I'll start with what I got from Kalina...
Frank Bertaina's autograph had remained just out of my reach a few times over the past few years but Kalina was finally able to track down his autograph for me. Frank unfortunately died earlier this year on March 3 from complications of a heart attack at 65 years old. I had sent him a TTM request last fall but did not get it back before his death.
Frank pitched for the Orioles in five of his seven big leagues seasons from 1964-70 and was a member of the O's 1966 World Series Champs, but didn't pitch in a game during the series. He also spent a few seasons with the Washington Senators and pitched his final season in the Majors with the Cardinals. RIP Frank.
Pat's older brother, Leroy, was a running back for the Cleveland Browns and is a member of the Football Hall of fame. After Pat retired from baseball, he became an ordained minister in the Baltimore area. And like Bertaina, he also died from a heart attack, but Pat was only 61. RIP Pat.
Jerry Adair is another player who I have been trying to add to my collection for a long time. I've found some of his autographs available but they have always been too expensive for me to afford since he died over 23 years ago in 1987. Having a gift card certainly helped and I was finally able to add Jerry to my collection.
He was a utility infielder who played in the Majors from 1958-70 with the O's, White Sox, Red Sox and Royals. Jerry began his big league career in Baltimore and spent his first 9 seasons with the Birds, and was known mostly for his glovework playing mainly second base and shortstop, but he was good enough that he received MVP votes for two seasons during his career. He coached with the A's and Angels after his playing career was over and his life was ended way too early when he died of liver cancer at only 50 years old. It's always sad to hear when a life is cut so short. RIP Jerry.
And now for what my dad got for me...
Will the Thrill was with the Orioles for the last two seasons of his career in 1999 & 2000; the O's did trade him to the Cardinals mid-way through the 2000 campaign so he wrapped up his playing days in St. Louis. I've had his autograph on a Rangers card in my collection for some time, but hadn't been able to add his autograph on an O's card until my dad came through for me.
I don't feel like there's a lot I can say about Will that most of you don't already know. He was a super intense guy on the field, a six-time All-Star, a two-time Silver Slugger, won a Gold Glove, received MVP votes five times, and came in fifth in ROY balloting. Between 1988-91, during his time with the Giants, he lead the league at least once in games played, plate appearances, runs, RBI, walks, slugging percentage, total bases and intentional walks. He was THE MAN during those four seasons and was one of the most feared hitters in baseball during that time.
Will is in the College Baseball Hall of Fame and Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and is currently working in the Giants front office. While researching this post I found that someone runs a pretty comprehensive website showcasing all of Will's baseball cards and other collectibles. Will is also a direct descendant of the explorer, William Clark, of Lewis & Clark fame.
My dad also got me an autograph of former Orioles Minor Leaguer, Juan Guzman, that I somehow neglected to scan.
Thank you so much to Kalina and my parents for knowing me so well and getting me such awesome autographs (among other things) for my birthday!