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, June 26, 2010

A Few Gaines This Week

The end of this week brought three new additions to my collection, Mike Epstein, Joe Gaines and Elliott Maddox. Gaines gave me a few extra signed postcards for good measure and all cards took a week to come back.

Mike Epstein 1991 Orioles Crown #121

Joe Gaines 1991 Orioles Crown #148

Joe Gaines Postcards

Elliott Maddox 1991 Orioles Crown #274

A Tale of Two Reunions

Today the Baltimore Orioles were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1970 World Championship team at home with a pre-game autograph signing.

With much less fanfare, my fraternity Delta Sigma Phi was having a reunion at a local restaurant, Zen West.

I was forced to chose between getting three autographs I need for my collection in the sweltering heat, or all you can eat Tex-Mex, a few brews, friends, air conditioning and the World Cup. I hate to admit it but the deciding factor was definitely the air conditioning. I am a pansy when it comes to gross, sticky weather. All-told I probably spent as much for the reunion as I would have on tickets, grub and libations, but none of my brothers' autographs hold any value for me.

If anyone was at the game and has an extra Tom Phoebus, Pete Richert or Merv Rettenmund please let me know. Looking for all three on a Crown card or Phoebus on anything.

But today was not a total autographing loss.

Mike Trombley 2000 Fleer Tradition #117

This was accompanied by his drier twin brother.

Trombley was signed away from the Minnesota Twins following the 1999 season and spent a more than a year in Baltimore. The birds signed him to a very lucrative deal trying to turn the franchise around and sure up the pen. He lived up to his end putting up good numbers and chewing up innings. Unfortunately the team stayed below .500. The following season he was traded at the deadline for pitching prospect Kris Foster and future starting catcher Genonimo Gil.

If anyone needs Trombley's auto, just let me know.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Not So Sweet Lou

OK, I sent this:

And I received this:

Can anyone tell me what is wrong with what I received back?

On the bright side the postcard came back in only seven days. At least I didn't have to wait to be disappointed.

Seriously. A worthless stamped Cubs photo bent in half to fit into my SASE. Save it for someone else. I wish I had known to save my stamps. Here's hoping to a private signing soon.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Couple of New Guys

Yet another trade from Aaron came through today and again, no issues. If it wasn't for my need for instant gratification we should probably hold cards for each other, making one trade a month. Who knows we may save a little money? Nah. I need to cross names off my list.

Garrett Atkins 2010 Orioles Topps #BAL-15

Is it safe to say the Garrett Atkins experiment is over, and not a success. Atkins is definitely not the same player he used to be. Already he has been relegated to the bench with the strong power numbers put up by Ty Wigginton. When Wiggy made the transition over to first, no first baseman had hit a home run, not what you need from a power position. But alas, Atkins has changed that, depositing one ball over the outfield fence.

Frank Mata 2009 O-Pee-Chee Team Card

Although Mata was signed by the Minnesota Twins in 2002, this season marked his foray into major league baseball. His debut came during a May 26th loss to the Oakland Athletics, not allowing a run in his 1.1 innings of work. Having only appeared in nine games this season an Orioles card has yet to happen. This auto is just a temporary fix.

On a side note: Aaron, any idea where to pick up some Orioles Topps cards?

Monday, June 21, 2010

If You Pay Them, They Will Sign

Five envelopes were waiting for me on the counter when I came home today and I knew my collecting woes were in the rear view mirror. Finally players were responding. I started to realize what was really happening when the first envelope contained Clay Dalrymple, costing me $5.
$$$ = quick signature
I held out hope that the next envelope would contain a "free" autograph. I was let down, four consecutive times.

All-in-all it's still five great additions to the collection, just not as pure or inexpensive.

Clay Dalrymple 1991 Orioles Crown #93

Lee Lacy 1991 Orioles Crown #252

I actually didn't mind sending money to Lacy because the proceeds go to his baseball academy. I wonder if I can write it off on my taxes this year?

Hobie Landrith 1991 Orioles Crown #253

Dave Philley 1991 Orioles Crown #360

Mike Torrez 1991 Orioles Crown #460

For each player this was my second attempt, the first being when I was eager to send to any player with a listed address. I have learned to do a little more research and save as many stamps as possible.

Thank you gentlemen, I truly do appreciate the quick responses.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rolled Change

I'm not cheap, I just don't like to buy my autographs. That all changed last week, pun intended. I rolled all my loose change, cashed it in and sent out a half dozen requests to players known to charge for their signature.

