Tuesday, June 30, 2009

TTMs from the past week

I figured that I would start out sharing the cards that have come back to me through the mail while I was gone. Pol gave me the heads up that all of these guys were signing TTM, so again I have him to thank for some new autographs. None of these guys are very big names but I was very excited to get all of their autographs to add to my collection as I continue to watch it grow!

Dave Criscione 1977

I need to lead off with Dave because not only did he sign and return this card to me in under a week but he added this very nice note.
This is the first note I have got back from one of the guys I sent a request too. It's very nice that Dave took the time to write this good luck message to me. Dave only played in 7 games for the Orioles but hit a game-winning HR in one of those games and finished his career batting .333. I would certainly say that he made the most of his brief time with the O's!

Larry Brown 1973

Larry sent this back to me in about 10 days.

Mike Dimmel 1977-78
He returned this in 6 days.

Wayne Causey 1955-57

Wayne got this card back to me in 11 days.

It's always a thrill to me to come home from work and open up the mailbox to find a TTM envelope in there. It immediately makes my day better and always puts a smile on my face. Thanks to all of these guys.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Back from Vacation

While I don't have a lot to say or show in this post, I wanted to let everyone know that I am back from vacation. I had a great time and made it to two Minor League games and drove past Busch Stadium in St. Louis so I will have some good pictures, stories and, of course, autographs.

I also had 3 TTMs waiting for me when I got back as well as a few packages and trades that I had made so I will have some good posts this week. But for now, I wanted to let everyone know that I am back in the blogosphere. I hope that everyone had a nice weekend.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'm Halfway there!!

Today is a great day for my little blog; it is the day that I was able to push past the 50% mark for my project! I'm sure that the 434 Orioles player autographs I have now were the easy ones, so this next part will be the real challenge. And of course it doesn't help me that the Orioles seem to add 10-15 new players every season, but that's not going to bother me today. It's all downhill from here!!!

I was able to push past the 50% mark with a nice trade with Tom T. who I met through the Yahoo autograph collection group I'm in. If you didn't get a chance to check it out the last time I linked it and you collect autographs, you are missing out. I have come across a few great collectors who have been able to help me and I was able to return the favor more often than not.
So check it out! And thanks again Tom.

Also, I am going to be on vacation for the next week so won't be posting again until Sunday or Monday. I am going on a family trip but will be checking out two Minor League games en route; tonight's Aberdeen Ironbirds vs. Staten Island Yankees game in Aberdeen (with added bonus of a crab feast) and Saturday's Northwest Arkansas Naturals vs Arkansas Travelers game in Springdale, Arkansas(with added bonus of a Vance Wilson bobblehead). I hope to have many pictures and autographs to share when I'm back.

Here are the cards Tom sent me:

Ed Farmer 1977

Pat Hentgen 2001-03

Craig Lefferts 1992

Gary Matthews Jr. 02-03

Derrick May 1999

Bob Molinaro 1979

Matt Nokes 1995

Roy Smith 1991

Ron Washington 1987

Ernie Whitt 1991

Esteban Yan 1996-97

Funny time on the Yan auto, I just got a TTM I sent to him back last week.

Have a nice week everyone, I will be blogging again soon.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Finishing off my C autos

Since I didn't make it to any games this weekend and didn't get any cards back in the mail, I will finish up with my C autographs. Since it has been so long since I started this, you can catch up on it here and here.

Mike Cook 1993

This is the only card I had of Mike when I got it signed at a game. He only pitched in 2 games for the O's but I remember him since this is the only card I got signed on the team playing cards.

Rocky Coppinger 1996-99

I remember the O's had high hopes for a bright future for him at one point but doesn't Rocky's autograph looks pretty good on this card? That's something positive right?

Moving on...

Terry "the Crow" Crowley 1969-73, 76-82

The current O's hitting coach is widely regarded as the best Oriole pinch hitter of all time, with his 108 career pinch hits ranking 13th most all-time in MLB. He was also the Orioles first designated hitter, filling the roll once the rule was implemented in 1973.

