Friday, July 30, 2010

Unpossible Autograph- Billy Loes

Billy Loes recently passed away on July 15 at a hospice in Tuscon, AZ, but I hadn't read anything about his death until yesterday. It's always sad to hear that another former Oriole has passed away. He pitched in the Major Leagues for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Orioles and San Francisco Giants during the 1950's and early 60's.

Billy signed this card for me TTM in only 12 days last September, and he charged $5 for his autograph. At the time, I was disappointed that he hadn't personalized it as I had requested, especially since he charged for his signature, but at this point, I'm pretty happy to have this in my collection, especially now that his autograph has become much harder to get with his passing.

I've read that Billy was described as colorful and/or eccentric throughout his playing days and he gained National fame when an article was written about him in the Saturday Evening Post titled "The Dodgers' New Daffiness Boy". He was a member of the '55 Dodgers World Series Championship team and spent 6 years in Brooklyn before the Orioles purchased him in May 1956. He then played in Baltimore for the next 4 seasons and went 21-30 over 121 games, including 34 starts, with a 3.71 ERA and 26 saves. Billy was an All-Star in 1957 for the only time in his career.

RIP Billy, thanks for signing TTM requests when you were still around.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Matt Garza's No-Hitter-I Was There!

I've been down in Florida over the past few days visiting Kalina's family, so I haven't been posting as frequently as I normally would, but I did pick up a great baseball story on my trip.

As luck would have it, we had bought tickets to go to a Rays game a few weeks ago and it just happened to be for Monday night's game, which was Matt Garza's no-hitter. It was the first no hitter that we have ever seen and it was every bit as exciting as I could've imagined. I just got back in town late last night so I haven't had a chance to upload any pictures to actually prove that we were there, but I will post them whenever I upload them. For now, you will have to trust me that I was there. The above picture is borrowed from

Kalina and I went to the game with some of her family in the area. We also brought her young niece and nephew to their first ever baseball game, so I think that they were our good luck charms. They did a great job cheering for the Rays and had foam fingers and cowbells to use as props. We've been supplying them with Orioles hats & shirts over the years, so we hope that they remember the O's are the #1 baseball team, but we were all Rays fans for a night.

It was truly a great game. Both Garza and Tigers starter Max Scherzer had no-no's going into the 6th, and the first hit of the game was a grand slam but Rays right fielder Matt Joyce, who hit one out after Scherzer hit a batter and walked two others to load the bases in the bottom of the 6th. Garza only allowed a 2nd inning walk to Brennan Boesch, who was quickly wiped out by a double play, so he faced the minimum 27 batters. The game became more exciting after each inning as Garza continued to mow down the Tigers lineup.

To date, it was the greatest baseball game that I've ever been to, and it was truly an amazing night at Tropicana Field.

Monday, July 26, 2010

194 To Go

While updating my autograph lists today, I noticed that I only need 194 autographs to complete my project. I'm not sure how everyone else keeps track of their collections, but I have a master list and then from that, a have list and a need list. It's probably too many lists really, but I enjoy updating them and watching one grow as the other shrinks.

To the best of my knowledge, there has been 883 players who have played in a regular season game for the Orioles from 1954 until today. I had 311 of their autographs when I started blogging in March 2009, and now I'm up to 742 different Orioles signatures. I've added 431 autographs in 16 months to my collection by getting autographs at/through

Orioles Games

Private Signings


Orioles Alumni Signings

TTM Successes

And Trades

The 194 remaining autographs I need includes the 52 upgrades I am looking for, meaning that I have autographs from those players but not on their Orioles cards. There have been plenty of guys who have suited up for the O's that never had cards produced, so for them, I'm fine having an autographed card in another teams uniform, but I prefer Orioles autographs whenever possible. So I really only need 142 autographs to have an autograph from everyone who has ever played for the Orioles. Exactly half (71) of them have passed away, so their autographs are either expensive or hard to find. I do a good job with limiting my spending on the collection, so those will trickle in at best.

I know that there will be a few autographs that will always elude me, whether due to price or scarcity, but I hope to one day have as close to a completed collection as possible. Thanks to everyone who has traded with me, read the blog, or contributed in any way. I've had a lot of fun so far.