Inflation is even hitting the old timers, when I sent to Don Larsen previously without knowing he charged, I received a note stating autographs were $7. I had to send $10 this time.

Don Larsen 1991 Orioles Crown #255

Larsen became an Oriole by default when the team moved from St. Louis before the 1954 season. Unfortunately the change of scenery did nothing for Larsen's record as an Oriole. Of course everyone knows Larsen as the only perfect pitcher in the World Series, but few know he went 3-21 in his first season in Baltimore. His career record with our franchises was 11-35. He must have been so happy to get out of town. Larsen was a combined 14 games over .500 playing for his other six franchises while taking home two rings with the Yankees.

Included in my return was an order form from Mr. Larsen for all his signed Yankee schwag. I think I will pass, that shade of blue clashes will all the orange I have on my walls.

Friday, June 18, 2010

This week has been chock full of typing, just not blogging. I had to prepare for three different interviews for work. My company rewards hard work, dedication and good sales numbers by making you prepare operational plans for your interview. This is not normally such a bad thing, but when you are interviewing for three different positions on the same day there is a ton of writing to do. All told, my three operational plans garnered a collective three minutes of attention. Oh well, I was still offered the position I wanted best.

With all the work I had to put in after my 11 hour workday, that left little time for blogging. Normally that would not be a problem since my mailbox had been empty most days, but I received four more cards this week.

I upgraded my Crown collection with Ken Dixon via trade and Pete Stanicek TTM.

Ken Dixon 1991 Orioles Crown #108

In order to get this bad boy I gace up a 1987 Topps Rich Bordi, and was happy to do so. Dixon has eleuded me on this card a few times and it's nice to have pinned him down. I have his 1987 Donruss #171 if anyone needs.

Pete Stanicek 1991 Orioles Crown #433

This is one of my longer returns thus far, 150 days. The first time I sent to him took about two weeks and I started to worry a little that my card was lost. It's nice to be proven wrong every once in a while. Now available 1989 Topps #497

Sal Fasano 1997 Score #70

Keeping the doubles theme goin I got Sal back from a 50/50 trade that involved me giving up nothing. Not a bad trade. However, I grabbed an autograph of Sallly from my brother so this one is available. I appreciate the thought.

Keith Shepherd 1993 Topps #447

Shepherd was a journeyman pitcher who played in 11 different organizations, spending four seasons in the major leagues. His rookie season in 1992 showed a lot of promise but fell off after that. His last major league appearance came with our club in 1996. I can't cross him off the list completely because he does have a minor league card as a Rochester Red Wing. He is a tough autograph to find, as there is no address on record and no successes to speak of. Signing in pen is not my first choice but with a guy this difficult to find I am happy with the edition.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Little Persistence Pays Off

Rick Sutcliffe, the first player to pitch in a regular season game at Camden Yards, had been extremely difficult for me to track down. That was until today.

I had received two Return To Sender envelopes on prior occasions. They were from different addresses, both of which have seen positive returns in the last few weeks. I didn't want to chance a RTS again, so I went another route. I bugged the man at work.

I don't feel like a total jerk because he is still involved in sports and baseball with ESPN, but just a wee bit dirty. It took about six weeks for my return, with a postmark from Missouri, where my other requests had failed. It feels good to have my persistence and resourcefulness rewarded like this.

Rick Sutcliffe 1993 Fleer #552

Unfortunately the Fleer signature is a little dry so I have to keep the Score card. I have an affinity for 1993 Fleer because my uncle gave me about 100 series II rack packs for helping him work a show. If anyone needs the Tom Glavine inserts or N.L. Team Leaders, you know who to call.

Rick Sutcliffe 1993 Score #563

This Cy Young, Rookie of the Year and three time All-Star award winner was brought into Baltimore to anchor their staff in 1992. And that is exactly what he did, starting in a league leading 36 games and chewing up 237 innings. His two seasons in Baltimore were great for the club because Sutcliffe became the stalwart of their rotation and set an example for young starters Ben McDonald and Mike Mussina.

His 18th and final major league season came in 1994 as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals. He retired after the season and has been a commentator and analyst with a San Diego local affiliate and most recently the aforementioned ESPN.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

One For Me, One for You

My second 50/50 of the year came back yesterday and I could not be happier. All told it took about two weeks for the return of Pete Incaviglia, via the Grand Prairie Airhogs. I'm not sure what an Airhog is, but I know their manager could crush a baseball.

