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

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

Sunday, February 2, 2014

FanFest 2014 Recap

Sorry for my bitching and my mini rant last week about FanFest.  I was expecting to have a crappy day full of denials and wasted time.  I was very much in the wrong. 

I am working on more in depth posts, so for now, here are the stats.  I was able to cross two names off the list, upgraded seven players, pulled in 15 autos of minor leaguers and new acquisitions, while still hauling in 13 to trade.

All told, 37 autographs for a whopping total cost of $40.  That includes the price of admission, food, parking and cards I bought prior to the event.  Big fan of how everything turned out.

I had a great time meeting up with a few graphers from  J-Orioles, Scoreset, CalRipken8 and finflash, plus others, all made it a great day.  I look forward to making some trades and adding a few more postcards to my collection.

Stay tuned for the pictures and details.