Sunday, July 31, 2011

A Case of the Sundays- Raffy

At one point, I would've written a glowing post about Raffy and all of the things he accomplished in an Orioles uniform. But not after the way he disgraced the team, the sport, and himself. Boo to you Raffy. Like the O's needed any other reason for the fans to dislike the team and the haters to dismiss us. This is the first time you've been mentioned in the two plus years I've written this blog and this is all the write up you get from me.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Bob "Tex" Nelson

Unfortunately, another former Oriole passed away one week ago today. Bob "Tex" Nelson played for the Orioles from 1955-57.

He was known as the "Babe Ruth of Texas" in his younger days but never was able to find much success at the Major League level, at least partially because of the "bonus baby" rules that were in effect in those days. As far as I understand it, players who signed for large amount of money (who would've been first round type picks today) were forced to spend two full seasons on that team's Major League roster immediately after they signed. The rule was a precursor to the amateur draft and was intended to prevent any one team from stockpiling too much young talent. Overall, it seems that the rule stunted many players' careers, as it did for Bob, because it forced kids just out of high school to immediately compete against established big leaguers. Generally, they were overmatched from the beginning and many never recovered.

Brooks Robinson gave Tex his nickname and it not-surprisingly came about because Bob was from Texas. It's nice to see that baseball players' nicknaming skills have "progressed" all the way to taking someone's first initial and first three letters of their last name and running with it. But you can't argue that B-Nel is better than Tex.

After hanging up his spikes in 1961, Bob worked for 30 years in the trucking industry. He spent his spare time as a Boy Scout troop leader and was a member of "The Vocal Majority", a regionally famous barbershop quartet. His obituary says that "he especially loved having a beer or two while watching baseball on TV!" Sounds like he was my kind of guy, RIP Tex.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Doug Johns

Doug pitched in the Majors for 3+ seasons between 1995-99 for the A's and O's, but all of his cards feature him in an A's uniform. He was included in the Orioles' AAA affiliate Rochester Red Wings set in 1999, but Doug doesn't sign through any outlet, and finding a signed A's card of him was tough enough. So this card will likely be a permanent member of my collection.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

"To Ryan"

As some of you already know, I prefer my Orioles autographs personalized to me whenever it's possible. Getting autographs can be tough enough and adding the extra personalization request can further complicate things at times. But it lets the players know that I have no intent of flipping the autographs I receive and I really like how it makes the autographs unique to my collection.

Over the years, I've added personalized autographs to my collection in a few different ways.

The two most common have been:

Public Signings/Appearances- especially when there is a small number of attendees and/or you can pay a little extra for personalization. Some of these autographs are probably 15 years old at this point.

Every Orioles fan has an Al Bumbry autograph if they really want one. Dude is always around town.


I was a Pirates fan when I was younger. Drabek later played for the O's, so this card has stuck around.


 I have an abnormally large amount of Rick Krivda autographs, even for me. 
I remember something about a private signings with very few attendees, many years back.


Dave is another guy who lives in the Baltimore area and has appeared around the vicinity for many years.

To the best of my recollection, Tackett is one of very few Orioles to have appeared during his playing days at the mall "card show" in my relatively small hometown of Carlisle, PA. Demand was pretty low for him too.

Sheets is yet another omnipresent former Oriole.

Singleton might have also made the trek to Carlisle, but I can't say for sure.

I got this one done through a signing on 

Probably the method that is responsible for the most personalized autographs in my collection is TTM requests. Players who sign autographs through the mail generally are happy to personalize as well..


I was really happy to come across this oddball Orioles issue of Pete Smith, even happier to see 
that he signs TTM, and happier still when he returned this to me after over 250 days.

Dave charges to sign TTM, but at least he signs.

Kelly was even nice enough to add "Best Wishes"

At just under a year, this one took a long time to get back, but I'm always happy to get those envelopes!

The third most effective way to add personalized autographs is in-person, which is easiest when the players are in the minor leagues. 

As is the case with former Oriole and current AA Bowie Baysox member, Armando Gabino.


Devo is currently a coach with the hi-A Frederick Keys; he was nice enough to personalize earlier this year.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Double B's

Brent's signature sports two of the most prominent B's I have ever come across in my autograph collecting. They virtually surround the rest of his signature, completely encompassing his first name and almost doing the same with his last name. I would have liked to see how Brent signs like this without smearing any of it, but Brent played in Bowie well before I was attending games there so I picked up this signed card online.

