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

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Wednesday: The Best of the Rest

OK, all of the rest.  I pulled in a total of nine autographs on that day, pretty good haul and some names to cross off my list.  My timing paid off being able to cross a few September additions off the list as soon as they came to town.

Brand New Orioles

Quintin Berry Baltimore Autograph Card

  Kelly Johnson Baltimore Autograph Card

The players available for trade:

Brad Brach 2012 Topps #637

 Jason Bourgeois 2008 Bowman #193

Sam LeCure 2011 Topps Update #277
For the night I was able to go home with two new names crossed off the list and hopefully some trade bait.  I am hoping the collectibility of the Reds is high and I can turn my long day into some names I need for my collection.

Monday, September 8, 2014

In Person Autographs: All-Star Edition

The weather on Wednesday was so much better than the day prior.  I didn't feel like I was melting and sweating all over my cards when out all day.  It made for a much better atmosphere and it seemed to pay dividends with the players.  All in all I was able to take home seven new autographs, four of which were former All-Stars.

Check em out.

Adam Jones 2012 Bowman International #45
 Yep, he picked up a sharpie.  I was as shocked as the other seven graphers outside prior to the game.  It wasn't planned but Jones may have been tricked into thinking only two people were waiting.  The shade just made a lot more sense.  He reluctantly signed for us all and didn't say anything except, "I don't like to take pictures" when asked.  It didn't bother me, I was just happy he signed making the morning worth it. Now I have this absolutely beautiful card in my collection, with another nice one on the trading block.

Evan Meek Baltimore Autograph Card
 In the starkest of contrasts to Adam Jones, I give you Evan Meek.  Evan was absolutely fabulous.  He came over with little prodding and first thanked us, the fans, for supporting him and the team.  He gushed that he could not have been happier to be back in Baltimore.  Once he signed for everyone, he asked if there was anyone he missed and posed for photographs.  The whole time he had a huge smile on his face before thanking us again.

Oh yeah, he was the 2010 All-Star selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates, even though he never made it into the game.

Aroldis Chapman 2012 Topps Allen & Ginter #70
 Three time All-Star Chapman was unassuming when he came out the dugout.  I didn't even hear his name called, he just sort of appeared.  It didn't take long for word to get out and he was absolutely mobbed.
Mat Latos 2013 Allen & Ginter SP #309
OK, this is a stretch.  Latos never made the MLB All-Star game, but was selected to the 2009 Futures All-Star game.  I am sure he has been deserving, so this is my homage to him and his career (I already had the concept for this post set, so I decided to be stubborn and not change).  Ginter is a set that I like signed much more tan I like busting packs of.  They lend themselves very well to autographs and are collectible.  Anyone looking to add these to their sets?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Reds vs. Orioles September 2, 2014

Tuesday was a hot, humid, disgusting, uncomfortable day.  Temperatures in the 90's with 90% humidity coupled with the start of the school year, severely depleted autograph seekers before the game.

Only a handful of coaches and players were dropped off by taxis and recognition was difficult.  Not a single big name Red was visible so the likes of Manny Parra, Jumbo Diaz and Jake Elmore  escaped without being asked to sign.

I was fortunate to recognize the two players below.

Ramon Santiago 2014 Topps
Ramon was not a fan of the heat and humidity in Baltimore as he high-tailed it into the stadium.  He gladly signed for the few of us waiting, but you could tell all he wanted to do was get inside the stadium.  Ramon was accessible all three days of the series, but this was the only card I had of his.  And I traded it away the following day

Carlos Contreras 2014 Bowman Chrome Prospects #BCP65
 Contreras was a difficult face to pinpoint.  He, Daniel Corcino, Nelson Antigua and Ramon Santiago all look a lot alike.  I quietly questioned "Carlos?", when he passed by.  He looked up slightly and the rest was history.  I am a huge fan of this card and how the signature pops off the white of the uniform.  When Chrome cards sign well, they are some of my favorites all around.

Apparently, Ubaldo Jimenex and Mike Bordick are as close to guarantees as there is with this team.  Neither hesitated when asked and signed multiples for anyone that wanted.  And that was it for the Orioles outside the stadium.

