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

Monday, July 26, 2010

Playing The Name Game

I try to be as organized as possible with my requests, writing and organizing letters when I have time, waiting until I have the stamps or addresses to send to.

A few months ago I came across a letter made out to Mr. Nelson and envelope addressed to Tex Nelson. Naturally, I assumed this was the correct player, but didn't have any cards for him. It didn't make sense but to err is human. I put them away until I could get cards for him.

Fast forward to last week. I have cards for two players named Nelson, Bob and Roger. Roger is not Tex, I know that much and no address is listed for Bob. My powers of deduction said "idiot". Bob is Tex. Oh well, sent off to him and in a week reaped the benefits.

Bob "Tex" Nelson 1991 Orioles Crown #325

His given name is Robert Sidney Nelson, yet he doesn't show up in search results on Baseball Reference as "Bob". Weird. He only shows up as "Tex", yet his nickname listed on the site is "Babe". Weirder still. He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1955 and made the big club the same season. The entirety of his major league career was in Baltimore spanning 79 games. After five more minor league seasons he called it quits in 1961. He hasn't garnered much attention since leaving baseball, on two previous TTM requests in the last three years.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

This Just In

I received my newest Orioles Crown card from Paul Hartzell in 35 days. I am starting to amass a decent collection of postcards as Paul signed the three I sent to him as card protectors.

Paul Hartzell 1991 Orioles Crown #186

Paul is the owner of a 27-39 career record in the major leagues with the Angels, Twins, Orioles and Brewers. His career ERA is below the 4.00 mark, but after he left the Angels he was never given the opportunity in more than 30 games. He is also the owner of one of the most out of focus baseball cards ever (see above), as well as being traded for Hall of Famer Rod Carew ("He converted").

Paul Hartzell Postcards

It seems life after baseball has treated Paul fairly well. He attended Lehigh University before being drafted by the Angels and put his college to good use becoming a Vice President for a tech firm. VP and 10th round pick, not too shabby.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Straight From the Shore

I wanted to thank Mike over on the Eastern Shore for helping me out with a little 50/50 action. He was very accommodating as I only truly needed Mike Devereaux on a Crown card, but had no doubles to send. He allowed me to send a few more Ryan Minor cards for him to even out the deal. Thanks for the help.

Devo is not the easiest signer now-a-days, shying away from TTM signings since he is with Schulte Sports. So unless you are paying for it, in-person during the season is the best way to get it done. Mike was one of the first auto's I traded for when I started my quest and his 1991 Upper Deck auto is available if anyone is interested.

Mike Devereaux 1991 Orioles Crown #103

Minor was unable to live up to the hype surrounding him after he was drafted by the Orioles for the second time, he declined to sign following the 1992 amateur draft. He was drafted in the late rounds but quickly blew through Delmarva and Bowie on his way to the big leagues to be the heir apparent to Cal Ripken at third base. His claim to fame is as the starting third baseman the night that Cal Ripken ended his consecutive game streak at 2632 games. His final professional game as a player came for Lancaster in the Independent league in 2005. Since then, he has been in management, player management. Currently he is the manager at Delmarva, alongside hitting coach Devereaux.

Ryan Minor 1999 Topps Chrome #293

This scan doesn't do the card justice. The signature really stands out on the chrome so well, I'm going to keep him. I have a 1999 SP Authentic Chirography Certified auto now moving to the trading block.

Ryan Minor 1999 Upper Deck Victory #42

Ryan Minor 2000 Bowman #310

Ryan Minor 2000 Skybox #82

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another 50/50 Opportunity, Well Sort Of

In early April I sent out a 50/50 request for Justin Turner through a collector who was seeing him in Norfolk. He had a list of other players he was going to see so I sent Chris Richard, Charlie Zink and Jason Huber for good measure. I figured if I was sending one package, may as well load it up.

Unfortunately for my branching out, Zink and Huber were no longer with the squads he was seeing, bummer. He was able to get the one I truly needed, Turner, and a bunch of Chris Richard, so all is right with the world.

Justin Turner 2010 Upper Deck #39

Chris Richard 2002 Fleer Tradition #303

I am a huge fan of the 2002 Fleer Tradition set, so this one is making its way to the personal collection. A 2002 Topps card is being bumped to the doubles binder. All of the other cards I received are also for trade if anyone is interested.

Chris Richard 2001 Fleer Tradition #365

Chris Richard 2002 Topps #588

Chris Richard 2002 Upper Deck Vintage #58

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Long Time Coming

I have received two successes thus far this week, one taking a little more than a week and the other pre-dating my tracking system I started in January. The lengthy return was most likely sent in November of last year, eclipsing 200 days away from home

Joe Price 1991 Orioles Crown #370
He is a very good signed and this one took just more than a week. Price played his only season in Baltimore, and final season professionally, in 1990 appearing in 50 games as a reliever. Before Baltimore he spent the bulk of his career with the Cincinnati Reds, and brief stints with the San Francisco Giants and Boston Red Sox. He posted a strong ERA (3.58) here, per usual, ending his career with a 3.65 mark. This card is an upgrade, bumping his 1991 Topps card to the available list.