He played for the Orioles for 21 games at the end of the '96 season and hit .308 over 39 at-bats, and that was the extent of his MLB playing career. He appeared in over 1200 minor league games over 14 seasons from 1989-2002 but only had the small taste of life in the Bigs. He even briefly played in Korea for the Hyundai Unicorns (sweet/crazy team name).

Starting in 2005, Brent started a new career managing in various Independent Leagues but his career as a skipper was cut short in 2010 when he went on a homophobic rant towards an openly gay umpire in the Golden Baseball League for which he was suspended and later resigned. I know that many athletes probably feel  the same way that Brent does, or at least use similar words as he did, but managers must serve as better role models and regardless of how he feels/felt, I think Brent's tirade was over the top. However you might feel about the issue, I feel like we should all try to respect each other.

So here's a message to Brent, spend less time hating people, and more time explaining your awesome signature!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The 2011 Orioles Walk-Up Song Project- Update #5

It's been over a month since I've updated this, and I know what everyone has been holding their breath.

Check out what's new this time around-
Blake Davis, Mitch Atkins, Matt Angle, Josh Bell and Mark Worrell all made their Orioles and/or season debuts but I don't know what songs they have used, with the exception of Davis.
Zach Britton updated his song before he was sent to the minors.
Felix Pie changed his song to something awesome, which gives me one reason to get excited about him coming to the plate.

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.

Brian Roberts- "Don't Waste Your Life "Lecrae ft. Cam & Dwayne Tryumf
Nick Markakis- "Deliverance" Bubba Sparxx
Derrek Lee- "All The Lights" Kanye West & "The Second Coming"  Juelz Santana
Vladimir Guerrero- "Calabria"  Enur ft. Natasja, 6/7 "Traigo Fuego" by Jose Pena Suazo
Luke Scott- LUUUUKE Intro or "Rock You Like a Hurricane"  The Scorpions
Adam Jones- "I'm Illy" T.I., 5/10 "Welcome to Jamrock" Damian Marley, 5/24 "California Love" by 2Pac
Matt Wieters- "Kick It" Manafest
Mark Reynolds- "Hillbilly Deluxe" Brooks & Dunn, 6/7 "Whistling Dixie" by Randy Houser
Robert Andino- "Black N Orange" Dboi Da Dome, E' From Da Wic, Jay Luv & "BMF" Rick Ross,
6/7 "Born N' Raised" by DJ Khaled, Trick Daddy, Pitbull, Rick Ross
Felix Pie- "Hasta Abajo" Don Omar, 6/7 "Famoso Viveron" by Secreto*, 7/15 "Danza Kaduro" by Don Omar ft. Lucenzo
Jake Fox- "I Use What I Got" Jason Aldean
Cesar Izturis- "Hypnotize"  Notorious BIG
JJ Hardy- 5/10 "Gin & Juice Instrumental" Snoop Dogg
Brandon Snyder- Never Chose A Song
Ryan Adams- ???
Nolan Reimold-6/7 "Driven to Tears" The Police
Craig Tatum- 6/7 "Eight Second Ride" by Jake Owen
Blake Davis- "Sabotage" by the Beastie Boys
Matt Angle- ???
Josh Bell- ???

Jeremy Guthrie (he's changing it for every start)- "Never Say Never" Justin Bieber ft. Jaden Smith (this one hurts, Gut), 6/7 "Unchained" Van Halen
Brian Matusz- "Secrets" by Loose Canon Trio- This is a cool story. It's a local band headed by one of the Orioles clubhouse guys, so it's nice that Matusz is supporting them.
Jake Arrieta- "Bad Company" Five Finger Death Punch, 6/7 "Knights Of Cydonia (Gramatik remix)" by Muse*
 Zach Britton- "She's Long Gone" or "Sinister Kid" by The Black Keys* 6/17 "Dr. Feelgood" by Motley Crue
Chris Tillman- "For Whom The Bell Tolls"  Metallica*, 5/24 "Kick It In The Sticks" by Brantley Gilbert*
Brad Bergesen- "Galvanize" by Chemical Brothers
Jason Berken- "Right Now" Van Halen
Mike Gonzalez- ???
Jeremy Accardo- "Sad But True" Metallica
Josh Rupe- ???
Clay Rapada- "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" AC/DC, 5/24 "Running with the Devil" Van Halen
Chris Jakubauskas- ???
Jim Johnson- "The Pretender"  Foo Fighters
Koji Uehara- "Sandstorm" Darude*
Troy Patton- "Stop If You Think You've Heard This One Before" The Smiths
Alfredo Simon- ???
Mitch Atkins- ???
Mark Worrell- ???
Kevin Gregg- "TNT" AC/DC