Todd Cruz 1983-84

Todd unfortunately passed away last fall at the young age of 52 while swimming in a pool at his apartment complex. He will always be remembered by O's fans for being a valuable member of the 1983 World Series championship squad. He filled the role of Curly of the "Three Stooges" along with Rick Dempsey and Rich Dauer in the bottom third of the '83 lineup.

Darwin Cubillan 2004

I don't remember Darwin being an Oriole at all and this is only card (that I'm aware of) of him in an affiliates uniform. He only pitched in 7 games as a reliever for the O's and had a 5.40 ERA.
The most interesting thing I could find about him is that he pitched in Japan and Korea after being released by the O's but was known only as Darwin since Cubillan sounds like "Kubi Yan" which means "he is fired, isn't he?" in Japanese. Thank you Wikipedia.

"Stumbling" Jack Cust 2003-04

This story sums up Jack's time as an Oriole:

During a game in August 2003 between O's and the Yankees, Cust was the would-be tying run in the 12th inning with two outs when he tried to score from first on a single to the gap by Larry Bigbie. Cust first stumbled and tumbled over between third and home, and hence was caught in a rundown. Cust somehow got past the defense, and was sprinting towards home with nobody covering it. The O's were going to win the game!!! Instead of scoring the winning run, however and inexplicably, Cust fell down for the second time. He was tagged out by Aaron Boone to end the game and cemented the nickname of "Stumbling Jack" in Orioles fans' brains forever.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thursday's Alumni Autographs

Another Thursday home game brought another Orioles Alumni Autograph session, this week featured John Stefero, Rick Krivda and Scott McGregor.

(l to r) McGregor, Krivda and Stefero

I have had the opportunity to get Krivda and McGregor a number of times over the years, but this is the first time I have ever got Stefero to sign in person. I will be adding some of these to my collection but the other will be added to my trade list.

Also, Tommy Lasorda was at Camden Yards for his (more or less) yearly Father's Day visit to promote prostate cancer screenings . It was cool being this close to a HOFer like Tommy and a lot of the players and coaches seemed excited too.

Friday, June 19, 2009

An Omazing Win & TTMs

I was luckily at last night's O's game and it was definitely the best game I have seen all year. Jason Berken had a good start, striking out 8 over 6.2 innings. And how about that comeback by the O's in the bottom of the ninth! That's what I'm talking about!!! K-Rod, you don't scare the Orioles (who have now taken 2 of 3 from the Braves and Mets, something I hope the team can continue against the Phils & Marlins).

I had to get that out of my system. But that's all I'm going to say about the game. I do need to add that although there were a lot of Mets fans at the game, they seem to be pretty cool people. I had the chance to talk to a few folks who had come from NY or NJ to check out OPACY and, coming from someone who thinks a majority of the Yankees & Red Sox fans that come to the Yard are by and large obnoxious to the O's fans, I enjoyed having them in Baltimore. They seemed knowledgeable and cheered for their team without jeering the hometown contingent. I think some AL East teams' fans could learn a lesson from you Mets fans.

Now onto the reason you read this blog, Orioles Autographs!

It was a great TTM week for me as I got three cards back, Gil Coan, Larry Harlow, & Esteban Yan. I have to thank Pol for the Gil Coan tip, along with the many other good TTM signing former Orioles he updates me with almost daily. I hope to get another batch sent out this weekend before I head on vacation next week.

Gil Coan 1954-55

You may think that I scanned this card improperly but you would be wrong. I intentionally scanned it like this to better show his signature & inscription. "Sincere Best Wishes" makes Gil seem like a very nice guy to me, along with the fact that I got this card back less than a week after I sent it.
Wikipedia tells me that Gil was The Sporting News Minor League Player of the Year in 1945 when he played for the Chattanooga Lookouts and in 1947 had 21 hits in 42 ABs for a .500 batting average. This is the highest BA for any player who had 30 or more at-bats in a major league season, setting a record, that Rudy Pemberton has since matched. That's pretty impressive stuff.
Gil later started an insurance company in Brevard, NC that his family still runs today. I would check it out if you need insurance in western North Carolina, Gil seems like he would be very fair to deal with.

