Monday, October 31, 2011

We Have A Winner

And then there was one.

Congrats to Matt, whose faith in the Cardinals was rewarded with a win in the 2011 postseason bracket contest.

Matt- get in touch with me and we can start working out your winnings.

Thanks to everyone who played, and better luck next year to everyone else!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Orioles Bobblehead of the Week- Surprise Contest

Some of you have unknowingly entered yourselves into a contest within a contest. Since my post on the playoff contest being closed on September 30, I have been keeping track of every comment left on my posts. For each comment you might have left, you earned an entry into my "Commenter Appreciation Contest".

I will now randomize the list of commenters and the winner will get to pick one of these four bobbleheads to add to their collection.

And the winner is...

Congrats to Paul. Just let me know which bobblehead you want and I'll get it in the mail.

Thanks to those of you who commented, I always enjoy reading everyone's thoughts and opinions about the things I write. And if you didn't comment, maybe you now wish that you had. It's possible that I might do something like this again down the road. I'm just saying...

Friday, October 28, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Joe Taylor

Joe Taylor was one of the six former Orioles whose autographs I still needed before my dad let me know about this index card that was recently listed on ebay. As hard as I try to stay on top of any listings of the players I still need for my collection, sometimes these autographs slip past me, so I have to yet again thank my dad for helping me out!

Joe played in the Major Leagues for parts of four seasons in the 1950s, and spent his last season plus of big league action in Baltimore in 1958-59. Prior to playing in the Majors, Joe had spent some time in the Negro Leagues. Overall, he played in 119 games for the Philadelphia A's, Cincinnati Redlegs, St. Louis Cardinals and Orioles; 50 of those games were as a member of the Orioles during which time he played all three outfield positions and also frequently appeared as a pinch hitter.

Joe was featured on only one card during his playing career, a 1958 Topps card that pictures him as a Cardinal. He was included in the Orioles Crown set that came out in mid 1991, shortly before his death in March of 1993. I've never seen either card signed, in fact, this 3x5 was the first autograph of his I've ever seen, but I've heard he was a good signer, so I'm holding out hope that I can track down a signed copy of his Crown card one day.

RIP Joe, thanks for the memories.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Time is Right

Today seemed like an appropriate time to show off the three remaining autographs in my collection that picture players wearing Cardinals or Rangers uniforms.

I need to start with Orlando Sanchez since this is the only Orioles card of the trio and because I'm rooting for the Cardinals to come back and win the series.

I guess no one thought to get a picture of Orlando in an Orioles uniform during his four game stint with the O's in 1984. He played parts of the 1981-83 seasons for the Cardinals and saw his last big league action in Baltimore; he appeared in 73 total games over his four years in the Majors.

Rick Helling spent eight of his 12 MLB seasons with the Rangers, and is one of only three players to have won 20 games in a season for them, which he accomplished in 1998 when he went 20-7.

He spent part of the 2003 season with the Orioles and was largely unsuccessful pitching for the Birds, but certainly wasn't the only pitcher from that period of time who couldn't find success in Baltimore. He is pictured on a few cards as an Oriole, so I'm hoping to upgrade to one of those some day soon.

Last up is Fernando Tatis, who began his big league career with the Rangers in the late '90s. He is best remembered for being the only player to hit two grand slams in one inning, a feat he accomplished off of Chan Ho Park during his time with the Cardinals in 1999. He appropriately also holds the record for most RBI in one inning.

Tatis played for the Orioles in 2006 and also was featured on a card in an Orioles uniform, so one day I would like to upgrade this signature as well.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Oriole #750

Val Majewski became the 750th player to appear in a game for the Orioles when he made his MLB debut with the Birds on August 20, 2004. To date, his MLB career lasted only 9 games over the last month of the '04 season. He played centerfield and right field while also appearing as a pinch hitter and pinch runner. He had 2 hits, including a double, over thirteen at bats, and also scored three runs while driving in another.

While he has yet to make it back to the Majors, Val was still playing affiliated baseball in 2011. He stayed in the Orioles organization through 2007 and has since spent time in the Astros, Angels, A's, & Rangers farm systems while also mixing in a few stints in the independent Atlantic League.

Keep at it Val, here's to hoping that you can make it back to the Bigs at some point down the road!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

My Favorite Autograph of 2011

Pedro Viola, who has appeared in a grand total of six games for the Orioles over the past two seasons, provided me with my favorite autograph obtained in 2011. 

He spent the majority of the season with the AA Bowie Baysox, who play only about 20 miles from my house, so I made it to about 10 of their games this season. Pedro wasn't always the most accessible signer, but when he started signing, he would typically do so for everyone who wanted his signature.

He was with the Orioles during 2011 Spring Training, so was included in the major league section of the Orioles Yearbook. The minor leaguers are also included in the yearbook so I brought it along to a few late season Baysox games.

And that's when this happened...

You see, Pedro speaks very little English, so there is a communication barrier with him at times. I like to think that I can speak Spanish, but realistically I can throw a few nouns into a sentence, and have problems with my verb usage. So I probably come off sounding like a little kid who is still working on how to use full sentences.

I asked Pedro to sign his yearbook page, and he obviously obliged. I'm not sure if he asked me where to sign and I said anywhere (or maybe everywhere), but it's certainly a uniquely signed item. I almost started to pull it away after the first signature, but he just kept going.

He was also kind enough to sign his 2011 Baysox card, which will likely be his only cardboard issue in the Orioles organization, so it's heading for my collection as well.

Thank you Pedro for the great memories, and signatures too!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Getting Back Into the TTM Game

Since I began to officially collect autographs of the Orioles managers and coaches, I've started to send out some TTM requests once again. While they are slightly time consuming to prepare and send out, getting that little white SASE back in the mailbox is one of my favorite things to find when I get home from work. It's an immediate pick me up and seems to say "forget that silly BS that happened at the office, the evening is going to be better", or something like that.

Well, over the past week or so, I have received two of those little white envelopes in my mailbox. And I can now scratch Tom McCraw and Marv Foley off of my coaches need list.

Sending out these TTM requests for coaches has motivated me to start sending to some Orioles players who I could use upgrades for in my collection. So I hope to find a lot more of those little white envelopes in my mailbox over the coming months.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Numbering the Orioles

One of my offseason projects is to attempt to assign a debut number to everyone who has played for the  Orioles, from 1-910. I'm counting down from 2011-1954, since I already had the Oriole # for the players from the past few years.

I like how all three players on this card are known as Orioles

I'm guessing that you probably didn't know that Carlos Mendez is Oriole #726 and made his Orioles (and MLB) debut on May 22, 2003. It's possible that Carlos Mendez might have been the only person who knew that information before today, but it's possible that he didn't even know his Oriole #! Well, I kind of just made up the term Oriole #, so it's not fair to expect anyone else to know what it is.

Carlos played 26 games for the Orioles that year and hit .222 over 45 at-bats and that was the extent of his MLB career. Most recently, he spent 2011 as a coach for the class A Rome Braves.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- Eddie Lopat

Ed pitched in the Majors from 1944-55, and is best remembered for being a member of the Yankees starting rotation that won five consecutive World Series from 1949-53. He earned the nicknames "Steady Eddie" and "The Junkman" during his career, but now-a-days, the "Steady Eddie" moniker has been usurped by another former Oriole.

Eddie earned his keep by being a junkballer; he could never throw the ball particularly fast but kept the hitters guessing. I found this Casey Stengel quote about him particularly amusing: "Lopat looks like he is throwing wads of tissue paper." I guess that gives you a decent idea about how hard he must have been to hit against.
Ed spent the latter half of the 1955 season, the last of his career, with the Orioles and was 3-4 with a 4.22 ERA over ten games with the Birds. Over his 12 season career, Lopat had a 166-112 record with a 3.21 ERA. He led the A.L. with a 2.42 ERA in 1953, made the 1951 All-Star team, and received MVP votes four times. After his playing career, he was a pitching coach for the Yankees, Twins and KC A's, and managed the A's during the 1962-63 seasons. 

My autograph of The Junkman obviously depicts him as the A's manager. Any of his signed Yankees cards are significantly more expensive since they are what Yankee collectors want for their collections. But it works for me since I don't want any stupid Yankees cards in my collection anyway, if it's avoidable of course. 
For me Orioles Autographs > Other teams autographs > Yankees/Red Sox autographs > No Autograph
Eddie's only Orioles card was his inclusion in the Orioles Crown set. The set was released over the course of the 1991 season, and Eddie passed away in June of 1992, so there wasn't much time between it's release and his passing for him to have signed any of these cards. I certainly have never seen one, but I'm holding out hope that there might be one (or more) out there. 


Thursday, October 20, 2011

The 1983 World Series Champs

As I'm watching yet another Orioles-free World Series, I thought it might be a good time to look back at the most recent O's team that was able to win the championship. It has sadly been 28 seasons since the Orioles last played in and won a World Series. While that accomplishment occurred within my lifetime, I was sadly much too young to understand, appreciate or celebrate the victory at that time.

Since the Orioles have played in a World Series game, 24 different teams have made it to the October Classic, and 18 teams have won it (with the Rangers possibly becoming the 19th if they win this year).

The other teams who haven't played in the World Series since at least 1983 are the Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Chicago Cubs. A few of those teams (Mariners, Nats/Expos, & Brewers) have never made it to the World Series, and as most of you know, the Cubs haven't won it since 1908, so I guess the Orioles have it better than those teams, but it's still frustrating. The Brewers and Cubs have made the playoffs in recent years, so they at least have that going for them.

We all should agree that parity is alive and well in baseball, especially if you don't like any of those six teams.

Without further ado, here are some random never-before-seen-on-my-blog scans of autographs from the '83 Orioles World Series Champs.

"Whacko" was the long-time Orioles second baseman who, like many who play the position, was known more for his glove than his bat. He still holds two A.L. single season fielding records for the position; 86 consecutive errorless games and 425 straight errorless chances, both of which he set in 1978.

Tito's 10th inning home run in the 4th game of the ALCS propelled the O's past the White Sox and into the Series. He appeared in three World Series game as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement but didn't have any plate appearances during the Series.

Sammy was the only middle reliever that the O's needed during the series (ahem Tony LaRussa) and pitched five total innings over three games of the series, allowing zero runs while striking out six. These days, he is much better remembered for his drug use and subsequent jail-time.

Joe was the O's back-up catcher and went hitless in two at-bats during the series. Ah 1983, when backup catchers were included in card sets.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mike Kinnunen- Major League Record Holder

There are some rather obscure former Orioles whose autographs are pretty tough to track down. Sometimes it's because the player doesn't like to sign autographs, others it's because no one has a current address for them, and sometimes players just seem to disappear.

I'm not exactly sure why Mike Kinnunen's autograph is so hard to track down, but it sure is tough to find. I was finally able to add this signed Crown card to my collection about a month ago, and was very happy to scratch Mike's name off of my want list. Mike seems to be living and working in Puerto Rico, so that probably contributes to why his autographs are so scarce.

Once again, the Orioles Crown card set comes to the rescue for my autograph purposes, as this is Mike's only inclusion in a Major League set, which obviously makes this his only Orioles card as well.

In doing a little bit of research on Mike for this post, I discovered that he holds the all-time Major League record for most pitching appearances (48) without a decision of any kind (win, loss, save). That's pretty wild stuff, and from that information, I can figure out that Mike pitched in the middle-late innings of games that weren't particularly close. So I guess he was somewhat of a mop-up guy.

He pitched parts of three seasons with the 1980 Twins and '86-87 Orioles, had a 5.23 ERA, and finished 18 of the 48 games he pitched in. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The 2011 Orioles Walk-Up Song Project- Update #6

Wow, I can't believe that I haven't updated this since late July. Well, here are the updates I have from the end of the season. 

Here's what's new this time around-
Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Jo-Jo Reyes, Willie Eyre, Zach Phillips, Pedro Strop, Kyle Hudson, and Pedro Florimon all made their Orioles debuts but I was unfortunately able to only figure out Reyes' song.

Matt Wieters, Troy Patton, Brad Bergesen, Adam Jones all changed their songs. Robert Andino changed his twice.

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, 9/7 "Keep Their Heads Ringin'" by Dr. Dre
Matt Wieters- "Kick It" Manafest, 8/16 "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" by Jake Owen
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, 8/16 "Welcome to My Hood" by DJ Khaled, 9/7 "Goodbye" by Wiz Khalifa
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- ???
Chris Davis- ???
Kyle Hudson- ???
Pedro Florimon- ???

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 Cannon 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, 8/16 "Party Rock Anthem" by LMFAO
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, 8/16 "Seven Nation Army" by The White Stripes
Alfredo Simon- ???
Mitch Atkins- ???
Mark Worrell- ???
Kevin Gregg- "TNT" AC/DC
Tommy Hunter- ???
Jo-Jo Reyes- 8/16- "Girl Is On My Mind" by The Black Keys
Willie Eyre- ???
Zach Phillips- ???
Pedro Strop- ???