Don Welchel 1991 Orioles Crown #477

Welchel was in the bigs for what most would call a "cup of coffee", 13 games spanning the 1982 and 1983 seasons. Don was not a member of the World Series Championship team of 1983, although 11 of his games came that season. His first appearance garnered him a win, the only one of his career. He toiled in the Oriole minor league system until 1985 before bouncing to the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals organizations. His minor league numbers were solid, just not enough to keep him up with a big club. He retired from baseball after the 1988 season. If my 200+ days is accurate, I should count my blessings, another collector had to wait almost three years for one of his signatures, and it wasn't even an Oriole card.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Birthday Cards

So I turned the big 30 this week, and as with most "milestones" I have turned slightly introspective. I am lucky enough to have an older brother who I share a love of baseball, and cards with, making it easier on our parents to shop as kids. I could always count on a box of Topps, Donruss or Fleer to be wrapped up, waiting for me to tear it open. Presents from my brother were also baseball cards, or at least baseball related.

When my brother and I were old enough to earn real paychecks and not just deliver newspapers, naturally we got jobs at a baseball card store. We would exchange baseball cards on birthdays, just over a month apart, during the heart of baseball season. Sometimes it would be packs or singles but more often than not, boxes exchanged hands.

As we grew older and became "adults", our parents slowed down buying baseball cards for birthdays because the huge price increase from when we were kids. Todd and I had one recourse, we made a pact to always buy the other baseball cards for birthdays and Christmas, no matter what. We had to ensure that the tradition we loved so much continued.

Our family has more than tripled over the years so Christmas has turned to being more about the kids than adults. We started to draw names for adult presents, so neither of us were guaranteed baseball cards. And just this past Christmas our adult gifts were "from the heart", which meant we had to make them, ruling out baseball cards altogether. I still got a kick-ass cutting board and made some great vodka for my step-brother, so everything worked out fine.

Birthdays are now the only times we can guarantee that baseball cards will be added to our collections. Yesterday was no different.

Todd had to leave the party early to go to work, as the official scorer for the Washington Nationals, so I opened the present from his family before he left. I got a 2010 Topps II box which he encouraged me to open to see what they looked like.

Topps has some of the strangest box toppers I have ever seen:

Frank Robinson 2004 Fleer Greats of the Game Autograph
My sneaky brother knew I needed Frank for my collection and sliced open the packaging to slide the autograph into the box. Very nice move.

I like the 2010 Topps product, especially the Topps Millions giveaway. As expected I got six of these redemption's and a Topps Rookie Redemption for #10 (whoever that may be).

Gary Alexander 1979 Topps #332

Marlon Byrd 2009 Topps #106

Don Carrithers 1978 Topps #113

Clay Dalrymple 1967 Topps #53

Mike Hershberger 1965 Topps #89

Bob Tolan 1974 Topps #535

I am very happy that I didn't get a bunch of new buybacks or the overproduced cards of the late 80's and early 90's. Gotta love the vintage cards for a vintage birthday.

Anyone get anything cool form the Topps Millions or have family deals in place to ensure baseball cards are exchanged?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Little Joe Orsulak to Brighten Up Your Day

The beauty about working a mile from home is being able to go home for lunch and blog. I can save money on lunches and gas but can also do a little posting during the other 45 minutes.

Last night was my second in-person signing session of the year. Same place, Hightopps. Different player, Joe Orsulak. I was a huge fan of our "Joltin" Joe and even at a young age I loved his hustle.

My Hightopps excursion lasted a total of five minutes, which was pretty sweet. There wasn't a line of people so I walked right up to him and started talking to him. He signed the Fanfest postcard and told me to lay out anything else I had. He signed everything I brought and had I known it would be that easy, I would have brought my other 15 cards. At least I got the Crown card signed.

While signing his 93 Score card he commented on breaking the rules. It's a little hard to see but he is rocking a beard on a team with a no beard policy. He said some times you just have to do what you want. I mentioned it was good to see a big turn-out, because the Larry Sheets event was less than full. He shrugged his shoulders and smirked as if it was to be expected.

Three minutes with a pro ballplayer. Two minutes parking. Seven signatures. Good score.

Joe Orsulak 1991 Orioles Crown # 345

Joe Orsulak 1989 Topps #287

Joe Orsulak 1992 Stadium Club #135

Joe Orsulak 1992 Topps #325

Joe Orsulak 1993 Score #590

Joe Orsulak 1993 Topps #28

Joe Orsulak 2010 Orioles FanFest Postcards

Monday, July 5, 2010

A Week of "Loes"

Last week was an extremely slow week, with only a single success, Billy Loes. It took three weeks for this bad boy to come back to me. It seems my monetary incentive paid off for my new addition.

Billy Loes 1991 Orioles Crown #265

Loes was an 11-year veteran playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers, San Francisco Giants and our hometown Orioles. He pitched in three different World Series', all against the New York Yankees, finally earning a ring in 1955. His first season in Baltimore brought personal accolades as he was voted to his first and only All-Star game. He, as well as Gus Triandos and Hall of Famer George Kell, were the three representatives for the Birds in the Mid-summer classic. His stint in town lasted nearly four years posting some of the best numbers of his career. His tenure ended following the 1959 season when he was tradded with Billy O'Dell to the Giants for Jackie Brandt, Gordon Jones and Roger McCardell.

Hopefully players can sense that I just turned 30 and the requests will just flow in this week.