Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bobblehead of the Week- Whiplash The Cowboy Monkey

And now for something completely different.

Clicking the link will make more sense of this than anything I can write. 

I'll just say that I love the complete ridiculous of owning a cowboy monkey bobblehead. I'm not sure where it came from as I got it as a gift from someone who didn't know either. And it's almost better that way.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Marlin Stuart

Marlin has one of the most interesting first names that I've come across in my Orioles autograph quest. I've certainly never known anyone named Marlin, and while I have heard the name before, it's baseball connotation now-a-days obviously brings to mind the baseball team in South Florida.

Even more interesting, to me at least, is that his nickname was "Mott". I would like to hear how or why he was named Marlin and/or nicknamed Mott. I wasn't able to track it down in my online research, all I discovered is that Marlin is now more of a feminine name but seems to be rather uncommon for women as well.

Marlin might have had a longer big league career but proudly served his country for three years in World War II. He still pitched in the Majors from 1949-54 chiefly with the Tigers from '49-'52 and the Browns/Orioles from '52-54. He wrapped up his MLB career with the Yankees in 1954 and had a 23-17 record and 4.65 ERA. Interestingly, in a 1954 Sporting News poll asking hitters who they thought were the toughest pitchers to hit, Ted Williams supposedly named Stuart.

After his playing career ended, Marlin returned to his hometown of Paragould, Arkansas and spent time farming and later working as a heavy equipment operator. In 1980, he sadly suffered an aneurysm followed by a stroke and lost the ability to walk or speak. He passed away in 1994. RIP Marlin.

Since this Orioles Crown set was issued in 1991 and Marlin passed away only a few years later, I was very happy to finally track down a signed copy of this card as it's Marlin's only O's card.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The 2011 Orioles Walk-Up Song Project

So I don't know about any of you, but I've always been interested to hear what walk-up songs different players have when they come up to the plate or enter the game. I feel like it can tell you something about the player or at least gives the fans some insight into what music the player likes. I've also heard that some players just have a member of the team staff select their walk-up/entrance songs, but I like to think those guys are a minority.

My goal is to figure out all of the walk-up songs for the Orioles' hitters and entrance songs for all O's pitchers.
I've done this to some extent in the past just for fun, but this year I'm being assisted by my iPhone's Shazam app, which "listens" to any music that is being played and tells you what the song is and who performed it.

Here's what I have so far, with YouTube links to the songs if available. As you might guess, some links might contain explicit lyrics, you can probably figure out whether you want to click them or not.

Nick Markakis- Deliverance Bubba Sparxx
Vladimir Guerrero- Calabria  Enur ft. Natasja
Adam Jones- I'm Illy T.I.
Robert Andino- Black N Orange Dboi Da Dome, E' From Da Wic, Jay Luv

Jeremy Guthrie- Never Say Never Justin Bieber ft. Jaden Smith (this one hurts, Gut)
Jake Arrieta- Bad Company Five Finger Death Punch
Jason Berken- Right Now Van Halen

I'm not positive about these, but the songs have been played for the players at least once

Brian Roberts- Kick It Manafest or Don't Waste Your Life Lecrae ft. Cam & Dwayne Tryumf
JJ Hardy- Driven to Tears The Police
Felix Pie- Hasta Abajo Don Omar

Zach Britton- Seven Nation Army The Oak Ridge Boys

I plan to keep updating this throughout the season and will add more songs as I figure out who uses what songs.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Orioles Debut #897- Clay Rapada

Clay made his Orioles debut while I was out of town on my honeymoon, becoming the 897th player to appear in a game for the Orioles.

Being this close to player number 900, I'm starting to wonder who that might be. It's pretty hard to predict since you never know if a trade will happen or who will get hurt; there's such a wide variety of possible situations that might arise that singling out a specific player is close to impossible. But I'm going to give it a shot anyway, with the assumption that Mr. 900 is already in the Orioles system. And I have no idea when/if he will ever be healthy enough to appear in a game for the Birds, but I'll go out on a limb and guess that Justin Duchscherer will be 900. Why not, right?

But back to Clay, after all, this post is supposed to be about him. At this point, he has appeared in two games for the O's. His debut on Monday April 18th against the Twins went very well as he struck out three of the four batters he faced and didn't allow a baserunner. Unfortunately, his second outing was nothing short of awful. In Saturday's game against the Yankees, he only was able to get one out while allowing three earned runs. Let's hope we see more of the good Clay.

Clay made his MLB debut with the Cubs in 2007, and has since pitched parts of three seasons with the Tigers and later appeared in a few games for the 2010 Rangers.

This Topps '52 card is his only card in a major release thus far, the rest of his cards are from sets of the Minor League teams that he's played with. I got it in a SCN trade and am still working on my first in-person autograph of him.

Good luck Clay!

Monday, April 25, 2011

And I'm Back

And the fishin' was great, I caught me a wife! For those of you that might care, Kalina and I got married last Sunday, April 17.

Still not ready for any other posting, but no worries, you will get your daily dose of Orioles autographs starting again tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Gone Fishin'

I'm stealing an idea from another baseball card blogger, and will be Gone Fishing for a bit. Click on the link and check out the Core Contrarian in the meantime, he won't steer ya wrong.

If you need something else to look at while I'm away, Zach's Autographed Cards and Paul's Random Baseball Stuff are safe bets.

Don't worry, I'll be back soon.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Sunday Graphin' Pictures

I always like to snap pictures of the O's as they are signing but can only handle my phone, cards and sharpie if they sign for long enough.

On Sunday, Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton were the two players who signed for quite a few fans.

Here's a few shots of Jake...


One of Jake & "rookie phenom" Zach Britton

And one of just Zach.

Vladdy was receiving his 2010 A.L. Comeback Player of the Year and Silver Slugger awards prior to the game and I was lucky enough to see the SS up close.

And here's Vlad, Jonesy & the Bird during the ceremony.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Orioles Debut #894- Zach Britton

In yesterday's post listing all of the 2011 Orioles debuts so far, I somehow missed the most obvious debut of the season, that of top pitching prospect Zach Britton, who is Oriole #894 (which moves Josh Rupe to 895 and Chris Jakubauskas to 896). Long-time reader and friend of the blog, Russell, pointed out my error, and I'm glad he did.

One might think that I would remember to include the best pitcher in all of baseball so far in this young season in my count, yet I neglected him. Zach has started two games so far this year and is 2-0 with a 0.66 ERA. He's a lefty with a 95 MPH fastball that darts away from righties and is pretty much the only pitcher who has shut down the Texas Rangers so far this year.

I've had the pleasure to watch Zach pitch with the single A Frederick Keys and AA Bowie Baysox over parts of the past few seasons and he realies on his sinking fastball to get most of his outs. I hope that he continues to fool opposing batters for years to come.
Zach actually just signed this card for me prior to Sunday's game, so it's good to see that he's still taking time for fans, even after his early success. While prepping this scan for the post, I noticed that his 2010 Norfolk Tides team set card incorrectly spells his first name as Zack. C'mon Tides staffers, know your top prospects!

Here's a slightly out of focus picture I took of Zach on Saturday as he's about to throw his first pitch at Camden Yards.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Oriole Debuts #888-893, 895-96 UPDATED

Over the first eight games of the Orioles' 2011 season, eight new O's have made their debuts in the black and orange. Luckily, I have autographs of all eight, so I don't need to add anyone to my need list.

Here's a quick rundown of my autographs of the eight newest Orioles.

#888- Derrek Lee

I've had this card for about 18 years. D-Lee was included in the the 2011 Topps Heritage set in an O's uniform so I need an upgrade.

#889- Mark Reynolds (this really could have been Reynolds or JJ Hardy since they both debuted in the field in the bottom of the first inning of the O's first game in 2011, but I chose Reynolds as 889 because he plays third base, position #5, and Hardy is a SS, position #6. Essentially, I don't think anyone is going to fight with me on this, because I'm likely the only one counting.)

Reynolds' card was in the O's 2011 Topps team set; a very similar card is in the 2011 Topps Opening Day set, and he is also pictured as an Oriole in the 2011 Topps Heritage set. I'm pretty jacked to already have his Orioles card signed though. 

#890- JJ Hardy

I got this card signed at Fanfest, but JJ was also included in the 2011 Topps Heritage set as an O, so I'm in need of another upgrade.  

#891- Vladdy Guerrero

This is another card that's been in my collection since the mid '90s since Vlad was a member of the AA Harrisburg Senators. Although I'm sure he will, Vlad doesn't yet have any cards that picture him as an Oriole, so this stays in the collection for the time being.

#892- Jeremy Accardo

Since he's a middle reliever, this might be the closest thing to an Orioles card that Accardo will ever get, so I'm happy to have it in my collection. I also like to have a card, so I'm keeping this too. 

#893- Kevin Gregg

Kevin has an O's card in the '11 Topps team set, so I'm looking for an upgrade from this postcard. 

#895- Josh Rupe

Rupe and Jakubauskas signed for me at the same time and Jak thought this picture of Rupe was pretty hilarious. Honestly, if this picture was all I had to go by, I don't think I'd recognize him.

#896- Chris Jakubauskas

Jak made his rather unsuccessful O's debut last night. He was one of the autographs that I got at Spring Training so he passes go, collects $200, and jumps right to my have list.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Bob Mabe

The one thing that intrigues me most about Bob is how you pronounce his last name. Is it Mabe like babe or Ma-be like maybe. I don't know and wasn't able to find out anywhere. 

Bob pitched in 51 MLB games for the Cardinals, Redlegs and O's between 1958-60, and just two of those appearances were for the Orioles, both in 1960. In 0.2 innings for the Birds, he allowed six runs (two earned) which worked out to a 27.00 ERA. His career ERA was a much lower 4.82, but still wasn't outstanding for that era. 

This is Bob's only major issue "Orioles" card, although I'm pretty sure he is rocking the Reds sleeveless jersey on the card. Hey, at least it says Orioles.

He hung up his spikes after 1960 and went on work as a district manager for K-Mart (fellow K-Mart alum, what's up!) fittingly in the sports goods department.

Bob passed away in 2005. He was 75. RIP Bob.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Last of My Spring Training Successes

Just over two weeks after I got back from my spring training trip, here are the last of the autographs I got in Sarasota. I got these all signed at the Twin Lakes Minor League complex, but two of these guys have appeared in a few games for the O's.

Like Pedro Viola and Troy Patton. 

Viola was a pretty tough autograph to get at Camden Yards, but is much easier when he is forced to walk right past you. I just read that he will be back with AA Bowie this season, and since this is my last card of his, I guess I need to buy a few more "blanks" to get signed.  

That is probably the sloppiest signature I've ever seen from Patton. His T.P. initials seem to have swallowed one another.

I was excited to finally come across the O's 2009 1st Round Draft Pick, Matt Hobgood. At this point, I don't know what to expect from him, but I was happy to add his signature to my collection. His Matt is pretty good but his last name is pretty hard to make out.

I was also pleased to add 2010 3rd Rounder, Dan Klein, to my collection. He was included in the Ironbirds' update set that I received for Christmas (thanks Kalina), so I obviously didn't have this card when I saw the Ironbirds play in September. Klein has a cool autograph, and I especially like the D. 

Randy Henry was probably the nicest player I've ever come across during my 'graphing exploits. He was talkative and personable and spoke with me like I was his friend, not just some random person getting autographs. He told me how his Spring Training was going and that he had only pitched one inning to that point, but was happy with how it went. I think I have a new favorite O's Minor Leaguer. Good luck this year Randy!

