Monday, August 31, 2009

An attempt to catch up...Orioles Alumni Autographs

I am so far behind on things I want to post that if I can share half of what I have I will still be a few weeks behind. If that even makes sense.

The two main things I will try to get to this week are my pictures and autographs from the Nats Picnic in the Park two Saturday's ago and my pictures from Harold Baines' Orioles Hall of Fame induction this past Saturday. I know Steve at White Sox Cards will be especially interested in those.

But today's post will showcase the autographs I've got at the past four or five Orioles Alumni Autograph series. Most of these are available in a trade if you are interested.

And here we go...

This was the first time I ever got Dave's autograph. Nice addition to my collection!

If you are an O's fan and don't have "the B's" autograph, you are doing something wrong.

My Devo autograph collection is much larger now than it was before. My favorite is the upside down one.

Ken Gerhart, yep.

This was the first time I got Ross's autograph in person. Check out his cards from back in the day. He had some wacky hair styles. This one wasn't too bad, in comparison at least.

John Habyan, another first time in person auto.

Billy Hunter was nice as always.

Dave Johnson is always around the Yard. Another guy that any O's collector should have.

McGregor is a local guy; which equals me having 50 autographs of his. Give or take 20.

Gary is not around nearly as much so I don't have very many of his signatures. And couldn't Donruss and Fleer changed the border colors up just a little bit? Ah, the 80s.

Dave made an appearance, taking a break from his Minor League duties.

My Larry Sheets autograph collection rivals my McGregor & Bumbry collections.

Bill Swaggerty doesn't look like this at all. At least, not anymore.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Week of Trades from SportsCollectors.Net-Wrapping up with ce1012

Ok, I hope everyone had as much fun with this as I did but this will be my last SCN trade posted for now. Don't miss this feature too much though; I think I've decided to make it an occasionally returning highlight of the blog. It totally exemplifies how I am trying to expand my collection-by spending as little money as possible while working with fellow collectors!

Today's trade brought me Chris Singleton from ce1012.

Chris is an easy guy to track down as he has worked for ESPN's Baseball Tonight show for the past two years after having done the color commentary for White Sox radio broadcasts the two seasons prior. So it's not a matter that fans don't know where to send TTM requests; it's that Chris won't sign them. SCN doesn't list a success from him since 2006. Hence, why I traded for him.

Chris Singleton 2002

While I initially thought that he was somehow related to Ken Singleton, based on name and appearance, that doesn't seem to be the case.

Chris came to the Orioles from the White Sox for Willie Harris in January 2002; the two teams pretty much traded their young centerfielders. Chris's stats for the O's were solid if not outstanding. He played in 136 games and batted .262, scoring 67 runs, cruising to 6 triples and crushing nine round-trippers.

One other fact jumped out at me while researching Mr. Singleton. In November of 1997, the Giants traded him and Alberto Castillo to the Yankees for Charlie Hayes. And yes, it's that Alberto Castillo. The one who has briefly pitched for the Orioles over the past two seasons. It's crazy to me that Alberto is still playing while Chris has been broadcasting games since 2006. And Charlie Hayes has been doing...well who knows what.

And with this tale that connected past Orioles greats like Willie Harris to current pitching wunderkinds like Alberto Castillo, I wish you all a nice weekend.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

A Week of Trades from SportsCollectors.Net- bigjohn adds to the collection

A user by the name of bigjohn was my trade partner this time around-he hooked me up with P.J. Forbes and Jeff McKnight autographed cards.

P.J. Forbes 1998

P.J. really only had a cup of coffee in the Majors, the majority of which was with the '98 O's. He appeared in 9 games as a utility infielder, with one start. I remember him most from one of the pictures of Cal that Kalina has up at her house; P.J. weaseled his way into the background of the shot. He is probably best remembered in the Orioles organization as a fan favorite of the Rochester Red Wings, the former AAA affiliate of the Birds.

He is currently the manager of the Hi-A Carolina League Lynchburg Hillcats.

Jeff McKnight 1990-91

OK, I have to start by saying the Jeff doesn't look like a baseball player. His helmet is too big for him, he seems to be wearing a generic jersey and the glasses/hair/facial hair combination just doesn't present the image of a MLB type player. It's like one of those cheesy picture setups that "Let's you look like your favorite baseball player!" I would nominate him as a beer league softball All-Star but I digress.

Multiple websites (along with this card) do in fact confirm that Jeff played for the Mets & Orioles over a 6 season MLB career. He was a super utility player who did everything but pitch and play centerfield over the course of 218 games. He only played in 45 of those games for the Orioles and wasn't able to do much with his bat; he hit .190 for the Birds.

One other thing I found, his dad was Jim McKnight who pitched for the Cubs in the '60s.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Week of Trades from SportsCollectors.Net- 87donruss helps me out

Here are some more cards from my successful trades on SCN. Today's cards are from a trade with user 87donruss, who still has many more cards I would like to trade for.

Sal Fasano 2005

The picture on this card is disappointing as it doesn't show Sal with his trademark Fu Manchu mustache. He actually looks a little strange without it and if you don't know what he normally looks like, just take one second to Google him. And then please come back to my blog.

Sal was the Orioles backup catcher for most of the '05 season behind Javy Lopez. He has played for nine big league teams over 11 seasons in the Majors, but hit the most HRs he ever had in 1 season (11) while on the O's. From what I read about him, he is universally liked and the fans in Philly especially seemed enamored by Sal.

Jay Tibbs 1988-90

Jay pitched in 50 games for the Orioles, starting 42 of them, and went 11-22 with a 4.92 ERA in those outings, highlighted by his 5-0 1989 season.

Nate Snell 1984-86

OK, for some reason I never knew that Nate was a pitcher. I know that it says "P or Pitcher" on all of his cards. I guess I don't think that he looks like a pitcher; I really don't know why but that's the truth. But it doesn't matter what I think as Nate was a pitcher either way.

He spent three of his four MLB seasons with the O's and went 6-4 with a 3.12 ERA over 82 relief appearances. Not too shabby Nate.

Jamie Quirk 1989

Jamie was the Orioles third catcher for the last two months of the '89 season, behind Mickey Tettleton & Bob Melvin. Overall, he played 18 seasons in the Majors from 1975-92 (11 of those were for the Royals), and was chiefly a backup catcher but over the years played every defensive position except for center field. In 1987 he played in 109 games with the Royals, the only time he appeared in over 100 games in one season.

He also briefly held the Major League HR record for players whose last name begins with Q but has since been passed by Mark Quinn, then Carlos Quentin.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

A Week of Trades from SportsCollectors.Net- Swap with Twiztidkegs

Today's trade came from fellow Orioles collector Twiztidkegs. He seems to focus on collecting Orioles minor league autos but also has a good collection of other MLB signatures.

Mike Timlin 1999-2000

You're not surprised that Timlin played for the Orioles are you? He played for every single MLB team right? But seriously, Mike did play for 6 teams over 18 Major League seasons, including two on the O's around the turn of the millennium. He signed a Minor League deal with the Rockies in 2009 but was recently released, so it appears that he finally has to hang up his spikes for good.

Mike was the Orioles closer from the start of the '99 season until he was traded to the Cardinals on 7/29/2000 for Chris Richard & Mark Nussbeck (?). Now there was a trade that really built the Birds for the future.

He currently holds the all time record for appearances (1058) by a right-handed reliever and is 7th on the all-time list behind 6 lefties. He won four World Series Championships in his career; 2 in Toronto at the beginning of it ('92 & '93) and two at the end with Boston ('04 & '07). He also finished 6th in the ROY voting in 1991.

Omar Daal 2003

While Omar had a decent MLB career, pitching for seven teams over 11 seasons, he was not good in his last big league season, and of course that was with the O's. After signing a two year contract prior to the '03 season, he went 4-11 with a 6.34 ERA in 2003 and didn't pitch in 2004 due to shoulder surgery. Maybe that was for the best.

Tim Laker 1997

Tim was very briefly the Orioles backup catcher behind Lenny Webster, while Chris Hoiles was on the DL, from late June-mid July 1997. I was a huge fan of the Birds at that point and I don't remember Tim being an Oriole at all. Maybe it was because he only appeared in 7 games and went 0-14 at the plate in his short stint with the Birds.

He was one of the former players named in the Mitchell Report and admitted to using and apologized for using PEDs. Of course he pointed the finger at the always reliable for roids, David Segui. Tim is currently a roving catching instructor for the Indians.

Dickie Noles 1988

Another guy that pitched for the Orioles towards the end of his career, Noles posted an 0-2 record with a 24.30 ERA in only 2 games with the Birds in 1988. To get an ERA that high, Dickie had to give up 9 earned runs in only 3.1 innings over two starts.

One funny thing I found about him is that he was effectively traded for himself when the Cubs sent him to the Tigers in 1987 for a PTBNL. They couldn't work out a deal for who that player should be, so the Tigers just returned Dickie to the Cubs. What a deal that was for both teams. refers to this transaction as a loan. Haha.

Dickie did have some alcohol related problems while on the '83 Cubs; he and a teammate assaulted a cop after drinking one night. This led to Dickie injuring his knee and spending 16 nights in jail; he had to enter rehab after that incident. The good news is that he has since turned his life around and is now a special consultant for the Phillies & MLB. He even travels around to minor league teams to warn them against the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. Nice turnaround Dickie!

Keith Hughes 1988

Keith backed up Joe Orsulak in right field and pinch hit for the Birds over the course of the '88 season. He hit his only 2 career homers while on the O's.

J.R. House 2007

J.R. has managed to play parts of 5 seasons with 3 different MLB teams but has only appeared in 32 games and amassed 60 at bats over that time span. The majority of those games & ABs were with the Orioles in 2007 when he appeared in 19 games and had 38 ABs and also hit the only 3 HRs in his big league career.

Ricky Bones 1999

This card is personalized to me, so how did I get it in a trade you ask? Well, around the same time that I got this trade in the mail, I also got this TTM request back from Ricky. So double Bones(bone-us) for me! The non-personalized card is now available for trade if you want it.

Even as an Orioles fan, I most remember Ricky pitching for the Brewers in the mid to early '90s. He also represented the Brew Crew on the 1994 AL All-Star team. Maybe I just don't want to remember his stat line for the '99 O's since he went 0-3 with a 5.98 ERA.

Ricky was also named in the Mitchell Report but surprisingly didn't blame David Segui. He is currently the Buffalo Bisons pitching coach and signed my TTM from the team address.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A Week of Trades from SportsCollectors.Net- Rockinace Two Times

I know that I have mentioned SCN and it's awesome website before, but this week I am going to share some of the trades I have made with fellow collectors to showcase my successes. It costs about $15 for an entire year to use the site and you get TTM success rates, player's addresses, trading options with other users, and many other features. Most of the users on the site are active and helpful, so it's worth your time to check out if you are an autograph collector.

Now that I'm done giving their site some free advertising, I will share some of the trades I have made on there over the past month and a half since I joined.

My first trade, and shortly thereafter a second trade, was made with a guy who goes by rockinace.

The first trade netted me Aaron Ledesma and Chad Paronto, while the second one brought Ron Jackson and Adam Stern my way.

Aaron Ledesma 1997

Aaron was the utility infielder on the '97 Orioles squad, mainly backing up Robbie Alomar at second base. He hit the only two HRs of his career that season while wearing the orange and black and was the 62nd pick by the Devil Rays in the expansion draft after the season.

He is currently a coach on the Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.

Chad Paronto 2001

Chad was drafted in the 8th round of the 1996 draft by the Orioles and made his Orioles debut in 2001. He went 1-3 in 24 appearances, and finished 9 games for the O's that season. The Indians selected him off of waivers following the 01 season so that was it for Chad and the Orioles.

Chad has bounced back and forth between the majors and minors over the past 7 seasons but appeared in a couple of games for the Astros this season. Keep the dream alive Chad!

Ron Jackson 1984

While Ron had a 10 year long Major League career, only the last 12 games of it were with the Orioles. The Birds signed him in August '84 and he finished out the season with the club, appearing as a pinch-hitter and third baseman.

Ron has made a career out of being a Major & Minor League hitting coach, notably for the Red Sox from 2003-06. That, of course, made him a member of the '04 Red Sox that broke the "Curse of the Bambino" by winning the World Series.