I've shown or written about approximately 543 of the 742 autographs that I have, so there are literally hundreds of more posts to go, and I hope that you enjoy them all.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Nerio Rodriguez- Mr. 7-Eleven

Nerio pitched for the Orioles from 1996-98, but I can't really say that I remember him being around. The Orioles were really good back then, and Nerio still had a 3-5 record with a 5.77 ERA over his 20 appearances with the O's, so I'm guessing that he filled some sort of mop up role.

The picture on this card has always made me laugh. Between the unidentified hat-less player in the background and Nerio's quizzical look that seems to be saying "why are you taking a picture of me just standing here with my glove?", all around it's a strange card photo. I miss you Score, you were crazy!

Although he hasn't pitched in the Major Leagues since 2002, Nerio is still pitching and has spent time in Mexico & Taiwan. In 2009, he signed with the Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions in Taiwan. Now THAT's one heluva corporate name!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Unpossible Autograph- Johnny Powers

Two weeks ago, my Unpossible Autograph profile featured Gene Brabender, who I said has the greatest name in Orioles history. I'm not going back on that, by Johnny Powers is a pretty freakin' awesome name too, it sounds like a 1970's cartoon superhero.

Johnny Powers was a prolific power hitter in the Minor Leagues; he hit 298 HR's over his 13 seasons in the Minors, averaging just under 23 a year. Unfortunately, that power never translated to the Major Leagues and he managed only 6 homers over 215 ABs. However, one of those 6 round-trippers was historic, as he hit the last HR ever at the Polo Grounds in New York on September 29, 1957.

Overall, Johnny played 151 games with 4 different teams over his 6 big league seasons. He spent only ten games with the Orioles in 1960, but earned a spot in the 1960 Topps set, as well as being included in the Crown set that all Orioles players from 1954-91 were in. I got this card on the bay a few months back.

Johnny died on September 25, 2001 in Birmingham, AL. RIP Johnny.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

TTM Success- Dave Pagan

Dave Pagan pitched in the Major Leagues for 5 seasons with four different teams. He most notably pitched his first 3+ seasons with the Yankees before bouncing around to the Orioles, Mariners & Pirates over his last season and a half in the Bigs.

He pitched in 20 games for the O's, including 5 starts, over the second half of the 1976 season and finished the year with a 1-4 record, 1 save and a 5.98 ERA. The Mariners selected him as the 29th pick in the expansion draft following the '76 season thus ending his four month stint in Baltimore.

The reason that Dave is memorable to me is because he's my lone international TTM success to date. He has lived his whole life in Saskatchewan, Canada, so I was unsure how to get my request to him as Canadian postage is different from US postage.

It was actually pretty easy; I asked another collector what to do and I just needed to include a dollar so Dave wouldn't have to pay for my SASE stamp. He put a Canadian stamp on my envelope, and since the prices of US postage continues to rise, I really didn't lose much in the deal. I would gladly pay $.56 for an autograph any day! If only they were all so easy...

I guess that it doesn't take too long for mail to get to Canada since Dave signed and returned this to me in only 22 days. Thanks Dave!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

"Fat Jack" Fisher

I'm not exactly sure how "Fat Jack" earned his nickname, since he was listed at 6'2", 215 lbs in his playing days. That doesn't seem to bad to me, but maybe it was compared to the other players back then. I would say that "Slightly Overweight Jack" or "Doughy Jack" might have fit better, but they don't sound as good.

Jack pitched 11 seasons in the Majors from 1959-69, the first 4 for the O's. His career stats are highlighted by a number of categories that he led the league in, but unfortunately, they were pretty much all bad things to be #1 in, such as most losses (2x), most earned runs allowed (3x) and most wild pitches (1x). Jack only had a winning record once in his career, when he went 12-11 for the 1960 O's.

Jack is a tough signature to track down, at least on an Orioles card, and it took me a few months to find a signed O's card on the bay, at least at a price I was alright with paying. Jack owns a sports bar appropriately called "Fat Jack's" in Easton, PA. Maybe I should try to call him there and ask him to sign...

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Eastern League All-Star Game Pictures

Last Wednesday, Kalina & I drove up to Harrisburg, PA for the 2010 Eastern League All-Star game & Home Run Derby at Metro Bank Park. The Derby was held about an hour or so before the game, and there had been an autograph session held before the Derby, but I wasn't able to get there in time for that. I would've liked to make it in time for the autographs too, especially when I found out they had card sets on sale for both the Eastern & Western division teams, but I had fun anyway. I grew up in nearby Carlisle, PA so we met up with my parents at the game and had a great time.

Our Bowie Baysox were represented by OF Tyler Henson & reliever Pedro Beato. Zach Britton was originally scheduled to appear, and possibly would've been the Western Division's starting pitcher, but was promoted to AAA a few weeks before the game. Eastern League HR co-leader Joel Guzman was also selected to the team as an injury replacement, but had a previous commitment and couldn't attend.

Henson was one of the 8 players that took part in the HR Derby. Here he is hitting one out of the park.

And here's a picture of him on the scoreboard before taking his hacks. He ended up placing third in the Derby, which isn't bad since he only hit 1 HR in the first round. Tyler also played the entire game and went 2-4 with two doubles.

Adam Loewen, former Orioles pitcher, and current Benedict Arnold OF of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, also took part in the HR Derby. The scoreboard above is incorrect and should have read HR:0 Outs: 1. (The scoreboard operator was having trouble keeping up with the Derby.) If you click on the picture, you can see that Loewen appears to be laughing, and that's because he is. He actually swung and missed at the first pitch thrown to him. It was probably a 60 MPH fastball. Great work Adam! He ended up with zero home runs, which gave me immense satisfaction.

Loewen also appeared in right field for the second half of the game, and had a few bonehead plays, including one which he tried to catch Tyler's deep fly ball and almost Jose Canseco'ed it over the fence. You suck Adam! If you don't know why I dislike him so much, I'd tell you, but it's a post for another day. If anyone asks, I can certainly share the story.

Here's Tyler standing on second base after his Loewen assisted double.

Pedro Beato appeared in the 9th inning and threw a single pitch to close out the 10-3 win for the Western Division. Now that's what I call efficient!

Great Job Tyler & Pedro! It was awesome to see our local guys in the All-Star Game. I hope the All-Star Game comes to Bowie soon, but I'm guessing they might need to upgrade Prince George's Stadium before they can bring it home.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Fernando Lunar

Don't have too much time today, so here's a guy I don't have much to say about.

Fernando caught 75 games for the Orioles between 2000-02, 64 of them coming over the '01 season. He hit .235 with 7 doubles and 17 RBI.

He is probably best remembered around Birdland as being one of the players the Orioles received from the Braves in the very unpopular and unexpected 2000 trade deadline transaction that sent B.J. Surhoff to Atlanta. I recall hearing that B.J. was very emotional when he learned about the trade. Not that Fernando really had anything to do with it, but he didn't do too much else notable for the O's.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

TTM Success- David Johnson

No, not Davey Johnson.

No, not Dave Johnson.

David Johnson

All three Dave(y/id) Johnsons have played for the Orioles, and none are related as far as I can tell. I think that has to be the most interesting bit of Orioles trivia on the topic of names. What's the likelihood? I'm sure that fans are always sending the wrong cards for each of them to sign; it makes me wonder if they just sign the others' cards, or if they say "sorry, wrong Dave Johnson".

David Johnson is probably the least known of all three, at least in Baltimore. Davey managed the O's and Dave is currently a radio & TV broadcaster in Baltimore, while David hasn't had an active role in the O's family since his playing days.

David pitched for the O's in 1974-75 and Twins in 1977-78. All told, he pitched 53 games over those four seasons and went 4-10 with a 4.64 ERA in his MLB career.

One thing that caught my eye when I sent my card to David is that he lives in Abilene, TX, the town where my grandma lived for a few years when I was younger. It was nice town as far as I remember. Now isn't that interesting?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Unpossible Autograph- Connie Johnson

Connie Johnson was a WWII veteran and had about 10 seasons of Negro League experience under his belt before he made his MLB debut with the White Sox in 1953. He was traded to the Orioles during the 1956 season and pitched in Baltimore through the end of the '58 season, which would be his last in the Majors.

Over his 5 MLB seasons, Connie pitched in 123 games, making 100 starts, and went 40-39 with a 3.44 ERA and 497 strikeouts. He won a career high 14 games for the Birds in 1957 and also had a career low 3.20 ERA.

Connie worked for the Ford Motor Company after his playing days. He passed away on November, 28 2004. RIP Connie.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

TTM Success- Vic Rodriguez & His Long & Winding Road to the Majors

While waiting for Orioles baseball to return from the All-Star Break, I stumbled across the interesting story of Vic Rodriguez, who was nice enough to sign my TTM request and get it back to me in just 12 days. It's always exciting to get a card back that quickly.

Vic, who is from NYC, was signed by the O's in 1977 as a free agent when he was only 15 years old; I'm not really sure how that was allowed, but I don't think you can even sign international free agents that young anymore.

Anyway, he spent the next 7 years slowly rising through the Orioles system, and finally made his MLB debut in September 1984. He played in 11 games and had 17 ABs, hitting .412 with a 1.000 OPS over that time. You'd think with amazing numbers like that he should make the '85 team out of Spring Training right? No dice, not poor Vic. He was traded to the Padres the following February and spent the next 5 seasons trying to get back to the Major Leagues. He finally made it back in 1989 with the Twins, and this time he hit .455 with a 1.091 OPS in 11 ABs over 6 games.

So did Vic ever get another crack at the Bigs? Nope, that was it. Dude has a .429 average at the Major League level but somehow never was able to stick at that level. All told, he played 18 seasons and over 1700 Minor League games, but only got 28 Major League ABs. At least he made the most of them.

Thanks for signing my card Vic!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

At Least Ty Made An Appearance

That's right Wiggy, stay in the on-deck circle.

Although Joe Buck & Tim McCarver didn't mention it in the FOX broadcast, Ty started the 7th inning as a defensive replacement for AL 3B starter, Evan Longoria. I don't think I would have even known that he was in the game if Torii Hunter hadn't try to throw out Scott Rolen at third, who was going from first to third on Matt Holliday's single. Ty fielded the ball cleanly and it was his only fielding chance in the game, so any potential Orioles ASG embarrassment was avoided.

While I was happy to see that Ty had the chance to play in the All-Star Game, I'm a little disappointed that he didn't get an at-bat. He was scheduled to leadoff for the AL squad in the bottom of the 7th, but Joe Girardi decided to go with his own guy, Nick Swisher, instead of Wiggy. With righty Adam Wainwright pitching, I guess it made sense for switch hitting Swisher to bat instead of playing the odds with the righty-righty matchup that Wiggy would have faced. Still, BOO Girardi. Let the lone Oriole representative hit!

You can put that bat away Paul!

As far as I can tell, Melvin Mora and Paul Blair are the only other Orioles All-Stars who appeared in the game but didn't get a chance to bat. Melmo seems to have appeared as a pinch-runner in the 2003 midsummer classic, while Blair was used as a defensive replacement in the 1973 ASG.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Baltimore All-Stars

Way back in 1959, Jerry Walker & Billy O'Dell were two of the five Oriole representatives in the All-Star game; Hoyt Wilhelm, Gus Triandos, and Gene Woodling also made the squad. Ah, to have 5 must be nice.

Jerry still holds the record for being the youngest All-Star game starter in history; he was only 20 when he took the hill for American League squad. Jerry outdueled Don Drysdale over three innings and earned the win. That's pretty impressive stuff right there.

Billy was appearing in his second consecutive (and final) All-Star Game in '59. He earned a hold for pitching an inning of relief, and preserving Walker's win.

The NL lineup that Walker & O'Dell shut down was pretty menacing and featured future Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Ernie Banks, Stan Musial and Frank Robinson.