Larry Harlow 1975, 77-79

Um, Larry was an every day player for the O's during the 1978 season. He also played for the Angels & in Japan during his career. There is another, more famous Larry Harlow who seems to be an Afro-Cuban salsa pianist.

Esteban Yan 1996-97

Esteban Yan appeared in 7 games for the O's during the 96-97 seasons and went 0-1 with 10.89 ERA. He didn't have an Orioles card from that time but was back in the organization for the beginning of 2008 and made it in the Tides team set. The O's cut him loose mid-season and he finished the year playing in Korea for the SK Wyverns.
He signed in about a week from the address of his current team, the Atlantic League's Bridgeport Bluefish.
Esteban is probably best remembered, by me at least, for being referenced in the Simpson's Episode "C.E. D'oh". Bart & Milhouse are making fun of baseball (specifically the Devil Rays & Expos) and Milhouse says that he is Esteban Yan while Bart is Tomokazu Ohka.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Tuesday O's autos

I went to Tuesday's O's-Mets game in the hopes of getting the two current Mets players who are former Orioles. Anyone know who they are? They aren't very big names, more backup types. They both are Hispanic. Any guesses yet?

They are Omir Santos and Fernando Tatis, and I was hoping that they would sign a card for me, but had no luck. In fact, I only saw Brian Schneider & Livan Hernandez sign for a handful of people while the rest of the Mets avoided the throng of their fans at OPACY.

Especially in the case of Santos, I have two of his 08 Tides cards, one of which I sent to the Mets AAA affiliate the week he was called up so that card is in limbo, while the other is still in my possession. But I am now reluctant to send that one out since I would prefer to avoid buying another complete 08 set just for him. And that is my thought and concern that goes into obtaining a backup catcher's autograph. Hey, it's a collection not an obsession, right?

Well anyway, on the Orioles side of the field I had much better luck. I saw George Sherrill, (2 games signing in a row!?! attaboy Brim Reaper!!) Rich Hill, and Brad Bergesen signing but narrowly missed out on them. I did have better luck with Dave Trembley,

This one's available for trade if you still need him

Dennis Sarfate,

and Ty Wigginton!!!
This was my first time getting Ty to sign and he was the last member of the '09 Opening Day lineup that I did not yet have an autograph of.

Ty commented that Topps was nice enough to misspell his last name on this card. I hadn't even noticed even though this card has been with my set all season. But that is pretty funny, it would be even funnier if he signed his card "Wiggington".

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Autos from O's-Braves series

This was a pretty successful series for me. I got my first George Sherill autograph on a card, my first Mark Hendrickson on an O's card, and my first in-person Alberto Castillo. I narrowly missed out on Koji too, I swear I will get him one of these days!

Sherrill was nice enough to also sign a card for Kalina, who missed the game due to illness

I went to Friday's game so I got to see Tommy Hanson pitch, even though the Orioles continued to suck, but I also made it to Sunday's shellacking that featured the O's best offensive explosion of 2009. 1-1, especially with the rare Sunday win made for a nice weekend. And I think the O's turned it up a notch on Sunday since they knew my parents came to the game with me.

Nick wearing an inappropriate shirt (click on picture for larger view)

Derek Lowe preparing to get rocked!

The Braves seemed to be a pretty good signing team too. I was able to get Gregor Blanco, Jeff Francouer and Mike Gonzalez to sign. Their fans were also very cool about passing along my cards up to the guys to get them to sign, this isn't something I normally see, so nice form Braves fans! I saw Gonzalez signing on Friday & Sunday but only had the one card of his. An added bonus were that these 3 were on '09 Heritage cards, which are awesome for autos.

I also saw Chipper Jones, Brian McCann, Nate McClouth and Terry Pendleton signing but wasn't able to get to them.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Fun with Ebay

While I much prefer to obtain autographs in person or in trades with fellow collectors, I do keep on top of what Ebay has to offer and will always pounce on a good deal or a reasonably priced card of a former Oriole who has passed away.

I'm thinking about posting all the cards I got from Ebay every month to share (show off) what I have been able to win.

Here are the cards I was able to win this month:

Jim Busby 1957-58, 60-61
Died 1996

Pat Dobson 1971-72
Died 2006

Joe Ginsberg 1956-60

Dan Graham 1980-81

Aubrey Huff 2007-

Dick Kryhoski 1954
Died 2007

Sorry for the lack of back story on any of these guys but I'm not feeling too great and I think my brain is 75% shut down for the day. I will let you figure out which cards I got a good deal on...it shouldn't be too tough.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

TTM Succes- Alberto Castillo, the lefty pitcher

I sent this request to Alberto's attention when he was with the Norfolk Tides earlier this season and had pretty much given up on getting it back since it had been two months since I sent it. But, much to my surprise, I received this in the mail a few days after Alberto had been recalled to the O's for the first time in 2009.

Alberto is the true definition of a journeyman, having originally been drafted by the Giants in 1994. He was out of affiliated baseball in 2003 and pitched in the independent leagues for 5 years before the O's signed before spring training in 2008. Alberto finally made his major league debut for the Orioles in 2008 at the age of 32.

It's pretty funny because some of his info in the '08 O's media guide is wrong. It shows his birth year as 1990. But it does point out that for at least 3 years of his career he attempted to play solely as a first baseman. Hey, whatever works Alberto.

I also want to mention that Alberto is currently the member of the O's bullpen who is wearing the backpack for the walk from the dugout to the bullpen before games. The guy who wears the backpack is generally a rookie or the player with the least Major League experience. At various points this season Matt Albers & Bob McCrory have also had the chance to wear the rookie backpack. At least it's black and not pink like some clubs use.

Friday, June 12, 2009

6/11 O's Alumni autos & Mariners/O's autos

Yesterday turned out to be a really good autograph day for me. I had to fight through some periods of heavy rain (which ruined a few autographs & sharpies) but I eventually triumphed on the autographs that were important to me for their Orioles ties. I got two brand new additions to my Orioles collection (John Miller & Guillermo Quiroz), and got another for the first time in person (Milt Pappas).

The Orioles Alumni signing yesterday were Milt Pappas, Ron Hansen & John Miller (l to r).

As I feel like this picture shows, Ron Hansen again proved to be a very nice guy. This was his second time appearing for the Alumni series this season, but the first time for Pappas & Miller.
I only had two cards for Hansen and since he is part of the only Crown set I don't have at this point, number 2 of 4, I only got one of his signed index cards. I had 2 cards for Miller and one Crown card of Pappas however.

John Miller 1962-67

Milt Pappas 1957-65
who also threw out the first pitch

I was able to get a few Mariners autographs but the highlight was Guillermo Qurioz, the O's backup catcher from last year. Since the tarp was on the field the Mariners were taking BP in the O's indoor cages so most of the team was walking back into their dugout when I got down to the field. I noticed a few pitchers with bats too which I thought was strange until I remembered that interleague play starts today. I saw Guillermo coming my way and got past the three Mariners fans near the railing (who weren't calling anyone over, I think they were all waiting for Griffey and/or Ichiro) and got his attention. I think that he did a double-take to make sure someone was calling him over, you know I was!, and he came right over to sign my card. Quiroz success and I was able to cross another one of my list!

Guillermo Quiroz 2008

The other Mariners who signed for me were:

Unfortunately it was pouring when Aardsma & Batista signed for me so my sharpies either didn't work (Batista) or worked & got smeared (Aardsma) C'est la vie!

At least I know have the autograph of the first player listed alphabetically in baseball history.

Jarrod Washburn signed after the rain.

On the O's side, only the 2009 "Best Signer of the Year" leading candidate, Luke Scott, took the time to sign for the hometown fans. I think Andino might have signed one or two, but Luke again proved why autograph fans everywhere love him. This is the third time he has signed for me this year.

And finally, with Koji Uehara facing Ichiro for the first time on US soil, there was a large contingent of both Japanese media and fans at the game. To show you the extent of this coverage here is a picture of two Japanese cameras and two Asian fans following his every move as he searched for a drink in the dugout beverage cooler. Wouldn't want to miss this earth-shattering moment right?
It's cool to see the extreme following though.