* Indicates song info came from list on O's website and I haven't confirmed that it's still correct

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

Friday, July 22, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Carl Powis

Carl Powis's MLB career lasted all of 15 games at the beginning of the 1957 season. He had a solid Spring Training and broke camp with the O's, but had only 8 hits in 41 regular season at-bats before he was permanently sent back to the Minors. From what I've read about him, Carl's playing skills never quite kept up with his confidence level.

He had been one of the few former Orioles who I did not have an autograph of until recently when I found this oddball gem on ebay. The card is a mini, really more like a picture than a gum card and I scanned the back to show it off.

Supposedly, this is a P.C.L. (Pacific Coast League) Popcorn card, and shows Carl during his time with the Vancouver Mounties, an Orioles minor league affiliate at the time. Has anyone ever seen one of these Popcorn cards before?

Carl was also featured in the Orioles Crown set, so I might be able to upgrade to a signed copy of that one day, but I will probably keep this in the collection too since it's so unique.

Carl passed away in 1999. RIP.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Russell is Right, the Orioles are Wrong

Some of you might remember my little diatribe on Tuesday about how my all-time Orioles roster count was incorrect. Well, turns out, it WAS right before I relied on the O's and screwed everything up, so now I have to go back and re-update everything I had changed.

At one point last season, fellow O's autograph collector Russell and I confirmed that our count was correct, while the O's was off by two. For whatever reason I ignored/neglected that conversation and changed everything before talking to Russell again. And I'm paying for it now.

So to clarify from Tuesday's post, Mitch Atkins goes back to being Orioles #900. Matt Angle is 901 and Mark Worrell becomes 902. And 902 is the confirmed number of players who have worn the O's uniform.

In other Mark Worrell related news, his second outing with the O's was significantly more successful than the first and he brought his ERA down from Infinity to 27.00.

Oh, and I got his autograph, so I can put Mark on my have list now.

Funny story about that smear. It was a dry hot day and I handed Mark a perfectly functioning sharpie, but somehow Mark had accidentally got a piece of wet grass on the middle of the card and it smeared the heck out of the middle of his signature. You can see that it begins and ends well enough, but the middle is all jacked up. But I'd rather have a crappy signature than none at all and I'll try to upgrade it soon.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

My Favorite Autograph Ever?

Favorite player? Check.
First time I've ever got his signature at Camden Yards? Yep.
Personalized? Oh yeah.
It's well worth my time to spend a few hours in the hot sun for an autograph like this, in my opinion at least. Thanks Matt!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Orioles # 901 & 902

So, turns out, I'm an idiot, but some of you already knew that. All this time that I've been sharing Orioles' debut numbers, it seems that my count was high by two. It came to my attention during the Orioles game last night, when it was mentioned during the broadcast that Mark Worrell's (awful, just horrible) debut made him Oriole #900.

UPDATE-I was right the first time around, Angle is 901 and Worrell is 902.

Wait a minute, I thought. I already dubbed Mitch "already back in the minors" Atkins as Oriole #900 just under two weeks ago. So how could Worrell be 900? It was time to cross-check my lists. (Disclosure- Matt Angle made his Orioles Debut on Sunday, making him Oriole #899, or 901 by my old count.)

I've realized in the past that I can't rely on the Orioles website as a completely accurate source, since they occasionally list players twice while totally skipping others. But by own revised count, it seems as though Worrell is actually the 900th player to wear the O's uniform. So I went back through my site and tried to update all of my Orioles Debut posts. I think that everything should be accurate now, but I might have missed a post here or there. Anyway, I apologize for misleading you all for so long. I know that you must be torn up about it.

On to the most recent O's Debuts....

#901- Matt Angle

Matt Angle was drafted by the O's in the 7th round of the 2007 draft and has been one of the best outfield prospects in the system since then. He also has been consistently ranked as one of the fastest players in the O's farm system.


Compared to many players who have risen through the O's Minor League system over recent years, I don't have many autographs of Matt. He only played just over a season at hi-A Frederick and AA Bowie, the two closest affiliates to me, and had spent most of the last two seasons with AAA Norfolk, which is about a five hour drive from my house, so I don't make it there much. I have a few more than these three, but not many.