Somehow, I doubt that Ty Wigginton will have the opportunity to dominate tonight's ASG like Walker and O'Dell did in '59, but we can hope that he has the chance to jack a pitch out of the park. Or at least can avoid embarrassing Baltimore. Make us proud Ty!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Congratulations to the Orioles on Their Four Game Road Sweep

The Orioles swept the Rangers in a four game series at Arlington in the days leading up to the All Star Break. Now for many of you baseball fans who like better teams than the O's, a simple 4 game sweep on the road probably doesn't seem like a big deal. But to the Orioles franchise, this kind of thing doesn't happen. In fact, this is the first four game road sweep since the Orioles did it against the White Sox on July 6-9, 1995! Now I realize that teams only play a limited number of 4 games road series every season (the Orioles have 3 this season), but for it to have been 15 years since it last happened is ridiculous. That means that the Orioles went 14 full seasons, or approximately 42 series, without such a sweep in another teams' hometown. It's a small victory in a largely lost season, but could it be a signal that the Birds are about to turn things around?

For nostalgia's sake, here are a few of the players on the 1995 Orioles team who were part of that last four game road sweep.

Now that was a pretty decent team. Let's hope that the 2010 Orioles can play well through the end of the season and end up with an improved record, at least over the first half of the season. Good luck guys!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

TTM Success- Paul Hartzell

Paul was nice enough to sign this card for me and returned my TTM request in 38 days. He appeared in 6 games for the Orioles during the 1980 season, and went 0-2 with a 6.62 ERA. He spent most of that season pitching for the O's then AAA affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings.

Overall, Paul had a 6 season MLB career, also pitching for the California Angels, Minnesota Twins and the Milwaukee Brewers.

As a fellow native Pennsylvanian, I feel like I should mention that Paul was born in Bloomsburg, PA and attended Lehigh University in south eastern PA. He is the most recent baseball player from the school to reach the Major Leagues and was inducted to their Hall of Fame in 1998.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Unpossible Autograph- Gene Brabender

Today, I decided to feature the former Oriole who has, in my opinion, the best (most comical) name of anyone to have worn the Orioles uniform. I know it's childish, but the name Brabender makes me laugh, or at the very least smirk. So you can picture me grinning until the end of the post.

Gene "Lurch" Brabender was certainly an imposing figure to opposing batters. The 6'6'' Brabender earned his very appropriate nickname while he was a member of the expansion Seattle Pilots. He was supposedly referred to as "Animal" during his time with the O's. I tend to think if Gene played today someone would have given him a nickname that played off of his name, something like "B cup". Haha, but I digress.

Brabender pitched in the Majors from 1966-1970 and had his greatest success during his time with the Orioles from 1966-68. He went 16-14 with a 3.39 ERA in 82 games over those three seasons and was a member of the '66 World Series Championship team although he didn't appear in a game during the series.

He was originally drafted by the Dodgers but the O's snagged him in the 1965 Rule V draft after seeing him pitch at the nearby Aberdeen Proving Grounds during his time in the military. It's like the O's used the military team as a type of farm team precursor to the current Aberdeen Ironbirds. For those of you not familiar with Maryland, Aberdeen is about 45 minutes northeast from Baltimore.

Gene had his own construction business after his time in baseball was over and died from a brain aneurysm in 1996 at the young age of 55. RIP Gene. Thanks for standing strong with your awesome surname.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Orioles Game Autographs

I'm proud to report that the Orioles most recent prospect call-ups are both good signers.

Awesome orange uni Jake autograph.

I was worried that Bell might be the type to stop signing once he hit Baltimore, but that's not the case, yet anyway. This picture was taken prior to all of the tattoos on his arms. And I just found that he has 2 Orioles cards in the 2010 Bowman set, including a solo card in the Topps 100 set, similar to the Arrieta card above, so I need to get him to sign one of those soon.

I showed off my picture with US Soccer Head Coach Bob Bradley last week. Here's the card he signed too.

A sweet Scott Moore orange uni autograph-I'm a fan of how most of the O's Minor League affiliates rock the orange uniforms.

John Shelby doesn't sign too often, but he always seems like a really nice guy when he does.

I've been pleasantly surprised with Miggy's signing habits this season. I wasn't getting autographs when he was in town last time, but he signs more than most superstar/star players.

Jake Fox is another new Orioles player who seems to be a great signer. I temporarily ran out of his cards, so had him sign this team card. I re-upped and now have a couple cards for him to sign if I can get him again.

This Jeff Datz auto turned out better than the one I got a few weeks ago. The J on that previous autograph was very faded. Stupid sharpie.