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

And that's how the 2011 Orioles Walk-Up Song Project will end.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Championship Series Contest Update

Here's the updated standings through the championship series round of the playoffs.

The very few entrants who had faith in the Cardinals and/or Rangers are largely being rewarded, with The Angels in Order having both of his brackets in play while Play at the Plate's decision to choose with his heart is working out for him for a second consecutive year.

However, Matt's taking a chance on the Cardinals could really pay off for him, since he will win it all if the Cardinals win the Series. If the Rangers win, we will have a four way tiebreaker situation in play, so it should be fun to see how everything turns out. Good luck to the remaining four still in the hunt! Thanks again to everyone who entered the contest.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Fun Orioles Timewaster

I don't have any pictures of bobbleheads that I haven't displayed already, so that feature is taking a week off.

In the meantime, I don't know how many of you might be familiar with, but it's an online game site where people can create their own quizzes about almost anything.

A friend, who is almost as much of an Orioles fanatic as I am, recently pointed me in the direction of this amazing quiz that asks you to remember every player who was in an Orioles Opening Day Lineup from 1991-2011.

There are some real challenges on the quiz, and I'm ashamed to say that I could only name 159 of the 208 players. You'd think that I might have remembered a few more names since the Orioles are kinda my thing, but what can I say? My memory clearly isn't as good as I'd like it to be.

One player who I'm slightly embarrassed to say that I forgot was the 2003 Opening Day centerfielder, Gary Matthews Jr. So there's a hint for you, if you decide to try your luck. If you do take the quiz, leave a comment and let me know how you did, I bet a few of you could put my score to shame.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Unpossible Autograph Friday- John Anderson

Last week, I wrote about how I finally tracked down an autograph of tough-to-find Mickey McGuire. Well, in that same transaction, I was also able to finally add an autograph of John Anderson to my collection. To that point, John was one of the 6 former Orioles whose autograph had eluded me.

John pitched parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues for four different teams between 1958-62. He pitched in five games for the '58 Phillies, four with the '60 Orioles, and split the '62 season with the Cardinals (five games) and Astros (ten games).

In John's four games with the Orioles, he pitched 4.2 innings of relief, and gave up 8 hits, 4 walks, and 7 earned runs which worked out to a 13.50 ERA.

His minor league baseball career stretched from 1952-67 and he spent parts of four seasons pitching in the O's farm system for the Miami Marlins and Rochester Red Wings between 1959-62.

John's only major issue card release was in the 1962 Topps set that lists him as a member of the Cardinals, but I'm pretty sure that he is wearing an Orioles uniform in the image that Topps used. The one piece of his hair that is sticking almost straight up adds some flair to an otherwise boring card. The '62 rookie star adds some pizazz too I suppose.

John was also included in the 1991 Orioles Crown set, but I couldn't find an image of that, and I never scanned my own copy since it's not singed. Theoretically, since he was alive for seven years after the Crown set came out, there might be a few signed copies of it somewhere, but as I understand it, John disappeared for many years after his playing career and was only found again by collectors shortly before his passing, which is why his autographs are so scarce.

I'm very happen to finally have any autograph of John's in my collection and once again have to have to thank my dad for my birthday autograph funds which allowed me to add it to my collection.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Upgrading Marty Brown

One year ago, I didn't have a Marty Brown signed Orioles card in my collection. Within the span of a year, I've gotten my hands on three of them.

The first card I obtained was a signed Crown card that I received in a trade. I ended up re-trading that card, sending it to Kirk from Eutaw Street Cardboard, for this awesome orange uni card. Since I don't particularly collect the Crown set and Kirk doesn't care about orange uniform cards, it was a great trade for both of us.

I don't remember if I've ever seen a card from this 1990 Donruss The Rookies set before, but that green border is pretty hideous. Luckily the card is saved by Marty's wearing that outstanding orange t-shirt jersey.

In a post about Marty that I wrote almost two years ago, I mentioned that he was managing in Japan and there weren't any TTM successes listed for him since 2006. Well, that all changed this season when Marty returned state-side to manage the Las Vegas 51s, the Blue Jays AAA affiliate. I noticed that he had returned a few collectors' TTM requests, so I decided to give it a shot too. And bam, 12 days after I sent my request, I had a personalized Crown card back. Thanks for signing Marty! And thanks for the trade, Kirk!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Orioles Autograph Year in Review

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I'm going to do my review a bit differently this year. Here is the list of all fifty players who appeared in a game for the Orioles this year, and the number of times I either got their autograph or saw them signing at a game. I'll then give some thoughts and opinions on my observations.

