Monday, October 18, 2010

Orioles Alumni Autographs

Tomorrow, I'm going to start my 2010 Orioles Autograph Year in Review, but today, I need to write about this, finally. I really dropped the ball on the O's Alumni posts towards the end of the year, partially becuase I missed a few signings, and one or two others only had players who were already in my collection. If you don't know what this is all about, for the past two seasons the Orioles have brought former players in for signings prior to every Monday and Thursday home game during the season. I think they're awesome and have really helped my collection out!

On Thursday August, 5, prior to the O's-White Sox game, the Orioles did an amazing job by bringing in TWO alumni who I didn't have in-person autographs from.; "Diamond" Jim Gentile and "Disco" Dan Ford both were lined up to sign that day, along with local guy, multiple time signer, Bill Swaggerty. 


Jim Gentile was big-time slugger in the early to mid 1960s', hitting 160 homers from '60-65 and was a three-time All-Star during that stretch.  He was an Oriole from 1960-63 after being traded to Baltimore from the Dodgers and would likely have had even better big league numbers if he hadn't been blocked by Gil Hodges during his 9 seasons in the Dodgers' system.  Roy Campanella gave him the nickname "Diamond" in 1956 when he described Jim as a "diamond in the rough".

Jim was in Baltimore since he was lined up to sign at the National; I lucked out and got him for free at the O's game instead.  His signature is amazing and you can easily read every letter of his name.

"Disco" Dan was a member of the Orioles 1983 World Series Champs and spent the last four years of his 11 season MLB career with the O's from '82-86.  He was one of the nicest guys that I have ever seen at an O's Alumni signing and shook hands and talked to nearly everyone who passed through the line.  I always like when players act like that; Dan seemed genuinely happy to appear at the signing.  His signature is pretty legible, maybe outside of the r in his last name. 

A few highlights of Dan's career include when he hit for the cycle on August 10, 1979 while playing for the Angels, receiving MVP votes in '79, and homering for the O's in game 3 of the '83 series. 

That's Dan in the foreground, with Bill Swaggerty just past him, and Jim Gentile hidden in the back

Bill pitched for the O's from 1983-86 and frequently appears at alumni signings and other local Orioles events.  His signature is pretty solid too, especially considering he has such a long last name.  


kmsals said...

Very Cool. I hope the O's keep up the autograph program next year. It's a great opportunity for fans to meet some of the great alumni players and I'm sure the alumni guys earn a little coin, too.

Johngy said...

I absolutely love those b/w Orioles cards.

Ryan aka Orioles Magic said...

Sals-I definitely (and I guess obviously) agree with you. I especially like it when they bring in new players!

Johngy- The were produced in 1991 for the final season of Memorial Stadium and the set included all 501 players who had appeared for the O's until that time. They were sponsored by Crown gas stations and Coca-Cola. You should still be able to find the complete set of 500 on ebay for around $20 if you are interested.