 Ubaldo Jimenez 2011 Bowman Platinum #42
 I just received a trade in the mail for an Ubaldo and this accompanies it on my trade list.

Ubaldo Jimenez 2012 Bowman #177
There is not much to his autograph, but I like how fluid it is.  This card will stay in the collection...until an Orioles card can be secured.

Mike Bordick 2002 Upper Deck #583
Not much to say about Bordick.  He's a super guy, great signature and great card.  I have a few others that are just as awesome, so this beauty is available for trade.

Inside the stadium, the Orioles were brutal again.  The stadium opens to fans as Oriole BP is ending.  All the big name players are in the clubhouse relaxing as we are filing in.  The rest of the team was unable to stop for a moment.

The Reds on the other hand were glad to pick up a pen.  I was without items for Jake Elmore, Chris Heisey and Ryan Dennick as they were signing.  But I was not shut out.

Todd Frazier 2014 Topps #580
Frazier had a ton of family in town for the game.  Being originally from New Jersey his family made the trek to see him and they all made their way to the third base line.  When he connected with his family he made time for all the fans waiting and signed about 100 autographs.  He was not pleasant or making small talk, just seemed like he was all business.  First All-Star signature of the week.

David Holmberg 2014 Gypsy Queen Mini Red #290
 Normally, I am always a blue sharpie kinda guy.  But this card is so damn small, my normal blue wouldn't have worked.  He had a hard time handling the card and pen, but it was all I had.  I don't have a normal size reference to see how much the mini impacted his autograph.

Brandon Phillips 2014 Topps
 Dat Dude.  Awesome Dude.  After realizing that he started in the middle of the third base line, he redirected and went to the furthest point to start again.  He literally signed until they made him stop before the National Anthem.  He took pictures with anyone asking, shook hands and always had a smile on his face.  He apologized to the few people he was unable to get to at that time.  All-Star number two.

So day one was miserable and two hours of rain delays didn't help things at all.  Even with a limited number of autographs the quality was definitely there.

How did I follow it up?

Saturday, September 6, 2014

What To Do With Vacation Days?

I get over four weeks vacation each year and never come close to using them all.  My rollover happens in September so I needed to take some time.  So like any normal person, I took a week to go to Orioles games and get autographs.

I was able to score tickets to the entire series versus the Reds and ended up putting in some long days trying for autographs.

What did I learn?

1. The Orioles still have an aversion to the sharpie.  Many of the players have started using hand gestures indicating they will sign inside the stadium instead of having to say "no".  The problem, nearly all of batting practice is finished by the time fans get inside.  Few players have the time.

2. The organization has made it more difficult to graph the visiting team.  All cabs and town cars are now allowed to go under the stadium.  This ensures no opportunity to ask players as they walk into the stadium.  Rumor has it that the Yankees and Indians complained that their players got wet, so the Orioles kowtowed.  Bummer.

3. The Reds are a good signing team.  Apparently they have a team directive that encourages signing for fans, and their players/stars listen for the most part.

I did really well with the Reds. The Orioles, not so much.  I will be posting my haul in the coming days.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

A Backups Backup

When the Orioles realized Matt Weiters may be out for a while, or the season, they needed a veteran presence to support Caleb Joseph.  It cost the team reliever Troy Patton, but the experience Nick Hundley had behind the plate outweighed the loss.

Nick Hundley 2005 Bowman Draft & Prospects #BDP-90
Hundley is a better hitter than Joseph, but misses the mark behind the plate.  He has only cut down 14% of would be base stealers this season and is 27% for his career.  The catcher position is likely to platoon the entire year, going back and forth between Hundley, Joseph, Steve Clevenger and maybe some young Norfolk Tide. 

Is it bad that once players are called up mid season and I grab an autograph, I hope they fade away.  I am not looking to have to go after an Orioles Postcard of players that hang around for two months, make little impact, then disappear.  Make an impact and I will gladly hunt you down as an Oriole (not meant as a threat).

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Back In The Swing Of Things

While I haven't been active blogging, I have been trying to organize the collection and my needs.  As roster changes and moves add names to the list, the effort is ever changing. 