(The very random selection of autographs are scans of my 2011 O's autos that hadn't yet been on the blog)

Jeremy Accardo 1
Ryan Adams 2
Robert Andino 2
Matt Angle 0
Jake Arrieta 2
Mitch Atkins (3 in minors)
Josh Bell 2
 Brad Bergesen 1
Jason Berken
Zach Britton 4 (1 additional at minor rehab)
Blake Davis
Chris Davis (1 at minor rehab)
Willie Eyre 1
Pedro Florimon (3 at minors)
Jake Fox 4

Mike Gonzalez 2
Kevin Gregg 1
Vladimir Guerrero 3
Jeremy Guthrie 3
JJ Hardy 3
Mark Hendrickson 0
Kyle Hudson (1 at minors)
Tommy Hunter 1
Cesar Izturis 0

Chris Jakubauskas 3
Jim Johnson 1
Adam Jones 3
Derrek Lee 2
Nick Markakis 0

Brian Matusz 1
Troy Patton 1

Zach Phillips 1
Felix Pie 0
Clay Rapada 1
Nolan Reimold 1
Jo-Jo Reyes 0
Mark Reynolds 2
Brian Roberts 1

Josh Rupe 1

Luke Scott 2 (1 at minor rehab)

Alfredo Simon 2
Brandon Snyder 2
Pedro Strop 2
Craig Tatum 0
Chris Tillman 3
Koji Uehara 1
Rick Vanden Hurk 0

Pedro Viola (5 at minors)
Matt Wieters 2

Mark Worrell 1

There are some things to keep in mind while looking at this list. For example, Izturis has been a great signer in past seasons, but was only with the team for a few weeks this year, so I had very few chances to get his autograph. The small sample size also applies for the late season call-ups, spot starters and others who only spent a few games on the roster. 

However, here are a few observations I am comfortable making after tracking all of my successes for the season.

Nick Markakis and Craig Tatum are the worst signers on the team. They both spent the entire season with the O's and I never saw either sign a single card. Of course, they theoretically could have signed at every single game I did not attend, but based on their track records, I highly doubt it. It seemed as though Jo-Jo Reyes wasn't a huge fan of signing, but I had a smaller sample size to form that opinion.

The best signers seem to be Zach Britton and Jake Fox, who were consistent signers throughout the year. Jeremy Guthrie, JJ Hardy, Chris Jakubauskas, Adam Jones, and Chris Tillman were also good signers. From what I understand from talking to other graphers, I must have been at the only three games that Vlad signed at, so I'm hesitant to call him a good signer, but I will say the future hall-of-famer signed more than I thought he would.

If any of you would like me to give additional thoughts/opinions about the signing habits of the 2011 O's, leave a comment and I'll try to answer everything by tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Orioles Autograph Year in Review

For the third consecutive season, I will be reviewing the signing habits of this season's Orioles team. I'm going to consolidate my review this year, as last year's wrap-up stretched out over two weeks and I'm pretty sure that it became a little too long for everyone, including myself.

 Early nominee for "Best Signer"

I tried something a bit different this year by recording every autograph I got over the course of the season from spring training until the end of the regular season. I also noted any time I saw an Orioles  player signing, even when I wasn't able to get their autograph, so I will have some specific signing figures for the thirty or so games I attended over the season.

Fifty(!) different players appeared in at least one game for the Orioles this year, and I realistically had at least a chance to get an autograph from all of them. I obtained autographs from a few of those players when they were still in the minor leagues, and I will make note of that, but can't really count that along with the autographs I got at O's games.

I hope that everyone is ready for the breakdown, which will probably take place over the next two days. It's gonna be fun as always!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Division Series Contest Update

Here is how everyone is doing after the first round...

Sorry I can't make it any larger, but you can click on it to blow it up. If you're in green, you are out. If we were picking a losers bracket, Cardhobbyist and Reds Card Collector would have been winning at this point.

For those of you still in the white, your picks in blue are out, but you still have enough correct picks to stay in the running to win it all. Eric L, The Angels In Order bracket #2, and Sports Card Blog only have one incorrect pick so far.

