Monday, December 15, 2014

Upgrading the Collection Thanks to Old Man Cards

As many of you probably already know, my dad has been making "Old Man Cards" for me to try to get signed for the past few years. They typically feature Oriole players who were never pictured on any other cards in an O's uniform, effectively making them the only cards of many of them as a member of the Orioles. Oh, and they're awesome and I really appreciate his contributions to my collection. As always, thanks dad!

Here are some recent additions to my collection thanks to Old Man Cards. Since I don't have as much time on my hands as I used to, most of my posts moving forward will likely be more heavy on pictures than words. But after all, this is an Orioles autograph blog, and most of the visitors to my site are here to see autographs, not read my rambling posts. So without further ado...


Yes, that says Bryan. Yes, I still will consider it "personalized". Close enough.







As I get many of these cards signed by fellow SCN members on consignment, the personalizations don't always get done, but I'm still happy to have Orioles cards signed by the Dana Evelands of the world.


Unfortunately, Dan signed this card on the black part of his uniform, but it is signed and personalized. There aren't many picture options when a guy only plays in three games as an Oriole.



Francisco never made it to Baltimore from Norfolk last season, but I'm prepared in case he ever does!





I think this was my third attempt at getting this card signed and personalized, but Clay finally cooperated!



Who else do you do you know that has a signed Orioles Miguel Socolovich card? Who else do you even know that remembers that Miguel Socolovich was an Oriole?



I should have figured it out from my difficulty in getting him to sign anything while he was in Baltimore, but it sounds like Danny is a pretty tough signature to get. He apparently refused to personalize this card for me.


Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Unpossible Autographs: George Zuverink, Jeff Robinson, & Artie Quirk

Sadly, during my time away from the blog, three former Orioles passed away.



George Zuverink passed away on September 8, 2014 at the age of 90. He kindly signed and personalized this card for me back via a TTM request in October 2011. (Obituary from the Holland, MI Sentinel)



Jeff M. Robinson passed away on October 26, 2014 at just 52 years old, following a seven week battle with an unspecified health issue. That's way too young to go, I just hope he didn't suffer. (Obituary from the Detroit News)



Artie Quirk passed away just a few weeks ago on November 22, 2014. He kindly signed and personalized this card for me via a TTM request I sent in early 2013. (Obituary from The Day (CT))


It's always sad to learn about members of the Orioles family who have passed away, especially as I've said before, when they have taken some of their time to sign cards specifically for me, as Zuverink and Quirk did.



*To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: When I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is not very smart, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible." I feel like it lightens the mood of an otherwise sad post. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Oh Hey There, or Catching Up on Orioles Debuts of De Aza & Johnson

Wow, where has the time gone? I had absolutely no intentions of being away from the blog for almost two and a half months, but I guess that life really does change quite a bit when you have a baby. My amazing wife, gave birth to our awesome son two days after my last post here way back in September. And needless to say, and I'm sure many of you out there can empathize, my free time has been at a premium ever since the little dude entered my life. And he is far and away my top priority, obviously, but I have no intention of letting this site totally gather dust. I will at least try to pop on from time to time to keep up with Orioles comings and goings.

As of my last post, I still was waiting on some autographs to arrive to keep my collection at 100%, and I was able to do so through the 2014 debuts, with 986 autographs to represent each and every player who has ever suited up for the Orioles. I'll show off a few of the autographs here that I believe I had never posted before my hiatus. There are also a few upgrades that I had obtained and never shown off. So here I go...

#977- Preston Guilmet


#978- Nick Hundley


#983- Alejandro De Aza


#984- Kelly Johnson

Sorry that I'm forgoing my standard write-ups about De Aza and Johnson, but I'll try to write something more about them when/if I ever can get their Oriole Old Man cards signed. And as always, a big thank you to my dad for supplying the great custom O's card of Guilmet for me to get signed.

Nick Hundley and, for some weird reason, Steve Lombardozzi were both also included in the 2014 Topps Update set as Orioles, so they were added to my need list. Hundley seems like a good signer, but Lombardozzi never seemed very nice, so he might be a tough one to knock off.

I can fairly well guarantee that my next post won't take another 2+ months to write, so I hope to keep up with my posting a little bit better moving forward but time will tell!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Oriole # 986- Christian Walker

The most recent Orioles debut surprised me somewhat, mainly due to how late it was happening in the season. Christian Walker was just called up to the O's after they clinched the AL East on Tuesday night. He had to be added to the 40 man roster and his service clock is starting now, so you know that the team must see something that they like in him. It also is fairly directly tied to Chris Davis's positive adderall test and suspension and the need for another first baseman on the roster. 


Christian had been working at the Orioles instructional league program in Sarasota for just this type of reason. Every year the O's send a group of 10-15ish minor league position players and pitchers to Sarasota to stay fresh in case any needs come up with the big league club after the minor league season ends at the beginning of September.

This Shorebirds signed card is the only autograph I have of his right now, but it works just fine for my collection, at least until I try to get one of my dad's custom O's cards signed. Christian has been included in a few minor league team sets over the years (2012 Ironbirds, 2013 Shorebirds, 2014 Baysox & Eastern League All-star set) and he seems to be a good signer. I saw him sign for multiple people at both Norfolk Tides games that I attended this year, but didn't have any unsigned cards of his at that point. Much to my dismay at this point. But one autograph is better than none!

Christian was drafted by the Orioles in the 4th round of the 2012 draft after a successful college career with the South Carolina Gamecocks. He made his professional debut with the short season A ball Ironbirds, and spent time at every ensuing level of the O's farm system. In 2013, he progressed from the lo A Shorebirds, to the hi A Keys, all the way to the AA Baysox in a single season. (Generally, jumping two levels in a single season is a good sign.) 2014 saw Christian start the year in Bowie before moving to AAA Norfolk mid-summer. He hit a combined 26 home-runs with 96 RBI this year, and yes, that was good enough to earn the call to Baltimore.

He made his major league and Orioles debut last night, September 17, and went 1-3 with a double in the game. He did enough to be the recipient of Adam Jones' post-game pie, and it was a very cool moment for the rookie. I have a feeling that we will be seeing more of Christian in the coming seasons in Baltimore. Good luck to him.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Oriole #985- Quintin Berry

Since I'm still waiting for my autographs to arrive for Orioles 983 & 984, I'm skipping to the 985th player to appear in a game today. That man is Quintin Berry.


Unlike the two guys I'm skipping, Quintin was thankfully with the team in Spring Training, so I had an autograph of his prepared to slide right into my collection. Once again, my Old Man's Oriole Card is right there with Quintin's first, and likely only, O's card. He was actually a pretty great signer in Sarasota, so I actually have a few of his autographs for trade as well. 




I showed off these autographs in a few posts back in March and April, and at the time, I mentioned that the Orioles might be able to use Quintin for his prowess on the basepaths, which is exactly what they have done so far. After a steal today, he is now 25-25 in stolen bases in his MLB career. Pretty impressive.

After playing for the Tigers and Red Sox in 2012 and '13 respectively, the O's signed him to a deal this past off-season. He had a good season at AAA Norfolk and definitely earned the promotion. He has appeared in five games for the Orioles so far, all as a defensive replacement or pinch runner, so that's pretty obviously his role with the team.

Oh, and he and Adam Jones are boys, as they attended Morse High School together in San Diego, and remain good friends. I imagine that factored in to his addition to the Oriole organization, but I'm all about it if he can help the team win a few games!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Oriole #982- Jimmy Paredes

There have been a handful of Orioles debuts, probably the last round for the 2014 season, this past week. I will cover them over the coming days, and hope to remain somewhat timely with my writing. But who ever really knows? I'm obviously pretty unpredictable.


I haven't had the chance to do much autographing at all during this season and I only got a single autograph at Wednesday's Orioles game, but it thankfully filled a hole in my collection as Jimmy Paredes signed and personalized this freshly minted old man card. (I'm not sure but it might say Ryaa, but it's close enough for me and still much preferred to any form of Brian/Bryan.) My dad had just given me this card as we walked into the game around 6:30 and it was signed by 7 which was the quickest turnaround that I think I've ever done with one of his awesome cards!