Atkins & Houser were non-roster Spring Training invites, so I don't know if they will even pitch in the O's system this year, but I was happy to add them to my collection regardless.

Atkins didn't seem very excited to sign, but begrudgingly stopped for a minute. The reverse j loops on his M & A are certainly unique.

Houser's signature is pretty interesting and stylized. You can tell that he takes pride in it.

You know I like my orange uni autographs, especially from the O's 2010 Minor League Player of the Year (Mahoney) and a new player for my collection (Ohlman). 

I'm not entirely sure how Cowan was chosen to be included in the Bowman Chrome set since he's not a top level prospect, but I'm always happy to get an "Orioles" card signed. 

Johnson & Erbe are veterans on my blog, and I don't have much new to say about them. I'm still hoping that they can both turn a corner and make a push to the O's roster one of these years.

Raul has always been a willing signer and is very polite. His signature is pretty smooth too and the O at the end is something you don't see too often.


I don't have too much to say about Anderson or Moore, besides that Anderson is a huge guy, probably 6'7'' 275. You wouldn't like him when he's angry.

Now that I'm done with my Spring Training autographs, I will start taking a look at the O's 2011 roster. Thanks for sticking with me through this one.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Continuing with My Spring Training Successes

Wow, what a start to the 2011 Orioles season. The home opener was a bunch of fun and the O's are only the 4th team ever to start a season 4-0 while allowing no more than 1 run per game. Crazy! 

Before I get too wrapped up in the regular season, I want to finish showing off my autographs from Spring Training. 

I was happy to get Nolan's Tides orange uniform card signed. Since poor Nolan got demoted to Norfolk yet again, it looks like a road trip is in the books for this summer.


Jim Presley is the O's new hitting coach. Here he is pretending to hit off a tee for a craptastic Fleer card. I chose this card to get signed because it's so awesomely bad. 

The next two guys have a chance to appear in a game for the O's at some point this season.


While Ballard has a pretty cool and stylized autograph (I especially like the k)...

Jakubauskas relegates his last name to a flying bird shaped squiggle. But I guess I might too with a last name that long.

I've been lucky to get Tillman's autograph a few times over the years, but this card looks really nice with the signature and I might have to stash it in the collection.

I got Adams & Snyder's autographs at Friday's game (actually all of these are from that game) which is good because they were both sent to Minor League camp on Saturday morning. 
This is Snyder's first card showing him playing in a game for the O's and it's probably ticketed for the collection too. 

I got this card signed for a fellow SCN member. From what I remember, Guts signs all his non-Orioles cards this way. Pretty cool. I would actually like if he signed his O's cards like this too. 

Fox tore up Grapefruit League pitching by smashing ten round-trippers. It's good to see that he still had some time for the fans too. 

Josh was nice enough to sign next to the dugout after the game. 

Friday was definitely the better of my two autograph days in Sarasota. I'll wrap everything up tomorrow. 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Congrats Zach

Zach Britton got the W in his Major League debut today, allowing one earned run and striking out six over six innings against the defending AL East champion Rays. It was an encouraging debut from the O's best top level prospect. Really the only bad part of his debut was that he was called up due to Brian Matusz's injury. But hey, that's not his fault and he stepped in to keep the O's dream of the perfect season alive.

Zach signed the card at the top for me at O's Spring Training this year. He's always been very fan friendly, and even posed for this picture with me during his time with the Carolina League Frederick Keys in 2009. Check out the post I wrote that originally showed this picture back on 1/1/10. It's pretty accurate 16 months later.

This autograph will take a spot in my collection since it pictures him wearing an O's uni (an orange one to boot), but he's signed a number of cards for me during his time in the Orioles' farm system. Let's just hope that Zach's success continues for years to come. And that the O's continue playing like a playoff caliber team.