I was able to discern many of my easier needs and decided to try and make some moves.  Looking at SCN I found rockinace had a few cards I could use.  That is usually the issue, I can use em, but nothing to go in return.  This was not the case. 

I was able to secure four new players and four upgrades.  All I had to send was:
Andre Dawson
Zack Britton
Kevin Correia
Mike Bordick
Dylan Bundy-
Alfredo Simon
Cesar Devarez

The card that first caught my eye was:

Caleb Joseph 2010 Bowman Prospects #BP-55
 Yep, a light hitting catcher charged with filling the shin guards of a perennial All-Star was the catalyst to a trade.  I just happened to be searching on the site for anything of Caleb and came across this one.  I do a lot of trading on SCN without looking at scans.  I don't know what I was expecting, but this was not the image I thought was showing up.

Caleb has been int he organization since being drafted in the 7th round in 2008.  Caleb made his debut on May 7, 2014 and then was thrust into starting duty four days later.  Matt Weiters' elbow injury has forced Caleb into a more prominent role than he was expecting.  He has performed admirably behind the plate throwing out 52% of base runners.  The batter's box is a different story.  Caleb has looked over matched at the plate at times, but has recently found some power. 

I'm not expecting Matt Weiters type production, but growth is necessary for Caleb yo stay in the big leagues.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Father's Day Finds?

It may be a little misleading, but I did not find these cards on Sunday. I grabbed them two weeks ago, before vacation, just opened them yesterday.

I found these at a yard sale from a family that used to be in the collectible business. They still do flea markets but their inventory doesn't renew. 

I paid $2 for:
1983 Donruss Action Allstars (3)
1988 Donruss All-Stars
1981 Topps Stickers (Football)

Nothing Earth shattering but some interesting old wax that had me intrigued. 

Here is what they yielded. 

1983 Donruss Action Allstars
Cal Ripken #52
Look at the "Action Shot". A topped ball directly into the dirt. This was either a foul ball or an easy 2-3 put out. This entire set     pushes the limits of "action". It should be 1983 Donruss Pictures of Guys on the Field Allstars. 

Rod Carew #38

Cal was the first card pulled and proved to be the best of the bunch as well. These cards had a hold in me since I was a kid, bigger and different then anything else. I bought my first pack in the early 90's. 

Reading the back of these cards is awesome. Insight into contract status, free agency and hobbies had to be riveting to the card collecting youth. Here's a few tidbits for you; 
Willie Wilson likes to bake. Fernando Valenzuela has no hobbies. Jim Sundberg owns a travel agency. And Bob Horner likes video games. So he enjoyed Pong is what that tells us, fascinating. 

Not sure if anyone out there is working on a set, but here are all the ones I have. 

1983 Donruss Action Allstars
#4 Greg Luzinski
#15 Ron Guidry
#21 Ron Cey
#26 Jim Sundberg
#32 Willie Wilson
#41 Bruce Sutter
#44 Carl Yastrzemski
#43 Carlton Fisk
#46 Bob Horner
#47 Dave Concepcion
#49 Kent Hrbek
#50 Lance Parrish
#53 Fernando Valenzuela 
#58 Gary Carter
#59 Fred Lynn 
#60 Checklist
Mantle Puzzle pieces #'s 7,8,9,28,29,30,49,50,51

1988 Donruss All-Stars
Mike Scott Pop-Up
Cal Ripken #5

Again Cal was the first card pulled and absolutely the best as well. Anyone else notice the progression of the Allstar (1983) to All-Star (1988)?  Who made the call to add the hyphen?  Made my life difficult when cataloging my Ripken collection as a kid. And now typing this post from my phone has me annoyed at the ponctuation yet again. 

1981 Topps Stickers Football
Ok, no cheating. Who can name any of the players below. I was hell no-4 with the pictures and still 0-4 with the names. Granted I was one year old when these were produced.

I will have another post with my other purchase later this week. 

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Talk About Your All-Time Backfire

I have done my best to steer my son toward my passion of baseball.  His first word was "ball" and he continues to be obsessed with playing ball.  He recognizes the Oriole Bird from my hat, and hearing a child say "O-we-ol" is heart melting.  At a year and a half he could recognize Cal Ripken from posters.  I couldn't be happier.

In an effort to bring my love of baseball into parenting, I bought a few things from Target to use as rewards.  Toilet training is difficult and any incentive is a welcome one.  Candy works too well but stickers are fun and don't set a bad precedent.

So I bought a pack of 2014 Topps Stickers to use in the Potty.  It was riddled with Yankees players.  At first I was bummed but quickly realized the only place for a Yankee should be the bathroom.

For something a little different I also snagged a 2013 Topps Big League Mini pack to give him a new baseball toy.  I got this guy:

In case you can't tell, it's Derek Jeter.  The epicenter of my dislike for the Yankees.  Yuck.  Gross.

Time to throw it out right.  Nope.  My son loves it and even referred to it as "his Dad."  Several times.

Good thing he has the attention span of a two-year old.  I will be leaving this guy in a restaurant in the near future

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Taking Stock

I haven't been nearly as active as I would like over the last few months.  With the baseball season in full effect, it would stand to reason my collection would be suffering greatly. 

Thanks to the Orioles limited roster moves this season, I am not doing so bad.

I currently have 872 of the 977, 89.25%.  So damn close to my 90% goal.  Only eight autographs stand in my way.  That got me thinking.  Eight should be real easy.  Should be the operative word.

Of the 105 autographs I need, 61 players are deceased.  Thus, they are expensive and aren't readily available.

Of the 34 living players only 9 are active, with a handful of them being good signers.  I am going to need to work hard to get myself over 90% before the Orioles start calling up players during the stretch run.  I am sitting on 10 signed cards of players that may be called up.

I am hoping to make some dents in the next few weeks, or at least start posting a little more.  Wrangling a 2 year old during the day and then working the night shift has sapped any creative energy I had.  Looking forward to reading more about your exploits out there.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

In a Fantasy World

My new company car has satellite radio, and like a true dork, I have been listening to the Fantasy Sports channel.  Yep.  Every time I am in the car it's mock drafts, ADP, auction values and super deep sleepers.

This constant baseball talk has brought me back from a decade long hiatus from the game.  It had previously been too much to keep up with a whole season, but times are different.  I am different. 

So I made my own league.  It's a 12 team, mixed league, Rotisserie League drafting on Saturday March 29 at 8pm.  I am looking for anyone to take it seriously, $25 on the line.

Let me know if you are interested.


Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Envelope Please

One of my collecting resolutions this year is to start up my TTM requests again.  There are not a lot of good TTM signers out that I need, but I am going to let out some long-shots and hope for the best. 

My second resolution is to get in front of new players and minor leaguers so I don't have to scramble when they crack the roster.

This week I decided to do both.  For the first time in a few years I am trying my luck with Spring Training.  Wish me luck.

Here is who I sent to, and their signing habits from

Alfredo Aceves-66% signs mainly during Spring Training
Michael Almanzar-0 for 6
Julio Borbon-63%
Nelson Cruz -37% long-shot
Ivan De Jesus-0% no requests
Alex Gonzalez- 18%
Hunter Harvey- 50%
Ubaldo Jimenez- 48%
Chris Marrero- 7% *Ouch*
Xavier Paul- 0 for 12
Eduardo Rodriguez- no requests
Suk-min Yoon- No clue
Delmon Young- 1%

I would like to personally thank the Orioles for signing some players that are historically bad at TTM requests.  No one ever said it would be easy

Saturday, February 15, 2014

FanFest 2014-Upgrades

Here is the last of the haul from FanFest this year.  Each of these autographs will be an upgrade to the collection for a variety of reasons.  
Dylan Bundy 2013 Topps Alen & Ginter #79
Bundy was a machine during the day.  He signed every time he was walking the floor of the Convention Center.  I have yet to see him showcase much of a personality but I am 3/3 graphing him.  Many of the other graphers were talking about him being moody.  Some days he is amazing and others, downright awful.  I am glad that during FanFest he has had good days.

Miguel Gonzalez 2013 Orioles Topps #BAL-15
 This was an uneventful autograph, so not much to say.  I do have his signed postcard from last year available now.

Bud Norris 2014 Orioles Postcard
Norris was part of the free session to start the day and I needed to scoop up a Postcard.  He has yet to appear on an Oriole card, but I can see that changing this year as he seems sure to be in the starting rotation.  In my limited encounters with Bud he had been reluctant to sign, so when he also signed the card I gave him I was surprised.  Pleasantly.  So now I have his 2008 Donruss Threads and  2013 Topps autographs available for trade.

Darren O'Day 2012 Topps Update #267
Darren is one of my favorite Orioles and I hope he has another great season.  I feel like he has the ability to be the closer, but his unorthodox delivery has little proven success in the closer role.  Either way, I like the way the bullpen seems to be shaping up.  I now have a signed Postcard from Darren available if anyone is looking.
Steve Pearce 2010 Topps #530
Pearce had the best handler at the event.  She stayed directly on his hip each and every time he was in the open.  She even shot down requests before we could ask.  Steve never had to say a word.  Then came the food line.  A long line directly in front of the players entrance caused Steve and his handler to be separated and he finally relented.  Until she came back.  A certified 2008 SPx Autographics card is available since this in person beauty is home.

Nolan Reimold 2010 Topps 206 #168
I only think Reimold signed one time walking through the event because he had his hands full.  He had his wife, three kids and a friend with him, not to mention a cup of coffee.  He was able to push a stroller, hold his coffee and sign my card for me at the same time.  Probably due to all the practice with three young kids.  This takes the place of a damaged card I had already in the collection.
Josh Stinson Baltimore Autograph Card
Like many of the players Josh denied all day, until he was done with his obligations.  He stopped and signed before leaving for the day, giving in to the persistence we showed all day.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

FanFest 2014-Trade Bait

I was able to double dip on a few of the new players while hitting up some old stalwarts.  SO here is what I now have available to trade if anyone is interested.  Also have a Dylan Bundy 2011 Bowman Draft signed last year.  

Mike Bordick 2001 Upper Deck Reserve #40

Zach Britton 2010 Topps Pro Debut #330
Zach Britton 2012 Topps #599
Dylan Bundy 2013 Orioles Topps #BAL-7
Kelvin De La Cruz 2009 Bowman Chrome #BCP
Ryan Flaherty 2011 Topps Heritage Minors #111
David Lough 2013 Topps #268
Nick Markakis 2014 Orioles Postcard
Bud Norris 2013 Topps #353
Troy Patton 2012 Topps Blue Parallel #156
Larry Sheets 1991 Orioles Crown #414
Nate Snell 1991 Orioles Crown #430

                               Cord Phelps 2008 Razor #87
Jemile Weeks 2012 Topps #640
Matt Wieters 2010 Upper Deck # 84

Thursday, February 6, 2014

FanFest 2014-Additions and Acquisitions

Since I was shut out with buying autograph vouchers I came to FanFest needing to put in some work to make a dent in my needs.  I was able to get up early enough to earn one of the 250 spots to the free signing.  I was guaranteed autographs of Nick Markakis, Bud Norris and Jemile Weeks. After the signing I positioned myself near the stage to try and get some autographs.

At last years FanFest, being close to the stage was good for hounding.  You could see in multiple directions and knew players would be coming to the stage.  This year had a different design, that called for a different plan.  Jay (J-Orioles on sportsgraphing) posted up in the middle of the arena and was perfect.  As players crossed from one event to another they had to pass us.  When they went upstairs to get away from the arena floor, they had to pass us.  When they came back down, they had to pass us.  We had so many opportunities to get autographs and with a little persistence, I did just that.
Steve Clevenger 2013 Bowman #12
Overall I was able to cross two names off the current list, Steve Clevenger was one of them.  I will eventually need to upgrade to a Postcard or Orioles issue if that ever happens but was happy to cross this name off.  I only saw Steve once throughout the entire event and once was all that I needed.  He was gracious and pleasant as he disregarded his handlers demands to keep walking.

Henry Urrutia 2013 Bowman #8
Henry was the second player I was able to cross off my list.  I got a tip that he was participating in a baseball clinic with Dave Johnson and went to check it out.  There were a ton of people standing around but no one really looking for autographs.  I was one of a few guys to get Henry here and seemed to be one of the lucky ones.  He was interactive and friendly at the beginning of the day, but once his girlfriend showed, he never stopped.  All he did was hold her hand, but I got mine so I was very happy.
Tim Berry Baltimore Autograph Card
The only food I ate during the entire day was a bag of Crab Chips and some Powerade.  I bring that up because on my way back from my snack I saw Tim Berry dong a clinic.  He seemed disinterested during the clinic but was nice enough to sign for me.