Jimmy is actually in his second stint with the Orioles system in 2014, as he was a "member" of the organization for just two days back in mid-February. In fact, he rode the waiver carousel for much of the offseason, being selected by the Marlins from the Astros on November 4th, the O's got him from the Marlins on February 15th, then the Royals plucked him from the O's on February 17th, and the Orioles finally got their guy back from KC on July 24th. He spent most of the following month with the AAA Tides, before being recalled to Baltimore on August 28th and appearing in his first game the following day. He is the 982nd player to appear in a game for the O's and has appeared in five games, all at third base, since his debut.

There have been times where he has really flashed the leather but he also has already made two errors. He has been strong at the plate so far, hitting .333 with a HR and 4 RBI over 18 ABs. Over his career he has struck out way too often but has only whiffed once thus far for the O's.

Jimmy has been around the MLB block as he made his debut with the Astros back in 2011 and appeared in 118 games for the team between '11-13. He made it into 9 games for the Royals this season before the Orioles re-acquired him, so Baltimore is his third big league squad. And for the record, he has struck out in about 30% of his MLB ABs to date.

With Manny Machado's season ending injury, I would guess that Paredes might have a chance to make a postseason roster as a late inning defensive replacement, as long as he can clean up his fielding game over the next month. The O's obviously see something they like with him since they have brought him into the season twice this year so who knows what the future may hold.

Thanks for signing my card, Jimmy!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Oriole #980 Andrew Miller, and #981 Cord Phelps

Well, what happened there? After posting pretty regularly for most of the year, this is my first post in nearly a month. And honestly, I don't expect things to get much less busy in my life as my wife and I are expecting our first child, a baby boy, in just under a month. So I will post when I can, but they will be few and far between.
It's kind of funny timing for me to slow down posting considering the Orioles have been playing so well. Most of the years I've been writing posts about the O's in August/September, the team was so out of contention it wasn't even funny. Now that they are in firm control of the AL East, I'm nearly non-existent. But, at least for now, I have been able to continue to watch most of their games, and it's certainly been a fun season to this point!

Also, strangely enough, I've actually been spending more time working with my cards lately as I continue to attempt to organize and pare down my collection in preparation for our little guy. But I'm sure that will come to a screeching halt soon enough too!

Anyway, today's post is highlighting the two players who have made their Orioles debuts since my last post.

First up is lefty relief pitcher Andrew Miller, who the O's acquired at the trade deadline from the Red Sox in exchange for pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. Miller was widely regarded as the top left-handed reliever available and the Birds did what they needed to do to make the deal happen.

I just pulled the trigger on a certified copy of his autograph on COMC, and it should arrive any day.


Since Miller was a former first-round pick by the Tigers, I was surprised the be able to pick up an autographed swatch card of his numbered of just 99 of his for a few dollars. His career as a starter never really took off but he has certainly found his niche as a reliever. He will likely only be an Oriole through the end of this season, and I've heard talk about his possibly sliding into the closer role for a team in 2015.


Not too surprisingly if you know him, my dad had this Old Man Card made the day after Miller's Orioles debut on August 1st and was trying to get it signed for me the very next day. I always really appreciate his help, and I hope to get this card signed soon enough, if I can find the time!



The next Orioles debut occurred on August 16th as Cord Phelps became the 881st player to appear in a game for the team. Luckily, Cord was with the team in Spring Training and I was ready for his debut! I briefly wrote about him in this post following my Florida trip, saying at the time that I had "an inkling that Cord Phelps might be the 2014 version of Russ Canzler, knocking on the big league door but never quite cracking the club." Looks like I wasn't right on that one!

Cord has previously played in some games for the Indians between 2011-13 so he isn't completely new to the big league scene. It seems like he is in a pinch-hitting defensive replacement role for the Birds and has only appeared in two games so far, but he is officially an Oriole!



I have a few extra of Cord's autograph, all obtained in-person, if anyone needs one for their collection. I actually just got his 2014 Tides card signed on my trip to Norfolk, not long before he was called up to Baltimore.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Back to 100%!

I just got back from my mini-vacation, part of which involved taking in a few games of the Orioles AAA affiliate Norfolk Tides, and I can happily report that my collection is now back up to containing 100% of Orioles autographs.


Ramon Ramirez was the only autograph that I really "needed" to get, and he signed for me before the first game that I attended. He didn't come out onto the field until the National Anthem was being sung but I called out to him immediately afterwards, and he was nice enough to come over to sign and personalize my card for me.