Good luck to everyone who's still in the running! And thanks to the rest of you for entering, better luck next year!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Playoff Bobblehead of the Week- Zach Greinke

 My intent was to display one of my Orioles bobbleheads and connect it to the current playoff picture, but short of going all six degrees of kevin bacon on everything, that isn't gonna work. As far as I can tell, not a single one of my Orioles bobbleheads has any connection to the current playoff teams. (Full disclosure- Rafael Palmeiro and Sammy Sosa are both one-time Rangers, but given my distaste for both of them, you won't be seeing them here again!)

So here's my Royals bobblehead of current Brewers pitcher, Zach Greinke. Zach who writes Autographed Cards, worked with me to hammer out a bobble trade last summer and he sent this nice Greinke, and a probably even cooler Dan Quisenberry bobble my way. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for the Royals since my dad grew up in Kansas and I was very happy to add a few Royals bobbleheads to my collection.

So for those of you at home keeping track, my favorite baseball teams are the Orioles, Pirates, and Royals; there's some serious competition in that group for the annual worst team in baseball. I sure know how to pick 'em!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Unpossible Autograph of the Week- Johnny Schmitz

Last Saturday, Johnny "Bear Tracks" Schmitz passed away on Saturday in his hometown of Wausau, Wisconsin. I've long thought that his nickname was one of the most interesting and unique of all the Orioles players, and he earned it due to the combination of his big feet and the lumbering way he shuffled around the mound.

I've written about Johnny two times, most recently in July 2009, when I added this signed Orioles Crown card to my collection. I don't have much additional to say about him, but I suggest that you read his very well written obituary on the Wausau Daily Herald's website. I feel like sometimes more information is posted online about old-timers like Johnny in their obituaries than was available during their lifetime, and that's unfortunate. He seemed like a very interesting guy, and was a great TTM signer throughout the years. 

RIP Johnny.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Waiting for a Contest Update

So, heading into yesterday's games, it certainly seemed like more than one team would have been eliminated from the playoffs by this point, but the Rays remain the only team sent home through today. The Tigers-Yankees series will end tonight, while both N.L. series will wrap up tomorrow.

Honestly, as someone who doesn't have a team in the playoffs (I'm rooting for the Cardinals in the N.L. and preferred the Rays in the A.L.) having three of the four series go all five games in pretty exciting. I'm pretty much always up for some additional baseball.

Once all the Divisional Series match-ups are decided, I will post a contest update at some point over the weekend. My only observation to this point is that FanOfReds is in trouble since he picked the Rays to win the World Series.

And now for something completely different...

I was recently able to upgrade the Adam Eaton autograph in my collection to this 2009 Allen & Ginter card, his one and only Orioles card that was released in a set that debuted after the Orioles had cut him loose.

Adam was a decent enough signer when he was with the O's and he signed this Padres card for me in person before a game, but I was never able to catch up with him after his time with the O's. He doesn't seem to sign TTM requests, so I was stuck until someone offered up the A&G on SCN.

It bothers me how many upgraded autographs I need from Orioles who played over the past ten years or so; I have some sort of autograph of all of them, but so many guys have Orioles cards released after their time in Baltimore that it almost always throws a wrench in my collection. C'est la vie.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Orioles Playoff Memories

With all of this playoff research surrounding my postseason bracket contest, I've become nostalgic about the Orioles' last playoff appearance, way back in 1997, when they went wire-to-wire and won the A.L. East title.

Here are the autographs I have of some of the players on the club...

 Bordick was always great with the glove, and it's nice to still see him around the team as a special instructor

I tend to remember Scott being a little better than it seems he was during his years in Baltimore, but he had a solid '97 season, going 16-7 with a 3.69 ERA

Is this an Orioles or Dbacks card? Believe Beckett says Dbacks, but it's the only one that shows him in an Orioles uni...I'll allow it.

 Where have you gone Jeffrey Hammonds? Your signature is awesome by the way.

  Wait, who? I honestly don't remember Charlie.

Ah, the good old days when Mussina's name didn't bring up such conflicting memories. He was probably the Orioles' last true ace and they sure could use someone new to fill that role.

I can't believe that Arthur Rhodes is still pitching in the Majors. And he's in the playoffs for a second consecutive season, albeit with a different team this year. Ah to be a lefty and know how to throw strikes.

I generally remember Jeff as a Twin, but he was a versatile utility player for the Orioles for three years. 

And I don't think I'm alone in remembering Jerome mostly as a Cub. His career peaked early when he took home the Rookie of the Year honor for the Cubbies in 1989.