Berry spent all of 2013 in Frederick posting good numbers as a starter.  Being a left handed arm throwing in the 90MPH range should facilitate rapid advancement, if he continues to perform well.

Kelvin De La Cruz Baltimore Autograph Card
Another lefty that may make his debut with the Orioles this year is De La Cruz.  He spent six seasons in the Cleveland Indians organization but never cracked the big league roster.  He was used only as a starter until last year, where he was exclusively coming from the pen. A 6'5" lefty coul create matchup problems.

His height made him easy to spot walking through the event and he signed for me twice, only because I only had two items.  First is this Autograph Card and there is a Bowman card still to come.

Liam Hendriks Baltimore Autograph Card
I attempted to get Liam coming and going from the main stage when he participated in a new player forum.  He denied me each time because he had an aggressive handler.  Later in the day he was walking with his wife and was in a different mood.  He stopped and signed for those who asked.  His wife was a big fan of the Autograph Card I gave him to sign and we chatted about the hobby for a few minutes.  Predominantly a starter, I am not sure the role Liam will play with the team this year.

Chris Jones Baltimore Autograph Card
Chris Jones passed by a couple of time and I couldn't place him.  Eventually, someone in the know pointed him out and he was gracious enough to sign. Jones had been a solid minor league pitcher for the Indians and the Braves before coming to the Orioles last year.  Like countless others he will be vying for a spot in our bullpen this year.

Johnny Monell Baltimore Autograph Card
I am not usre how this signature reads Johnny Monell, but there are a lot of things I don't know.  Monell, Michael Ohlman and Clevenger will all by jockeying to backup Matt Wieters this season.  And if this is indeed Matt's final season in town, it would be nice to know if there is a quality replacement in the system.

Cord Phelps Baltimore Autograph Card
Phelps was the only player I approached with no knowledge of who he was.  Having the custom card makes this possible, but I typically avoid it.  Not a single one of us recognized him, so I can say I did it for everyone else.  It also allowed me to get him on a minor league card later that day.

With Brian Roberts in pinstripes and fringe major league players in front of him, Phelps looks to take a shot at the second base job.  He has three years of big league experience with the Indians with little results.  It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

Brad Brach 2012 Topps #637
Brach was the first player I tracked down after the free session, with a little help from Austin.  He is another arm that the Orioles have brought in to try and sure up their bullpen.  He has had a few good seasons in San Diego so hopefully the A.L. is kind to him.  I am looking into getting an Orioles postcard signed so if anyone's got one let me know.

David Lough 2013 Topps Emerald #268
Dan Duquette said that he believes Lough can be a better fit in left field than the newly departed Nate McLouth.  More pop and a better arm but with less speed.  Again another question mark, like every move they have made this off-season.  He was a really nice guy and signed for me twice throughout the event.

MIchael Ohlman 2010 Topps Debut #100
Ohlman was very agreeable and pushed his handler aside to sign autographs for anyone that asked.  He was also very easy to pick out walking through the Convention Center.  I am hoping he has an opportunity to prove himself this season. If Wieters does in fact leave, there needs to be someone to fill his void.  Could Ohlman be the guy?

                       Ryan Webb 2012 Topps Update #253

Keeping with the trend of bringing in relievers to try and fill a void, I give you Ryan Webb.  It remains to be seen if Webb, Tommy Hunter or Darren O'Day would take the closer spot this season.  I actually have faith in all three of those options.

Jemile Weeks 2014 Orioles Postcard
Jemile was one of the three signers at the free station and couldn't have been nicer.  He was eager to interact with us fans and was willing to sign more than one autograph at the table.  He is easily recognizable so he was an easy player to spot on the convention floor.  But he never signed while walking around.  He said the team told him not to sign and being new, he wanted to do as he was told.  He seemed sincere so it didn't feel like a brush off. I