So with the addition of this card, I once again have an autograph of all 979 players who have appeared in a game for the Orioles. Thanks for signing Ramon! And thanks for the awesome Old Man Card to be signed, Dad!

I will have more to post about my trip next week, but this was certainly my favorite autograph of the trip!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Gone Fishin'


See you all in a few days. I hope to have some new autographs when I get back!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Far From the Iron Man

My posting these days might, MIGHT, be able to be called sporadic, but I continue to try to show off at least a few new Orioles autographs each week. But I am a far cry from my all-time favorite Oriole, and former perennial All-Star, Cal Ripken Jr. 


I imagine that if Cal happened to be an Orioles autograph blogger, that he would somehow find a way to post once a day, every day, week in and week out, year after year, until his hands cramped up and he could blog no more. But I ain't Cal, so a few times a week is what you get!

My collection doesn't currently include an autograph of Cal personalized to me, but this Sal personalized autograph is somewhat close to a nickname that friends have called me over the years, and has been a part of my collection for probably twenty some years.

So while we can all strive to be more Cal-like in our various endeavors, most of us will never quite reach that apex. And that's just fine.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Earl Robinson & Don Lenhardt

Sadly, today's post brings back the return of Unpossible Autograph Friday. Until today, no former O's had passed away yet in 2014, and as far as I know, Paul Blair was the last former Oriole to pass, back around Christmas 2013.

This past week, two former Orioles players passed away, something that has happened very rarely over the years I've been following the Orioles. Outfielder Earl Robinson died on Friday, July 4, and utility man Don Lenhardt passed away on Wednesday, July 9. I haven't written much about either player on my site so I will try to give them each a decent write-up today.

Earl Robinson played in four MLB seasons between 1958-64; he debuted with the Dodgers in 1958 and played eight games with them, but his remaining 162 big league appearances were all with the Orioles. He hit .268 with 12 HR over 421 Major League at-bats.

While in college at Cal, he starred in baseball and basketball and went on to become a basketball coach after his baseball career ended. He went on to become a college professor and teacher, and was very active in various civic activities in the Oakland area. He was enshrined in both the Cal Hall of Fame and the Pac-10 Hall of Honor for his many achievements over the years.

Earl had been experiencing health problems in recent years, and apparently had a few cardiac events in 2013 that he never fully recovered from. Not knowing this until now, I had actually sent Earl a TTM request earlier this year, but it was returned to sender. I obtained this autograph online about five years ago.



Don Lenhardt played in five MLB seasons from 1950-54 for the St. Louis Browns, White Sox, Red Sox, Tigers, and Orioles. He spent the majority of his career with the Browns/Orioles franchise, as 298 of his 481 MLB games were spent with them. Don hit .271 with 61 homers, and 239 RBI over his time in the bigs. He likely would have had a longer MLB career but had joined the Navy during WWII, thus delaying his time in professional baseball. After his playing career ended, Don served as the Red Sox' Midwest area scout for over 40 years, having retired from that role in 2002.

One interesting story that I read about him is how he earned the nickname "Footsie" from teammates due to his issues finding shoes that fit him properly. However, I don't see a note about whether he had abnormally large or small feet, so that part remains a mystery.

I have shown this card on my site one other time, way back in my first month of blogging in 2009. Don was one of the first people I had sent a TTM request to, and he was kind enough to sign this and send it back to me in just eight days. It looks like Don was still signing for fans as recently as late 2013, so he seems to have really cared about the people who wrote to him.

RIP Earl & Don. The Orioles family will miss you!


*To briefly explain the misspelled/made up title of these weekly posts: Every Friday, I profile a former Oriole who has passed away. I've substituted the word unpossible for impossible as an homage to a line from "The Simpsons". Young Ralph Wiggum, who is not very smart, says "Me fail English? That's unpossible." 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The 2014 Orioles Walk-Up Song Project- Update #4


I would like to keep updating this list over the course of the season, but I haven't been attending as many games lately. So I do have a few additional things to add to this list. Since the last update, I've heard songs for  Kevin Gausman, Caleb Joseph, and Manny Machado. It looks like the Orioles website for walk-up songs has only added Nick Hundley's information since my last post, but I was able to add him because of that. 

