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

Sunday, January 30, 2011

2011 FanFest Recap

Yesterday was the official start of the 2011 Baltimore Orioles campaign, and I was there. Albeit a little later than I had wanted. A fellow grapher Tim was the first to help me out. He had an extra season ticket for the event and offered it to me. I jumped at the opportunity and met up with him at the at the Convention Center just after 9am.

Too bad I didn't take into account how many fans were willing to brave the cold just to get some free autographs. The first 250 fans got a free session with Brad Bergesen, Al Bumbry, Brendan Harris and Mark Reynolds. I was around number 350 or so and learned that if I was there 15 minutes earlier, that would have gotten me a voucher. Damn blue sharpies, had to pick some up on the way in.

Tim met up with fellow Virginian graphers J.D. and Derrick and we all tried to finagle our way into the free autograph session. No luck. They were scanning and collecting all vouchers, a lot more organized than I thought they would be. With all the issues that happened when trying to buy tickets I was hoping a little wiggle room was possible.

Being denied, we set our sights on the players/staff coming from and going to the fan forums. Jim Palmer, Boog Powell, Rick Dempsey and Mike Flanagan all denied me before their reunion on stage. Palmer implored the "I am signing twice today already" excuse. I figured that would be the case but I had to try, he was right there. He did say we could catch him at BWI airport this morning at 7:30, but I was too busy sleeping to stalk him.

When Buck Showalter came off the stage he signed for about 10 people, I would have been 11. Crap. Another almost graph. Tim was lucky enough to grab Reynolds at the same time leaving his autograph session. He was the lone grapher to get Reynolds as his handler moved him through the crowd quickly.

Having struck out early, it was time to go for the sure thing. My first autograph session was for Dick Hall, Craig Tatum and Matt Wieters. I already had Hall on a Crown card TTM, so I was able to help out Tim with a ball. Dick was also signing free postcards and giving them to anyone that asked. So much for the 1 per being shouted by the handlers. Looking back I should have handed him a Crown card anyway, but the postcard is sweet.

Dick Hall 2011 Orioles Postcard

Tatum was doing the same, one unique item and a postcard. I saw many people in line with his Bowman card, but I went with a Crown blank. He has no Orioles cards so the postcard will make its way to the collection waiting for the day he appears on a card as a Bird.

Craig Tatum 2011 Orioles Postcard

Craig Tatum Orioles Crown Blank

Wieters was last in line and the main reason I was in this session. I have a 2007 Tristar card that I traded for but wanted the upgrade. He was too quick on the draw and I didn't have the chance to slip him my blue sharpie. Black it is. I was shocked he was giving out signed postcards as well, but snatched one up without flinching.

Matt Wieters 2010 Upper Deck #84

Matt Wieters Orioles Postcard

I jumped from the stage and pushed my way to the next group of fans poised to help me out. Craig is an "unfortunate" Yankee fan that needed help with Willie Randolph, and I am the unfortunate Orioles fan that needed help with Rick VandenHurk. So we made a swap, 1 for 1. He was at the front of the line when we exchanged items and I was allowed to stay in place. My next helper, Ryan, met me at the front of the line to help with my second Jim Palmer item.

In a small twist of fate I met an old friend Flam in this same line. He was lucky enough to grab a free autograph voucher earlier and had no need for his Brandon Harris postcard. I did. So he gave me the postcard and a Jason Berken card in exchange for help with Randolph, who was a strict one per. I never knew he was so difficult. He was kind of a dick about being 1 per, making different excuses at each request. Jim Palmer at the end of the line had it right, he just politely slid your second item back to you unsigned.

Brandon Harris 2011 Orioles Postcard

In between the veterans of the brush off were young guys happy to sign. Jason Berken would sign anything you put in front of him and had a mound of pre-signed postcards. He probably had 50 of em already signed and when asked if I could have one he said "take as many as you want". My kind of guy.

Jason Berken 2010 Topps When They Were Young #WTWY-JB

Jason Berken Orioles Postcard x2

Jeremy Accardo was next and I had nothing to give him, so I threw a blank at him. He happily signed it and a postcard as well. Now all he has to do is make it to the mound this year so I can add his name to the all-time list, then cross it right off.

Jeremy Accardo 2011 Orioles Postcard

Jeremy Accardo Orioles Crown Blank

Palmer was the reason I came to the event. $15 to have my Crown card signed was a steal. I think he was $35-45 at this years National and he was signing alone. Ryan was right behind me with a 1990 game program commemorating Palmer's Hall of Fame induction. Both autographs turned out awesome.

Jim Palmer 1991 Orioles Crown #349

I am not sure if I am going to keep the magazine but had to use my extra ticket. I tried to sell the Palmer online but no takers, maybe the signed item could recoup my ticket price? What do you think?

Jim Palmer 1990 Orioles Game Program

This was my last paid session so I did some wandering. I tried the kids autograph station, hoping to grab players coming and going from the stage. Another example of my poor timing. 20 minutes and no change over. I had to move on for fear of being arrested. One can only stand by a kids section without one of you own for only so long. I even played a game of bingo to try and get Flanagan's signature. I didn't even get one number, epic fail. One last attempt in the main autograph area came up empty again.

Wifey had a black tie event for work in the evening so I had to hustle on home to get ready. It cut the day short a little bit, but I got what I was there for. All-in-all it was a good day. 1 Crown addition, 2 upgrades, 3 postcards of new additions, 4 extra postcards and 2 Crown blanks. All of my duplicates are available for trade if interested.

I definitely wanted to thank Tim for the ticket, Craig for help with VandenHurk (photo to come), Ryan for help with Palmer and Flam for Harris and Berken help. I appreciate it guys.


  1. Glad you have some success, sounds like we were in the Wieters-Tatum-Hall line together.

  2. After reading this, I made Tatum a custom card. check it out: