Sunday, February 28, 2010

Spring Training Contest Update

Things are coming together pretty well for the Spring Training Contest. If you haven't already entered, please do. If you enter and are a follower of the blog or link to my contest on your blog, you can win any of these HOF autographs.

As a reminder, the winner of the contest will win their choice of many inserts, short prints, autographs or base cards. Trust me, the winner will be very pleased with their winnings.

So far, 8 teams have been claimed. The Braves, Red Sox, Reds, Tigers, Astros, Twins, Mets, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays, Nationals, Diamondbacks, Cubs, White Sox, Indians, Rockies, Royals, Angels, Dodgers, Brewers, A's and Padres still need to be claimed.

Get your entries in by Tuesday at 1pm! Good luck everyone.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Spring Training Contest Information!

I finally got motivated to hold my own contest after watching many other blogs hold excellent contests over the past year. I don't know if this contest is an original idea but I haven't heard of anyone else doing it before and I think it's something that could be fun to do.

Since Spring is the time of year that any team can have the best record, the idea is for everyone to select the team that they think will have the best winning % in Spring Training; it will include all Grapefruit and Cactus League teams, and the results from split-squad games but not games played against college teams. As a tiebreaker, I would like everyone to select their team's record (team's play between 30-35 games as listed below). Multiple people can pick the same teams and who ever comes closest to selecting the actual record will win the prize.

As far as the prizes go for this, I was going to list a bunch of cards that the winner could choose from but I have decided to just say that I'll work with the winner to make sure that they are happy with their winnings. It will be something good from my selection of autographs, inserts, short prints, and base cards. Your prize will be something that you should really enjoy.

I will update this post as people join in on the contest but here is the list of teams and the number of games that they will play.


Atlanta Braves (33) Captain Canuck 24-9
Baltimore Orioles (32) Aaron 20-12, Jeremy 23-9
Boston Red
Sox (33) AdamE 21-12
Cincinnati Reds (32) heavy hitter 19-13, Carl Crawford Cards 22-10
Detroit Tigers (35) Grand Cards 19-16
Florida Marlins (31) Paul W 23-8
Astros (33) Steve E. 13-20
Minnesota Twins (31) SpastikMooss 23-8
New York
Mets (34) Slangon 22-12
New York Yankees (33) Bo 22-11, Drew 25-8
Phillies (31) KmSals 26-5

Pittsburgh Pirates (32) Paul 24-7-1
St. Louis Cardinals (30) Kevin 22-8, madding 14-16
Tampa Bay Rays (32) RadicalEddie 19-13, BA Benny 22-10
Toronto Blue Jays (30) mmmrhubarb 21-8-1, The Gooch 23-7
Washington Nationals (33) Collective Troll 25-7, Mark's Ephemera 16-17


Arizona Diamondbacks (33) Sean Benton 20-13, TheBrooklynMet 21-12
Chicago Cubs (35) The Diamond King 23-12
Chicago White
Sox (34) White Sox Cards 24-10
Cleveland Indians (32) night owl 20-12
Colorado Rockies (33) phaedrusX 21-12
Kansas City Royals (31) zman40 21-10
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (33) Wickedliquids 26-8
Los Angeles Dodgers (31) Roy 25-6
Milwaukee Brewers (33) Thorzul 20-13
Oakland Athletics (33) dan 23-10
San Diego Padres (32) Rod 20-12
San Francisco Giants (34) Joe K 22-12
Seattle Mariners (33) Play at the Plate 20-13, packaddict 19-14
Texas Rangers (31)
Moe tbd, Spiff 19-12

For a bonus Contest attached to the Spring Training contest, you will get an entry into my baseball HOF autograph giveaway if you link this post in your blog, or are a follower of my blog. So you can earn two entries into that contest very easily. All names will be plugged into and assigned a number and a winner will be picked that way. You will get your choice of autographs from Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Andre Dawson or Robin Roberts.

So c'mon everybody, let's get this contest started!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster-Rhyne Hughes

As you can see, this card is not autographed, which is the reason why I have waited to profile Rhyne until last in my posts about the Minor League members of the O's 40 man roster. I do not own an autograph of Mr. Hughes. He was at the Orioles FanFest but wasn't a priority for me since he hasn't (yet) played for the Birds and wasn't signing with anyone else who I was specifically targeting.

Rhyne came to the Orioles as the PTBNL (player-to-be-named-later) in the Gregg Zaun trade with the Rays last August. The Rays originally selected him in the 8th round of the 2004 draft and he played with five of their Minor League affiliates up through AAA Durham in his 4.5 years with the organization. After the trade to the O's, he played with the Norfolk Tides for the remainder of the season and appeared in 20 games. The first baseman is known mostly for his bat and has decent power but his defense and plate discipline have been questionable at times.

I'm not really sure how Hughes fits into the Orioles plans, but I figure that he is behind Brandon Snyder in the 1B prospect spot and trails Ty Wigginton and Michael Aubrey for the backup 1B spot. I hope that he has a good spring and expect that he will begin the year at Norfolk.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster- Chorye Spoone

Chorye Spoone (Corey Spoon) was drafted by the Orioles in the 8th round of the 2005 draft. Like Brandon Erbe, he is a local guy, growing up in Pasadena, MD about 18 miles south of Baltimore.

Some scouts regarded him as having the best stuff of any of the Orioles prospects (at least until Brian Matusz came along) and he has flashed a mid-90s fastball and a great curveball. However he has had injury problems, including labrum issues, over the past two seasons and made only 19 starts combined over the 08-09 seasons. With all of the excellent pitching prospects throughout the O's system, Spoone's stock has dropped significantly.

2010 will be a very important year for Spoone as he needs to get back to the success he experienced in '06 & '07 at Delmarva and Frederick. I would expect him to start the year at Bowie, which is where he was pitching in '08 before his season was ended by the labrum injury. If he has any more injury problems or can't find a return to his early success, my guess is that this could be his last year with the O's, at least as a member of their 40-man roster.

I hope that Spoone can regain his "prospect" status. I don't believe that I have ever seen him pitch in a game, since my interest in the local Minor League teams started in 2008. I have seen him on the '08 Baysox and '09 Keys and hope that I finally get to see him flash his stuff on the mound in 2010.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Alfredo Simon Joins the Party

Alfredo Simon 2008-

I have written about Alfredo quite a bit since he was the only current member of the Orioles whose autograph that I didn't have after the addition of Koji Uehara last week. But a reader named Paul came through with this awesome addition to my collection. Now I don't have to stay up nights wondering how the hell I didn't yet have Alfredo in my collection. I'm kidding, but I do like being able to say that I now have every current Orioles players' autograph. Thanks Paul!

So I'm not really sure what's going on with this card; he's obviously wearing a Phillies uniform but the card has the Giants logo on it so it's from around the time he was traded by the Phillies to the Giants in mid-2004. Why do card companies do this? I know you want the team logo to be current, but it bothers me when you have these "2 team" types of cards. It should either be one or the other since I now have no idea how to categorize it. What I do know is that it's definitely not an Orioles card, which Alfredo does have two of, a 09 Topps Heritage and a 09 O-Pee-Chee, so I still hope to get one of those signed when I'm at spring training.

Also, his autograph is already a front-runner for my 2010 Siggy award for the least legible autograph. I guess the big swirl at the beginning is an A, and then I guess there is an S, but I'm not sure. His given name seems to be Alfredo Carlos E Cabrera Simon so he could sign some variation of that but it's impossible to tell.

Alfredo broke camp last year as the Orioles 5th starter, which lasted all of 1+ regular season starts (and a grand total of 6.1 innings) before he went down with a Tommy John injury and missed the rest of the year. Reports out of Sarasota are saying that he looks good so far this spring and he is really bringing the heat. He had also pitched in 4 games for the O's at the end of the '08 season.

Another thing that I found interesting about Alfredo is that this is his second go-round (technically) in the Birds organization. The O's drafted him in the 2006 Rule V draft from the Texas Rangers and traded him that same day to the Phillies for Adam Donachie (who had been taken in the draft from the Royals). The Phillies eventually returned Alfredo to the Rangers and the O's returned Donachie to the Phillies (who returned him to the Royals) since neither was able to crack the clubs' 25-man Opening Day rosters. But now it's 2010 and they are both together in Sarasota at the Orioles Major League Spring Training camp. Pretty cool, right?

Also, Adam was a member of the NW Arkansas Naturals, the Royals AA team, in 2008. The team plays in Springdale, Arkansas where my grandma lives and I got to see them play when I visited her last summer. It's a small baseball world.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster- Troy Patton & CONTEST Approaching!

Troy came to the Orioles in the December 2007 Miguel Tejada trade with the Astros. He made his Major League debut with the 'Stros at the end of the 2007 season, and made 3 appearances, including two starts, earning the loss in both games he started. He is still seeking his first Major League victory, but has a respectable 3.55 ERA in his 12.2 big league innings pitched.

He missed the entire 2008 season while recovering from a torn left labrum and made his O's Minor League debut at the beginning of 2009 with the AA Bowie Baysox. He thoroughly dominated his Eastern League opponents and had a 6-2 record with a minuscule 1.99 ERA in 11 starts. I had to pleasure to see one or two of those starts and Troy definitely deserved his promotion to the AAA Tides. Unfortunately, things didn't go as well for him in the International League. His stats with Norfolk weren't pretty; he had a 1-3 recordwith a 6.45 ERA in 9 starts but from what I hear, at least some of that had to do with fatigue since he hadn't pitched a full season in two years.

Troy seemed like a very nice guy on the occasions that I saw him at Bowie and I spoke with him at length once towards the end of his time with the Baysox. I really like him and hope that he can find success again early in 2010, most likely with the Tides. I don't think he has a very good chance to crack the Orioles out of Spring Training, but I do hope to see him pitch for the Orioles soon.

Oh, and if you saw the mention of a contest in the title of the post and made it all the way down here, I don't want to let you down. I will be starting the first contest on the blog here soon. The details will be pretty simple and all I have to say at this point is that it will have something to do with Spring Training. I hope that you're excited, because I think it will be fun.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster- Craig Tatum

While technically you could argue that Craig shouldn't be considered a Minor Leaguer since he made his Major League debut with the Reds last season, he has never played for the O's so for my purposes, I am considering him a Minor League guy. The Orioles claimed him off of waivers from the Reds on November 20, 2009 and he will be trying to make the O's as their backup catcher for the 2010 season.

Craig grew up in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and was a standout pitcher and batter during his years at Hattiesburg High School which earned him the title of the Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year. He attended Mississippi State and earned second team All-SEC honors as a sophomore which led to the Reds selecting him in the third round of the 2004 amateur draft.

Interestingly enough, Craig earned his first promotion to the Reds on 7/19/09 when my favorite player ever (no, I'm just kidding, I wasn't a fan) Ra-moan Hernandez injured his knee and went on the DL. He appeared in 26 total games for the Reds and hit only .162.

One negative about Craig is that he played high school baseball with Jonathan Papelbon and still trains with him in the off-season.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Finally! A Koji Autograph Enters the Collection!

Koji Uehara 2009-

Thanks to some help from my dad, I was finally able to add a Koji Uehara autograph to my collection. He was one of only two players still with the Orioles organization (the other is Alfredo Simon) that had played for the O's and who I still needed an autograph from. I had just missed out on him when he signed a few times at Camden Yards over the '09 season but I labeled him a "I Don't Think He's a Good Signer" in my 2009 Year in Review post last fall since I only saw him sign 2 or 3 times all season.

I also sent him a TTM request towards the end of the season but think that it probably reached the O's after he had gone home to Japan for the offseason. So I was 0-2 to that point.

I was hoping that he would attend O's FanFest so that I could get his autograph there but the the team didn't have him travel to Baltimore from Japan just for that one event. 0-3.

My next step was to check online and I found that he had quite a few certified autograph releases in last year's Topps & Upper Deck sets. One would think that I should be able to find something for about $10 since there were 5-10 different autographs and most were numbered into the 100's right? Wrong! Most of them sold for no less than $20 with a few that I specifically liked going for upwards of $50. I hate the thought of paying that much for a player who is still on the team that I could theoretically get to sign for me at a game. I think the prices on all of his certified autos have remained so high since collectors in both Japan and the US are interested in buying his cards. 0-4, man I wasn't catching any breaks with Koji.

But then my Dad came through and found a seller who was open to bargaining and he got this awesome card for a good price. Koji is even wearing a sweet Baltimore jersey in the shot on the card. And his signature is pretty awesome. I think that I see some exclamation points in there or something. It's also pretty legible which is surprising for a veteran player like him.

So I can finally scratch Koji off of my needed list! It's nice to have him under the belt.

Now watch out, Alfredo Simon! I'm gunning for you next!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster- Luis Lebron

Luis Lebron is likely to be the O's closer of the future and has been compiling Minor League saves since 2005. It appears that Luis was signed as an international free agent out of the Domincan Republic before the '05 season and he will be attending his first Spring Training with the Major Leaguers this season.

Lebron has pitched at every level of the Orioles Minor League system through AA Bowie. He strangely put up his best career numbers thus far over the second half of the '09 season with the Baysox when he saved 9 games and had a measly 1.98 ERA. It's unusual since he had never dominated that much at any of the lower levels.

I saw him pitch at both Frederick and Bowie last season but was not able to get many cards signed. I don't know if it was a language barrier or something else but Luis never seemed as willing to sign as many of the other Minor Leaguers. I don't want to accuse him of anything but he seemed to have a "big league" attitude at times.

I don't think he really has any chance to break camp with the O's this season and would expect him to pitch for either the Baysox or AAA Tides in 2010.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Finally! Baseball is Back-O's Pitchers & Catchers Report Today

So my life in snow-covered sub-arctic Baltimore improves just a little bit today as the Orioles' first spring training in Sarasota kicks off at noon. That is the pitchers' and catchers' official report time so Wieters, Matusz and the gang are all showing up at Ed Smith stadium about now.

I wish that I could be out there getting autographs from everyone today but am looking forward to my trip to Sarasota in early March. It will be my first time at the stadium so anyone who might have some autograph tips, please send them my way.

Reading the reports and seeing the pictures from all of the websites who send their reporters to Sarasota will more than brighten my day; this is when my winter officially ends and baseball begins!

The O's don't have many battles on the 25 man roster this season but I will keep an eye on the backup middle infield spot as well as a few openings in the bullpen.

Let's Go O's! This is the season we break the 12 year losing streak!

Above Picture from here

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster- Pedro Florimon

Pedro Florimon, or PedFlo as we lovingly call him, came out of almost nowhere to become one of the organizations' top prospects, especially at the SS position. He had a breakout year in 2009 as a member of the Frederick Keys, and possibly has passed Blake Davis on the O's SS prospect depth chart.

He has always had decent speed and could steal bases, forming the main part of his offensive game. But to give you an idea of how unexpected his power was in '09, he hit 9 homers in 115 games for the Keys while he had hit only 5 in 251 previous ABs for Delmarva, Aberdeen & Bluefield. He also upped his average by about 40 points from 2008. Note: (I am not including the disappointing 7 game stretch he spent with Bowie at the end of the season. He was just over-matched at AA.)

I'm not sure how his career will progress but I don't expect to see Pedro playing for the Birds in 2010. He is still only 23 and would have to perform over-the-top in Spring Training to surpass the likes of Robert Andino, Justin Turner, Scott Moore, or Davis. Depending on the development of '09 second-round draft pick Mychal Givens at the low levels of the O's system, PedFlo could be a replacement for Cesar Izturis in 2011. He will need to prove that he can hit and field at the higher levels of the Minors but I hope that his 2009 wasn't a fluke.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster- Brandon Erbe

Brandon Erbe is currently the Orioles #7 prospect according to Baseball America and has been ranked among the organization's Top Ten prospects since being drafted in the 3rd round of the '05 draft. He hasn't necessarily lived up to expectations at this point but is still only 22 years old, so has time to turn things around.

Erbe's career stagnated a bit over his two full seasons at Frederick in '07 & '08. Over those seasons he went 16-20 with a 5.17 ERA. He did lead the Carolina league with 151 strikeouts in 2008, proving that he does have the stuff to make batters swing & miss.

This is probably my favorite card of his since the picture was taken mid-throw
and it gives you an idea of his pitching motion

After missing almost two months of the 2009 season due to shoulder tendinitis, He finished the year on a high note, with a 5-3 record and a 2.34 ERA with 2 complete games in 14 starts for AA Bowie.

Erbe makes a perfect Oriole, since he was born in nearby Owings Mills and has lived in the Baltimore area his entire life. I really hope that he makes it to the Orioles; I know that he will have plenty of family and friends that live nearby to support him if he does!

I've seen Brandon pitch at Frederick and Bowie and have had the chance to talk to him and meet him a few times. He always has seemed like a nice guy who appreciates pitching near his hometown as it makes it easier to see his family and friends. Most reports project that he will make it to the Major Leagues in the bullpen so it will be interesting to see if he starts or comes out of the bullpen in 2010.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Go Kyrgyzstan, Go Kyrgyzstan, Go!

So I ended up with Kyrgyzstan in JD's Wild Cardz Olympic Contest (that's their flag there for those who didn't know, myself included). I was initially excited, since the country name supposedly means either forty girls or forty tribes, and has a population of 5.5 million. I had to win, right?!?
It is located in central Asia, just south of Kazakhstan (Very Niiice, Jagshemahsh, etc.), west of China, north of Tajkistan, and penetrated by Uzbekistan. See more on the map below from this website.
I should be money to win this, right? You are wrong, sir. I am totally screwed. Guess how many Olymipic athletes Kyrgyzstan has competing in these 2010 Vancouver Olympics? C'mon, what do you think? Did you say 0? Well, that's the number of Olympians competing for my adopted country. Also, they have never won a single Olympic medal, ever. Garbage, I say.
It makes it easier to root for my country now...U-S-A! U-S-A!

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster- Josh Bell

Josh came to the Orioles organization this past season in exchange for George Sherrill in a trade with the Dodgers, who originally selected him in the fourth round of the 2005 draft. I am more optimistic about his future and potential than any of the other Minor Leaguers on the 40 man.

He's a legit power-hitting third base prospect who could be in Baltimore by Opening Day 2011 if not sooner. I had the pleasure to see him play for the Baysox a few times at the end of the season and I can say that his power is RIDICULOUS. The ball flies off of his bat and he sent a few balls into the Bowie night that have yet to come down. In the 33 games he played for AA Bowie at the end of the '09 season, he hit 9 homers, amassed 24 RBI, had a slugging % of .570 and an OPS (on-base % + slugging %) of .917. Let's just say that those numbers are pretty solid. Recently, he was ranked by Baseball America as the O's #2 prospect and was named the #5 prospect in the Arizona Fall League following last season's action.

Josh will probably start the 2010 season at AAA Norfolk since there are still some concerns about his switch-hitting (almost all of his power comes when he bats lefty) but he should make it to Baltimore soon!

Here Come the Olympics! And A Contest!

And someone much more motivated than I, JD of the blog JD's Wild Cardz is holding an Olympic contest. It sounds like a lot of fun and everyone has a chance to win.

Go on, click the link and enter. It should be a great time.

C'mon America, let's win some medals!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster- Brandon Snyder

Brandon Snyder was the Orioles 1st round selection of the 2005 draft and has played at every level of the Orioles system so far (outside of the Gulf Coast and Summer Leagues).

He was originally drafted as a catcher...

Was then converted to a third baseman...

And eventually crossed the diamond to cover first base.

Brandon is projected to be the Orioles first baseman of the future since no one major is signed ahead of him for 2011 but there are some power concerns. He's been consistently listed among Baseball America's Top 10 Orioles prospects since he was drafted and still has a high ceiling. He was extremely hot at the plate at the start of 2009 with the AA Bowie Baysox but much less so at the end of the year at AAA Norfolk.

Kalina and I got to see him play a lot in 2008 with the Keys and a few times in his half season with the Baysox in 2009. He was always very nice and accommodating with autograph requests. We got to talk to him at a "Meet the Team" event in Bowie and I got a picture with him too. I really hope that he lives up to expectations and is playing for the Orioles, maybe in 2010.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Minor League Members of the O's 40 Man Roster-Wilfrido Perez

Kalina came up with the great idea to do posts about the members of the Orioles 40 man roster that have yet to see Major League action with the Birds. Since we have seen a majority of those guys play at either Frederick and/or Bowie, I have autographs from most of them and can provide a little information about them.
Since Kalina came up with the idea, I let her pick the first guy to profile and she selected Wilfrido "Willy" Perez, a left-handed reliever from the Dominican Republic. He is listed as being 6 feet tall and only weighing 145 pounds so he has a very wiry build and an interesting delivery as seen on his 2009 Baysox card.

Perez has been a member of the Orioles organization since signing as a minor league free agent before the 2005 season. He has pitched for Bluefield, Aberdeen, Delmarva, Frederick and Bowie over his five seasons in the system so far. He was originally a starter but was converted to a reliever in 2007 while with the Shorebirds and his career has taken off since then. He has had multiple dominating stretches which include pitching 25 consecutive scoreless innings at the end of '07 for the Shorebirds.

Before the '09 season he had a real chance to make the Orioles as the left-handed reliever but battled some injuries that prevented him from coming North with the O's. We have seen him pitch at both Frederick in 2008 and Bowie in 08 & 09. As you can see, he normally signs with his number 44 under his last name, but not always. If he makes the O's, it's unlikely he would wear that number since it's been unofficially retired in memory of Elrod Hendricks.

And here is a signed article from the Bowie Baysox gameday magazine last year that has some more information about him if you're interested.

I really hope that Willy can make the Orioles this season. The left-handed reliever spot isn't exactly locked down so if he has a good spring training he could be making his Birdland debut this April.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

TTM Success- Dave Vineyard

With another winter storm on the way and snow end in sight (ha), my mail came today for the first time since Friday. I doubt that I get any mail tomorrow and possibly Thursday, but at least today's batch brought a few TTM successes.

Dave Vineyard 1964

Dave pitched in 19 games for the O's over the '64 season, including 6 starts and went 2-5 with a 4.17 ERA. I was excited to get the card back though, it really cheered me up after dealing with this nasty winter weather for the last 5+ days. He signed this card for me in just under 2 months. Thanks for partially melting my frosty demeanor Dave!

Monday, February 8, 2010

AHH-I'm Still Snowed In!

If you haven't heard by now, the Mid-Atlantic region got nailed by one of the largest snowfalls to ever hit the area. This has caused me to spend most of my time shoveling out sidewalks, parking spots, the street, and some of the alley around my house. That's right folks, Baltimore doesn't really do a good job plowing it's streets. My entire neighborhood has yet to see a plow or salt truck since the storm began on Friday afternoon. And that was 3 days ago! If you're wondering what this has to do with Bob, keep reading to find the answer...

Since neither J.T. Snow, Icehouse Wilson, nor Jack Blizzard ever played for the Orioles, I present to you the somewhat aptly named Bob Hale. This card was sent out in my first batch of TTM requests and Bob was nice enough to sign it and send it back to me.

Bob played for the Orioles from the start of his career in 1955 through 1959, and mainly saw action as a pinch-hitter and backup first baseman. He also played for the Indians and Yankees over his 7 seasons in the Majors.

Friday, February 5, 2010

A Morning Story of Fail

So I recently did something rather stupid. I don't know if this has ever happened to anyone else.
I almost don't want to talk about it but I feel like I should share.

I know that being a blogger/collector involves trading with others and that, sometimes, I send out multiple envelopes/packages at a time. When I send out envelopes, whether trades or TTM requests, I prefer to use the kind that are already sticky as opposed to the ones that you need to lick. Like I said, since I occasionally send out five or ten at a time, I prefer to avoid all of that licking glue. Maybe I liked to do that in grade school, but no longer...

I sent out four or five trade envelopes on Monday and on Wednesday received an email follow up from a fellow Orioles collector that I have successfully traded with in the past. He received my envelope; great success, right? Wrong. It was empty.
The post office had placed it in one of those clear mailers which signifies that something got screwed up between point A and point B; if you've never had the pleasure to receive one, be happy. The adhesive backing was still on the envelope I sent meaning that dumb-dumb here forgot to seal it. Nice one me! Way to go, now that's how to send out a trade package.

Luckily for me, this story seems to have a happy ending. I was able to somehow track down the cards at the main Baltimore post-office. I got the number to call from the USPS website and was transferred a few times before reaching the claims department. The very helpful lady asked what I was looking for and I listed the missing cards. She seemed a little confused that I was trying to track down signed baseball cards but I doubt it's the strangest request she has ever received. After stepping away from the phone for a minute, the woman told me that she had the cards and would mail them back to me. Truly amazing! For all of the complaints that we have about the postal service and it's shortcomings, this is a story of it's triumph. Now the condition of the cards remain to be seen, as does my ability to seal future envelopes but for now, things are coming up Ryan!

Disclaimer: envelope picture is not mine

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Unpossible Autograph-Cal Abrams

Cal "Abie" Abrams 1954-55 (died 1997)

Even though Cal was on the '54 Orioles, he wasn't an original member of that inaugural squad as he was traded to the O's from the Pirates in late May. That would prove to be the best season of his career and he finished in the top 10 of the American League in triples, on-base percentage and adjusted OPS+. For his efforts, he received an MVP vote, the only one he received over his 8 season MLB career.

Cal played in just under two full seasons for the Orioles towards the end of his time in the Bigs. He also played for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Cincinnati Redlegs, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago White Sox. He served in WWII before he played in the Majors, and that probably shortened his time there.

He wore the number 18 over most his career to celebrate his Jewish heritage; 18 is a spiritual number of the Hebrew word for life. He was inducted into the B'nai B'rith Jewish American Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, one year before his death.

Cal died from a heart attack on February 25, 1997 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and was buried in his Brooklyn Dodgers uniform. That really shows his lifelong dedication to baseball.

I bought this card in a lot on eBay and was happy to be able to add Cal to my collection.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

It's Millar Time

Kevin Millar 2006-08

I saw that 1-5 signed a Minor League contract with the Cubs on Monday and I had an autograph of his in my scans folder so I figured the time was perfect to do a quick post about him.

I got the above card signed at an Orioles-Blue Jays game last season. The game was sometime towards the end of the year and Millar was talking to a friend of his in the stands so he signed for a bunch of us while he was near the wall. He seems like a very funny guy and, from all accounts, is a great clubhouse presence and a constant joker. I saw a show on the MLB Network recently that listed him as one of the Top 9 clubhouse jokesters of all-time. I really enjoyed his time with the Orioles and I still hope that he will come back to be a coach on the team someday, even though I have a feeling that he will end up working for the Red Sox after his playing days are over.

I also need to mention that he holds the Orioles all-time record for reaching base in 57 consecutive games. Pretty solid.

Something I didn't know about Kevin is the he started his career in the Bigs as a replacement player in 1995 while the horrific '94 strike was still going on. That was a dark time in baseball, wasn't it? I didn't know if baseball would ever come back but it seems to be doing alright these days. Since Millar was a replacement player, he cannot be a member of the MLB Players Association so isn't featured in any baseball video games. He is replaced on their rosters by a fictional player with similar stats, normally with the initials KM.

Kalina got this card signed for me earlier last season, which was awesome of her by the way. It seems like he was more rushed when he signed this card, as he didn't add his uniform number like he did on the top card. Neither of his signatures look much at all like the pre-printed one on the 08 Heritage.

Also, it seems like Topps Heritage liked to make his cards green, doesn't it? I guess that was just a coincidence.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Caribbean World Series Starts Today

Right now, I am very excited to be watching some live baseball on the MLB Network; the Caribbean World Series starts today and the first game starts at 2:30PM Eastern. Puerto Rico plays the Dominican Republic in the opener and Orioles Minor Leaguer Miguel Abreu is representing Ponce, PR and playing left field. Former Oriole Raul Casanova is the Puerto Rican DH.

Across the diamond playing for the Dominicans is another former Oriole at DH, Willis Otanez: Freddy Guzman, a 2009 member of the Norfolk Tides, is playing centerfield. Check out my entry on Otanez; he was a member of the 2009 Newark Bears and there's an interesting story about how that card was signed.

If you're not familiar with the Caribbean World Series, it is a yearly round-robin tournament that showcases the Winter League Champions from PR, the DR, Venezuela and Mexico. The Series continues for 6 days and it looks like 2 games are played most days, so each team gets to play once a day. It is one of the reasons why I like MLB Network so much. This isn't something that ESPN ever had time to show, they had to air those extra three hours of SportsCenter every day, and for a baseball junkie like myself, it represents the first live baseball action I've seen since the World Series. Even if I only recognize one or two players, I still enjoy watching it because it's baseball!

Everybody enjoy the Caribbean World Series for now and soon enough, pitchers and catchers will be reporting!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Trade List Updates

As I sit here one autograph away from being 75% done with my task, I want everyone to know that I (finally) updated the Orioles autograph trade list on the sidebar of this site. For anyone who collects autographs, there might be something that interests you. Specifically you Orioles collectors, of course.

In addition to just updating the list with what I have, I also added detailed information about every card that I have for trade. So set collectors might be able to find something to help them out too.

I always enjoy trading so please check it out. And if you want to see all of the autographs that I have for trade, check me out on SCN, my user name is salsmanado.

Play at the Plate Contest

Everyone head over to the Play at the Plate blog for a chance to win some 2010 Topps cards. From someone who has yet to see or open any of these cards, I am pretty excited about the chance to win.

Good luck everyone!