Adam "Canadian Babe Ruth" Stern 2007

Did you just blink? If so, you missed Adam's cameo for the Orioles. He has one of the strangest stat lines I have come across while doing my project. Now, I kind of remember this from when it happened but Adam appeared in two games for the Orioles but only as a defensive replacement; he never got an AB! That's weird.

In case you are wondering how Adam was brought into the Orioles fold, he was the PTBNL from the Javy Lopez trade at the end of the 2006 season. Wow, between Lopez & Ramon Hernandez, the O's went through some lean catching years. It makes me even more thankful for Wieters!

Since there isn't anything else to say about his time on the Orioles, here are a few other notes I found about Adam.
-Trot Nixon gave him his nickname, but I can't find the story behind it
-he played for Team Canada in the 2004 & 2008 Olympics, as well as the 2006 & 2009 World Baseball Classics
-on August 8, 2005, appeared in a game for the Red Sox with Kevin Youkilis & Gabe Kapler, setting an American League record for most Jewish players on the field at one time
-is only the second Jewish Canadian player in MLB history, following Goody Rosen who played in the '30s & '40s mainly for the Brooklyn Dodgers

Aren't you impressed that I found that much to write about a player who never even hit for the Orioles? Are you still with me? Anyone?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Card Cache Contest

I was just introduced to the Card Cache blog tonight. And the guy who runs the blog, Ryan is having an Allen & Ginter contest.
You should check it out if you want to win some free cards.

Some TTM Successes

Dave Duncan 1975-76

Dave is probably best known for the good job he has done as the pitching coach on Tony LaRussa's A's & Cardinals teams over the past 20 years. He has coached four Cy Young award winners and is highly respected throughout MLB as an excellent teacher. This is even more impressive since Dave was a catcher in his playing days, and is one of few pitching coaches who did not pitch professionally.

He split time with Elrod Hendricks & Rick Dempsey as catcher on the '75-76 Orioles teams and was known primarily as a defensive catcher even though he hit 109 HRs over 11 big league seasons. The Indians traded Dave to the O's in February 1975 for Boog Powell and Don Hood, so for those of you who recall Boog's brief time as an Indian, it was because of Dave. The O's flipped Dave to the White Sox for Pat Kelly following the '76 season.

His career highlights include making the 1971 AL All-Star team and winning 3 World Series titles; one as a player on the '72 A's and two as a coach, '89 A's & '05 Cardinals. His two sons, Chris and Shelley have each played in the Major Leagues too.

Lenny Green 1957-59, 64

Lenny manned all three OF positions for the O's in the late '50s and was briefly back in the organization in 1964.

If you notice the top of the Orioles Crown card on the right, he made an attempt to personalize the card but it looks like his pen wasn't cooperating.

Stu "Bullet" Miller 1963-67

Stu began his career as a starting pitcher with the Cardinals in 1952 but was exclusively a reliever by the time he threw his first pitch on the Orioles in 1963. He is one of the more successful O's relievers of all time; he saved 100 games and had a 2.37 ERA in 297 games with the Birds.

While most players earned the nickname "Bullet" by throwing very hard or fast, Stu got the nickname for the opposite reason. It's reported that his fastball topped out in the mid 80s and his changeup was in the mid-upper 70s but he thrived by using the same arm action on both to fool opposing hitters.

He received MVP votes 4 times throughout his career, 3 of those times with the Orioles, highlighted by his 7th place finish in 1965. He combined with Steve Barber to throw a no-hitter on April 30, 1967 but the O's lost the game on a wild pitch and an error. Stu also made the 1961 All-Star team.

Unfortunately, Stu is probably best remembered as being the pitcher to give up Mickey Mantle's 500th HR. If you want to read more about that and Stu's life in general, the Baltimore Sun recently ran an interview with him.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Matusz Post

Since Brian Matusz is pitching for the O's tonight, I thought it would be a convenient time for me to clean house with a few random pictures of him and and autograph that somehow slipped through the cracks. Here's to hoping that he can stop this nasty five game losing streak!

Here is a picture of Matusz from a game in Bowie approximately a week before his Major League debut. I can honestly say that the number of people that hounded him for an autograph before this game numbered higher than any I remember during Wieters stay in Bowie last season. Maybe they knew they wouldn't have many chances to get him to sign while he was with the Baysox.

Scott Van Pelt, a Maryland native of somewhere near Bowie, was the special guest at this game. My favorite part of his appearance was that they gave away bobbleheads of him that will be featured sometime on the blog.

This is Brian's first pitch at Camden Yards from this past Saturday. Yes it was a called strike.

Brian signed this for me at a recent O's game. It's amazing to think that he started this season at Frederick and made his Major League debut less than four months later. Now that's how you advance through the Minors!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A couple autographs from the A's & Angels homestand

For some reason, my autograph motivation has been low these past few weeks. It's not that I'm being lazy about it, but I think the heat is wearing me down. It could also have something to do with all of the losing baseball I have seen this year; I have no idea. That's not to say that I haven't had a few successes...

Gio Gonzalez was cool and came over to sign for the fans during the Oakland series. I really like all of the loops in his signature which is facilitated by the multiple G's & Z's.

Andrew Bailey was also talking to someone he knew along the third baseline but since the A's warm-up shirts don't have names or numbers on them, I ID'ed him too late to get his auto.

Torii Hunter made Kalina's day on Monday by signing her Bowman Heritage card. He signed for a bunch of the fans on the field and then continued to sign at the home plate side of the dugout. Go Torii!! This is the second time the Angels have been in Baltimore this season and the second cool thing he has done. Now if only the Orioles were competitive against the Halos...

I also wish I got my own Torii card signed. I accidentally thought it was a Gary Matthews card when I glanced at it upside down. Oh well, I'm sure he will sign when he's back in town next season.

Joe Saunders knew one of the Angels fans in attendance so he was signing down the third base line. I managed to get his autograph after he signed for said fans. His signature reminds me a little bit of Paco Figueroa's due to the loops & such.

Bobby Abreu also signed at the end of the Angels dugout. I was right there but had no card. And I didn't even think to get him to sign my ticket. I told you I was off my game. It must be the heat.

Stay cool everyone!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A Sunday game in Bowie-my first time seeing Josh Bell & Steve Johnson

This past Sunday was the first time that I got to see the two players that the O's got in return for my boy, George Sherrill.

Steve Johnson, former Orioles pitcher & current broadcaster Dave Johnson's son, did not start but was nice enough to sign autographs and even posed for a picture with me. He seemed like a very cool guy and is excited to be pitching in the O's organization and hopefully one day for his hometown team.

Josh Bell started at third base and did not disappoint; he hit a HR in his second at bat of the game.

This is him coming back to the dugout and greeting his new teammates after his no-doubter.

Josh was really good about signing, and took time with the fans both before and after the game.

Here is a another picture of Josh on the left, warming up with Miguel Abreu on the right.

Tim Bascom was finally not starting a game that I went to, so I was able to get him to sign. For some reason my luck with silver sharpies isn't great. Does anyone have any advice for me?

Zach Clark always alludes me too. It's not that he doesn't sign, I just always seem to miss out. He was just sent down to Frederick today, but had a solid relief outing for Bowie on Sunday.

Brandon Erbe is pitching in Bowie again, after injuring himself earlier this season.

I always have to have to get one of the Figueroa brothers to sign for me. This time it was Danny. And a funny note: I saw him & Paco taking pictures of each other and they then had the trainer take pictures of them together near the clubhouse before warm-ups. I don't really know why, but wanted to share my observation.

John Mariotti's hand was in a cast, and he is on the DL. I don't have anything else on that point either but again, what I see is what you will read about.

Ryan Oullette signed before the game and got the save to finish things off for the Baysox win.

Chad Thall was brought in after Clark and before Ouellette and added some uncomfortable outs for the Baysox fans.

Jason White has been around Frederick and Bowie the past few seasons but I don't recall seeing him play before Sunday. He was the Baysox starting shortstop and had some slick fielding plays. But he should probably do something about his hairstyle.

Can you find Jason White?

Brad Komminsk signed for a few fans as he typically does, but I got Larry McCall for the first time all season. I thought that he might have something to say about my throwback Keys card but he doesn't interact too much with the fans.

I do have to give McCall major points on his autograph though. You can clearly see every single letter of his name. It's like the anti-Komminsk!