Cesar Izturis is signing more this season than he did last year. Good for you Cesar! The 08 Topps was signed for Moe, who will be getting another package at the end of this season.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Orioles Alumni Autographs

Germany, my second favorite World Cup team after the US, was just eliminated in their semi-final game against Spain so I'm not in the mood to write much.

Here are some autographs from the recent Alumni Signers at the MASN Booth on Eutaw Street prior to Monday and Thursday Orioles home games...

I've heard about this in the past but Tippy personally confirmed it to me. He really doesn't like signing cards that feature him with a mustache. He didn't say why, it just seems like he thinks that it makes him look silly I guess.

Doesn't look like Joe caught the ball...

Bordick was in town to help the team with infield skills.
Now if only someone could show up to position Adam Jones...

I was excited to get two cards from this old Keys set signed. Calvin commented about it being an old card while Joe didn't say much because of the heat. The signing booth gets awfully hot, especially for the older guys like Joe. The sun shines right in there and makes it pretty uncomfortable for the signers.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Congrats to Wiggy, Nick Snubbed?

Your 2010 Orioles All-Star representative is none other than Ty Wigginton. Unfortunately, some talking heads feel that Ty is the A.L.'s super-utility player who will only get in the game if it goes in to extra innings. Great, so we have one player in the game who likely won't even play. It reminds me of the 08 All-Star Game, when George Sherrill didn't appear in the game until the 12th inning.

While I would agree that Ty was the only Oriole who was "hot" at the plate for the beginning of the season, he has really cooled off lately. Before yesterday's 2-3 performance in Detroit, he was mired in a 1-28 slump. And while he does have 14 HR on the year, only 1 of those have come since May 23.

Kalina and I feel like Nick Markakis would've been a better representative. Kakes has been hitting around .300 all year and also gets on base about 40% of the time, mainly due to his 25 doubles (tied for 2nd in the AL) and 49 walks. He was likely not selected due to the position he plays, rather than his stats on the year. Juan Samuel did mention that he would've endorsed Kakes if Joe Giradi had been respectful enough to ask him.

I got this card signed at a game recently and Ty used another guy's marker to sign it. The marker is much thicker than the sharpie I normally use but it still looks decent. While neither Ty nor Nick are good autograph signers, I have gotten Ty's autograph 3 times at Camden Yards while I'm still waiting for my first Markakis game Ty's an autograph All-Star at least.

A Coolio Contest

I know that most of us like Allen & Ginter cards. You know what's better than A&G cards? Free A&G cards!

There's a contest going on right now over at Coolio Cards where you can win a FREE BOX of 2010 A&G. That's what I'm talking about. So head on over and enter. All you have to do is name your favorite player and why you like them. I think that everyone can handle that!

Good luck all!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

New Guys on the Block

Recently, I worked out a trade with two new autograph collecting bloggers and I wanted to share my experiences with both of them since they are both great guys and excellent trade partners. I couldn't scan all of the cards and postcards they sent me because that would've taken a long time but here are some of my favorites.

First up, Dion from Dion's IP Autos only and I started talking a trade about a month ago. We actually made the trade a few weeks back but you know how my posting schedule goes. 2 weeks late isn't bad. I'll probably be posting about 2010 Allen & Ginter in September...

Dion had a number of autographs that I needed for my collection including a few former Orioles who have passed away...

Pat Kelly (and it's on an orange uni postcard to boot!)

Former Orioles player and manager, Johnny Oates

Dion also had a few cards that I needed...

Jarvis doesn't have any O's cards so this works for my collection

I had a Keys autograph of Sendy but never got an O's card signed, until now.

I have a signed ball and 8x10 of Chad Brad, but didn't have the signed postcard.
Now if I could just find a signed Orioles card of his...

Thanks so much for all the great autographs Dion!

The other new blogger who reached out to me is Austin, who just started the Orioles Autograph Project. He sent me a bunch of autographs, but the one that really helped out my collection was Greg Aquino.

Greg doesn't have any Orioles cards, so this postcard is as good as it's going to get with Greg. Thanks for the great trade Austin.

Check out Dion's & Austin's blogs if you have a minute. They are both awesome trade partners!