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 28, 2011

A History Lesson

I have always thought of myself as a huge Orioles fan and many people call me "the biggest Orioles fan they know." But I missed out on a lot of history before I was born. To me, the Orioles history began in 1983 with a World Series win that wasn't recognized until 1985 when I started following the team. The 70's were fuzzy, the 60's blurry and the 50's damn near blacked out in my view of the team. Then a funny thing happened, I started collecting autographs.

I compiled a list of every player and found out I knew more of them than I thought. With each name and autograph I track down I am piecing that history together. And that is where Johnny Oates comes in.

I knew Johnny, the manager. I didn't know Johnny, the first round draft choice, defensive stalwart or trade fodder for Earl Williams or Taylor Duncan. I knew the manager who got us winning again. The manager of my idol. The manager unceremoniously dismissed by an evil owner.

I remember this Johnny:

But I have gotten to know this Johnny:

Researching his stats and history I have found some interesting stuff that makes me believe that Johnny was like the rest of Oriole Nation. He must have loathed the Yankees, even though he caught for them for two seasons.

As a player with the Dodgers, the Yankees dashed his hopes of a World Series title. Not just in 1977, but also the very next season as well. The Yankees were the last team he played for, signalling an end to his on field career. Then as a manager for the Texas Rangers he met the Yankees in three different playoff series'. Each appearance was ended by the Joe Torre led New York club. Adding insult to injury, the Yankees won the World Series each year they eliminated Johnny.

Even if Johnny didn't have hate in his heart, I will carry that torch for him.

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