The O's site is so strange in that it adds info for a guy like Hundley, but not the many other players who are now playing/have played for the O's like Brad Brach, Caleb Joseph, Kevin Gausman, Preston Guilmet, Evan Meek, etc. but they still list songs for Johan Santana, who will probably never pitch for the O's, Matt Wieters, who is out for the year, and Steve Lombardozzi, who might not make it back to Baltimore. Oh well.

Here are the details on my tracking of O's walk-up songs if you need it:
(This walk-up song project is something that I've enjoyed doing this the past three years (201320122011), although I admitted slacked off on it last year. But I am once again going to try to keep track of the songs that the Orioles players use as their walk-up/warm-up music. I really stayed on top of the songs in 2011, and updated the list six times throughout that year. In both 2012 & 2013, I only wrote the one, original post, but the funny thing is that I continued to take notes on the songs used throughout the season, and then just never got around to writing posts about the updates. Since this list is something that changes any time a player is added to the roster, or they want to change things around, the list is fluid, but here is what I have at this point in the season.) 


If anyone has any information to add or update from what's listed below, please let me know!)



Note-some YouTube links might contain explicit lyrics, if you're offended by that sort of thing.

Brad Brach- 
no info on site or from game
Zach Britton- "Seven Nation Army" The White Stripes (O's site incorrect )
Wei-Yin Chen"Meng Xiang Qi Dong" Jay Chou (O's site incorrect)
Steve Clevenger- No song yet
Nelson Cruz- "Para Ti" Juan Luis Guerra (O's site confirmed)
Chris Davis"The Moment We Come Alive" Red, "I Get Wicked" Thousand Foot Krutch 
Julio DePaula-  No info on site or from game
Ryan Flaherty"Bottoms Up" Brantley Gilbert (O's site confirmed)
Kevin Gausman- "Do I Wanna Know" Arctic Monkeys
Miguel Gonzalez- "Return of the Mack" Mark Morrison (O's site confirmed)
Preston Guilmet- No info on site or from game
J.J. Hardy"Flower" Moby (Hasn't changed it once in three years, O's site confirmed)
Nick Hundley- "Shine" Collective Soul (per O's site)
Tommy Hunter- "Welcome Home" Coheed and Cambria (O's site confirmed)
Ubaldo Jimenez- "Rie Y Llora" Celia Cruz (O's site confirmed
Adam Jones- "Lose My Mind" Young Jeezy ft. Plies; "Ballin Out" French Montana ft. Diddy & Jeremih; "Club On Smash" Future; "California Love" 2Pac
 (O's site partially correct)
Caleb Joseph- "Duck Blind" Dallas Davidson
Steve Lombardozzi- "Barefoot Blue Jean Night"  Jake Owen (per O's site)
David Lough- "Breathe" Fabolous (O's site incorrect)
Manny Machado- "Vivir Mi Vida" Marc Antony
Nick Markakis"Deliverance" Bubba Sparxx (Probably his fourth or fifth year with this one, O's site confirmed)
Brian Matusz- "Voodoo Child (Slight Return)" Jimi Hendrix (O's site confirms)

Steve McFarland- no info on site or from game
Evan Meek- Possibly either "Master of Puppets" Metallica or "All Summer Long" Kid Rock
Bud Norris- "Who Gon Stop Me" Jay-Z ft. Kanye West (O's site confirmed)
Darren O'Day"Thickfreakness" The Black Keys (Also third year using this song, O's site confirmed
)
Troy Patton-"Glitter" Ghostland Observatory
Steve Pearce- "We Own It" 2 Chainz & Wiz Khalifa
Ramon Ramirez-  No info on site or from game
Jonathan Schoop- "Go Get It" T.I. (O's site confirmed)
Josh Stinson- "Hell On Wheels" Brantley Gilbert (O's site confirmed)
Chris Tillman"Kick It In the Sticks" Brantley Gilbert (Fourth year using it, O's site confirmed)
Ryan Webb- "Hysteria" Muse (O's site confirmed)

Jemile Weeks- No info on site or from game
Matt Wieters"Raised On It" Sam Hunt (O's site confirmed)
Delmon Young- "We Dem Boyz" Chinx & French Montana & "Zip & A Double Cup" Juicy J, 2 Chainz, & The Joker (O's site partially correct)