Matt has stolen 162 bases over his four plus seasons in the O's system so I hope his speed translates to the relatively slow big league club. He has played 502 of his 505 Minor League games in center field, but has much better defensive instincts than Felix Pie, Nolan Reimold or Luke Scott, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a chance in left field. He should at least be the O's defensive replacement and/or pinch runner.

Here are some pictures from his debut on Sunday. He led off and started in left field, not a bad way to make a debut. He went 0-3 with a walk in the game and cleanly fielded everything that came his way.

Warming up before the game

Starting in left field

First at-bat

What's that? You want to hear about Oriole #902, Mark Worrell? Well, I don't have an autograph of him and his Orioles' debut is one that he likely doesn't want to remember, and neither do I. You see the results here, if you must.

Here's all I have to say about Mark...
He was AAA Norfolk's only International League All-Star this year.
He made his MLB Debut in 2008 with the Cardinals, and homered in his first at-bat.
His funky side-arm delivery is pretty sweet, if only it can produce better results.

Monday, July 18, 2011

We Have a Winner

I apologize for not posting the contest winner when I said I would but life kept me away from computers all day yesterday. So here we go...

The winner of the Adam Jones bobblehead is Greg Zakwin, the mastermind behind the "Plaschke, Thy Sweater is Argyle" blog. I'm pretty sure that Greg is the only person who earned the max number of entries for the contest by pimping the contest and commenting on each post all week, so he did the leg work to earn the victory, and actually came in second as well. Congrats Greg. And thanks to everyone who entered! Better luck next time to everyone else.And at 10 participants and 50 total entries, I guess it didn't turn out to be the worst contest ever after all.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Orioles (Affilate) Bobblehead of the Week- Bowie Baysox Mystery Bobblehead

Recently, the Bowie Baysox (AA affiliate of the Orioles) had a pretty awesome bobblehead giveaway. They decided to hand out 500 random bobbleheads from their past bobblehead giveaways from over the previous five or six years. Essentially, it was a cleaning out your closet type of thing, but it gave their fans another opportunity to pick up a bobblehead they missed the first time around.

I've pretty much picked up all of their player bobbles from the past 3-4 seasons, and I don't care much about non player bobbles, but they advertised that some older bobbleheads would also be handed out, so I made the trip to Bowie, hoping for the best.

To avoid people specifically targeting any specific bobbleheads, the staff had placed all the giveaways in bags, but luckily they were of the translucent plastic variety, so you got an idea of who you might be getting. I snagged an unfamiliar shaped box and hoped for the best.

I realized pretty quickly that I selected a bobblehead that would be new to me as I didn't have any that they gave away in 2007 since that was before I got back into Minor League Baseball.

My box had pictures of three possible bobbleheads. In order of who I hoped was in my box, there was...

 Nick Markakis (can't go wrong with one of the better O's from recent years)

 Erik Bedard, who was briefly an Orioles Ace

And Chris Ray, who was a good closer for some time, but was the least exciting of the trio
Without further ado, my bobblehead was....
 Chris Ray, of course

I'm still happy to add a new affiliate bobblehead to my collection, but it was a mild letdown considering my other options.

The bobble actually looks reasonably like Chris; here's the best comparison I can offer.

 You can at least see the resemblance.
Here's a few other shots of the bobblehead, in Dodgerbobble style.

Chris sure is happy to have a bobblehead, isn't he?

From the right...

And the left...

 And this one's for the laaadies. As if any women read my blog.

Last week I promised to announce the winner of the Adam Jones bobblehead today, but I'm gonna do it tomorrow. That gives everyone one more day to comment and enter. Good luck to you all!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Chico Garcia

Thankfully there was no bad news about any former Orioles passing away this week, so I can turn my attention to a former O who passed away a few years back.

Chico Garcia has one of the best looking signatures out of any of the men who have suited up for the O's. Blog reader Craig recently asked me which Oriole I thought had the best looking autograph and I drew a blank so I looked into it this week and Chico immediately jumped out at me.

His signature is stylized and very legible, especially when you know that his first name is Vinicio, which means that you can make out every single letter of his name. The flourishes he adds the the V and G starting each name are great, as is whatever he added to the end of his name.

The autographed Orioles card up top is in my collection and it replaced this signed index card which shows a slightly different version of Chico's autograph.   