Inky, as he was more commonly referred to, knew how to mash. He still holds the collegiate single season and career homerun records, despite only playing three seasons for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Once drafted, he refused to play in the minor leagues, so he was traded from the Montreal Expos to the Texas Rangers to make that happen. Unfortunately for Inky, his first professional season was his best, slowly declining in production as his career went along. His goal of never playing in the minors ended after he left Baltimore in 1997 to play for the AAA affiliate of the New York Yankees.

Pete Incaviglia 1997 Donruss Team Set #45

In just more than one season for the Orioles Inky blasted 20 homeruns but only hit .257. This card is the only major issue card (if you can call it that) featuring Inky as a Bird. The only other card I had ever seen from that set was Cal Ripken a few years back. When I was looking to buy this card, I could only find one, so I had to pay $3 including shipping, for a card worth $.25. But crossing another name off my list makes it worth it.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Blockbuster Trade Part Deux

This is a continuation post from the 26 card deal I made with Dion last week. The words aren't flowing very well today, my brain hurts, so scans are all I can muster.


Manny Alexander 1993 Donruss #11

Freddie Bynum 2007 Upper Deck #566

Hector Carrasco 1994 Upper Deck #511

Todd Cruz 1983 Fleer #479

Pat Dobson 1977 Topps #618

Brian Holton 1987 Donruss #598

Tito Landrum 1987 Topps #288

Kerry Ligtenberg 2001 Topps #723

Mike Morgan 1987 Fleer #591

Tom O'Malley 1983 Topps #663

Jerome Walton 1990 Bowman

Ron Washington 1984 Topps #623

Brian Williams 1993 Upper Deck #286

Breaking the Losing Streak

Just so happens that on the same day the Orioles break a 10 game losing streak to the Yankees, I broke my losing streak TTM. Only one card came my way but I was stoked to see it in the mailbox.

It's funny how a lone success can make everything all better.

Bill Scherrer 1991 Orioles Crown #404

Bill was only in Baltimore for four games during the 1988 season. His numbers (13.50 ERA) were indicative of how the team played (21 straight losses). Overall his professional numbers are average, much like many other relievers out there, but he does own a ring. He was a member on the 1984 Detroit Tiger World Championship Team, only allowing one run in his three appearances versus the San Diego Padres.

After his playing days were over Bill added a pair of World series rings, first with the Florida Marlins and then the Chicago White Sox as a scout. He is from the Buffalo, New York area and in 2006 was honored as a Greater Buffalo Hall of Famer. He was inducted with a stellar class, NFL Defensive Back Bill Hurley, NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Smith and NHL legend Dave Andreychuk. Not bad company to keep.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Postcards from the Edge

Just as I was on the edge of giving up, a blockbuster trade fell into my blog. Another local autograph collector who started to follow my blog took a look at my need list, and the rest is trading history. All told I gained 26 different autographs, 12 postcards, five upgrades and five deceased players. Not a bad score for only posting my blog.

Because I haven't received too many cards recently I am breaking the trade up into two posts. Enjoy the sights.

Kurt Ainsworth Orioles Postcard

Chad Bradford Orioles Postcard

Jack Cust Orioles Postcard

Chris Gomez Orioles Postcard

Elrod Hendricks Orioles Postcard

Mark Hendrickson Orioles Postcard

Johnny Oates Orioles Postcard

Jay Payton Orioles Postcard

Willis Roberts Orioles Postcard

B.J. Ryan Orioles Postcard

Todd Williams Orioles Postcard

Scott Williamson Orioles Postcard

Dion, thanks again for the trade, any information on the years of the postcards as Beckett has stopped listing them under each player.

Major League Debut

Tonight marks the start of the Major League career of Jake Arrieta. Hopefully the Yankees don't crush him right out of the gate. I understand that a struggling team (the Orioles) are looking for anything to spark a winning streak, but calling Arrieta up to face a red hot Yankee squad may not be the best for his psyche.

Barring any freak thunderstorms this game is gonna happen, so I can add Arrieta to the all-time needs list, then cross him right off.

Here is why:
Jake Arrieta 2008 Bowman Draft Prospects #BDPP-92

Hopefully tonight will be the start of great things.