pulled this card, it was Christmas morning of 1993 and I was opening presents at my grandparents house. This card had followed me to college, made multiple moves with me and was around for my marriage, that's a long history. And how did I repay it? I sent him away not sure if he would ever return, but he did. Again, in five days.

Postcards From the Edge:
I have begun to send post cards as protection instead of toploaders and have found that many players just sign away. It's not my intention to have them signed, but OK. When I was using top loaders I was always worried about postage so I have nixed them for the most part.

Here is what I have received:
5 Bob Reynolds

3 Jeff Rineer

I think it's been a pretty good haul the last couple days.

I've Hit the Brother-Lode

My brother and I are both baseball card and autograph collectors but have very different styles. I am a "collector", whereas I have a main goal and pursue that with a fervor. My brother is a "hound", where the thrill of getting the autograph is what drives him.

With that being said, I decided to pilfer whatever autos I could from him. That may sound easy, but sorting through two monster boxes of autographs, roughly 8000 cards, can be taxing. All told I pulled 39 autographs that I needed from him. Many are of players in uniforms other than Baltimore, but have proven difficult to obtain as a Bird.

While sifting through his cards I was amazed at some of the stuff I saw. Derek Jeter? Check. Justin Morneau? Yeah. Yorkis Perez? Only 20. Yogi Berra? Of course. Andre Dawson? Only six of the sweetest autographs I have ever seen. There was a tremendous mix of studs and players that never made it, and what is truly shocking is that he could tell you a story about almost all. What a freak.

Posting pictures and blurbs about them all would take forever, so here are a few of the goodies and listing of the rest.

Damon Buford 1993 Upper Deck #691

Cesar Devarez 1996 Score #264

Craig Lefferts 1993 Topps #617

Jim Palmer 1983 Topps #490

Brad Pennington 1993 Topps #797

Jay Spurgeon 2000 Ultimate Victory #109

The Rest
Danys Baez 2000 Metal Universe (Indians)
James Baldwin 1994 Bowman (White Sox)
Denny Bautista 2000 Bowman (Marlins)
Jose Bautista 2002 Topps (Pirates)
Robbie Bell 1998 Bowman Chrome (Braves)
Chad Bradford 1999 Fleer Tradition (White Sox)
Lesli Brea 2001 Upper Deck Victory (Orioles)
Jarvis Brown 1992 Pinnacle (Twins)
Freddie Bynum 2001 Topps (A's)
Eric Byrnes 2000 Fleer Tradition Update (A's)
Ivanon Coffie 1999 SP Signature Edition (Orioles)
Archie Corbin 1991 Classic Best (Minors)
Midre Cummings 1994 Pacific (Pirates)
Jack Cust 2000 Bowman (Diamondbacks)
Eric Dubose 1999 SP Top Prospects (Minors)
Adam Eaton 1998 Bowman (Phillies)
Sal Fasano 1998 Pacific Online (Royals)
Willie Green 1995 Topps (Reds)
Mike Kinkade 1998 Bowman (Brewers)
Tim Laker 1996 Fleer (Expos)
Luis Lopez 1998 Bowman (Blue Jays)
Fernando Lunar 2001 Upper Deck Victory (Orioles)
Jeff Manto 1991 Upper Deck (Indians)
Jose Mercedes 1995 Pacific (Brewers)
Kevin Millwood 2000 Topps Gallery (Braves)
Chad Mottola 1996 Leaf Preferred (Reds)
Jimmy Myers 1996 Fleer Update (Orioles)
Tim Raines 1995 Donruss (White Sox)
Luis Rivera 1998 Bowman (Braves)
Steve Scarsone 1994 Topps (Giants)
Paul Shuey 2002 Topps (Indians)
Adam Stern 2001 Upper Deck (Braves)
Eider Torres 2003 Bowman (Indians)
Shane Turner 1993 Fleer (Mariners)
Ty Wigginton 2002 Fleer Tradition Update (Mets)
Jaret Wright 1997 Bowman (Indians)

Thanks a lot big bro, let me know when I have to watch the kids to make it up to you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Little Randomness

Jose Leon 2000 Bowman #62

Leon came over from St.Louis with a bundle of cash in exchange for Will Clark in 2000, making his major league debut in Baltimore two years later. He spent 88 games over the next three seasons trying to find his niche on the squad, rotating between five different positions. Baltimore has been his only major league stop, but he still plays in the minors and Puerto Rican winter league. Maybe my new connection can help with an Orioles auto this winter?

Doug Jones Personal Religion Card

Got this one in a trade without knowing exactly what it was. Now I know. It looks like an extremely well produced personal card of Doug Jones, chronicling a little bit of his baseball career and more of his spiritual one. I am guessing this an addition he sends with TTM requests. We shall see as I have two Orioles cards going out in the mail on Monday.