Who do you think has the best autograph out of any Orioles players?

Chico's Orioles (and MLB) career lasted all of 39 games for the inaugural 1954 Orioles. He didn't find much success in the Majors but after about 10 years in the US he played and later managed for many years in his native Mexico. He was inducted into Mexico's Salon de la Fama (Hall of Fame) in 1981. 

Garcia passed away in 2007 at the age of 82. RIP Chico; thanks for spending time on your signature and making it so memorable.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Worst Contest Ever

So I started a contest to win this Adam Jones bobblehead on Saturday and all of 8 people have entered. Many that entered have earned multiple entries, but that's still a pretty dismal turnout compared to my past contests.

I know that not everyone likes bobbleheads, Adam Jones and/or the Orioles, but people like to win things, so I'm surprised at the lack of interest on this one. You can enter through tomorrow, so get in while you still have a shot. Or don't. I'm sure that the 8 people already entered prefer their current chances! Either way, this bobble is hitting the mail on Monday.

Thinking about worst ever got me to think about some Orioles worsts. Since I looked into the Orioles with the most homers and highest slugging percentage ahead of the HR Derby on Monday, I figured that I would follow that up with some guys who fall at the opposite end of the spectrum.

For whatever reason, I chose to look up the pitchers with the worst ERA while wearing an Orioles uniform.

Dizzy Trout, who weighs in with a 81.00 ERA, is statistically the worst Orioles pitcher in the team history. However in all fairness, he was trying to make a comeback at the age of 42 after four seasons out of baseball. He earned that extraordinarily high ERA by giving up three earned runs and retiring only batter in two games during the 1957 season.

Earlier in his career, Dizzy had been a two-time All-Star and received MVP votes for four seasons, so that silly ERA is skewed by the small sample size, and his comeback attempt.

So I decided to figure out the Orioles pitcher with the worst ERA who had appeared in at least ten games.

Step on up, Bob McCrory! 

Bob pitched in fifteen games (13.2 innings) for the O's over the 2008-09 seasons and has the tidy ERA of 16.46. He kicked around the Birds farm system for seven seasons through 2010 and is now playing in Japan. That's no way to lower that ERA Bob!

And to wrap things up, guess who has the worst Orioles ERA and has pitched in at least 100 games?

Yep, Daniel Cabrera; who pitched in 147 games for the O's and has a 5.05 ERA.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Congrats Wieters

 Congratulations on representing the Orioles in the 2011 MLB All-Star game Matt!

Let's not focus so much about your performance in the game but rather that you made your first All-Star team.
Keep grinding and make another All-Star team, or five or ten.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Machado & Schoop

While the current Orioles team continues to struggle, I tend to turn my eyes towards their Minor League teams. The organization does have a number of good prospects rising through the system, highlighted by two that were selected to play in Sunday's Futures Game. Coincidentally, both are middle infielders who play for the hi-A Frederick Keys.

Manny Machado was the Orioles 1st round draft pick (3rd overall) in the 2010 draft and is currently listed by Baseball America as the O's Top Prospect and was recently named the #5 prospect in the Minor Leagues in BA's Midseason Top 50 Rankings.


Manny was the starting shortstop for Team USA at the Futures Game and went 0-2, flying out to right in both at-bats. He did have three chances in the field and made all plays cleanly, including a sweet short hop scoop of a screamer hit towards his feet.

Manny has been playing for the Keys since his promotion from lo-A Delmarva in late June. I featured his first professional bobblehead that the Shorebirds gave away in Saturday's post.

I will say that Manny's signature is already not much more than 2 M's so I'm worried about how it might look if/when he makes it to the Majors.

Jonathan Schoop (pronounced scope) was ranked by BA as the O's #10 prospect heading into this season. He is a rare success story for the O's International Scouting efforts and was signed out of Curacao in 2008.

Jonathan played for Team World and came into the game in the bottom of the sixth inning as a defensive replacement. He singled in his only at-bat to lead off the seventh inning but was unfortunately picked off shortly thereafter to end the inning.

Schoop's signature is rather illegible (it kind of looks he signed his first name over his last) but extremely unique and I honestly like it quite a bit. Especially on the Bowman card, his autograph looks almost exactly like the pre-printed version, which isn't too common to see.

Congrats to Manny & Jonathan for hanging with baseball's top prospects and good luck to this blogger's favorite Oriole, Matt Wieters, in tonight's All-Star Game.